… Or perhaps the Japanese Consulate-General in New York delivered a MOFA demarche, in order to convince McGraw Hill to remove two paragraphs from its college textbook entitled Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, which states that the Japanese army “forcibly recruited, conscripted, and dragooned as many as 200,000 women aged 14 to 20 to serve in military brothels, called ‘comfort houses.” It also says that the Japanese Imperial Army "massacred large numbers of comfort women to cover up the operation.”
One wonders if the diplomats were surprised when McGraw Hill refused to oblige or when the author of those two paragraphs, Professor Herbert “Ziegler, who teaches modern European history at the University of Hawaii,” issued a protest, which in turn was supported by an impressive array of “19 academics from American University as well as Princeton, Columbia and others” who “stand with the many historians in Japan and elsewhere who have worked to bring to light the facts about this and other atrocities of World War II.” Did MOFA not learn the lesson of the full-page WaPo advertisement that Japanese nationalists bought that arguably led to the adoption of the 2007 H.R. resolution condemning Japan?
Koreans and activists and the Americans, the latter whose hearts the Abe administration wants to win over, came to the issue with different contexts—occupation and annexation, human rights, Pearl Harbor, respectively—but have largely converged on a more or less singular narrative. To challenge the facts and nothing but the facts without a compelling narrative of its own, without a roster of credible academics and activists spontaneously pleading one’s case, is like dropping cherry bombs without boots on the ground.
Regardless of where you stand, you have to admit that the Abe administration reminds one more of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria and beyond than the Imperial Navy in the Battle of Tsushima.