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Gil Won Ok

欧州議会で証言する嘘つきキル・ウォンオク(Gil Won-ok)
矛盾点: 年齢/家を出た状況
NYT: 15歳(1944年)/日本軍基地で並んでいたら、朝鮮人が近づいて工場の仕事を紹介した。
Amnesty.uk:13歳(1941年?)/日本兵が工場の中で仕事を紹介した。
Reuters: 13歳(1941-42年)/朝鮮人が近づいて工場の仕事を紹介した。
◆New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/08/world/asia/08japan.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2&oref=slogin
In Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea, Gil Won-ok said, she lined up
outside a Japanese military base to look for work in her early teens.
A Korean man, she said, approached her with the promise of factory work,
but she eventually found herself in a comfort station in northeast China...
“I’ve felt dead inside since I was 15,” said Ms. Gil, who was 16 when the war ended.
◆Amnesty.org.uk
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs_entry.asp?eid=749
Gil Won Ok spoke of her experience when as a 13 year old girl she was offered a job
by a Japanese soldier in a factory. Excited at the prospect of learning new skills,
she went with him, only to find when she got there that the factory was in fact a brothel.
◆Reuters
http://reuters.donga.com/bbs/zboard.php?id=inter&no=110&p_page=7&p_choice=&p_item=&code=
Won Ok Gil (pronounce Wouan Ok Kil) was born in 1928 in Heechun, a city now located
in North Korea. She was 13 years old when a Korean man approached her with the
promise of factory work and found herself in a comfort station in northeast China.

矛盾点: 家を出た年齢/家を出た状況/性病手術
Amnesty.uk:13歳/日本兵が工場の中で仕事を紹介した。/子宮を摘出。
Reuters: 13歳/朝鮮人に仕事を紹介された。/子宮を摘出。
NYT: ----/基地で並んでいたら朝鮮人に仕事を紹介された。/子宮を摘出され「15歳から死んだも同然だった」
FCWA: 1940年12歳と1942年/----/手術のせいで19歳で卵巣腫瘍になった。
◆Amnesty.org.uk
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs_entry.asp?eid=749
◆Reuters
http://reuters.donga.com/bbs/zboard.php?id=inter&no=110&p_page=7&p_choice=&p_item=&code=
◆New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/08/world/asia/08japan.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2&oref=slogin
◆FCWA
http://www.fcwa.org.au/WonOk.html

◆Amnesty.org.uk
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs_entry.asp?eid=749
Gil Won Ok spoke of her experience when as a 13 year old girl she was offered a job
by a Japanese soldier in a factory. Excited at the prospect of learning new skills,
she went with him, only to find when she got there that the factory was in fact a brothel.
Gil Won Okは彼女の経験を語った。13歳のとき、彼女は工場の中で日本兵に仕事を紹介された。
新しい技術を身につけられることに興奮して彼女は彼について行ったが、工場は実際には
売春宿だった。

◆Reuters
http://reuters.donga.com/bbs/zboard.php?id=inter&no=110&p_page=7&p_choice=&p_item=&code=
Won Ok Gil (pronounce Wouan Ok Kil) was born in 1928 in Heechun, a city now located
in North Korea. She was 13 years old when a Korean man approached her with the
promise of factory work and found herself in a comfort station in northeast China.
Won Ok Gilは1928年に今は北朝鮮の首都である平壌に生まれた。彼女が13歳のとき
朝鮮人の男が工場の仕事を紹介してやるからと近寄ってきてが、中国北東部の慰安所に
いることになった。

◆New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/08/world/asia/08japan.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2&oref=slogin
...Gil Won-ok said, she lined up outside a Japanese military base
to look for work in her early teens. A Korean man, she said, approached her
with the promise of factory work, but she eventually found herself in
a comfort station in northeast China. After she caught syphilis and developed tumors,
Ms. Gil said, a Japanese military doctor removed her uterus.
“I’ve felt dead inside since I was 15,” said Ms. Gil, who was 16 when the war ended.
キル・ウォンオクによると、…当時十代だった彼女は職を求めて日本軍の基地の外に並んでいた。
朝鮮人の男が工場の仕事を紹介してやるからと近寄ってきてが、結果的には中国北東部の慰安所に
送られることになった。梅毒を患って腫瘍ができた後、日本軍医は子宮を摘出した。
「15才にして、もう心は死んだも同然だった」とキル氏は言った。
彼女が16才のときに戦争が終結した。

◆FCWA(Friends of Comfort Women in Australia)(2007)
http://www.fcwa.org.au/WonOk.html
In 1940, at the age of 12, I was forcibly drafted to Harbin in Dongbei and put into
sexual slavery at a Japanese military base...1942, I was again forced to work as a
"Comfort Woman" in Shijiazhuang in China until Korea gained independence in 1945.
...As a result of the operation, I ended up having ovary tumor later when I was 19.
1940年、12歳のとき、私は強制的に東北のハルビンに連れて行かれ、日本軍基地で性奴隷に
されました。。。1942年、私は再び中国の石家荘で慰安婦にされました。朝鮮が独立する1945年
まで続きました。。。手術の結果、後に私は19歳のとき卵巣腫瘍になりました。


BEHIND THE COMFORT WOMEN CONTROVERSY

NISHIOKA Tsutomu
Professor, Tokyo Christian University
Deputy Chairman, National Council for
the Rescue of Japanese Abducted by North Korea

Fabricated confession

I first became involved with the comfort women controversy in 1991. Most of my recent
work concerns North Korea, particularly abductions of Japanese nationals. But my specialty
is Japan-Korea relations (the title of my master’s thesis is “How Postwar South Korean
Intellectuals Perceive Japan”). Between 1950 and 1980, I devoted a great deal of time and
effort to research exploring topics that have incited Koreans to criticize Japan over the years,
and the logic behind the criticism. Then, from 1982 to 1984, I was a specialist researcher
attached to the Foreign Ministry at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.
The research topic assigned to me by the Foreign Ministry was “South Koreans’ Perception
of Japan,” which was essentially an extension of my master’s thesis. It was then that I
encountered the first problem having to do with history — what I call the “first textbook
incident.”

This problem was contextually very similar to the comfort women problem, which reared its
head later. Anti-Japanese elements in Japan embarked on a mammoth campaign devoted to
publicizing a lie: they claimed that the Ministry of Education had ordered textbook screeners
to substitute “expansion” for “aggression” in accounts of modern Japan-China relations in
Japanese middle school history textbooks. Consequently, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kiichi
Miyazawa issued an apology to South Korea on behalf of the Japanese government. Then
another criterion was added to the list to be observed during the textbook-screening process:
“Textbooks ought to show understanding and seek international harmony in their treatment of
modern and contemporary historical events involving neighboring Asian countries.”
I am not a historian, but as a regional studies researcher, I’ve been observing situations like
this for quite some time. If I were asked what threw Japan-Korea relations off kilter, or how
the perception gap arose, or who caused it, I could tell you. My first book, which came out in
1992, was entitled The Mountain of Misconceptions Separating Japan and Korea.4 It deals
with the controversies over the comfort women and textbooks. Since then, I have been
following these controversies, and participating in the debate against the Japan-bashers over
the comfort women.

Now, to describe the course of events: in 1983, a book was published — one that greatly
distorted the Japanese and Korean perceptions of comfort women. Entitled My War Crimes:
Abduction of Koreans, it was written by Yoshida Seiji. In his foreword, Yoshida writes:
For about three years, from 1942 until Japan lost the war, I was head of a labor
mobilization group called Yamaguchi Prefecture National Labor Service Association.
My job was to procure Korean laborers. I was a loyal citizen, a self-sacrificing patriot
serving my country by going on “slave hunts.” (...) I hope Japanese born after the war
will read my book and learn that during one chapter of history, we enslaved Koreans.
By showing remorse for such behavior, we Japanese will have taken a step toward
becoming civilized human beings.

In 2007, a resolution demanding that the Japanese government “formally acknowledge,
apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its
Imperial Armed Force’s coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as
‘comfort women,’ during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands
from the 1930s through the duration of World War II”6 was submitted to the U.S. House of
Representatives, creating a huge uproar. The origins of this resolution, which has no basis in
fact, can be found in Yoshida’s fictional confession about “slave hunts.”
One of the main themes of my book involves tracing the path from Yoshida’s lies to the U.S.
House of Representatives. To that end, I must again quote from Yoshida’s book. This is a
lengthy citation, and not pleasant reading, but I ask readers’ forbearance.
I ordered an immediate roundup of the women in the village. Houses lined the road,
each one surrounded by a stone wall. My crew, armed with wooden swords and guns,
opened the doors, entered the houses, and began searching for women.
I climbed up on a wall and looked around. I saw 20 or 30 women gathered at a large
house in front of me. Young girls, along with older women, were sitting in rows in a
room with a wood floor and on the veranda, weaving rushes to make cylindrical
Korean hats. When I signaled, my crew and the soldiers rushed into the house.
The women began to scream, and I could hear the crew and soldiers yelling. Some
men emerged from a silent, nearby house, and ran down the street. There were about
a dozen of them. They gathered inside the wall around the house; I could tell they
were agitated. My crew emerged from the house, in pairs, each dragging a wailing
woman by the wrists to the road. They had captured eight young women. The other
men were yelling something in Korean.
The road was narrow, with stone walls on both sides. Our path was blocked in both
directions by more than 100 villagers. Among them were 20 or 30 half-naked robustlooking
men, who might have been fishermen. They didn’t seem to be afraid of us
Japanese, and began walking toward us, snarling and screaming.
Sgt. Tani ordered the soldiers to fasten their bayonets, but the villagers kept on
yelling. He ordered the soldiers to advance. My crew followed them, dragging the
eight girls, who were sobbing. Five or six strong Korean men came forward; they
stood in the road, blocking our way. They were waving their arms excited and
howling. Exasperated, one of the higher-ranking soldiers with a mustache raised his
sword, yelled and started running. The villagers screamed and retreated; the men
escaped inside the wall.
When we arrived at our truck parked in the road, the girls started screaming and
struggling. They were sturdy young women. As they squirmed, their tanned faces
stiffened, and you could see their white teeth as they twisted and turned, attempting to
escape from their captors. When they succeeded, crew members tried to grab them
from behind. The girls fell onto the grass in a heap. Their white Korean robes opened
up in front, exposing their breasts, and rode up at the bottom. They kicked out with
their sandaled feet; all in all, they gave the crew a hard time. The soldiers thought the
whole scene was very funny and entertaining. My crew finally subdued the girls,
grabbed their arms and pushed them into the back of the truck, which was covered
with canvas. The crew left right away.
After we had driven east on a main coastal road for about five or six kilometers, Sgt.
Tani ordered us to drive the truck into a thicket near a rocky hill. Then he said, “The
soldiers expect a reward for protecting the procurement crew. Let’s stop here for a
rest for 30 minutes and let them have some fun.”
The soldiers were delighted when they heard Sgt. Tani order a rest break. Once my
crew had gotten out of the truck, they jumped into the back. When the girls screamed,
the soldiers laughed. No sooner were they procured than the soldiers initiated them:
they were comfort women now.7
The comfort women portrayed by Yoshida would indeed have been sex slaves — if he was
telling the truth, that is. Later he writes that the procurement of comfort women was done in
accordance with an order from the Japanese Army instructing him to “mobilize a Korean
female volunteer corps.”
On May 15, 1943, a first lieutenant from Western District Army Headquarters arrived
at the Yamaguchi Prefectural Police Department’s Labor Administration office. The
officer delivered a labor mobilization order addressed to the Yamaguchi Labor
Service Association chairman (also governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture). The head of
the Labor Administration Section was also secretary of the Labor Service Association.
As head of the Shimonoseki Branch Mobilization Department, I was asked to be
present because I would be executing the mobilization order.
The lieutenant explained that the mobilization order was issued to National Labor
Service Association groups in prefectures in Japan’s Western District, and in each
province in the southern part of Korea. Two thousand workers were to be mobilized.
The order delivered to the Yamaguchi Prefectural National Labor Service Association
contained the following information.
1. Volunteer corps of 200 Korean women to serve as entertainers for the Imperial
Army
2. Age: 18-29 (married women acceptable; pregnant women not acceptable)
3. Healthy women (medical examination required, especially tests for venereal
diseases)
4. Duration: One year (renewal possible if desired)
5. Remuneration: \30 per month
6. Clothing allowance: \20 (to be paid in advance)
7. Place of assignment: central China
8. Recruiting areas: southwestern Korea and Cheju Island
9. Departure date: 12:00 noon, 30 May 1943
10. Meeting place: Western Army, Unit 74

The women’s Labor Service unit was renamed the Female Volunteer Corps. Students at
girls’ schools and local girls (members of girls’ youth groups) working in munitions
factories were called “Female Volunteer Corps,” but the female volunteer corps members
who provided entertainment to soldiers of the Imperial Army were actually comfort women.
(...)
The order to mobilize 200 Korean comfort women was reissued as a procurement work
order and handed to me by the head of the Labor Administration Section.8
After his book came out, in December 1983, Yoshida visited Korea, apologizing wherever he
went; he even had an expiatory tablet erected. But his efforts seemed to end there, and the
problem seemed to have gone away.
When I read the book, soon after it was issued, I was suspicious. The scenario Yoshida
describes didn’t seem credible. It didn’t jibe with what I had heard from older Koreans who
had experienced colonial times.
Japanese specialists in Korean history, the masochistic media (especially Asahi Shimbun) and
other Japan-haters swallowed Yoshida’s confession whole, without even bothering to check
the facts. Consequently, after the late 1980s, an increasing number of historical works and
dictionaries carried references to the coercion of comfort women. People born too late to
know about the colonial era began to believe them. Then, in 1989 or so, Socialist Party
members began bringing up the subject of comfort women in Diet sessions.
At about the same time in South Korea, feminist movements and the left-wing media
pounced on the myth about the coercion of comfort women. It was then that the Korean
Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan got its start.
As I will explain later, rumors that the female volunteer corps and the comfort women, which
bore no resemblance to each other, were one and the same were already becoming ingrained
in people’s minds. When Yoshida used the term “female volunteer corps” to refer to the
comfort women, the die was cast.

Former comfort women denounce Japan

In August 1991, about eight years after Yoshida’s book was published, Asahi Shimbun came
out with an article under a banner headline reading “Korean Former Comfort Woman Breaks
Silence After Half a Century.” It begins as follows:
During the Sino-Japanese War and World War II, Korean women were told they would be
joining Female Volunteer Corps, but were instead transported to battle zones and forced to
provide sex services to Japanese military personnel. It has come to light that one of these
so-called “comfort women” lives in Seoul. The Korean Council for Women Drafted for
Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Yun Chung-ok, co-chairwoman: umbrella organization
for 16 groups with a total membership of approximately 300,000). The Council interviewed
the woman, and on August 10, turned over a recording of the interview to an Asahi Shimbun
reporter. On the tape, the woman can be heard saying, “Even now, my skin crawls when I
think about those days.” Nearly 50 years after the war, she is finally able to talk about
experiences that she had kept hidden deep inside.9
In the article the woman was given a pseudonym, but she revealed her real name (Kim Haksun)
when the Japan-bashing continued at a press conference on August 14. At the end of the
year, Kim toured Japan, telling her story at every destination. She then sued the Japanese
government, demanding compensation.
Asahi Shimbun gave this woman and her story extensive coverage. Numerous articles about
comfort women appeared in other publications, laying the foundation for the still-unresolved
comfort women controversy, and a grass-roots campaign aimed at forcing the Japanese to
take responsibility in some way. Soon the campaign would evolve into a domestic consensus
and conviction that as a nation, Japan had committed an unforgivable crime.
Then an article by Chuo University Professor Yoshimi Yoshiaki, a historian, appeared on the
front page of the January 11, 1992 edition of the Asahi Shimbun. Yoshimi announced that he
had uncovered sources at a Defense Agency research institute stating that the Japanese
military was involved in the abduction of comfort women. His disclosure threw the
government into a panic, prompting Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Koichi to issue a statement
of apology. This was exactly the effect intended by Asahi Shimbun and the reason for its
intensive coverage of the issue.
As it later became clear, Yoshimi had been aware of the sources in question for quite some
time. However, Asahi Shimbun didn’t release the information until Kim Hak-sun had filed
her suit, the comfort women controversy had reached frenzy level, and Prime Minister
Miyazawa’s visit to South Korea was only a few days away.
Newspapers commonly attempt to inform the public by explaining a topic, concept or term
when it comes into the news for the first time. When Asahi Shimbun announced Prof.
Yoshimi’s “discovery,” it supplied the following explanation at the bottom of the front page:
In China in the 1930s, Japanese military personnel raped a great many women. To hold
anti-Japanese sentiment at bay and prevent the spread of venereal diseases, brothels were
established. According to former soldiers and army doctors, 80% of the women who
worked in the first brothels were Koreans. With the outbreak of the Pacific War, women —
mainly Korean women — were transported to the brothels under the pretext that they would
be serving in a female volunteer corps. Their numbers are estimated to have been 80,000 or
200,000. (Italics supplied.)10
There is tremendous significance in the italicized portion of the text. At that time, Japan was
mobilizing workers in accordance with the National Mobilization Act. “Female volunteer
corps” was the name given to groups of women drafted to work in munitions factories.
The term was never used in connection with comfort women. I know plenty of women who were
mobilized into female volunteer corps, and all of them have assured me emphatically that
their groups had nothing to do with comfort women.
Members of female volunteer corps were mobilized in accordance with the National Labor
Service Cooperation Act, which stated that unmarried women between the ages of 14 and 25,
as well as men aged 14-40, would join National Labor Service Corps. Beginning in 1943,
married women were also urged to join female volunteer corps but, as the term implies, they
were not obligated to join. When the Female Volunteer Labor Act (Imperial Order No. 519)
was enacted in 1944, women between the ages of 12 and 39 were legally bound to join
volunteer corps.11
It is unlikely in the extreme that Asahi Shimbun was unaware of these historical facts. In
actuality, it was the conventional wisdom among left-wing, masochistic scholars of the time
that the mobilization of workers into compulsory “volunteer” groups in colonial Korea also
included comfort women.
Here are some examples of that conventional wisdom.
Beginning in 1943, approximately 200,000 Korean women were mobilized into teams
called “female volunteer corps.” Approximately 50,000-70,000 young, unmarried, women
among their number were forced to become comfort women.12
In August 1944, the Female Volunteer Corps Labor Act was promulgated. Several hundred
thousand Korean women between the ages of 12 and 40 were mobilized; several tens of
thousands of unmarried women among their number were pressed into service as comfort
women for Japanese military personnel.13
The origin of both of these “explanations” is Yoshida Seiji’s book. As I wrote earlier, he
stated that there was a roundup of women in 1943 on Cheju Island for a volunteer corps of
comfort women.
By stating that “women — mainly Korean women — were transported to the brothels under
the pretext that they would be serving in a female volunteer corps,” Asahi Shimbun was
claiming that they were compelled to become comfort women, as Yoshida wrote. This is
“coercion in the narrow sense” of the word, which Prime Minister Abe has denied.
In 1997, Asahi Shimbun changed the focus of its coverage to the hardships the women
experienced once they entered the brothels, i.e., the coercive nature of their environments.
But in 1992, the newspaper had charged that the recruitment of the comfort women was
“systematically coercive.”

Meanwhile, the living witness to the slave hunts (Yoshida), and former comfort woman Kim
Hak-sun had been making frequent appearances on Japanese television and in newspaper
articles.
The January 23, 1992 edition of the Asahi Shimbun carried an editorial entitled “The Comfort
Women.” It quoted Yoshida as saying, “They used the police, a state power, to abduct
women in the colony using means that precluded escape. They transported them to battle
zones and confined them there for a year or two years. They were gang-raped, and abandoned
when the Japanese military retreated. It’s my guess that half the men and all the women I
personally abducted died.”14 This was followed by a portion of a conversation between the
author of the editorial and Yoshida: “I was concerned that Mr. Yoshida would be
inconvenienced if his name appeared in the media. When I asked him about that, his cheerful
reply was ‘That’s all right. It doesn’t bother me anymore.’”15
When I read the editorial, I realized that Yoshida was the answer to Asahi Shimbun’s prayers.
Now the trio was complete: Yoshida (the conscientious witness), the documents unearthed by
Prof. Yoshimi, and the former comfort woman, the victim. This unfortunate alignment
created the mistaken impression of being evidence that women were abducted in slave hunts,
and forced to service Japanese soldiers. Asahi Shimbun, other anti-Japanese media and
activists had seized upon them and used them in their attempt to ruin Japan’s reputation.
The prevailing view at that time was that Japanese troops had abducted Korean women and
forced them to become prostitutes, but the Japanese government would neither acknowledge
nor apologize for these inhuman crimes.
I have vivid memories of Keio University Professor Okonogi Masao’s January 1992 editorial
in Sankei Shimbun : “What I have learned is so horrible it makes me want to cover my eyes.”
He had offered his political conclusion without ever bothering to examine the facts.16
Then, on January 13, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Koichi issued an official statement,
saying that “we would like to offer our heartfelt apologies to the women who endured
unspeakable suffering while serving as comfort women.” This was the first government
statement issued in connection with the comfort women problem. On January 17, Prime
Minister Miyazawa went to Korea, where he apologized to President Roh Tae-woo eight
times.

Japanese instigated suit instituted in Korea

The February 1992 issue of the monthly Hoseki carried transcripts of interviews conducted
by journalist Usuki Keiko with former comfort women. The title was “Another Pacific War:
Former Korean Comfort Women Tell Their Stories: the Depravity and Shamelessness of the
Japanese Soldiers Who Abused Our Bodies.” Those who agreed to the interview were Kim
Hak-sun and two women who used pseudonyms.
Curious about what they had said, I immediately obtained a copy of the magazine. I was
wondering whether they were going to say they had been abducted, thereby proving Yoshida
Seiji was right.
But Kim Hak-sun said that she had been sold into prostitution for ¥40. Neither of the other
two women said anything about having been kidnapped by Japanese soldiers. “What’s this?”
I thought.
Poverty was a pervasive serious problem in both Japan and Korea prior to World War II. In
those days, women were indeed sold into prostitution. Everyone is aware of that; it is not
news. What was supposed to make the comfort women newsworthy was their coming
forward to say they were coerced.
Reading the apologies offered by the chief cabinet secretary and the prime minister, and the
emotional coverage in the Japanese media, I thought, “Something’s wrong here. This may be
a huge scam. No one has offered any proof that those women were coerced into prostitution.”
I was aware that, for the court proceedings held in connection with the suit instituted by Kim
Haksun, et al. against the Japanese government, Japanese had gone to Korea and posted fliers
advertising for plaintiffs.
Actually, theirs was not the first suit filed in connection with comfort women. Its precursor
went to trial in 1990. When I learned that that suit had been instituted by Japanese, I realized
that there must be some extraordinary lies involved.
It so happened that the monthly Bungei Shunju had printed an article entitled “Japan-Korea
Relations Have Deteriorated So Much that We Must Apologize” in its March issue, which
went on sale on February 10, 1992. The article is a dialogue between Sato Katsumi, director
of the Modern Korea Institute, and Takushoku University Professor Tanaka Akira. These two
pioneering specialists in postwar North and South Korean studies, who have many friends in
South Korea, were also my mentors.
Both men spoke candidly. They deplored the state of the relationship between Japan and
South Korea, reminding us that all reparations had been paid in accordance with the Japan-
Korea Treaty. They mentioned a white paper, a statement of claim issued by the South
Korean government, which lists the uses to which monies received from Japan were put,
including monies intended for individuals. During their discussion, they indicated that the
repeated apologies offered by Japan in response to South Korean demands had caused anti-
Korean sentiment to spread against the Japanese. They also referred to the fact that the
“comfort women trial” had been instigated by Japanese.
Scholars who have been engaged in research on South Korea for 30 years, or 40 years, came
out and said that we must stop apologizing to the Koreans, that the more we apologize the
worse relations between the two nations will become, using their real names. The shock
waves were mammoth. Their statements were met with harsh criticism from the South
Koreans, who pronounced them absurd.

Fact-finding investigation commissioned by magazine

As repercussions rippled throughout Japan and Korea, the editorial division of the monthly
Bungei Shunju asked me to investigate the comfort women controversy and write up the
results. To be candid, I wavered about accepting the assignment. As I wrote earlier, at that
point I was having serious misgivings about the Japanese and Korean media coverage of the
problem, and the Japanese government’s response. Therefore, I knew that someone had to do
painstaking research into the facts and make the results known to the world.
But at the core of the problem was sex, a topic that people are generally unwilling to discuss
frankly. Also involved was the fact that I, a citizen of a nation that had colonized Korea,
might end up criticizing women who had been victimized and were now old. I would rather
have someone else do this job.
But as I vacillated, the lies continued to spread. I finally assented, believing that I could not,
in good conscience, refuse. I was afraid that Japan’s relationship with Korea, a nation where
many of my professors, mentors, friends and acquaintances live, might be irreparably
damaged.
I was convinced that there is nothing more absurd (or harmful) than debates and apologies
that have no basis in fact. I was fully prepared to be the first to offer an apology if I was

proven wrong, if this wasn’t a scam and my investigation revealed that Japan had used force
to victimize innocent Korean women.
The editor in chief of Bungei Shunju told me, “When you conduct your investigation, resign
yourself to being vilified, along with me.” He promised me the editorial division’s full
support. He assigned one of his most capable editors to the project full time, and told me I
could use as many investigators as I wanted, and buy as many references as I needed. He said
my research should be done wherever it needed to be, and not to worry about money.
Therefore, I wasn’t a solo investigator, but part of a team working on the same project.
The objective of my research was to discover whether the comfort women were so poor they
had to sell their bodies to stay alive, or whether they were sex slaves coerced into prostitution
by military or government personnel.
First of all, I scrutinized the document that Prof. Yoshimi offered as proof of military
involvement. It permitted me to confirm an important fact. Yes, the military was involved in
recruiting comfort women, but only by attempting to prevent private brokers from engaging
in immoral behavior and claiming they were acting on behalf of the military.
Not only did the document prove that the military did not coerce women, it also proved that
they tried to stop brokers from engaging in unlawful acts during their recruiting campaigns.
Yes, the military were involved, but their involvement had benevolent intentions.
I will quote from the document as published in Asahi Shimbun. It appears in a collection of
documents exchanged between the Ministry of the Army and units assigned to China and
entitled “China Area Army Journal: Secret.”
Subject: Recruitment of Comfort Women (Communication from adjutant to head staff
officers of North China Area Army and Central China Expeditionary Army)
China Area Army No. 745: Secret
04 March 1938
We advise Expeditionary Army personnel to exercise extreme caution in the recruiting of
female workers to avoid harm to the prestige of the military and the emergence of social
problems. Be aware that unscrupulous brokers may say they are acting on behalf of the
military, thus causing the military to lose prestige or generating misunderstandings among
the local population. They may also cause social problems by violating regulations and
recruiting through war correspondents or visitors. Some of the recruiters cannot be trusted;
they lack the judgment required of recruiters, and must be watched carefully, as they have
previously been arrested or interrogated by the police for using improper recruiting methods
akin to kidnapping. Select recruiters with care and keep control over them. Maintain close
contact with the military police and local police authorities.17
This document does not prove that the military forced women to serve as prostitutes. Asahi
Shimbun reported that this document and two others attest to military involvement. But they
simply state that the brothels were established to improve military discipline, as rapes
committed by Japanese soldiers in war zones would be used as anti-Japanese political
propaganda.
Following a logical thought process, we have: the military were concerned about inciting
adverse public sentiment in war zones. There was already a fledgling independence
movement in colonial Korea. The military wouldn’t have dared angering the local population
by coercing women to become prostitutes. Therefore, the document found by Prof. Yoshimi
does not prove that the comfort women were coerced. On the contrary, it proves that they
were not coerced.
But the atmosphere at the time was obviously conducive to the creation of a mass delusion
and fraud (the flames of which were fueled by Asahi Shimbun’s coverage and the chief
cabinet secretary’s flustered apology) — namely, that the comfort women were victims of
coercion.

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