In his Aug. 26 letter, “Military brothels go way back,” Takashi Nagata treats us to a generalized history lesson: Europeans and others kept “comfort women.” … South Koreans had separate brothels for their soldiers and Americans in the 1970s. … The film “Sandakan Brothel No. 8” depicts a brothel worker’s family being happy to receive her “dirty money.” … Korea was just another recruitment area for sex workers as it came under Japanese rule in 1905 and was annexed in 1910. … And many Korean men served as Japanese soldiers.
This is basically true but incomplete. What is not addressed is the thinking of the woman in “Sandakan.” Did she gleefully enter into her new and sordid life of shame, or was she forced?
What is not addressed is why Korea was just another recruitment area. Japan has a long history of invading Korea, including Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s two invasions in the 16th century.
What is not addressed is the murder of the proud patriot and staunchly anti-Japanese Korean Queen Min in 1895 by Japanese agents. Her palace in Seoul lays out the story for all to see.
What is not addressed is the impressment of Korean young men into the Japanese army. This essentially means kidnapping. They were forced to serve, though some did so willingly.
What is also not addressed is the old saying that “two wrongs do not make a right.” What other nations did in other times and other places does not in any way justify Japan’s actions.
The South Korean government reportedly plans to introduce the issue of comfort women’s compensation at the U.N. General Assembly this month. Clearly, South Koreans refuse to accept the Japanese statement that this issue has been resolved.
Don’t get the wrong idea, I like Japan. I am proud that I have Japanese friends — not simply friends who are also foreigners. I know that many fine Japanese people want a constructive and final resolution of this issue. So, let’s move forward into a brighter, more positive future for both Japan and Korea.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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