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North Korea slams Harvard Law professor for 'comfort women' article

North Korea addressed the issue of a controversial comfort women article on Monday, weeks after Harvard Law professor J. Mark Ramseyer came under criticism for his characterization of former victims of wartime brothels. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
North Korea addressed the issue of a controversial "comfort women" article on Monday, weeks after Harvard Law professor J. Mark Ramseyer came under criticism for his characterization of former victims of wartime brothels. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

March 2 (UPI) -- North Korea condemned a Harvard Law professor and his article on "comfort women" in a television documentary that addressed Japan's wartime crimes and featured an alleged descendant of a former victim.

Korea Central Television on Monday aired the film that included denouncements of J. Mark Ramseyer, the Mitsubishi professor of Japanese legal studies at Harvard Law School, as a "pseudo-scholar" with a "pro-Japanese bias."

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The documentary featured previously released footage, including a South Korean interview with Park Yeong-sim, a comfort woman who passed away in 2006. In the interview, Park says a Japanese policeman wearing a red cap coerced her to follow him "to make some money."

The North Korean film also included an interview with a North Korean man identified as Jong Yun Chol. Jong claimed he is Park's grandson. Park lived in the South until the time of her death.

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"My grandmother passed away without receiving an apology or compensation from the Japanese government," Jong said in the North Korean program.

State media rarely reports on developments outside the country but has previously covered news related to Japan's colonial past.

Ramseyer's paper has come under criticism at Harvard, where the Undergraduate Council voted to endorse a statement that described the article, "Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War," as "contrafactual," according to the Harvard Crimson on Monday.

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Professors at Harvard have also condemned Ramseyer's paper.

"As historians of Japan and Korea, what initially appalled us was Ramseyer's elision of the larger political and economic contexts of colonialism and gender in which the comfort women system was conceived and implemented, and the multiple and brutal ways in which it affected and afflicted the women on a human scale," wrote Andrew Gordon and Carter Eckert.

Gordon and Eckert said Ramseyer failed to find evidence of contracts concluded in Korea with Korean women. Ramseyer used "barmaid" contracts with Japanese women as a substitute source to build his argument about Korean victims of wartime brothels, Gordon and Eckert said.

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