Whitewashing the past

Japanese revisionists hope to erase Japan’s atrocities during WWII from history

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Photo of comfort women (comfort girls) via U.S. Army, Wikimedia

Revisionists in Japan are denying the existence of “comfort women,” often from Korea and China, who were forced to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during the World War II. Toshio Tamogami, the former chief of staff of Japan’s air force, told the BBC that “As a defeated nation we only teach the history forced on us by the victors. To be an independent nation again we must move away from [that] … take back our true history that we can proud of.” In Tamogami’s “true” history of WWII, Japan was not an aggressor but a liberator fighting to expel white imperialists, Japan did not invade the Korean Peninsula, the Nanjing Massacre never happened, and reports of “comfort women” are fabrications. Last Tamogami placed fourth in the race for governor of Tokyo, finishing with 600,000 votes and nearly a quarter of all votes cast by those in the 20-year-old to 30-year-old age group. And while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a fervent nationalist, does not deny the existence of Korean “comfort women,” he cites absence of evidence of coercion, recruitment, or confinement by the military to tacitly imply “comfort women” were just prostitutes. This is news to surviving “comfort women,” as well as to surviving soldiers that witnessed the atrocities, who report horror stories of kidnapping, rape, confinement, slavery, and assault. These witnesses are all in their 80s and 90s, and as they die the voices of deniers will be free from the eye-witnesses who can contradict their self-serving revisionist delusions.

Read the full story at the BBC.

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