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Yūto Yoshida (吉田 雄兎 Yoshida Yūto?, born 15 October 1913) is a Japanese writer and former soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army. He has published under a variety of pen names, including Seiji Yoshida (吉田 清治 Yoshida Seiji?), Tōji Yoshida (吉田 東司 Yoshida Tōji?), and Eiji Yoshida (吉田 栄司 Yoshida Eiji?).[1][2]

Early life

Originally from Yamaguchi Prefecture on the Sea of Japan, Yoshida was stationed in Korea, then a colony of Japan, during World War II; he claimed that he assisted police to kidnap over 2,000 women from various rural areas of the Korean peninsula to serve as comfort women.[3] After the war, he ran as a Japanese Communist Party candidate in the 1947 Shimonoseki city council elections, but was defeated.[1]

Memoirs controversy

In 1977 and again in 1983, Yoshida published memoirs about his actions during the war.[3] His books and a subsequent 1991 media interview have been credited with bringing about an apology to Korea by Foreign Affairs minister Yōhei Kōno.[4] As Yoshida's memoirs became widely known, he began to attract suspicion. Ikuhiko Hata, a historian at Takushoku University and one of Yoshida's leading critics, pointed to inconsistencies between Yoshida's 1977 and 1983 memoirs, using these to assert that his claims are fabricated.[3] South Korean newspaper interviews with residents of Jeju Island, where the forced recruitment allegedly took place, found no one who admitted to remembering a sweep through a button factory there which Yoshida detailed in his 1983 memoirs.[2][3] In May 1996, weekly magazine Shūkan Shinchō published remarks by Yoshida made to them in an interview, admitting that portions of his work had been made up. He stated that "There is no profit in writing the truth in books. Hiding the facts and mixing them with your own assertions is something that newspapers do all the time too".[5][6][7]

Since then, revisionist historians seeking to deny or downplay the existence of comfort women commonly mention Yoshida and his testimony; they cherry-pick his work as an example of low-credibility writing and attack his claims that specific women in certain locations were enslaved as comfort women, with the aim of denying that any women anywhere were victims of sexual violence by the Imperial Japanese Army.[8]



  1. 1.0 1.1 秦郁彦 [Ikuhiko Hata] (1999), Template:Asiantitle, 新潮社 [Shinchōsha], p. 57, ISBN 978-4106005657
  2. 2.0 2.1 Han, Seung-dong (2007-04-05). "아베의 아름다운 나라 ‘대일본제국’ [Abe's beautiful country, the 'Great Empire of Japan']" (in Korean). The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Sanger, David E. (1992-08-08). "Japanese Veteran Presses Wartime-Brothel Issue". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
  4. "Abe and the Comfort Women". Chosun Ilbo. 2007-03-06. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
  5. "勇気ある告発者か詐話師か?吉田清治を再考する [A brave whistleblower or a swindler? Reconsidering Yoshida Seiji]" (in Japanese). Nikkan Berita. 2007-03-06. Retrieved 2008-01-24. "「本に真実を書いても何の利益もない。事実を隠し自分の主張を混ぜて書くなんていうのは、新聞だってやるじゃないか」"
  6. 水野靖夫 [Yasuō Mizuno] (in Japanese). Template:Asiantitle. PHP研究所 [PHP Kenkyūsho]. p. 129. ISBN 978-4569645087.
  7. Ye, Yeong-jun (2007-03-04). "고노 담화 [The Kono talks]" (in Korean). JoongAng Ilbo. Archived from the original on 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2008-01-24. "궁지에 몰린 요시다는 "일부 사례의 시간.장소에는 창작이 가미됐다"고 털어놨다."
  8. Morris-Suzuki, Tessa (2005). The Past Within Us: Media, Memory, History. Verso. pp. 223. ISBN 1859845134.

ja:吉田清治 (文筆家)

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