I was at work looking through my daily dose of Japanese news when I happened upon this lovely headline story.
NHK Chairmain Katsuo Momi on Soldiers and Comfort Women: It Happens Everywhere!
Oops, they did it again.
I don’t know what it is, but Japanese politicians and other higher-ups just can’t seem to stop talking about their opinion about comfort women and their necessity to war. Recently Japan is continually shooting itself in the foot by trying to explain its past war atrocities. Yeah, sure, we did terrible things to Chinese and Korean women during WW2, says Mr. NHK chairman, but didn’t all the other countries do the same?
“During times of war this happens in any country. Germany, France, Europe–everywhere,” he commented. “You have to advocate and prioritize the interest of your country.”
He later goes on to say that Korea is being ridiculous in their protests against Japan, and no matter the circumstances Japan should not give up the Diaoyu (Senkaku) islands, as the country needs to stand tall, firm, and powerful. Releasing the island would be a sign of weakness.
“Of course Japan has to claim their position when it comes to the Takeshima and Senkaku Islands,” he said.
Last year the mayor of Osaka Toru Hashimoto condoned the use of comfort women to the scorn of neighboring countries, and even allies. His future conferences in the USA were immediately canceled, and Japan was under heavy fire for its backwards thinking and utter lack of sensitivity, especially during such tenacious times with China.
Last week the prime minister of Japan visited Yasukuni, the shrine that is home to a handful of Japanese war criminals. Every time a political leader pays homage to the shrine, Korea and China go ballistic (as they should). With the air in East Asia being as heavy as it is, it’s no wonder that the US shook their head at Japan with Abe’s most recent visit to Yasukuni. In fact, America straight up told Japan: “We’re disappointed in you.”
Now, the chairman of NHK. Really, I don’t know what Japan is thinking sometimes. Yeah, Yasukuni, I know that Abe has to pacify his cabinet and political party in order to get money and push his ideals through–but comfort women?
NHK is like the CNN of Japan. It’s the most influential and powerful news network not only in Japan, but for most of Asia and even the world. When the head of NHK says it’s ok to use a woman for your personal satisfaction and desire during times of war “because everyone else did it,” I think it’s time he got a scolding from his mother. Now Mr. NHK, if Billy jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?
Anyway, the comfort women comment always riles me up. It’s crazy enough that it happened, and it’s even more unbelievable that decades later Japan still sees it as not only ‘ok,’ but as something to be empathized with.
Japan’s Version of Being International
I was looking through ad news at work and discovered that ANA airlines got in big trouble about the following ad, and immediately pulled it from the air with an issued apology:
For someone that has lived in Japan for a long amount of time, I’m not surprised at this advertisement in the slightest. In fact, when I showed it to my boss she said: “Really now, it’s not that bad is it? It’s controversial enough to take off the air?”
To me, this ad signifies the hurdles and hardships I went through to live, adapt and assimilate in Japan. It’s what’s wrong with Japan’s view of the world. This ad is supposed to signify internationalization and the bridging of gaps between the world and Japan, but it seems like Japan is still stuck with their 1950’s version of the white man. Blonde and with a big nose.