Sunday, March 25, 2007

Who are those comfort women, Japanese or Korean?

This post is the third one on this article regarding comfort women (via AMPONTAN).

My comments are in bold.

The article says:

Where did the women come from?

They came from Japanese-occupied Korea, Taiwan, French Indochina (now Vietnam), the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), Burma (Myanmar) and even Japan, according to Yoshimi. He believes the majority were Korean, followed by Chinese, Taiwanese and Filipinos. But there were also Vietnamese and Dutch women, and he said roughly 10 percent were Japanese.

Hata, however, figures about 40 percent of the women may have been Japanese while 20 percent were Koreans and the remainder included Chinese and Filipinos.

This is also the difference of their guess work, because invariably the evidence is circumstantial and partial. Yoshimi used in his 1994 testimony the number of 1940 medical statistics of venereal diseases. The women who gave Japanese soldiers their VD were constituted of 52 % Korean, 36% Chinese and 12 %. He guessed that these women should be "comfort women," then he further guessed these number must be proportional to the total number of them. This is why he concluded there were 10 % Japanese prostitutes.

一 つの資料がある。1940年大本営の研究班が性病罹患について調査。相手女性の調査結果は、朝鮮人52%、中国人36%、日本人12%。すべてが「慰安 婦」ではないだろうが、比率から相手は「慰安婦」と考えられる。朝鮮人、中国人の比率が高かった。(1994 testimony)
Of course, there are problems in his assumptions.
Does the VD statistics represent the entire VD of whole military?
Do the women who gave VD to the soldiers are "comfort women" ?
Do the different ethnic groups of women equally carry VD?
It is safe to say that his claim is based on a circumstantial evidence at best.

Yoshimi Yoshiaki says in above quoted testimony:
Probably not all (of the women) are "comfort women," but the ratio suggests the women are "comfort women." Therefore, Koreans and Chinese are majority among them.
He is trying to prove
(A) Koreans and Chinese were the majority of comfort women
(B) Koreans and Chinese were the major source of VD disease in one study
(C) He thinks VD sources are likely to be comfort women
(D) Koreans and Chinese were the majority of VD sources

This sounds like a circular logic to me.

Then what did Hata Ikuhiko do? He acknowledges that the information is sketchy. He points out that there are lists of registered Japanese residents in Manchuria and parts of China. At that time, Koreans and Taiwanese had Japanese citizenship, so they were also registered. He assumes that Japanese residents who worked in "service industry" are roughly proportional to one sector of the industry -- sex workers. Then, the number goes like this (Hata ibid, p399)

1940 Northern-Middle-Southern China
Japanese: Women 16,004 (including 14,378 between ages 15-39), Men 5,472 (including 2,420 business owners)
Korean: Women 7,141 (including 7,019 between ages 15-39), Men 2,423 (including 1,164 business owners)
Taiwanese: Women 299

1938 Manchuria
Japanese: Women 14,743
Korean: Women 3,870
Taiwanese: no record

Of course not all of them are "comfort women," since these includes the male workers and business owners and those who worked in "restaurants." However, if one assumes that female number represents (or proportional to) the ratio (or number) of sex workers, then the Japanese-Korean ratio is always 2:1 or 3:1 throughout Manchuria or China. This is not surprising because the Japanese population has been always roughly 3 times of that of Korean peninsula. With other sketchy records of Japanese occupied territories during the war, Hata estimates comfort women were consisted of 40% Japanese, 30% natives of the area, 20% Korean and 10% other.

Their estimates are largely different, but they share one thing in common: Presence of Japanese comfort women. Not a single Japanese women proclaimed themselves as "sex slaves," so far. There were stories of Japanese comfort women before 1991. Most probable answer to that contradiction seems to me that the Japanese comfort women did not think themselves as "sex slaves."

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