Why I Defend the Ramseyer Paper ‘Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War

(Why I Defend the Ramseyer Paper ‘Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War’)

This month’s most-read articles on the English-language news and opinion site Japan Forward (JF) were those on the comfort women issue, along with JF’s coverage of the North Korean abductions, the new coronavirus, and the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The English article above is one of the headlines of such articles. It was written by Tetsuo Arima, a professor at Waseda University who specializes in the study of official documents, and as soon as it was published on August 30, it entered the rankings of the most read articles and was number one for almost 10 days.

It was ranked as the most read article as soon as it was published on August 30, and was number one for nearly 10 days. In some cases it was a verbal agreement, and in other cases a written contract was exchanged, but without the agreement, they could not have become comfort women.

In the article that begins, Professor Arima points out that a paper published last December by Professor Mark Ramseyer of Harvard University in the U.S. “clarified how the contract functioned between the comfort women and the management. He stressed that the paper overturned the “comfort women forced marriage” and “comfort women sexual slavery” theories.

After the publication of the paper, American scholars and the Korean media simultaneously launched a fierce criticism of Professor Ramseyer, demanding that the publication of the paper be halted and that he resign from the university, in an attempt to deprive him of his freedom of speech and learning.

Professor Arima, however, defended Professor Ramseyer, calling the criticism “misguided” and accusing the critics of (1) having problems in reading Japanese literature, (2) sending out one-sided and unfair criticism through SNS and other media, and (3) making unfounded slanderous statements.

Professor Arima published a book titled “All the ‘Comfort Women’ Had Agreed to the Contract: The Impact of the Ramseyer Paper” (WAC Publications), in which he summarized his opposition to the critics. He said, “It is clearly wrong for “comfort women” researchers around the world to attack those with whom they disagree through hate mail and other means, and to mobilize and intimidate the masses. I hope that this book will serve as a catalyst for a return to the way academics should pursue the truth of history through fair academic discussion.

The article can be found on the JF’s Japanese website, and I highly recommend reading it.

This month, JF reported that the anti-Japanese comfort women statue in Berlin has been extended for another year despite protests from the Japanese government.

In South Korea, where the bashing of Professor Ramseyer unfolded, scholars and journalists, including Lee Young Kaun, Lee Eui Yeon, Hwang Yi Won, and Kim Ja Hyun, issued a joint statement criticizing the South Korean condemnation of the article as a witch hunt to shut down academic debate.

In South Korea, however, a bill to amend the Speech Arbitration Act, promoted by the ruling Democratic Party of Korea in the name of “protecting the people from fake news,” is expected to be voted on in a plenary session of the National Assembly on April 27, raising concerns both at home and abroad that “freedom of the press” will be atrophied.

Freedom of speech, learning, and the press are values that are as important as air in a democracy. JF will keep a close watch on the future of the debate on the Ramseyer paper, as well as on developments in South Korea and the U.S., where academic freedom has been shaken.

Japan Forward

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