Japan's Crimes Against Women

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Benoit Douville
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Japan's Crimes Against Women

Post by Benoit Douville » 07 Dec 2003 22:47

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!

To this day the Japanese government has refused to apologize for these and other World War II atrocities, and a significant sector of Japanese society denies that they took place at all! Astonishing!

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Post by White Phosphorus » 07 Dec 2003 23:30

I don't see why Japanese rapes are such a big issue. If Nanking serves as an example, they killed far more people then they raped. Why isn't anybody crying about the Chinese holocaust, and instead focuses on trivial feminist idiocy.

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Post by David Thompson » 08 Dec 2003 00:34

White Phosphorus -- You said:
I don't see why Japanese rapes are such a big issue. If Nanking serves as an example, they killed far more people then they raped. Why isn't anybody crying about the Chinese holocaust, and instead focuses on trivial feminist idiocy.


Personal insults and group slurs, such as those contained in the last sentence of your post, are not permitted here. Avoid them.

In addition, there is nothing trivial, "feminist" or idiotic about mass rapes and slavery as war crimes. Such crimes have frequently been discussed here, and no one has ever gone so far as to suggest that the posters, and readers who found the subject of concern, were idiots or feminists.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 08 Dec 2003 00:48

The term "sexual slavery" is highly emotive, and may be misleading.

What needs to be considered is whether the women concerned were paid for their services, and the conditions under which they were recruited.

One example is the experience of European civilian women in areas occupied by Japanese forces, eg Dutch women in Indonesia. As enemy civilians, they were interned in camps where conditions rapidly became very bad owing to lack of food and medicines, combined with the tropical climate conducive to disease.

According to the accounts of many women, they were invited to become"hostesses" in officers' canteens, where they would "entertain" the Japanese officers. If they accepted the offer, they would live in comfortable conditions and receive good food; if they did not, they would remain in the internment camps and suffer the bad conditions there. However, they were given a choice; they were not forced to become "comfort women".

According to survivor accounts, many European women did take up the offer, which allowed them to survive the Japanese occupation in some comfort. On the other hand, many women rejected the offer and chose to endure the conditions in the internment camps, taking the risk that they might well not survive. After the war, the women who had chosen to become "hostesses" were despised by those had chosen not to and had suffered for it; I believe that some of the women who had become "hostesses" claimed to have been forced and raped because they could not face the shame of what they had done.

I suspect that the whole story of the Asian "comfort women" is similar to that of the European internees. They probably volunteered to be "comfort women" in order to escape a life of grinding poverty in Korea or Taiwan, and then, after the war, invented stories of having been forced into it in order to escape the contempt they were held in by their own communities (and perhaps also to screw a bit of money out of the Japanese Government).

By the way, Benoit Douville's figure of 369,366 victims of the Nanjing Massacre is a lot higher than the usual figure claimed by Chinese propagandists, which is in the order of 250,000. So it appears that there is a little inflation going on here.

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Benoit Douville
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Post by Benoit Douville » 08 Dec 2003 01:03

Michael Mills,

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

Regards

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 08 Dec 2003 01:43

According to the accounts of many women, they were invited to become"hostesses" in officers' canteens, where they would "entertain" the Japanese officers. If they accepted the offer, they would live in comfortable conditions and receive good food; if they did not, they would remain in the internment camps and suffer the bad conditions there. However, they were given a choice; they were not forced to become "comfort women".



Yea Micheal, "be a prositute" or "starve and very possibly died of disease in a lovely Japanese prison camp", sounds like a fair choice.

What needs to be considered is whether the women concerned were paid for their services, and the conditions under which they were recruited.



Considering how Chinese and Filipino girls are recruited and treated and paid TODAY by the Japanese Yakuza and Chinese Triad Mafias in Whorehouses for male Japanese tourists that dot the Pacific. I can guess :roll: that they were much better treated by the highly Xenophobic Murderous Japanese Imperial Army.

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Post by White Phosphorus » 08 Dec 2003 02:00

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.

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Post by michael mills » 08 Dec 2003 03:21

ChristopherPerrien wrote:

Yea Micheal, "be a prositute" or "starve and very possibly died of disease in a lovely Japanese prison camp", sounds like a fair choice.



Nevertheless, it was a choice. Having the option of choosing to be a prostitute was better than having no alternative to starving in a Japanese prison camp.

Of course, it was not as good as not being in the Japanese prison camp in the first place.

And for many women in the world today becoming a prostitute does provide an escape from a life of grinding poverty scratching a bare existence from the fields.

The basic point is whether being a "comfort woman" was the worst possible fate suffered by all those women, or whether it was the best option for them among all the options available (and leaving out all the options that were not available, such as going to the United States and marrying a millionaire). If the choice was between becoming a "comfort woman" and staying in the paddy fields, who is to say that providing sexual services to Japanese soldiers was the worse option?

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Post by David Thompson » 08 Dec 2003 03:49

(1) Let's start seeing some references to sources here.

(2) This thread started out with a discussion of criminal acts of mass rape and slavery, not with a volitional proposition like:
If the choice was between becoming a "comfort woman" and staying in the paddy fields, who is to say that providing sexual services to Japanese soldiers was the worse option?
My readings on the subject of the history of WWII in the Pacific certainly never suggested that the rapes and rape-murders of the women of Nanking by lawless and licentious Japanese troops resulted from the conscious choice of poor women, living in underdeveloped rural areas, to better their condition by becoming prostitutes.

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Post by michael mills » 08 Dec 2003 06:24

David Thompson wrote:

My readings on the subject of the history of WWII in the Pacific certainly never suggested that the rapes and rape-murders of the women of Nanking by lawless and licentious Japanese troops resulted from the conscious choice of poor women, living in underdeveloped rural areas, to better their condition by becoming prostitutes.


I was referring to the so-called "comfort women", ie sex-workers attached to the Japanese armies, and not to women who were raped or raped and murdered by Japanese soldiers during military operations such as attacks on cities with their accompanying atrocities.

The question I was addressing is whether the "comfort women" were sexual slaves, ie persons kept as prisoners and forced to provide sexual services without payment, or whether they were women who volunteered to be sex workers for payment.

I gave the example of the European women internees, many of whom volunteered to act as "hostesses" for Japanese officers in return for better food and conditions of life. In their case they had a choice, and were not compelled by violence.

I would second David Thompson's call for sources. I was drawing on interviews and other memoirs by European women who had been interned by the Japanese, which refer to the fact that many of the women did take up the offer of working as "hostesses", and thereby aroused the resentment of those who did not, and were condemned to go on suffering the horrendous conditions in the internment camps.

As for the claim that the "comfort women" were forced into sexual slavery, I have never seen any sources other than the claims for compensation by the women themselves, which are usually organised by groups with a particular political agenda, and therefore may be suspected of presenting a biassed version of events. I have never seen any documentary evidence that compulsion was involved, and that those women were not persons who volunteered to act as sex-workers in exchange for payment.

Given the huge numbers of Asian women who today voluntarily come to the West to work in the sex industry and thereby earn far more money than they could at home, I cannot imagine that back in the 1930s and 40s the Japanese military authorities would have had to use compulsion to acquire "comfort women" for their troops.

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 08 Dec 2003 07:59

I quit, the login monster got me. 45 minutes wasted. :x

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Post by Peter H » 08 Dec 2003 11:28

A 377,000 or so death toll figure for Nanking 1937 comes from the work of the Chinese historian Sun Zhaiwei,The Nanking Massacre and the Nanking Population,1990.

Sun first compiled burial figures from the Nanking city archives containing burial records submitted by local charitable organisations,private families,and the Chinese 'puppet' government set up under the Japanese(the Nanjing zizhi weiyuanhui).He found that charitable organisations buried around 185,000 bodies,private individuals at least 35,000,and the Japanese controlled local government 7,000.

He then added the bodies burned,dumped into the Nanking River,or put in mass graves by the Japanese army---around another 150,000.The basis for this figure was a 1954 forty-four page report by a Major Ohta Hisao,still in Chinese captivity at that time as a war criminal.Ohta's book-kepping showed that his own unit dumped 19,000 bodies into the Nanking River over a 3 day period starting on the 15 December 1937,while a neighbouring unit disposed of 81,000 through burning,dumping etc in the Hsiakwan waterfront district of Nanking.Remaining units got rid of another 50,000 corpses.Ohta's role was to compile the final tally for army records.

Sun's research thus relies heavily on the confession of Ohta.Whether this can be considered historically legimate is another story.

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Post by John W » 08 Dec 2003 19:10

ChristopherPerrien wrote:I quit, the login monster got me. 45 minutes wasted. :x
Chris: I use a rather simple technique to avoid this. Right before I click "Submit", I select all the text in my post and hit "Ctrl + C" (and you have a choice of keeping notepad open and pasting into that or just leaving it in clipboard). If something happens, I simply go back to reply box and hit "Ctrl + V". :)

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Post by michael mills » 09 Dec 2003 05:21

Moulded wrote:

A 377,000 or so death toll figure for Nanking 1937 comes from the work of the Chinese historian Sun Zhaiwei,The Nanking Massacre and the Nanking Population,1990.

Sun first compiled burial figures from the Nanking city archives containing burial records submitted by local charitable organisations,private families,and the Chinese 'puppet' government set up under the Japanese(the Nanjing zizhi weiyuanhui).He found that charitable organisations buried around 185,000 bodies,private individuals at least 35,000,and the Japanese controlled local government 7,000.


Last year I read a Japanese critique of Chinese burial figures (sorry I cannot recall the title of the book immediately, but it is in the National Library of Australia, and if I get a chance I will try to do a search for it).

The critique addressed the 185,000 bodies claimed to have been buried by so-called local charitable organisations, actually gangster groups, of which one was the Red Swastika Society.

That figure actually does exist in a Japanese document, which lists the various triad groups contracted to bury the bodies of the victims of the Nanjing massacre, the numbers of bodies which each triad group claimed to have buried, and the total number of burials.

The critique made the salient point that the triad groups contracted to bury the bodies were paid a fixed fee per body buried. The payment was made on the basis of a claim for payment with a tally of bodies buried. Accordingly, each triad group had a clear financial incentive to exaggerate the number of bodies buried, confident in the knowledge that a Japanese army just hanging on by the skin of its teeth would not want to antagonise the powerful triads and would accept the claims for payment submitted.

The Japanese critique is supported by the huge discrepancy between the vast numbers of burials claimed by the triad groups and those carried out by the local Chinese Government allied to Japan (the Wang Qingwei Government), and also with the number of private burials.

The "confession" of Major Oota can be discounted, simply because the Japanese Army did not dispose of bodies itself, it hired the triads to do that dirty job. Most probably Oota's figures are based on the tallies put in by the various contracted triad groups, since there is a similarity in magnitude (150,000 versus 185,000); we can imagine that in his "confession" Oota reproduced the figures contained in the document I referred to above, ie the consolidated list of burials submitted by the triads, but that his Chinese interrogators did not like the idea that Chinese had been paid to do the burying, and therefore "persuaded" Oota to change the context to one of individual Japanese units doing the burying themselves.

In short, Sun Zhaiwei's total is apparently based on double counting, with the burials by the triads (without a doubt themselves grossly inflated) being counted twice, first as burials by "charitable organisations" and second as almost the same number of burials by the Japanese Army itself.

It is undeniable that there was a large massacre, which claimed the lives of scores of thousands of Chinese, in particular of many tens of thousands of captured Guomindang soldiers and policemen. But figures that are multiples of 100,000 are certainly exaggerated.
Last edited by michael mills on 09 Dec 2003 05:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by michael mills » 09 Dec 2003 05:28

Further to my previous message, I have done a search of the NLA catalogue, and I think this is the book in which I found the critique of the burial figures:

"Nanking : Anatomy of an Atrocity" by Masahiro Yamamoto.

I would have to go back and check the book again to be absolutely sure, but I am confident that my memory of the critique is essentially correct. It was written as a rejoinder to Iris Chang's book on the Nanjing massacre.

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