Wednesday, July 25, 2012

fraud Philippina,Maria Rosa Luna Heson
Maria Rosa Luna Heson
(1927 - 1997)
In 1992, the Task Force on Filipino Comfort Women went on nationwide radio, calling for testimonies on the alleged sexual enslavement of Filipino women by Japanese soldiers during the second World War. One woman came forward, the first to do so. Her name was Maria Rosa Luna Henson. Then already 65 years old, she gave face and form to a terrible war crime that until then had only been whispered about.

Her private inner struggles notwithstanding, Lola Rosa (as she later became known) not only spoke publicly about her trials, but also wrote a detailed and compelling narrative of her life. Her book, Rosa Henson: Comfort Woman, Slave of Destiny includes an account of the 9 months she endured as a 16-year-old “comfort woman” for soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army.

It took heroic courage for Lola Rosa, having managed to rebuild her life after the war, to choose to relive in writing the details of her torture and repeated rape. Even more startling, however, is the fact that she felt compelled not simply to write about what she had endured, but to draw it. Made nearly half a century after the events they depict, her childlike but detailed sketches, the originals of which are preserved at ALIWW, are powerful visual images of the savagery that her narrative records.

©Ateneo Library of Women's Writings
3/F-Rizal Library Annex
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights,1103 Q.C., Philippines

Her Stories: Investigative Reports
on Filipino Women in the 1990s
Finalist: National Book Award for Journalism (1999)

THIS COLLECTION of investigative reports published in major Philippine newspapers from 1995 to 1999 chronicles the travails and triumphs of Filipino women in the last decade of the 20th century.

During this decade, the country’s first female president ended her term, more women were elected to the legislature, and several laws recognizing the rights of women were passed. At the same time, there was also a “feminization” of some of the Philippines’s most serious problems: poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, and the social consequences brought about by large-scale overseas migration.

Women in Brackets: A Chronicle
of Vatican Power and Control
MARILEN Dañguilan has been a warrior in a war of liberation, and this book is a chronicle of that war—the war for women’s bodies, women’s rights, and women’s choices.

The stories that Marilen tells may bear familiar outlines, especially for those who followed the back-and-forth between Church and State around the time of the Cairo and the Beijing women’s conference. But her accounts of these skirmishes acquire an entertaining edge by the deft way she sketches characters, her sense of irony and the telling detail, and the way she builds up suspense as the fraying edges of public opinion threaten to rip apart the social fabric.

Comfort Woman: Slave of Destiny
In this gripping autobiography, Ma. Rosa Henson recalls her childhood as the illegitimate daughter of a big landowner, her wartime ordeal and her decision to go public with a secret she had kept for fifty years.

Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices)
Maria Rosa Henson (Author)

Editorial Reviews
A compelling and moving account of one Filipina's ordeal under the Japanese military. It is also a story of survival, and of a lifelong quest for healing and for justice. Maria Rosa Henson deserves praise for her honesty and courage. By revealing to us her painful experiences, Mrs. Henson broke a fifty-year silence and made the world aware of the brutality of war and its savageness to women. We are greatly enriched by this story and inspired by how one woman can overcome such epic suffering and still have such compassion and such faith. (Corazon C. Aquino )

Henson's book is different for two reasons: she experienced the tragedy firsthand and therefore speaks with authority; but she also speaks with the voice of healing, since she has lived with her nightmare for decades and survived, both physically and spiritually.Another amazing aspect of this book is that despite its title, it does not focus naroowly on the sex-slave controversy.Henson died in August 1997, but her words live on. Her example is unforgettable. (The Japan Times )

This book makes clear that what the Japanese army did was only the worst example of oppression against women in the long history of colonialism and imperialism in the Philippines. It serves a corroborative text for historians, a call to arms for feminists and human rights activists, and, finally, a life-affirming reminder of the indomitability of the human spirit for all readers. (Persimmon )

Maria Rosa Henson's Comfort Woman is a straightforward, painful account, simply told. A powerful account of a woman's life controlled by men, both Filipino and Japanese. (Nwsa Journal )

Serves as a good introduction to readers who may be approaching the subject of 'comfort women' for the first time….Henson's autobiography becomes more than just the telling of the untold but ultimately the revealing of the unseen and the unsaid. [She] is not only able to recount the nightmare of her abduction and confinement in a 'comfort station,' but she articulates the day to day degradation and hardship that women are subjected to long before and after the war is over. (Pilipinas )
About the Author
Maria Rosa Henson, 1928–1996, was one of thousands of Asian women forced into prostitution during World War II by the Japanese military. She told her story for the first time in the 1990s at the urging of the Task Force on Filipino Comfort Women.

3.0 out of 5 stars Tragic story, horrible translation, June 23, 2012
By M. Larson "mom of 4" (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices) (Paperback)
First of all, I don't doubt one word of this woman's story. The ability for people to persevere during war is truly remarkable, and Rosa's story is no different. The Japanese enslavement of comfort women is well documented.

However, the translation and Kindle edition is very difficult to read. Random sentences and non-paragraphs appear out of nowhere. Also, parts of the beginning of the book seem almost like they are out of chronological order. It's a shame that the book couldn't have been translated and written to better honor Rosa's story. I am unhappy to have spent the money on a book so poorly laid out. I would have rather got it at the library.

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military, September 2, 2010
By Judy A Lopez - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices) (Kindle Edition)
Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery under the Japanese Military

The sample I read was good. After buying the book, however, I was very disappointed. It reads more like a rough draft with incomplete statements and hanging paragraphs. Example below.

"The neighbors were beginning to wonder why the landlord was at their house so often.

support Don Pepe gave her family kept them alive. Her salary was too small to feed six brothers and sisters.

Julia did not want to go back to work in the big house."

For the price, not worth it.


9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Horrifying and Terribly Enlightening Account of Life in the Phillipines During WWII, September 13, 2005
By Boiler Bro Joe (NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices) (Paperback)
Hiromi's review of "Comfort Woman" is important to respond to because the book's importance comes from the fact that it is a true story. Not knowing anything about comfort women other than what was presented in the book itself, I believe I can still refute Hiromi's points:

The position of the comfort station, and the "odd" use of the words banzai and baka are no evidence against the authenticity of the author's story. To put it bluntly, most of us were not living in Japan during the 1940s and even less of us were on the front lines. We cannot say with any conviction how odd Japanese behavior would have been in that time period and under those circumstances.

The point that Maria could have easily escaped cannot simply be proved by the fact that one guard stood outside her room. No matter how "nice" he was to her, it's unlikely he'd simply let her leave, and even if he did (or if he could be tricked as Hiromi suggests) it's not as if there was a route, free of Japanese soldiers, leading straight from the garrison to safety. Maria constantly refers to Japanese sentries and checkpoints throughout the region, not to mention guards *outside* the building.

The doubt concerning how many Japanese troops would be available to rape Maria doesn't seem to be well founded. The entire purpose of comfort stations was to increase morale, and a losing battle would require more "comfort". Certainly there were always large numbers of troops present at and around the garrison. If sexual services were considered routine for young men to receive, most of them could free up their schedules.

The "more serious doubts" do not hold any more water. The idea that Maria could not learn complex Japanese military terms from her captors is probably true. But it would be foolish to think that Maria did not hear any simple vernacular from the young soldiers reminiscing about homes and girlfriends in Japan. Besides, she did not claim to be able to speak more than a few words, and coming to understand a language is very possible - particularly under extenuating circumstances. She was completely surrounded by the Japanese language - not being able to speak to any of the other Filipino women - and her young mind would definitely be able to pick up a good deal of it.

The second point - that Maria's inability to admit she was a comfort woman indicates she was a "prostitute" - can be refuted simply by putting yourself into her shoes (as impossible as that must be). She told Domingo she had been raped, referring to the incidents out in the countryside. She never admitted to being a comfort woman because that implies that she was raped by a huge number of men while in captivity. Being raped once was shameful enough to Maria and she could not bring herself to inform Domingo just how frequent it had been. Besides, rape is any sex act that is unwilling on the part of one person. Whether we consider her a "prostitute" or not is irrelevant, because she was forced into it that prostitution.

Hiromi's final point - that comfort women were paid - I cannot argue against without more knowledge. What I do know however, is that many Japanese documents concerning troop activity in Asia were burned - including, undoubtedly, many that Yoshiaki Yoshimi would have found useful. Whether some comfort women in various locations were treated better is up for debate, but has no bearing on Maria's story.

I'm not going to claim like another reviewer that these arguments are simply the words of some right-wing ideologue. Detractors of comfort women's claims aren't saying that Japanese soldiers were right to rape women, they are doubting the severity of the acts. And that is exactly why this book is so important - because it offers a first hand account of just how terrible those acts were. Hiromi's doubt is probably the result of an education system, whether in Japan or America, that glosses over war crimes committed in Asia and one that accentuates the reform Japan underwent after the war's end. Hiromi should not feel a need to defend soldier's actions from sixty years ago just because they share the same ethnic background. The sins of our fathers are not our own. But we run the risk of letting them happen again if we refuse to accept that they happened in the first place.

The present day Japanese government did not commit war atrocities during WWI, and recent backlashes against Japanese citizens in Asia only serves to further intolerance and misunderstanding. However, modern Japan, being built from the wealth and infrastructure of an oppressive imperialist power, has a responsibility to do all they can to compensate those wronged by their predecessor, and to educate their own citizens of the truth. In 1999 this book was published and sold throughout Japan, making Maria's story known to the general public for the first time. It's a start.

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices) (Paperback)
This is a good book as it illumiinates the horrors of war and the strength of human courage & dignity. Unfortunately, people such as 'Hiromi' who have reviewed it below, in typical right-wing Japanese fashion end up denying or trying to cast doubt on events that undoubtedly took place, but unfortunately there are still a fair number of Japanese who like to deny this, which is why there is still so much mistrust of Japanese in Asia even today. Read this book, it will give you an insight of the good & bad of human conduct in war.

6 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad Story, But..., May 3, 2004
By Hiromi (London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices) (Paperback)
In rape cases, to point out some problematic facts in the story told by the plaintiff would often be branded as the second rape.
Still, as a Japanese, I must stand up here and make the argument for the sake of the honors of our own grandfathers who may have been falsely accused for this disgusting crime of "sex slavery" because, in fact, there are lots of suspicious inconsistency in this auto-biographical account of Maria Rosa Henson.

The followings are only few examples of the small-but-cannot-plainly-be-ignored problems in Ms Henson's account;

<1> The comfort station where Ms Henson was taken in and forced to be a comfort woman was also the Japanese Army headquarters and garrison. To be precise, the downstairs was the headquarters (and bathroom?) and the upstairs was the comfort station. But, that kind of arrangement is extremely odd for the Japanese Army who was renowned by their reputation of decency, at least for the facade, I would moderately add.

<2> Ms Henson says that the Japanese soldiers would shout "Miyo tokai [no] sora [akete]!" as they do their daily exercise and when the routine was over, they shouted "banzai!" three times. This is, again, very odd. The former is a song with nice melody that I do not think suits for exercise. And, although "banzai" can be casually used like, say, "hurrah!", it should be a special occasion when people shout it "three times". Similarly, the Japanese use the word "baka"(stupid) with some kind of affection even when used with a punishment of slap. So, again, Ms Henson's claims that evil Japanese torturing people shouting "baka!" seems quite odd.

<3> Ms Henson would ask herself: "Why did I not try to escape? Because they might kill me." But, according to Ms Henson herself, the only one guard outside of their rooms was kind to all the women there and seems to have showed no hostile intention to punish the women severely in the event of escape. On the contrary, he even helped her (maybe others, too) daily cleaning by scrubbing the floor with a wet cloth and some disinfectant. One would wonder if she really found no chance to escape while this only guard got on all fours scrubbing her floor.

<4> Ms Henson claims that some "twenty to thirty" soldiers "raped" her every day, however, I cannot help wondering if they really had such spare time to rape women when the situation of the war in the Pacific theatre had been drastically declining for the Japanese at the time in question and hundreds of Japanese ships were being sunk by the U.S. Navy in the sea near by.

Now, the followings would arouse more serious doubt;

<1> Ms Henson claims that she had become able to understand some Japanese by the time when she overheard Captain Tanaka and the colonel talking about a plan to conduct a zoning operation in Pampang, her barrio, because many of the residents there were guerrillas. She was able to understand that the colonel had said that the Japanese soldiers had captured guerrillas from there, and they were in the garrison downstairs. But, she was with the Japanese for only nine months, and, if it was only Captain Tanaka who liked her and taught some Japanese to her, it makes only 1 month or 2. I really doubt that anyone can ever become understand Japanese Language in such short time considering the fact that military terms are usually more complicated and difficult even for the ordinary Japanese.

<2> When Ms Henson was proposed by Domingo, she confessed to him that "[she] had been raped by Japanese soldiers, but [she] never told him that [she] also become a comfort woman." Why? Is it not because a "comfort woman" means a prostitute, never the same as being raped? If she regarded her whole experience in the comfort station as "rape" she could have told him so. And, is that not because why the subtitle of this book used the word "prostitution" although Ms Henson never says that she was in the business?

Apart from the fact that Ms Henson was working in one of the largest communist guerrilla organisation in Philippine at that time, who would spread Anti-Japanese propaganda in the civilian population to mobilise people as their combatants for the communist revolution, those inconsistencies made me assume her account is unreliable.

In reality, as the Japanese authority of this issue Yoshiaki Yoshimi publicly admitted, there is no single documented evidence to support the allegation Japanese Imperial Army kidnapped and forced them to prostitution, or more grotesquely described by the feminists as "sexual slavery".
Yoshimi's large volume of all governmental documents he could ever found on this matter shows that the women made at least 300 yen and at most 1,500 yen per month whereas the soldiers's monthly wage was 9 yen. The charge was range from 1.5 yen from 3 yen per 30 minutes for the privates. (Officers and generals were charged much higher.) Although the women had to pay back their advances to the trader by 50 percent of their earnings, still it was good-waged business to the women from poor countryside. The Japanese Imperial Army did not run the comfort station but paid great attention to the women's welfare so that their soldiers could profit in their morale and spirits by satisfaction of the earthly desire without any worry about venereal disease.

Because of lack of evidence that substantiate the allegation other than those unreliable testimonies of the ex-comfort women's and many evidences that support the Japanese Army's innocent, the government refused to recognise this matter as the issue of compensation. However, Maria Rosa Henson received one million yen (about 250,000 peso) for the "temporary money" from non-governmental organisation in Japan in 1996. It was two years before this book was published. I am just wondering why that fact was omitted. Maybe because this whole issue is a propaganda and Ms Henson is a victim of the ideological warfare.

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survivor's story, February 6, 2002
By Anna Ching-Yu Wong (Lawrence, KS USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices) (Paperback)
This is the most terrible book I ever read. This is a book about a 15 years old girl, Maria Rosa Henson. Maria was taken by the Japanese soldiers and forced into prostitution as a "comfort woman" during the Japanese occupation in Philippines. She was captured and had been sexual tortured and abused for years. After keeping her secret for over half a century, she broke her silent and told the public about her painfully experience. I was stunned by her words and as well the illustrations in the book. However, I admired her courage--her courage to tell the truth and to face her family. Her truth words definitely offer hope and perspective to other survivors who need too heal from the wound.

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Poignant Narrative of Truth Worth Reading, August 17, 2001
By A Customer
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices) (Paperback)
This poignant memoir of a Filippino woman forced into prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II is moving and touching in its simplicity of style. Maria Rosa Henson teaches us truth in these pages, truth which we need to understand. We must all do what we can to see that our country votes properly in the United Nations on this issue. So far the USA is the only nation within the General Assembly of the UN which has refused to uphold that reparations be paid to the thousands and millions of sexual slaves who have been tortured and abused worldwide by the war machine and the various militarists who destroy our humanity everywhere across the globe. The one who has written this book is her personal testitmony to help other survivors.Read this memoir and its introduction. It's worth your education.

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War crimes, May 3, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the Japanese Military (Asian Voices) (Paperback)
This is a very compelling story about the atrocities to which members of the Japanese army subjected a young Filipina girl. It is difficult, at times, to read and certainly not a book I would recommend for young readers. However, it definitely raised my awareness of the issue and the horrors experienced by these "comfort women". It also showed the resilience of women to love and survive again after such deplorable experiences.

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