Comfort Women Statues Shame, Not Help, Koreans

Mr.Archie Miyamoto served on active duty in the US Army for 29 years. He served two tours in the Korean War and two tours in the Vietnam War. He served two tours as a military advisor in Taiwan and also two tours in Japan, the first as a platoon leader in the 187th Airborne Regiment and once as the joint defense planning coordinator between US Forces Japan and the Japanese Self Defense Force. His military decorations include three Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. He has already retired. Since he is indignant at "Comfort Women" propaganda of  Chinese Communist Party and South Korean activists, he has written the letters to the mayors and city councils of relating cities to prevent the erection of  Comfort Women statues as a former Japanese American veteran. His efforts contributed greatly to success in preventing the installation of some statues. His "Wartime Military Records on Comfort Women" is the Fact-based work that Journalist Mr. Michael Yon  praised a lot. This article is Mr.Miyamoto's latest article.

Comfort Women Statues Shame, Not Help, Koreans

By Archie Miyamoto, Lt. Colonel, U.S Army, Retired

 The comfort women statues that continue to proliferate in the United States, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere have an unseen consequence. Their tacit indictment of wartime populations is seen as cowardly and indicates the lack of concern with protecting vulnerable women.

As the world still waits for proof of activists’ claims that 200,000 women — many, if not most, of them Koreans — were forcibly abducted by the Japanese military and made to work as comfort women, we should remember that there is another gaping evidentiary hole.

If hundreds of thousands of Korean women — and hundreds of thousands of women from other countries, as some activists like to contend — were systematically kidnapped from their homes, shouldn’t there be evidence of massive resistance on the part of their fathers, grandfathers, brothers, and uncles?

While the silence of a population in the face of such alleged horrors may be understandable in a country under military occupation, Korea was not occupied. It was part of Japan during the annexation period.

Not Under Military Occupation 

Koreans were well-integrated into Japanese society and work force during the annexation period. In addition to holding public offices and serving in the police force, hundreds of thousands of Korean men served in the Japanese military.

Many served as officers and a few as generals. Lt. Gen. Hong Sa Ik, head of PW Command of Japan’s Southern Army, is an example of a Korean in command of Japanese troops.

Prince Yi Wu, grandson of the Korean Emperor Gojong, served as a colonel in the Japanese Army. When he was killed by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, his aide — a Japanese officer — felt he had failed to properly protect Prince Yi and committed suicide. Is this the action of a man who saw Korea as a “brutalized slave colony”?

Passive Cowards, Opportunists? 

Charges that earlier generations did nothing as hundreds of thousands of women were abducted are an indictment of the entire wartime generation of Koreans. A whole generation must have been exceptionally — and uncharacteristically — passive to allow such an injury to their wives, daughters, and granddaughters. (RELATED ARTICLE: Korea: Daddy Don’t Leave Me!)

The allegations also fly in the face of the deep respect Koreans are known to have for their elders. Even former comfort women attesting to abductions make no mention of their parents (or anyone else) resisting or trying to prevent their alleged kidnappings.

One former comfort woman said she was reported as simply missing.

It is plausible to argue that one person simply vanished, but simply incredible to argue that 200,000 young women just disappeared. 

The accusations of mass abductions in effect portray one’s grandparents’ generation as cowards and opportunists who sold out their daughters and granddaughters to the Japanese.

This is shameful, and it is a gut-wrenching insult to elderly Koreans.

Documents Tell A Different Story

Allegations are one thing, but facts are another.

World War II military documents provide overwhelming evidence on the true nature of the comfort women system. (See Wartime Military Records on Comfort Women by this author.). In addition to the oft-quoted “Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation Report No. 49,” there are additional documents, including the following:

There are additional documents from Dutch, Australian, and Japanese sources, and even the diary of a Korean operator of a comfort station.

What Contemporaneous Reports Say

The many contemporaneous records of the allied forces at the end of the war clearly identify comfort women as contract prostitutes, not dragooned sex slaves.

Wartime reports of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Japanese and Korean businesses in Chinese cities list comfort stations not as something special but as just another business. Comfort stations with Korean women were operated by Koreans and those operated by Japanese operators had only Japanese women. None were operated by the military.

Following the same pattern, in the Philippines, Japanese military records clearly stipulated that local brothels for use by Japanese soldiers would employ only licensed prostitutes.

War crimes involving the recruitment of prostitutes 

While prostitution was legal at the time, recruiting involuntary women as prostitutes was a war crime – including under Japanese law.

There is only one case of involuntary recruitment found in the U.S. war crime records [HQ, Island Command, Guam, Serial No. 846, May 12, 1945]. It involved a Japanese civilian on Guam pressuring two women into prostitution.

The U.S. war crime records are consistent with the finding of authorities in other locales as well. In Indonesia, fewer than half a dozen cases were tried by Dutch authorities. The Bart von Poelgeest Report issued by the Dutch authorities clearly points out that forced prostitution was prohibited by Japanese military regulations.

Other than the incidents mentioned, there are no records of forced prostitution.

What Really Happened 

The interrogation of three Korean civilians employed by the Japanese Navy describes what would have happened if the Japanese had abducted or conscripted Korean women as sex slaves. “MIS, Composite Report, List 78, 28 Mar 45” (page 3, item 18) states:
All Korean prostitutes that PoW have seen in the Pacific were volunteers or had been sold by their parents into prostitution. This is proper in the way of Korean thinking but direct conscription by the Japanese would be an outrage that old and young would not tolerate. They would rise up in anger killing Japanese no matter what consequences they might suffer. 
This more accurately describes how Koreans would react, especially the family members of the women being abducted.

Even involuntary conscription by means other than direct abduction would have resulted in riots.

Question of Practicality

The Japanese military was deployed on many different fronts and in many different campaigns. It had neither the leisure nor the capacity to round up and guard 200,000 women who were allegedly sex slaves from among hostile populations speaking foreign languages.

In some cases, critics have carelessly lumped the official recruitment of women for the factory labor force together with the private comfort women industry.

The Women’s Volunteer Labor Force, known as the Teishintai or Chongsindae in Korean, was used to mobilize unmarried young women for factory work in late 1944. It had nothing to do with the comfort women system.

By this stage of WWII, Japan was undergoing aerial bombardment and fighting for survival. To be blunt, sex was the last thing on anyone’s mind as cities burned and millions of people began to go hungry.

Over the course of more than seven decades of postwar history, many have lost sight of these wartime realities and complexities.

Humans in general tend to side with victims of injustice, and today World War II in the Pacific is often presented as a one-sided conflict in which everything that Japan did, from the battlefield to the bureaucracy, is somehow fraught with evil intentions.

But as is evident from the many original military documents, the sex slave narrative can be seen for what it is — a hate campaign to demonize Japan today, which has nothing to do with Japan’s WWII past.

Comfort women statues are part of that strategy to demonize and delegitimize Japan in the eyes of the international community.

But, let us remember that these statues also tacitly indict Koreans as cowards who did nothing as a generation of young women was stolen from their midst.

Today’s anti-Japan monument is also tomorrow’s insult to those populations under Japan’s wartime administration.

Archie Miyamoto served on active duty in the US Army for 29 years. He served two tours in the Korean War and two tours in the Vietnam War. He served two tours as a military advisor in Taiwan and also two tours in Japan, the first as a platoon leader in the 187th Airborne Regiment and once as the joint defense planning coordinator between US Forces Japan and the Japanese Self Defense Force. His military decorations include three Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. After retirement from the military, he served as project manager of a subcontract on an Israeli military airfield construction project to the Negev Desert. After that he joined a Japanese corporation (Maruzen of America) in Los Angeles and became its President/Chairman. He is currently retired.

Original article : JAPAN Forward "Comfort Women Statues Shame, Not Help, Koreans"

Comfort Women Propagandists Getting Increasingly Desperate:

Even Youtubers Easily Disprove Latest South Korean Lies

Tetsuhide Yamaoka, President, AJCN Inc.

Shocking video footage was released by personnel of the Seoul city government and Seoul University at an international conference held in Seoul on February 27 of this year. According to the releasers, the brief film clip shows the corpses of dozens of WWII Korean sex slaves dumped after having been raped and killed by Japanese soldiers. The Seoul University and city government personnel contend that the never-before-seen footage was taken on September 15, 1944, in Tengchong, in China's Yunnan Province, and was discovered at the American National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.

However, this disturbing announcement was flatly ignored by major Japanese media outlets—including even the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which once ran a lengthy campaign of comfort women articles based on Seiji Yoshida’s lies about having abducted Korean women on Jeju Island under government orders. While a number of Korean newspapers touted the footage as new evidence of a “comfort women massacre,” even left-wing Japanese scholars declined to comment on the video.
Why? The reason for the Japanese media’s and scholars’ reticence is obvious: the film footage is nothing new, and the Seoul University and Seoul city government personnel’s description of what is shown in the footage is blatantly false.

One of the first to counter the fake Seoul narrative with hard evidence was Tony Marano, the popular Youtuber known to many as “Texas Daddy”. On his YouTube channel, Marano released an official document prepared by the US military in 1944 which gives a precise description of what is taking place in the film clip.

Marano was able to retrieve this film contents description card from the American National Archives and Records Administration. In fact, the card is stored in exactly the same place as the video footage itself.

The card attached to the film footage reveals that the dead bodies in the film are actually Japanese soldiers and civilians (women and children), and that the Japanese corpses are being looted and desecrated by a Chinese soldier. The video footage clearly shows a Chinese soldier stripping socks off dead bodies—just as is listed in the descriptive card.

While the video footage may have been newly discovered, the photographic still images taken from the film were known and analyzed by Waseda University professor Toyomi Asano some 20 years ago. In his report, compiled in 1999, Prof. Asano concluded that the victims shown in the images were killed while attempting to escape from a nearby stronghold during a battle, and that their corpses were left unattended for a long time. Prof. Asano recently added a further comment, in response to the Korean release of the video footage, that it would have been both impossible and irrational to take all of those women and other civilians from inside the stronghold and execute them under enemy fire outside the stronghold during the battle.

In fact, the existence of comfort women was common knowledge at that time, so there would have been no reason for the Japanese military to conceal what was already known publicly. And at any rate, even if the Japanese military had tried to execute the comfort women as part of a cover-up operation, would they then have left the corpses piled up like that, exposed in an open pit?

So much for the details, but a much larger question looms. Why do Koreans keep releasing historical “evidence” that is so easily disproven and dismissed? Tony Marano is not a professional researcher, but he was able to retrieve the descriptive card online with minimal effort from the same American National Archives and Records Administration where the Korean group claimed to have discovered the video footage. The Korean group must also have found the same card themselves, and thus known that the video footage clearly did not show a comfort women massacre.

Perhaps Koreans consider their purpose met as long as the general public in South Korea believes the ginned-up comfort women narrative and gets infuriated towards Japan? It has been well recognized in Japan for quite some time that anti-Japan Korean activists have little interest in the truth. Yet aren’t the Seoul municipal government and Seoul University supposed to be slightly more professional than run-of-the-mill anti-Japan demagogues? Or have we reached a point where prejudice runs so deep that it blinds even those at the highest levels of South Korean society to obvious historical fact?

Sympathy for Korean Comfort Women Now & Then

Tetsuhide Yamaoka
President of Australia-Japan Community Network Inc.

“You are denying comfort women!”
An Australian journalist well known for his hatred of the Japanese Imperial Family yelled at me over the phone.
“No,” I replied. “Of course the comfort women existed. Nobody is denying it as far as I know.”
“Then why don’t you honor them?”
“We do honor women’s human rights. Yet we do not agree with what the Korean activists claim.”
He then grew even more irritated and aggressive. When I asked him to calm down, he lost his temper and hung up on me.

The reporter’s tantrum notwithstanding, I strongly believe that we should be deeply sympathetic towards Korean women. Their plight has been hard. Before Japan’s annexation and modernization, Korean women born in the lower social classes were literally enslaved and traded against their will. There were Korean officials who forcibly took women away from their homes in order to send them to the rulers of China as tribute payments. Desperate parents sometimes hid their daughters or even scarred their faces to spare the young girls such a fate. Because of this lingering historical trauma, an elderly Korean gentleman once explained to me, Koreans were well primed to believe the “comfort women abduction narrative” fabricated by a con man called Seiji Yoshida and spread by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

These practices were banned under Japanese rule, but the underlying feudalistic attitude of male dominance remained into the modern era. Before the arrival of the Japanese, Koreans had seen little use in educating females, who overall suffered much worse oppression than their counterparts in Japan. Young girls fleeing home were easy prey for human traffickers, and many ended up in prostitution.

During the annexation era, the Japanese introduced into Korea the licensed prostitution system already widespread in Japan. While the complete eradication of prostitution proved impossible, the licensing system strictly controlled pre-existing prostitution engendered by human trafficking. It was still not uncommon in Japan at that time for poor parents to sell their daughters to brothels under contract, especially in the poverty-stricken north. The government established strict rules for this baneful custom in the hopes of eventually eradicating it.

The Korean peninsula was much poorer than Japan, so when the Japanese system was introduced there it ended up allowing Korean parents to legally sell their daughters to brothels. Kim Hak Sung, the first former comfort woman to come forward during the 1990s, once testified that she was sold to a kisaeng (female entertainer) house by her mother. The law stipulated that such transactions were illegal without the consent of the daughter, who had to be released once she had paid off the advance payment provided to her parents. However, Professor Lee Yong-hoon of Seoul University contends that Korean pimps forcibly took away daughters even when they refused to consent to it. But even without the intervention of these pimps, daughters in Confucian Korea had little power to refuse their parents’ commands.

Japan’s military comfort woman system was an extension of the prevailing licensed prostitution system, which was in turn grounded in the ancient Korean practice of human trafficking in women. The Japanese government should reiterate that, by today’s standards, such a practice would be—indeed is—unthinkable. However, by the same token, countless records show that Japanese police arrested Korean brokers who were deceiving and kidnapping local women. While laboring under the strictures of vicious local customs, the Japanese during the colonial period still strove to ameliorate the positions of vulnerable females.

Activists portray the comfort women issue as black and white, and Japan as uniquely evil. But the system was clearly not a simplistic perpetrator-victim relationship. Korean parents and Korean vendors played a significant role. Furthermore, Korean men who joined the Japanese Imperial Army used the comfort women just like all the other troops. Conscription did not take place on the Korean peninsula until September 1944, less than a year before the end of the war. Yet by that time, hundreds and thousands of Korean men (who were Japanese at the time) had already volunteered and were serving in the Japanese Imperial Army. In their private meetings at the comfort stations with Korean comfort women, those Korean troops would have been able to communicate with the women in their own language. If even one woman had mentioned having been forcibly abducted, the Korean troops would have rioted against their commanding officers. This is not speculation—Korean POWs told their Allied captors as much. Korean men knew that the comfort women servicing them had either signed up voluntarily or else had been sold by their parents. The latter practice was so common that even heavily armed Korean soldiers showed no reaction when meeting Korean women who had been trafficked in this way.

The fact is, though, that there was technically no nationality at the time of “Korean”. Koreans were Japanese then. They fought and lost as Japanese citizens. They collaborated in the comfort woman system, as did their fellow Japanese. If the comfort woman system is considered criminal, then Koreans are accomplices. They switched sides when Japan lost and quickly took the position of victim, hiding their own participation and responsibility.

But the time for falsehood and victim politics is over. If Koreans are genuinely concerned with women’s human rights, they should be scrambling to rescue the tens of thousands of Korean women trapped in prostitution all over the world right now. These modern-day victims of human trafficking are at this very moment suffering at the hands of the same vicious brokers whom the Japanese authorities cracked down on in Korea nearly one hundred years ago.