You have undoubtably heard of the comfort women: young girls who were used as sex slaves by Japan. This issue continues to divide and sour relations between South Korea and Tokyo. Even after more than 10 rounds of discussions on how to resolve the long-standing issue, things remain the same.
Seoul says that some 200,000 women were forcibly taken from their homes, most of whom were Korean, but Tokyo historical revisionist say that the women were nothing more than prostitutes.
Professor Park Yu-ha is an academic from Sejong University and has written about the controversy. Her book, “Comfort Women of the Empire,” tells of a more nuanced version of history neither South Korea, nor Japan perpetuates.
That fact has landed her in some hot water in South Korea. Park faces charges of alleged defamation against surviving members of the comfort women.
On December 19th, she spoke with journalists at an informal “Tea Talk” in Seoul and sharing some of her research. This week’s Asian Now podcast is a recording of that event. Please note, professor Park speaks in Korean and English translation is provided by Seun Ji.