Japan's Comfort Women: The Military and Involuntary Prostitution During War and Occupation

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Japan's Comfort Women tells the harrowing story of the "comfort women" who were forced to enter prostitution to serve the Japanese Imperial army, often living in appalling conditions of sexual slavery. Using a wide range of primary sources, the author for the first time links military controlled prostitution with enforced prostitution. He uncovers new and controversial information about the role of the US' occupation forces in military controlled prostitution, as well as the subsequent "cover-up" of the existence of such a policy. This groundbreaking book asks why US occupation forces did little to help the women, and argues that military authorities organised prostitution to prevent the widespread incidence of GI rape of Japanese women, and to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'One of the achievements of this volume is that it successfully personalises some of the 'comfort' women. It exhaustively details the inhumane process by which they were 'recruited' or forced into what amounted to sexual slavery and the degrading day-to-day treatment meted out to them by recruiters, managers and soldiers if the women refused to 'comfort'soldiers, became pregnant or were ill. Even more significantly, this volume attempts to establish the figures that helped to implement the 'comfort' women system, including senior Japanese military officers, Ministry of War bureaucrats, brothel owners and their recruiters and medical staff.'
- Intersections, Issue 9.
Tanaka (Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City U.) explores the history and implications of Japan's system of enforced military prostitution during World War II. She examines the ordeals and experiences of Korean women, discussing why Korea's colonization by Japan led it to become the main supplier for Japan's system of sexual slavery. Focus is then turned on the enforced prostitution of Dutch, Eurasian, and Indonesian women that began in 1943 and the fact that the exploitation of the Dutch women was vigorously prosecuted by Dutch military authorities, but the cases of the other women were ignored. The complicity of American, British, and Australian military authorities in covering up Japanese crimes against women is then examined in the contexts of general military prostitution systems shared by all parties. Distributed by Taylor & Francis. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415194006
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Series: Asia's Transformation Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figure and tables
List of plates
Author's note
Introduction 1
1 The origins of the comfort women system 8
The initial establishment of comfort stations 8
A rapid increase in comfort stations after the "Rape of Nanjing" 12
The organizational structure of the comfort women system 19
Why comfort women? 28
2 Procurement of comfort women and their lives as sexual slaves 33
The colonization of Korea and the growth of the prostitution industry 33
Procurement of Korean and Taiwanese women 37
Procurement of women in China and the Philippines 44
Life as a comfort woman 50
3 Comfort women in the Dutch East Indies 61
Japan's invasion of the Dutch East Indies and military violence against women 61
Exploitation of existing prostitutes by the Japanese troops 64
Procurement of Dutch women 67
Enforced prostitution at comfort stations in Semarang 72
The Dutch military authorities' indifference towards Indonesian comfort women 77
4 Why did the US forces ignore the comfort women issue? 84
US military indifference towards comfort women 84
US military policies on the prevention of venereal disease in World War II 87
The Brumfield Report and military-controlled prostitution 92
Military prostitution in the Caribbean, Australia and elsewhere 99
Criticism, cover-up and a change in the War Department's attitude 106
5 Sexual violence committed by the Allied occupation forces against Japanese women: 1945-1946 110
Sexual violence prior to the Allied occupation of Japan 110
Fear and confusion before the landing of the Allied occupation forces 112
Official reports on sexual violence committed by the occupation forces against Japanese women 116
Testimonies of victims of sexual violence committed by the occupation troops 127
6 Japanese comfort women for the Allied occupation forces 133
The Japanese government creates a comfort women system for the occupation forces 133
The Recreation and Amusement Association 141
Occupation policies and the spread of prostitution 150
VD problems and the failure of GHQ's VD prevention policies 155
Epilogue 167
From karayuki-san to comfort woman 167
Sexual slavery, social death, and military violence 173
Imperialism, the patriarchal state, and the control of sexuality 180
Notes 183
Index 206
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