Friday, July 20, 2012

1962 Aug 23 - "Comfort Women Resolve to Maintain Honor"

This August 23, 1962 article is from the South Korean newspaper Gyeonghyang Sinmun.

Comfort Women Resolve to Protect Honor

[Osan Airbase] On the 17th, the Osan Airbase Area Comfort Women General Assembly (also called Maternal Association) held a meeting at Paradise Hall in the Jisan-ri area of Songtan-myeon with several US and Korean guests attending, including the US commander of the military police.

About 600 comfort women adopted a 7-point pledge that included the following: "We resolve to cherish the pride of Korean women and maintain the reputation and honor of Korean citizens."

1962 Aug 14 - "US Solider Sentenced to 15 Years Hard Labor for Murdering Korean"

This August 14, 1962 article is from the South Korean newspaper Gyeonghyang Sinmun. PFC Richard D. Jensen was from Arlington, Washington.

US Solider Sentenced to 15 Years Hard Labor for Murdering Korean

In the afternoon on the 13th, a US military general court-marshal sentened Mr. Richard D. Jensen to 15 years of hard labor and forfeiture of all pay for shooting and killing 21-year-old comfort woman Yu Chun-ja in Daejeon on July 17.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1957 Sep 12 - "Woman Shot by US Soldier Angry at Joke"

This September 12, 1957 article is from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo.

This Time Woman Shot by US Soldier Angry at Joke

[From Busan] Another American Soldier and Another Reckless Shooting - At about 3:30 a.m. on the 10th, it was reported that American Private Henry M. (Sensolong), who is attacted to Camp Hialeah, became angry at a joke told by 20-year-old comfort woman Kim Bok-hee (金福姬), which caused the private to shoot Ms. Kim with a carbine he was carrying. The bullet pieced her right shoulder. The incident happened at the home of Ms. Kim's pimp, Bak Sun-nam, at 300 Beomjeon-dong  in Busan City.

1959 Jul 30 - "Despondent Comfort Woman Commits Suicide"

This July 30, 1959 article is from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo.

Despondent Comfort Woman Commits Suicide

[Incheon] At about 11 p.m. on the 24th, 20-year-old comfort woman Kim Gyeong-ja was at the home of her pimp, Kim Gyeong-sun, in Yeoncheon-gun (Jeongok-myeon, Jeongok-ri), when she became despondent about becoming a prostitute and swallowed six quinine all at once. She is said to have died on the night of the 25th at 1:45.

1957 Oct 17 - "Evil Person Sentenced to 4 Months for Selling Bar Hostesses"

This October 17, 1957 article comes from the South Korean newspaper Gyeonghyang Sinmun.

Evil Person Sentenced to 4 Months for Selling Bar Hostesses

On the 16th, District Court Judge Lee Hyo-gwon (李孝權) sentenced 38-year-old Bak Myeong-suk (朴明淑) to four months in prison (1 year, 6 month confinement was sought by prosecutors) for being an intermediary to adultery by selling bar hostesses to bordellos.

According to the indictment, since August of last year, Ms. Bak would seduce women by first having homosexual sex with them and then telling them, "There's a way you can make money." After brokering them as "comfort women, she would then embezzle between 200,000 and 300,000 hwan from them as income.

Monday, July 16, 2012

1955 Jan 17 - "1 Million Tested Under VD Eradicate Policy"

This January 17, 1955 article is from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo. It suggests South Korea had a serious VD epidemic at the time.
1 Million Tested Under VD Eradication Policy 
The Ministry of Heath has set up ninety-six health clinics nationwide in an effort to eradicate venereal disease (VD). The Ministry said it tested more than 1 million women last year, including  hostesses, dancers, and comfort women. It treated infected women for free. 
However, because of such shortages as budget, medicine, and facilities; concerned authorities, on the 15th, said they could not test men on a mass scale and focuses only on testing and treating women, suggesting that eradication of VD was not possible.

July 14, 1954 - "Evil Pimp Arrested"

This July 14, 1954 article is from the South Korean newspaper Gyeonghyang Sinmun. I heard stories similar to this one even in the late 1970s, when I was in the navy and stationed in South Korea, but I never heard of the pimps being arrested. In fact, the girls told me they could not go to the local police for help because they believed them to be working with the pimps.

Evil Pimp Arrested

[Daegu] Jin Yong-hui, who operates a "whore house" at No. 67 Kyo-dong in Daegu City, has been brought in for questioning, without detention, at the Daegu Women's Police Station. Ms. Jin is charged with previously telling 21-year-old Kim Hak-i (金學伊) that she would pay her debt of 30,000 hwan if she would work for one month as a comfort woman, but when Ms. Kim could no longer endure the suffering and tried to escape on the 7th, she was illegally confined and beaten numerous times.

1953 Jul 21 - "Country Girls Lured into Prostitution"

This July 7, 1953 article from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo describes a typical means by which innocent Korean girls were lured into prostitution. That is, they are promised a good job, put into debt, and then forced to pay back the debt by working as prostitutes.

When I was in South Korea in the navy in the late 1970s, the typical method was to put ads promising high-paying waitress jobs in cheap magazines. When girls showed up, they were given a furnished apartment to put them in high-interest debt, which their waitress salaries would never be able to pay off, which forced them into prostitution. At that time a person could not walk away from debt or declare personal bankruptcy.
Here is my translation of the article.
Country Girls Lured into Prostitution 
Go Ok-i (高玉伊), a 53-year-old woman who lives at No. 83 on 3rd Street in the Cho Ryang-dong area of  Hanmok City, was operating a comfort woman business for UN servicemen until she suspended operations because of financial difficulties. Then on the 3rd of this month, with the intention of reopenning her business, Ms. Go had her maid, Im Mi-ja (林미子), lure five virgins, including 15-year-old Gang Pil-yeon (姜必連) of Jinju City (at No. 888 in Tongbong-dong), to Busan with promises of getting them jobs in the 34th Military Hospital. 
Telling the girls that they would need to wear "high-class" clothes if they expected to be hired, Ms. Go gave each of the six girls an advance of 5,000 hwan worth of high-class clothing with the idea of putting them to work as comfort women. However, she was detected by police authorities prior to that, and on the 7th, Ms. Go and Ms. Im were undergoing intense questioning at the Investigation Section of the Busan Police Department.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1953 Feb 25 - "The Reality of War-damaged Women Turning to Prostitution"

The following February 25, 1953 article is from the Korean newspaper Gyeonghyang Sinmun. It paints an image of women struggling in post-war Seoul, South Korea.
The Reality of War-damaged Women Becoming Prostitutes  
Half Fall Because of Hardships of Life
More than 1,200 Women Registered to 289 Pimps 
According to an investigation done by the Women's Department in Seoul's Social Bureau, there are a total of 1,274 comfort women for UN servicemen living in the city that are registered with the relevant authorities. According to the same survey, there are as many as 289 so-called pimps for comfort women for UN serviceman.  
Looking at the academic levels of these "UN" comfort women, there are 471 who are illiterate, 725 who have completed primary school, 74 who have graduated from a girl's school (middle/high school), and 4 who have graduated college. Almost all of them said the reason they registered as comfort women for UN servicemen was the hardships of life. More than 1,000 of them said they have been doing this kind of work for only about a year or less.  
The image of degradation in war-damaged women struggling with the hardships of life following the recapture of Seoul is clearly reflected in these women.

1952 May 15 - 9,642 Entertainers Tested for VD in Busan

The May 15, 1952 article below is from the South Korean newspaper Gyeonghyang Sinmun It reports that of 9,642 entertainers tested for venereal disease in Busan in April of that year, including 5,445 comfort women (military prostitutes), 3,374 tested positive.

The title of the article reads "6,000-plus Hostesses," but it should read "9,000-plus.
Of 6,000-plus Hostesses, 3,000-plus Have VD in Busan 
The April test results done on 9,642 entertainers in Busan show that 6,268 tested healthy, but 3,374 tested positive for venereal disease (VD), which is 35% of the total.

Those tested were 1,020 dances, 5,445 comfort women, 1,212 hostesses, 1,182 unlicensed prostitutes, and 783 others. It shows the most common VD was gonorrhea with 2,247  (21.9%) women testing positive. Next was syphilis with 920 women testing positive. 548 others had something else.

1951 Apr 15 - "Donga Ilbo" Editorial Proposes Tax on "Comfort Women"

This April 15, 1951 editorial in the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo is entitled "Work Harder on Currency Deflation" and proposes that a more direct tax be imposed on such businesses and operations as "Comfort Women" (military prostitutes), whose taxable income is often not documented.
The next level of income sources include the comfort women, the laundries, the photo shops, the restaurants and the like in the amusement quarters, and the shopkeepers selling cameras and leather bags near the camps of UN troops. These do, in fact, provide what is considered indirect taxes, but most of the tax income is not going into the national treasury but into the pockets of those those business operators who seem to be misappropriating most of it. Therefore, concerning the income from these kinds of businesses and operations, I think a tax that does not rely on documentation is needed since most of the business operators are not providing all the documents.


1953 Feb 13 - "Police Push Ahead with Refinement of Foreigner Whores"

This February 13, 1953 article from the South Korean newspaper Gyeonghyang Sinmun is evidence that "comfort women" (military prositutes) were registered with local police departments at the time.

The reference to "elevating their patriotic feelings" was probably a reference to their being told that they were patriots for earning foreign currency for their country, which is what other foreign prostitutes in Korea have claimed they were told by Korean government officials.

Here is my translation:

Police Push Ahead with Refinement of Foreigner Whores

(ChunCheon)  To control the loose morals of the so-called “western  wives” (foreigner whores) and instill cultural enlightenment while also maintaining good health and elevating their patriotic feelings, the Chunchen Police Department have formed the “United Belief Society” (협심회) to organize the "western wives" under their jurisdiction.

They say there are 160 pimps, 115 women cohabitating with UN troops, and 667 “comfort women” registered with them, but only sixty-two (8.2%) are infected with venereal disease and are currently receiving treatment at the Chuncheon Provincial Clinic.

When I was in Korea in the navy in the late 1970s, those women cohabitating with UN troops were called "yobos," to whom you would pay about $200 a month for them to house and feed you and take care of you sexually. The women seemed to like that better than working in the clubs.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

1961 Jan 31 - US Military and Korean Representatives Attend VD Lecture for Comfort Women

The following January 31, 1961 article from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo reports on a "refinement training" lecture given to more than 800 "comfort women" in Dongducheon, South Korea, where the US 7th Infantry Division was stationed.

The fact that US military representatives attended the lecture is evidence that the US military knew of and supported military prostitution in South Korea. Or if we were to use US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's definition, the US military knew of and supported "enforced sexual slavery" in South Korea. "Comfort woman" was a Korean euphemism for "military prostitute."

Here is my translation of the article:
Leedam Police Station Hosts Lecture on Refinement for Comfort Women

(Dongducheon) At 11 a.m. on the 27th, a short training course on refinement began for more than 800 comfort women at the Donggwang Theater here. It was hosted by the Leedam Police Station.
Several US and Korean representatives attended, including the Deputy Commander of the Military Police at the US 7th Infantry Division, which is stationed here, and the Director of the Division's Civil Affairs Office.

After stressing such topics as venereal disease prevention and management, the training ended with a group of comfort women giving brillant performances in song and dance.

Friday, July 13, 2012

1961 Sep 14 - Donga Ilbo Article on Registering "Comfort Women" for UN Soldiers

The article to the left is a September 13, 1961 article from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo. It talks about transferring the authority for registering "comfort women for UN troops" from the Seoul Metroplitan Police to the front-line offices of the Social Bureau's Section for VD Control of Comfort Women for UN Troops.

This article is not only evidence that the South Korea Government provided comfort women to UN soldiers, but also that it had been doing so even before September 13, 1961, under the authority of the Seoul Metropolitan Police.

An October 19, 1959 article in the same Korean newspaper HERE reported that nationwide Korea had 261,089 comfort women, of which 66% were infected with veneral disease. The same article also reported that in addition to comfort women--which was usually a reference to military prostitutes--Korea also had 63,635 hostess, 51,229 unlicensed prostitutes, and 16,864 dancers. It said 16.2% of the hostesses, 13% of the unlicensed prostitutes, and 4.4% of the dancers also tested positive for a veneral disease.

Here is my translation of the above article:
Registration for Comfort Women for UN Troops Starts on the 13th

From the 13th, Seoul Metropolitan Police transferred its authority to register comfort women for UN soldiers to its front-line offices, accordig to a plan by the city's Social Bureau (Section for VD Control of Comfort Women for UN Soldiers).

Officials said, however, that this registration applies to women living with even one foreigner, regardless of legal marital status, and to women working as comfort women for UN servicemen.

1959 Oct 19 Donga Ilbo - "66% of Comfort Women Infected"

To the left is an October 19, 1959 article from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo. It is entitled "66% of Comfort Women Infected--Results of a Nationwide Testing of Female Entertainers." The article talks about how nationwide 392,707 female entertainers, including 261,089 comfort women, were tested for venereal disease over a 1-year period.

The article is evidence that in 1959 Korea was registering women to be "comfort women," which was a euphemism for "military prostitute." Korea was registering women to be prostitutes for UN soldiers stationed in Korea.

The 261,089 comfort woment mentioned in the article is evidence that Korea had a significant number of comfort women, of which 66.4% were infected with a veneral disease.

In the 1990s South Koreans begin criticizing Japan for its comfort women system in World War II, but have hardly said anything about its own comfort women system, which begs the question--"If Koreans thoght the Japanese comfort women system was so bad, why did the Korean Government set up a similar 'comfort women' system for UN soldiers after the Japanese left Korea?"

Below is my translation of the above article:
66% of Comfort Women Infected—Results of Nationwide Testing of Female Entertainers  
According to information obtained from the Ministry of Social Welfare on the 18th, Hagak VD Treatment Center in East Busan and other general practice clinics conducted venereal disease (VD) examinations on a total of 392,707 women last year.  
The examination of the women, which included dancers, hostesses, and unlicensed prostitute, took one year to complete.  They found that comfort women had the highest rate of infection at 66.4%, followed by hostesses at 16.2%, unlicensed prostitutes at 13%, and dancers at 4.4%.

The number of examinees and their infection percentages were as follows:

  • 261,089 comfort women with 66.4% infected
  • 63,635 hostesses with 16.2% infected
  • 51,119 unlicensed prostitutes with 13% infected
  • 16,864 dancers with 4.4% infected
However, as part of efforts to control VD, the government receives annually $30,000 worth of medicine in foreign aid, which it uses to provide free treatment at each VD treatment facility. Also, it is said that the VD Policy Committee--whose members include the Head of the Health Section of the United States Operations Mission (USOM),  the US Eight Army Medical Operations Supervisor, and other medical specialists—has selected twelve treatment facilities from the ninety-eight nationwide to detect the pathogenic bacteria at an early stage.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

1925 May 11 - "Local Color"

This May 11, 1925 article is from the Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo and is entitled, "Local Color." The reporter is describing the Korean city of Cheongjin in North Hamgyeong Province.
Local Color 
If you walk down a Korean  street in this city, the first thing you notice after one or two houses are signs that say “Boarding House,” “Restaurant,” and “Pawn Shop.” And in every alley you see places with such names as “Seoul House” and “Daegu House” that sell rice wine. You also see many prostitutes in heavy makeup going in and out the doors. However, rather than seeing these establishments as promoting immorality, I see them as places that necessarily exist to provide natural, temporary relief to an increasingly large number of laborers. 
Speaking of prostitutes, scores of Korean and Japanese bordellos fill Bukseong-jeong (part of the port city of Cheongjin in Northern Hamgyeong Province ) and have become the town’s specialty product. Whenever military ships, which allow no women onboard, enter the port, it is said that dozens and dozens of sailors race ashore, completely turning the port into a “City of Flesh.”  Even when there are no military ships in port, it is said that the streets are bustling with nightlife as sailors are always coming and going. 
Most of the buildings along the street are Japanese style. Many of the people on the streets wear Western suits. Hundreds of people leave and enter the city each day. Even many of the locals seem to be wearing Western suits. You hear auctioneers shouting, “five cheon, ten cheon,” and you also hear, “Let’s play, let’s play.” You hear, “The Social system is blah, blah, blah,” and you also hear, “Amen.” All parts of the new and old worlds are represented on the streets of this city.

1957 Jul 21 - "Two US Military Comfort Women Commit Suicide Out of Despair"

This July 21, 1957 article is from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo.

Two Comfort Women for US Military Commit Suicide Out of Despair

(Busan) At about 3:30 in the afternoon on the 19th,  Jo Mi-ja (20) and Bak Su-ja (21), who both worked as comfort women at a US military comfort woman hall in the Jeonpo district of Busan, committed suicide together by drinking poison at the Songmijang Restaurant in Jeonpo. In their suicide note they wrote, “As more and more debt piles up in our tedious lives as comfort women, dying is the only way out.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1952 May 4 Gyeonghyang Sinmun- "Three Military Policemen Arrested for Murder"

The following May 4, 1952 article is from the Korean newspaper Gyeonghyang Sinmun.
Three Military Policemen Arrested for Murder

At about 1:30 a.m. on the 30th of last month, three men dressed in Korean military police uniforms shot to death comfort woman Kim Yeong-ok (29) at the “American Comfort Station” (미국위안소)  in this city’s Jeonpo-dong area. On the 1st, the three perpetrators, from the Busan Regional Military Police, were arrested.