Re: J. Mark Ramseyer’s article, “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War”
We, Korean American communication scholars and students are enraged by the fact that J. Mark Ramseyer, Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies at Harvard University, not only blindly denies the well documented historical fact that the Japanese military abducted girls and women for sex slavery during wartime, but also describes them as willing participants of prostitution for a negotiated “contract”, and refers to this as scholarship.
Ramsey’s article lacks in scientific vigor. Factual evidence is one of the essential pillars of academic integrity. However, Ramseyer’s work solely relies on controversial claims while ignoring well-documented evidence from the survivors of the war and independent reports produced by well-respected international organizations, such as the United Nations[iv] and Amnesty International[v].
We, as communication scholars and students, are fully aware of academic freedom and its importance. However, we also must recognize that politically and economically motivated shady scholarship should not be labeled as scientific.
In order to truly heal this open wound, we must be diligent and rigorous in uncovering historic atrocities against humanity, learn from its history, and educate our next generation for a better society. It is our moral obligation as scholars and educators.
Thus we, KACA, strongly condemn the quality of J Mark Ramseyer’s scholarship and strongly support the voice of girls and women whose rights were brutally violated by the Japanese military during wartime. They were Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipinos, Malaysian, Indonesian, Dutch, East Timorese, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese and even Japanese.
[ii] Ramseyer, J. M. (2021). Recovering the Truth about the Comfort Women. JapanForward. https://japan-forward.com/recovering-the-truth-about-the-comfort-women/ Retrieved on Feb. 27 2021.
[iii] The Korea Herald, State Department Says Japan’s Wartime Sexual Slavery an Egregious Violation of Human Rights, Feb. 2021: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210219000101
[iv] Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/45. United Nations http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/commission/country52/53-add1.htm Retrieved on Feb. 27, 2021
[v] Report of Amnesty International. Still Waiting After 60 years. https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/ASA220122005ENGLISH.PDF Retrieved on Feb. 27, 2021