Sarah Soh Comfort Women Summary

1568 Words7 Pages
The issue of the comfort women has been so politically charged in China and South Korea that if someone dares to attribute it to some factors other than the Japanese brutality and imperialism during WWII in public, he is likely to be branded as a traitor and inundated with threatening letters, expletive languages, and disparaging news articles. Such ethnic nationalism has created numerous barriers in academic research of these marginalized women in history. Fortunately, C. Sarah Soh makes an audacious attempt to challenge the dominating public rhetoric and offers an insight into the origin, the development, and the legacy of the “comfort women” system.
Born in post-colonial Korea, but educated and worked in the U.S., Soh successfully distances herself from the intense emotion and nationalism in Korea and takes an objective, comparative approach to study the comfort women from the viewpoints of South Korea, Japan, and third-parties. Adopting a method she coins as “expatriate anthropology”, she has interviewed dozens of people experiencing that part of history---both Korean ex-comfort women and Japanese veterans. At the same time, she delves into a large number of literature,
…show more content…
She introduces four ideologies essential to their history. Each contains a set of language and symbols to describe them. The ethnic nationalist ideology of sexual slavery dominates the historiography (47). Soh pays extra attention to the South Korean nationalism vis-à-vis the Japanese struggle with how to confront the issue of the comfort women. The author stresses that the variety of terms describing these women infers “the significance of both individual and collective social psychology in dealing with the gross social injustice” imposed on the colonized young Korean women, which lay in the intersection between sexual and cultural violence, and the disparity in power between Korea and Japan
Open Document