Archive for Monday, March 5, 2007

Japanese denial of WWII military brothels shocks former professor

March 5, 2007

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Even after 62 years, Grant Goodman, a retired Kansas University history professor, still is involved in a World War II-era Japanese dispute.

On Friday, nationalist Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied that the Japanese Imperialist Army ever owned and operated military brothels, or "comfort stations," during World War II and questioned the nation's public apology made 14 years ago for its involvement in sex slavery.

Goodman, 82, who uncovered documentation that proved the brothels indeed existed, was shocked.

"I was disbelieving," he said about Abe's statement. "I thought this is cuckoo, why now? This issue has been buried for years."

The retiree sat in his Brandon Woods Retirement Community home, adorned with Japanese decor, and shared an account of a visit in August of 1993 with a former Japanese consul general in Kansas City, Mo.

"He told me thanks to my documents, the Japanese government had been forced to admit that they were responsible for the comfort women," he said.

The meeting was a memorable moment, Goodman said, and the consul appeared grateful, but he said the apology was likely done out of political and economic interests.

Wartime intelligence

Goodman discovered the documents when he was serving as a second lieutenant for the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Service during World War II. He gathered intelligence about the morale of Japanese armed forces, interrogated captured Japanese prisoners of war and translated Japanese documents for the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section at Gen. Douglas MacArthur's headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

Goodman was 20 when he was translating documents about Japanese armed forces amenities. Some of those amenities included opportunities for leave, geishas and brothels. He translated a 12-page document outlining the direct involvement of the Japanese military in the organization and utilization of brothels. He said it caught his attention, and he knew that U.S. military intelligence had known Japanese military brothels had existed since 1937, but he didn't know what to do with the information at the time.

He kept a copy of the documents and mailed them home to his parents. He didn't touch them again until 1992.

It was in that year that Goodman noticed a news account about Professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki, of Chuo University in Tokyo, who had found similar documents in the Japanese Defense Agency archives. Soon afterward, Japan's prime minister offered a public apology for the government's role in the matter of "comfort women."

After the apology, Goodman was reminded of the research report he possessed. He released his copy of the documents to a Japanese journalist in order to prove the government's role in the brothels.

Grant Goodman, retired Kansas University history professor, has done research and written about the Japanese government&squot;s involvement in the establishment of brothels of "comfort women" for the Japanese military. The Japanese prime minister on Friday denied any official involvement.

Grant Goodman, retired Kansas University history professor, has done research and written about the Japanese government's involvement in the establishment of brothels of "comfort women" for the Japanese military. The Japanese prime minister on Friday denied any official involvement.

Taking responsibility

Goodman said he doesn't understand why the current prime minister would contradict the evidence, and why now.

"He must think he's going to gain some internal political mileage," he said. "Otherwise, I really don't get it."

Takao Shibata, a Japanese lecturer at Kansas University and former Japanese general consul in Kansas City, Mo., said the prime minister should not have made the comment.

Shibata said Abe was referring to technicalities of historical evidence when he stated the military wasn't coercive in mobilizing the women because the military was authorizing private companies.

"The fact is there is no evidence to prove there is coercion, that's what he's saying," Shibata said. "We should take the responsibility; we apologized in 1993 and that is the sentiment of the Japanese people, and the prime minister should have expressed that." Instead, the nation appears to be avoiding the responsibility of the historical deplorable act, Shibata said.

Goodman said it's going to be an unpleasant issue among Japan, Korea and China because so many Koreans and Chinese were enslaved. According to editors of the book "Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II," to which Goodman contributed a chapter, 200,000 Asian women were enslaved during the war.

Goodman said he has documentary films of Korean women who were sex slaves.

"I break up every time I see it," he said. "It's terrible how they were treated.

"It's an unfortunate phenomenon all the way around."



Japanese prime minister refuses to apologize again

Tokyo (The Associated Press) -

Japan will not apologize again for its World War II military brothels, even if the U.S. Congress passes a resolution demanding it to do so, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament today.

Abe, elaborating on his denial last week that women from across Asia were forced to serve as frontline prostitutes, said none of the testimony in hearings last month in the U.S. House of Representatives offered any solid proof of abuse.

"I must say we will not apologize even if there's a resolution," Abe told lawmakers in a lengthy debate, during which he also said he stood by Japan's landmark 1993 apology on the brothels.

- Erin Castaneda is a journalism student at Kansas University.

Comments

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

Shardwurm: Actually, you're quite wrong. The idea that the Japanese have not owned up to quite a lot of their involvement in WWII is pretty much false. And there is a high likelihood that tales of the atrocities were ramped up quite a lot in the telling. There have been multiple seperate apologies for actions done during the war, and the idea that the children are not being taught about the war is based on a small number of textbooks that, though probably present an incomplete and biased picture, account for only like 1-2% of all textbooks used in Japanese classrooms.

Of course, I may be missing something. What's your source?

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

I should also note that I think Abe's quote is rediculous, and quite out of place.

Shardwurm 8 years, 5 months ago

Doesn't come as a shock to me at all.

The Japanese don't teach their children the truth about their involvement in WW II.

I'm guessing almost no one there below the age of 30 knows about the 'Rape of Nanking'.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"I wonder why the rest of the world thinks we're all a bunch of arrogant people meddling with EVERYONE else's affairs..."

I think "meddling" is a pretty weak description of what "we" do.

avoice 8 years, 5 months ago

If our (U.S.) slate is clean, throw those stones.

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

Told them what, Marion? Do everything we say for perpetuity or die? What are you babbling about?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"Besides, we TOLD the Japanese TWICE!"

The A-bombs dropped on Japan were a message to the Soviets, not the Japanese, who had been thoroughly defeated and were ready to surrender by that time.

LawrenceRes 8 years, 5 months ago

True, the bombs were a warning to the Soviets but the Japanese HAD NOT been thoroughly defeated and were definitely not ready to surrender. In their culture it is more honorable to die fighting than surrender. The A-bombs were used in order to avoid prolonging the war by years and loosing hundreds of thousands more American lives. It was a tough decision, but the right one.

I suggest that those who don't know much about Japanese history seriously follow the suggestions of some of the other bloggers and read up on Nanking and the atrocities Japan committed during WWII and the years leading up to it. And yes, they deny it all. In fact, they don't even print it in their history books, and they do not teach it in their schools.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

unit 731.

if you don't know, look it up.

northern chinese are still sickened because of this evil operation by the japanese.

many chinese still ask today, why we only stopped with just two atomic bombs.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow. I had not known about Nanking. It's easier now to understand how the Japanese could be in an Axis with the Nazis... they seemed to operated with the same lack of morals.

Thanks for the links, Marion.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"True, the bombs were a warning to the Soviets but the Japanese HAD NOT been thoroughly defeated and were definitely not ready to surrender. In their culture it is more honorable to die fighting than surrender. The A-bombs were used in order to avoid prolonging the war by years and loosing hundreds of thousands more American lives. It was a tough decision, but the right one."

That's the myth, but the reality is that the Japanese were, in fact, totally defeated by that time, and had been attempting to negotiate a surrender.

sourpuss 8 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the Japanese-bashing. That was fun. Can we pick on the Italians now? Please please please?

Those in glass houses.... . . . . . . . .

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

Yes, I've read all of that. What's your point? Atrocities were committed, it was a long time ago, Japan has apologized on multiple occasions, etc. If the point is that they are still guilty for past offenses, then I'm going to stand by my claim that I still see very little difference between the Japan-China wars and our own extermination of the existing indian population, just a little over a century ago. Are you going to dispute that.

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

there should have been a question mark at the end of that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=1297

"I think the use of the atomic bomb is an issue that still bothers the American conscience," Hasegawa said. "This book is going to give an unsettling feeling to the Americans who firmly believe that the bombs were justified, since they directly resulted in Japan's surrender. But if you look at the decision-making process in Japan, neither the Hiroshima bomb nor the Nagasaki bomb really played a decisive role."

Hasegawa said the Americans misunderstood the Japanese value system. "The American assumption was that if you dropped the bomb on Japan, Japanese leaders would immediately surrender because that's what American leaders would do in that situation," Hasegawa said. "But not everyone has the same value system. However sad or tragic, Japanese leaders were more concerned with maintenance of the Japanese emperor system than with the lives of ordinary citizens."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"The use of the atomic bomb doesn't bother me in the least."

You didn't need to tell us that, Marion. We are all well acquanted with your worship of violence and mass murder.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

Regardless of how valid your eight points are, Agnosick, the important point is that the Japanese were attempting to negotiate peace when the bombs were dropped, and the major sticking point was whether or not the emporer system would be left intact, or whether the Emporer would be arrested and tried for war crimes.

And we all know that after the bombs were dropped, and the terms of surrender were completed, the Emporer was left as head of the Japanese state. So the bombs really played no part in the surrender.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"Evidently the likely loss of 500,000 to ONE MILLION AMERICAN lives in the invasion of Japn doesn't bother YOU, BOZO"

You're the one who isn't bothered by the more than 500,000 CIVILIANS that really were killed or injured in the dropping of the A-bombs.

An, no, I'm not bothered by the unsupported hypothetical of lost American lives in an invasion that didn't happen, and apparently wouldn't have happened even if the bombs hadn't been dropped.

LawrenceRes 8 years, 5 months ago

Casualties at Hiroshima were estimated to be as high as 140,000 and 74,000 for Nagasaki. Funny that is still less than the death toll that China suffered when Japan invaded Nanking, raped, tortured, beheaded, executed, and boiled babies for entertainment.

I do not believe that anyone on here has implied that a decision like dropping the A-bombs is an easy one to make, however if Japan was thinking of surrendering before we dropped any bombs, then why did it take two to actually get them to surrender?

And I am infinetly thankful that because of the decions made in 1945 that the additional loss of American lives remained hypothetical and did not become a reality. My Grandfather fought in New Guinea and my great uncle was shot out of a Church steeple by a German sniper. Our first obligation was to American lives.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"The way of the world is force. You may not like that. You may choose not to believe it. But it is true. The world is ruled by force."

Gosh, I guess I can just go ahead and beat up my obnoxious next door neighbor.

Thanks for that load of infinite wisdom, obamillary.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

You can list all the horrors committed by the Japanese you want, and they are all mostly accurate, but that doesn't change the fact that the bombs dropped on Japan were the start of the cold war with the Soviet Union, not the end of WWII.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

I know your precious ideology is all you have, obamillary, but if you care to read something that deals with the facts of history, and not pure ideological ranting, read this--

http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=1297

countrygirl 8 years, 5 months ago

Silly me thought the cold war got off the ground as the US and the Soviets were dividing up Berlin. Before the bombs were dropped.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"People he brought with him where HUGE communist agents and spies. That is a proven fact. Try to deny that."

How could I ever deny such a well-proven assertion?

Oh, that's right, it was merely an assertion, and no proof.

lefthanded 8 years, 5 months ago

The loss of American life during the invasion of the Japanese main islands was esimated to be as high as 0.5-1.0 million. Dropping the atomic bombs was salvation for these US soldiers. Today, the US is still using Purple Hearts manufactured for this event. There were various goals for dropping the bomb, especially as the Soviet Union had declared war on Japan and was massing troops for an invasion of their own. There ought to be no joy in dropping the atomic bombs on Japan but rather thankfulness at a very basic level that it was them instead of us. Virtually all the major players in WWII were trying to develop an atomic bomb. BTW, it was the US and British that the Japanese sought out early last century when they wanted to modernize their armed forces. That scenario seems to happen to the United States over and over, doesn't it. So much for learning from history.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 5 months ago

In August of 1945, my father was somewhere west of Hawaii bound for Japan (he was serving on a destroyer escort). His ship plus five other destroyer escorts had spent the summer in the Caribbean taking gunnery practice one-half mile off the shore of Puerto Rico. Everyone onboard knew that they were practicing for the invasion of Japan, and according to him, they all had resigned themselves to death. Two atomic bombs were dropped, and he and his shipmates were allowed to return to their families. I certainly doubt that I am the only person in Lawrence who is a descendent of a serviceman whose life was spared by the dropping of the atomic bombs. I may be selfish, but I think the decision to drop the bombs was the correct decision.

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

"Posted by bearded_gnome (anonymous) on March 5, 2007 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

unit 731.

if you don't know, look it up.

northern chinese are still sickened because of this evil operation by the japanese."

Or it gets cynically brought up and manipulated by the Chinese government to invoke nationalism in the face of a controlling govt., to shift the balance of power in the region away from japan towards china, and to deny Japan a spot on the UN Security council, which it clearly deserves by normal standards.

Take your pick.

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

Hipper-than-hip: I could answer back to that with MY great-aunt (thru marriage), who was a citizen of Japan, not a member of the military, during the bomb drops, and who, like many of the citizenry, died painfully in her 40's of cancer caused by radiation sickness.

Or, perhaps, our personal ties to the situations do not, in any way, determine the correctness or incorrectness of the actions taken.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 5 months ago

It's nice to know that dehumanizing the enemy, in this case the Japanese, is still alive and well in 2007.

Seems there are a lot of former U.S. servicemen and their families who don't know yet that the war is over...

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

Man, just burst my balloon man! I thought I was on the verge of a mass-poster-epiphone here. Some progress was going to be made! Now I just can't see why I'd bother. . . .

jonas 8 years, 5 months ago

apparently, I have a balloon man.

commas, they be a good thing.

errr. . . colons: they be a good thing, too.

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