Episode 98 – The Comfort Women

This week, we’re going to discuss one of the most reprehensible aspects of a war littered with horrible acts; the system of mass sexual slavery of women euphemistically dubbed “comfort women”. We’ll talk about the origins and nature of the system, and the reason why it has come back to haunt Japanese politics today.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Yoshiaki Yoshimi, The Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military During World War II

Toshiyuki Tanaka, Japan’s Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II and the US Occupation

Chunghee Sarah Soh, The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan

Margaret Stetz and Bonnie Oh, Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II

Two excellent New York Times articles (here and here) by Martin Fackler and an opinion piece by Mindy Kotler past few months on the background of this issue.

Media

A comfort women station in Indonesia.
A comfort women station in Indonesia.
An Allied soldier speaking to a Chinese comfort women after her station had been liberated by Allied forces.
An Allied soldier speaking to a Chinese comfort women after her station had been liberated by Allied forces.
Comfort women rescued from a station off the Andaman Islands to the south of Burma.
Comfort women rescued from a station off the Andaman Islands to the south of Burma.
A "comfort station" in Shanghai.
A “comfort station” in Shanghai.
Protests for an apology over the comfort women issue in Seoul.
Protests for an apology over the comfort women issue in Seoul.
The statue set up across from the Japanese embassy in Seoul. The Japanese have requested it be taken down several times. The Seoul government has refused.
The statue set up across from the Japanese embassy in Seoul. The Japanese have requested it be taken down several times. The Seoul government has refused.
Protests for an apology on the comfort women issue outside of the "Japan Interchange Association" (the defacto Japanese embassy) in Taipei, Taiwan, 2013.
Protests for an apology on the comfort women issue outside of the “Japan Interchange Association” (the defacto Japanese embassy) in Taipei, Taiwan, 2013.

One of the “Wednesday Protests” in Seoul outside the Japanese embassy

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