Jan. 29, 2015 – Reminder: voices from a conservative Japanese newspaper

Conservative/Center-right newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun calls to end “misunderstanding due to ‘comfort women’ in textbooks.” The article closes by making two assertions: first, “doubts have been raised about the conventionally accepted theory that the overwhelming majority of comfort women were Korean,” and there even exist theories according to which “there actually were more Japanese comfort women than Korean ones.” Second, the Japanese education ministry has started requiring textbooks to indicate when a theory “has not been clearly established.” The article then circuitously leaves the reader to put the pieces together: it is not clear that Korean women were the main victims of the comfort women system, and school textbooks should include this ‘ambiguity’ in the name of fairness or -even holier- ‘objectivity.’ Such an argument points to the ways in which liberal-democratic value of pluralism can be wielded against the initial supporters of those values. It also reminds us of the challenge, in an age of extreme proliferation of information, of deciding for ourselves what the ‘truth’ is, when arguments, sound and unsound, get drown in a cacophony that can be purposefully created, as demonstrated by this article.