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Thread: Tensions linger in US over WW2 “comfort women” plaques

  1. #1
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Tensions linger in US over WW2 “comfort women” plaques

    Tensions linger in US over “comfort women” plaques

    A NJ plaque honoring 200,000 women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers sparked international controversy







    HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — Four years ago, noticing plaques at the county courthouse commemorating slavery, the Holocaust and other atrocities, Korean-American community leader Chejin Park struck upon the idea of adding a tribute to the “comfort women” of World War II.


    To his surprise, the seemingly small, local gesture — to honor the more than 200,000 mostly Korean and Chinese women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers — would make a tiny northern New Jersey town a flashpoint in an international controversy.


    Local officials would rebuff a request by Japanese officials to take down the first plaque put up just over two years ago in the town of Palisades Park, a square-mile borough outside New York where a majority of residents are of Korean descent.


    But now the dedication of a second marker, this one at the courthouse whose memorials had inspired Park, has been held up until the wording can be changed to remove a reference to the Japanese government.

    The top government official in Bergen County, Kathleen Donovan, said the delay is due to a mix-up, not any new pressure from Japanese officials.


    Donovan and the county’s legislative body, the freeholder board, had asked that the second plaque state that Japan’s Imperial army, not the Japanese government, was responsible for what happened to those women, she said.


    “Our monument is not anti-Japanese government; it is pro-comfort women,” said Donovan, the county executive. “We want to be very clear that it was the Imperial Japanese armed forces and not the government that, according to our historical research, committed these acts.”


    Historians say the women, mostly from the Korean peninsula and China, were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in military brothels. But rightists in Japan have questioned whether the women were coerced by the military to be prostitutes.


    Some surviving women and their supporters have held a weekly vigil in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul for more than two decades, saying that an apology issued by a Japanese government official in 1993 has failed to convince South Koreans that Japan is truly contrite.


    The issue is an important one for Bergen County, where the Korean population has quadrupled since 1990 and now accounts for nearly 8 percent of the county’s more than 900,000 residents. Last year, Donovan made an official visit to the county’s sister city of Dangjin, South Korea, and met with some elderly women who, decades ago, were forced to provide sex for the soldiers.


    “It was quite an amazing experience to sit with them and have tea,” Donovan said. “I asked them if I could tell their story; these are women who lived through that horrible experience and wanted the world to know.”


    Park, an attorney with a group that seeks to get Koreans more involved in community affairs in the New York metro area, worked with a memorial committee to build and finance the memorials to these women in Palisades Park and Hackensack.


    “These memorials are simply stating the fact that it happened, and Japan is arguing that it didn’t happen,” Park said. “We just see the issue as a human rights issue. We see comfort women survivors screaming for justice.”


    A similar memorial has since been built in Los Angeles, and plans are also under way to build them in San Francisco, Georgia, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts, he said.


    When the first plaque went up on a small boulder next to the library in Palisades Park, the mayor said he received a perplexing visit from Japanese consular officials, followed by a delegation of members of Japan’s parliament.


    They offered to donate books to the library of the small suburban hamlet. They wanted to plant Japanese cherry blossom trees along the borough’s main thoroughfare. They offered to engage in activities with townspeople to “promote U.S.-Japan relations.”


    “In the meantime,” Mayor James Rotundo recalled, the visiting officials also told him: “It would be nice if we’d take the monument down.”


    The first plaque reads: “In memory of the more than 200,000 women and girls who were abducted by the armed forces of the government of Imperial Japan 1930s – 1945 known as comfort women, they endured human rights violations that no peoples should leave unrecognized. Let us never forget the horrors of crimes against humanity.”


    The second plaque is being reworded to lay the blame on the Imperial armed forces of Japan instead of the armed forces of the government of Imperial Japan, removing the government reference.


    The Japanese consulate in New York, asked about the controversy in New Jersey, issued a statement on behalf of the government stating that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “is deeply pained when thinking of the ‘comfort women’ who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering, a feeling shared by his predecessors.”

    The statement adds that Japan has apologized for the suffering it caused to “the people of many countries, particularly to those in Asian nations.”


    On the issue of the women, the Japanese government said: “It is our sincere hope that we can focus on working constructively together and move forward, and not politicize this issue.”


    Park said he believes the women’s struggles have a place alongside history’s greatest injustices.
    “Human trafficking is a serious human rights violation, and the comfort women were the largest government-organized human trafficking case in the 20th century,” he said. “We should understand the comfort women memorial as something like the other memorials in the United States that memorialize many other human rights violations that happened in many places in the world.”
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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    These women were subject to vile abuse that qualified as war crimes. Many of them actually died from the repeated rapes, untreated STDs, abortions and pregnancies as well. I would ignore the Japanese government's request to remove the plaque. Did you know that a woman could die from constant penetration? It's not a fucking pretty way to die - the body goes into shock from pain and loss of blood amongst over things. The plaque needs to remain there as a reminder of the Japanese aggressions against its neighbors.
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    Elite Member Karistiona's Avatar
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    Bitter that's awful. These women are deserving of commemoration, taking a plaque down doesn't mean it didn't happen.
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    I have never heard of this before. I'm glad that it is being recognized and brought to light. There are so many silent victims in wartime.
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    Elite Member heart_leigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BITTER View Post
    These women were subject to vile abuse that qualified as war crimes. Many of them actually died from the repeated rapes, untreated STDs, abortions and pregnancies as well. I would ignore the Japanese government's request to remove the plaque. Did you know that a woman could die from constant penetration? It's not a fucking pretty way to die - the body goes into shock from pain and loss of blood amongst over things. The plaque needs to remain there as a reminder of the Japanese aggressions against its neighbors.
    My Filipino grandmother told me a story of her best friend during the war. Her friend was taken prisoner by Japanese soldiers. Now my grandmother didn't hear about her whereabout until one of the surviving comfort women said her friend didn't last long. Within a few months of the forced rapes, my grandmother's friend slit her own throat rather than endure the rapes. And get this, sometimes a bamboo stick/foreign object was rammed into the vagina/anus and, of course, women likely didn't survive this. So cruel and twisted.
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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    What is it with journalists and their absolutely refusal to call rape what it is? "Forced to provide sex"-you can use one word instead of four!
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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart_leigh View Post
    My Filipino grandmother told me a story of her best friend during the war. Her friend was taken prisoner by Japanese soldiers. Now my grandmother didn't hear about her whereabout until one of the surviving comfort women said her friend didn't last long. Within a few months of the forced rapes, my grandmother's friend slit her own throat rather than endure the rapes. And get this, sometimes a bamboo stick/foreign object was rammed into the vagina/anus and, of course, women likely didn't survive this. So cruel and twisted.
    When I was stationed in Japan, my ship traveled several times to other Asian countries. Very few people I spoke too liked Japan or Japanese culture, mainly because of the atrocities the Imperial Armed Forces committed in China, Thailand, Korea and the Philippines. The older they were, the more bitter and resentful towards Japan they were.

    Wiki article on comfort women
    , with links to other articles. Apparently, some European women were also forced into prostitution as well.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    So much horror. Those women deserve to be remembered. This nightmare is hard to get over.
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    And get this, sometimes a bamboo stick/foreign object was rammed into the vagina/anus and, of course, women likely didn't survive this. So cruel and twisted.
    I can't stop thinking about this part. Beyond vile. Anyone who does this to another human being should have their nuts cut off without anasthetic.

    And what makes it worse is that none of the rapists were ever caught or punished.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Osaka Mayor Says Comfort Women Were Necessary Evil For 'Rough Men'

    Osaka Mayor Says Comfort Women Were Necessary Evil For 'Rough Men'


    Dispensable comfort women — women and girls forced to provide sexual services to the Japanese military during World War II — were necessary to sate the lust and harness the virile power of Japan's brave soldiers, according to the mayor of Osaka.


    Some historians say Japan forced around 200,000 mostly Chinese and Korean women to essentially become sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during WWII; others believe that there were significantly fewer comfort women and that they chose to serve the army in that way. But many women who survived long enough to speak out/weren't shamed into being quiet have said they initially thought they were being recruited for other types of labor and described horrifying stories of being beaten and forcibly raped by 20-40 officers every day.


    The Japanese government formally apologized to the comfort women in 1993 but still won't admit that the military actually coerced the women into serving against their will; it was kinda a half-assed "sorry you're offended" type situation. The most recent spin from Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto: dudes needed to bone by any means necessary in order to serve their country!


    From the Wall Street Journal's "Japan Real Time" blog:

    “Anyone can understand that the system of comfort women was necessary to provide respite for a group of high-strung, rough and tumble crowd of men braving their lives under a storm of bullets,” Toru Hashimoto told reporters on Monday. Putting aside the moral question, “back then it was a necessary system to maintain military discipline,” he said.

    Hashimoto also questioned whether the women were really coerced — it's convenient that most comfort women have passed away by now and so are unable to challenge that assessment (and fight for their long-denied compensation) — and said U.S. servicemen in Okinawa should “make more use” of the local, legal sex industry to “relieve the sexual energy of the Marines" so that they don't rape local women.

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  11. #11
    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    Mayor Hashimoto sounds like a backwards-assed motherfucker.
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