SDHF Newsletter No.301 Refutation to criticism of Ramseter article
The fable of “forced abduction of comfort women” is finally imploding.
The reality of the comfort women was that they were ordinary sex workers.
Lee Woo-yeon, co-author of Anti-Japan Tribalism
Professor Mark Ramseyer at Harvard University made explicit in his article, “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War,” in the International Review of Law and Economic, that the relationship between comfort women and comfort stations was contractual. A group of American and South Korean scholars have rebuked Professor Manseyer’s article since its publication. At the core of their criticism is that there were no concluded indenture contracts or “paper” to verify the contractual relationship. Underlying their criticism though is the fact that they do not understand the difference in contractual cultures between that of European and American countries, where concluded contracts written, and that of Korea, where people tended to depend on verbal or oral contracts.
Critics say that there is a “mountain of evidence” that supports their contention—”testimonies from victim former comfort women”; “confession by perpetrator Yoshida Seiji”; a document of the Japanese Army instructing “forcible abduction”; the Kono Statement, which expressed “remorse”, by the Japanese Government in 1993; the Coomaraswamy Report issued by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and other reports presented by Amnesty International, International Commission of Jurists and other NGOs. However, among these “mountains of evidence,” only testimonies of former comfort women have some “valid.” The rest turned out to be false or based not tangible primary sources but on the stories of the comfort women.
So how much are we to believe of their stories, that “they were forcibly abducted to be made comfort women”? When former comfort women came out in the early 1990s, their stories mentioned nothing about “forced abduction.” They said that they were deceived by Korean brokers or sold by their parents and became comfort women. The greatest drawback of former comfort women’s “testimonies” is the lack of consistency as this episode illustrates.
Moreover, a serious problem is that there is no objective means to verify their stories. Any official document stating that Japanese authorities were involved in “forcible abduction” has yet to be uncovered. Records left by a third party, including civilians, who might have witnessed coercion or testimony to that effect has also not been uncovered.
MOTEKI Hiromichi, Acting Chairman
for KASE Hideaki, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact