Japan will re-examine a landmark apology it made two decades ago to women forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, a government spokesman said Friday, in a move that could further outrage South Korea, where many of the women came from.
The spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, said a team of scholars would be formed to examine what historical evidence had been used in compiling the apology, known as the Kono Statement. The statement, issued in 1993 by the chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yohei Kono, admitted for the first time that the Imperial military had been at least indirectly involved in coercing women, known euphemistically as comfort women, to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Mr. Suga did not say whether the inquiry could lead to a possible scrapping of the statement, something that would most likely draw an explosive reaction from South Korea, where the women are seen as an emotionally potent symbol of their nation’s brutal early 20th-century colonization by Japan.
Comfort Women - Wikipedia
Comfort women were women and girls forced into a prostitution corps created by the Empire of Japan during World War II. The name “comfort women” is a translation of a Japanese name ianfu (慰安婦). Ianfu is a euphemism for shōfu (娼婦) whose meaning is “prostitute(s)”.
Who said that time heals all wounds? It would be better to say that time heals everything except wounds. With time, the hurt of separation loses its real limits. With time, the desired body will soon disappear, and if the desiring body has already ceased to exist for the other, then what remains is a wound… disembodied.
—Samura Koichi quoted by Chris Marker, Sans Soleil
Choi Seung-hee, legendary Korean dancer, drinks coffee with a young girl at a hotel in Seoul. Photograph was taken in 1940. (source)
One of the earliest photographs depicting yangban Koreans, taken in 1863. The yangban were part of the traditional ruling class or nobles of dynastic Korea during the Joseon Dynasty (July 1392 – October 1897). The yangban were either landed or unlanded aristocracy who comprised the Korean Confucian idea of a “scholarly official.”