Thursday, October 31, 2019

From the festivals

I listen to the English-language services of various international news sources, and yesterday I heard the following story on Radio Japan's podcast:

Kawasaki Film Fest Cancels "Comfort Women" Doc Screening, Other Films Pulled in Protest

The film on the contentious issue stemming from the treatment of women in occupied Korea by Japanese Imperial troops was due to be screened at the Shin-yuri Film Festival, but a lawsuit against the filmmaker and concerns about protests led the local government to pressure organizers.

"Comfort women" is a euphemism for the women that imperial Japan pressed into service during World War II, well, servicing the soldiers sexually. Of course, there are people in Japan who would claim that all these women were willing prostitutes. Korea's KBS World Radio reports on the issue regularly (and they use the "comfort women" term too), and if memory serves there are still about 20 comfort women still alive and in their 90s. One of the articles I read on this specific issue pointed out that relations between Korea and Japan have been deteriorating for several months now for various reasons.

I don't know anything about the documentary or the legal case surrounding it, but my initial thought would be that the case seems meritless. The Hollywood Reporter article goes on to say that that interviewees signed consent forms, but now they're claiming they were tricked. It reminds me of wondering how the producers of a TV show like Cops get the arrestees to sign the consent forms to appear on the show.

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