Two weeks in the past, The Original Yorker printed my article “Seeking the Correct Fable of the Comfort Ladies folk.” I reported on most modern claims by J. Mark Ramseyer, a Harvard Law College professor and Japanese staunch-reviews pupil, who mentioned that the chronicle of Korean “comfort ladies” pressured into sexual servitude for the Japanese Navy during the 2d World Battle modified into, in his words, “pure fiction.” In a bit of writing printed online by the International Evaluation of Law and Economics, a stamp-reviewed journal, Ramseyer asserted that the ladies had been prostitutes who had freely entered contracts for compensated intercourse work. But, by following investigations into the article by historians of Japan and Korea, and speaking to Ramseyer himself, I stumbled on that he had made a huge number of long-established errors and that he had no evidence of such contracts. “I belief it could presumably perhaps presumably be wintry if shall we regain the contracts” for Korean comfort ladies, Ramseyer informed me. “But I haven’t been ready to find it. Certainly you’re no longer going to find it.”
The history of the comfort ladies has presented a chronic impediment for a few years in the members of the family between Korea and Japan, which had been characterized by cycles in which Japan alternately acknowledges and denies responsibility, and Korea demands apology and rejects resolutions as insufficient. In the most most modern iteration of the battle, in January, a South Korean courtroom ordered Japan to pay compensation to a community of comfort ladies, and Japan declared the staunch inform illegitimate. By making outrageous denialist claims about the history of comfort ladies at this fraught 2nd, Ramseyer attracted outsized consideration in Japan, Korea, and beyond. I had previously written on staunch points round the comfort ladies and had planned to finish so again. As Ramseyer’s colleague on the college at Harvard Law College, I well-known to examine out to understand each his arguments and other students’ findings about them—no longer least because my region as the first Asian-American girl professor and only ethnic Korean to obtain tenure at the law college created expectations that I would dispute on the matter.
My reporting modified into covered and mentioned broadly in South Korea, though it modified into met with relative silence in Japan. (Sadly, several feminine historians whose work uncovered major problems in Ramseyer’s article had been harassed on social media, as has Ramseyer.) Since Ramseyer’s article modified into printed, officials in China, South Korea, and North Korea gain criticized him, and some officials in Japan gain expressed their reinforce. The White Condominium press secretary, Jen Psaki, modified into requested, in the context of U.S. diplomatic members of the family in Asia, about Ramseyer’s claims about comfort ladies, and she promised to “win a nearer survey” and dispute about it with the “nationwide-security crew.” This week, three organizations of historians in Japan, encompassing thousands of Japanese lecturers, issued a detailed statement repudiating Ramseyer’s analysis, saying that they “can’t acknowledge any academic advantage in Ramseyer’s article.” They wrote, “We can’t suppress our astonishment that this text passed thru a scholarly stamp review course of and modified into printed in an academic journal.” The statement expressed sing that the controversy created by the article could presumably perhaps presumably relief anti-Korean sentiment in Japan. The journal that printed the article is considering a retraction.
I felt that it modified into well-known for my article to be translated into Korean and Japanese, because the debate that it explores goes straight to how the 2d World Battle is remembered in every nation, with crucial penalties for their members of the family going ahead. I’m so chuffed that The Original Yorker has now printed translations for Korean and Japanese readers. I am hoping the public discourse on this chapter of history can commerce—in Korea, in Japan, and in the English-speaking world—no longer only to tolerate complexity but additionally to stress the significance of scholarly responsibility and integrity, which is central to the lawful train of academic freedom, specifically when making consequential claims about information and about the past. I am hoping you’ll share the article with interested readers in any of the three languages.