In the latest flare-up over Japan’s ongoing handling of “comfort women” during World War II, camera company Nikon Corp. has stirred controversy by cancelling a planned exhibition on the subject by South Korean photographer Ahn Se-hong. The exhibit was to have been shown at the company’s Shinjuku salon from June 26 to July 9.
Ahn Se-hong said an official from Nikon called him last week and told him the exhibit would be cancelled, but did not give him any reason.
A Nikon spokesman, who declined to be named, told JRT (the blog Japan Real Time), that “considering various circumstances in a comprehensive way, we have come to decide to cancel it. This is all we can say.” He did confirm Japanese press reports of protests that Nikon received against the planned exhibit. The Asahi Shimbun reported that several complaints surfaced on the Internet, branding the exhibit a “betrayal” of Japan, and calling for protests of the exhibit.
Mr. Ahn also seems determined not to let the matter of his exhibit fade quietly. Sadik Lee, a spokeswoman for the photographer, said he cannot accept cancellation and is demanding that Nikon go ahead with the original plans.
The arguments of Japan’s conservatives:
To give an idea of the type of argumentation that the deniers of the Comfort Women issue in Japan are giving, read the email below that was sent to me and a number of the photographers who protested Nikon’s censorship of the exhibition on Comfort Women. I cannot even begin to correct the misleading nonsense that we read here. Let it be sufficient to say that several Japanese prime ministers themselves have, on several occasions, acknowledged this injustice. Just one source of information here.
The email reads:
“Dear Sir or Madam,
I’m sending email, since I’ve seen your name on this page.
This is not about sensorship, but a political propaganda that is trying to fabricate the history. “Comfort woman” were just paid
prostitutes that were legal at that time.
Do you know half of the prostitutes “comfort women” were Japanese? Comfort women were made up by Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and others. Korean prostitutes were about 30% of them.
Do you know Korean comfort women were hired by Koreans and they were well paid? Korean comfort woman earned more than a million
dollar(today’s value) in a few years?(Money transfer evidences exist) In 90’s, few of them even filed cases that claimed part of their
salary was unpaid.
Do you know Korean claims that “200 thousands were abducted by Japanese government”? 200 thousands prostitutes for 4 million solders?
1 prostitutes for 20 solders? It just does not make sense, does it? There were only 10 to 20 thousands prostitues, thus they could made a
lot of money.
Do you know Japanese government and army prohibited slavery and child prostitutes that were part of Korean culture? In Korea, 30% population was slaves before Japanese rule.
Do you know there are about 2 million Korean and Korean Japanese in Japan? Do you know that they are spreading fabricated history not only in Japan, but also to the world.
Do you know Korean are still sending more than 50 thousands prostitutes Japan, today? Please note Japanese is not inviting
prostitutes but prohibiting. Prostitution is illegal in Japan now.
Do you know this false propaganda has began from mid 80’s by Japanese news paper “Asahi News Paper”? The author of articles, Seiji Yoshida, was admitted the story was complete fabrication. People in the world should know there are many Korean-Japanese in Japan and spreading various lies.
And most importantly, Do you support lies, false accusations and history fabrications? I hope you do not.
Please find out the truth in Wikipedia discussions and movie based on the fact.
Japanese is attacked by Koreans and Chinese now. We do not allow history fabrications by Korean and Chinese anymore.
I do not blame you if you have been fooled. Even if I’m a Japanese, I’ve also fooled by this false propaganda at the beginning. Please find out the truth by yourself before accusing or supporting false propaganda.
Support Ahn Se-hong, protest Nikon’s decision? Go here.
Sources: Wall Street Journal/Japan Real Time and CNN
In May, controversy was stirred up when Queens (NY) City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) announced plans for either a memorial or a street renaming in Flushing to honor the Comfort Women. According to the New York Post, “Koo and his City Council colleagues have received a flood of angry emails and letters from Japanese citizens who said the so-called “comfort women” were willing prostitutes and should not be the subject of a memorial in his Flushing, Queens, district.”
Japanese officials also asked for the removal of another monument for “comfort women” in Palisades Park, N.J., saying that it misrepresents the history.
See an earlier News item on this website.
- Jan Banning
May 4th 1954, Almelo
Dutch photographer and artist. Banning was born in the Netherlands from Dutch-East-Indies parents. He studied social and economic history at the Radboud University Nijmegen, and has been working as a photographer since 1981. A central theme of Banning's practice is state power, having produced series about the long-term consequences of war and the world of government bureaucracy.