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The Japan Comfort Women Disappointment

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The Japan Comfort Women Disappointment

Throughout World War II Korean women in Japan suffered as they were treated inhumanely. During Japan’s invasion of China these women known as the “comfort women” were detained by the Japanese imperial army. Across Asia, from the early 1930s to 1945 the Japanese military had hundreds of thousands of women detained. It is no secret that race, class and gender played a huge role in the upbringing of these so called “comfort women.” Japans racial superiority and their patriarchy were the leading reasons why these actions took place. Decades after WWII Japan still denied ever being responsible for this brutal treatment of women. Although this form of behavior might be seen as a contemporary issue, the history behind this incident of sexual slavery is ongoing. For many years these “comfort women” were stripped of their dignity and self-respect as they were diminished in this environment, too scared to speak up about the horrific actions of the Japanese military men. It was extremely problematic for these comfort women to exploit and fight for their equal, humanitarian rights during this complicated time period. For many decades the background and history of comfort women went unnoticed, when this issue was discussed in Japan, many officials denied the existence and documents of comfort women and comfort stations.[1] As our modern day society studies history throughout our lifetime, it is important that we educate ourselves on incidents like such in effort to prevent history from repeating itself.

Before WWII, Japan had already gained its superiority over Korea. In 1910 Japan had officially annexed Korea. Japanese colonial rule was an uncertain experience for Koreans. For quite some time Japan ruled directly through the military, and any Korean opposition was unrecognized. Throughout WWII, there were numerous Korean immigrants that had been forced into slavery. The women would be forced into sexual slavery as this became the brutal historic event of “comfort women” in WWII. These “comfort women” were not only chosen because of their gender but because of their racial background. The Korean women were forced into sexual slavery due to the lack of Japanese women.[2] The women were perceived by the Japanese as immoral women who had served the nations enemy.[3] Often, there would be labor shortages which turned the Japanese to force recruitment. This caused more Korean immigrants to be taken advantage of and used for the civilian labor. Many workers were sent to distant locations and a considerable amount of them did not return. These work cite conditions were extremely poor, with rudimentary housing, inadequate diets, little or no medical care and strict labor regimes that showed scant concern of the human life.[4] As you can see Japan is utilizing their power in a negative way, and violating the rights of humans.

Some these women went through an inhumane process by which they were 'recruited' or forced into what amounted to sexual slavery and the degrading day-to-day treatment by recruiters, generals and soldiers. If the women refused to 'comfort' soldiers, became pregnant or were ill.[5] The men would manipulate and lure them by providing false promises of employment opportunities. Japan was superior, and these women were desperate. The manipulation of promising employment was the exact opposite of what these women thought they had in store for them. Not only did they promise them employment and they got forced into sex slavery but Japan had also destroyed and denied any record of the “comfort women” in its entirety. Japan has refused any involvement or acknowledgment to these women and this part of our history. Japans government will not offer individual compensations to victims of the wartime regimen.[6] Japan continues to fail to admit their wrong doing even after many still remained damaged from this time of history.

Japans racial superiority had an influence on the crimes committed during the second World War. The reasoning behind their superiority may have come into effect when Japan had the imperial rule over Korea for several years prior to WWII, while the rule did not end until after WWII in 1945. Japan had a huge amount of power among others, due to all the effective  strategies they implemented during WWII. This allowed them to force and give orders to an immense amount of people to complete any mission asked of by the Japanese authorities. The superiority lead to a racism towards the ‘inferior’ races, mostly targeted at the native Asians. The Japanese finally had their authority and used it to create a raciest society. This racial superiority of the Japanese has clear association with the vicious acts and crimes taken upon these comfort women during the war due to Japan’s imperial rule on Korea allowing them to have all control on the ‘inferior’ race.

As Japan established their racial superiority, their power made it available for them to establish this concept of the comfort women. Before WWII, prostitution in Japan was happening therefore the creation of a similar program for the military men was created. The men abducted and forced women into sexual slavery for their own well-being and success during war. The reasoning for the establishment of comfort stations was an effort to prevent further atrocities, reduce sexually transmitted diseases and ensure a steady and isolated group of prostitutes to satisfy Japanese soldiers’ sexual desires.[7] Their racial superiority had a lasting impact on the many surrounding them, carrying this hurt with them even after the war.

Furthermore, throughout Japan, patriarchy was one of the greatest influences for the way women were treated, accounting for WWII. Patriarchy correlated closely with gender roles, the gender roles before WWII in Japan had evenly shared expectations under the Confucian system. WWII resulted in a shift when considering gender roles, much to the disadvantage of women.[8] The differences between men and women were less physical and more cultural. The war was conducted and composed by men, giving them an upper hand on top of their racial superiority. The women were not in control of their lives during the time of the war. The women who did not get sent into the comfort stations had a duty to have children and be married to the nation. The poor women were drafted and sent to sexually service the military men. Men were expected to use these services. It was believed that guys who abstained from sex for too long fought poorly.[9] Not only did Japan’s government deny state for the military’s sexual exploitations of women and girls,[10] they insisted that “comfort women were simply camp-following prostitutes”.[11] 



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