Comfort Women

Dec 23rd, 2007, in IM Posts, Opinion, by

Indonesian comfort women under the Japanese.

When not to call a spade, a spade?

When it is in Japanese I presume.

The Japanese prefer to name it as jugun ianfu (comfort women) and not as sei do rei (sex slaves).
Really now? As if it would make a difference to the truth? How shrewd - there is mitigation in dignified slavery, so to speak.

Here are several links pertaining to the issue laid (pun not intended) for discussion.

Initial State of Denial

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied Thursday that Japan's military had forced foreign women into sexual slavery during World War II, contradicting the Japanese government's longtime official position. [1]

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament earlier this month that he would not apologise for Japan's use of sex slaves during the Second World War, he again turned the spotlight on a large group of women who have become known as the "forgotten ones". [2]

The Dutch Cared - for their own

The Dutch did the right thing - "Quod Judicium Humanitas"

Dutch parliament demands Japanese compensation for "comfort women". [3]

So, the Netherlands knows how to demand for compensation.

HRH Queen Beatrix's "royal" Friesian cow mooed angrily:

IamIsaid! SHUT YOUR MOUTH!. And don't mix this with your earlier issue about whether the Dutch should compensate for their atrocities against the Indonesian natives. Bevatten!?

Me:

The Palace cook will make royal satay out of you for President SBY's birthday. :p

What about Indonesia?

The clever Indonesians and such diplomatic finesse too.
"Compensation"- NO!.
"Medical and Welfare fee assistance" bisa aja deh.

Indonesia refused compensation but received assistance for medical and welfare fees, Harada said. The fund also set up medical and welfare facilities in Indonesia.

More reading at China Daily.

Accounts from Indonesian women during the Japanese occupation who lived to tell.

I was born in Java, in the former Dutch East Indies (now known as Indonesia) in 1923 of a fourth generation Dutch colonial family. I grew up on a sugar plantation and had the most wonderful childhood. I was educated in Catholic schools and graduated from Franciscan Teacher's College in Semarang, Java.

The rest of her story at foreignaffairs.house.gov.

Mardiyem, 78, Despite her ill health, she continues to be one of the foremost proponents of the rights of the Indonesian women who were coerced into being sex slaves during the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945.

More of her story at the Jakarta Post.

These Indonesian heroines epitomise the words of Alexander Smith:

There is no ghost so difficult to lay as the ghost of an injury.

A Dedication

Salute for your bravery
Savaged by Jap brutality.
Neither born to plea
Nor born for that vile impurity.

Through pang and filthy hours
You saved other dear flowers.
Nary did they know
Your tearful gift or your muted woe.


8 Comments on “Comfort Women”

  1. avatar colson says:
    December 23rd, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    I think an even bigger issue than “compensation” is at stake: whether or not Japan as a nation can come to terms with war crimes. The suffering of “Comfort Women” is part of the complex denial of war crimes committed during WWII and especially those in the thirties in Korea and China.

    It’s not an exclusively Japanese problem however. One may doubt whether Indonesia has come to terms with the post 1965 massacres for instance.

    (Oh, by the way: can anyone explain what the word “bevatten”means in this context?)

  2. avatar Pena Budaya says:
    December 23rd, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    bevatten sounds a Dutch word – it means in Dutch as “understand” or “comprehend” ..

  3. avatar Sputjam says:
    December 23rd, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    I thought the japs raped / took comfort women of north east asian or chinese origin only. The above is the first I heard of about one from the european stock. Even in malaysia/singapore, the japs only go for those of chinese descent.

  4. avatar Pulutan says:
    December 23rd, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Colson: excellent comment

    Sputjam: During the war, Japanese held sex slaves all over Asia and of different races. And they still do today. During the war they rounded up the girls by force. Today Philippine mamasans recruite the girls on impoverished islands with job promises and send them to Japan where many of them (though not all) become sex slaves.

  5. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:
    December 24th, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    The Japanese will never apologize. Their culture doesn’t allow it. They commit hara-kiri instead.

  6. avatar Czeslaw says:
    December 29th, 2007 at 11:28 am

    iamisaid, you said soin beautiful language of poetry. Thank you for your kindness.
    No one should forget that japan was in axis with hitler and musolini nad stalin followed own psychopatic way

    nazis and commubists did same atrocities to enslaved countries in europe in adition to creating the biggest know to man in human history dead camps – I leaved not to far from one of the biggest Auschwitz-Birkenou or in Polish, Oswiecim-Brzezinka where about 7,500,000 were murdered by nazis germany

    i read the entire (from the link) story of this today older lady Mardiyem, and how japanese were treating her and countless other I heard about Korean women rasing up the issues some time ago and I wrote to japanese consulate and I never got any reply from them, now I will write again and let them have a piece of my mind on the subject

    japanese still keep in tackt their racial supremacy over others that haven’t change yet and perhaps will not change in the next 1 or 2 centuries because the roots of evil are just to deep in the social fabric, they treat own women like garbage in many instance they are perverting sexually japanese children as well

    however, you or any one can fight back the evil as I do, I watch the label of the product I buy

    I am Polish born man and I didn’t experienced any bad thing by japanese, for i was born more than a decade after the world war II
    but I know Filipinos I met at US colleges who’s grandparents told me their stories when japanese invaded the Philippines, their stories are pretty similar what we experienced from nazis and communists in europe

    Till to day I don’t buy any japanese, chinese, russian, italian and german products
    shouldn’t you follow my steps!?

    Hit them in the packet first, where it hurts financially and the pain feel worst
    you have more power than you think you have,

    simply don’t but made in japan products any more, and I mean as long as you leave

    I know I will not buy any jap’s products, and that is for sure

    Merry Christmas to all of you!

  7. avatar iamisaid says:
    December 29th, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    iamisaid, you said soin beautiful language of poetry. Thank you for your kindness.
    No one should forget that japan was in axis with hitler and musolini nad stalin followed own psychopatic way

    Hi there Czeslaw,

    I read your response with much empathy. I have read about the human tragedies as you have related. There are times it makes one wonder if God is sleeping.

    Merry X’mas to you too and my best wishes as well for the New Year.

  8. avatar Maya says:
    July 8th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Hi Indonesia Matter and iamisaid,
    I appreciate so much your blog for awhile now…even though I never made any comments here. Your posts are well-written and very informative for sure. You dare to write things that aren’t usually talked about in the open…like this post for example.

    How I came to this post (even though it’s later than when you wrote it) is because I’m searching for “Indonesian Sex Slaves during Japanese occupation.” A few months ago I coincidently picked up an animation book by a Korean cartoonist Woman, named Jung Kyung-a, and I was appalled and sadden by the facts, but Jung Kyung-a depicts the harsh facts with so much love, humor and empathy. I recommend her book…(sorry I can’t recall the exact title but it’s something with Japanese women slaves). The book and story are well drawn.

    Since the book mentions there are more than thousands of Indonesian women too that were kidnapped, forced, raped, etc., I’ve been wondering if our government (Indonesian) has done something about this issue, have some women stood up to tell their stories, or has the government just hushed hushed this issue related to Jap’s occupation and our own past just like what’s been written in our history books? Then I found your post…:-)

    Thank You so much for this article and some links you provided here too. There are endless war related crimes have been committed everywhere in the world, but we shouldn’t just accept or ignore our past and what’s going now about wars without speaking up about the truth, what needs to be done to apologize or to stop more wars from happening. It is totally human-made! It is us who are responsible (different degrees and forms for the ones involved of course) to do something about many of these human-related issues. It is worthwhile to fight for injustice and the truth to be taught/told (esp. in history books) for future generations. We still have a long way to go, but as we all know the path starts with one step at a time.

    Bravo for all those women who have been fighting for the truth and justice. Bravo for those men who support and stand side by side of these women, we need many more of these men. I appreciate and empathize for what a commenter Czeslaw is writing (i think it’s courageous and exemplary for not supporting or buying those products made by those actors of war…at least with this consciousness we all need to know where the products we buy come from and how they were made etc.). Thank You for all the other commenters too for your support.

    Thanks again iamisaid :-) Hope 2008 has been so far an interesting year for you. I’m looking forward for many more wonderful posts here. Best wishes.



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