ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー この文書は、去る11月16日ソウルで開かれた「国際連帯委員会」の会合で公けにしたものです。この委員会は「慰安婦」被害者たちの叫びをユネスコ世界記憶遺産に登録するための世界8カ国からなるものです。筆者の木村公一はSolidarity Network for Indonesian “Comfort Women”の共同代表のひとりとして関わっています 応答批評的方法
the “Comfort Women” Issue Based on the Survey in Indonesia
Dr. Koichi Kimura, Th. D.
a major corporation with 190,000 employees, committed an accounting fraud (loss
cover-up) and faced bankruptcy in handling nuclear power plant business. One
journalist who has been covering the fraud interprets that the firm had caused
irreparable harm by hiding off-the-book debts and putting off solving their
about the Japanese government? It has similarly concealed the history of the Japanese
military’s crime of sexual slavery “off the books.” Its criminal technique is identical
to that of Toshiba. For this reason, it is not only difficult for Japanese
citizens to obtain material to make an accurate judgment on the “comfort women”
issue, but what is more, the government even appears to be utilizing the ultra-nationalists’
tampering of historical facts. Yet history teaches us time and again that although
national crimes may be concealed “off the books,” they still must be settled
learned the principles and methods of investigation through surveys of the “comfort
women” survivors in Indonesia. In short, in order to approach the essence of
this issue, we require the indispensable values of empathy and imagination. The
researcher must use his/her imagination to draw the pain and cries of the
survivors to him/herself as much as possible as he/she listens to and takes
down their testimonies. In doing so, the researcher must walk the path of reconstructing
the historical facts of this “military sexual slavery system” from the
perspectives of the survivors whose dignities as women have been so blatantly
my research in Indonesia, I was inspired by the methods of the Asian “theology
of the people” and the Latin American “theology of liberation.” I realized
that, as a Japanese, no “neutrality” or “value freedom” exists for me regarding
this issue. What is more, as fellow human beings, the Japanese people are called
on to empathize with the cries of the victims and respond to this issue historically. This is because this was
not some natural, spontaneous phenomenon,
but rather, a deliberate scheme created by those who devised and implemented
military organizational power, this systematic violence replaced male-female
sexual relations with a master-slave relationship of domination and subjugation.
This organizational rape, which binds women in fear, became a weapon that allowed
soldiers to arbitrarily control their dominance over the “female slaves.” It
was in such a situation that the women, who had no way of evading the exercised
power, were confined to their cells of shattering humiliation and repulsion.
authentic sexual relationship between a man and a woman is born when they face one
another and strip down their existence within the personal relationship of “you
and me.” However, nothing in the relationship between “masters” and “the women”
can be called such a genuine sexual relationship.” Rather, this is the ultimate
violence called rape. One truth
emerges from this point. It is the fact that the Japanese military slavery
system was not only a mechanism that served as an outlet of soldiers’ sexual
desires, but it was also a Japanese military strategy to assert absolute control
over its occupied territories and citizens.
on the above considerations, I have summarized the fundamental principles and
methods in the following paradigms to clarify the historical facts of the Japanese
military sexual slavery system and to examine the victims’ experiences.
1)The victims’ testimonies
must be acknowledged as the primary source.
records constitute a part of important supplementary documentation, but the
history of Japanese military slavery based only on such material does not
reveal the essence of the “comfort women” issue.
determination of historical facts must be aimed at restoring the dignity and
honor of the victims.
of the abuse would not open their hearts and share their experiences of
humiliation to those who wish to prove that the “military comfort women issue”
does not even exist. This truth is demonstrated by Nobukatsu Fujioka’s visit to
Jakarta, in which he attempted to meet some victims. The fact is that the history
of suffering is written down through empathy; it is with empathy that the
process of recordation begins, with the urge that one must transcribe an ordeal,
as a remembrance for future generations. The empathy that I mention here is the
sensitivity of those who have encountered history’s reality. Objectivity is
important, but it can never be the motivation for the documentation of history.
3)Value judgment as
the axiom “preferential option for the victims” must be incorporated into
consideration for the disadvantaged, who continue to suffer overwhelmingly
discriminatory conditions, is a “priority” and not “exclusionary.” Scholars are
not permitted to turn a blind eye to the restoration of dignity and honor of
the victims who are crying out in actuality, on the pretext of the “academic
nature” of historiography.
of the victim’s testimony must be regarded as an important criterion for historical
testimonies of the victims are not “historical facts” in themselves, but at the
same time, they cannot be separated from historical facts. This is because human
experience is composed from a spring of collective imagination; it is like a piece
of fabric where “historical fact” is the warp and “testimony” is a weft. Therefore, the women’s testimonies are the most
ideal “narrow gates” through which we may attempt to enter into the world of
(empathy and sympathy) must often predominate over logos (reason, sense) in many
cases for understanding the testimonies.
interpretation through “scientific” methods often disregard the victims’
testimonies, and this reveals that scientific methods do not necessarily
guarantee valid interpretation. We must pay attention to the following mutually
complementary relationship between logos
and pathos: logos is given life by pathos,
and pathos is given correct direction
6)The victims’ testimonies
must be interpreted politically, not non-politically.
term “political” here does not signify party politics or bureaucratic politics
or profit politics. If democracy is the participation of the people, then the
victims and their testimonies must be regarded and acknowledged in full by the
government. This is how a truly democratic society must build its history by
and for the people, not by or for any political party or ideology. Therefore,
as a matter of course, this issue must be resolved through national apology and
has been a short report, but I have shared with you some of the most vital matters
that I have been learning over the past 25 years from the continuing survey on Indonesia’s
“comfort women.” UNESCO’s avoidance on reaching a decision this time is most
likely because its stakeholders do not share the basic principles of the Critical
Response Methodthat I have just
outlined. What is more, UNESCO allowed the Japanese government to intervene