Japanese History Textbooks Insist on Shutting Out the Truth
Japanese History Textbooks Insist on Shutting Out the Truth
  • Reported by Chung Hee-kyung chkyung@womennews.co.k
  • 승인 2002.04.18 00:00
  • 수정 2013-07-12 16:27
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High school textbook with no mention of comfort women to be authorized

On April 9, Japan's Ministry of Education and Science authorized a high school history textbook entitled (published by Myongsongsa). The textbook has no mention of the countless women who were drafted as sex slaves by the Japanese military during its imperialist expansion, once again sparking off a controversy in Korea.

In the part describing enforced mobilization, simply says that "the mobilization of women led to more single women seeking employment in production factories," leaving out any mention of the comfort women dragged off by Japanese soldiers.

The Ministry of Education and Science explains, "The textbook authorization system does not allow us to instruct writers to include contents that they did not choose to put in their books." 


The Headquarters for the Campaign to Correct Japanese History Textbooks held a press conference at a cafe in Anguk-dong on April 9 in protest of the authorization of
The Headquarters for the Campaign to Correct Japanese History Textbooks held a press conference at a cafe in Anguk-dong on April 9 in protest of the authorization of
Professor Ju Jin Oh of Sangmyong University says, "The Ministry explained last year that it was cutting out mention of comfort women from middle school textbooks because it was 'uneducational' to teach middle school students about comfort women. By leaving out the same contents in high school textbooks, the Ministry is going against its own rationale. The Japanese government's lack of conscientiousness despite being fully aware of public sentiments in Korea points to Japan's intentions to revert to the state ideology it embraced before World War 2."

The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan points out, "Considering that the Japanese government has already officially acknowledged in 1993 the role of the Japanese military in drafting comfort women, the deliberate omission of these facts in a high school history textbook is an undeniable slander against the victims."

The Council also added, "The Council has joined hands with other women and civic groups in Korea to launch a campaign to resolve the issue of comfort women, and international organizations like the UN and ILO have continuously recommended legal compensation and corrective history education to Japan. The recent move by the Ministry of Education is a clear show of disregard for the recommendations of international bodies." The Council declared that it will "continue to expose the anachronistic acts of the Japanese government through the international media."

Yang Mi Gang, senior executive chairman of the Headquarters for the Campaign to Correct Japanese History Textbooks, revealed that the campaign will move to "analyze in detail each period contained in the and conduct a survey to see how many other history books in Japan leave out any mention of comfort women victimized by Japan."

The controversial textbook, having now passed examination, will go on to be displayed in the textbook fair in August, and if selected by individual schools, will be used in high schools across the country from April onwards.

The issue of comfort women has been a high point of interest in Korea-Japan relations. However, even the Korean government has not been active in seeking to restore the honor of the comfort women. Although authorized in 1986 did not contain any mention of comfort women, the Korean government stopped taking issue with it, saying that the Japanese government had already made four rounds of revision. In the case of the Korean government took issue with only Japan's territorial claim over Dokdo, once again neglecting the issue of comfort women. However, how the issue of comfort women - an insistent theme on the human rights agenda in recent years - is handled in Japanese textbooks and by the Korean government will be the target of watchful eyes of international human rights groups.

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