Sunday, June 19, 2005

Karayuki-san

Article from The Japan Times (June 18) about a forgetten aspect of Singapore's history: the "countless Japanese women who worked here as prostitutes between the late 19th century and early 20th century, women who were referred to simply as Karayuki-san." The ending paragraphs:
This year, which marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, is a good opportunity for Japanese to hark back to the past and look to the future. One can draw a lot of lessons by taking a glance at the history between Japan and Singapore, especially Japan's 1942 invasion and occupation up to 1945. Ordinary Japanese know little about the killings of ethnic Chinese in Singapore by the Imperial Japanese Army during the war years.

Sugino of the Japanese Association wants Japanese to face up to history involving their own country and other parts of Asia in order to strengthen friendly ties. "It is important that those planning to live in Singapore from now study the present and past of Singapore and develop a clear understanding of Singapore, including Karayuki-san and the war," he said.
As apposite as ever.

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