American and South Korean Professors Fight For Academic Freedom In Controversy Over “Comfort Women” Publications

We’ve been following assaults on academic freedom not only just in the United States in recent years but overseas in the past few years. This includes a researcher at Sweden who recently ceased Covid study after a harassment campaign due to his findings of this very low hazard poised by kids returning to college. Back in South Korea, another such battle is waging above a publication by J. Mark Ramseyer, the Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, implying Korean”comfort women” in World War II were likely contracted, and never forced, by the Japanese army. It is a concept that’s understandably outrageous and hurtful for all. Ramseyer’s writings are denounced as well as cities such as Philadelphia have handed condemnations of the work. Furthermore concerning is that the attempt to shoot Ramseyer or bar the book that ran his concept. Now South Korean faculty who stood up for academic freedom are being targeted, though they did not write in support of Ramseyer’s concept instead of his right to publish his views.
He caused an uproar having an op-ed at a Japanese newspaper describing the”comfort-women-sex-slave story” as”pure fiction.”
The publications set off a firestorm in Korea where living comfort women are extended a unique nursing home and are respected as sufferers and called”halmoni”, the expression for”grandma” There are various reports of rape, beatings, and misuse of such women from several countries by the Japanese army. Even the atrocities of the Japanese throughout the war were systemic and brutal. The accounts of comfort women being pressured into sexual bondage is consistent with this record and is widely accepted by historians. However, Professor Ramseyer sought to provide a contrary view that lots of women may have been consensual sex employees and published his study from International Review of Law and Economics.
The International Review has refused to take down the content despite a campaign for this removal — and currently a campaign for academic databases to ban the diary itself for refusing to delete the article. When you go to the webpage of this diary, You’re satisfied with this warning:

These claims are currently being investigated and the International Review of Law and Economics will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

The abstract of this article entitled”Contracting For Gender at The Pacific War” explores how the”dynamics” of situation reflected “`credible commitments’ so basic to elementary game theory.”  It is clinical in its own economic evaluation and places the issue in purely contractual terms:

Realizing the brothel owners had an incentive to exaggerate their potential earnings, the women demanded a huge portion of their pay upfront. Realizing that they were headed to the war zone, they demanded a rather short maximum term. And recognizing that the women had an incentive to shirk, the brothel owners demanded a contractual structure that gave women incentives to work hard. To meet those superficially contradictory demands, the women and brothels concluded indenture contracts that coupled (I) a massive advance with one- or two-year highest provisions, with (ii) an ability for the women to leave early should they generated sufficient revenue.

There were prior researchers who have suggested that some women were not pressured but contracted from the Japanese.  Most academics reject such statements and insist that both these women were pressured sex employees. Critics have attacked the article since”denialism” and others have insisted it isn’t based on hard analysis or documentation. That is the type of debate that needs to have the ability to waged between professors without calls for conclusion or exposing whole journals. My interest isn’t with the virtues but right of such conflicting viewpoints to be debated and published.
There are currently campaigns against South Korean professors who argued for academic freedom in being able to talk about such theories and the underlying signs. The professors composed not in defense against Ramseyer’s concept but his best (and their correct ) to debate such issues as professors without risks of retaliation or conclusion. Their article in The Diplomat compared the suppression of such work in South Korea and other nations. Consequently, students and alumni at Hanyang University required that the firing of Professor Yi, demonstrating the very point of the post regarding the destruction of academic freedom and free speech worth.
Yi wrote about his experience growing up in South Korea and the long period of limitations among academics questioning anti-communist narratives and other subjects. He observed that the development of academic freedom in being able to go over such challenges and topics majoritarian perspectives. That ended when he and Professor Phillips stood for academic freedom around the topic of comfort women.
Both professors wrote a compelling report of academic freedom based on the work of such theorists as John Stuart Mill. I’ve written from exactly the exact Millian standpoint in support of subjects such as free speech, privacy, and academic freedom. See, e.g., Jonathan Turley, The Loadstone Rock:  The Role of Harm From The Criminalization of Plural Unions, 64 Emory L. J.  1905 (2015).
This week at a column at the Asian Times, Yi described how previous South Korean scientists have cited interviews that contradicted the mainstream perspective of comfort women and faced suppression and even a danger of criminal prosecution. He wrote:

“Disagreements over history, including the interpretation and veracity of personal accounts, have filled books and journals for centuries. Resolving such discussions requires empirical analysis and research that extend, test, and — if justified — contest each other’s claims. When an article’s evidence, such as on comfort women contracts, is (supposedly ) faulty, then critics should create another with, better evidence.
However, this procedure breaks down when politically offensive study is subject to intense, moralistic critique, while ideologically right claims are not.”

The transfer to bar the diary itself is an example of this anti-free speech movement. We’ve observed such efforts in the United States and they can amount to a sanitized version of book burning.
Professor Ramseyer is a scholar with a stellar background that includes a comprehensive background in Japanese research and significant time spent in this nation. He’s a significant academic who set forward study he thinks challenges that the dominant concept on comfort women. Instead of engage him upon his study, several have turned to a cancelling effort to get him , now in South Korean, a effort to flame people that defend his right to publish such opposing viewpoints.
The effort has worked. Relatively few professors have lent their support for Professor Ramseyer’s appropriate to publish his study and perspectives. Indeed, there isn’t a groundswell of support for professors such as Yi and Phillips in fighting for academic freedom. That is the point of cancelling campaigns. They’re meant to not only silence opposing viewpoints but also to intimidate others in supporting or publishing such perspectives later on.  In both Senate testimony and House testimony, I’ve discussed how people are witnessing an unprecedented assault on such core values in our nation and around the globe.  You will find historical precursors but we have never seen the alliance of professors, the media, and major corporations in pushing for speech controllers and censorship with government officials.
We’ve been talking efforts to fire academics who voice dissenting views on several issues including an attempt to oust a top economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard and also a literature professor at Penn.. Sites like Lawyers, Guns, and Money include writers such as Colorado Law Professor Paul Campus who involve the shooting of those who have opposing viewpoints (including myself).  Such campaigns have targeted instructors and pupils who contest the evidence of systemic racism in the use of deadly force by authorities or offer other opposing perspectives in present debates within the pandemic, including reparations, electoral fraud, or other difficulties.
As a history nut, then I would like to read either side of this problem, such as the perspectives of Professor Ramseyer. However, many are trying to stop others and me from using those views. The attempt would be to stop others from considering his evidence and his investigation rather than refuting his perspectives. The simple fact that so few have stepped forward to add their voices of support merely reveals how much ground has already been lost to those campaigns of intimidation and harassment.
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