Ending the 'comfort women' euphemism

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - What are the right words to describe Asian women who were forced into sex slavery for Japanese troops during World War II? Should they be called former "comfort women" as they have been so far, or be referred to as just "sex slaves?"

The terminology has become a new point of contention in the long-standing controversy over Japan's wartime sex crimes, creating a subtle rift between Japan and its key ally the U.S.

It started Monday with a news report that U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton ordered the use of the term "enforced sex slaves" instead of the euphemism in her department. U.S. officials neither confirmed nor denied the report.

The next day, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told reporters that officials were verifying whether Clinton really did give the order to change the terminology.

"If that is confirmed, I will tell her that it is an incorrect expression and explain to her the steps that we have taken, including an apology by the prime minister and the creation of a fund to support women in Asia in order to help comfort women," he said.

A separate news report suggested Wednesday that Japan has ordered its diplomats in the U.S. to step up efforts to block the planned construction of monuments there for the victims of Japan's forced sex slavery by Korean-American groups.

The issue of the victims has been highly controversial, hindering diplomatic ties between Seoul and Tokyo for years. Korean groups claim that thousands of women from Korea, China and the Philippines were drafted to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. They demand a sincere official apology from the Japanese government.

Japan, however, claims it has done enough already.

They appear to fear that Clinton's stance on the use of the term to describe the victims could be a sign that the U.S., which has so far avoided getting involved in the historical dispute, may side with Korea and other Asian countries on the issue.

The term "comfort women" is widely used in Korea, both by the government and the victims themselves.

"It is an established term in Korea and is also used in laws. But if victims and their supporters want it to be changed, we will consider it," an official in Seoul said.

Kim Dong-hee, secretary general for a Seoul-based civic group Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sex Slavery by Japan, said that in Korean, the euphemism carries the connotation that they are the victims of forced sex slavery.

But, when translated into English, it seems to lose that meaning.

  • Treasure trove of British newsreels reveals Top Gear's ancestors 19 minutes ago
    Treasure trove of British newsreels reveals Top Gear's ancestors

    Long after television grew to dominate American and British homes, newsreel producer British Pathé kept at it, documenting the news of the day until finally ceasing production of new short films in 1970 after 60 years of effort. Last week, all of British Pathé's 85,000 films were put online — including dozens of fascinating, rare and often weird car films that resemble nothing so much as a jet-age Top Gear.

  • Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete 1 hour 32 minutes ago
    Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete

    During this vile, never-ending winter, motorists had three options to keep their cars clean: Shell out on regular car washes; slave away in the cold, wind and snow washing it yourself, or screw it and just drive a dirty car. I, like many, chose the last option. But if only I'd been able to test Nissan's self-cleaning car, all my troubles would have washed away.

  • Popular hot yoga myths debunked 8 hours ago
    Popular hot yoga myths debunked

    What’s the hottest new workout taking the world by storm? That would be hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga. Conducted in a heated room with sweltering temperatures of about 40°C (or approximately 104° Fahrenheit) and 40 per cent humidity, … Continue reading →

  • Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern
    Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern

    A new picture of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who is now 90 years old, has drawn concern from people on Singapore's internet space.

  • Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls
    Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls

    After being photographed at work in Jurong pooling used oil near coffee shops, 50-year-old Valerie Sim has been struggling to keep her family afloat. Web portals STOMP and The Real Singapore published pictures of her in February, triggering a witch hunt for others like her and comments from readers like “Who knows if they’ll use it as cooking oil?” Some readers also said they filed police reports against her and other people they believed were doing the same thing she was.

  • I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind.
    I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind.

    I have committed a taboo – I have tendered my resignation without securing the next job. The reactions to the announcement were varied but they all pretty much hint at a deep sense of disapproval. “Why did you do that?” It was as if I had renounced my faith. “What are you going to do from now on?” Almost as though a misfortune had incapacitated me. “What does your family have to say about it?” As if I had offered to cook for the next family dinner. I was, and still am, certain of my reasons and motivations for the resignation. However the response I received got me thinking about why people are so concerned about the gaps in their careers. The developed world evolved from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy to the service age, then to the knowledge economy in the late 1990s and 2000s marked by breakthroughs in technological innovations and competition for innovation with new products and processes that develop from the research community. According to The Work Foundation, the knowledge economy is driven by the demand for higher value added goods and services created by more sophisticated, more discerning, and better educated consumers and ... The post I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind. appeared first on Vulcan Post.