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Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

Silence Broken: The Plight Of The Comfort Women

Former Comfort Women Await Justice 

Adair K. FincherSeptember 25, 2008

 (This is a well-researched article about the women who were forced to work as sexual slaves by the Japanese Army during the second world war. Revisionist Japanese historians would like to deny it ever happened but that does not mean that it didn’t.)

A typical winter scene outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea: Three elderly Korean women, too old and too weak to stand, sit with gloved hands frantically waving butterfly-shaped signs written in Korean: “Apologize to us on your knees.” The air is cold. They and their supporters—nuns, the elderly, the young, and the non-Korean—are bundled in heavy winter coats and woolen caps, noses peeking out over tightly wound scarves. A cane sticks out from below the banner draped across the elderly women’s knees. In Japanese, Korean, and English the banner reads, “Wednesday Demonstration to Solve the Japanese Military Comfort Women Issue.”

Since 1992—16 years and counting—these elderly Korean women, former inafu, or “comfort women,” and their supporters have braved the elements—rain, sun, heat, and cold—to demonstrate each and every Wednesday at noon. Victims of the Japanese Imperial Army’s comfort-women system, these women were forced, some as young as 10 years old, to sexually service male soldiers from the Japanese armed forces throughout a complex network of state-run brothels in operation from 1931 to 1945—the period known in Japan as the 15 Years War. Originally, more than a dozen former comfort women attended the Wednesday demonstrations. But as the years have passed, their numbers have dwindled as age and sickness have taken its toll. They seek closure in the form of an apology and compensation from the Japanese government for its role in forcing them into sexual servitude during World War II. An apology they have been denied.

For the rest of the article:


3 thoughts on “Silence Broken: The Plight Of The Comfort Women”
  1. Sad but true.

    And let’s not forget: there were also plenty of Japanese comfort women. Not to mention what happened in Japan after the war with the Allied occupation. Mass rapes (~1,400 women were raped by Allied forces in the opening days of the occupation in the Tokyo-Kanagawa area alone, and that’s only the number of women who actually reported it to police), gang rapes, women pressed into prostitution. The vast majority of the rapes cases with Allied involvement never made it to a court for trial.

    Professor Tanaka Yuki wrote a very good book on the issue “Japan’s Comfort Women”. The book deals with the sex slaves which were forced into service by the Japanese military, but also with the Japanese women after the war, who were preyed upon by Allied soldiers, or who ended up drafted into the sex trade by the governmental controlled and Allied approved “Recreation and Amusement Association”.

    Many of the incidents are confirmed by Allied Military Police officers. But, as an Australian officer wrote, even if the MP would arrest a rapist -cases with Allied involvement meant that the Japanese police had no jurisdiction- then any verdict thrown upon him in Japan would usually not survive the inspection back home.

    Allied forces must have raped thousands of women, just like Japanese soldiers have raped thousands of Asian women. But we only know about a few of them, because not every rape victim reports the crime to the police (even today).

  2. Oh snap…

    So there WAS a strong reason behind the creation of the stereotypes about the Japanese being perverts… It probably originated from things like this. Well, the article was very interesting, and sure as heck fits the theme of the dark side of Japan.

  3. This is outrageous, each and single offender soldier who commit a rape should face his actions to make him fully understand the gravity of rape. These criminals should face the maximum penalty.

    It’s the responsabilty of the Japanese governement to establish a drastic law and bring to justice any American soldier who commit a crime or a felony in Japan, which is not the case till today.

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