Anyone who claims that I have said “As I learned about Nanking, I came to believe the Comfort Women were sex slaves…” or anything similar in the essence in the documentary film, Shusenjo, or in the interview is wrong. I have never thought they were sex slaves. What I said was I had started to see things that the nationalists said more skeptically.
Below is to clarify my thinking:
I used to think just the leftists spread propaganda and/or even lies. But I learned that there are lies and propaganda on both sides. Crooks and mercenaries are on both sides. Fanatics, demagogues, ideologists and enablers are everywhere. But so are good-hearted, respectful, honest individuals. In fact, the “side” does not determine whether or not one is decent as an individual at all.
There are certain elements which make resolving political or historical disputes difficult.
I used to believe the only thing we, as individuals who “seek truth,” should do was to spread truth, and the people who hear the truth would always receive it with gratitude. After all, wasn’t “the truth” what the nationalists claimed to be pursuing? I now think that was naïve, wishful thinking on my part. Now I believe truth is a hard medicine to swallow, especially when strong emotions or means of earning is involved. Facts do not care about one’s feelings, but neither do feelings care about facts. There is nothing more detestable and inconvenient than truth when it tries to stand in one’s way of meeting needs. The reason why I’m saying this is based on my experience of
When I stated my changed views on Nanking on my Facebook account, I received, literally, hundreds of responses from my nationalistic Facebook friends, primarily in order to convince me to stay within “a zero massacre” theory. I tried to explain the reasons of my changed understandings of the past event, quoting Dr. Hata’s book on Nanking. Hata was and still is, considered as a notable historian who was famous for his thorough and unbiased investigations on the comfort women issues to the nationalists.
To my surprise, Hata’s researches meant nothing to the nationalists. They suddenly started discrediting and some started even slandering the same historian whom they uphold as an authority on the comfort women issues. Hata’s careful estimate of total unlawful death tolls, 20,000 to 40,000, was dismissed as a result of his “biased, poor, lazy job.”
“How can it be?” I argued, “He is the same Dr. Hata whom we, the conservatives, respect as an authority on the comfort women issue. How could his investigations on Nanking suddenly be a biased, poor, lazy job? Hata’s reasoning and the estimate are more logical and persuasive than the zero-massacre theory.” My words didn’t mean much to the nationalists. Their focus was to discredit China’s 300,000 massacre propaganda, and Hata’s acknowledgement of some level of massacre took place was, they felt, standing in their way. One even wrote: “In order to counter China’s propaganda, I think we should even state that there was negative 300,000 massacre. It’s an eye for an eye. A propaganda for a propaganda!”
This was the moment that I realized what the nationalists, at least some nationalists, are pursuing was, unlike what they claim, not necessarily the truth nor understanding. Even some scholars are seriously claimng that admitting some wrongdoings will encourage China’s exaggerations, as if disputes of truths can be settled by negotiations.
The ridiculousness of this illogic is obvious to anyone who is not emotionally involved with Nanking disputes, even to the liberals. But I can easily point out the liberals have fallen into the similar inconsistencies. For example, the support groups for the comfort women which uphold the women’s words as indisputable truths have turned against those specific women who accepted money from Asia Women’s Funds. The liberals who demanded official apology and compensations from the Japanese government criticized the bilateral agreement in 2015. And imagine the reactions of the liberals if one of the comfort women comes forward to say they were not “sex slaves,” and gives details of their comparably better lifestyles than war zone nurses. In fact, Dr. Hata gives examples of the women’s relatively luxurious lifestyles in comparisons to other women in warzones, soldiers, sex workers in Tokyo, and also from direct words from the women. Will the liberals follow the reasoning and turnaround from their “sexual slavery” definition? Or will they keep their attitudes and “not let the facts get in their way”?
I no longer share the belief of “people will come to know the truth once it’s given.” I think that outcome is rather rare. It’s more likely that people believe what they want to believe and disregard the rest, especially when strong emotions or methods of earnings are involved. I, therefore, am not in the business of making myself popular or getting approvals. I criticize what I find despicable, mostly bad behaviors or hurtful rhetoric. I state my disagreement when I find something unreasonable. But I also share my admiration or give credit where it’s due.
I do recognize that there are personal attacks against me as well as admirations. Those do not bother me nor flatter me. What bothers me instead is that the words which I didn’t say are circulating as my words. I have never said “the comfort women were sex slaves” or anything similar in the sense. That is a fact. Anyone who wants to take it, it’s there. I ended up disappointing and angering the right side of the aisle. I’m sure this will disappoint and anger the left too. But so be it.
Feelings don’t care about facts, but neither do facts care about feelings.
"Facts don't care about your feelings" is a famous statement from an American conservative journalist, Ben Shapiro.