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“Comfort women were essential”

Sanne van Oosten

Yesterday, the mayor of the Japanese Osaka said that the comfort women, who were forced into prostitution during the Pacific War, were essential back then. They were useful in keeping the soldier disciplined and, above all, they were recruited voluntarily, he said. This rightfully caused a wide range fierce protests. This reminded me of the time we were in Seoul. It was a rainy Wednesday afternoon in and we headed towards the Japanese embassy to see the weekly “Comfort Women Protest.” Since it was raining we were afraid nobody would be there, but the contrary turned out to be true: a large group of men and women of all ages were gathered armed with banners, camera’s, loudspeakers and an army of police.

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12 things you’ll only see in Korea

Sanne van Oosten

What characterizes Korea? I went to Korea to get this question answered. I asked all kinds of people, but the answers I got were usually something like “we’re not like China and not like Japan.” Korea feels as if it is in the shadow of their big bad neighbors Japan and China, but is still very proud to be Korean, and not Japanese or Chinese. It seems that Korea is having trouble defining themselves in terms of what they are, instead of in terms of what they are not. But that is totally unnecessary. Korea does have its own character. It has plenty of things that are Korea’s own. Here are just 12 examples of this, but there is so much more!

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Yet another case of blaming the rape-victim

Protesting comfort women in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul

Sanne van Oosten

This rainy Wednesday afternoon in Seoul we headed towards the Japanese embassy to see the weekly “Comfort Women Protest.” Since it was raining we were afraid nobody would be there, but the contrary turned out to be true: a large group of men and women of all ages were gathered armed with banners, camera’s, loudspeakers and an army of police.

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