A South Korean university professor has been ordered to pay 10 million won — or $8,262 — apiece to nine former “comfort women” who claimed she had defamed them in a book about military brothels in WWII-era Japan. Park Yu-ha’s Comfort Women of the Empire challenges conventional interpretations of “comfort women” as sexual slaves of the Japanese military. Park argues that comfort women were not always recruited through coercion, and sometimes formed “comradelike relationships” with Japanese soldiers. She also asserts that South Korean collaborators and private Japanese recruiters — not the Japanese government — were primarily responsible for soliciting comfort women.
Critics have deemed Park a “pro-Japanese apologist,” while many intellectuals have condemned the legal proceedings against her as a violation of freedom of scholarship. Park has said that she will appeal the court’s decision.
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