Comfort Women In South Korea

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It was on 12 January 1992, five days before the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi to South Korea, when the world finally found out about the comfort women. The issue overshadowed all other agenda of the talk between the two governments. (Hicks, 1995, p. 157) Once lawsuits in South Korea began, it was only a matter of time until the former comfort women in Taiwan and Southeast Asia brought their stories to light. It is undeniable, as the books examined here note, that the rise of feminism among Asian women was the driving force behind the efforts to bring the issue of comfort women to center stage. As will be illustrated by the discussion below, women activists rallied together in various and unprecedented ways to give a voice…show more content…
In Java during the colonial period for example, “semiprofessional prostitutes” often went back to their own villages, and if they remarried they were accepted back into the village community. (Tanaka, 2002, p. 66) An important aspect that must be discussed here is the racial element – not all comfort women were treated equally. Japanese comfort women were mainly prostitutes before the war broke. When they agreed to sex work during the war, they were sent to comfort stations which served high-ranking officers. As a result, they experienced better conditions than the other comfort women. (Tanaka, 2002, p. 32) Korea and Taiwan were targeted as sources of comfort women because as Japanese colonies, most of them spoke Japanese and knew its culture. They would thus be easily suited to providing “comfort” to Japanese troops. (Tanaka, 2002, p. 32) Comfort women of other nationalities based on official documents are: Chinese, Filipina, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Burmese, and Dutch. From recollections of military veterans, we also learn that Indian and Chinese-descent women in Singapore and Malaysia also became comfort women. However, it would be difficult to determine the proportions of various ethnic groups among them, as would be the exact number of comfort women at the time. (Yoshimi, 2000, p.…show more content…
Indeed, it is a universally distinctive characteristic of all forms of prostitution, whether a woman (or, less commonly, a man) is coerced or not. Even when a woman chooses to become a prostitute and is paid the agreed sum by her client, the transaction differs from most other types of commercial business. Being a prostitute means that one’s body and sexuality are objectified, impersonalized, and commodified. One’s entire body becomes the property of the client, and thus one’s personal autonomy is stripped away. (Tanaka, 2002, p.
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