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慰安妇/性奴隶问题的终极解决方案

作者:于滨 杨晗轶/译   来源:亚洲时报/观察者网发布时间:2014/08/22
摘要:所有的文化都有两面性。但绝少有哪种文化像日本文化那样,在善与恶之间展现出如此巨大的差异。“慰安妇-性奴隶”二分法是两大对立面的完美统一,它们将人类多种多样的性行为——从亲密的性爱到暴虐的强奸——统统简化为庞大的战争性爱机器麻木而不懈的运行。

  【距离日本在1945年8月15日向盟军无条件投降已经过去了69年。日本的侵华战争不仅使神州大地山河破碎、生灵涂炭,也给数十万被迫沦为日本军妓的亚洲妇女留下了终身之痛。在各国强烈谴责日军对“性奴”犯下的暴虐罪行之时,日本右翼势力仍不断美化“慰安妇”制度、曲解历史,妄图为罪行翻案。出于对日本右翼罔顾历史、粉饰罪行的愤慨,旅美学者于滨借鉴英国讽刺文学大师乔纳森·斯威夫特力作《一个小小的建议》的文体,通过反讽的笔法指出,根本无法与日本就慰安妇问题达成谅解,只能将日本侵略者永远地钉在历史的耻辱柱上。英语原文载于《亚洲时报》,作者惠赐稿件,观察者网杨晗轶翻译。】

  一个幽灵,被两种话语割裂的幽灵,在东亚游荡。一方面,在国际社会(包括美国)愈发严厉谴责日本在战争中对“性奴”犯下的野蛮罪行;另一方面,在历史修正主义道路上渐行渐远的日本也在回避、否认、乃至维护战时的“慰安妇”政策。双方各执一词,或许我们应该考虑以一种截然不同的方式——一种不仅更具历史性、更有分析力、也更为实用的方式——来兼容包括日本在内的各方不同的价值和利益。

  “牺牲少数,拯救多数”——日本Style!

  日本以外的其他国家正逐渐达成一项共识,即改称“慰安妇”为“性奴隶”。对在蒙骗、诱拐、威逼之下,被迫加入日本庞大军妓营的30万名亚洲妇女来说,这两个词语的区别并不重要,因为她们的一生已被毁掉,无法挽回。但是,这两种截然不同的说法,都只是一面之词,它们忽略了特殊历史背景下人类三边互动中的另外两大人群:一是分布在亚洲各处的数百万皇军;二是数亿保持“完璧之身”的亚洲女性。至少在理论上,多亏了这三十万慰安妇——即小部分女性——牺牲自己,为皇军提供及时的、系统的“服务”,大多数良家妇女才幸免于遭到皇军虎狼之师的性侵。

  1938年1月13日,侵华日军上海派遣军开设了大型慰安场所“杨家宅娱乐所”,其中有大批来自朝鲜少女被充作军妓。到1945年8月日本投降时,注册在案的日军慰安所仅上海就有149家,中国各地及亚洲其他地区的慰安所约有数千,为百万日军服务。

  从1938年初开始,大量慰安所在各地涌现,这是日军为防止大规模奸污、杀害中国妇女而采取的应急措施。从1937年8月至12月,即日本发动全面侵华战争的最初数月中,日本的上海派遣军由上海快速挺进南京,但军妓的慰安服务却严重滞后。这是造成日军在南京残暴屠杀百姓、强奸民女的根本原因之一。民国首都南京陷落后的三个月内,日本皇军屠杀了30万中国人,强奸了2万名妇女。日军士兵不但对许多妇女先奸后杀,而且常以酷虐手段残毁肢体。

  南京大屠杀持续了六个星期,一直到1938年1月底才结束。实际上,南京大屠杀是淞沪会战(1937年8月13日至11月26日)后日本更大规模罪行的尾声。日军攻占南京的次日,美国驻柏林大使发出了一份电报。该电报披露,日本驻德大使曾向美国大使吹嘘,上海派遣军在挺进南京途中,便已杀死50万中国人。如果日本大使的话属实,长江三角洲最美丽的部分——苏州、嘉兴、杭州、绍兴、无锡和常州——正是受日军铁蹄蹂躏最惨重的地区。关于在此过程中惨遭奸杀妇女的数量,历史没有留下记录。如果按南京大屠杀中死者与受强奸者15:1的比例推算,从上海派遣军11月26日从上海开拔,到12月10日兵临南京城下,区区两周内,应有33333名中国妇女遭到强奸。如此的密集的屠戮和奸淫,在战争史上也是骇人听闻的。

  正是为了约束士兵肆意奸淫杀戮,日军才连忙拓展了在华慰安服务。人们不禁要问,如果没有正规的“慰安”服务,在以后八年中,亚洲各地的数百万日军会如何行为呢?

  由于日本政府和军方在日本投降前系统地销毁了大量文件,慰安妇的真实数量和在军中的配置比例永远不得而知。我们保守地估计,就算当年共有20万名慰安妇。根据日本半官方资料估测,每个士兵平均每月造访一次慰安所。以此类推,由于慰安妇的存在,一名普通日本士兵平均每年少强奸12名亚洲妇女,到战争结束时他一共少犯下90起强奸案。也就是说,二战期间350万海外日军由于例常光顾慰安所,整个战争期间有3.15亿起强奸案免于发生。这究竟是一种“成就”还是一桩罪孽,实际上是一个见仁见智的问题。不过,若没有慰安妇们用自己的肉体筑起这道“人盾”,慰安所外上亿亚洲妇女的遭遇恐怕更为悲惨。

  不过,这样的估算未必靠谱。没有证据显示日军士兵在享用慰安服务之后就不会强奸民女,尤其是在针对平民的报复性行动中。1940-42年,日本为报复协助共产党游击队和美军飞行员的中国平民,施行烧光、杀光、抢光的“三光政策”,造成华北地区270万平民死亡;在1942年4月杜立特空袭东京后,从5月至9月的五个月里,日军迁怒于美军飞行员降落地区的平民,有25万中国平民惨遭屠杀。

  非理性之理性?

  笔者无意在此为日本战争暴行开脱,而仅希望全方位考虑历史事实。在这一点上,“恶行之程度”也不无意义。

  如果纯粹以逻辑推论,或许可从2005年诺贝尔经济学奖得主托马斯·谢林提出的“非理性之理性”角度出发,来理解日本的慰安妇政策。这意味着任何一种在他人眼中不合理的行为,甚至违背今日道德标准的暴行,或许并非一无是处。日本的战时军妓制度实际上为数百万日本士兵和亿万亚洲女性或直接、或间接地提供了某种“公共产品”。

  日军起初试图从本土征召大批妓女,但未能如愿以偿,转而从朝鲜征召了数十万少女充作军妓,试图限制侵华日军士兵与中国妇女的直接接触。几十年以后,一项日本资料为日军的这一做法提供了三条原因:首先是为了缓和中国人的反日情绪;其次是为了防止性病在日军中蔓延; 同时还可防止向中国妇女泄露军事机密。

  其实,日本的慰安妇政策背后,至少还有另外两个因素。其一来自日本文化中一种独特的信念或者迷信,即战前性交有护体奇效,反之则易遭遇不测;其次,日本军方批准的军妓制度,是日本国内合法公娼的自然延伸。从19世纪末开始,日本走上了现代化和军事化道路,在通过中日甲午战争(1894-1895年)和日俄战争(1904-05)在海外军事扩张的同时,也向许多日占地区“出口”唐行小姐(唐行きさん,字面意思是“去中国的小姐”,实际上是客居他乡的日本妓女)。

  抛开这些日本文化特有的信仰和习俗,1938年的日本军方或许更加关注本国在南京大屠杀中受损的国际形象。时任国际红十字会南京委员会主席的美国牧师约翰·马吉,用他的16毫米摄影机拍下了一百多分钟的纪录片,呈现了男子被日本兵当街斩首、妇女被强奸、尸横遍野的惨状。

  日军在南京的屠杀和强奸,甚至让德国纳粹党南京地区负责人、南京国际安全区主席约翰·拉贝忍无可忍。拉贝未能说服日本军方停止暴行,便在南京城里到处游荡,试图靠一己之力阻止暴行。日军在哪里强奸妇女,他就去哪里救人。有一次,拉贝甚至从一名中国少女身上硬是拖走了一名正在施暴的日军士兵。

  日本皇军在南京的暴行甚至惊动了上海派遣军司令松井石根大将。由于身体抱恙,松井在暴行刚开始时并不在南京前线,顶替他的是裕仁天皇的叔父朝香宫鸠彦王,是他下达了“杀掉全部俘虏”的命令。据报道,松井曾对其下属说:“我现在认识到,我们已经在不知不觉中对这个城市造成了最严重的影响……给当地人民带来这样的悲剧,我个人非常遗憾……对这一百万无辜者我深表同情……”日军在南京烧杀奸淫的消息不胫而走,也许出于对国际舆论的担心,松井曾私下向一名美国记者承认:“日军可能是当今世界最不守纪律的军队。”

  彼时彼刻,慰安妇制度的快速推广,至少在“恶”与“极恶”之间,建立了一个“缓冲层”。

  鄙人之拙见

  以上的理性论证可能扯得太远,笔者在此提出一套切实可行的方案,来解决慰安妇问题。

  首先,正如笔者所指出的,各方应认真考虑日本的“非理性之理性”作为,以此设立互相沟通的共同基础。与其批评日本的战时政策,我们更应当重视慰安妇服务的结果:它使数亿亚洲女性免遭日军士兵肆无忌惮的残暴强奸。

  平心而论,日本为广大亚洲女性的福祉还是有所贡献的,不管是有意还是无意。为此,我们应该致力查询并奖励那些曾经策划、执行、管理和享用过战时慰安妇制度的日本人。1945年日本投降至今已有69年,不过多亏日本人的长寿(约比韩国人均寿命长三年),今天我们仍可以如愿以偿。根据目前朝鲜慰安妇3636:1的存活率(20万慰安妇如今还有55人健在)来推算,日本投降时海外驻兵共计350万,其中应尚有约1000人在世。鉴于慰安所在战时比比皆是,这些老兵多多少少应该都有临幸慰安妇的经验。

  如果这些老兵不愿出面,可以通过榜样激励的作用,鼓励他们光明正大地走出阴影。例如,曾任日本驻菲律宾海军中尉的日本前首相中曾根康弘在回忆录中称,他“在日军士兵开始强奸(当地)女性后,煞费苦心地建立了一处慰安所。”现任首相安倍晋三的家族与战时政府有着广泛而紧密的联系,相信他有能力推动这一进程,让更多日本二战老兵“出台”。

  心理学家,历史学家和家庭成员应该给予那些“出台”的日本老兵最大的援助,帮助他们克服羞耻心,以重构他们在战时与慰安妇接触的经验。他们口述的历史将更准确地反映日本士兵造访慰安所的频率。从日本的家电、汽车、寿司、捕鲸、A片、切腹、神风敢死队、细菌战(臭名远扬的侵华日军731部队)等方方面面,我们可以看出,日本的完美主义文化和对细节的重视,必将有益于这种遵循科学精神的努力。在慰安妇问题上,我们可以用更多的科学数据来质疑日军士兵月均造访一次慰安所的估值——考虑到大多数年轻人处于他们性冲动最旺盛的青年时期,这个估值似乎太低。事实上,他们造访慰安所的次数越频繁,遭强暴的当地妇女就越少;日本为这些从西方帝国主义手中夺来的“解放区”的和平与幸福所做出的贡献也就越大。

  部分老兵“出台”之日,也应是他们与昔日慰安妇们重叙旧情之时。如若这些耄耋老人行动不便,“脸书”等社交媒体应可派上用场。如果岁月还不足以抚平慰安妇们对老兵对的积怨,或许这样的方式能够消除误解,帮助她们挥别残存的苦涩。

  老兵们如果能“出台”,与数十年前的慰安妇再度聚首,甚至可能成就一段类似乔治·希克斯笔下(《慰安妇:二战中日本强迫妇女卖淫的残暴制度》)的旧情重燃的佳话——由于战时法规严格、环境苛刻,慰安妇和士兵间极少保有这样的关系。一旦真有此类“孽缘”被曝光,应迅速将其改编为小说、肥皂剧、动漫——尤其是广受欢迎的“变态”成人H动漫。

  好莱坞一向对二战时的德国不依不饶,但对日本却总是高抬贵手。这一次,好莱坞应该不失时机地把这些故事搬上大屏幕,保证会比《蝴蝶夫人》和《西贡小姐》更加催人泪下。当然,类似的电影绝对不能由奥利弗·斯通来导演。2013年,他在广岛“原子弹爆炸纪念日”上的讲话中,道出了日本遭受原子弹轰炸的根本原因:偷袭珍珠港,南京大屠杀,“进入”满洲,殖民朝鲜等;给这一代日本人的纯净心灵造成了不必要的冲击和震撼。

  营销这些娱乐产品产生的利润可用于多种用途,这包括在世界各地为慰安妇建立博物馆和树立雕像,最好能通过雕塑再现她们与昔日主顾深情缠绵的姿态。与此同时,日本政府应将慰安妇作为日本“对人类共同遗产做出杰出文化贡献”的历史瑰宝,向联合国教科文组织世界遗产委员会提出申遗。继日本最近向联合国提出为神风敢死队——他们悲壮殉国的英雄事迹让包括安倍首相在内的越来越多的日本人为之动情——申遗之后,下一步理应轮到慰安妇。如果慰安妇申遗失败,日本或许应在2020年东京奥运会开幕式上,浓墨重彩地演绎日本男性和亚洲女性之间那种“粗暴之爱”。

  容我赘言几句,当前趋势显示,日本将重释、修订或否认限制军力和军事行动的和平宪法,那么未来日本必会在海外部署兵力。所以,日本防卫省应认真考虑将慰安妇文化遗产与时俱进,作为日本武装力量走出国门不可或缺的组成部分。

  尽管本人用心良苦,估算科学,建议合理,可能仍有心智正常者无法接受我的论证,这是完全可以理解的。鲁思·本尼迪克特(《菊与刀》作者)经典地提炼出日本民族极端矛盾的双重性,如果上文包含的智识训练能够进一步拓宽道德和分析的边界,则不失为幸事:

  日本人矛盾到了极致,他们既好战又温良;既黩武又爱美;既粗野又礼貌;既死板又变通;既顺从又不驯;既忠诚又忤逆;既勇敢又怯懦;既喜新又守旧。

  所有的文化都有两面性。但绝少有哪种文化像日本文化那样,在善与恶之间展现出如此巨大的差异。“慰安妇-性奴隶”二分法是两大对立面的完美统一,它们将人类多种多样的性行为——从亲密的性爱到暴虐的强奸——统统简化为庞大的战争性爱机器麻木而不懈的运行。即使本尼迪克特,也必将震惊于日本人的这种超凡本领。在人类行为史上,这确是空前绝后。如果这份独特的记录无法存在于日本的集体记忆中,那将是一个巨大的缺憾。

 

A Modest Proposal

—For the Final Solution of the Comfort Women/Sex Slave Issue

YU Bin, Asia Times online, August 7, 2014

[Asian Times: The author's preferred title for this article, its length precluding its use on our front page, is "A Modest Proposal - For the Final Solution of the Comfort Women/Sex Slave Issue". The phrase "final solution" is deliberately used here to reveal both the horror of the issue and satiric nature of the essay, similar to Jonathan Swift's treatise centuries ago. This article was previously posted under the headline: "Healing the 'comfort women' rift". ]

A specter is haunting East Asia—the specter of a steadily growing divide between the mounting condemnation of Japan’s wartime “sex slave” brutality on one hand,1 and an increasingly revisionist Japan to deflect, deny or defend its “comfort women” policy on the other.2 With the polarization of the issue, a radically different approach—which is not only more historical and analytical but also practical—should be considered to accommodate the values and interests of all sides, including those of Japan.

—“So much Owed by So Many to So Few”: Japanese Style!

An emerging consensus outside Japan is to redefine the term “comfort women” as “sex slaves.” For the 300,000 young Asian women who were duped, abducted, or coerced into Japan’s vast network of managed prostitution,3 the difference between the two phrases means very little because their life was forever altered and mostly ruined. The dichotomy, however, misses two vital pieces in a unique historical triangle of human interaction: millions of the Emperor’s soldiers in Asia and hundreds of millions of “untouched” Asian women. Thanks to the timely and systemic “service,” or sacrifice, by a fraction of women at the time, these two large human groups were mostly separated, at least in theory.

On 13 January 1938, the headquarters of the Japanese Shanghai Expeditionary Forces (SEF) opened a large comfort station named Yangjiazhai Entertainment Station in Shanghai, which employed, for the first time, a large number of young Korean women. By the time of Japan’s surrender in August 1945, Shanghai had 149 registered comfort stations for the Japanese military, while several thousand comfort stations were in operation across China and beyond, serving millions of Japanese soldiers.4

The rapid expansion of the comfort stations from early 1938 onward was an emergency measurement to curtail the widespread rape and murder of Chinese women. In the first few months of Japan’s all-out invasion of China during August-December 1937, the fast advance of the SEF from Shanghai to Nanking was not accompanied by adequate comforting, or military prostitution, services. This was one of the root causes for the brutal killing and raping of civilians. For three months following the fall of the Chinese capital city of Nanking in early December 1937, the Emperor’s soldiers killed 300,000 Chinese and raped an estimated 20,000 women. Many of those women were killed immediately after being raped, often through explicit mutilation.5

The Rape of Nanking, which lasted for more than six weeks until the end of January of 1938, was actually the final phase of a much larger scale of Japanese atrocities after the Battle of Shanghai (13 August to 26 November 1937). According to a declassified telegraph sent by the U.S. ambassador to Germany in Berlin one day after the Japanese army occupied Nanking, the US ambassador heard the Japanese Ambassador in Germany boasting that Japanese army killed 500,000 Chinese as the SEF advanced from Shanghai to Nanking.6 If this was true, this most beautiful part of the Yangtze River valley—Suzhou, Jiaxing, Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Wuxi and Changzhou—was disproportionally devastated by the Japanese troops racing towards Nanking. There was no record for the number of women raped. If Nanking’s 15:1 ratio (300,000 killed and 20,000 raped) is applied here, about 33,333 Chinese women were raped between Shanghai and Nanking in a matter of just two weeks between the end of the SEF’s Shanghai operation on November 26 and its siege of Nanking on December 10, 1937. Such a killing and raping spree is yet to be rivaled by any other military in war history.

It was against this backdrop of random and indiscriminate rape and murder of Chinese civilians that the Japanese military raced to expand its comfort services in China. One wonders how millions of Japanese military personnel across Asia would have behaved without proper “comfort” in the next eight years of war.

The real number of comfort women and the ratio with Japanese troops can never be established,7 given the systematic destruction of documents by the Japanese government and military authorities on the eve of Japan’s surrender.8 Let’s take the low estimate of 200,000 comfort women.9 A semi-official Japanese source estimated that on average a soldier went to a comfort station once a month.10 Statistically, this means 12 Asian women would NOT be raped per year and about 90 rapes would not be committed by a particular Japanese soldier over the duration of his overseas deployment till August 1945. This, in turn, means a total of 315 million rapes would be “avoided” thanks to the visits to comfort stations by the 3.5 million military personnel outside Japan’s homeland throughout the war.11 It is anybody’s opinion to consider this an “accomplishment” or an atrocity. Life for hundreds of millions of Asian women outside the “comfort zone” could have been much worse without this human (comfort women) “shield”.

The math exercise, however, should be treated with caution. There is no evidence that Japanese military personnel would not rape local women after visiting comfort stations, particularly in punitive operations against civilians who were believed to collaborate with either the Communist-led guerrillas or allied forces (Doolittle Raid pilots). For example, Japan’s “Three All” operations (kill all, loot all and destroy all) of 1940-42 killed 2.7 million civilians in northern China. In the five months between May and September of 1942, 250,000 Chinese were slaughtered in the areas where the Doolittle pilots landed. 12

— Rationality of Irrationality?

By no means does this author try to rationalize Japan’s brutal war policy. My purpose is simply to take into account this historical fact of life in its totality. In this regard, the degree of evilness does matter.

In pure logical inference, Japan’s comfort women practice can be comprehended as a case of what the 2005 Nobel Prize of Economics winner Thomas Schelling calls “the rationality of irrationality.”13 This means an act—no matter how irrational or even brutal according to others’ opinion or today’s moral standards—may have its own “merits.” Japan’s wartime brothel system actually provided some “public goods”: directly for millions of Japanese military personnel and indirectly for hundreds of millions of Asian women.

Decades later, a Japanese source offered three reasons for drafting hundreds of thousands of young women, mostly from Korea, following the initial but failed effort to recruit a large number of Japanese prostitutes: to prevent a worsening of anti-Japanese feelings in China; to prevent the spread of venereal diseases among its troops; and to avoid leaking military secrets as a result of contact with Chinese women.14 All tried to limit the contact with local women.

At least two additional factors were behind Japan’s comfort women policy. One was a culturally specific belief, or superstition, that sex before going into battle worked as a charm against injury, and sexual deprivation was considered to make one accident-prone.15 Secondly, the Japanese military’s sanctioned brothel system was a natural extension of Japan’s state-organized and licensed prostitution at home. As a modernized and militarized Japan started to expand its military presence outside its homeland from the late 19th century onward, Japanese karayuki-san (唐行きさん, meaning “Ms. Gone Abroad” or travelling prostitutes) were also “exported” to many Japan-occupied areas. This was done during the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). Both wars were fought in China, hence the literally meaning of karayuki-san as “Ms. Gone-to-China.”

These culturally specific beliefs and practices aside, the Japanese military in early 1938 was perhaps more concerned about its tarnished international image in the midst of the Rape of Nanking.16 American priest John Magee, then chairman of Nanjing Committee of the International Red Cross Organization, used his 16mm movie camera to document more than a hundred minutes of film: men being beheaded by the Japanese soldiers, women raped, and corpses lying everywhere.17

The killing and raping in Nanking even sickened John Rabe, the leader of the German Nazi party in the area and head of the International Safety Zone in Nanking. When he failed to persuade Japanese military authorities to stop the atrocities, Rabe began to roam the city, trying to prevent the atrocities himself. He'd go anywhere raping was taking place. On one occasion, Rabe even lifted a Japanese soldier off a young girl.18

The atrocities committed by the Emperor’s soldiers in Nanking even alarmed General Matsui, commander of the SEF, who was not present in the early stage of the atrocities because of illness and was temporarily replaced by an uncle of Emperor Hirohito, Prince Asaka Yasuhiko, who issued an order to “kill all captives.”19 Matsui reportedly said to his subordinates: “I now realize that we have unknowingly wrought a most grievous effect on this city… I personally feel sorry for the tragedies to the people… I offer my sympathy, with deep emotion, to a million innocent people…” Perhaps genuinely worried about the wide dissemination around the world about the killing and raping spree in Nanking, Matsui confided to an American reporter that “the Japanese army is probably the most undisciplined army in the world today.”20

The rapid expansion of the comfort system at this point was, at least, a soft “cushion” between the bad and the worst.

— Some Modest Proposals

After having perhaps digressed a bit too far into intellectual reasoning, it is time to offer practical solutions to resolve the comfort women issue.

First, as I have already observed, Japan’s “rationality of irrationality” should be seriously considered as the basis for reciprocity between various parties. Instead of criticizing Japan’s wartime policy, one should not ignore the outcome of Japan’s comfort service: hundreds of millions of Asian women may have avoided being randomly and brutally raped.

For Japan’s contribution to the safety and wellbeing of Asian women, intentionally or not, efforts should be made to identify and award those who planned, executed, managed and utilized the wartime comfort system. Sixty-nine years after 1945, this is still possible, thanks to Japan’s extraordinarily long life expectancy (almost three years more than that of South Korea). Based on the 3636:1 ratio for the surviving Korean comfort women (200,000:55) at this moment, there should be about 1,000 WWII veterans still alive in Japan out of 3.5 million stationed abroad in August 1945. Given the ubiquitous comforting services, most of these veterans should have had some experience of the wartime comfort stations.

In case veterans are hesitant to come forward, role models can be used to energize the coming-out process. For example, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, then a first lieutenant in the Japanese Navy in the Philippines, claimed in his memoir that he “took great pains to set up a comfort station after Japanese soldiers began “assaulting (indigenous) women.”21 Prime Minister Abe, whose family has broad and deep connections with the wartime government, should be able to facilitate this process.

For those “coming-out” veterans, assistance should be provided by psychologists, historians and family members for overcoming any sense of shame in order to reconstructing their wartime experience with comfort women. Their personal accounts will provide more accurate estimates for the frequency that soldiers visited the comfort stations. This scientific effort can be aided enormously by Japan’s perfectionist culture and attention to details: be in the areas of home electronics, automobiles, sushi, or whale killing, AV, ritual suicide (seppuku), kamikaze bombing, biological warfare (by its notorious Unit 731 in China), etc. In the comfort women issue, more scientific data may test the validity of Japan’s one-visit-per-month claim, which seems too low for majority of those young men in their prime sexual age. Indeed, the more frequently they visited comfort stations, the fewer local women they would rape; hence greater contribution for peace and wellbeing in those areas Japan “entered,” or “liberated” from West ern imperialists.22

As soon as some veterans start to come forward, actions should be taken to reunite former comfort women with their former clients. Social media outlets, such as Facebook, should be utilized in case of physical difficulties of these seniors. This may help dispel misunderstandings and overcome lingering bitterness, if passage of time is not enough to neutralize such feelings.

The coming-out campaign may even help rekindle some past affection—albeit extremely rare because of strict wartime regulations and harsh environment—between some former comfort women and their clients, as described by Hicks’ 1994 book. Should such “dangerous liaisons” be discovered, they should be quickly turned into novels, TV soaps, and anime, particularly of the popular adult-content “Hentai” variety.

Hollywood—which has been Germany heavy and Japan light—should lose no time in putting to the big screen these stories that guarantee to be more tear-jerking than Madame Butterfly and Miss Saigon. This should be done, of course, without Oliver Stone, whose 2013 speech at the annual Hiroshima commemoration (available on YouTube) unnecessarily shock-and-awed the innocent mind of the current generation of Japanese to the root causes of the atomic blasts: Pearl Harbor, the Nanking Massacre, the Manchuria “entrance,” Korean colonization, etc.

The profits from marketing these entertainment products can be used for multiple purposes, including setting up museums and statues of comfort women around the world, hopefully with their former clients together in an affectionate posture. Meanwhile, the Japanese government should present this treasure of Japanese history to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as a case of “outstanding cultural importance to the common heritage of humanity.” This will be a logical step following Japan’s recent submission to the same UN committee of those Kamikaze suicide pilots, whose tragically heroic actions are winning the hearts and minds of a growing number of Japanese including Prime Minister Abe.23 Should this application fail, the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may prominently feature such a “tough love” between Japanese men and Asian women.

Last if not least, this heritage should be seriously considered by Japan’s Ministry of Defense as an integral component in the Japanese forces, whose future mission would inevitably include overseas deployment given the current trend in Japan to reinterpret, revise or reject the constitutional constraints on its military.

For all my good intention, scientific estimates and reasonable suggestions, the above reasoning could still be unacceptable to people with a normal mindset, which is perfectly understandable. Nonetheless, I would be pleased if this intellectual exercise could stretch the moral and analytical limits for Ruth Benedict’s classic juxtaposing of the bipolar behavioral patterns in Japan:

The Japanese are, to the highest degree, both aggressive and unaggressive, both militaristic and aesthetic, both insolent and polite, rigid and adaptable, submissive and resentful of being pushed around, loyal and treacherous, brave and timid, conservative and hospitable to new ways.24

All cultures have two sides. Few, if any, exhibit such a huge gap between the good and evil. And the comfort-women-vs.-sex-slaves dichotomy was such a perfect unity of opposites that even Benedict would be surprised by Japan’s extraordinary ability to reduce wide range of human sexuality—from intimate lovemaking to violent rape—to mere mechanical and tireless operation in its gigantic wartime sex machine. It would be a great loss if such a unique record of human behavior finds no place in Japan’s collective narrative.

Yu Bin is senior fellow of Shanghai Association of American Studies.

References:

1 See Park Hyun, “Former comfort women have first official meeting at the White House,”, The Hankyoreh, August 6, 2014, http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/650066.html; Stephanie Nebehay, “U.N. panel tells Japan to compensate ‘comfort women’,”Reuters, July 24, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/24/us-japan-sexcrimes-idUSKBN0FT1F520140724; Christine Ahn, “Seeking truth for 'comfort women',” Asia Times online, June 26, 2014, www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/KOR-02-260614.html; “Congressman Mike Honda Asks State Department to Act on ‘Comfort Women’ Issue, Letter asks for immediate attention, meeting with Department,” Press Release February 4, 2014, http://honda.house.gov/news/press-releases/congressman-mike-honda-asks-state-department-to-act-on-comfort-women-issue; “Sex slavery an ‘indescribable’ wrong: Murayama,” The Japan Times, February 12, 2014, www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/02/12/national/sex-slavery-an-indescribable-wrong-murayama/#.UwCa6fvgcoR; In September 2013, Taiwan released a documentary titled Song of the Reed about six former comfort women in Taiwan, “Documentary on Taiwan's 'comfort women' premieres,” http://www.ecns.cn/cns-wire/2013/09-29/82825.shtml.

2 In March 2014, the Abe government said that it would water down the Kono Statement “if new findings emerge.” In a meeting by the UN Human Rights Committee on 15-17 July 2014, the Japanese delegation continued to deny its responsibilities for the comfort women issue by insisting that the issue was resolved and those women were not sex slaves. See “Roundup: Japan questioned on ‘comfort women’ in Human Rights Committee,” Xinhua, July 17, 2014, http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2014-07/17/content_32973323.htm.

3 “Sex slaves put Japan on trial,” BBC, December 8, 2000, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1061599.stm.

4 George Hicks, The Comfort Women: Japan’s Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War (W.W. Norton & Company, 1994), p. 16; “Secrets of the First Japanese Comfort Stations in the World,” People’s Daily online, June 16, 2005, http://world.people.com.cn/GB/14549/3465588.html

5 “A Debt of Blood: An Eyewitness Account of the Barbarous Acts of the Japanese Invaders in Nanjing,” February 7, 1938, Dagong Daily, Wuhan edition Museums.cnd.org, http://museums.cnd.org/njmassacre/njm-tran/njm-ch10.htm.

6 “U.S. archives reveal war massacre of 500,000 Chinese by Japanese army,” Xinhua, December 12, 2007, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-12/12/content_7236237.htm.

7 Chinese scholar Su Zhiliang, for example, argued that there were at least 400,000 comfort women during the 14 years of Japanese war in Asia (1931-45), including many Chinese women. See Luan Fan, “‘Comfort Stations’ in More Than a Dozen Countries Brutalizing Hundreds of Thousands of ‘Comfort Women’,” Global Times, June 17, 2005, p. 23, http://world.people.com.cn/GB/14549/3481377.html.

8 For example, a decrypted message sent by the Japanese Chief of Staff of the 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet on 18 August 1945 (three days after the surrender) reads: “on 1st August the personnel employed in connection with Japanese naval comforts at Singapore were appointed civilian employees of 101st hospital. Most of the girls were made auxiliary nurses. Other commands under 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet are to conform.” On 20 August 1945, the Japanese Civil Administration Department from Makassar, Indonesia ordered that comfort women were to be attached to local hospitals as nurses and “when this message is understood, burn it.” Hicks, op.cit., p. 8.

9 Various evidences indicate a wide distribution between 29:1 and 100:1.See Hicks, op.cit., p. 19.

10 Digital Museum: The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women’s Fund, http://www.awf.or.jp/e1/facts-01.html.

11 Reports of General MacArthur: MacArthur in Japan: The Occupation: Military Phase, Volume I Supplement (Washington D.C.: 1994 edition), p. 117.

12 See “Doolittle Raid,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doolittle_Raid.

13 Thomas Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (Harvard University Press, 1960), p. 16.

14 Digital Museum: The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women’s Fund, http://www.awf.or.jp/e1/facts-01.html.

15 Hicks, op.cit., pp. 28, 32-33.

16 Hicks, op.cit., pp. 45-46.

17 John Magee, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Magee_%28priest%29#The_Film.

18 John Rabe, The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe (Vintage, 2000).

19 Chen, World War II database, cited from “Prince Asaka appointed as commander,” in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_Massacre#cite_ref-Chen.2C_World_War_II_Database_36-0.

20 Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking (Penguin, 1997), pp. 51-52.

21 Reiji Yoshida, “State mum on Nakasone’s war brothel,” The Japan Times, March 17, 2007, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2007/03/17/news/state-mum-on-nakasones-war-brothel/#.UwQW2PvgcoQ.

23 Jeff Kingston, “Pan-Asian dreams: The Greater East Asia Conference,” The Japan Times, November 9, 2013, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/11/09/commentary/pan-asian-dreams-the-greater-east-asia-conference/#.U7eMufua9bw.

23 Yuka Hayashi, “As Tensions Rise, Pacifist Japan Marches Into a Military Revival,” The Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324867904578592824100470576.

24 Yuka Hayashi, “As Tensions Rise, Pacifist Japan Marches Into a Military Revival,” The Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324867904578592824100470576.

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