Jiwoo Kim | CONF 340 | GMU
The current Korea-Japan relationship is so bad that it seems like there is no breakthrough. Issues of Japanese military sexual slavery, Dokdo, and the Yasukuni shrine which are the sensitive topics between Korea and Japan are unfolding all at once. The root cause of these problems is the distortion of the Japanese government’s perception of history, and the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery issue best illustrates this cause. The conflict over the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery issue has not ended, even at this point in the 21st century.
Japanese Military Sexual Slavery System
The Japanese Military Sexual Slavery system refers to crimes that the Japanese military committed from the 1930s to 1945 when Japan was in World War II. During that period, the Japanese military systematically set up ‘military comfort stations’ by recruiting women from colonized and occupied countries and forcing them to serve as sex slaves.
During the Shanghai Incident in 1932, rape by Japanese soldiers got more and more severe, and this led to an extreme anti-Japanese sentiment in occupied regions. Also, Japanese soldiers started to get a venereal infection, which interfered with the progress of the war. As a result, the ‘military comfort station’ system was established, and women from colonized regions were drafted against their will. According to the reports on the victims registered with the Korean government, the age of victims ranged from 11 to 27. Most of them were drafted by abduction and job fraud.
The conflict between Korea and Japan over the issue of “Japanese Military Sexual Slavery”
The Korean and Japanese government failed to solve the sexual slavery problem even though prolonged effort over two decades. Postwar compensation has been a diplomatic hot potato among Northeast Asian countries. Specifically, in the negotiation of the Korean-Japanese naturalization of 1965, several problems such as forced laborer, victims of the atomic bomb, sex slavery were unsolved. After sex slave victims testified Japan’s wartime atrocities in 1991, civic groups, journalists, the ministry of foreign affairs, and the public engaged to argue on those complex issues. Due to the failure of solving those complex issues by government and judiciary sectors, the Korean civic groups and sex slave victims appeal to the international court and arena.
The importance of resolving this conflict
The Japanese Military Sexual Slavery is concerned with the largest human rights matter because Military sexual slavery is a war crime and a crime against humanity according to International Law. Also, solving this problem is important for the peace order in Northeast Asia because South Korea and Japan should not only work closely together over the North Korean nuclear and missile issues but also play a central role in establishing peace order in Northeast Asia. Therefore, the restoration of Korea-Japan relations can bring peace to the international community. To resolve this conflict, the two countries should pursue mutual understanding and historical reconciliation based on a clear perception of historical facts. Therefore, educating future generations about the right history can be one important way to resolve this conflict. To restore the honor of the victims and enhance the people’s awareness of history and human rights, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family opened the ‘e-Museum of the Victims of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery.’ This website can be effectively utilized for history education and peace-building services.
E-Museum of ‘the Victims of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery’
The resource provides various related materials and educational content, including general information to help understand Japanese Military Sexual Slavery. The resource is structured to expand understanding to the international community on the issue without being limited to South Korea by providing materials serviced in English, Japanese and Chinese. Also, this resource can be adapted for all age groups in various countries, but is especially suitable for primary and secondary school students in Korea, as it is designed to be used as a history textbook for them.
*Ways to use this resource: Educating the next generation
One of the ideal ways to integrate this e-Museum into the educational context is through formal education of school institutions. Educational institutions can systematically use this resource for educational purposes. More sophisticated planning will be needed to educate students and people outside of Korea.
- To educate Korean students
The resource can be effectively used in strengthening education for elementary, middle and high school students in response to Japan’s distortion of history. Korean website offers educational materials and videos for each age range from elementary school students to high school students.
Educational materials provided on the Korean homepage: http://hermuseum.go.kr/main/PageLink.do?thirdMenuNo=&subMenuNo=030700&menuNo=030000&link=forward:/PageContent.do&tempParam1=&tabNo=2
1-1 Free textbook
[To know exactly what Japanese military sexual slavery (is)] is an educational textbook developed by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. The textbook, “to know exactly what Japanese military sexual slavery” is a free one that can be downloaded from the online site. The textbook contains major issues to help us understand the whole issue. It consists of six types of powerpoint materials that could conduct in classes according to the level of elementary, middle and high school students, and workbooks that are used for students’ study and activities. The government needs to provide support for the classes and teacher training so that related history education can be actively conducted in front of education sites by utilizing such materials.
1-2 A group special lecture
This resource supports special group lectures related to the issue of ” Japanese Military Sexual Slavery”. Educational institutions can apply for these group special classes to educate students. It is only supported in Korea, and the organization should pay for the preparation of educational venues and the fees for instructors. Educational applications/question can be made by e-mail or phone.
(e-mail: hermuseum@Koreakr. / 02-2100-6428)
For more information : https://www.crezone.net/?programs=%EC%9D%BC%EB%B3%B8%EA%B5%B0%EC%9C%84%EC%95%88%EB%B6%80-%ED%94%BC%ED%95%B4%EC%9E%90-e-%EC%97%AD%EC%82%AC%EA%B4%80-%EC%9D%BC%EB%B3%B8%EA%B5%B0%EC%9C%84%EC%95%88%EB%B6%80-%EB%AC%B8%EC%A0%9C-%EB%8B%A8&tab_act=listing_description
2. To educate international students
To use this resource to educate international students, a variety of language support and content supplementation are first required. Although English-language sites exist, English-language websites do not have the same educational materials and contents posted on Korean online sites, and there are many services such as group special lectures only supported in Korea. So far, for example, only 10 victims’ testimonies have been translated into the English-language website of the e-history. In addition to Chinese and English, there should be a variety of language support and sufficient and diverse content delivery as much as Korea so that people around the world can view the resources and refer to them in education. It is also necessary to provide appropriate educational materials for international students.
*The following resources can also be used as educational material for international students to understand the problem more easily.
An effective way for educators to use this resource for international students is to suggest a link between the ‘Japanese military sexual slavery ‘ with a country’s current issues. Japanese military sexual slavery issue has many connected themes such as patriarchal system, colonization, imperialism, and misogyny. Also, unfortunately, these problems are still ongoing in so many countries. Therefore, linking ‘Japanese military sexual slavery to the country’s problems will be a good foundation for international students to understand.
For example, in Uganda and Congo, the Japanese military sexual slavery issue can be incorporated into the issue of wartime sexual violence. Also, the State of California proposes to teach Japanese military sexual slavery issue for women’s rights issues, while the San Francisco Board of Education proposes to teach it concerning the issue of women’s rights. Through the correlation between ‘Japanese military sexual slavery ‘ and facing problems, educators can make this resource a very effective educational tool.
Resources used for this article