Professor Told to Pay 'Comfort Women' for Defamation

January 15, 2016

A South Korean court ordered a professor to pay 10 million won, or $8,262, to each of nine women who claim that her book on Japan’s World War II-era military brothels defamed them, The New York Times reported.

The women, South Koreans who say they were forced to work in the brothels, object to Park Yu-ha’s 2013 book, Comfort Women of the Empire, which critics argue parrots the views of Japanese apologists. Park, a professor of Japanese literature at Sejong University, in Seoul, said she will appeal the civil verdict. She also faces a separate criminal trial for alleged defamation.

Scholars argue that nationalist passions in Japan and South Korea, as well as in China, have distorted historical study of the euphemistically named "comfort women." Amid continuing historical disputes about whether women were "coerced" into the brothels and the extent of the Japanese government's direct involvement, the Japanese and South Korean governments recently announced a settlement in which Japan apologized to the women and pledged $8.3 million for their care in old age.

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