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Memoir of comfort woman tells of 'hell for women' (AP via China Daily - 2007-07-06 10:52) 元記事
「マリアの讃歌」 城田すず子者 （『バルーシア』HPより）
Activist: Japanese former 'comfort women' suffer in silence
(AP via International Herald Tribune - April 28, 2007)
TOKYO: Social stigma is preventing thousands of Japanese women who served occupying U.S. troops in official brothels from coming forward to seek compensation, a women's rights activist said Saturday.
An Associated Press review of historical documents indicates that U.S. authorities permitted Japan to operate an official brothel system for American troops in the early days after World War II — despite reports that many of the women were being forced to work in the brothels against their will.
"It is difficult for these women to come forward because of the social stigma attached to serving U.S. soldiers," said Mitsuko Nobukawa, an activist with the Tokyo-based Violence against Women in War Network.
"There were thousands of women who served in Japanese brothels around Asia during the war, too, but they suffered in silence and few have talked about their experiences," Nobukawa said.
Records show tens of thousands of Japanese women were employed to provide sex to U.S. troops until the spring of 1946, when Gen. Douglas MacArthur shut the brothels down.
About 350,000 U.S. troops were occupying Japan by the end of 1945, and a Japanese government-funded association employed 70,000 prostitutes to serve them, according to a memoir by Seiichi Kaburagi, the chief of public relations for association.
The records indicate that by then the Americans had full knowledge of Japan's reported of women in countries it invaded across Asia during the war, the records show.
Historians say that up to 200,000 women, mainly from China and Korea, provided sex for Japanese troops in military brothels across Asia during the war, and that many of them were coerced into sexual slavery.
Of these so-called "comfort women," at least 10 percent were Japanese, according to historians' estimates.
◆ 美しい壺日記 ◆ [慰安婦問題]産経・古森氏が、また歪曲報道2007/05/06/Sun
Museum to 'comfort women' opens in Shanghai
By Xiao Zhen and Hui Linin Shanghai and Qi Wen in Guangzhou (China Daily - July 7, 2007)
Memoir of comfort woman tells of 'hell for women'
Updated: 2007-07-06 10:52
TATEYAMA, Japan - Sister Michiko Amaha leads the way down into the basement of a little hilltop chapel overlooking the grounds of a shelter for women who, for one reason or another, can't live on their own.
Sister Michiko Amaha looks at a photograph of a woman who is known by her pen name Suzuko Shirota at the basement of a little chapel in Tateyama, east of Tokyo, May 24, 2007. [AP]
Over the years, dozens of women have spent their final days here. Their ashes are stored behind stone markers under a simple altar. Amaha takes the black-and-white photograph of one down from the wall in the ossuary, places it on the altar and lights a few candles.
The woman in the photo is smiling a bright smile, with bangs hanging down over her forehead like a little girl.
Her name - or the name she is known by - was Suzuko Shirota.
Sold by her father into prostitution at age 17, she followed Japan's troops around the Pacific during World War II. After Japan's surrender, she returned and US troops became her clientele. She became a drug addict, was destitute and institutionalized for decades.
Though historians believe there were perhaps tens of thousands more Japanese like her, Shirota is the only Japanese "comfort woman" to have come forward and tell her story.
Now, Japan's government is subtly trying to revise that story.
Sixty-two years after Japan's surrender in 1945 brought an end to the official sanction of thousands of frontline brothels - a tragedy that has been called one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has questioned a key element of an apology Tokyo offered the women in 1993.
Abe and many Japanese conservatives claim that, "in the narrow sense," the women weren't coerced.
No one, for example, held a gun to Shirota's head.
But, then again, no one needed to.
Shirota lived a relatively quiet life until she was 14 and her mother died, in 1935. Her family bakery went bankrupt, and her father began gambling. To pay off his debts, he sold her to a brothel.
Prostitution was legal back then in Japan, and Shirota's was a common fate. With no other choice, she accepted it with resignation.
At first, Shirota worked as an assistant, helping the older women with their clothes and makeup. But gradually, she was brought into the reality of the brothel. When she was 18, she was ordered to serve her first customer. Locked in a room, she was raped. She was bedridden for days, and underwent treatment for syphilis.
Her father continued to gamble, and took out loans from the brothel.
A broker in Yokohama sold her to another brothel in Taiwan. By then, Japan was well down its path toward all-out war in Asia. Taiwan and Korea were colonies, and the Japanese empire was spreading rapidly throughout the region.
So was forced prostitution. Japan established its first "comfort stations" in China in 1932 to serve as a steam valve for the troops, preventing rapes that would generate local resentment and resistance, and to slow the spread of venereal diseases through medical supervision of the brothels.
The women - she recalls taking a boat to Taiwan with Koreans, Okinawan and other Japanese - were closely controlled.
In Taiwan, Shirota was kept under lock and key. Though privately run, her brothel served Japan's military and the government was closely involved in keeping the women from escaping. Papers were required to leave her brothel, and police kept tabs on her movement.
"I became, in name and reality, a slave," she wrote in her little-known memoir, "In Praise of Mary." "On Saturdays and Sundays, there would be a line and men would compete to get in. It was a meat market, with no feeling or emotion. Each woman would have to take 10 or 15 men."
Shirota managed to con a customer into paying off her debt by promising to marry him. She returned to Japan, but found that her family had scattered. With nowhere to turn, she borrowed enough money to go to the Pacific island of Saipan, where a large number of Japanese troops were stationed. From there, she island-hopped to Truk and Palau, where she eventually found work keeping the books for a comfort station.
Narrowly escaping death when the island was bombed and liberated in 1945, she was repatriated to Japan, but, again, had few alternatives. She bounced around from city to city, developing an addiction to methamphetamines. She found her way to the port city of Hakata, and took up work at a brothel frequented by US troops.
Here, too, there was no dearth of work.
"It was like a war," she wrote of the crowds jostling for the women's services. "It was a whole new world for me."
She began living with an American soldier and started to have hopes of a future. But he left her behind.
She tried to kill herself as her life became more desperate. During a visit to her mother's grave, she learned that her sister had committed suicide.
Then she saw an article in a magazine about a shelter for women like herself. It was 1955, the year before prostitution was formally banned.
Using a pen name, Shirota broke her silence in 1971 with her memoir, which was published by the same Christian group that helps run the shelter in this town east of Tokyo where she would spend more than two decades until her death. It is long out of print; even the publisher no longer has any copies.
A rare copy of the book, which has never been translated, was reviewed by The Associated Press at Japan's National Diet Library.
Just before Shirota died in 1993, the "comfort women" tragedy became an international issue.
Historians say up to 200,000 Asian women were forced to service millions of Japanese troops.
A Korean woman, outraged by Japanese claims that the wartime brothels were run not by the government but by private entrepreneurs, came forward in protest, claiming she was kidnapped from her home by Japanese soldiers and forced into a life of sexual slavery. Others have since followed and Japanese historians dug up documents indisputably proving government complicity. Tokyo came forth with the 1993 apology.
But years before, in 1984, Shirota had dealt with her own demons.
Tortured by nightmares of the cries of the women who worked with her, she wrote a letter to Rev. Fumio Fukatsu, the Protestant minister who ran the shelter.
"Forty years have passed since the end of the war, but no voices have been raised anywhere in Japan. There are monuments to soldiers and civilians, but the girls who were offered for sex in China, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and the Aleutians, after being used freely, were just thrown away to wander in the freezing cold or become the food of dogs and wolves.
"Wherever the military went, there were comfort stations. ... They lined up, we had no time to clean ourselves before they had us again, we felt the pain of death. How many times did I want to strangle them? I was half crazy.... If you died you were just thrown into a pit in the jungle. No one would tell your family. I saw this with my own eyes, this hell for women."
Fukatsu helped Shirota realize a long-held wish - that a monument be built to the women.
At first, it was just a simple wooden marker erected on the hill near the chapel. Later, that was replaced by a proper stone monument, which, covered with lichens, remains there today, surrounded by weeds and a vegetable patch.
Sister Amaha, now in her 80s, makes the trip up the hill once a year for a small gathering on the anniversary of the day Japan surrendered.
Amaha, who was with Shirota when she died, said she doesn't expect others to come forward.
"There is an unspoken pressure not to come forward and bring shame on the nation," she said. "I think that is why none have spoken out. But she was the first to tell her story. It is proof, it is a challenge to the government.
[このひと] 慰安婦被害 初証言 城田 をご存知ですか
登録 : 2010.08.23 12:36
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[이사람] 위안부 피해 첫 증언 시로타를 아시나요
등록 : 2010.08.22 22:05수정 : 2010.08.22 22:25툴바메뉴
5일 오후 일본 치바현 다테야마시에 위치한 카니타 부녀의 마을 교회에서 2010 한중일 청소년 역사체험캠프 참석자들이 아마하 미치코 시설장의 강연을 듣고 있다. 다테야마/김태형 기자 email@example.com
일 ‘가니타 부인의 마을’ 아마하 미치코 수녀
84년 시설 설립한 목사에 고백
아마하 수녀, 청소년역사캠프서
“여러분은 그들 고통 외면말길”
“한국과 중국의 젊은 학생들은 종군 위안부에 대해 얼마나 알고 있나요?”
일본 지바현의 남서쪽 끝 다테야마시에 자리한 부녀자 보호시설 ‘가니타 부인의 마을’의 아마하 미치코(84·사진) 수녀는 지난 5일 청소년 역사체험 캠프에 참여한 한·중·일 세 나라 학생들을 앞에 두고 인자한 표정으로 물었다.
그가 이 얘기를 꺼낸 이유는 태평양전쟁 당시 일본군 위안부의 실체를 규명하기 위한 긴 싸움에서 이 마을이 차지하는 독특한 위치 때문이다. 이 마을은 1957년 일본에서 매춘방지법이 시행된 뒤 사회에 적응하지 못한 탈성매매 여성들을 돌보고자 75년 탄생했다.
“이 마을에 시로타 스즈코(가명·1921~93)라는 여성이 살았습니다. 그는 스스로 위안부였음을 증언한 최초의 일본인 여성입니다.”
시로타는 84년 마을의 설립자인 후카쓰 후미오 목사(사망)에게 자신이 위안부로 끌려다니며 당했던 기억에 대해 털어놓았다. 시로타의 고백은 91년 첫 한국인 위안부 증언자인 김학순(1924~97) 할머니보다 7년이나 앞서 나온 것이다. 이후 한국·중국·필리핀·대만·네덜란드 등 위안부 피해 여성들의 증언이 쏟아져 나왔고 이는 위안부를 모집·운영하는 과정에서 93년 일본 정부가 직간접적으로 개입했음을 인정하는 ‘고노 담화’로 이어졌다.
아마하 수녀는 “후카쓰 목사는 증언을 듣고 충격을 받아 1년 동안 잠을 이루지 못할 정도였다”고 말했다. 2년 뒤인 86년 후카쓰 목사는 위안부로 죽어간 여성들의 넋을 달래기 위해 마을에 ‘아, 종군위안부’를 새긴 석비를 세웠다. 마을의 교회당에서 언덕 위쪽으로 난 작은 오솔길을 따라 10분쯤 오르면 ‘거울 해안’이라 불리는 다테야마만의 잔잔한 물결이 펼쳐지는데, 그 한편에 이 석비가 서 있다.
그러나 일본에서 ‘제2의 시로타’는 나타나지 않았다. 왜 그랬을까? 아마하 수녀는 “일본에서는 위안부들에 대해 ‘돈이 필요해서 갔던 게 아니냐. 그러니 자신의 책임이 아니냐’ 이런 식으로 생각하는 풍토가 강하다. 그런 환경 속에서 스스로가 위안부였다는 사실을 고백하는 것은 쉽지 않았을 것”이라고 말했다.
그는 이어 “일본 정부는 지금까지도 위안부로 고통을 받은 여성들에게 사죄와 보상을 하지 않고 있지만, 전쟁을 겪은 세대들은 이미 늙어서 목소리가 점점 작아지고 있다”며 “젊은 세대들이 지금부터라도 옛 역사에 대해 관심을 가져 평화로운 동아시아를 만들었으면 좋겠다”고 말했다.
다테야마/글 길윤형 기자 firstname.lastname@example.org
사진 김태형 기자 email@example.com