Japanese Comfort Women
It is estimated that between one and two hundred thousand female sex slaves were forced to deliver sexual services to Japanese soldiers, both before and during World War II. These women were known as comfort women and the Imperial Conference, which was composed of the emperor, representatives from the armed forces and the main Cabinet ministers, approved their use by Japanese soldiers. (Walkom) The term "comfort women" refers to the victims of a "premeditated systematic plan originated and implemented by the government of Japan to enslave women considered inferior and subject them to repeated mass rapes," said Michael D. Hausefeld, one of over 35 lawyers in his firm representing the former sexual prisoners in a class action lawsuit currently pending against the Japanese government. (Eddy) Since ancient times, prostitutes in Japan chose to sell their bodies either for family, poverty, or for saving her husband and her children. More or less, their sacrifices were seen as positive. But, being forced to become comfort woman by Japanese is seen as negative. The difference between the Japanese prostitutes and comfort women is that the comfort women did not choose to be trapped as a sex slave and they were not paid for what they did. In 1931, when the Japanese army invaded Manchuria, “comfort houses” made their first appearances. These comfort houses were created to provide the Japanese soldiers with outlets for their sexual needs. In the beginning, there were only a few comfort houses but after the Nanjin Massacre occurred in 1937, many more were added, basically to every place that the Japanese were stationed. (Walkom)
After the Japanese soldiers slaughtered thousands of Chinese people in the Nanjin Massacre, they barbarically raped an insurmountable number of women. As a result, anti-Japanese sentiments grew and it became harder to fully occupy these lands. The government set up comfort houses to decrease disorder and give the approximately two million soldiers a place to satisfy their sexual needs. The Japanese did not have enough prostitutes to supply the needs of the soldiers so they commissioned civilians to develop comfort houses.
At the time, only a small percentage of Japanese women were mobilized to “work” in comfort houses and they were all prostitutes to begin with. The majority of the comfort women were actually Korean women, who were forcibly taken from Korea to service the needs of the Japanese soldiers.
After the war, the Japanese government destroyed all evidence of their involvement in Japanese comfort houses, enforcing that commercial businessmen were responsible for the movement of women.
Many of the comfort women were kidnapped or deceived into voluntarily working in comfort houses. Once they were there, they were trapped and forced into prostitution. Some women reported that Japanese agents offered them good jobs or education. Others were told that each family in the village had to donate a daughter to the war effort. Many others were offered food, shelter and factory jobs. The Japanese also kidnapped young, unmarried girls when they had a shortage of comfort women.
The ages of the girls in the comfort houses ranged from 15 to 19, with the minority exception of some younger girls and some older, married women. The girls were transported between military bases like cargo, under heavy guard in army trucks, trains, ship and bus. They were forced to lose their virginity before arriving at the bases to prepare them for having sexual intercourse with tens of soldiers every day. Many women contemplated death after this, as they believed their virginity to be more precious than life. (Henson)
When living in the comfort houses, the comfort women lived in fear and desperation. They were unable to leave, as they were heavily guarded. Each day, they were penetrated by as many as 50 soldiers, until they were sore and bloated to the point of not being able to open their legs....
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