A Protesting Letter to Glendale from a Historian

Mr. Max von Schuler-Kobayashi, Historian (German-American, Former US Marine based in Japan and now Representative lecturer of 「Hiizurutokorokara Philosophy of US-Japan relations」) sent out a protesting open letter to City Councilman Frank Quintero, and the members of the City Council of Glendale concerning their decision to put up a permanent memorial to the so called “ Comfort Women.

I personally feel uncomfortable regarding comfort women as mere prostitutes because I don’t think all of tens of thousands of comfort women were willing to do the work no matter how highly they were paid. There must have been many women who were sold by their parents from poverty.
Meanwhile, I fear an atmosphere that people believe all victim’s stories are correct or one can do anything agaist defeated country.


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To City Councilman Frank Quintero, and the members of the City Council of Glendale.

I have read of your decision to put up a permanent memorial to the so called “Comfort Women” with deep unease and regret. This is the same as putting up a memorial to the camp guards at Auschwitz.
If I were Jewish, I would find this a great insult. Even though I am not Jewish, I find this insulting as a historian.

You are being conned. During the war, the Korean people were Japanese citizens, and were willing and able participants in the Japanese Empire. It is after the war that they decided that they were victims, and switched roles. And even in their own country, Korea, women are demonstrating for their right to be prostitutes. Yet they accuse Japan of a crime?

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2072487,00.html
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43650531/ns/world_news-asia_pacific/t/s-korean-sex-workers-threaten-set-themselves-fire-protect-their-brothels/#.UVoTg4VmGv9

South Korean Prostitutes Protest Closing of Brothels

South Korean Prostitutes Protest Closing of Brothels

Protesting Korean prostitutes attempt to set themselves on fire.
Let me explain.

America is a country that treasures human rights for the individual. And in particular, the rights of women world wide are a concern for Americans. When people use the term “Sex Slave” to describe the Comfort Women, it resonates in the United States.
But were these women indeed slaves? No. First of all, as distasteful as it may seem, it was common in both Japan and Korea pre war to sell daughters into prostitution. For poor families with too many mouths to feed, this was the only option.

As far as the comfort women were concerned, they were paid. The recruiters were all ethnic Koreans. People have conjured up an image of the Imperial Japanese Army rampaging through Korean villages, and hauling off screaming women. This never happened. Please refer to the Pdf below.

http://www.google.co.jp/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDE
QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sdh-fact.com%2FCL02_1%2F89_S4.pdf&ei=MaVSUZbjLcfEkQW624F4&usg=AFQjCNGGResjVTolTk4g
yz0uChvLACnT7Q&bvm=bv.44342787,d.dGI

On page 117, it lists some newspaper advertisements from 1944 for Comfort Women.
As a matter of reference, monthly pay is listed as ¥300. At that time a Japanese Imperial Army sergeant was paid ¥30 a month.
The Korean government itself continued the Comfort Women system post war for US troops.
I have written about it extensively in my blog. And I have visited the Silver town mentioned in my blog below.

http://tokyomaxtalks.blogspot.jp/2012/06/concerning-comfort-women-memorials.html

In any case, Koreans continued the system after the war. And today, Koreans are the greatest human traffickers in the United States.

If the Korean people in the United States are serious about combatting prostitution, why do they not cooperate with the FBI and stop the traffickers from their own community?
There are no organized Japanese prostitutes in the US at all. Those massage parlors you see with names like Osaka and Nagoya, they are Korean.
In any case, Japan has paid extensive reparations to Korea.

http://www.jiyuushikan.org/e/reparations.html

At the time of payment, these funds were to settle all claims, including the Comfort Women issue. And Japan has apologized, endlessly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued
_by_Japan

Now it seems that some Koreans simply want more money.
Koreans have a problem with history. Years ago when I was in Korea, I was discussing WWII with some Korean people. They insisted that their country had the worst experience of the war.
I am a WWII historian, and I differ with that assessment. My candidate for country with the worst war experience, if I had to pick, would be Poland. Invaded by both Germany and the Soviet Union, Occupied by Germany, the Jewish Warsaw

Ghetto uprising of 1943, the Polish Home Army Warsaw uprising of 1944 all devastated the country. Then the savage resistance of the German Army as the Soviets pushed towards Berlin.
And of course there was constant guerrilla activity.

Postwar, Poland lost a third of it’s eastern territory and was ordered to takeover the former German territories of Prussia and Silesia. Many people were killed and displaced. All in all, Poland lost 25% of it’s prewar population.

But when I was in Korea, Korean people insisted that their WWII experience was much worse than Poland. That is when Korean people lost my sympathy for any claim whatsoever about WWII.
The thing about Koreans is, they did not resist the Japanese annexation of their country. Most Koreans embraced it. And this is their shame today.

There was no resistance movement inside Korea. There was one major riot in 1919 where some hundreds were killed. That was all. There was a guerrilla movement in the far north of the country, but they could not base themselves inside Korea, their bases were in Manchuria.
All they could do was make the occasional foray into Korea, they received no help from the Korean populace. And they numbered only about 1,500 individuals.

In April 1938, the Special Volunteers System was inaugurated in Korea. Korean men responded in droves for service in the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces. In 1942, the recruitment goal was announced to be 4077. 254,273 volunteers applied, over-achievement factor reached 62,4.
More Koreans have died fighting post war Korean governments than fighting Japan.
For the March first movement riots, Japanese official figures list 553 dead for all of Korea.

However, the list of casualties for post war South Korean governments are; The Cheju incident of 1948,the South Korean government admits to between 15,000 to 30,000 dead. (civilian groups put the number at 100,000 dead) In the October 1948 Yosu Junten revolt 400 were killed. In the Korean war, in 1950, during the summer some 300,000 civilians were killed by the South Korean government, and in the winter several hundred thousand more were killed. Of course, figures of any kind for people killed by North Korean governments are totally unavailable, but one can imagine that many civilians must have been killed in the North.

http://tokyomaxtalks.blogspot.jp/2012/08/president-lee-myung-bak-and-his.html

Koreans will tell you that during war they were forced to cooperate because Japan was so brutal. Well in Europe, many Balts, Ukrainians, Russians and other nationalities fought in German uniform, something like 1 million. Would the city of Glendale put up a memorial to them? By putting up such an exhibition for the Comfort Women, that is what you are doing. But these countries also had anti German guerrilla movements. Korea has no such history. And this is their shame today. During WWII, they willingly fought for Japan. They willingly recruited their own women for prostitution.
By putting up this exhibition, you are getting involved with Korean inferiority complexes towards Japan. And you are making serious historical mistakes.

The only evidence the Koreans now have are a few eyewitnesses. Yet any historian will tell you, eyewitness testimony is very unreliable. You need other sources. Things just did not happen like Koreans say they did. I seriously ask you to do more research into the true nature of Japanese/Korean relations. And to be fair, if you want to address women’s issues, you should address modern day Korean human trafficking in the United States.

Thank you very much,
Max von Schuler-Kobayashi
April 3rd , 2013
Tokyo Japan

Let’s Talk about the Truth of JP-SK Relations

This is an article from Sankei Shinbun, Japanese newspaper, on July 27, 2013. Professor James. E. Auer, the author of the article, showed surprise at S.Koreans completely ignorance on Japan and felt confused about their one-sided historical perceptions in another place. I think I want all S.Kreans to know about true histories between Japan and S.Korea.



Let’s talk about the truth of JP-SK relations

July 26 2013
James.E.Auer, a director of Center for U.S. Japan
Studies and Cooperation, Vanderbilt University


Last month, I visited to Seoul for three days at the invitation of a S.Korean senior politician who is a supporter of President Park Geun Hye. Unfortunately, most of S.Koreans whom I met there viewed Japan in a negative light.

<The comfort women were not exclusively the Korean women>

I asked the S.Koreans that I have met why they obviously changed their opinion about Japan-Korea disputes after the Japanese prime minister Keizo Obuchi and the President Kim Dae-jung (both at that time) issued a joint statement in 1998 saying that both nations agreed on settling the confrontation between the two and moving toward better relations.

Most S.koreans I met claimed that their stance have not changed since 1998. Instead, their current attitude of ant-Japanese are due to Japanese insensitivity toward bilateral history issues including Prime Ministers’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine or Japan’s claim to Takeshima (Dokdo).

I said them that none of the leader of Japan, S.Korea and the US would forgive the practices of prostitution conducted by Japan till 1945 in China

We have no hard numbers, but it might well be that the number of the Korean comfort women, who were sold by their poor peasant parents or applied for employment by other way, was more than that of the comfort women from Japan, China or other countries.

However, it was not a plan to recruit comfort women only from Korea. There seems little doubt that Japan sincerely feels a sense of remorse for the true suffering which this project inflicted on comfort women of all the nationalities during the war.

In those days, prostitution was legal in Japan. The US troops also received sexual services from Japan during the occupation. I don’t mean to suggest that these facts prove what happened was right, but I mean that they show how different values at that time were from the ones of today.

With regard to Japanese government officials’ visit to Yasukuni Shrine, I said them the Japanese leaders have not visited Yasukuni Shrine in order to either honoring some class-A war criminals listed there or praising Japan’s own behavior of apologies toward other countries. More importantly, it seems to be a big contradictions that such a country like China that hates criticism against its own internal affairs from abroad blames Japan for its politicians’ visits to the shrine which is dedicated to the Japanese soldiers who served and died for their country.

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<Yasukuni is no different than Arlington>

Now the US president and leaders of other countries include Japan and S.K. visit the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, US, even though there are many tombs of Johnny Rebs who fought for the South that supported slavery. Today most of advanced countries don’t accept slavery, but there is no one who claim to remove the tombs of Johnny Rebs from the National Cemetery because they believed in slavery.

After much talk with the S.Koreans I found that the most difficult problem was concerned with “Takeshima” I said that Japan didn’t seem change its views of the problem due to legal bases favorable to Japan. Meanwhile, I asked, though Japan never be likely to send SDF troops to drive away the S.Korean soldiers from Takeshima now, why they don’t stop worrying about the issue. The only answer that I heard from them was because the SKoreans thought the Japanese govt should agree the opinion that Takeshima belongs to S.Korea absolutely.

There was only one group that didn’t complain about Japan. They were in the base of S.Korean navy. I saw “Cheonan(天安)” which was the S.Korean corvette (a patrol combatant craft) torpedoed by N.Korea before. The officers never talk about politics, instead, talk of the need to collaborate with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the United States Navy to counter vicious and unpredictable behaviors by N.Korea realistically.

<Contribution of JP-Sino War and JP-Russo war to Korea>

What can we do to change S.Korea’s attitude towards Japan for the better? One of my students who has lived in Seoul since his/her birth and worked there for more than 20 years since graduated from Vanderbilt University, said that he/she thought Japan would have to keep taking a patient stance until the Koreans overcome thier inferiority complex. I’m sorry to say that it seems to be right to the point. However I would expect President Park to be able to work out a deal with Prime Minister Abe.

Although the Japanese would never mention this, I believe it deserves consideration for the Koreans that there was a common reason for Japan to win the two wars against China in 1895 and Russia in 1905. Japan wasn’t against Korea at that time, but it was afraid that Korea come to be controlled either by China or Russia.

If China won JP-Sino War, Korea might have become a colony of China, also if Russia defeated Japan, Korea must have been Russian’s. After all Japan’s victories of the two wars leaded Korea to the position of a democracy based on the market economy like today.
(sorry if misinstlation)


http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/130726/kor13072603210001-n1.htm

the U.S. ‘s annual report about China

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A new age where people cannot criticize China’s autocratic manners for fear of its economic and military power seems to be just around the corner.
It pretended to be asleep when it was weak and poor, but has moved ahead with built-up arms and doesn’t even try to hide its ambitions with its increasing economic development. China is trying to bring last century’s barbaric and egocentric views of the state into the world again today where people have been overcoming these faults in one way or another through the experiences of two world wars. I don’t think the world should allow China to continue such deeds.
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The Baseline of China around Senkaku is the breach of international law

7 May, 2013 Mainichi Shinbun

On May 6th, the U.S. Department of Defense released its annual report about the military force of China.
The report points out that “in September 2012, China began using improperly drawn straight baseline claims around the Senkaku Islands, adding to its network of maritime claims inconsistent with international law.” over the Senkaku islands in Okinawa Prefeture. It has adopted a negative stance consistently on taking a particular position over the issue of territorial rights, but accordingly the report states that China’s behavior was unjustified.
On September, the Chinese govt set its own baseline to show China’s sovereignty over Senkaku and submitted the material to the UN as a countermeasure to Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands. Although the Japanese govt doesn’t accept it, China’s public ships, such as those used for marine patrol, have violated Japanese territorial waters in the surrounding sea repeatedly since then. The Japanese and U.S. governments agree on the position of, “We stand against any unilateral action by force, which tries to change the existing state”, and continue to monitor China’s comings and goings.
(The rest is omitted)
http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20130507k0000e030094000c.html
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An excerpt from Annual report to Congress of th US

The Chinese government maintains that its maritime rights extend to virtually the entire South China Sea and often illustrates this claim using a “nine-dash line” that encompasses much of the South China Sea area. At the same time, Beijing is ambiguous about the precise meaning of the nine-dash line; to date, China has not clarified the meaning of the nine-dash line or its legal basis. In April 2012, Chinese maritime law enforcement vessels and Philippine coast guard vessels engaged in a protracted standoff at Scarborough Reef, after the Philippine Navy attempted to conduct a fishing enforcement action against Chinese fishermen.
Although overt tensions between China and the Philippines subsided by year’s end, both sides continue to claim jurisdiction over the reef. Chinese law enforcement vessels have maintained an almost continuous presence ever since.
In November 2012, China also added a map which contained the nine-dash line to all of its new passports. This action elicited negative responses from other nations in the Asia-Pacific region. China’s increased reference in official government materials to the nine-dash line is a source of concern to its neighbors and other nations because, at a minimum, it creates an impression that China is not merely claiming all the land features within the nine-dash line, but it may also be claiming a special sovereign status of all the water and the sea-bed contained therein.
China claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands (what the Chinese refer to as the Diaoyu Islands) in the East China Sea, territory also claimed by Taiwan and Japan. In April 2012, the Governor of Tokyo announced plans to purchase three of the five islets from private Japanese owners. In response, in September 2012, the Government of Japan purchased the three islands. China protested the move and since that time has regularly sent maritime law enforcement ships (and, less often, aircraft) to patrol near the Senkakus to protect its claims; this has included regular Chinese maritime operations within 12nm of the islands. On September 25, China published a white paper entitled, “Diaoyu Dao, an ’Inherent Territory’ of China.” In addition, in September 2012, China began using improperly drawn straight baseline claims around the Senkaku Islands, adding to its network of maritime claims inconsistent with international law. In December 2012, China submitted information to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf regarding China’s extended continental shelf in the East China Sea that includes the disputed islands.
http://www.defense.gov/pubs/2013_China_Report_FINAL.pdf

Right to Blame

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China’s military budget has become the second largest in the world after America. It has been increasing at an unusually rapid rate, more than double in the past 6 years. Now it is beginning to step on the toes of other countries’ territories with its massive military power, having an intensive conflict with Japan, Philippines and Vietnam over the Senkaku Islands and the South China Sea. It has also become a serious problem that China has tortured many Tibetan monks, pushed them to suicide after invading Tibet and has been cracking down on Uighur.

On the other hand, Japan has maintained the pacifist Constitution since the end of the war, which advocates the renunciation of war and complete pacifism, for which even the right to life of Japanese could be threatened if Japan were to go into real combat. An attempt to revision of the constitution still could face stubborn opposition from its own people. As the constitution prohibits Japan from sending the Self-Defense Forces to a war zone, they have never killed even a single foreigner after the war. So, again, Japan’s contributions to the United Nations is still the world’s second largest after America. It has provided financial and technological aid to developing countries generously and played a big role for peace and development of the world ever. Its people of today hate any kind of conflict or speaking ill of other countries.

I think it is absurdly illogical that in spite of the above situation China describes Japan as “becoming militarized” or blames Japan on the war that happened 68 years before. I guess most Japanese can’t believe their ears to hear China’s accusation against Japan, and would say “Why are we Japanese who have practiced pacifism seriously criticized for militarization by China that continues military expansion and endangers the safety of its neighbors even now ?”