The issue of forced military prostitution by the Japanese army during WW2 has long been a contentious issue for the Japanese government, particularly in its relations with Korea. Many of the women, known as ‘comfort women’, are thought to have have been Koreans; however, records and testimonies reveal that Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and even Dutch women were forced into prostitution.
While the Japanese government has created funds for compensation and apologized to the comfort women at various stages, beginning in 1965, when Prime Minister Murayama issued the first apology to Korea for the war, including an apology for the comfort women, the issue remains problematic.
The situation was exacerbated by former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in 2007, when he announced that despite Japanese apologies, there had been no evidence that these women had been enslaved as prostitutes. Although the government later issued an official apology for his remarks, some Japanese revisionist historians have also denied that forced prostitution occurred.
This recent article details the efforts of a South Korean university professor to raise awareness of the issue of the comfort women within Japanese universities, and has attracted considerable attention on the Japanese internet. The reactions of Japanese netizens are also translated below.
Comfort Women Posters in Forty Japanese Universities, Korean Professor Posts Ten Thousand Posters.
On October 29, Seo Kyoung-Duk, a specialist in the promotion of Korean history and culture and a professor at South Korea’s Sungshin Women’s University, explained why he had posted ten thousand posters about forced military prostitution in over forty major Japanese universities, the South Korean media has reported.
The posters hung by Professor Seo have the message ‘DO YOU REMEMBER?’ written across them in capital letters, designed using a photograph which shows former German president Brandt apologizing in Poland. The poster carries the message that the Japanese government ought to apologize to the comfort women in the same way as Germany [apologized in 1971]. It is the same design as a full page advert about the issue of the comfort women that was printed in the American newspaper The New York Times in May of this year.
Professor Seo and fifty Korean exchange students displayed the ten thousand posters over a period of three weeks on notice boards, in canteens, dormitories, and in language schools for foreign students throughout Japan. Professor Seo stated that both the Japanese government dialogue and general awareness of the matter remain insufficient, explaining that ‘I wanted to convey to Japanese university students, who will play a major role in the future of Japan, the actual conditions of the forced prostitution carried out by the Japanese military [during WW2], and to create public debate.’
The number of universities in which the posters were displayed has climbed to over forty schools, including the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Okayama University, Osaka University, Nagoya University, Kobe University, Takushoku University and Rikkyo University.
Comments from Yahoo!News.co.jp
It’s a crime to post illegal posters without consent or permission. They should notify them at once and arrest the Korean students. (Very angry).
Seems like it’s OK for them to harass and interfere with Japanese domestic affairs.
Do us a favour and stick to brainwashing your own country
[Imagine if] a Vietnamese professor posted ten thousand posters in forty Korean schools about the assault of Vietnamese women
Why the hell would we remember a made-up incident fabricated by you lot? Anyway, why don’t you think back to memories of the Yi Dynasty when you were living like primitive humans or whatever.
Ahem, did you receive permits for these from the faculty and administration of each university? If you go around sticking posters everywhere as you please and without permission, then aren’t you much worse than the middle core faction of the communist league and the democratic youth league? Or perhaps, is it that in each of Japan’s universities, there are these dubious North Korean fall-guys. You lot are just parrots. Plus, going is around convincing university students, that is, trying to make the Japanese government act through university students, your ulterior motive with this? Do you think that Japanese university students these days are so stupid as to be fooled by this?
If they really stuck those up inside schools without permission then the universities should sue them.
Korea in the eyes of Japan only appears as a nation that harasses us. It really is a horrible country.
Even if they ask ‘Do you remember?’, I mean, the whole thing never even happened anyway.
Don’t advertise for North Korean whores in universities!!!
They kick up a fuss and cry ‘Terrorism!’ even when someone puts up a picket, so [these posters] must be indiscriminate terrorism by the Koreans.
Makes you think that the Koreans are a people who bring up the comfort women issue as soon as the territorial dispute [over Takeshima/Dokdo] suffers drawbacks.
Banish all the resident Koreans in Japan! Quickly break off diplomatic relations with South Korea!
If you notice one of these posters, I want you to burn them. Then, they should make all the resident Koreans wear armbands that say, ‘Korean’ on them. [The term used here for ‘Korean’ is ‘chousen jin’ which was the word used to refer to Korea before 1945, and refers to the entire peninsula, including North Korea.]
You can’t brainwash the Japanese with such posters.
The Japanese government should immediately make posters that say, ‘There is no proof that the comfort women were forced into prostitution, who do you believe?’, and stick them next to the comfort women posters.
Japanese people really must be complete idiots. Why would they permit Korea to do this?
Don’t let them put up the posters.
Take them down.
Did they really put them up? And if for argument’s sake they really did put them up, then I don’t suppose it’s on official noticeboards.