Skip to content

Red Wednesday—Lies of Comfort Women Campaign Alive for 30 Years

Reviewer : Yano Yoshiaki Senior Researcher, iRICH

Book : Kim Byeong-heon Red Wednesday—Lies of Comfort Women Campaign Alive for 30 Years


Reviewer Yano is a fellow at the International Research Institute of Controversial Histories who teaches at Gifu Women’s College, Nippon Keizai University and elsewhere as visiting professor after he served in Japan Self-Defense Forces as Lieutenant General. Based on his professional experiences covering security issues, Mr. Yano has made many suggestions regarding international conflicts in the world and Japanese domestic controversial histories from the viewpoint of Japan. He is the President of General Incorporated Foundation Japan Security Forum.

His review was written to promote the sale of the book Red Wednesday right after its publication.

Author Mr. Kim Byeong-heon, in his capacity of a scholar and activist, exposed lies spread by the former Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, currently the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan and has been disseminating the truth in the area of speech and action. His brave fight, which he started alone, has moved many Korean people into forming a large movement. At times, he and his movement overwhelmed the Korean Council for Justice during rallies held to blame Japan for the alleged forced abduction of “comfort women.” In addition, Mr. Kim Byeong-heon acted as a Korean far and wide outside South Korea, visiting the “Anti-freedom of Expression Exhibit” held in Nagoya, Japan, and saying “no” to the comfort woman statue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., at the very time when a comfort woman statue was established there.

Regarding Mr. Kim Byeong-heon’s assertions and activities, reviewer Yano stated that they not only help Japanese people learn the true history but also, they are counterattacks against the false education provided in South Korea and traitor-like actions within South Korea regarding the policy toward North Korea.

In addition, the reviewer states that the book emphasizes the important fact that by resolving these issues, a true friendship will sprout between Japan and South Korea and that through future-oriented development, the democratic camp will outdo the communist power. The publication of this book in Japanese will not only satisfy the conservative Japanese but will also become a good opportunity for sensible researchers and experts in Japan, South Korea and the world over to unite as one and address the concerns expressed by Mr. Kim, hopefully this book will be translated into many more languages and published in many more countries.

Book Review

One pending issue between Japan and South Korea makes me unconvinced and indignant as a Japanese. It is the so-called “comfort women” issue, which, together with a lie made up by a Japanese man named Yoshida Seiji and the false reporting by the Asahi Newspaper, deplorably developed into an international issue.

In the first place, no system of “military comfort women” existed. What did exist were prostitutes working for the military, regulated by a legal licensed prostitution system and brothel owners who employed them at their businesses. More than half of these prostitutes were Japanese, but none of the former Japanese prostitutes demanded compensation from the Japanese Government, neither did they file lawsuit against the former Japanese military on the charge of forced abduction.

This issue became critical in the relations between Japan and South Korea because the extreme-left powers in South Korea, such as the former Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, currently the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, adhering to the North Korean Juche Idea, have been conducting anti-Japan activities within Korea. Their assertion has proved to be political propaganda, exaggerating lies made up in Japan and piling up more fallacies, through study by Japanese researchers.

An essential characteristic of this book is that President Kim Byeong-heon of the Korean History Textbook Research Institute, one of the conscientious scholars in Korea, speaks for the Japanese people who have been hurt and dishonored by unduly criticism and defamations inflected upon them in the past.

In this book, Mr. Kim Byeong-heon has proved, beyond doubt, that assertions made by the extreme-left powers within Korea without any public or material proof, sometimes distorting documents, using them to their convenience and ignoring the true situation at the time cannot stand his examination by historical study, through his own logical analysis based on reliable evidence and available data from that period. 

Mr. Kim’s criticism targets the statements made by self-proclaimed “former comfort women” which form the basis for the leftist assertions, the judgment by the judicial branch, the Coomaraswamy Report, descriptions in Korean school textbooks and Hosaka Yuji’s assertion at the defamation lawsuit against Mr. Kim, ranging far and wide and covering almost all the points of argument brought by the ultra-left powers. Thus, the extreme-left arguments are perfectly refuted.

In this respect, this book is extremely delightful for Japanese to read. However, to overly emphasize his arguments would be unfair to Mr. Kim. Mr. Kim deeply regrets that false assertions made by the extreme-left powers became the justification for the judgment by the Seoul Central District Court and unabashedly appear in school textbooks as historical facts.

In this book Mr. Kim writes, “Judge wrote totally false judgment, textbook authors write wrong history in textbooks and schools teach children wrong history. What a shame!”

I can feel Mr. Kim’s fear as a true patriot between the lines: if things go on like this, South Korea will be branded as a liar in the international community and face a life or death crisis.

Mr. Kim is not just a writer or researcher. He is also a man of action who represents the National Action to Abolish the Comfort Women Act. Since January 8, 1992, Wednesday meeting aiming to solve the comfort women issue has been held every week in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

On December 14, 2011, celebrating the 1,000th Wednesday meeting, a comfort woman statue called “A statue of a girl of peace” was installed. Thus, as the namesake of this book’s title, the “Red Wednesday meeting” became customary, organized by the extreme-left powers to criticize the forced abduction of “comfort women.”

However, Mr. Kim Byong-heon started a noble action. On July 14, 2021, the day of the 1,500th Wednesday meeting, he staged a one-man demonstration against this customary meeting. I cannot help but admire and respect this courage and strength to act alone. Mr. Kim is truly worthy to be called a genuine intellectual embodying the true Korean spirit and pride.

Nowadays, at the “Red Wednesday” meeting, those who join Mr. Kim in his protest are majority while the numbers of the extreme-left protestors diminished to become a minority, having lost their past momentum. Finally, time has come for the patient voices of justice of Mr. Kim, his sympathizers, and supporters to be heard and justly appreciated.

The situation in northeastern Asia is getting more and more tense, especially with the deepening conflict between the United States and China over the Taiwan Strait and the frequent missile launches by North Korea. Under such circumstances, the alliances between Japan and Korea and among Japan, Korea and the United States will surely become vital in security and other fields.

I would like to strongly recommend this book to the readers in Japan and South Korea as a monumental academic work, which contributes toward the mutual understanding between Japan and South Korea and building a trustful relationship, ahead of the time.