Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military During World War II

Paperback | September 4, 2002

byYoshiaki YoshimiTranslated bySuzanne O'Brien

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Available for the first time in English, this is the definitive account of the practice of sexual slavery the Japanese military perpetrated during World War II by the researcher principally responsible for exposing the Japanese government's responsibility for these atrocities. The large scale imprisonment and rape of thousands of women, who were euphemistically called "comfort women" by the Japanese military, first seized public attention in 1991 when three Korean women filed suit in a Toyko District Court stating that they had been forced into sexual servitude and demanding compensation. Since then the comfort stations and their significance have been the subject of ongoing debate and intense activism in Japan, much if it inspired by Yoshimi's investigations. How large a role did the military, and by extension the government, play in setting up and administering these camps? What type of compensation, if any, are the victimized women due? These issues figure prominently in the current Japanese focus on public memory and arguments about the teaching and writing of history and are central to efforts to transform Japanese ways of remembering the war.

Yoshimi Yoshiaki provides a wealth of documentation and testimony to prove the existence of some 2,000 centers where as many as 200,000 Korean, Filipina, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Burmese, Dutch, Australian, and some Japanese women were restrained for months and forced to engage in sexual activity with Japanese military personnel. Many of the women were teenagers, some as young as fourteen. To date, the Japanese government has neither admitted responsibility for creating the comfort station system nor given compensation directly to former comfort women.

This English edition updates the Japanese edition originally published in 1995 and includes introductions by both the author and the translator placing the story in context for American readers.

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Available for the first time in English, this is the definitive account of the practice of sexual slavery the Japanese military perpetrated during World War II by the researcher principally responsible for exposing the Japanese government's responsibility for these atrocities. The large scale imprisonment and rape of thousands of wome...

Yoshimi Yoshiaki is professor of modern Japanese history at Chuo University in Tokyo, and a founding member of the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan's War Responsibility.

other books by Yoshiaki Yoshimi

Format:PaperbackDimensions:262 pages, 8.75 × 1 × 0.68 inPublished:September 4, 2002Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231120338

ISBN - 13:9780231120333

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Table of Contents

Translator's IntroductionAuthor's Introduction to the English EditionThe Emergence of the Issue1. The Course and Conditions of the Establishment of the Military Comfort Station System: From the First Shanghai Incident to the Start of All-Out War in China2. Expansion Into Southeast Asia and the Pacific: The Period of the Asia Pacific War3. How Were the Women Rounded Up? Comfort Women's Testimonies and Soldiers' Recollections4. The Lives Comfort Women Were Forced to Lead5. Violations of International Law and War Crime Trials6. Conditions After the DefeatConclusionEpilogueNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Crucial reading.



An incisive and important book by a leading researcher on this extremely controversial topic.