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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Yoko Watkins Defends Memoir Amid Angry Crowd Gerry-Bevers

http://www.occidentalism.org/?p=499

Yoko Watkins Defends Memoir Amid Angry Crowd
February 16th, 2007Gerry-Bevers


The Boston Globe, February 16, 2007

“Author defends memoir on Korea, apologizes for furor”

SHERBORN –Yoko Kawashima Watkins, a soft-spoken 73-year-old author from Cape Cod, stood yesterday before an angry audience that included seven South Korean media outlets to defend a controversial memoir that has stirred debate from the Boston suburbs to Hawaii. more

I slightly shorter version of the above article can be found here, and more background on the controversy can be found here.

I do not understand what she has to apologize for or what is so controversial about the memoir? I have not read the book because the Korean publisher has stopped sales here, but from what I have read about the book, there is little or nothing in it to create the kind of “furor” Koreans and Korean-Americans are making over it. For example, was it really necessary for “seven South Korean media outlets” to attend the press conference?

This story is a perfect example of how malicious and ridiculously petty Koreans can sometimes be. And if you want an example of character assassination, read my following translation of this Yonhap News report:

Yoko Reasserts ‘So Far from the Bamboo Grove” Is All True”

Admits family registry a lie… Unable to dispell suspicions about father

(Boston – Yonhap) Special Correspondent Lee Gi-chang — On the 15th, Yoko Kawashima Watkins, author of “So Far From the Bamboo Grove,” reasserted her claim that all the facts in her book are true, though she was unable to present any conclusive evidence concerning the main suspicions about it. The book is at the center of a history distortion controversy for depicting Koreans as the assailants and Japanese as the victims at the end of the Japanese Empire.

On this day [Ms.] Yoko held a press conference in the Boston suburbs at “The Peace Abbey,” where she is an executive member and where she stressed that, except for three parts of “So Far From the Bamboo Grove,” she personally experienced all that was written.

Ms. Yoko had previously claimed that all the facts were true except for two that involved her brother, but today she admitted that the date for the Nagasaki nuclear bombing was August 9, not the August 8 date she mistakenly wrote in her book. She said that including this error there were only three things in the book that were not true.

Concerning there being a People’s Army in July-August 1945, there being a bamboo grove in Nanam, there being intense bombing by American military planes, her father’s occupation, and other controversies, Ms. Yoko claimed that they were all true without adding much more to her previous explanation.

However, Ms. Yoko won the Asahi Newspaper-sponsored writing prize in 1947, which is different from the 1946 date she wrote in the book. This shows that there are more than just three parts of the book that are different from the facts.

Concerning suspicions that her father was an executive adminstrator of Unit 731, Ms. Yoko was unable to present any conclusive proof of the activities of her father except to repeat her previous claim that he worked in the administrative section of the Manchurian Railroad Company and that the Chinese characters for his name were different from Kayoshi Kawashima, who was a major general in Unit 731.

In her book Ms. Yoko wrote that her mother and grandmother were already dead in 1945, but in her 1952 family registry they were recorded as being alive. Concerning this, she admitted that they deceived the Japanese government in their struggle to survive. She also submitted this falsified family registry when she immigrated to the US in 1955, which was a violation of US immigration laws.

Daniel Barenblatt, who also attended the interview and who is an expert researcher of Unit 731, said, “You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying.” He said, ”The book is a lie from the cover and the first sentence.”

Mr. Barenblatt said, “When I heard Ms. Yoko say that Korean students all understand the book, I could not control my rage.” He pointed out, ” It is ridiculous to say that Korean students understand a book that, to anyone, obviously depicts Koreans as being the villain.”

Many of Ms. Yoko’s supporters attended the news conference and ridiculed the embarrassing questions that were asked her while also demanding that the questioning quickly end. They also clapped when comments were made that defended her.

When she was asked how she planned to respond to a lawsuit against “So Far From the Bamboo Grove,” Ms. Yoko said with a perplexed look on her face, “This is the first I have heard of it.” She passed the question over to one of her supporters, who said, “We will deal with it in the Congress of Library” [sic].

2007/02/16 14:10

UPDATE: Daniel Barenblatt has written a comment on Occidentalism denying the quotes in the Yonhap News article. You can read his comment here.



ponta
February 16th, 2007 at 10:57 | #1 Reply | Quote
Concerning suspicions that her father was an executive manager of Unit 731, Ms. Yoko was unable to present any conclusive proof of the activities of her father except to repeat her previous claim that he worked in the administrative section of the Manchurian Railroad Company and that the Chinese characters for his name were different from Kayoshi Kawashima, who was a major general in Unit 731.

Oh, my!
Can you accuse anybody of committing a crime in this way?.
I am interested in how Korean intellectuals read it.

Sonagi
February 16th, 2007 at 12:26 | #2 Reply | Quote
Congress of Library

Aw, c’mon, Gerry. You’ve haven’t been outside the US that long.

tomato
February 16th, 2007 at 14:06 | #3 Reply | Quote
ponta,
Well, remember in the dark ages, people had to prove they’re not witches or agents of the devil…now that’s quite hard to do once you’re accused by determined fanatics!!

nighthawk
February 16th, 2007 at 14:08 | #4 Reply | Quote
Can you accuse anybody of committing a crime in this way?

If you can’t prove otherwise, your father was a Unit 731 official. This is because you violated the sacred rule of Korean historical memory, in which all Japanese were villains and all Koreans were innocent victims.

Matt
February 16th, 2007 at 15:25 | #5 Reply | Quote
That Yonhap article was vicious.
However, Ms. Yoko won the Asahi Newspaper-sponsored writing prize in 1947, which is different from the 1946 date she wrote in the book. This shows that there are more than just three parts of the book that are different from the facts.

If she won the prize in 1947 and not 1946, then she should prove with documentary evidence that she was not killing Korean babies in 1946… at least that is what the Yanhap article is trying to say with this pettiness.
Daniel Barenblatt sounds like a real hater, too.

tomato
February 16th, 2007 at 16:08 | #6 Reply | Quote
Daniel Barenblatt sounds like a real hater, too.

No doubt about it. I wonder what’s the matter with these kinds of people…should do a screen-check on what really do they represent.

Sonagi
February 16th, 2007 at 16:50 | #7 Reply | Quote
I don’t think Daniel Barenblatt listened to Mrs. Watkins with an open mind.
“You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying.” He said, ”The book is a lie from the front cover to the last sentence.”

Since he’s such a good lie detector, maybe he can teach his techniques to law enforcement. “A lie from the front cover to the last sentence” What shrill nonsense.

nighthawk
February 16th, 2007 at 18:29 | #8 Reply | Quote
I too assume Daniel Barenblatt to be a real hater, but I don’t think he is quoted accurately. It sounds way too Korean. Korean media often puts their own words into a commentator’s mouth as a direct quote, especially when the article is published only in Korean. If Barenblatt had actually said this, he’d be an idiot, not just a hater.

ponta
February 16th, 2007 at 18:58 | #9 Reply | Quote
If this man, Daniel Barenblatt, does not protest against this quote, it will be quite easy to attack him/his book as unreliable, by quoting this quote.

Gerry-Bevers
February 16th, 2007 at 20:40 | #10 Reply | Quote
Sonagi,
Yes, I have been outside the US for quite a while, but I was still able to recognize that the “Congress of Library” quote could not be right. I included it simply because that is how it was written in the Korean article, and I was tired last night when I finally finished the translation and did not want to deal with it. Also, I did not understand why they would deal with a lawsuit in the American Library Association, which I assume is what the Korean reporter was referring to, but cannot be sure. However, I should have indicated the suspected error with a [sic], which I will do now. Or do you think I should just translate it as the “American Library Association”?

Sonagi
February 16th, 2007 at 20:48 | #11 Reply | Quote
I think the “Congress of Library” is the Library of Congress.

Sonagi
February 16th, 2007 at 20:51 | #12 Reply | Quote
nighthawk wrote:
I too assume Daniel Barenblatt to be a real hater, but I don’t think he is quoted accurately. It sounds way too Korean. Korean media often puts their own words into a commentator’s mouth as a direct quote, especially when the article is published only in Korean. If Barenblatt had actually said this, he’d be an idiot, not just a hater.

I believe you are right. After reading Korean newspapers every day for several years, I should have been more suspicious. Daniel Barenblatt is a published scholar; his work deals with Unit 731, and he may be critical of Watkin’s book, but it is highly unlikely that he would utter such nonsense.

Gerry-Bevers
February 16th, 2007 at 21:08 | #13 Reply | Quote
If the quotes attributed to Daniel Barenblatt, a Harvard graduate, are true, then I think they suggest he is prone to exaggeration and half-baked conclusions. This makes me suspicious of his book, “A Plague Upon Humanity,” which I have not read, but which is reviewed here.

tomato
February 16th, 2007 at 23:10 | #14 Reply | Quote
Sometimes it seems to be that “historians” are not used to going over the level of scrutiny that other professions have…which makes the subject of “history” still steps away from “science”. Maybe I should not be generalizing this, but sometimes makes me wonder.

ponta
February 16th, 2007 at 23:32 | #15 Reply | Quote
Anyway 731 troop is Korean favorite topic so much so that MBC fabricated reported a scene of the movie as a real photo of dissection of a human body by 731 troop.

nighthawk
February 17th, 2007 at 01:34 | #16 Reply | Quote
tomato said:

Sometimes it seems to be that “historians” are not used to going over the level of scrutiny that other professions have…

Barenblatt is not a professional historian. I am not an academic snob, but it is not coincidental that few university-based historians have written anything substantial regarding Unit 731. Not much primary sources held by Americans are made available yet. We should be really suspicious about any books that claim to uncover “hidden truth” or “forgotten holocaust,” and so on.

T_K
February 17th, 2007 at 03:36 | #17 Reply | Quote
Once again, I’m speechless wrt the logic of the nationalist crowd.
Kawashima Watkins’ Book depicts atrocities committed against the Japanese. The detractors claim that the reasons for the reprisals weren’t discussed. By deduction, their argument is the following: “Raping and murdering Japanese civilians is acceptable because of comfort women and Unit 731″

MikeRossTky
February 17th, 2007 at 05:55 | #18 Reply | Quote
The URL is present in Sonagi’s comments, but you can visit Mr. Daniel Barenblatt web site:
http://www.geocities.com/dib10280/

Mika
February 17th, 2007 at 08:08 | #19 Reply | Quote
It’s really absurd that the Korean publisher has stopped sales. When the book was released in Korea, no one complained about it. In fact some Korean newspapers like Dong-a Ilbo praised the book.
http://www.donga.com/fbin/output?sfrm=2&n=200505060207

Dan Barenblatt
February 17th, 2007 at 16:18 | #20 Reply | Quote
Hi there,
This is Daniel Barenblatt, and no surprise,
I did not actually say any of the quotes
attributed to me that appear on this occidentalism.org website. Here is my
position on the matter —I have just written
and posted this statement on the front page
of my website http://www.geocities.com/dib10280 .

Dan Barenblatt
February 17th, 2007 at 16:22 | #21 Reply | Quote
February 17, 2007: YIKES ! I DID NOT SAY THIS! TOTAL FABRICATION-MISQUOTEs —
Hey folks, I have to do this emergency correction to some false quotes that have been attributed to me on another web site.
The website http://www.occidentalism.org quotes me as saying the following, in the web author’s own English translation of a Yonhap News Agency dispatch:
“Daniel Barenblatt, who also attended the interview and who is an expert researcher of Unit 731, said, “You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying.” He said, ”The book is a lie from the front cover to the last sentence.”
Now, I Daniel Barenblatt, who is writing this now, did NOT say either of the above two supposed quotes. I do not agree with either of them. I do NOT think that Ms. Watkins’ book So Far from the Bamboo Grove is “a lie from the front cover to the last sentence.” What I believe, and what I told the reporter, was the same that I tell everyone else, that there are some serious factual errors in the book, in the book’s first sentence for example, and that the book, overall, unfortunately reverses the roles of oppressed and oppressor in the Asian historical period of the time, giving the readers, who are children and teens, the false general impression that Japanese colonists were the persecuted victims of the colonized Koreans, rather than the reality of the historical situation from 1910 to August 1945. As such it should not be taught in the classroom, nor should it be presented as autobiographical historical fiction. I hope this clarifies things for any reader of the Yonhap misquotes who had been misled to misunderstand my views and position on the subject of the book and its author.
Continuing on, I was distressed to read on the occidentalism.org front page:
“Mr. Barenblatt said, “When I heard Ms. Yoko say that Korean students all understand the book, I could not control my rage.” ”
Attention: I did NOT say this, never, to the reporter or to anyone. And, ahem, I do not now nor have I ever had any such “rage” !
Continuing:
“He pointed out, ” It is ridiculous to say that Korean students understand a book that, to anyone, obviously depicts Koreans as being the villain.” ”
Again, I did NOT say the above fabricated quote. Not any of it.
Now, I don’t know yet whether I was so severely fabrication-misquoted by the Yonhap journalist, or by this “occidentalism.org” website’s alleged English translation of the original Korean article, that has so far only appeared in the Korean language apart from this “translation” on the English language occidentalism.org site(I don’t speak or read Korean). I will find out soon who is responsible for the miquotes.
In any case, this is the weirdest, most horribly fabricated set of false quotations I’ve seen in regard to anyone, and I am calling for an immediate retraction and correction from whoever is responsible, whether it be Yonhap or the http://www.occidentalism.org website. The responsible party also owes an apology to myself, to Ms. Yoko Kawashima Watkins, to the Korean people, the Japanese people, and anyone else involved, and to the reading public in general.
Thank you, and stay tuned for further updates,
Daniel Barenblatt

Sonagi
February 17th, 2007 at 17:00 | #22 Reply | Quote
Darin,
I am a fluent Korean speaker and comment on many Asia-related blogs. I have just checked the original article and can verify that Gerry Bevers’ translation is accurate. If you did not make those statements, I hope you will pursue the matter with Yonhap. Such quotes can damage your reputation as a scholar.
Good luck and keep us informed.
You are welcome to email me at xiasonagi@NOSPAMZgmail.com

Matt
February 17th, 2007 at 17:11 | #23 Reply | Quote
Dan, the translations of the quotes are accurate. I second Sonagi’s suggestion that you take this up with Yonhap, and see if you can have those quotes retracted. Yonhap is South Korea’s official news agency, controlled by the state.

pacifist
February 17th, 2007 at 17:17 | #24 Reply | Quote
Mr. Dan Barenbaltt,
You have to scold Yonhap, not Occidentalism.

pacifist
February 17th, 2007 at 17:30 | #25 Reply | Quote
Dan Barenblatt,
You mentioned, “unfortunately reverses the roles of oppressed and oppressor in the Asian historical period of the time, giving the readers, who are children and teens, the false general impression that Japanese colonists were the persecuted victims of the colonized Koreans,”
You have to realize that both of the oppressed and oppressor can be victims, especially in non-soldiers such as women and children. So this book is important to educate children that wars must be evaded, and that people on earth should live together in peace.

tomato
February 17th, 2007 at 17:40 | #26 Reply | Quote
Oh then, the Germans can’t talk about their post-WWII Vertreibung and all that was done against the German population was justified. And ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Croatia are justified because the Serbs were the first aggressors in the conflict. And so on and so forth…

Dan Barenblatt
February 17th, 2007 at 17:51 | #27 Reply | Quote
I just revised my website front page statement,
to further clarify, and slightly alter the tone of the previous draft, which was a bit on the breathless side. See http://www.geocities.com/dib10280 . Also see below,
after my reply to comment 25.
As to comment 25 of pacifist, it
should be understood that context
and the selective omission of facts,
and insertion of historical
falsehoods/errors, is key here.
An analogy to the case of So Far from the Bamboo Grove would be a book aimed at children
with the narrative of a WWII colonist
German family in Poland fleeing from what are represented as unreasonably hostile and vicious Jews and Poles, and from a
rapist, child-killing Jewish guerilla group
that did not exist in reality (as
SFFBG presents us with a fictitious
“Korean Communist Army” that did not
exist in reality, at the time).
February 17, 2007: YIKES ! I DID NOT SAY THIS!
FABRICATION-MISQUOTES —
I do NOT think that Ms. Watkins’ book So Far from the Bamboo Grove
is “a lie from the front cover to the last sentence.” What I believe,
and what I told the reporter, was the same that I tell everyone else,
that there are some serious factual errors in the book, in the book’s
first sentence for example, and that the book’s narrative, overall, unfortunately reverses the roles of oppressed and oppressor in the
Asian historical period of the time, giving the readers, who are
children and teens, the false general impression that Japanese
colonists were the persecuted victims of the colonized Koreans,
rather than the reality of the historical situation from 1910 to
August 1945. As such it should not be taught in the classroom,
nor recommended for school libraries. Nor should it be presented
as autobiographical historical fiction.
I hope this clarifies things for any reader of the Yonhap misquotes
who had been misled to misunderstand my views and position on the
subject of the book and its author.
Continuing on, I was distressed to read on the occidentalism.org front page:
“Mr. Barenblatt said, “When I heard Ms. Yoko say that Korean students all understand the book, I could not control my rage.” ”
Attention: I did not say this, never, to the reporter or to anyone.
And, ahem, I do not now nor have I ever had any such “rage” …..
Continuing:
“He pointed out, ” It is ridiculous to say that Korean students understand a book that, to anyone, obviously depicts Koreans as being the villain.” ”
Again, I did not say the above quote. In this case, though, the general
idea, at least, is correct that Korean students reading this book could
not “understand” it, if one is to interpret the word understand here to
mean that Koreans would agree with the So Far From the Bamboo Grove’s
false portrayal of Koreans and of historical events.
Now, I don’t know yet whether I was so severely misquoted
by the Yonhap journalist, or by this “occidentalism.org” website’s alleged English translation of the original Korean article, that has so far only appeared in the Korean language apart from this “translation” on the
English language occidentalism.org site(I don’t speak or read Korean).
I will find out soon who is responsible for the misquotes.
In any case, this is a weird set of false quotations, and
I am calling for an immediate retraction and correction from
whoever is responsible, whether it be Yonhap or the http://www.occidentalism.org website. The responsible party also owes an apology to myself,
and to the Korean people, and to the reading public in general.
Thank you, and stay tuned for further updates,
Daniel Barenblatt

Gerry-Bevers
February 17th, 2007 at 18:00 | #28 Reply | Quote
Mr. Barenblatt,
I have reviewed my translation of the Yonhap News article and did find one error in it.
Original Translation:
“The book is a lie from the front cover and to the last sentence.”

Revised Translation:
“The book is a lie from the cover and the first sentence.”

I apologize if the error caused you any distress.

Gerry-Bevers
February 17th, 2007 at 18:36 | #29 Reply | Quote
Mr. Barenblatt,
Your analogy of a German family in Poland fleeing “unreasonably hostile and vicious Jews and Poles” is an extremely bad one because the Japanese did not treat Koreans as the Germans treated the Jews and Poles. Koreans were allies with the Japanese in the wars in China and the Pacific.
There is disagreement on how “oppressed” Koreans were during Korea’s colonial period. I wonder if you know that after Japan’s defeat in World War II, Korea’s new president began an anti-Japanese campaign designed to portray Koreans as innocent victims of the Japanese rather than their willing allies. For example, in Korean classrooms after the war signs were hung up that read, “Anti-Japanese, Anti-Communist.”
Finally, I do not understand why people think Ms. Watkins’ novel should give a history of Korea’s colonial period? Wasn’t she essentially writing about her struggle to survive after 1945, when she was only eleven years old? How much could she have known about the colonial period, especially the period before the war?
If you think the Yonhap News article has falsely portrayed you, then maybe you now have an idea of how Ms. Watkins must feel.

tomato
February 17th, 2007 at 18:57 | #30 Reply | Quote
Of course there were operating Korean communist partisan forces at the time. They launched operations against Japanese occupied northern Korea from their bases in Manchuria. In fact, N Korea claims to be descended from these forces. Doesn’t strike me as odd in this respect.

Sonagi
February 17th, 2007 at 18:59 | #31 Reply | Quote
Dan,
Gerry has made a minor correction to his otherwise accurate translation. I and the blogger have assured you that the translation is accurate. Now please find yourself a Korean translator fast and then take up your case with Yonhap. If you wait until after the big holiday on Monday, you may even find an English translation of the story at their website.

ponta
February 17th, 2007 at 21:43 | #32 Reply | Quote
Mr. Barenblatt was fortunate that Gerry translated the article and knew the fabrication by Yohan.
The article as it was, I thought he was paid to say what he said,
As an expert on 731 troop, it was strange he didn’t mention a bit about the allegation of Ms Watkins’ father. At least he could have mentioned whether it is logical to infer from the evidences to the allegation Korean media made. Instead, all he said was in line with Korean nationalists, and it helped to make an impression Korean atrocity had never happened after WWⅡ.
I am glad Mr. Barenblatt is going to correct the article and make Yohan apologize to Mr, Barenblatt and Ms Watkins. Otherwise nobody would trust his book.

angusmack
February 17th, 2007 at 22:01 | #33 Reply | Quote
Everyone,
Now I don’t mean to dump on our host or other commentors unnecessarily, but why don’t we all try to use some critical reading skills before we savage some poor bastard who was obviously set up by a hack Korean reporter?
Mr. Barenblatt said, “When I heard Ms. Yoko say that Korean students all understand the book, I could not control my rage.”
When I read that quote – and what follows – I smelled a skunk immediately. Why? Because no Whitey talks like that!!! “…I could not control my rage.”, is a pure Korean expression translated into English. Christ, how long have you guys been in this country and are unable to sniff that one out? Because you choose a knee-jerk reaction to those fabricated quotes -unusual in such an integrity ridden group as the Korean media I know, but it does happen- you look gullible and stupid. I assume most of you have a university education, try using it when reading a newspaper or consuming other media, especially when it comes to Korean journalists and their ongoing nationalistic crusade.

tomato
February 17th, 2007 at 22:35 | #34 Reply | Quote
Nice name…seems like McDonalds is testing angus beef on its burgers. Didn’t know that before you came.

ponta
February 17th, 2007 at 23:33 | #35 Reply | Quote
Mr. Barenblatt
Also you should make it clearer you didn’t say,” You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying.” otherwise people might think, “hey, what couldn’t he tell the Korean journalist he talked with was a liar by looking at his face?”
As angusmack says, Korean media is infamous for misquoting and putting the words out of context,—in fact this blog often points it out—-but some people surely might wonder why you are acting as if you were an expert on the mind-reading , as if you tried your best to make Ms Watkins look she was a liar.
I think in this sense, Yohan should also apologize to Ms Watkins. Don’t you think so?

nighthawk
February 17th, 2007 at 23:38 | #36 Reply | Quote
Just as I thought (lol). I hope Mr. Barenblatt has learned something about the way Korean (or Chinese, for that matter) media educates its people, who have been informing his anti-Japanese journalism.

Dan Barenblatt
February 18th, 2007 at 00:16 | #37 Reply | Quote
Actually tomato,what you say in
comment 30, quoted below, is incorrect.
The only active, armed Korean anti-Japanese group, communist or otherwise, was that led by Kim Il Sung, and they did not operate
within Korea at the time of Japan’s defeat.
It was too dangerous and they were too small in number. Kim and his guerilla group
arrived on the shore of northern Korea in a Soviet vessel, after Soviet forces had beaten back the Japanese and the area was safely secured.
tomato said:
Of course there were operating Korean communist partisan forces at the time. They launched operations against Japanese occupied northern Korea from their bases in Manchuria. In fact, N Korea claims to be descended from these forces. Doesn’t strike me as odd in this respect.


Matt
February 18th, 2007 at 00:21 | #38 Reply | Quote
The article has been picked up from Yonhap by Japanese Joins. Mr Barenblatt, here you are quoted again, this time without “rage” bit. This time the part concerning you says -
Daniel Barenblatt, who also attended the interview and who is an expert researcher of Unit 731, said, “You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying.” He said, ”The book is a lie from the cover and the first sentence.”
Here is the sentence in Japanese.
この日の会見を見守った731部隊研究専門家のダニエル・バレンブラット氏は「ヨーコ氏の顔を見ただけで嘘をついていることが分かった」とし「この本は表紙、冒頭から嘘だ」と語った。
Rather than treating the people commenting at Occidentalism with suspicion (which I feel your statement does), you should thank them for making every effort to bring this to light, for confirming the translation, and for helping to preserve your reputation.
The entire article is below.
「‘ヨーコの話’はすべて事実」…著者が繰り返し主張

韓国人を加害者、日本人を被害者として描写し、歴史歪曲論議を呼んだ「ヨーコの話」(原題:So Far From the Bamboo Grove)の著者ヨーコ・ワトキンス氏が15日、主な疑惑に関する決定的な証拠を提示しないまま「内容はすべて事実」と重ねて主張した。

ヨーコ氏はこの日、自ら幹部を務めるボストン近郊の「ピースアビー」という団体で記者会見を行い、「ヨーコの話」は3つの点を除いてすべて自分が直接体験したことだと強調した。

ヨーコ氏はその間、本の内容のうち兄に関連した2つの点を除いてすべて事実だと主張してきたが、この日は「本に長崎の原爆投下日を8月8日と書いたのは実際の8月9日を誤って表記したものであり、このミスを含めて3点だけが事実でない」と述べた。

ヨーコ氏は争点になってきた1945年7-8月当時に人民軍がいたか、羅南(ナナム)に竹林があったか、米軍機の激しい爆撃があったか、父親の職業が何か、などについては従来と同じ釈明に多少異なる内容を追加し、すべて事実だと主張した。

しかしヨーコ氏は「自分が朝日新聞主催の作文大会で入賞した年は1947年だった。本に出てくる1946年とは違う」と話すなど、事実と異なる内容が3カ所以上であることを自ら表した。

ヨーコ氏は特に731部隊幹部という疑惑を受けている父に関連、「父は満州鉄道会社行政部門で働いていた。漢字も731部隊の軍医少将だった‘川島清’とは違う」という従来の釈明以外に、何ら決定的な証拠を提示できなかった。

ヨーコ氏は、著書で1945年にすでに死亡したと書かれている母親と祖母が1952年発給の戸籍に‘生存’と表記されていることに関し、「生死がかかった状況で日本政府を欺いたもの」と認めた。ヨーコ氏は1955年の米国移民当時にもこの虚偽の戸籍を提出したが、これは米国の移民関連法律違反にあたる。

この日の会見を見守った731部隊研究専門家のダニエル・バレンブラット氏は「ヨーコ氏の顔を見ただけで嘘をついていることが分かった」とし「この本は表紙、冒頭から嘘だ」と語った。


Dan Barenblatt
February 18th, 2007 at 00:26 | #39 Reply | Quote
nighthawk said:
Just as I thought (lol). I hope Mr. Barenblatt has learned something about the way Korean (or Chinese, for that matter) media educates its people, who have been informing his anti-Japanese journalism.

My writing isn’t anti-Japanese; in fact it’s
pro-Japanese in the sense that Japanese people have also been victims of the militarism and fascism of Imperial Japan.
Pro-Japanese and pro-human. How many millions of Japanese people died
and had their lives ruined due to their
rulers’ horrible wars of aggression and colonial occupation? The Japanese population
were and are victims of this too, along with the peoples of other nations.

Matt
February 18th, 2007 at 00:51 | #40 Reply | Quote
The only active, armed Korean anti-Japanese group, communist or otherwise, was that led by Kim Il Sung, and they did not operate
within Korea at the time of Japan’s defeat.
It was too dangerous and they were too small in number. Kim and his guerilla group
arrived on the shore of northern Korea in a Soviet vessel, after Soviet forces had beaten back the Japanese and the area was safely secured.

Mr Barenblatt, all someone needs to be a member of a “communist army” is a red armband and a violent temperament. It seems from the review of the book by Sonagi that the “communist army” was more like bandits in attacking, looting and raping.
This also gels with this book where it describes how Koreans in 1945 suddenly started calling themselves communists. Source – Korean Media Watch.
The following is an excerpt from the autobiography of 김병걸, “실패한 인생 실패한 문학,” where he talks about the idealogical confusion following Korea’s liberation in 1945:

모 두 하루아침에 달변가가 되었으며 아울러 잔잔하기만 하던 마을에 사상적인 균열이 일기 시작했다. 좌(左)가 좋으냐 우(右)가 좋으냐 하는 시비와 논쟁이 날이 갈수록 심화되어 가는 것이었다. ….바로 얼마 전까지만 해도 일본을 절대적으로 믿고 충성스럽게 뛰어다니던 사람이 하루아침에 열렬한 사회주의자가 되어 떠벌리고 다니는가 하면, 심지어 만주에서 아편 장사를 한 것으로 알려진사람도 사상가인 것처럼 행세를 했다. (pp. 108~109)

One morning everyone had suddenly become an eloquent speaker. In a village that was once quiet, ideological cracks start to appear. As the days go by the debate on whether the left is better or the right is better intensifies. …. People who had just previously run around showing absolute trust in and allegience to Japan had suddenly become passionate socialists running around wagging their tongues. Even a man who was known to have been an opium dealer in Manchuria started acting as if he were some profound thinker.

So there were definitely people claiming to be communists in 1945, and some of them would have been attacking Japanese people trying to leave. I do not find the “no communists” idea convincing in the least.

Gerry-Bevers
February 18th, 2007 at 01:06 | #41 Reply | Quote
Dan Barenblatt said:
My writing isn’t anti-Japanese; in fact it’s pro-Japanese in the sense that Japanese people have also been victims of the militarism and fascism of Imperial Japan.

Do you include Yoko Kawashima Watkins among the victims or potential victims? Do you think Ms. Watkins’ father was associated with Unit 731, or is the Korean media just using you to make such a suggestion? If you do think he was affiliated with Unit 731, then what proof do you have? Or are you just helping to plant that nasty seed of doubt in people’s minds to discredit Ms. Watkins’ book?
I do not understand why it is so hard for people to believe that Koreans committed murder and rape in Korea after the Japanese surrender. It would have been the perfect time to carry out such deeds since the Korean component of the Japanese police force probably abandoned their posts. I even remember seeing a Korean movie that showed Koreans spitting on and throwing objects at Japanese refugees leaving Korea.
You mentioned that Ms. Watkins’ book had “serious factual errors.” What do you consider to be “serious factual errors”? Do you think it was a factual error to say that Japanese were killed and raped by Koreans?

ponta
February 18th, 2007 at 01:14 | #42 Reply | Quote
all someone needs to be a member of a “communist army” is a red armband and a violent temperament.

A good point.
I haven’t read the book in question, and I konw little about the Korean situation after the defeat.
But the wiki article about Kim Il-sung in Japanese reads.
1945年8月、ソ連軍が朝鮮北半部を占領した。金日成は9月19日にソ連から元山港に帰国したwiki

In 1945 August, Russian military occupied the northern part of Korea. And on Sept 19th, Kim il sum arrived at Wonsan from Russia.
I don’t know how Ms Watkins described the situation, but taking Matt’s point into consideration, coupled with other reports of atrocity by some Koreans after the defeat, it is not unreasonable to suppose what she said was true.
I am not sure why anybody wants to make her look a liar. which happen to be, it seems, Korean nationalist wish—-in particular when she herself also blames Japanese atrocity and the novel, according to some reliable reviewers, is just anti-war.

Mika
February 18th, 2007 at 02:20 | #43 Reply | Quote
Dan Barenblatt wrote
it should be understood that context and the selective omission of facts,
and insertion of
historicalfalsehoods/errors, is key here.

You are not even an expert on the history between Japan and Korea, so how can you judge? If you consider yourself as a non-biased historian, you shouldn’t blindly trust what Koreans say. Do you have any credible evidence which prove Yoko
Kawashima’s father was a member of unit731? It’s obvious that Koreans are trying to bring down her by spreading lies and you are helping it. It’s disgraceful.

nighthawk
February 18th, 2007 at 03:16 | #44 Reply | Quote
Mr. Dan Barenblatt,
You are pro-Japanese and pro-human, I believe you.
By the way, Korean daily JoongAngIlbo’s Japanese website describes your heroism at the press conference. According to the article, you were dressed in a black T-shirt with a big “Nangjing” logo, and tormented Yoko with his expert questions.
The article says you were at first reluctant to attend the conference, but as a Unit 731 expert, you were fully convinced by the Koreans who suspected Yoko’s father being a 731 official. You are currently on a serious research to prove that it is indeed the case that her father was indeed the high official of the Unit 731.
http://japanese.joins.com/article/article.php?aid=84714&servcode=400&sectcode=400
How does it feel to be a heroic expert who exposes the dirty secret of Yoko Watkins for poor and helpless Korean parents?
Sure, how could a daughter of a 731 official be honest? It’s only pro-human to beat up such a nasty human-garbage who distorts history and turn the oppressors into victims.
I’m looking forward to see the evidence you will surely find, as an expert historian educated at Harvard.

Gerry-Bevers
February 18th, 2007 at 03:31 | #45 Reply | Quote
Nighthawk,
Funny you should mention the JoongAng article because I am translating it right now. I should have it up within the hour.

Matt
February 18th, 2007 at 03:42 | #46 Reply | Quote
Nighthawk,

Funny you should mention the JoongAng article because I am translating it right now. I should have it up within the hour.

Good work, Gerry. It would probably be a good idea to make a whole new post for that translation, with a note about the history of the controversy, and about Mr Barenblatt. It would be a shame if your painstakingly translated work was buried in the comment section.

nighthawk
February 18th, 2007 at 03:48 | #47 Reply | Quote
Hi Gerry-Bevers,
I’d like to say hello to you (and Matt, and folks at this blog site) at this opportunity. This is a unique place!
I burst into laughter when I saw the article. Nanjing T-shirt sounds so appropriate for a pro-human history expert invited at a press conference over a novel staged in postwar Korea (lol).

ponta
February 18th, 2007 at 03:51 | #48 Reply | Quote
You are not even an expert on the history between Japan and Korea

I am not sure if he is an expert on it or not, but clearly he is supposed to be an expert on 731 troop, so, he is supposed to know what it means to be alleged as a criminal of the horrible crime, and yet he didn’t say anything about it,(isn’t that why he was invited? and isn’t that what
Korean nationalists wanted him to say?)
And if he is an expert of something at all, I
think he is supposed to know the difference between father and daughter, and know that the allegation about the father has no function at all to evaluate the content of the book.
Yet, as a reviewer and as a participant of the the press conference-….I suppose he must have known the allegation….he just focused on what pleased Korean nationalists.
The article is now translated in Japanese yohan, and in the article he was made to look as if he wanted to make Ms Watkins look a liar. It is regrettable that he came to be known to Japanese general public in this form because his book seems truly respectable and would contribute to the better understanding of the Japanese crime during WWⅡ.
Korean journalist unfairly might have picked up what pleased him. It is probable, as this blog often points out, But the general public are unaware of it and tend to believe what national newspaper says.
If Korean newspaper does not correct the article, and he just keep saying on his blog that he didn’t say it , who know which is telling the truth? Some might reason both are connected in the backyard, because both will win their game in this way.
I really hope Mr Barenblatt will make the “suspicions” raised on this blog completely clear, and makes Yohan apologize to him,and Ms Kawashima.

bishamon
February 18th, 2007 at 03:59 | #49 Reply | Quote
Korean Journalism is the lowest of the low. Why would an educated person like Mr. Barenblatt be wearing a Nanjing T-Shirt at the conference? That would be as inappropriate and senseless as any other anti-Japanese activists… Ridiculous

Matt
February 18th, 2007 at 04:04 | #50 Reply | Quote
I just read the Choson Ilbo article. Although they are lauding Mr Barenblatt, if even half of what they are writing is true then any pretense of academic distance to the subject matter is blown away. It would not really be the litmus test for the whether what he wrote in his book is the truth or not, but he would not be able to identify himself as pro-Japanese or pro-human, because the Choson Ilbo article makes it quite clear that he is an anti-Japanese activist.
Oh, and am I seeing things or does the article say he works for Koreans?

nighthawk,
Perhaps, does he misunderstand with kawasima Kiyosi who was the defendant of the Khabarovsk trial? As for the story of MARUTA, “Testimony” in this trial becomes basic.

James
February 18th, 2007 at 04:12 | #2 Reply | Quote
I really hope the Nanjing t-shirt thing isn’t actually true. What kind of a serious scholar would wear such a t-shirt to a press conference like that? Even if Kawashima’s father was a member of Unit 731 [something nobody has proven yet], why exactly would you wear a Nanjing t-shirt to that event? What does Nanjing have to do with the factuality of Mrs. Kawashima’s book?

Gerry-Bevers
February 18th, 2007 at 04:19 | #3 Reply | Quote
Yes, Matt, I am making a new post for the article. And, No, I don’t think you are seeing things.

bishamon
February 18th, 2007 at 04:26 | #4 Reply | Quote
So he is just like any other anti-Japanese activist? He works for who? I don’t know what to believe anymore…

Travolta
February 18th, 2007 at 07:04 | #5 Reply | Quote
I would like to back up the most important point other posters have made about the Unit 731 aspect. Even if her father were in Unit 731, why should SHE be less believable? She is not her father, she is not imperial Japan. I can’t believe anyone is thinking less of her based on what her father may have done. The implication that she is lying based on the implication her father MAY have been involved in war crimes is plain nasty and childish. Shame on anyone who thinks less of anyone for their parents sins. Grow up Korean media!

Sonagi
February 18th, 2007 at 07:21 | #6 Reply | Quote
Matt wrote:
Mr Barenblatt, all someone needs to be a member of a “communist army” is a red armband and a violent temperament. It seems from the review of the book by Sonagi that the “communist army” was more like bandits in attacking, looting and raping.

So Far from the Bamboo Grove is a memoir of an 11-yr-old’s traumatic experience 40 years after the event. At the forum attended by Mr. Barenblatt, Mrs. Watkins claimed that all but three events were true and insisted, for example, that US planes did bomb North Korea in 1945. I would not call Mrs. Watkins a liar. I believe she is recalling to the best of her memory, I would not, however, give the memories of one girl the same weight as historical documents. Collective memories, like those recorded in Under the Black Umbrella, can give us a more complete picture of an event or a time period. In other words, I wouldn’t ban Mrs. Watkins’ book, but I wouldn’t use it as historical evidence.
As for charges that Mr.Barenblatt is “anti-Japanese,” his book about the horrors of Unit 731 does not make him “anti-Japanese.” What happened there was horrible, and was first exposed by Japanese researchers and relatives of soldiers burdened by trememdous guilt. One can criticize or condemn specific events or acts in history without hating the citizens of the government that carried out those acts.
There are books in Japanese about the US WWII interment camps for Japanese-Americans. Are the writers or the readers “anti-American”? Let’s not get too defensive here.
@Dan,
Did you really wear a Nanjing T-shirt to the press event? This issue is emotional enough for Koreans. No need to stoke the fire. Even if Watkins’ father was involved in Unit 731, she herself was an innocent young girl. Moreover, her father has not been alleged to have been involved in the rape of Nanjing.

Matt
February 18th, 2007 at 07:31 | #7 Reply | Quote
As for charges that Mr.Barenblatt is “anti-Japanese,” his book about the horrors of Unit 731 does not make him “anti-Japanese.” What happened there was horrible, and was first exposed by Japanese researchers and relatives of soldiers burdened by trememdous guilt. One can criticize or condemn specific events or acts in history without hating the citizens of the government that carried out those acts.

Sonagi, I was definitely not implying that he was anti-Japanese based on anything that he had written in his book, which I have not read. I was referring to the description of his conduct given by the Choson Ilbo, which if true, certainly makes him look like an anti-Japanese activist.

Sonagi
February 18th, 2007 at 08:05 | #8 Reply | Quote
angusmack wrote:
Christ, how long have you guys been in this country and are unable to sniff that one out? Because you choose a knee-jerk reaction to those fabricated quotes -unusual in such an integrity ridden group as the Korean media I know, but it does happen- you look gullible and stupid.

Settle down, buddy. Many of the commenters here are Japanese who have never lived in Korea and use English as a second language.

kjeff
February 18th, 2007 at 10:20 | #9 Reply | Quote
LOL, all the brouhaha over the historical inaccuracies. You ask sixth-graders, “Who’s the bad guy in WWII?” They’ll say, “The Nazis.” No, not the Germans probably, the Nazis, nice and short. You ask sixth-graders, “Who’s the bad guy in “So Far From The Bamboo Grove”?” They’ll say, “The Korean Communist soldiers, but only the ones who are hurting Yoko and the other girls. No, not the Koreans… because that would mean stereotyping a race based on the act of the few.” Yeah, right… A kid on the corner will say, “No, no… It’s the war.” Give that kid an AMTRAK ticket to Harvard!
Point is, would you want to be that Korean kid in the class? The only girl that you’ve ever loved ‘all your life’ is reading this book. No, if she doesn’t like me after reading it, she is a shallow bi**h, right?

dogbert
February 18th, 2007 at 23:30 | #10 Reply | Quote
Sonagi claimed:
I am a fluent Korean speaker
Could you tell me the difference between 조회 and 추천?
TIA

seouldout
February 20th, 2007 at 07:58 | #11 Reply | Quote
Sadly these inaccurate quotes could leave the impression that Mr. Barenblatt is a lackey–I’m assuming the quotes are indeed inaccurate based solely on his post and that he isn’t quoted by either English-language paper that wrote about the press conference. Having seen the quality work of both Sonagi and Mr. Bevers numerous times I’d be flabbergasted if they incorrectly translated what has been reported by Yonhap. Hopefully Mr. Barenblatt is still reading this site and will answer some questions.
Firstly, who identified you as an author and expert of Unit 731 to the press and/or audience? Does your knowledge of Unit 731 better the discussion and understanding of this book, which is based on Ms. Watkins’s personal experiences, and, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with unit 731? In addition to Unit 731 have you researched the withdrawal of the Japanese, particularly non-combatants, from its colonies and occupied territories?
You posted this above, #21 & #27:
What I believe, and what I told the reporter, was the same that I tell everyone else, that there are some serious factual errors in the book, in the book’s first sentence for example, and that the book, overall, unfortunately reverses the roles of oppressed and oppressor in the Asian historical period of the time, giving the readers, who are children and teens, the false general impression that Japanese colonists were the persecuted victims of the colonized Koreans, rather than the reality of the historical situation from 1910 to August 1945. As such it should not be taught in the classroom, nor should it be presented as autobiographical historical fiction. I hope this clarifies things for any reader of the Yonhap misquotes who had been misled to misunderstand my views and position on the subject of the book and its author.
About the impression: Is this opinion based on your gut or have you conducted research about the impression this books makes on kids and teens? I’ll assume you read the book. Have you read the accompanying lesson materials used by the teachers? What’s your take on those? Perhaps you’re familiar with the book “Sadako & the Thousand Paper Cranes”. It’s taught to grades 3 though 8, lessen plan here.
Does this book also give the false impression that the Japanese were victims and the Americans were perpetrators?
About the serious factual errors:
Could you explain what factual errors you’ve found? So far I’ve only been able to identify objections by others to “bamboo”, “Communist soldiers” and “US bomber attack”. Are there other factual errors? Are you a botanist or have you found research that states bamboo doesn’t exist in northern Korean, particularly Cheongjin? I’ve checked into this and have found two species of bamboo that are indigenous to North Korea. Mr. Bevers and another poster found narratives by Koreans that report of para-military / bandit type groups active in Korea upon the Japanese surrender. Understanding the fog of war, and the fear felt by children, could this explain the “Communist soldiers” seen by Ms. Watkins I’ve found nothing the disputes the fact there were no US bomber strikes in Korea. Given the altitude US bombers flew at I’d be surprised that they could be identified as any nation’s, though the US bombing of Japan was so well known that perhaps any plane seen, particularly by a child, was thought to be from the US.
Interested in what you have to say. Thanks.

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