Japan's Crimes Against Women

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
User avatar
Peter H
Member
Posts: 28628
Joined: 30 Dec 2002 13:18
Location: Australia

Post by Peter H » 09 Dec 2003 13:13

This link mentions the controversy on the Nanking death toll:

http://journalism.missouri.edu/~jschool ... /table.htm

It does not mention any Triad connection with the Chung Shan Tang and the Red Swastika Society(still kicking on in Taiwan today) but as a mere Occidental mortal I'm open minded to other views.

The burial records themselves are also prone to criticism:

The second question often raised by many is the credibility of burial records of the Chung Shan Tang (Tsung Shan Tong), a 140-year-old charitable organization in Nanjing. Although their reports that recorded the burial of 112,267 bodies was adduced to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, they were actually prepared for the tribunal after the war ended because the original manuscripts were allegedly all lost during the eight years of Japanese occupation.

Of course that does not mean that the Chung Shan Tang doctored their reports. The available Chinese documents of that time showed that the organization started burying the dead bodies scattered over certain parts of the city at the beginning of 1938 at the latest. Forty full-time staff and numerous part-timers buried their countrymen and women inside the city walls until March and worked outside of the walls in April.

It should be noted, however, that none of the other documents written by members of the International Committee or the Japanese authorities in Nanjing mentioned that the Tsun Shan Tang was engaged in burial work, while they recorded that another charitable organization, the Red Swastika Society, buried about 40,000 bodies.


And this:
...almost all historians note that the exact death toll is not the highest priority in comprehending what actually happened in Nanking. They point out that there were other crimes such as rape, pillage, and arson that are now impossible to quantify.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8818
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 10 Dec 2003 01:56

Moulded,

Thanks for the link. It appears to be very balanced and unbiassed.

Misty Dawn Bright
Member
Posts: 113
Joined: 17 Jul 2003 14:06
Location: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Japan's Crimes Against Women

Post by Misty Dawn Bright » 08 Mar 2004 14:04

Mr. Mills,

Thanx for finally giving us the source for the rather erronious conclusions that you were making about the Asian "comfort women." I have just a few things to say:

1 - The accounts of a select few European prostitutes who actually might have been given a "choice" says nothing about the truth or validity of the accounts that many of the Asian women gave. If that's indeed your only source, it's not very convincing - you can't extrapolate from that and say that all or most of the women who gave a different version of events (of having been coerced) were lying.
2 - Collective lawsuits against foreign governments necessarily require political action committees, non-governmental organizations, and other such "groups with an agenda."
3 - It seems to me that there would be a strong disincentive for many of these women to come forward. Many of them come from conservative communities where women with backgrounds like their's have pariah status. The money motive is not good enough - people who are involved in lawsuits like these may not see the results of their efforts for years or even half of a lifetime, if at all. I suspect that many or most of these women will be dead before all of their claims are fully honored.

Next time, if you want to apply negative labels to people who take an interest or concern in crimes against women, why don't you read further?

User avatar
SpiritsEye
Member
Posts: 173
Joined: 19 Feb 2003 16:21
Location: Singapore

Post by SpiritsEye » 11 May 2004 04:49

well said misty

its true some women volunteered to be 'comfort women' but a majority DID NOT.

i myself did not experience the terror of the occupation, but my grandparents did. When i was a kid, my grandparents will tell of how my grandma and my aunties would hide under the bed etc when the japs came knocking on the door asking for 'recruitment' of some sorts. Apparently, they were looking for 'comfort women'.

And there were times when they saw young women, as small as 14, being DRAGGED from the streets in broad daylight to god knows where...in this case, i suspect...to be 'comfort women'

there are lots of books with accounts like these out there..i cant remember the particular book name, as i read it in-store as a quick past time while waiting for friend.

User avatar
SpiritsEye
Member
Posts: 173
Joined: 19 Feb 2003 16:21
Location: Singapore

Post by SpiritsEye » 11 May 2004 04:52

White Phosphorus wrote:
Benoit Douville wrote:Michael Mills,

I seriously doubt that these "comfort women" volunteered. They were kidnapped by Japanese soldiers on the street.

Regards


Is there any proof that they were kidnapped by Japanese soldiers? Can you provide any Japanese documents that would authorize that activity? Weren't those women paid for their services? What would their existence be like if they were not working for the Japanese?

Also, I've never seen a Nanking deathtoll (claimed by Chinese propagandists) below 300,000.


thats weird, people already know the japanese government deny such atrocities and here you are, asking for japanese documents?

As i've mentioned earlier in the above post, yes some women volunteered.

Most would rather face death than to be sex slaves to an invader, note that back in the 30s/40s it is still a very conservative society.

TheLadyElizabeth
Member
Posts: 8
Joined: 28 Feb 2005 01:08
Location: New York

Post by TheLadyElizabeth » 20 Mar 2005 18:09

Thank you Misty and SpiritsEye for clarifying the plight of the "comfort women" and validating their claim of being victims of a war crime.

Young women dragged off to "service" an enemy army is certainly and obviously a war crime. Even IF some women were given the "choice" of being a "comfort woman" and chose to do so, I think it's quite clear the humiliation, degradation and emotional/physical abuse that "choice" entailed would absolutely be classified as a war crime against those women. I don't think one needs to be a feminist to see this. I'm sure the men who witnessed their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters being "recruited" by the Japanese to "service" them would agree these incidents are war crimes.

One such account I found:

" We are sad to report that Kang Duk Kyung died of lung cancer on February 2, 1997.
A former Comfort Woman, Ms. Kang was born in Jinju, Korea on June 13, 1929.

Lured by the promise of a job by her Japanese school teacher, she went to Japan at the age of fourteen. When she faced near starvation at the factory in Japan, she ran away only to be kidnapped by Japanese soldiers in 1944. She was then raped and sent to a Comfort Station where she was a sex slave for more than ten soldiers a day. Ms. Kang had been living with five other former Comfort Women in the "House of Sharing" and was a regular at weekly demonstrations in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Korea. In recent years Ms. Kang took up painting as therapy and was known for her poignant depiction of her experiences as a Comfort Woman. She was sixty-seven."

http://www.comfort-women.org/v2/newsandresources.html

Another link I found: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1534018

Also of interest: http://www.angelfire.com/il/iwcp/comfort.html

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23231
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 20 Mar 2005 19:04

Thanks, TheLadyElizabeth, for the post and links.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8818
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 21 Mar 2005 00:11

I still think that the concept of "sex slave" is a highly tendentious one, and not usefu in historical analysis.

It could only be accurately applied to a woman who was forced into prostitution against her will, eg by physical capture, or by threats of violence etc.

It should not be applied to women who agreed to become sex workers in return for a small amount of money, or even only food and lodging.

That would apply even in cases where the only alternative open to those women was rural pverty and perhaps starvation. After all, even today there are many people in Third World countries who accept work for minimal pay under awful conditions in factories making running shoes, because they have no other alternative to starving on the streets, and we do not call them"slaves".

I would think that the Japanese armed forces were able to find more than enough poverty-stricken women in places like Korea and China who were willing to undertake sex work for minimal pay, so that they did not need to force anyone.

I recall reading about the experiences of European women interned by the Japanese in the Netherlands East Indies, who were offered the option of working as "entertainers" for Japanese officers. If they accepted, they lived in comfortable quarters and received good food, whereas if they refused they were relegated to the squalid conditions of the civilian internment camps.

Some of the women accepted, and some refused. But no pressure was placed on the women to accept.

The women who refused to become "entertainers" despised those who accepted, and resented the fact that the latter lived in relative luxury while the former were almost starving.

After the war, many of the women who became "entertainers", and thereby had a much better chance of survival, felt guilty about their privileged position and rationalised their experience to themselves and others by claiming that they had been coerced.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23231
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 21 Mar 2005 00:44

Michael -- (1) Sources for our readers, please.

(2) The opening post to the thread says:
Today is December 7 so let's not forget what the Japanese did to a lot of Women beginning with the Nanking rape. Between December 1937 and March 1938 before World War II at least 369 366 Chinese civilians and POW were slaughtered by the invading troops. An estimated 80 000 women and girls were raped, many of them were then mutilated or murdered!

Beginning in 1931 or 1932 and continuing throughout the duration of the Asian/Pacific wars, the Japanese Government instituted a system of sexual slavery throughout the territories it occupied. During that time, women were recruited by force, coercion, or deception into sexual slavery for the Japanese military. These women were euphemistically referred to as "comfort women" by the Japanese Imperial Army. Although historians often disagree about the number of "comfort women," the most widely used figure is estimated at 200 000.

By the end of World War II, the use of "comfort women" was a widespread and regular phenomenon throughout Japan-controlled East Asia. The women held in sexual slavery were raped repeatedly. By some accounts by 30 or 40 men each day, day after day!


(3) You said:
I still think that the concept of "sex slave" is a highly tendentious one, and not usefu in historical analysis.

It could only be accurately applied to a woman who was forced into prostitution against her will, eg by physical capture, or by threats of violence etc.

Please show why the term "sex slave" is inapplicable or limited in this discussion.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8818
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 21 Mar 2005 01:09

I have already explained why it is inapplicable.

As I wrote, it is only applicable if the women concerned were forced to perform sex-work. If the women volunteered, they were not "sex slaves".

The presumption must be that the women volunteered for this work, and that applies even if they were impelled by a desire to escape poverty.

It is for those who use the term "sex slave" to prove conclusively that the women concerned did not volunteer but were forced against their will.

I hate to shatter anyone's illusions, but the vast majority of women who perform sex-work do so voluntarily because it is a good way of making money, and pays much better than any other job they could get given their circumstances.

I am sure that a lot of peasant women volunteered for sex-work for the Japanese armed forces because it was much lighter and easier, less physically demanding than slaving for long hours in the rice paddies. Most Asian peasant societies do not have the same sort of hang-ups about sex-work as the Christian West.

I would point out that my remarks concerned only the "ianfu", the "comfort women" who performed sex-work in return for payment. They do not apply to women who may have been sexually assaulted by members of the Japanese armed forces under a variety of circumstances, ie women who were not sex-workers and had not consented to provide a sexual service.

I would doubt that the young men in the Japanese armed forces showed any greater tendency to commit sexual assaults than the young men in the armed forces of any other country. Indeed, the provision of an outlet for the male sexual appetite through the "ianfu" may well have reduced the incidence of sexual assault on unwilling women.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23231
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 21 Mar 2005 01:47

Michael -- Thanks for the speculations, but we're looking for sourced facts. If you don't have any sourced facts to back up your contentions, just say so and we can move on.

User avatar
WalterS
Member
Posts: 1497
Joined: 22 Feb 2004 20:54
Location: Arlington, TX

Post by WalterS » 21 Mar 2005 02:28

You're expecting quite a lot there, David. Don't hold your breath.

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8818
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 21 Mar 2005 23:34

Mr Thompson,

I note that you have not asked other posters to provide any objective proof for their claims that "ianfu" were compelled against their will to become sex-workers, or for their more lurid claims that "ianfu" were compelled to provide sexual services for up to 40 men per day.

The thrust of my posts has been to question the claim that "ianfu" were "sex-slaves" forced into sex-work against their will, and to suggest that it is more likely that they volunteered for the work, seeking thereby to escape a life of drudgery in the paddy-fields.

As I wrote, it is for those who make the lurid claims to provide evidence for them, apart from the unsubstantiated statements of persons seeking compensation.

The film "Paradise Road", which is a factual account of European women in Japanese captivity in Sumatra, shows that those women were given the choice of becoming "ianfu" for officers, and no force was used against those who declined the offer.

If you will confirm that you will accept without question any allegation made against Japanese and other Axis forces, no matter how lurid, but will stamp on any attempt to question those allegations, then we can move on.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23231
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 22 Mar 2005 00:50

Mr. Mills -- You said:
If you will confirm that you will accept without question any allegation made against Japanese and other Axis forces, no matter how lurid, but will stamp on any attempt to question those allegations, then we can move on.

I see a long wait in your future, Mr. Mills. You can read my general request for sources posted 5 hours after the start of this thread at viewtopic.php?p=338712#338712 (read the dates and time of posting) and you can view your "second" to my request for sources posted about 2 1/2 hours later, at: viewtopic.php?p=338763#338763

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8818
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 22 Mar 2005 03:10

I have nothing to add to what I wrote here:

viewtopic.php?p=338763#338763

It states my position accurately, ie I am talking about sex-workers, not women who were sexually assaulted and forced into sexual acts without consent.

If anyone has any evidence showing that the bulk of the "comfort women" were forced into sexual servitude by violence or threats of violence, and were not women who volunteered for sex-work for whatever reason, then I would be glad to see it.

But it would have to be real evidence, ie not just a claim by persons seeking compensation.

Since the "comfort women" were an official institution run by the Japanese armed forces, there must be some surviving documentation showing how the women were recruited, how they were housed, whether they were paid, what rations they received etc.

So far as I can see, up to now the presumption has been made that the sex-work performed by the "comfort women" was by its very nature sexual slavery, regardless of the question of consent. It has also been confused with sexual assaults carried out by Japanese servicemen on unwilling women. My argument has always been against that presumption, and against that confusion.

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”