Thursday, February 26, 2015

Truth about "Sex Slaves": Women’s Voluntary Service Corps

“Draft labour included many [Korean] women who were conscripted for wartime industries as part of the Women’s Voluntary Service Corps. The figure universally quoted is that women draftees totaled 200,000, of whom 80,000 were comfort women...” (George Hicks, The Comfort Women, p. 172)

Participating in the Women’s Voluntary Service Corps was required of (Japanese-Japanese) women in Japan proper but never of those who were Korean-Japanese women (everybody in Korea was a Japanese citizen then). If I'm right, this "universally quoted" figure of 200,000 represents the number of Korean-Japanese women who volunteered purely for factory work though I have no idea of how many of them were tricked or coerced into prostitution by Korean human traffickers. And assuming that this figure is really verifiable, the U.N. report by Special Rapporteur Coomaraswamy, which mentions "approximately 200,000 Korean" sex slaves, are absolutely and universally wrong.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Truth about "Sex Slaves": Korean War

“... [Others] were physically forced into prostitution by flesh-traffickers or pimps who waited at train and bus stations, greeted young girls arriving from the countryside with promises of employment or room and board, then “initiated” them – through rape – into sex work or sold them to brothels. Women also fell into prostitution by responding to fraudulent advertisements which offered appealing calls for employment as waitresses, storekeepers, singers, and entertainers. Some ads even promised “education” (kyoyuk) without specifying what the women would be expected to learn.”

If you think the above is yet another description about how the brutal Japanese recruited Korean women to make them work as sex slaves, you're wrong. This is how Korean guys deceived Korean women into prostitution after the Korean War to make serve U.S. soldiers. (Sex among Allies, Katherine H.S. Moon, Columbia University Press)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Disgusting Thomson Plaza Kopitiam

For dinner, I’ve tried a few stalls at Thomson Plaza Kopitiam and every experience was horrible, whether it was Pepper Lunch Express with bland or almost disgusting chicken, the prawn mee stall which gave me two tiny pieces of a prawn or its very fake Japanese dishes. I will never eat there. And I don’t feel like trying a locally-managed Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood, which used to be "Terri's". The Korean restaurant right next to it seems having more diners always.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cul-de-Sac in This International City-State?

Today, I found this passage in Graham Greene’s “Ways of Escape,” which says, “A friendship can be among the most important events in a life, and a way of escape, just as much as writing or travel, from the everyday routine, the sense of failure, the fear of the future.”

True enough.

Sadly, I don’t have any person who can give me such a way of escape. I don’t know where to go to find anybody who can be so for me and who sees me as a way of escape. At this point of life, I should have had a few (I don’t need many in any case) persons with whom we can share (mildly) inspiring moments. Conversation don’t have to be so serious always. Simply, it seems that I don’t have anyone around me who shares interests and talks decently. This may be the cul-de-sac for my life in this English-speaking (Ha!) city-state.
And should I curse my okay proficiency in English? Probably I should because it has separated me from my fellow Japanese. Then, after more than 14 years here, I haven’t met any Japanese who willingly dives into a situation that’s overwhelmingly non-Japanese. This may be good news to me because it should mean I can survive as a translator/interpreter for some time.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Something seems to be quite wrong with me. I don’t know what started this down feeling, but it may be that the kind of feeling I experienced when I met Mother, which had been dormant, pushed its vicious rough edge into me again because of a message I received from Brother about two weeks ago. In the message, he updated me on Mother’s condition. She had been hospitalized in the fall last year and a heart problem had been detected. Her doctor says that it is possible at any time for her to lose her consciousness or die. And she now cannot converse in any coherent way. I agreed to Brother’s suggestion that no active measures be taken to prolong her life if, or rather when, she gets hospitalized again. For now, she is keeping her good appetite, as I saw in 2013. That’s something I don’t have.

And there’s another worry. My business is losing money. There have been months of loss making , either because of late payments by my clients or because of an insufficient amount of work. Then, every year so far, I’ve managed to break even. Though it’s still five months into this financial year, I somehow feel the situation won’t improve and I will continue to lose money.
Overshadowing these two, and probably the biggest element for my sinking feeling, is this sense of isolation. This started at almost the same time when I began working for myself, or even earlier. I love a mixed environment of nationalities and ethnicities, with English as the common language, if you like it or not. In this supposedly international (English speaking) city-state, I find such an environment extremely infrequently, and there is virtually none when my fellow countrymen are concerned. I’ve said this more than a few times: “I’m not Japanese enough to Japanese and too Japanese to non-Japanese.”