Episode 98 – The Comfort Women

This week, we’re going to discuss one of the most reprehensible aspects of a war littered with horrible acts; the system of mass sexual slavery of women euphemistically dubbed “comfort women”. We’ll talk about the origins and nature of the system, and the reason why it has come back to haunt Japanese politics today.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Yoshiaki Yoshimi, The Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military During World War II

Toshiyuki Tanaka, Japan’s Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II and the US Occupation

Chunghee Sarah Soh, The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan

Margaret Stetz and Bonnie Oh, Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II

Two excellent New York Times articles (here and here) by Martin Fackler and an opinion piece by Mindy Kotler past few months on the background of this issue.

Media

A comfort women station in Indonesia.
A comfort women station in Indonesia.
An Allied soldier speaking to a Chinese comfort women after her station had been liberated by Allied forces.
An Allied soldier speaking to a Chinese comfort women after her station had been liberated by Allied forces.
Comfort women rescued from a station off the Andaman Islands to the south of Burma.
Comfort women rescued from a station off the Andaman Islands to the south of Burma.
A "comfort station" in Shanghai.
A “comfort station” in Shanghai.
Protests for an apology over the comfort women issue in Seoul.
Protests for an apology over the comfort women issue in Seoul.
The statue set up across from the Japanese embassy in Seoul. The Japanese have requested it be taken down several times. The Seoul government has refused.
The statue set up across from the Japanese embassy in Seoul. The Japanese have requested it be taken down several times. The Seoul government has refused.
Protests for an apology on the comfort women issue outside of the "Japan Interchange Association" (the defacto Japanese embassy) in Taipei, Taiwan, 2013.
Protests for an apology on the comfort women issue outside of the “Japan Interchange Association” (the defacto Japanese embassy) in Taipei, Taiwan, 2013.

One of the “Wednesday Protests” in Seoul outside the Japanese embassy

Episode 97 – The North Remembers

This week, we turn to Japan’s “native outsiders” — the Ainu, the aboriginal people of Hokkaido. We’ll trace their relationship with the Japanese and talk about their position in modern Japan.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

De Vos, George. Japan’s Minorities: Burakumin, Koreans, and Ainu

Walker, Brett L. The Conquest of Ainu Lands.

Images

An Ainu family from the early 20th century.
An Ainu family from the early 20th century.
A colorized photo of an Ainu group in the late 1800s.
A colorized photo of an Ainu group in the late 1800s.
This map shows the approximate distribution of Emishi and Ainu (in purple) territories in around 1000 Ce.
This map shows the approximate distribution of Emishi and Ainu (in purple) territories in around 1000 Ce.
I did promise you a picture of the lip tattoos. They really are quite striking, aren't they?
I did promise you a picture of the lip tattoos. They really are quite striking, aren’t they?
Hakodate was the first ethnic Japanese settlement on Hokkaido (from the 1400s), and from that base ethnic Japanese settlers spread across the island.
Hakodate was the first ethnic Japanese settlement on Hokkaido (from the 1400s), and from that base ethnic Japanese settlers spread across the island.
Matsumae castle, the base of the Matsumae clan during the Edo period. From this castle, the Matsumae were tasked with overseeing all aspects of the Japan-Ainu relationship.
Matsumae castle, the base of the Matsumae clan during the Edo period. From this castle, the Matsumae were tasked with overseeing all aspects of the Japan-Ainu relationship.
Kitschy tourist stuff like this has become a source of revenue among Ainu communities -- ethnic Japanese with money will come up to Hokkaido for a carefully crafted "Ainu experience".
Kitschy tourist stuff like this has become a source of revenue among Ainu communities — ethnic Japanese with money will come up to Hokkaido for a carefully crafted “Ainu experience”.

Episode 96 – The Dragon and the Rising Sun, Part 6

This week, we’re turn to the modern Sino-Japanese relationship. After 1978, the communist party assumed a different form under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. How did those changes affect diplomacy between China and Japan? And what on earth happened to lead to the modern fraught relationship between East Asia’s two most powerful states?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Hilpert, Hans-Gunther. Japan and China: Cooperation, Competition, and Conflict.

Lary, Diana. China’s Republic.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising. 

Images and Media

Hua Guofeng was Mao's immediate sucessor. He was a believing Maoist, but was outmaneuvered by the developmentalist Deng Xiaoping.
Hua Guofeng was Mao’s immediate sucessor. He was a believing Maoist, but was outmaneuvered by the developmentalist Deng Xiaoping.
Deng Xiaoping went from prisoner to master of the Communist Party in only eight years. His credibility with the People's Liberation Army was key to his success.
Deng Xiaoping went from prisoner to master of the Communist Party in only eight years. His credibility with the People’s Liberation Army was key to his success.
I did not know until recently that this picture of Deng at a rodeo in Texas in 1979 existed. I feel happier now knowing it does.
I did not know until recently that this picture of Deng at a rodeo in Texas in 1979 existed. I feel happier now knowing it does.
The democracy protests in Tiananmen, c. May, 1989.
The democracy protests in Tiananmen, c. May, 1989.

The BBC’s coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen protests and crackdown

Emperor Akihito (center) with Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi (left) in Beijing, 1992.
Emperor Akihito (center) with Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi (left) in Beijing, 1992.
Anti-Japanese protests like this one are becoming an increasingly common fixture of major Chinese cities. This photo was taken in Shanghai in 2012.
Anti-Japanese protests like this one are becoming an increasingly common fixture of major Chinese cities. This photo was taken in Shanghai in 2012.
I love this photo way too much. From the APEC summit, November 2014.
I love this photo way too much. From the APEC summit, November 2014.

Episode 95 – The Dragon and the Rising Sun, Part 5

This week we explore the rise of the man who would come to symbolize, for good or ill, modern China: Mao Zedong. Who was he, how did he come out on top, and what was his relationship with his neighbors to the east?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan

Mitter, Rana. Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-1945. 

Sasagawa, Yuji. “Changes and Characteristics of Wartime Mobilization in China: Focusing on a Comparison of the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Civil War Era”. Trans. Isaac Meyer. Journal of Modern Chinese History (forthcoming).

Pepper, Suzanne. Civil War in China: The Political Struggle, 1945-1949.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

The Joint Communique of the People’s Republic of China and Japan, courtesy of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Images

Mao Zedong in 1927. By this point he was already a party member and high up in the party's executive committee.
Mao Zedong in 1927. By this point he was already a party member and high up in the party’s executive committee.
The May 4th, 1919 demonstrations in Beijing against the Treaty of Versailles turned into an outpouring of anti-Japanese sentiment. Mao was in the city and participated in the demonstrations.
The May 4th, 1919 demonstrations in Beijing against the Treaty of Versailles turned into an outpouring of anti-Japanese sentiment. Mao was in the city and participated in the demonstrations.
Mao Zedong in 1931 during the siege of the Jiangxi Soviet. The Guomindang assault on communist-held Jiangxi would cost Mao his wife and brother, and eventually force the communists to retreat across the entire country. During that retreat -- the Long March -- Mao would assume leadership of the party.
Mao Zedong in 1931 during the siege of the Jiangxi Soviet. The Guomindang assault on communist-held Jiangxi would cost Mao his wife and brother, and eventually force the communists to retreat across the entire country. During that retreat — the Long March — Mao would assume leadership of the party.
Soldiers of the Eighth Route Army, one of two communist armies theoretically allied to the Guomindang against the Japanese, 1937. In practice, the GMD and the communists cooperated only rarely and were openly shooting at each other by 1940.
Soldiers of the Eighth Route Army, one of two communist armies theoretically allied to the Guomindang against the Japanese, 1937. In practice, the GMD and the communists cooperated only rarely and were openly shooting at each other by 1940.
Communist soldiers in the Hundred Regiments Offensive advancing while holding the Guomindang flag, 1940. The Hundred Regiments offensive would be the only time the CCP took the offensive against the Japanese.
Communist soldiers in the Hundred Regiments Offensive advancing while holding the Guomindang flag, 1940. The Hundred Regiments offensive would be the only time the CCP took the offensive against the Japanese.
Mao Zedong and Chiang Kaishek in 1946, celebrating victory, putting out some great forced smiles, and doing an excellent job of not being too obvious about how much they want to leap across the table and strangle each other.
Mao Zedong and Chiang Kaishek in 1946, celebrating victory, putting out some great forced smiles, and doing an excellent job of not being too obvious about how much they want to leap across the table and strangle each other.
Mao Zedong proclaims the foundation of the People's Republic of China atop the Tiananmen Gate, 1949.
Mao Zedong proclaims the foundation of the People’s Republic of China atop the Tiananmen Gate, 1949.
Mao Zedong and Tanaka Kakuei meeting, December 27, 1972.
Mao Zedong and Tanaka Kakuei meeting, December 27, 1972.