A latest assault on the criticism of J. Mark Ramseyer’s article, “Contracting for Intercourse within the Pacific Conflict,” reveals troubling insensitivity and disrespect of an atrocious human rights violation.
We, students primarily based in america and South Korea, name for the cessation of makes an attempt each to unfold outrageous falsehoods about Japan’s abuse of “consolation ladies,” an atrocious crime towards humanity, and to advocate such conduct instantly or not directly by attacking honest criticism of Ramseyer’s article underneath the false pretense of educational freedom. Tutorial freedom doesn’t defend outrageous falsehoods and distortions.
Joseph Yi and Joe Phillips wrote an op-ed on the controversy in The Diplomat, claiming that “[a]ttacking Ramseyer’s tutorial integrity due to private connections to Japan is unproductive and sounds xenophobic.”
Yi and Phillips mischaracterize the criticism of Ramseyer’s article, which makes an attempt to justify the navy sexual slavery enforced by Japan throughout World Conflict II as a legit contractual association. Such contracts didn’t exist, and Ramseyer has not been in a position to current any proof of such contracts.
Because of this, quite a lot of students from all over the world, together with Hannah Shepherd (College of Cambridge, U.Ok.), Sayaka Chatani (Nationwide College of Singapore, Singapore), David Ambaras (North Carolina State College, U.S.), and Chelsea Szendi Schieder (Aoyama Gakuin College, Japan), query Ramseyer’s tutorial integrity.
They demand the retraction of Ramseyer’s paper, not due to his private connections to Japan, however quite due to his full disregard of related proof. Two Harvard historians, Professors Carter Eckert and Andrew Gordon, appearing on a request by the Worldwide Evaluate of Regulation and Economics to evaluate Ramseyer’s article, additionally reached the identical conclusion. They really useful that the journal droop the publication of Ramseyer’s article and retract it, pending the end result of the journal’s personal investigation.
As ought to be evident to readers, the widespread criticism shouldn’t be an expression of nationalism or the “Korean perspective,” however of a grave concern about makes an attempt to justify atrocious human rights violations. The controversy shouldn’t be a political debate between Korea and Japan, as Yi and Phillips purport it to be, however a severe human rights query that issues everybody.
Yi and Phillips additionally criticize South Korea for allegedly failing to accommodate vigorous public discussions on the query of “consolation ladies.” Their insensitivity and disrespect of the painful reminiscence of the victims and their supporters is appalling. The navy sexual slavery enforced by Japan is traumatic historical past for many Koreans. Koreans could be naturally cautious about such discussions, as they’re prone to set off the reminiscence of traumatic ache and struggling.
Yi and Phillips additionally cite Korean lawsuits concerning controversial books and speeches concerning the sexual slavery. Whereas tutorial freedom ought to be protected, it should not be abused to justify outrageous falsehoods and distortions. In Germany, the place many imagine tutorial freedom is nicely preserved, public advocacy of the conflict crimes dedicated by the Nazi regime would result in prison prosecution and punishment, however such response shouldn’t be an illegitimate intrusion upon tutorial freedom.
Yi and Phillips additionally assault the credibility of testimonies supplied by Korean survivors. A long time earlier than the Korean testimonies had been made public within the 1990s, the Netherlands interviewed Dutch consolation ladies who served through the conflict and secured testimonies affirming the atrocities of the sexual slavery. Victims from different nations, such because the Philippines and Indonesia, not simply from Korea, additionally supplied testimonies that confirmed kidnapping, deceit, torture, and killing of so-called “consolation ladies.” Even the Japanese authorities, by means of the “Kono Assertion” admitted the atrocities inflicted upon “consolation ladies” in 1994:
The then Japanese navy was, instantly or not directly, concerned within the institution and administration of the consolation stations and the switch of consolation ladies. The recruitment of the consolation ladies was performed primarily by personal recruiters who acted in response to the request of the navy. The Authorities research has revealed that in lots of instances they had been recruited towards their very own will, by means of coaxing, coercion, and so on., and that, at occasions, administrative/navy personnel instantly took half within the recruitments. They lived in distress at consolation stations underneath a coercive environment.
The navy sexual slavery enforced by Japan, the system of so-called “consolation ladies,” is a conflict crime and atrocious human rights violation, as confirmed by main worldwide and home establishments such because the United Nations Human Rights Fee, the Worldwide Fee of Jurists, Amnesty Worldwide, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. State Division. Even the Yamaguchi District Court docket in Japan affirmed the illegality of the navy’s use of sexual slavery in 1998.
Maybe most perplexing is Yi and Phillips’ try and make connections between the atrocious sexual slavery of the 20th century and the “tribute ladies” who they argue had been despatched to China from Korea some 600 years in the past. It might be absurd to attract any relational inference between the 2 occasions that passed off a number of centuries other than one another underneath utterly totally different historic, political, and cultural contexts. In addition they confer with the ladies who they contend supplied sexual providers on American navy bases in Korea after World Conflict II, citing wild numbers with none verification. Once more, such comparability is unwarranted: the Japanese navy’s sexual slavery was a conflict crime that bears no comparability to pre- or post-war prostitution. (Ramseyer additionally tried, unconvincingly, to make connections between pre-war prostitution and the navy sexual servitude.)
Yi and Phillips additionally evaluate and distinction between what they name a repressive atmosphere in South Korea, which, as they describe, suppresses public discussions on consolation ladies, and a purportedly freer Japanese atmosphere that tolerates numerous positions. They may even discover the absence of vibrant discussions advocating the Nazi conflict crimes in Germany or supporting the slavery of African Individuals in america. It’s not as a result of these societies suppress discussions usually, however quite as a result of the acute trauma and sensitivity of such points raises public warning, significantly towards irresponsible positions justifying such atrocities with out clear proof. For a similar purpose, Koreans are cautious about the same positions on the so-called “consolation ladies” points, and given the trauma, Koreans shouldn’t be blamed for this warning. Korean society doesn’t usually suppress discussions. Quite the opposite, it’s likes of Yi and Phillips who attempt to suppress honest criticism of what many contemplate to be the dissemination of plain falsehoods by critics of undermining tutorial freedom. We reiterate: Tutorial freedom doesn’t defend outrageous falsehoods and distortions.
Yong-Shik Lee is director of the Regulation and Improvement Institute and visiting professor of regulation at Georgia State College School of Regulation.
Chan Un Park is professor of regulation at Hanyang College Faculty of Regulation.