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Comfort women

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Comfort women
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 慰安婦
Simplified Chinese 慰安妇
Japanese name
Kanji 慰安婦
Hiragana いあんふ
Alternate Japanese name
Kanji 従軍慰安婦
Korean name
Hangul 위안부
Hanja 慰安婦

Comfort women were women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II.[1][2][3] The name "comfort women" is a translation of the Japanese euphemism ianfu (慰安婦) and the similar Korean term wianbu (위안부).[4][5] Ianfu is a euphemism for shōfu (娼婦) whose meaning is "prostitute(s)".[6]

Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000[7] to as high as 360,000 to 410,000, in Chinese sources;[8] the exact numbers are still being researched and debated.[9] Many of the women were from occupied countries, including Korea, China, and the Philippines,[10] although women from Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan (then a Japanese dependency), Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies), East Timor (then Portuguese Timor),[11][12] and other Japanese-occupied territories were used for military "comfort stations". Stations were located in Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, then Malaya, Thailand, Burma, New Guinea, Hong Kong, Macau, and French Indochina.[13] A smaller number of women of European origin from the Netherlands and Australia were also involved.

According to testimony, young women from countries in Imperial Japanese custody were abducted from their homes. In many cases, women were also lured with promises of work in factories or restaurants; once recruited, the women were incarcerated in comfort stations in foreign lands.[14]

Establishment of the Comfort Women System

Chinese and Malayan girls forcibly taken from Penang by the Japanese to work as 'comfort girls' for the troops
Studio portrait of Jan Ruff O'Herne, taken shortly before she, her mother and sisters, as well as thousands of other Dutch women and children were interned by the Japanese Imperial Army in Ambarawa. Over the following months, O'Herne, along with six other Dutch women, were repeatedly raped, day and night, by Japanese military personnel[15]

Japanese military prostitution

Military correspondence of the Japanese Imperial Army shows that the aim of facilitating comfort stations was the prevention of rape crimes committed by Japanese army personnel and thus preventing the rise of hostility among people in occupied areas.[7]

Given the well-organized and open nature of prostitution in Japan, it was seen as logical that there should be organized prostitution to serve the Japanese Armed Forces.[16] The Japanese Army established the comfort stations to prevent venereal diseases and rape by Japanese soldiers, to provide comfort to soldiers and head off espionage. The comfort stations were not actual solutions to the first two problems, however. According to Japanese historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi, they aggravated the problems. Yoshimi has asserted, "The Japanese Imperial Army feared most that the simmering discontentment of the soldiers could explode into a riot and revolt. That is why it provided women."[17]


The first comfort station was established in the Japanese concession in Shanghai in 1932. Earlier comfort women were Japanese prostitutes who volunteered for such service. However, as Japan continued military expansion, the military found itself short of Japanese volunteers, and turned to the local population to coerce women into serving in these stations.[18][not in citation given] Many women responded to calls for work as factory workers or nurses, and did not know that they were being pressed into sexual slavery.[19]

In the early stages of the war, Japanese authorities recruited prostitutes through conventional means. In urban areas, conventional advertising through middlemen was used alongside kidnapping. Middlemen advertised in newspapers circulating in Japan and the Japanese colonies of Korea, Taiwan, Manchukuo, and China. These sources soon dried up, especially from Japan.[20] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs resisted further issuance of travel visas for Japanese prostitutes, feeling it tarnished the image of the Japanese Empire.[21] The military turned to acquiring comfort women outside mainland Japan, especially from Korea and occupied China. Many women were tricked or defrauded into joining the military brothels.[22] The Japanese forced Hui Muslim girls in China to serve as sex slaves by setting up the "Huimin Girl's school" and enrolling Hui girls into the school for this purpose.[23]

The situation became worse as the war progressed. Under the strain of the war effort, the military became unable to provide enough supplies to Japanese units; in response, the units made up the difference by demanding or looting supplies from the locals. Along the front lines, especially in the countryside where middlemen were rare, the military often directly demanded that local leaders procure women for the brothels. When the locals, especially Chinese, were considered hostile, Japanese soldiers carried out the "Three Alls Policy", which included indiscriminately kidnapping and raping local civilians.[24][25][26]

In 1944, the United States Office of War Information report of interviews with 20 Korean comfort women in Burma found that the girls were induced by the offer of plenty of money, an opportunity to pay off family debts, easy work, and the prospect of a new life in a new land, Singapore. On the basis of these false representations many girls enlisted for overseas duty and were rewarded with an advance of a few hundred yen. Only some of these girls who had paid their debt were allowed to return to Korea.[27]

Late archives inquiries and trials

On April 17, 2007 Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Hirofumi Hayashi announced the discovery, in the archives of the Tokyo Trials, of seven official documents suggesting that Imperial military forces, such as the Tokkeitai (Naval military police), forced women whose fathers attacked the Kenpeitai (Army military police), to work in front line brothels in China, Indochina and Indonesia. These documents were initially made public at the war crimes trial. In one of these, a lieutenant is quoted as confessing to having organized a brothel and having used it himself. Another source refers to Tokkeitai members having arrested women on the streets, and after enforced medical examinations, putting them in brothels.[28]

On 12 May 2007 journalist Taichiro Kajimura announced the discovery of 30 Dutch government documents submitted to the Tokyo tribunal as evidence of a forced mass prostitution incident in 1944 in Magelang.[29]

The South Korean government designated Bae Jeong-ja as a pro-Japanese collaborator (chinilpa) in September 2007 for recruiting comfort women.[30][31]

In 2014 China produced almost 90 documents from the archives of the Kwantung Army on the issue. According to China, the documents provide ironclad proof that the Japanese military forced Asian women to work in frontline brothels before and during the Second World War.[32]

In June 2014, more official documents from the government of Japan's archives were made public, documenting sexual violence and women forced into sexual slavery committed by Imperial Japanese soldiers in French Indochina and Indonesia.[33]

Number of comfort women

Lack of official documentation has made estimates of the total number of comfort women difficult, as vast amounts of material pertaining to matters related to war crimes and the war responsibility of the nation's highest leaders were destroyed on the orders of the Japanese government at the end of the war.[34] Historians have arrived at various estimates by looking at surviving documentation which indicate the ratio of the number of soldiers in a particular area to the number of women, as well as looking at replacement rates of the women.[35] Historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi, who conducted the first academic study on the topic which brought the issue out into the open, estimated the number to be between 50,000 and 200,000.[7]

Based on these estimates, most international media sources quote about 200,000 young women were kidnapped by Japanese soldiers to serve in Japanese military brothels. The BBC quotes "200,000 to 300,000" and the International Commission of Jurists quotes "estimates of historians of 100,000 to 200,000 women."[36] The Asahi Shinbun apologized in 2014 for stating the number of 200,000 Korean comfort women which, on reconsideration, was regarded as inaccurate and the result of a conflation with an unrelated factory program.[37]

Country of origin

Historical Marker, Plaza Lawton, Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila

According to State University of New York at Buffalo professor Yoshiko Nozaki and other sources, the majority of the women were from Korea and China.[38][39] Chuo University professor Yoshiaki Yoshimi states there were about 2,000 centers where as many as 200,000 Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Taiwanese, Burmese, Indonesian, Dutch and Australian women were interned.[40] Ikuhiko Hata, a professor of Nihon University, estimated the number of women working in the licensed pleasure quarter was fewer than 20,000 and that they were 40% Japanese, 20% Koreans, 10% Chinese, with others making up the remaining 30%. According to Hata, the total number of government-regulated prostitutes in Japan was only 170,000 during World War II.[41] Others came from the Philippines, Taiwan, Dutch East Indies, and other Japanese-occupied countries and regions.[42] Some Dutch women, captured in Dutch colonies in Asia, were also forced into sexual slavery.[43]

In further analysis of the Imperial Army medical records for venereal disease treatment from 1940, Yoshimi concluded that if the percentages of women treated reflected the general makeup of the total comfort women population, Korean women comprised 51.8 percent, Chinese 36 percent and Japanese 12.2 percent.[17]

A Dutch government study described how the Japanese military itself seized the women by force in the Dutch East Indies.[44] It concluded that among the 200 to 300 European women found in the Japanese military brothels, “some sixty five were most certainly forced into prostitution.” [45] Others, faced with starvation in the refugee camps, agreed to offers of food and payment for work, the nature of which was not completely revealed to them.[46][47][48][49][50]

To date, only one Japanese woman has published her testimony. This was done in 1971, when a former comfort woman forced to work for Showa soldiers in Taiwan, published her memoirs under the pseudonym of Suzuko Shirota.[51]

Treatment of comfort women

Approximately three quarters of comfort women died, and most survivors were left infertile due to sexual trauma or sexually transmitted diseases.[52] Beatings and physical torture were said to be common.[53]

Ten Dutch women were taken by force from prison camps in Java by officers of the Japanese Imperial Army to become forced sex slaves in February 1944. They were systematically beaten and raped day and night.[53][54] As a victim of the incident, in 1990, Jan Ruff-O'Herne testified to a U.S. House of Representatives committee:

Many stories have been told about the horrors, brutalities, suffering and starvation of Dutch women in Japanese prison camps. But one story was never told, the most shameful story of the worst human rights abuse committed by the Japanese during World War II: The story of the “Comfort Women”, the jugun ianfu, and how these women were forcibly seized against their will, to provide sexual services for the Japanese Imperial Army. In the “comfort station” I was systematically beaten and raped day and night. Even the Japanese doctor raped me each time he visited the brothel to examine us for venereal disease.[53][54]

In their first morning at the brothel, photographs of Ruff-O'Herne and the others were taken and placed on the veranda which was used as a reception area for the Japanese personnel who would choose from these photographs. Over the following four months the girls were raped and beaten day and night, with those who became pregnant forced to have abortions. After four harrowing months, the girls were moved to a camp at Bogor, in West Java, where they were reunited with their families. This camp was exclusively for women who had been put into military brothels, and the Japanese warned the inmates that if anyone told what had happened to them, they and their family members would be killed. Several months later the O'Hernes were transferred to a camp at Batavia, which was liberated on 15 August 1945.[55][56][57]

The Japanese officers involved received some punishment by Japanese authorities at the end of the war.[58] After the end of the war, 11 Japanese officers were found guilty with one soldier being sentenced to death by the Batavia War Criminal Court.[58] The court decision found that the charge violated was the Army's order to hire only voluntary women.[58] Victims from East Timor testified they were forced into slavery even when they were not old enough to have started menstruating. The court testimonies state that these prepubescent girls were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers[59] while those who refused to comply were executed.[60][61]

Hank Nelson, emeritus professor at the Australian National University's Asia Pacific Research Division, has written about the brothels run by the Japanese military in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea during WWII. He quotes from the diary of Gordon Thomas, a POW in Rabaul. Thomas writes that the women working at the brothels “most likely served 25 to 35 men a day” and that they were “victims of the yellow slave trade.”[62]

Nelson also quotes from Kentaro Igusa, a Japanese naval surgeon who was stationed in Rabaul. Igusa wrote in his memoirs that the women continued to work through infection and severe discomfort, though they “cried and begged for help.”[62]

Legacy in South Korea

During World War II, the Shōwa regime implemented in Korea a prostitution system similar to the one established in other parts of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Korean agents, Korean Kempeitai (military police) and military auxiliaries were involved in the procurement and organization of comfort women, and made use of their services.[63] Pak Chong-song found that "Koreans under Japanese rule became fully acculturated as main actors in the licensed prostitution system that was transplanted in their country by the colonial state".[64]

Even after World War II, the legacies of the comfort women system remained deeply entrenched in Korean society. During the Korean War, the South Korean military institutionalized a "special comfort unit" similar to the one used by the Japanese military during World War II. Until recently, very little was known about this apart from testimonies of retired generals and soldiers who had fought in the war. In February 2002, Korean sociologist Kim Kwi-ok wrote the first scholarly work on Korea's comfort women through the use of official records.[65]

The post-colonial South Korean "comfort" system was organized around three operations. First, there were "special comfort units" called T'uksu Wiandae, which operated from seven different stations. Second, there were mobile units of comfort women that visited barracks. Third, there were prostitutes who worked in private brothels that were hired by the military. Although it is still not clear how recruitment of these comfort women were organized in the South, South Korean agents were known to have kidnapped some of the women from North Korea.[66]

According to anthropologist Chunghee Sarah Soh of San Francisco State University, the South Korean military's use of comfort women has produced "virtually no societal response," despite the country's women's movement's support for Korean comfort women within the Japanese military. Both Kim and Soh argue that this system is a legacy of Japanese colonialism, as many of South Korea's military leadership were trained within the Japanese military. Both the Japanese and South Korean militaries referred to these comfort women as "military supplies" in official documents and personal memoirs. The South Korean military also used to same arguments as the Japanese military to justify the use of comfort women, viewing them as a "necessary social evil" that would raise soldiers' morale and prevent rape.[67]

History of the issue

In 1944, allied forces captured twenty Korean comfort women and two Japanese comfort station owners in Burma and issued Report no. 49. According to the report, Korean girls were deceived into being used as comfort women by the Japanese; in 1942 there were about 800 girls trafficked from Korea to Burma in this manner of obtaining comfort women.[68][68][69][70]

In 1973 a man named Kakou Senda wrote a book about the comfort women system that focused on Japanese participants. His book has been widely criticized as distorting the facts by both Japanese and South Korean historians.[71] This was the first postwar mention of the comfort women system and became an important source for 1990s activism on the issue.[72]

The first book written by a Korean on the subject of comfort women appeared in 1981. However, it was a plagiarism of a 1976 Japanese book by the zainichi author Kim Il-Myeon.[73][74]

In 1989, the testimony of Seiji Yoshida was translated into Korean. His book was debunked as fraudulent by some Japanese and Korean journalists, and Yoshida himself, in May 1996, admitted that his memoir was fictional, stating 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," in an interview by Shūkan Shinchō.[75][76][77] In August 2014 the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun also retracted articles that the paper had published based on or including information from Yoshida, in large part because of pressure from conservative activists and organizations.[78][79][80] Following the retraction, attacks from conservatives increased. Takashi Uemura, a journalist who wrote one of the retracted articles, was subject to similar attacks from conservatives, and his employer, Hokusei Gakuen University, was pressured to terminate his position.[81]

In 1993, following multiple testimonies the Kono Statement was issued by Japanese Government confirming that coercion was involved in seizing the comfort women.[82][83] In 2007, the Japanese government made a cabinet decision, "No evidence was found that the Japanese army or the military officials seized the women by force." [84][85] In 2014 Yoshihide Suga has formed a team to reexamine the background of the report.[86] The review brought to a light that coordination between Japan and South Korea in the process of composing the statement and concluded that at the request of Seoul, Tokyo stipulated coercion was involved in recruiting the women.[87] After the review, Suga and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Japan continues to uphold the Kono Statement.

In 2010, the first American monument dedicated to the comfort women was established in New Jersey, United States.[88]

In 2013, a "comfort women" memorial statue was established in Glendale, California, United States.[89] The statue has been subject to multiple legal attempts to remove it.[90]

In 2014 China released documents it said were "ironclad proof" that the comfort women were forced to work as prostitutes against their will, including documents from the Japanese Kwantung Army military police corps archives and documents from the national bank of Japan's puppet regime in Manchuria.[91]

On August 16, 2014, a new memorial statue honoring the comfort women was unveiled in Southfield, Michigan, United States.[92]

Apologies and compensation

Rangoon, Burma. August 8, 1945. A young ethnic Chinese woman who was in one of the Imperial Japanese Army's "comfort battalions" is interviewed by an Allied officer.

In negotiations, the South Korean government initially demanded $364 million in compensation for Koreans forced by into labor and military service during the Japanese occupation; $200 per survivor, $1,650 per death and $2,000 per injured person.[93] In the final agreement Tokyo provided an $800 million aid and low-interest loan package over 10 years.[94] In 1994, the Japanese government set up the Asian Women's Fund (AWF) to distribute additional compensation to South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Indonesia.[95] Sixty one Korean, 13 Taiwanese, 211 Filipino, and 79 Dutch former comfort women were provided with a signed apology from the then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, stating "As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women."[96][97] However, many former Korean comfort women rejected the compensations because of pressure from a non-government organization known as the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, or "Chongdaehyop", and because of media pressure. Eventually, 61 former Korean comfort women accepted 5 million yen (approx. $42,000[99]) per person from the AWF along with the signed apology, while 142 others received funds from the government of Korea.[100][101][102] The fund was dissolved on March 31, 2007.[97][103]

Three Korean women filed suit in Japan in December, 1991, around the time of the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, demanding compensation for forced prostitution. In 1992, documents which had been stored since 1958 when they were returned by United States troops and which indicated that the military had played a large role in operating what were euphemistically called "comfort stations" were found in the library of Japan's Self-Defense Agency. The Japanese Government admitted that the Japanese Army had forced tens of thousands of Korean women to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II.[104] On January 14, 1992, Japanese Chief Government Spokesman Koichi Kato issued an official apology saying, "We cannot deny that the former Japanese army played a role" in abducting and detaining the "comfort girls," and "We would like to express our apologies and contrition".[104][105][106] Three days later on January 17, 1992 at a dinner given by South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, the Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa told his host: "We Japanese should first and foremost recall the truth of that tragic period when Japanese actions inflicted suffering and sorrow upon your people. We should never forget our feelings of remorse over this. As Prime Minister of Japan, I would like to declare anew my remorse at these deeds and tender my apology to the people of the Republic of Korea." He apologized again the following day in a speech before South Korea's National Assembly.[107][108] On April 28, 1998, the Japanese court ruled that the Government must compensate the women and awarded them US$2,300 ($3,328 in 2015) each.[109]

In 2007, the surviving sex slaves wanted an apology from the Japanese government. Shinzō Abe, the prime minister at the time, stated on March 1, 2007, that there was no evidence that the Japanese government had kept sex slaves, even though the Japanese government had already admitted the use of coercion in 1993. On March 27 the Japanese parliament issued an official apology.[110] On February 20, 2014, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the Japanese government may reconsider the study and the apology.[111] However, Prime Minister Abe clarified on March 14, 2014 that he had no intention of renouncing or altering it.[112]


Within Japan, there is still great controversy related to the usage of comfort women by the Japanese military, particularly in the areas of denial or minimization by Japanese politicians, activists, and journalists. Often, said figures are associated with nationalist, revisionist, or far-right causes in Japan.

Japanese historian and Nihon University professor, Ikuhiko Hata estimates the number of comfort women to be more likely between 10,000 and 20,000.[7] Hata claims that "none of [the comfort women] were forcibly recruited".[113]

Some Japanese politicians have argued that the former comfort women's testimony is inconsistent and unreliable, making it invalid.[114] Mayor of Osaka and co-leader of the nationalist and far-right Japan Restoration Party, Tōru Hashimoto, while initially maintaining that "there is no evidence that people called comfort women were taken away by violence or threat by the [Japanese] military",[115] he later modified his position asserting that they became comfort women "against their will",[116] still justifying their role during World War II as "necessary", so that soldiers could "have a rest".[116]

A comic book, Neo Gomanism Manifesto Special – On Taiwan by Japanese author Yoshinori Kobayashi, depicts kimono-clad women lining up to sign up for duty before a Japanese soldier. Kobayashi's book contains an interview with Taiwanese industrialist Shi Wen-long who stated that no women were forced to serve, and that they worked in more hygienic conditions compared to regular prostitutes because the use of condoms was mandatory.[117]

There was a controversy involving NHK in early 2001. What was supposed to be coverage of the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery was heavily edited to reflect revisionist views.[118]

The new president of NHK has compared the Japanese program to the practices of western militaries; western historians point out the differences between the Japanese government program which forced women to participate and the free enterprise institutions frequented by western troops where the women were forced only by economic necessity or by non-state actors.[119]

Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and most members of his Cabinet are affiliated to the openly revisionist organization Nippon Kaigi, that negates the existence of Japanese war crimes, including sexual slavery for the military.[120] Although his own father, Yasuhiro Nakasone, organized a 'comfort station' in 1942 when he was a lieutenant paymaster in Japan's Imperial Navy, Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, chairs a commission established to consider "concrete measures to restore Japan's honor with regard to the comfort women issue."[121]

Survivors of Comfort Women

The last surviving victims have become public figures in Korea, where they are referred to as "halmoni", the affectionate term for "grandmother". China remains more at the testimony collection stage, particularly through the China "Comfort Women" Issue Research Center at Shanghai Normal University,[122] sometimes in collaboration with Korean researchers.[123] For other nations, the research and the interaction with victims is less advanced.

Wednesday Demonstrations

Every Wednesday, living comfort women, women’s organizations, socio-civic groups, religious groups, and a number of individuals participate in the “Wednesday Demonstrations” in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, sponsored by “The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (KCWDMSS)”. It was first held on January 8, 1992, when Japan’s Prime Minister, Miyazawa, visited the Republic of Korea. In December 2011, a statue of a young woman was erected in front of the Japanese Embassy to honor the comfort women, on the 1,000th of the weekly “Wednesday Demonstrations”.[124] The Japanese government has repeatedly asked the South Korean government to have the statue taken down, but it has not been.[124]

House of Sharing

The House of Sharing is the home for living comfort women. The House of Sharing was founded in June 1992 through funds raised by Buddhist organizations and various socio-civic groups and it moved to Gyunggi-do, South Korea in 1998. The House of Sharing includes “The Museum of Sexual Slavery by Japanese Military” to spread the truth about the Japanese military’s brutal abuse of comfort women and to educate descendants and the public.[125]

Archives by Comfort Women

Some of the survivors, Kang Duk-kyung, Kim Soon-duk and Lee Yong-Nyeo, preserved their personal history through their drawings as a visual archive Also, the director of the Center for Asian American Media, Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, made a comfort women video archive, a documentary film for K-12 through college level students. Feminist visual and video archives have promoted a place for solidarity between the victims and the public. It has served as a living site for the teaching and learning of women’s dignity and human rights by bringing people together despite age, gender, borders, nationality, and ideologies.[126]

International support

The cause has long been supported beyond the victim nations, and associations like Amnesty International are campaigning in countries where governments have yet to support the cause, like in Australia,[127] or New Zealand.[128] Support in the United States continues to grow, particularly after the United States House of Representatives House Resolution 121 was passed on July 30, 2007, asking the Japanese government to redress the situation and to teach the actual historical facts. In July 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a strong advocate of the cause, denounced the use of the euphemism 'comfort women' for what should be referred to as 'enforced sex slaves'.[129] The White House continues to express the need for Japan to do more to address the issue.[130] In addition to calling attention to the issue, the American memorial statues erected in New Jersey in 2010 and California in 2013 show support for what has become an international cause.[89]

In 2014, Pope Francis met with seven former comfort women in South Korea.[131][132] Also in 2014, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called for Japan to, as the Committee's deputy head Anastasia Crickley put it, "conclude investigations into the violations of the rights of ‘comfort women’ by the military and to bring to justice those responsible and to pursue a comprehensive and lasting resolution to these issues.” [133] U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay had also spoken out in support of comfort women several times.[133]

Health-related issues

In the aftermath of the war, the women recalled bouts of physical and mental abuses that they had experienced while working in military brothels. In the Rorschach test, the women showed distorted perceptions, difficulty in managing emotional reactions and internalized anger.[134] A 2011 clinical study found that comfort women are more prone to showing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even 60 years after the end of the war.[135]

List of former comfort women

See also


  1. ^ The Asian Women's Fund. "Who were the Comfort Women?-The Establishment of Comfort Stations". Digital Museum The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women's Fund. The Asian Women's Fund. Archived from the original on August 7, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ The Asian Women's Fund. "Hall I: Japanese Military and Comfort Women". Digital Museum The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women's Fund. The Asian Women's Fund. Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2014. The so-called 'wartime comfort women' were those who were taken to former Japanese military installations, such as comfort stations, for a certain period during wartime in the past and forced to provide sexual services to officers and soldiers. 
  3. ^ Argibay, Carmen (2003). "Sexual Slavery and the Comfort Women of World War II". Berkeley Journal of International Law. 
  4. ^ McKellar, Robert (2011). Target of Opportunity & Other War Stories. AuthorHouse. p. 189. ISBN 1-4634-1656-3. The term 'comfort women', which is a translation of the Japanese euphemism jugun ianfu ('military comfort women'), categorically refers to women of various ethnic and national backgrounds and social circumstances who became sexual laborers for Japanese troops before and during WWII. 
  5. ^ Soh, C. Sarah (2009). The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan. University of Chicago Press. p. 69. ISBN 0-226-76777-9. It referred to adult female (fu/bu) who provided sexual services to "comfort and entertain" (ian/wian) the warrior... 
  6. ^ Fujioka, Nobukatsu (1996). 污辱の近現代史: いま、克服のとき [Attainder of modern history] (in Japanese). Tokuma Shoten. p. 39. 慰安婦は戦地で外征軍を相手とする娼婦を指す用語(婉曲用語)だった。 (Ianfu was a euphemism for the prostitutes who served for the Japanese expeditionary forces outside Japan) 
  7. ^ a b c d Asian Women'sFund, p. 10
  8. ^ Huang, Hua-Lun (2012). The Missing Girls and Women of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan: A Sociological Study of Infanticide, Forced Prostitution, Political Imprisonment, "Ghost Brides," Runaways and Thrownaways. McFarland. p. 206. ISBN 0-7864-8834-4. Although Ianfu came from all regions or countries annexed or occupied by Japan before 1945, most of them were Chinese or Korean. Researchers at the Research Center of the Chinese Comfort Women Issue of Shanghai Normal University estimate that the total number of comfort women at 360,000 to 410,000. 
  9. ^ Rose 2005, p. 88
  10. ^ "Women and World War II – Comfort Women". Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  11. ^ Coop, Stephanie (23 Dec 2006). "Japan's Wartime Sex Slave Exhibition Exposes Darkness in East Timor". Japan Times. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  12. ^ YOSHIDA, REIJI (April 18, 2007). "Evidence documenting sex-slave coercion revealed". The Japan Times. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Reuters 2007-03-05.
  14. ^ Yoshimi 2000, pp. 100–101, 105–106, 110–111;
    Fackler 2007-03-06;
    BBC 2007-03-02;
    BBC 2007-03-08.
  15. ^ "Comfort women". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Hicks 1995.
  17. ^ a b 2007-11-30.
  18. ^ Mitchell 1997.
  19. ^ "[…] Pak (her surname) was about 17, living in Hamun, Korea, when local Korean officials, acting on orders from the Japanese, began recruiting women for factory work. Someone from Pak's house had to go. In April of 1942, turned Pak and other young women over to the Japanese, who took them into China, not into factories […]", Horn 1997.
  20. ^ Yoshimi 2000, pp. 100–101, 105–106, 110–111;
    Hicks 1997, pp. 66–67, 119, 131, 142–143;
    Ministerie van Buitenlandse zaken 1994, pp. 6–9, 11, 13–14
  21. ^ Yoshimi 2000, pp. 82–83;
    Hicks 1997, pp. 223–228.
  22. ^ Yoshimi 2000, pp. 101–105, 113, 116–117;
    Hicks 1997, pp. 8–9, 14;
    Clancey 1948, p. 1135.
  23. ^ LEI, Wan ((2010/2)). "The Chinese Islamic "Goodwill Mission to the Middle East" During the Anti-Japanese War". Dîvân Disiplinlerarasi Çalişmalar Dergisi. cilt 15 (sayı 29): 141. Retrieved 19 June 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  24. ^ Fujiwara 1998
  25. ^ Himeta 1996
  26. ^ Bix 2000
  27. ^ Yorichi 1944.
  28. ^ Yoshida 2007-04-18
  29. ^ Japan Times 2007-05-12
  30. ^ Bae 2007-09-17
  31. ^ (Japanese) "宋秉畯ら第2期親日反民族行為者202人を選定", JoongAng Ilbo, 2007.09.17. "日本軍慰安婦を募集したことで悪名高いベ・ジョンジャ"
  32. ^ McCurry, Justin; Kaiman, Jonathan (28 April 2014). "Papers prove Japan forced women into second world war brothels, says China". (The Guardian). Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  33. ^ Kimura, Kayoko, "Stance on ‘comfort women’ undermines fight to end wartime sexual violence", Japan Times, 5 March 2014, p. 8
  34. ^ Burning of Confidential Documents by Japanese Government, case no.43, serial 2, International Prosecution Section vol. 8;
    "When it became apparent that Japan would be forced to surrender, an organized effort was made to burn or otherwise destroy all documents and other evidence of ill-treatment of prisoners of war and civilian internees. The Japanese Minister of War issued an order on 14 August 1945 to all Army headquarters that confidential documents should be destroyed by fire immediately. On the same day, the Commandant of the Kempetai sent out instructions to the various Kempetai Headquarters detailing the methods of burning large quantities of documents efficiently.", Clancey 1948, p. 1135;
    "[…] , the actual number of comfort women remains unclear because the Japanese army incinerated many crucial documents right after the defeat for fear of war crimes prosecution, […]", Yoshimi 2000, p. 91;
    Bix 2000, p. 528;
    "Between the announcement of a ceasefire on August 15, 1945, and the arrival of small advance parties of American troops in Japan on August 28, Japanese military and civil authorities systematically destroyed military, naval, and government archives, much of which was from the period 1942–1945. Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo dispatched enciphered messages to field commands throughout the Pacific and East Asia ordering units to burn incriminating evidence of war crimes, especially offenses against prisoners of war. The director of Japan's Military History Archives of the National Institute for Defense Studies estimated in 2003 that as much as 70 percent of the army's wartime records were burned or otherwise destroyed.", Drea 2006, p. 9.
  35. ^ Nakamura 2007-03-20
  36. ^ "An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 women across Asia, predominantly Korean and Chinese, are believed to have been forced to work as sex slaves in Japanese military brothels", BBC 2000-12-08;
    "Historians say thousands of women; as many as 200,000 by some accounts; mostly from Korea, China and Japan worked in the Japanese military brothels", Irish Examiner 2007-03-08;
    AP 2007-03-07;
    CNN 2001-03-29.
  37. ^ The Asahi Shimbun Company. "Confusion with 'volunteer corps': Insufficient research at that time led to comfort women and volunteer corps seen as the same". 朝日新聞デジタル. 
  38. ^ Nozaki 2005;
    Dudden 2006.
  39. ^ "An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 women across Asia, predominantly Korean and Chinese, are believed to have been forced to work as sex slaves in Japanese military brothels", & BBC 2000-12-08;
    "Estimates of the number of comfort women range between 50,000 and 200,000. It is believed that most were Korean", Soh 2001;
    "A majority of the 80,000 to 200,000 comfort women were from Korea, though others were recruited or recruited from China, the Philippines, Burma, and Indonesia. Some Japanese women who worked as prostitutes before the war also became comfort women.", Horn 1997;
    "Approximately 80 percent of the sex slaves were Korean; […]. By one approximation, 80 percent were between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.", Gamble & Watanabe 2004, p. 309;
    Soh 2001.
  40. ^ Yoshimi 2000, pp. 91, 93
  41. ^ Hata 1999
    "Hata essentially equates the 'comfort women' system with prostitution and finds similar practices during the war in other countries. He has been criticized by other Japanese scholars for downplaying the hardship of the 'comfort women'.", Drea 2006, p. 41.
  42. ^ Soh 2001.
  43. ^ 2007-03-19;
    Moynihan 2007-03-03
  44. ^ Ministerie van Buitenlandse zaken 1994, pp. 6–9, 11, 13–14
  45. ^ Digital Museum: The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women's Fund
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  48. ^ "Women made to become comfort women – Netherlands". Asian Women's Fund. 
  49. ^ Poelgeest. Bart van, 1993, Gedwongen prostitutie van Nederlandse vrouwen in voormalig Nederlands-Indië 's-Gravenhage: Sdu Uitgeverij Plantijnstraat. [Tweede Kamer, vergaderjaar 93-1994, 23 607, nr. 1.]
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  53. ^ a b c O'Herne 2007.
  54. ^ a b Onishi 2007-03-08
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  74. ^ "KMDb". Archived from the original on 19 May 2007. 
  75. ^ "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]". Nikkan Berita (in Japanese). 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」 
  76. ^ 水野靖夫 [Yasuō Mizuno]. 近現代史の必須知識: 日本人として最低限知っておきたい [Essential consciousness of modern history: The minimum that Japanese people should know] (in Japanese). PHP研究所 [PHP Kenkyūsho]. p. 129. ISBN 978-4-569-64508-7. 
  77. ^ Ye, Yeong-jun (2007-03-04). "고노 담화 [The Kono talks]". JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved 2008-01-24. 궁지에 몰린 요시다는 "일부 사례의 시간.장소에는 창작이 가미됐다"고 털어놨다. 
  78. ^ Thinking about the comfort women issue, Look squarely at essence of 'comfort women' issue. 2014 Aug. 22, Asahi Shimbun
  79. ^ Testimony about 'forcible taking away of women on Jeju Island': Judged to be fabrication because supporting evidence not found 2012 Aug. 22, Asahi Shimbun
  80. ^ Japan Times Asahi Shimbun admits errors in past ‘comfort women’ stories August 5, 2014
  81. ^ Fackler, Martin (2 December 2014). "Rewriting the War, Japanese Right Attacks a Newspaper". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  82. ^ Kono 1993.
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  84. ^ "衆議院議員辻元清美君提出安倍首相の「慰安婦」問題への認識に関する質問に対する答弁書" [Answer to the question by the House of Representatives member Kiyomi Tsujimoto regarding the prime minister Abe's recognition of Comfort women issue]. House of Representatives. March 16, 2007. 
  85. ^ 軍の強制連行の証拠ない 河野談話で政府答弁書 [No evidence of the forced seizures. A cabinet decision on Kono statement.] (in Japanese). 47News. Kyodo News. March 16, 2007.  Archived at
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United Nations
Japanese government
Netherlands government
  • Ministerie van Buitenlandse zaken (January 24, 1994). "Gedwongen prostitutie van Nederlandse vrouwen in voormalig Nederlands-Indië [Enforced prostitution of Dutch women in the former Dutch East Indies]". Handelingen Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal [Hansard Dutch Lower House] (in Dutch). 23607 (1). ISSN 0921-7371. Lay summaryNationaal Archief (Dutch National Archive) (27 March 2007). 
U.S. government
Journal articles
News articles

Online sources

Further reading

  • Huang, Hua-lun, The Missing Girls and Women of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan: A Sociological Study of Infanticide, Forced Prostitution, Political Imprisonment, "Ghost Brides," Runaways and Thrownaways, 1900-2000s, Farland, 2012, ISBN 0-7864-8834-4
  • Drinck, Barbara and Gross, Chung-noh. Forced Prostitution in Times of War and Peace, Kleine Verlag, 2007. ISBN 978-3-89370-436-1.
  • Henson, Maria Rosa "Comfort woman: Slave of destiny", Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism: 1996. ISBN 971-8686-11-8.
  • Keller, Nora Okja "Comfort Woman", London, Penguin: 1998. ISBN 0-14-026335-7.
  • Kim-Gibson, D. Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women, 1999. ISBN 0-931209-88-9.
  • Molasky, Michael S. American Occupation of Japan and Okinawa, Routledge, 1999. ISBN 0-415-19194-7, ISBN 0-415-26044-2.
  • Tanaka, Yuki. Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II and the US Occupation, London, Routledge: 2002. ISBN 0-415-19401-6.
  • Schellstede, Sangmie Choi. Comfort Women Speak: Testimony by Sex Slaves of the Japanese Military, 2000. ISBN 0-8419-1413-3.
  • Wakabayashi, Bob Tadashii "Comfort Women: Beyond Litigious Feminism"

External links

Academic research

Japanese official statements

United States historical documents

  • House Concurrent Resolution 226 (June 23, 2003, 108th United States Congress), introduced by Rep. Lane Evans (Illinois 17), referred to House Committee on International Relations; not passed.
  • Japanese Comfort Women (1944, United States Office of War Information)
  • [ Korea official website for sex slaves victims]