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Intellectual and Political Prostitution at Harvard (A “Zero” Sum Game) UPDATED ON 2/25 and 2/26/2021

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COMMENT: In an exam­ple of the kind of intel­lec­tu­al and his­tor­i­cal skew­ing that can accom­pa­ny polit­i­cal rewards, a Har­vard pro­fes­sor has writ­ten a paper claim­ing that the Com­fort Women–slave pros­ti­tutes con­script­ed by the Japan­ese army before and dur­ing World War II–volunteered for that ser­vice.

This fol­lows J. Mark Ram­sey­er’s receipt of The Order of the Ris­ing Sun award­ed by the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment after World War II.

In FTR #1140, we doc­u­ment­ed the enslave­ment of the com­fort women at length and in detail.

“. . . . Worst of Japan’s slave pro­grams was that of the Com­fort Women. Young girls, many not even 13 years old, were shang­haied into sex­u­al slav­ery. After the war, Tokyo insist­ed all Com­fort Women were mere­ly pros­ti­tutes who vol­un­teered, and that the entire oper­a­tion was run by pri­vate enter­prise. Both state­ments are demon­stra­bly false. 

. . . . By 1932, the kem­peitai resumed full con­trol. A typ­i­cal mil­i­tary broth­el had ten bar­racks, each divid­ed into ten rooms, plus a supervisor’s hut, all enclosed in barbed wire to keep the women inside. Rur­al broth­els were tents, while rail­way cars were fit­ted out as mobile broth­els. Kore­an and Japan­ese yakuza pro­vid­ed bru­tal secu­ri­ty. Fees were based on a woman’s eth­nic ori­gin. Japan­ese girls were top-rat­ed, fol­lowed by Kore­ans, Oki­nawans, Chi­nese, South­east Asians. Lat­er, Cau­casian internees were added. Com­mis­sioned offi­cers paid 3 yen, non-com­mis­sioned 2.50 yen, pri­vates 2 yen. Book­keep­ing was thor­ough, with forms for each woman list­ing dai­ly earn­ings and num­ber of clients. Up to 200,000 young women and ado­les­cent girls were forced into this sex­u­al slav­ery, to serve more than 3.5‑million Japan­ese sol­diers. Each was expect­ed to have fif­teen part­ners a day. The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, they received 800 yen a month, minus cost of food, cloth­ing, med­ical care, soap and water. . . .”

We note that Ram­sey­er is the Mit­subishi Pro­fes­sor of Legal Stud­ies at Harvard–manifesting the role of one of Japan’s zaibat­su in the world of acad­e­mia.

The man­u­fac­tur­er of the Zero fight­er plane which inflict­ed severe loss­es to the forces of the U.S. and its Pacif­ic Allies dur­ing World War II, Mit­subishi was a major exploiter of slave labor dur­ing World War II.

In FTR#1107–among oth­er programs–we not­ed the refusal of U.S. courts to grant com­pen­sa­tion to U.S. POW’s who had been slaves for Japan­ese cor­po­ra­tions in World War II, cit­ing arti­cle 14 of the 1951 Peace Treaty nego­ti­at­ed by John Fos­ter Dulles.

” . . . . It was a mat­ter of some inter­est to vic­tims that [U.S. Ambas­sador to Japan Thomas] Foley’s wife was a well-paid con­sul­tant to Sum­it­o­mo, one of Japan’s biggest zaibat­su con­glom­er­ates, heav­i­ly involved in wartime slave labor and a tar­get of the law­suits. The moment Foley end­ed his tenure as ambas­sador and returned to Amer­i­ca, he signed on as a paid advi­sor and lob­by­ist to anoth­er huge con­glom­er­ate-Mit­subishi . . . . among the biggest employ­ers of Amer­i­can slave labor dur­ing the war. . . .”

Of greater sig­nif­i­cance, per­haps, is that [Deputy Chief of Mis­sion, Christo­pher J.] Lafleur is mar­ried to the daugh­ter of for­mer prime min­is­ter and finance min­is­ter Miyaza­wa, one of the three Japan­ese who secret­ly nego­ti­at­ed the 1951 treaty with John Fos­ter Dulles. (Miyaza­wa also is con­sid­ered by pro­fes­sor Lausi­er and oth­ers to be the finan­cial over­seer of the M‑Fund.) Con­flict of inter­est does not seem to be an obsta­cle in diplo­mat­ic appoint­ments to Tokyo.) . . .”

Ram­sey­er has also revised his­to­ry in his analy­sis of the Kan­to mas­sacre fol­low­ing the Great Kan­to Earth­quake of 1923, in which eth­nic Kore­ans were sub­ject­ed to a bru­tal pogrom by the Japan­ese secu­ri­ty forces.

” . . . . Also in 2021, Ram­sey­er emerged at the cen­ter of con­tro­ver­sy over a forth­com­ing chap­ter in The Cam­bridge Hand­book of Pri­va­ti­za­tion, from Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Press. Writ­ing on the Kan­tō Mas­sacre in which thou­sands of res­i­dent Kore­ans in Japan were mur­dered, Ram­sey­er depict­ed the Kore­ans as ‘gangs’ that ‘torched build­ings, plant­ed bombs, [and] poi­soned water sup­plies.’ . . .”

1. “Har­vard Pro­fes­sor Claims WWII Sex Slaves Vol­un­teered” by Lind­say Wang; ASAM­News; 2/22/2021.

A paper from a Har­vard pro­fes­sor received wide­spread crit­i­cism for con­clud­ing that those recruit­ed as com­fort women did so vol­un­tar­i­ly rather than being forced into sex­u­al slav­ery, The Har­vard Crim­son reports.

Many Kore­an media out­lets have point­ed out the paper’s author, J. Mark Ram­sey­er, received the Order of the Ris­ing Sun from the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment in 2018, spec­u­lat­ing that there was undue influ­ence on his paper. Ram­sey­er has denied such alle­ga­tions.

Sankei Shim­bun, a con­ser­v­a­tive, nation­al­ist Japan­ese news­pa­per, fea­tured the paper pri­or to its pub­li­ca­tion in the Inter­na­tion­al Review of Law and Eco­nom­ics aca­d­e­m­ic jour­nal. . . .

Var­i­ous legal schol­ars and his­to­ri­ans from both South Korea and the Unit­ed States have spo­ken up about the his­tor­i­cal and log­i­cal inac­cu­ra­cies in Ramseyer’s paper. . . .

2. “John_Mark_Ramseyer”Wikipedia.com

John Mark Ram­sey­er (born c. 1954) is Mit­subishi Pro­fes­sor of Japan­ese Legal Stud­ies at Har­vard Law School . . . .

. . . . Also in 2021, Ram­sey­er emerged at the cen­ter of con­tro­ver­sy over a forth­com­ing chap­ter in The Cam­bridge Hand­book of Pri­va­ti­za­tion, from Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Press. Writ­ing on the Kan­tō Mas­sacre in which thou­sands of res­i­dent Kore­ans in Japan were mur­dered, Ram­sey­er depict­ed the Kore­ans as “gangs” that “torched build­ings, plant­ed bombs, [and] poi­soned water sup­plies. . . .

3.   Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; pp. 245–246.

The real issue is con­flict of inter­est. Dur­ing the Clin­ton Admin­is­tra­tion, U.S. Ambas­sador to Japan Thomas Foley was adamant in reject­ing com­pen­sa­tion for POW’s and oth­er slave labor­ers, insist­ing that ‘The peace treaty put aside all claims against Japan.’ His Deputy Chief of Mis­sion, Christo­pher J. LaFleur, echoed this dog­ma at every oppor­tu­ni­ty.

It was a mat­ter of some inter­est to vic­tims that Foley’s wife was a well-paid con­sul­tant to Sum­it­o­mo, one of Japan’s biggest zaibat­su con­glom­er­ates, heav­i­ly involved in wartime slave labor and a tar­get of the law­suits. The moment Foley end­ed his tenure as ambas­sador and returned to Amer­i­ca, he signed on as a paid advi­sor and lob­by­ist to anoth­er huge con­glom­er­ate-Mit­subishi-one of the biggest wartime users of slave labor.

Of greater sig­nif­i­cance, per­haps, is that Lafleur is mar­ried to the daugh­ter of for­mer prime min­is­ter and finance min­is­ter Miyaza­wa, one of the three Japan­ese who secret­ly nego­ti­at­ed the 1951 treaty with John Fos­ter Dulles. (Miyaza­wa also is con­sid­ered by pro­fes­sor Lausi­er and oth­ers to be the finan­cial over­seer of the M‑Fund.) Con­flict of inter­est does not seem to be an obsta­cle in diplo­mat­ic appoint­ments to Tokyo.)

4.  Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; p. 242.

. . . . After retir­ing as ambas­sador and return­ing to Wash­ing­ton, Foley open­ly became a paid lob­by­ist for Mit­subishi Cor­po­ra­tion as a mem­ber of its advi­so­ry pan­el on strat­e­gy. Mit­subishi was among the biggest employ­ers of Amer­i­can slave labor dur­ing the war. . . .

5.  Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; Ver­so [SC]; Copy­right 2003, 2005 by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave; ISBN 1–84467-531–9; p. 55.

 . . . . Mit­subishi’s mar­ket posi­tion at the war’s end in 1945 was described by a West­ern econ­o­mist as being equiv­a­lent to the merg­er of U.S. Steel, Gen­er­al Motors, Stan­dard Oil, Alcoa, Dou­glas Air­craft, Dupont, West­ing­house, AT & T Nation­al City Bank, Wool­worth Stores and Hilton Hotels. . . .

 

Discussion

One comment for “Intellectual and Political Prostitution at Harvard (A “Zero” Sum Game) UPDATED ON 2/25 and 2/26/2021”

  1. A first hand account yet labelled an excep­tion. https://www.amy-stanley.com/blog‑1/on-contract

    Posted by Michael Keenan | March 18, 2021, 1:18 pm

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