Judge Orders “Deletion” of Segments of Korean Book on Comfort Women

By Joshua Blakeney

A Korean academic, Park Yu-ha, has reportedly been indicted for libel by Korean authorities for a scholarly book she wrote which challenged the claim that Korean WWII comfort women were “sex slaves”. This comes only months after the Seoul Eastern District Court ordered the “deletion of parts of the book”, Comfort Women of the Empire: The Battle Over Colonial Rule and Memory, which portrays those Korean ladies who provided sexual services to Japanese soldiers during the War as having been run-of-the-mill prostitutes rather than women subjected to state-sanctioned sexual slavery.

Professor Park Yu-ha of Sejong University
Professor Park Yu-ha of Sejong University

Many Korean citizens have reportedly taken offence to the implicit allegation that Korean men stood idly by and watched Japanese soldiers barge into their homes and drag their womenfolk off to a life of sexual servitude during the 1930s and 40s. Several prominent Korean academics and journalists have thus joined Japanese intellectuals in critiquing the official historical discourse on this subject.

Park’s indictment comes just days after a German octogenarian, Ursula Haverbeck, was sentenced to ten months in prison without parole for claiming that the Auschwitz concentration camp was a labour camp rather than an extermination camp.

The “lawfare” waged against intellectuals who challenge fashionable historical interpretations of WWII is extremely conspicuous and will no doubt encourage free-thinking individuals to look skeptically into the sanctified subjects which they might otherwise not have been compelled to reevaluate.

Some skeptics believe that countries like Russia, Britain and the United States want to cover up their crimes, such as the rape of up to two million German women, during the War and thus have embellished and overemphasized the wrongdoings of the Axis forces.

 

Yumiko Yamamoto: “Comfort Women Were Not Sex Slaves”

By Joshua Blakeney

One reason I’m drawn to study the work of Japanese revisionists is that they are actually afforded enough discursive space for there to be a somewhat rational debate on whether or not the different aspects of the history of WWII in Asia they address have been interpreted accurately.

This press conference held at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan reveals the gulf that exists between Japan and the West when it comes to freedom of speech on the subject of WWII.

Many European historical revisionists have been imprisoned and fined since 1945 simply for attempting to have the kind of civilized discussion displayed in the above video.

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CNN Allows An Alternate Perspective on WWII Comfort Women

I have recently been evaluating the conflicting viewpoints on the subject of World War II comfort women and intend to summarize them in future posts on this nascent blog. For now, I thought QJH readers might find this CNN interview with Komori Yoshihisa of Japan’s Sankei Shumbun thought-provoking. He provides some but not all of the main protestations Japanese comfort-women-skeptics make against those who opt to emphasize the relationship between prostitutes and the Japanese military during WWII in their discourse.