The Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War

TitleThe Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsHicks, George L.
Number of Pages303 p.
PublisherW.W. Norton & Co.
CityNew York

Until as recently as 1993, the Japanese government continued to deny that this occurred. From the late 1980s, women's groups in Korea and Japan began to organize to place the truth of what happened on the political agenda. The first ex-comfort women began to testify publicly to their ordeals. What has emerged is convincing evidence of a large-scale, officially organized system of rape by the Imperial Japanese Forces. Thousands of women, from young village girls to older professionals, an estimated 80 percent of them Korean, were part of the comfort system across Asia. In February 1993 a group of Japanese scholars called on their government to break a long taboo and allow school history books to cover atrocities committed during Japan's colonial rule in Korea from 1910 to 1945. Until now, the Education Ministry has kept any reference to comfort women out of the Nation's textbooks. In 1938 the Japanese Imperial Forces established a "comfort station" in Shanghai. This was the first of many officially sanctioned brothels set up across Asia to service the needs of the Japanese forces. It was also the first comfort station where women, many in their early teens, were coaxed, tricked, and forcibly recruited to act as prostitutes for the Japanese military. This is an account of a shameful aspect of Japanese society and psychology, and it also explores Japanese racial and gender politics. This book allows the victims of this institutionalized rape and war crime to tell their stories, which include the aftermath of shame, alienation, and psychological damage for the victims. In addition to demanding that their stories be acknowledged in the official history of the war, former comfort women are mounting legal efforts to gain compensation from the Japanese government.

Short TitleThe Comfort Women
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Call Number: 
D810.C698 H53 1995