Tag Archives: memorials

Has the establishment of “comfort women” memorials in the U.S. led to widespread bullying against Japanese children?

Conservative media in Japan have repeatedly claimed that the bullying and harassment against Japanese and Japanese American children have become rampant after a memorial dedicated to the victims and survivors of Japanese military “comfort women” system was enacted in Glendale, California in 2013. But there is no basis for this claim.

Since the stories about the supposed “bullying” of Japanese children began appearing in conservative publications in Japan, many local, national, and international media outlets have tried to substantiate the claim but to no avail: schools, law enforcement agencies, Japanese American community groups, and others could not identify a single report of such bullying. Even conservative Japanese politicians who visited Glendale in hope of meeting with the victim or their families could not find any.

Tokyo-based journalist Mark Schreiber wrote in “Tracking Southern California’s elusive ‘bullies’” (Number 1 Shimbun, October 2014):

My inquiries to individuals in Glendale who should have some information or insight continued to come up blank. “This is not true,” Sebastian Puccio, coordinator for the Glendale Unified School District, wrote me. “We are not aware of any incidents of students of Korean ethnicity confronting students of Japanese ancestry in this district, nor would this be tolerated.”

David Monkawa, a Glendale resident and member of the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress organization, wrote that he had also made inquiries, but with no success. “Sgt. Thomas R. Lorenz, Public Information Officer of the Glendale Police Dept., stated these statements are ‘100 percent fabricated,'” said Monkawa, who ended up believing that Glendale “should have the Human Rights Commission issue a stern statement exposing these lies.”

A Japanese residing in Los Angeles made a number of telephone calls on my behalf. A teacher at a school for Japanese children told him that the school had heard about the bullying story and had sent out a note asking for parents to report any incidents, but no one did.

Of course, lack of reports does not necessarily indicate that there is no bullying at all, but the conservative media’s claim of rampant or pervasive bullying against many Japanese or Japanese American children is demonstrably false.

FeND Expresses Support for Fullerton Peace Memorial

Today, Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND) has submitted a letter to the Mayor and the City Council of Fullerton, California to express our support for its proposed peace memorial dedicated to victims and survivors of the Japanese “comfort women” system during the WWII.

City Council of Fullerton has already passed a resolution endorsing the U.S. House Resolution 121, leading a way for the Fullerton Museum Center board to approve the construction of the proposed memorial dedicated to former “comfort women.” But dozens of Japanese residents from surrounding areas, many of whom have come from Japan rather than from Japanese-American communities, are planning to storm the City Council meeting this Tuesday to voice their opposition to the memorial.

We are submitting our letter to demonstrate that these antagonistic Japanese nationalists do not speak for all of Japanese and Japanese-American individuals in the United States.

You can download the PDF file of our letter here.