Preventing Crimes Against Humanity:
Lessons from the Asia Pacific War (1931-1945)
Grandma AHN Jeom Soon
Grandma AHN Jeom Soon
Grandma AHN Jeom Soon
Grandma AHN was born in 1928, in Seoul's Mapo district. In Fall, 1942, at age 13, she was abducted by truck in Mapo by the Japanese imperial army and taken to China. She became one of Japan's military sex slaves, the so-called "comfort women". Historians estimate over 200,000 women were forced to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during the war.
"It was the first night of my arrival, an officer with two studs on his sleeve came with a long sword and demanded that I do a strange thing with him. But when I rejected him, he pulled out that long sword, demanding that I did as he said and making a huge uproar about killing me if I didn't," AHN recalled.
She survived the four years of atrocious treatment at the "comfort station" and finally returned home in 1946, one year after the defeat of Japan and the liberation of Korea. She never married and lived constantly alone. Now she lives in Suwon City, in Kyeonggi Province, South Korea, with her nephew.
Born in 1926, Professor Arai briefly joined the Japanese military service while he was a student at the University of Tokyo where he studied European history and graduated in 1949. As professor of modern history and international relations he taught at Ibaragi University and Surugadai University. He has received the status of Emeritus Professor from both Universities.
In 1992 he chaired the organizing committee of the International Public Hearing on Military Comfort Women and Laborers Forced to Work. In 1993 he founded and became the director of Center for Research and Documentation on Japan's War Responsibility. He contributed a series of articles to the Center's Bulletin. He has published numerous books which include: Senso sekinin ron (Essays on War Responsibility), Dainiji sekai taisen (The Second World War), Genbaku touka eno michi (Why Were A-Bombs Dropped?) , Gerunika monogatari (Story of Guernica)
Michiko Midge Ayukawa Stephen Benedict From 1993 until January 1996, he was an Education Officer at the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), located in Brussels.
During that time, he had responsibility for organizing a World Conference on
Trade Union Education. He also took an active part in development cooperation
issues and educational development and programming in Latin America and Africa. Steve is National Director of International Affairs at the Canadian Labour
From 1993 until January 1996, he was an Education Officer at the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), located in Brussels. During that time, he had responsibility for organizing a World Conference on Trade Union Education. He also took an active part in development cooperation issues and educational development and programming in Latin America and Africa.
Steve is National Director of International Affairs at the Canadian Labour Congress.
Professor Gregory Blue (Ph.D., Cambridge) teaches world and comparative history in the Department of History at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. His research interests include the history of Sino-Western relations, the history of colonialism and imperialism, and the history of science. His recent books include the co-edited volumes China and Historical Capitalism: Genealogies of Sinological Knowledge(Cambridge University Press, 1999) and Colonilism and the Modern World (M.E. Sharpe, 2002). He is co-organizer of the World Affairs in Historical Perspective seminar series at the University of Victoria. His "Afghanistan: Geopolitics and the Saga of a Crisis" appeared in the volume _Responses to Terrorism_, which resulted from the 2002 University of Victoria adult education course on that subject. He has published several biographical articles on the British scientist and historian Joseph Needham, Director of the Sino-British Scientific Co-operation Office during the Second World War.
Mordecai Briemberg is a founding member of Canada Palestine Support Network (www.canpalnet.ca) and a board member of the Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada. He writes on Middle East issues. Currently on the faculty of Douglas College, he studied political science and sociology at the universities of Alberta, Oxford and California before returning to Canada to teach at Simon Fraser University.
Gary Caroline is a senior partner at Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish, among Canada's leading labour and human rights law firms. Before becoming a lawyer, Gary was a long-time activist on labour, human rights, social justice and international issues. He practices law mainly in British Columbia and Ontario. Gary has a particular interest in the application of international law to the prosecution of war criminals and victims redress.
Iris Chang received her B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1989. After completing her graduate work at Johns Hopkins University, she wrote two critically acclaimed books published by Basic Books, Thread of the Silkworm and The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II.
The Rape of Nanking, an international bestseller, remained on the New York Times bestseller list for several months and was cited by Bookman Review Syndicate as one of the best books of 1997. She has written for numerous media, such as the New York Times, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press, and has been featured by Nightline, the Jim Lehrer News Hour, Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, C-Span's Booknotes, the Wall Street Journal and the front cover of Reader's Digest. Her third book, The Chinese in America: A Narrative History, will be published by Viking Penguin in 2003.
Iris Chang has won a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Program on Peace and International Cooperation award, the 1998 Woman of the Year Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans, and an honorary doctorate from the College of Wooster.
Dr. Roland Chrisjohn is a member of the Oneida Nation of the Confederacy of the Haudenausaunee (Iroquois). He received his Ph. D. in 1981 from the University of Western Ontario in Personality and Psychometrics, and obtained certification as a Clinical Psychologist in 1986. He has been involved in indigenous affairs in Canada for 30 years, participating in a variety of ways in different aspects of the struggle. He has worked with Aboriginal young offenders, women's organization, prisoner's associations, family and children services, and suicide intervention programs.
In Academia, he has taught such courses as personality, statistics, multivariate analysis, Native studies, world history, and education courses at six different universities in Canada, and is currently Director of the Native Studies program at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.
He has written more than 50 articles on a variety of subjects, and is author of The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada (Theytus Press, 1997). Dr. Chrisjohn is currently working on one book on Racism in Canada and another on Suicide.
Tony Cowling was born in Singapore in 1924, educated in England, and Canada and received his Masters degree from the University of Western Washington. In 1941 the British Government introduced foreign exchange regulations that denied his father, who was living in Singapore at the time, from sending funds to Canada for Tony's continued education, as a result of this Tony was forced to leave Canada and join his father in Singapore.
When the Japanese attacked Malaya and Singapore in December 1941, Tony joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 17. After 3 weeks of very active service in Singapore he escaped to Java with his unit and was taken POW 3 weeks later. The Japanese moved 2000 men in one of their notorious Hell Ships to the Moluccas Islands as part of a slave labour consignment. Of the 2000 men on his camp only 300 survived to return home.
After the war and a hospitalized recovery period he returned to Singapore to help his father locate a great deal of his contracting equipment, which the Japanese had dispersed throughout S.E. Asia. Returning to Canada in 1949 he did many odd jobs until finally saving enough money to attend UBC and graduate as a teacher librarian.
He is the author of the book "My Life with the Samurai" which details his experiences in many Japanese POW camps.
Gail Davidson is a member of the Law Society of BC and practiced family law in Vancouver between 1979 & 1995. Gail's interest in the implementation and enforcement of international human rights led her to doing trial monitoring and reporting work for Amnesty International in Malaysia.
In 2001 she founded Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of Canadian lawyers that provides support internationally for human rights defenders whose advocacy has put them in danger.
Gail divides her time between her responsibilities as director of LRWC, and her work with Lawyers Against the War (LAW). LAW is an international committee of jurists residing in 10 countries who oppose war against Iraq and promote adherence to international law. Gail is the co-founder and co-chair of LAW. She also writes about international humanitarian law and has been published in Criminal Law Forum, ZNet, Just Commentary, The Lawyers Weekly and on numerous internet sites.
Elsie Dean has a strong belief in citizen participation, and has been active in working for peace and justice all her adult life. She is an active member of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
WILPF is recognized for its work for peace and justice and has gained Consultative Status with the Unite Nations and six of its Specialized Agencies. It provides information gathered by its members and its missions and makes informed suggestions and proposals on peaceful conflict resolution.
Stephen Lyon Endicott was born in Shanghai, China of Canadian missionary parents. He was educated at the University of Toronto and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He taught in the history department of Atkinson College, York University for twenty years and is now a senior scholar in that department.
He is the author of The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea, with Edward Hagerman. (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999); Red Earth: Revolution in a Sichuan Village. (Toronto: NC Press, 1989); James G. Endicott: Rebel Out of China (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980); Diplomacy and Enterprise: British China Policy 1933-1937. (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1975)
Born in 1944 in Bralorne BC, close to where his parents were interned during WWII. In 1950, his family moved to a lumber camp across the lake from the town of Lac La Hache in the Cariboo region where he was schooled in a one-room schoolhouse. In 1960, he moved to Vancouver, attended high school, then UBC and SFU with a specialization in English literature.
In 1976 he was involved in the Japanese Canadian Centennial Project that mounted a narrative exhibit of the Japanese in Canada from 1877. This led to involvement in the Japanese Canadian Redress movement as well as volunteer work with both the Japanese Canadian Citizens Association and the National Association of Japanese Canadians where he served 2 years as president. His focus in both organizations was on human rights and anti-racism work.
He worked 30 years with the BC public service, most recently as the manager for diversity with one of the provincial ministries. After retirement in 2002 he has been involved in a number of community volunteer projects.
A pathologist and medical historian, Martin Furmanski (MD) has spend several years investigating the medical aspects of the Japanese Imperial Army's biological warfare program in China during World War II. Working with the late Sheldon Harris (author of Factories of Death), Dr. Furmanski visited the "rotten leg" villages of Zhejiang province last year. He has recently investigated the reasons why the U.S. government granted immunity to Japanese scientists who engaged in human experimentation and torture and how this contributed to the rationale for ongoing biological warfare preparations in the United States.
Michael J. Franzblau MD
Micheal J. Franzblau is Clinical Professor of Dermatology, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, California. He is a veteran of the Second World War; served in the Army Corps in the Philippine Islands and a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, A.B. Zoology 1949, Medical School 1952.
Franzblan has been guest lecturer in the Department of the History of Health Sciences, UCSF and lectured widely on the subject, "Ethical Issues in Health Care: Lessons from the Nazi Period." He has tried to get the Japan Medical Association to repudiate the activities of Unit 731 of the Imperial Japanese Army during the period 1932-1945.
Bob George is an elder from the Tsleil-waututh (Burrard) Nation and serves as resident elder and advisor to BCIT's First Nations program. Bob George volunteers his time to help native youth struggling w ith the demands of school and the challenge of being away from their communities. He also contributes his time and knowledge to a wide range of community organizations. "He inspires those around him toward greatness with wisdom, humour, and humility", says Brenda Ireland, former coordinator of BCIT's First Nation program. In 1999 BCIT acknowledged his good work with an Honorary Doctor of Technology.
Susan Gill has been a community worker and activist for the past 9 years. She has been doing anti-violence work and working in victim services for the last 5 years. She has a passion to do work in crimes against humanity on an international level. Susan will be presenting various stories of women who are survivors of violence during war time and connecting these women's experiences to current implications.
Diane Graves teaches in the social studies and resource departments at Cambie Secondary School in Richmond. She has developed a local course on global issues and recently took students to Costa Rica. Ms. Graves has a longstanding interest in global issues and international affairs.
Social worker in the field of children and family services. Worked for 5 years for Squamish Nation in First Nation child and family services program and policy development. Active in Japanese Canadian Citizens Association Board and Human Rights Committee and member of the National Association of Japanese Canadians Human Rights Committee for 12 years, and current Chair of National Association of Japanese Canadians Human Rights Committee for 2 years. Involved in post Durban anti-racism agenda - National Anti-Racism Council of Canada.
Dr. Marwan Hassan is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. He received his doctorate from the Hebrew University in earth sciences with a specialty in hydrology, a field in which he has published widely. He has taught at the University of Glasgow and the Hebrew University. Currently he is a member of the UBC faculty, where he teaches and continues his research.
Tineke Hellwig is an Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Chair of the Women's Studies Programme at UBC. Her research interests include Indonesian and Malay literature and cultural history, literary criticism, women and gender studies, feminist theory and postcolonialism. She has published a number of articles and two books, In the Shadow of Change: Images of Women in Indonesian Liteature (1994) and Adjustment and Discontent: Representations of Women in the Dutch East Indies (1994).
Paula van der Hijden
Paula van der Hijden has an M.A. degree in Middle East Studies from the Netherlands. She moved to Canada seven months ago after living in Israel for five years where she worked as a consular officer for the Netherlands Embassy. Nam-Lin Hur
Professor Nam-lin Hur (Ph.D., Princeton) teaches pre-modern Japanese history and Korean-Japanese relations at the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He has published Prayer and Play in Late Tokugawa Japan: Asakusa Sensoji and Edo Society (Harvard University Press, 2000), amd is now finishing up another monograph entitled "Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan: The Danka System and the Cultural Politics of Ancestor Worship." His research topics also include the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592-98, Choson Korea in the Tokugawa world, and Colonial Korea under Japanese occupation and its legacies.
HWANG Geum Joo
HWANG Geum Joo was born in Buyo, Chungcheong province, Korea on August 15, 1922. In exchange for money to buy medication for her father who had fallen seriously ill, she left her family at 13 years old and became “foster child” of the lender. Her hardship did not end there. In 1942, at age 20 she was tricked by a Japanese man into believing that she was going to work for three years in a military factory in Japan to earn good money. Instead she was transported to a “comfort station” in Jilin province of China to serve as sex slave for the Japanese military. Of the some 20 girls that started the journey with her, only she survived the ordeal. She suffered the most horrendous and unspeakable treatment under the Japanese military. When Japan surrendered, the Japanese military just abandoned them. She struggled her journey back to Korea and it took her more than 10 years to cure her venereal diseases. She is never married. Despite her own difficult situation, her compassion led her to help save orphans when the Korean War broke out.
Asia Pacific Lessons Conference