Occidentalism
Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

More contradictory comfort woman testimony

March 6th, 2007 . by Matt

Lee Yong-Soo
Self described former comfort woman Lee Yong-Soo with Japanese supporters

Previously I introduced the contradictory testimony of Lee Yong-Soo, who appeared before a Congressional committee considering House Resolution 121, a resolution demanding that Japan unconditionally apologise to all of the 200,000 women it is claimed were kidnapped by the Japanese army or their agents.

Apparently Lee Yong-Soo has given other, different testimonies as well.

Here is some testimony by Lee Yong-Soo from an organisation called Unerasable Memory: Making reality a formal apology and compensation by the Japanese government for the female comfort women victims of the Japanese army! , that held a national meeting in Japan in 2004, there is another, different testimony from Lee Yong-Soo. Here are the relevant quotes –

1928年韓国の大邱(テグ)生まれ。1944年、16歳の時に「軍服みたいな服を着た男」に連行され、台湾へ。

その後、連れて行かれた先の台湾で、日本軍「慰安婦」としての生活を3年間強制された。

In 1928 I was born in Daegu, Korea. In 1944, at 16 years old I was forcibly taken away by a man wearing a something like a military uniform to Taiwan.

After that, in Taiwan, the place I was sent I was forced to work for 3 years as a comfort woman for the Japanese army.

The war ended in 1945. How could she work for 3 years? Furthermore, during the war virtually all men wore a military style uniform.

Here is another testimony from the site of the Japanese Communist Party. The Japanese Communist Party supports the comfort women.

韓国の李容洙さん(74)は、十四歳で銃剣をつき付けられて連れてこられたこと、拒むと殴られ、電気による拷問を受けて死にかけたことなどを話し、「私は歴史の生き証人として今、生きている。

74 year old Korean, Lee Yong-Soo talked about how she was taken at gun point when she was 14 years old, and when she resisted, she was beaten and tortured through electrocution to near death. Lee Yong-Soo told us “I am a living as a living witness to history”.

I can now count four different stories, all from the same person. If she is a living witness to history, then which story are we supposed to believe? What does Mike Honda, the sponsor of Congressional House Resolution 121 condemning the current Japanese government for the comfort women controversy, think of this? I do not think he cares, since all we have seen at the Congressional hearings has been one sided arguments and verbal testimony, without any sincere historical investigation.

HT to James at JapanProbe, and Tonchamon.


20 Responses to “More contradictory comfort woman testimony”

  1. comment number 1 by: rentier

    韓国の李容洙さん(74)は、十四歳で銃剣をつき付けられて連れてこられたこと、拒むと殴られ、電気による拷問を受けて死にかけたことなどを話し、「私は歴史の生き証人として今、生きている。

    74 year old Korean, Lee Yong-Soo said talked about how she was taken at gun point, and when she resisted, she was beaten and tortured through electrocution to near death. Lee Yong-Soo told us “I am a living as a living witness to history”.

    I suppose “十四歳で” is missing in your translation.

  2. comment number 2 by: Matt

    I suppose “十四歳で” is missing in your translation.

    Sorry, it is so late here in Australia. I have corrected it.

  3. comment number 3 by: rentier

    good evening Matt san. I didn’t think you would respond so soon.

  4. comment number 4 by: jion999

    The ex-comfort women talked a lot about their story of tragedy during the war with tears.
    Whether it is correct or not?
    The best way is to ask them their jobs after independence,
    If they did not receive any money during the war as comfort women and could not return to their family because of shame, how did they survive after the war?

  5. comment number 5 by: Travolta

    Hi everyone,

    I have a question for those who might have looked into it better than I. In my understanding of the issue, the Japanese government and the Korean government normalized relations in 1965 and Japan paid reparations to the tune of 800 million dollars. In 1993, Japan apologized for the comfort women thing. Koizumi set up a private fund which offered compensation and an apology to the comfort women. It seems to me that the reason the current government doesn’t want to apologize is because Japan has already paid out a huge amount of money and apologizing again would open the government to a whole bunch of law suits etc.

    My question is why doesn’t the current government make this stance more clear? Every time Roh gets on his high horse about how evil Japan was and is, why doesn’t Abe say “Look pal, we said sorry a number of times, we paid huge amounts of money to Korea, we’re trying, we really are, give us a break!” (Obviously not quite so informally perhaps). Is there something I’m missing about the Japanese stance? Is there some reason the Japanese government doesn’t explicitly state their stance every time these issues come up? The vast majority of Koreans I have spoken to had no idea about the 1965 reparations and even after they learn of them they disregard them and still support the idea of getting more money out of the Japanese government.

    If Korea ever paid reparations to the victims of war in Vietnam (families of slain civilians at the hands of Korean soldiers for example) and then 40 years later people still had their hands out asking for more what would Koreans say about it?

  6. comment number 6 by: jion999

    Travolta

    Is there some reason the Japanese government doesn’t explicitly state their stance every time these issues come up?

    Japan was a one of the losers in WW2.
    That is the reason why.
    The point is, real winners, US and Britain do not ask a lot. But the countries who did not fight with Japan mainly (Chinese communists and Korea) are asking too much.
    It could happen in any world.
    Korean, who fought against American as Japanese, pretended that they were a winner after the war, and criticize Japanese most in the world.
    You must find such kind guys in your life.
    Sorry. I am talking about Korean ultra-nationalists only.

  7. comment number 7 by: nighthawk

    Travolta,
    It wasn’t exactly “reparations,” but you are right that the 1965 deal was supposed to eliminate the possibility of any future complications regardling individual damages. If there are Korean individuals whose sufferings need to be compensated, the bill is on the Korean government, for Japan paid the whole sum in advance to Korea. Of course, South Korean government hid the deal to its own citizens and used up the money for the miraculous economic development Koreans are so proud of.

    So, Koreans should be angry at their own government, but they’d rather blame Japan, arguing that the 1965 deal was unfair. Forget that South Korea at the time had Japanese civilian hostages. Everything was, is, and will be Japan’s fault.

    Yes, Japan has been telling them “That’s over in 1965” many times, but the Korean mentality of blaming everything on Japan is not based on a legal or logical thinking in the first place.

    Indeed, in Korea even an apology made by a Japanese easily becomes a reason for more hatred against Japan. The private fund for comfort women, for example, was quickly understood in Korea as an evasive trick contrived by evil Japanese who doesn’t want to admit their government’s responsibility.

    And now Kono speech, which diplomatically apologized about comfort women by admitting the government involvement with some ambiguities, is now used by Koreans as “evidence” of Japan admitting that its military spontaneously kidnapped and enslaved 200,000 innocent Korean women against their will. Of course Japanese politicians have to say that wasn’t the case. Now Koreans are mad because the Japanese are dishonest. “They apologized, but now they say they didn’t do it!”

    That’s the way people are taught to think in that country. They will eternally hate Japan no matter what the Japanese say or do.

  8. comment number 8 by: nighthawk

    Sorry, I too am talking about Korean ultra-nationalists only in the above post 🙂

  9. comment number 9 by: jion999

    nighthawk

    Sorry, I too am talking about Korean ultra-nationalists only in the above post

    笑ってしまいました。(笑)

  10. comment number 10 by: kjeff

    nighthawk,

    Forget that South Korea at the time had Japanese civilian hostages.

    I’m not really sure what you’re referring to.

    The private fund for comfort women, for example, was quickly understood in Korea as an evasive trick contrived by evil Japanese who doesn’t want to admit their government’s responsibility.

    Can you tell me why it was private in the first place?

    That’s the way people are taught to think in that country. They will eternally hate Japan no matter what the Japanese say or do.

    Please do not over-generalize… I think less than 6/10 Koreans view Japan negatively. I saw the link in the ‘ads for comfort women’ thread I think.

    Sorry, I too am talking about Korean ultra-nationalists only in the above post

    Can’t simply exchange them, no? It’s best to always keep that in mind.

    笑ってしまいました。(笑)

    jion999,
    I don’t know what this means, but if it’s similar to LOL(BabelFish translates it as “You laughed”), ‘hopeless’ comes to mind.

  11. comment number 11 by: Travolta

    The private fund for comfort women, for example, was quickly understood in Korea as an evasive trick contrived by evil Japanese who doesn’t want to admit their government’s responsibility.

    Can you tell me why it was private in the first place?

    kjeff, I imagine the fund was private because the government had already made apologies for everything during the war and had paid out an enormous amount of money to Korea and if the government set a precedent by paying more it would open the door for any number of law suits. That is what I gather the reason to be. I could very well be wrong and if I am I would like someone to point that out to me. I don’t think the government is refusing to pay directly to be mean, there must be political or legal reasons behind it. I also assume that many in the government and in Japan truly feel for the comfort women and set up the private fund so they could get compensation without the legal/political problems a direct government pay out might cause. I’m not really sure what an additional apology plus a government pay out would achieve other than making people look bad who really had nothing to do with the suffering if these women. I think the only reason someone would want to do this is because they think of Japan as a concept or some abstract entity and not a group of people. Even democratic governments can never truly represent what a country thinks so even if a payment is made it’s not as if the people of Japan would be saying sorry as a group, in fact it would much more likely be a small group sick of character assassination paying someone off.

    It would be like me going to someones house and asking their kids to apologize for something their grandfather did. The grandfather might be alive, though he is most likely not, but in any case it isn’t the kids who are obligated to apologize.

    My original question was that assuming my assumptions to be true, why doesn’t Abe come out and directly confirm them? Surely it would clear everything up about where Japan stands on the issue. No one can deny Japan paid Korea that huge amount of money, it isn’t Japan’s fault the Korean government used it for another (but probably ultimately more valuable) purpose.


  12. […] Occidentalism is challenging the claims of a former comfort woman by exposing 4 different and conflicting accounts she gave at different times about how she became a comfort woman. [Link] […]

  13. comment number 13 by: tomato

    Travolta,

    My original question was that assuming my assumptions to be true, why doesn’t Abe come out and directly confirm them? Surely it would clear everything up about where Japan stands on the issue. No one can deny Japan paid Korea that huge amount of money, it isn’t Japan’s fault the Korean government used it for another (but probably ultimately more valuable) purpose.

    I don’t think this would work- legally, I’d agree with you, but it’s not just that- this Japan-bashing has become one the central ceremonies in their strong nationalism- no matter how Japan explains herself, their belief that the Japanese people should be “punished” will not dissipate- my bet is that the Japanese government is aware of this and had chosen not to get involved in the issue- although since Japan is a democracy after all, the government can’t stop ministers, congressmen and the sort from muttering out how they feel about the issue- which Japanese leftists and Korean ultranationalists seem to be keen at picking up and subsequently resulted in disastrous diplomatic results.

  14. comment number 14 by: SuikaDorobo

    nighthawk,

    It wasn’t exactly “reparations,” but you are right that the 1965 deal was supposed to eliminate the possibility of any future complications regardling individual damages. If there are Korean individuals whose sufferings need to be compensated, the bill is on the Korean government, for Japan paid the whole sum in advance to Korea. Of course, South Korean government hid the deal to its own citizens and used up the money for the miraculous economic development Koreans are so proud of.

    Yes indeed. As you may remember, in Dec 2004–Jan 2005, when S.Korean government made public to their citizens some of the documents related to the renormalization talks held during the early 1960s, a great majority of S.Korean newspapers condemned Japanese government rather than their own one for the “unfairness” in the treaty, saying that compensations to former comfort women were not included in the “reparations”. I wonder who at all could have talked about the compensations for “Japan’s wartime sexual slavery” in those days, when even the former comfort women themselves knew nothing about it.

  15. comment number 15 by: hana

    Koreans forget or do not understand what they really got in 1965.
    They got not only $8 millons but also $53 millions of Japanese property of government and individuals.
    It was today’s 16 trillion Yen and it was 80%~90% of Korean property in 1965.
    If Japan followed International stnderd,Japan would get back $53millions,today’s 16trillion Yen.
    Koreans who blame Japan made unfair treaty do not understand what they got at the time they made.

  16. comment number 16 by: GarlicBreath

    I think Mike Hyundai should get on his knees and beg forgiveness. However the (honest) Abe administration needs to give china and her minion korea the finger.

  17. comment number 17 by: SuikaDorobo

    Matt,

    I guess you can read/write Korean, right? You may have heard of Dr. Chih Man-won, who was indicted as a “pro-Japanese traitor” for his comfort women-related article published on his website 2 years ago, in which he claimed that 80% of the former comfort women were prostitutes.

    Here’s the copy of my open questions to Dr. Chih, submitted shortly after his article was published.
    – Original Korean text: http://sdi-ko.blogspot.com/2006/01/blog-post_13.html
    – Japanese translation: http://subakdoduk.exblog.jp/1856206/
    Question 5 is related to another example of the contradictory testimony just like Lee Young-soo’s case you mentioned in this post. What I really intended to point out in the questions above was that Shim Mi-ja, one of those whom Dr. Chih calls “the true victims of coercion”, was actually not even a comfort women, contrary to her claim.

    I hope you read Dr. Chih’s original text in advance, since it seems to be a typical case showing how Koreans, including highly educated ones like Dr. Chih, come to believe the truthiness of what the “victims” tell about the issue. Hope it helps.

  18. comment number 18 by: Matt

    SuikaDorobo, I will check it out.

  19. comment number 19 by: Errol

    I’ve been sent an article for refereeing by a Professor Sol-jik Han of Seoul National University. He tried to get it published in the R.O.K. but was threatened with the usual beating by the chaemyeonistas.

    A Statistical Analysis of Comfort Women and GDP per capita by Sol-jik Han, Seoul National University March 7 2007.

    Abstract

    The occupation of Korea by Japan resulted in a major boost to Korea’s economy and a revolution in social class distinctions within Korean society. This paper examines the link between GDP per capita and usage of comfort women by Korean men over the period 1910 to 2006 with a projection to 2015.

    C = Percentage of Korean men using comfort women.

    D = Percentage of yangban in the Korean population.

    D1 = Percentage of pseudo-yangban in the Korean population.

    G = GDP per capita.

    t = Time

    C = 0.75*G*D(1910)

    In 1910 D (the percentage of yangban in Korean society) was only 5% and G (the GDP per capita) was very low resulting in C (Percentage of Korean men using comfort women) being 5%.

    Following the massive increase in GDP with Japan’s occupation, by 2006 D1 (the percentage of pseudo-yangban in Korean society) was 75% and G (the GDP per capita) had reached USD 15 000 resulting in C (Percentage of Korean men using comfort women) being 75%. See linked article.

    By 2015 when G is expected to reach USD 20 000 C should reach 100%. All Korean men will then be able to afford comfort women, Viagra (TM) and trips to Kiribati and Thailand.


  20. […] More contradictory comfort woman testimony […]