Why did Korean fathers abandon their daughters without a fight? (Statue in Seoul, photo cr. Michael Yon.)
Trouble is unfolding.
Few people, outside Japan and academic circles in Korea and America, understand the history of Korea other than from what hyper-dramatic movie or TV scripts tell them. This Korean vacuum in the West leaves a void often filled with the most fantastic stories that benefit the hate farmers’ objective.
But the problem is that, unknown to most Koreans and Korean-Americans, these exaggerated or totally fictitious stories are starting to backfire in ways Koreans could not predict.
Korean and Chinese agents of change have been busy fomenting anger among Japan, America, and South Korea. We have been warning about this for more than two years. Recently the Japanese Ambassador to South Korea was recalled to Japan specifically due to Korean political aggression over the ‘Comfort Women’ issue.
This happens at a time of political instability in the region, when China is regressing to its militaristic, fanatical Maoist roots and looking to expand, and when North Korea uses a chemical WMD in another country and then fires five missiles towards Japan.
South Korea's inability to control its own policy and live up to government-to-government agreements has been noted by the world. It seems Koreans would rather descend into chaos and international pariah status than give up on a fairy tale.
Koreans still allege that Japan kidnapped 200,000 women as sex-slaves. This is written in stone on monuments they place in cities around the world. This narrative has been debunked by historians in Japan and Korea, as well as by the US government. A $30 million US government study specifically searched for evidence on sex-slave allegations. After nearly seven years with many dozens of staff poring through US archives, our government found nothing to support the claim of the kidnapping of hundreds of thousands of Koreans.
The final IWG report to Congress was issued in 2007. Recently, propagandists like Mike Mochizuki in the U.S. have tried unsuccessfully to refute the IWG’s findings by hiding the fact that evidence of widespread sex-slavery was specifically sought, and then when nothing supporting the allegation was found, the Chinese historian Daqing Yang was brought in to write a booklet referring readers not to the results of the IWG, but to Brian Hicks’ copy of Yoshimi Yoshiaki's discredited work. Mike Mochizuki tried to hide these facts, but only ended up making his agenda more obvious in the process.
No journalist should write about Comfort Women issues without reading the IWG report, yet one rarely finds a journalist who has heard of it, or a historian who has read it. When I gave a speech on this report in 2015 in Tokyo, most people were unaware that the study existed.
Korean allegations have led to unexpected, and uncomfortable, twists for Koreans.
Firstly, it is important to recognize that Korea was part of Japan at the time the mass kidnappings are alleged to have taken place. Korea was to Japan as California is to America. The United States annexed California. Japan annexed Korea. Simple. A Harvard Law symposium in 2000 organized by a Korean group came to the conclusion that under international law at the time the annexation was just that; a legal annexation. Not invasion, not occupation.
Japan was working to integrate and build Korea as a part of Japan, and was not a truly Western colonial power in the sense of the Dutch in Indonesia, or the English throughout the world. The Dutch did not go to Indonesia and grant everyone Dutch citizenship and have the royal families in Indonesia marry royal families in Holland. They arrived to make money and invested in making money.
Meanwhile, Koreans were Japanese citizens.
Granted, there was different treatment back and forth, just as in America we still have Southern views of Northerners, Northern views of Southerners, New Yorkers’ views of everyone else, and so forth. Socioeconomic and cultural differences create different interactions. A similar thing happened between Japanese and Koreans.
When the Japanese invested in Korea, they were investing in Japan and the Japanese, whether of Korean or Japanese heritage. Some Koreans were happy with the annexation and others rebelled. In sum, it was a boost for Korea. Many Koreans moved to Japan and took Japanese names, and today can be indistinguishable from ethnic Japanese.
The Japanese undertook similar investments in Formosa (now Taiwan) but with opposite results today: there was some insurgency at the time, but today Taiwanese sentiment for Japan is very warm. Taiwanese also served in the Japanese military, and one elderly man in Taiwan told me they used to hold village celebrations when a young man was permitted to join the Japanese military.
Hundreds of thousands of Koreans served in the Japanese military, many as officers. Most Koreans like to forget this, counting on the fact that most Americans and others do not know. Koreans also served as elected officials. Many people are shocked into disbelief when they learn that Korean royal family princes served as Japanese officers, and that one Korean was even a general.
Fact: many war crimes committed against American and Allied POWs were committed by Koreans in the Japanese military. We hanged many for this. Koreans have a similar reputation for unchecked war crimes during the Vietnam war. Koreans as a people are not innocent victims.
Allegations that the Japanese military kidnapped 200,000 women imply that Koreans were involved in kidnapping Koreans. This reality is uncomfortable. But it gets worse.
The allegation is that huge numbers of Korean women were kidnapped by the Japanese military – a military that was chock full of Koreans, being watched by a police force in Korea that was mostly Korean – yet there is no evidence that Korean men fought back.
Current-day Texas has a similar population to Korea at the time. Imagine trying to kidnap tens of thousands of Texas women. A bloodbath would result.
Koreans then say, “But our people had no guns to fight back.” False. Koreans were in the Army, and formed most of the police in Korea. And besides, explosives are easy to make, knives are readily available.
For that matter, prison uprisings are a common occurrence around the world. Unarmed or lightly armed prisoners often revolt, but free Koreans did not lift a finger to save their women. There was the 1919 rebellion in Korea, but that had nothing to do with prostitutes or women.
When Japanese tried to take Dutch women as both prostitutes and sex-slaves in Indonesia, elderly unarmed Dutch men revolted in one camp and the Japanese backed off. The Japanese were military professionals with guns and training and could easily have taken as many women as they wanted. They did take some, but the revolt was mostly successful.
There really was a small number of sex-slaves, but they were not Koreans. The Koreans were recruited, sometimes duped, by other Koreans, or sold by their parents.
Many Koreans will excuse other Koreans for selling their kids like farm animals, saying they were poor. Many poor people around the world still sell their children, but many do not.
The uncomfortable fact is that Koreans who push the kidnapping fantasy are tacitly admitting that their fathers and grandfathers were cowards. The unarmed Dutch revolted, yet armed Koreans never fought back.
That empty chair beside the comfort women statue is fast becoming a means to symbolize the Korean men who abandoned their women without a fight. The comfort women statues increasingly seem to cry out, “Daddy why did you leave me?” or “Daddy, why did you sell me like a goat?”
So which is it? Are Korean men cowards, or did this simply not occur?
We know the answer. Koreans are not cowards, but truth on the peninsula is in short supply.
In any case, increasing numbers of Americans are tired of Koreans and others bringing their racist baggage into the United States and trying to rope us into their hate fest. We have enough problems already. Take this back to Korea.
Michael Yon is a former Green Beret who has been working as an independent writer and photographer since the 1990s and reported from the Iraq and Afghan Wars, and during unrest in Thailand. His investigation of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) report found that the U.S. government uncovered no evidence of forced abductions or sexual enslavement in Japan’s Comfort Women programs.