The Review of Japan’s Comfort Women

Chapter One: The Origins of the Comfort Women System.

The author of the book explains the year that comfort women started as unknown, but he speculates it to have started around 1932.  The comfort system happened during the “Shanghai incident,” where the Japanese forces destroyed the railway at Lake Liu and claimed the Chinese troops to be responsible for the same.  In 1938 after the shanghai incident, some staff in Japanese military forces stationed a navy ianjo that served as a leisure facility for its members (pg. 29).  A few brothels belonging to Japanese forces were stationed at the shanghai incident “probably only a few Japanese Navy brothels were set up at the time of the Shanghai Incident” (pg. 30).  It is also evident that the top officials played a key role in promoting the comfort women stations.  This is confirmed by the diary of a senior staff in pg. 31, “therefore the establishment of appropriate facilities must be accepted as a good cause and should be promoted”.  The author explains why there was a need for the young women in the Japanese forces camps, Dr. Nakayama explains in pg. 33, “I was told by a commander in Jinzhou that the women will be put on plane as a priority , as they are necessary goods.  He also notes that for every Japanese advancement made the first important thing to consider was the importation of these women called Joshi-gun.  The increase of comfort stations was related to the rape cases that had been reported that made the Japan’s leaders to establish more comfort station in an aim to prevent rape cases (pg. 34).  The Sino-Japanese war brought about massive women from different regions more especially the Korean women, “This contributed to the military plan to mobilize Korean women on a massive scale for the Japanese comfort women system.  In pg. 41 & 42, the author explains vividly of how the top military officials played a role in initiating the comfort women stations and promoting its expansion.  The letter drafted and approved by the vice-minister also confirms the origin and spread of comfort women stations, “In future, when recruiting those (women) each army must tighten control by carefully selecting suitable agents”.

Procurement of Comfort Women and their lives as sexual slaves.

In this chapter the author explain how the women were procured into comfort stations and he begins by narrating the colonization of Korea which led to the growth of prostitution industry.  The Japanese forces in 1876 started interfering in Korea’s domestic affairs and they took steps of colonizing Korea in the year 1904 (pg.54).  The Japan succeeded in colonizing Korea (pg. 54), “Japan was then able to openly colonize Korea.  After the colonization the Japan government ruled over Korea in most of its internal affairs which led to different negative impacts such as the shortage of rice which were majorly exported to Japan.  This led to unemployment to Korean citizens.  “The most catastrophic change affecting social conditions in Korea was a new land ownership system”.  This system of land ownership brought about large Japanese corporations and were given priority in owning this land.  These changes made most peasant class men to work away from home for long periods and also the young women switched to do odd jobs to support their peasant families (pg.56).  “Many young Korean women turned to prostitution to provide essential income for their poverty-stricken families to survive”.  It is evident that the economy was unbearable, which forced many young women into prostitution.  In page 57, the author points out an image of a comfort woman entertaining a drunken member of the Japanese Imperial Navy.  The procurement of comfort women was not genuine since many women were deceived by labor brokers that they would be employed as factory workers only to end being forced into prostitution.  The procurement of Korean and Taiwanese women increased due to the military policy that needed more women in the Japanese army stationed in China, “the army itself became involved more closely in the procurement of women” (pg.59) The most used trick was false promises of employment in Japan which many women wanted but ended up in these comfort stations.  This is evident in Kim Tokchin’s testimony, a 17 year old victim, “I heard girls were recruited with promises of work in Japan”, “Kim Tokchin was taken to a comfort station in shanghai and spent the next three years in China as a comfort woman”.  The same trick was used by Japan in procuring the Taiwanese women into comfort station (pg.64) The Japanese used different methods in procuring the Philippines and the Chinese women, “the Japanese troops and their collaborators raided civilian homes and abducted about 300 women, of whom about 100 were selected to work as comfort women”.  The author explains the life as a comfort woman as being inhumane, it is evident in Yi Yongsu testimony, “There I was tortured with electric shocks.  He was very cruel.  He pulled out the telephone cord and tied my wrists and ankles with it” (pg. 72 to 73) an image of Japanese soldiers waiting for their turn to be outside the comfort station in plate 2.5 (pg. 79).

Comfort Women in the Dutch East Indies

            The Japanese Imperial forces were attracted to the oil fields that existed in the Dutch East Indies, now referred as Indonesia.  This made the Japanese forces to invade Indonesia and with their acts proceeded in violence against the Dutch women.  After the invasion, Japanese forces seemed to have sexually assaulted the Dutch women, “For example, when they entered Tjepoc, the main oil centre of central Java, women were repeatedly raped, with the approval of the [Japanese] commanding officer.” This is also evident through testimonials by the Dutch women in page. 82.  The comfort stations existed in the Dutch soil and here many Dutch women were sexually exploited by the Japanese troops, “most certainly forced into prostitution”.  The Japanese sought to procure unmarried women who were free of sexual disease by use of coercion and deception.  This procurement of comfort women from the internment camps became more frequent because they were the direct control of the army (pg. 90) The Dutch military did little in investigating the sexual crimes that the Japanese men committed against the Indonesian women.

US Forces Ignorance on the Comfort Women Issue

The Japanese forces surrendered to the US forces and the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal was convened to prosecute the Japanese leaders, “The tribunal, which lasted two and a half years, was presented with massive evidence of such war crimes as rape, murder, and ill-treatment committed by the Japanese against Allied soldiers and non-combatants”.  But the comfort women issue was not addressed even with all the existing evidence.  The author explains that the issue was not dealt with because it was considered not important and that it could only provide secondary information.  “He explained that only a brief interrogation was conducted, simply because these women had unexpectedly fallen into the hands of US forces”.  The author uses the words of Grant Hirabayashi to explain why the US forces were not interested in addressing the comfort women issue.  Some American officers also were entertained by these women, and they denied allegations of them sleeping with these women, (pg. 108).  The absence of Asia in the issue also amounts to why the Japanese were not convicted.  The ideology that women are morally obliged to provide amenities to soldiers, explains the different ways to which military prostitution function in the contemporary military forces (pg. 108)

Sexual Violence Committed by the Allied Occupation Forces against Japanese Women: 1946


In this chapter the author explains the extent and nature of sexual violence by US and Australian troops in Japan.  “Taking advantage of this situation, they started “hunting for women” in broad daylight and those who were hiding in the village”.  This testify how sexual by US troops began after landing and finding a village with no Japanese forces (pg. 132).  The Japanese government tried to respond to these acts by use of media, “From August 19 various articles related to this matter appeared in major newspapers”.  The effort of media did not give an assurance that the troops would behave decently.  The article, “Restrain Women from Walking Alone”, warned women not to walk alone, especially those who had to live close to the troops.

Japanese Comfort Women for the Allied Occupation Forces

The Japanese government responded to the potential mass rape by the allied forces by suggesting the establishment of a comfort women system to protect the Japanese women and girls.  “After a long discussion, Konoe’s proposal was endorsed by the attending cabinet members”.  At that time Konoe was the prime minister and together with his counterparts, they initiated the comfort women system.  The police played a role in the recruitment of prostitutes and in setting up bars and restaurants, “The Hokkaido police were also involved in setting up “beer halls”.  The comfort stations even being legally instituted led to different negatives such the Japanese police corrupt and it became subject to various sexual violence.  These stations were not welcoming for the new recruits, “Takita Natsue, a 19-year-old girl who had lost all her relatives to bombing, was one of the new comfort women at Komachien. Only a few days after the opening of the station she committed suicide by jumping in front of a train.

The author argues that sex should be an act that a man and woman get to both enjoy, but during the Japanese war, sex is made a source of torture, brutality and oppression mainly against women.  This is evident in this extract from a former Filipina comfort woman, “Twelve soldiers raped me in quick succession, after which I was given half an hour rest.  Then twelve more soldiers followed.  They all lined up outside the room waiting for their turn.  I bled so much and was in such pain, I could not even stand up.  The next morning, I was too weak to get up . . .” (pg. 22) The author also argues on why the participants of this war decided to keep silent about the matter.  And what were the moral standards of that time?  Was it true that they were preventing the morals and physical character of their troops and protecting the civilians too?  The author also argue on how poverty and prostitution are interrelated, “A series of articles entitled “Poverty makes prostitutes,” that appeared in September 1927 in the Korean newspaper” (pg. 56).  The reason as to why many Koreans turned into prostitution in order to provide essential needs for their families.

In reading through this book, I became more curious to know more Yuri Tanaka the author.  He is an exhaustive scholar, the effort he put into researching and writing this explains the worth of his hand work and all the hours de dedicated on writing the book.  The book clearly shows how war and sex are related, it shows how evil can easily be in the society.  The author touches on sex, women, poverty, prostitution, coercion, abductions, kidnapping and other many negative aspects.  The author focused on how all activities came to be and Japanese forces promoted it.  I agree on the different arguments written by the author, and it saddens my heart to learn of these evil experiences.  The acts of prostitution should not be promoted in our today’s generation.

Calculate your order
Pages (275 words)
Standard price: $0.00
Open chat
Hello 👋
Thank you for choosing our assignment help service!
How can I help you?