This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
“The evidence is clear that the Japanese government and military directly created the comfort women system”1
Maxwell Wallace Govt 451, Karber November 17, 12
United States of America. Congressional Research Service. Japan's Military "Comfort Women" System. By Larry Niksch. Washington: n.p., 2003. Congressional Research Service, 3 Apr. 2007. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://japanfocus.org/data/CRS%20CW%20Report%20April%2007.pdf>., pp. 8
I. Executive Summary The Japanese military used comfort women as wartime prostitutes in two wars during the first half of the 20th century. Although the make-up of these women and the tactics used to recruit them varied, in both the Asia-Pacific War and World War II comfort women were used as a component of Japanese military strategy. The Japanese used these women to improve the morale of their troops and to prevent civilian women from being raped in newly conquered areas. The government’s goals varied significantly from the actual experience of the comfort women, who were systematically raped and in many cases violently. Although these atrocities clearly constitute a war crime, rape was not employed as a weapon of war against these women, because the historical and contemporary legal definitions of rape as a weapon of war do not apply when Japanese motives and intentions are further analyzed. The Japanese committed war crimes against the Korean comfort women in the Asia-Pacific War and World War II, however these egregious human rights violations do not constitute the use of rape as a weapon of war by the Japanese.
2.1 History of Comfort Women During World War II, the Japanese Government established houses of prostitution for military servicemen. Although significant controversy remains regarding the exact nature of these Ianjo, or Comfort Stations, it is generally accepted that they were systematically installed by the Japanese government and heavily relied on Korean women and girls to provide sexual services to the Japanese. Estimates on the number of people employed as comfort women during WWII range from 50,000 to 200,000.2 and 3 These numbers come from work performed by Yuki Tanaka, who derived these numbers by recognizing the Japanese demand for one comfort woman for each 35 soldiers and finding that an estimated 3.5 million soldiers were sent to China and Southeast Asia during World War II. 4 The Japanese systematic use of foreign women for wartime prostitution has existed since the early 1930’s, however it is likely this occurred even before. 5 Japan has had a long history of karayuki, or Japanese prostitutes who traveled with the military,6 however these women were Japanese, so the important racial dynamic that overshadows any analysis of comfort women did not play a significant role. The discourse of comfort women, “about 80% of whom were from Korea,” 7 has been framed in the context of colonial acquisition and exploitation, as these Korean women were in many cases forcibly removed from their homes in order to serve the Japanese during the World War II. A basic knowledge of the modern historical relationship between Korea and Japan is important to understand the differing frames through which Japanese and
Stetz, Margaret D., and Bonnie B. C. Oh. Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2001. Print., pp. 9 3 United States of America. Congressional Research Service. Japan's Military "Comfort Women" System., op. cit., pp. 9 4 Stetz, Margaret D., and Bonnie B. C. Oh. Op. cit., pp. 23 5 United States of America. Congressional Research Service. Japan's Military "Comfort Women" System., op. cit., pp 7 6 Stetz, Margaret D., and Bonnie B. C. Oh., op. cit., pp. 5 7 Ibid., p. 3
Korean scholars view this subject. In 1905, Russia and Japan signed the Treaty of Portsmouth, which “recognized the independence of Korea and Japan’s paramount political, military and economic interests in Korea.”8 This type of colonial relationship served to remove power and agency from the Koreans and has led many to argue that the use of Korean comfort women is an extension of this exploitation. Tension only increased in 1910 when “instead of colonization, Korea was formally annexed by Japan and ‘the hardest and most relentless form of Impearl administration’ was imposed.”9 Statements by Japanese General Araki in 1933 further confirm Japan’s use of Korea to advance its empire driven ambitions when he pronounced, “if there are any who oppose the Imperial Way or the National Virtue, we shall give them an injection with this bullet and this bayonet.”10 This indicates that the Japanese intended to use Koreans as a means to gain their empire with little regard for their agency or independence. This is confirmed during “the Sino-Japanese War of 1937, [when] an attempt was made to change Koreans into Imperial subjects…and attempt at “un-Koreanizing” the Korean people.”11 Not only has the population been annexed and used to advance Japanese interest, but the imperial overseers also used this power to destroy the sense of Korean identity. The Shanghai incident in 1932, became the first recorded use of modern comfort women by the Japanese army, however they were predominantly Japanese women, not Korean. Prior to the breakout of the Second-Sino Japanese War in 1937 and World War II in 1939, Japan and China fought in Shanghai. In 1938, the Japanese Consulates-General’s office in Shanghai prepared a report indicating, ““as soon as the Shanghai Incident occurred, some staff from our military forces stationed here established the navy ianjo … which continue to operate since then.”12 The Chinese
Schmidt, David A. Ianfu, The Comfort Women of the Japanese Imperial Army of the Pacific War: Broken Silence. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2000. Print. p. 76 9 Ibid., p. 77 10 Ibid., p. 78 11 Ibid., p. 80 12 Ibid., p. 8
government had previously banned prostitution,13 so it is likely that the lack of local prostitutes led the Japanese to import their own in order to meet the sexual needs of their soldiers. The same report also indicates “these navy brothels seemed to be established primarily as a VD-prevention method, and operated under the close supervision of navy authorities.”14 This report’s findings indicate that Japan saw these comfort stations as a practical solution to meet the sexual needs of their soldiers and to mitigate the risk of sexually transmitted infections, which would have hindered the military’s effectiveness. Because these women were local Japanese prostitute and not foreign, 15 the comfort houses associated with the Shanghai incident have garnered less direct scrutiny from the international community. Furthermore, these women had been prostitutes in Japan and faced less recruitment coercion than the Koreans during World War II. These women are important because they represent the first use of heavily supervised, official wartime prostitution during 20th century Japan and helped create the comfort station model that would become controversial when Korean women became the main service providers. It also highlights the difference between forced prostitution, which constitutes rape as it results in non-consensual sex, and unforced position, which occurs when individuals freely decide sell sexual services. These early comfort houses conform more to the latter, as they were not strongly coerced like the Korean comfort women of World War II and many had previously engaged in prostitution. A major hurdle to identifying whether or not Japan’s use of comfort women constitute a war crime or whether they were used as a weapon of war is the lack of firsthand accounts. The Japanese destroyed a great deal of their records following
Ibid., p. 8 Ibid., p. 9 15 Nanking Jiken Chosa Kenkyukai. Nankin Jiken Shiryo-shu. Tokyo: Aoki Shoten, 1992. Print. P. 53. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II and the US Occupation. pp. 135
the surrender in 1945. 16 Furthermore, many documents are still classified, including “records of Military Plans and Operations and Field Diaries housed in the Research Library of the Japanese Defense Agency.” 17 “All documents prepared by the Japanese Police during the Asia-Pacific War” and “Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Colonial Affairs” documents are unavailable. 18 This continues to hinder academic research and fuels tension between Korea and Japan.
2.2 Sexual Violence during Wartime Sexual violence has long been a component of warfare due to its role in enforcing the masculine norms that warzones create. The sexual violence that resulted from Japan’s use of comfort women in the first half of the 20th century is not unique, as “the unparalleled power of rape to effect or mark subjection has been exploited since ancient times.”19 Because of the intimate nature of sexuality, when a soldier is able to perform sexual acts with another person against their will, they are expressing one of the most extreme levels of control. Ultimately wars rely on power plays between actors, such as a battle or economic hindrances, and sexual assault is another powerful display of such power.
Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II and the US Occupation. London: Routledge, 2002. Print. pp. 8 17 Ibid., p. 19-20 18 Ibid., p. 19-20 19 Tétreault, Mary Ann. “Accountability or Justice? Rape as a War Crime.” Feminist Frontiers. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2004. 415-27. Print. p. 416
The following table represents four definitions that are critical for understanding the terminology of sexual violence in war and differentiating between certain acts: Rape: Wartime rape: Rape as a war crime: Rape as a weapon of war: Sexual intercourse perpetrated against a victim without their consent. Rape that occurs during wartime. When rape occurs as the byproduct of a war and violates international regulations Rape intended to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.20 It is not a by-product of war, but often a planned and targeted policy.21 When an individual is procured, enticed, or led away, even with consent for immoral (sexual) purposes.22 When by the means of compulsion, sufficient in kind and degree so that victims believe they have no reasonable means of escape and no choice except to remain in the service of the employer.23
A report by the US Office of War Information shows how the experience of Korean comfort women in Burma demonstrates the separate spheres men and women adopted in early 20th century wars and the power dynamics that resulted. If these women tried to discuss any war matters, they would “scold us for discussing
United Nations. Security Council. Resolution 1820. N.p.: n.p., 2008. 19 June 2008. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1820(2008)>. 21 Buss, Doris E. "Rethinking ‘Rape as a Weapon of War’." Feminist Legal Studies 17.2 (2009): 145-63. Springerlink. 17 July 2009. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.springerlink.com/content/478l7r67018lj048/fulltext.pdf?MUD=MP>. 22 Yoshimi, Yoshiaki. Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military during World War II. Trans. Suzanne O’Brien. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Print. pp. 156 23 UNITED STATES v. KOZMINSKI. 487 U.S. 931. U.S. Supreme Court. 29 June 1988. FindLaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2012.
such un-lady like subjects." 24 Preserving national security would justify preventing non-soldiers from learning defense information, however, the idea that discussing war is “un-lady like” while they prostitute themselves for the war effort contributes to the notion that women’s only wartime roles is as a sexual objects. This turns female bodies into the fabric of war, which promotes sexual violence. In addition, “the symbolic connection between female chastity and group integrity … is an important element motivating wartime rape.”25 A former comfort woman, Huwang Kumju, shared this manifestation when reporting, “new girls were to serve the officers, as they were virgins.” 26 In this situation, violating a women’s chastity was seen as an act reserved for elites, even though sex with a virgin would likely be less physically pleasurable as they would lack experience. This juxtaposition between a powerful military officer and an innocent young virgin serves to elevate the masculine power of the officers, particularly if the officers overcome her objections. Rape during war can serve to subjugate entire societies, resulting from the extreme shame associated with violating a women’s chastity. Mary Ann Tétreualt argues that “rape is an instrument of policy … the purpose of rape is precisely … to terrorize her entire community,” 27 because the community feels shame for its inability to protect the victim. This makes rape into “an act of conquest and subjugation of whole societies, involving deliberate national humiliation as a means of suppression and social control.”28 Although many of the comfort women were coerced into the position and were forced to have sex against their will, the intentions of the Japanese do not indicate that they targeted the Korean women for the purpose of humiliation, but rather to boost morale and prevent other civilians
United States of America. United States Office of War Information. Psychological Warfare Team Attached to U.S. Army Forces India-Burma Theater. Exordio.com. By Alex Yorichi. N.p., 9 Nov. 2001. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49USA-orig.html>. 25 Tétreault, Mary Ann., op. cit., pp. 416 26 Kumju, Hwang. "I Want to Live without Being Treated with Contempt." True Stories of the Korean Comfort Women: Testimonies. Ed. Keith Howard. London: Cassell, 1995. N. pag. Print. p. 74 27 Tétreault, Mary Ann. , op. cit., pp. 415 28 Ibid., p. 415
from being raped. Rape does not just castigate targeted communities, but also promotes an idea that all people are heterosexual and that this heterosexuality must be performed. Instead of men having sex with each other when women were not available, the Japanese military determined that coercing women into sexual roles was a more viable option. Essentially, the risk of raping women is more acceptable than homosexual activity. This practice is relatively common and indicates a level of heteronormativity and homophobia that exists in the military culture at that time. Tétreualt argues that “though wartime rape of men is uncommon, it is not unknown,”29 indicating that the lack of historical documentation of male rape is not due to lack of occurrences, but the desire to preserve an image of heterosexuality and the dominance of men. Rape during war is often justified as a necessity, while the shame it creates helps prevent perpetrators from facing repercussions. “Rape in war is often read as the criminal – or, even worse, the inevitable – behavior of intervals,” but in the case of Japan’s comfort women, “it is far more accurate to view wartime rape as an instrument of policy.” 30 Thinking that sexual assault is always the expected byproduct indicates a lack of foresight on behalf of the military to control their soldiers and fails to recognize that policies can be put in place to prevent wartime rape. In the case of the comfort women, it is more a direct result of Japan’s military policy. They could have chosen not to set up a complex system of prostitution and dealt with their soldiers’ sexual needs in other ways. Furthermore, violent rapes may have been individual acts, but any visit was a potential rape because soldiers lacked knowledge of how the women were recruited, while the women faced skewed power dynamics that gave them no real choice to deny sex. Soldiers had no way of knowing whether these women were serving under involuntary servitude and if they were every sexual act would have been rape because consent was impossible for soldiers to receive, because the women lacked agency. The lack of
Ibid., p. 416 Ibid., p. 415
repercussions for the rapes these women faced result from the fact that “shame contributes to the low likelihood that the rapist will be charged with his crime.”31 Because the Japanese destroyed many records and victims feared coming forward, the perceived costs of the comfort women program were relatively low for the Japanese initially. It is only due to the courage of survivors to overcome social prejudice that came forward later that this issue has been revived. According to the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) wartime rape takes on five forms. These occur when individual or small groups rape an individual 1) in conjunction with looting 2) in conjunction with fighting 3) when they are detained and easily accessible 4) in order to terrorize them. 32 These forms of rape did not occur for comfort women as a result of policy. Rather the Japanese government relied on the fifth pattern, which “involves detention of women in hotels or similar facilities for the sole purpose of sexually entertaining soldiers.” 33 The Japanese government set up these types of spaces, and because the women who were recruited may have not been able to consent the system itself was organized rape. This type of rape is distinct, however it is still rape. At the ICTY, in reference to the war crimes in Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, “the ‘bordellos’ [were] not seen as part of an ‘ethnic cleansing’ strategy … because the facilities serve the sole purpose of sexually entertaining soldiers, rather than causing a reaction in the women.” Because of this, “the Commission did not recommend a specific focus for future prosecutions.”34 This indicates that wartime prostitution occurred, but because the court could not establish whether these prostitutes were coerced into involuntary servitude the military actors would not be prosecuted. The definition they give, however, does indicate that the system of comfort women Japan instituted had the potential for perpetuating rape, even if the chance of prosecution was low.
Ibid., p. 415 Sharratt, Sara. Gender, Shame and Sexual Violence: The Voices of Witnesses and Court Members at War Crimes Tribunals. Farnham: Ashgate, 2011. Print. p. 10 33 Ibid., p. 11 34 Ibid., p. 11
Recently, rape has been identified as a weapon of war, which is a distinction from rape as a war crime. In 2008, the United Nations created a definition for rape as a weapon of war, stating that sexual violence becomes a tactic of war when it serves “to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.”35 This means that the rape is used as a tool to advance the military agenda directly, instead of an indirect result of military actions. In other words, it “is not a simple by-product of war, but often a planned and targeted policy.”36 In order to reach this threshold a government or state actor must directly make rape into a tool to suppress the enemy, meaning rape as a weapon of war cannot occur unintentionally. Historically rape has not been seen this way, likely because victims feared coming forward and men who had little incentive to discuss the plight of war on women dictated the discourse regarding war rapes. Contemporary Western culture has changed its attitudes drastically and “the recognition that rape can be a weapon of war is now almost standard fare in media coverage and human rights analyses of conflicts”37 During the Tokyo Trails, perpetrators of wartime rape against the comfort women were prosecuted, but indirectly, demonstrating a reluctance to directly confront abuse. “In the Tokyo Tribunal…rape was one of the war crimes with which some of the defendants were charged,” however “no straightforward wording is used in the statue prohibiting rape or any other sexual violence.”38 Instead rape was prosecuted indirectly based on violations of “’mistreatment,’ ‘ill treatment,’ ‘inhuman treatment,’ and ‘failure to respect family honor and rights.’ 39 Because there was no standard definition, the court could not adequately prosecute individuals, leaving only twenty eight to face indirect charges of which none resulted in harsh punishments. Because “the Tokyo war crimes tribunal did not call
United Nations. Security Council. Resolution 1820., op. cit. Buss, Doris E., op. cit. 37 Ibid. 38 Sharratt, Sara., op. cit., pp. 17 39 Ibid., p. 17
rape victims to testify” their stories were not heard, but “witnesses testifying to other crimes … reported the hundreds of rapes they had seen.”40 This indicates that the shame associated with rape prevented adequate repercussions from being implemented even though events did occur. During this period, “only one tribunal, conducted by the Dutch in Batavia …, meted out stern punishments … to Japanese officers who forced Dutch women into sexual servitude.”41 This demonstrates the role that race plays, as the only victims who were deemed worthy of receiving justice were those who were European.
Tétreault, Mary Ann., op. cit., pp. 417 Soh, Sarah. Japan's Responsibility Toward Comfort Women Survivors. Japan Policy Research Institute. University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim, Mar. 2011. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp77.html>. No. 77
III. Comfort Women during War
3.1 Japanese Motives During the first half of the 20th century, the Japanese military created an organized system that provided access to comfort women for the following three reasons: 1) Troop morale 2) Humanitarian ideals 3) Conflict reduction. Although the experience that the comfort women faced were in many cases horrific and certainly constitute a violation of their human rights, it would be incorrect to say they used these women as a weapon of war. Besides the fact that the comfort women were living in an already pacified Korea and thus rape was not used as a tool to pacify foreign people, the Japanese saw the comfort women’s work as preventing soldiers from raping civilians in the other places the Japanese conquered. Rape as a weapon of war is used to pacify conquered or occupied areas and the use of the comfort women were intended to prevent rape of these populations, thus comfort women did not experience rape as a weapon of war. The Japanese used comfort women to boost troop morale and meet the sexual needs of the men who served.42 Following the battle of Okinawa, a 13-yearold boy, Nishihira, observed in a comfort house the level of sexual frustration these men were experiencing. He noted that “some even began to undo their belts and their bodies shook, even though there were many ahead of them in the queue. Most soldiers finished within twenty or thirty seconds.”43 These observations of men demonstrate they had very limited sexual outlets and that these comfort stations were seen as a way to boost troop morale. During the Asian Pacific war, Japanese Lieutenant-General Okabe Naozaburo wrote in his diary that he observed several soldiers attempting to commit sexual violence against those in Shanghai. He noted
This is not presented as a justification for the Japanese government’s actions, but instead is intended to recognize their reasoning for implementing the policies. The actual experiences of the comfort women are quite distinct. Because rape as a weapon of war does require the government to take specific actions with the intent to use rape to pacify or intimidate the population, when analyzing whether rape was used as a weapon of war the motive matter. 43 Sato Yoshitsugu, “Firippin Senryoshi” in the Panel of Japanese Lawyers Working for the Filipina “Comfort Women” compiled., pp. 143. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 52
“the establishment of appropriate facilities must be accepted as a good cause and should be promoted. In consideration of our soldier’s sexual problems, we have decided to introduce various measures.”44 The Lieutenant General expresses motives for building comfort houses that are aimed at helping his soldiers, not hurting the comfort women. The comfort stations were seen as a way of improving the dire situation men faced for their lack of sexual opportunities.45 To promote humanitarian ideals, the Japanese military intended to use comfort women to prevent civilians from being raped in the areas the occupied. The Japanese General Yasuji “decided to set up similar facilities… in order to prevent future rape of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers.”46 Following the Nanking Massacre, where Japanese soldiers reportedly raped thousands of Chinese individuals, this was a real risk and something Japanese officials wanted to avoid. These motives do indicate a humanitarian reasoning for Japan’s decision to provide comfort women to the military men. According to Dr. Nakayama these motives were largely achieved during the Asia Pacific War in China. He expressed that “thanks to these women, the Japanese troops do not rape Chinese women. These women are therefore not just prostitutes!” 47 It is important to recognize that his observations come from the perspective of a Japanese man, who likely had little contact with the Chinese women who were susceptible to rape. Even if the comfort women did prevent Chinese women from being raped, these motives reduce the responsibility of the Japanese men to not commit sexual violence and instead force women to pay the price for men’s lack of self-control. The Japanese government also sought to protect the comfort women and treat them with a level of dignity that other sexual actors were denied. Japanese
Okabe Naozaburo, Okabe Naozaburo Taisho no Nikki (Fuyo Shobo, Tokyo, 1982) pp. 23. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 10 45 This recognition of Japanese motives does not justify the poor treatment of the comfort women and their continual rape, it simply serves to establish their intent. The lived experience of these women differs greatly from the intent of the program. 46 Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 10 47 Nakayama Tadanao, “Manshu no Tabi” in Toyo (Toyo Kyokai, Tokyo, 1933), November 1933 Issue. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 12
Major Yamazaki Masao wrote in his diary regarding the comfort women, that “if, we assure them that their lives are safe, we pay an appropriate amount of money and we do not make them work hard, I expect women will come to work one after another.”48 The Japanese government also issued a statement indicating that “the utmost care shall be taken so as to preserve military dignity and avoid social problems” 49 that would come from poor treatment of comfort women. This indicates that the high military standards would be observed even when soldiers engage with prostitutes, particularly because it would be an officially sanctioned activity. This system is intended not just to serve the men, but provide a type of occupation that women would not be coerced into joining, but would come to willingly. As will be discussed later the system that was set-up deviates heavily from its intended form. Regardless, this system was not intended to harm the women, but attract them willingly. The Japanese government envisioned the comfort women being employed to reduce conflict in occupied territories where sexual mores may not have allowed sexual intercourse between other civilians and soldiers. In 1938, Lieutenant-General Okabe Naozaburo instructed his commanders that “it is of vital importance that individual acts by our military personal be strictly controlled, and … facilities for sexual pleasure be established promptly, in order to prevent our men from inadvertently breaking the law.”50 This shows a desire to ease tensions in occupied territories and to reduce one area of friction that may have caused problems for military relations. This could potentially make rape a weapon of war if women were coerced into joining comfort houses, because the sex would then be non-consensual and used to advance military objectives. It is not, however, a weapon of war because the intent was not to rape the comfort women, but instead have willing participants.
48 Nanking Jiken Chosa Kenkyukai. Nankin Jiken Shiryo-shu. Tokyo: Aoki Shoten, 1992. Print. pp. 411. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 13 49 United States of America. Congressional Research Service. Japan's Military "Comfort Women" System., op. cit., pp. 9 50 Senda, Kakō. Jūgun Ianfu Seihen. Tōkyō: San'ichi Shobō, 1978. 209-210. Print. Document No. 42. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 16
Although “the Allies viewed the comfort stations as part of the Japanese war strategy,”51 it did not necessarily view that rape that occurred as a strategy of war. The Japanese were not concerned in raping the comfort women, but rather making sure the men had access to sex. Rapes did occur, but they were not intended.
3.2 Comfort Women’s Experiences The comfort women’s experiences varied greatly overtime, location, and individual experience, however it is clear that Japan’s intentions were not met and many experienced forced prostitution, a deceptive recruitment process, violent rape, and economic exploitation. The Japanese military either encouraged this behavior or was complacent in its practice. The Psychological Warfare Team of the US Navy prepared a report after seeing “the Korean ‘comfort girls’ recruited by the Japanese and attached to their Army in Burma”52 during the World War II. “The interrogations show the average Korean "comfort girl" to be about twenty-five years old, uneducated, childish, and selfish. She is not pretty either by Japanese of Caucasian standards. She is inclined to be egotistical and likes to talk about herself. Her attitude in front of strangers is quiet and demure, but she "knows the wiles of a woman." She claims to dislike her 'profession' and would rather not talk either about it or her family.” 53 –Alex Yorichi The quote demonstrates that US officials recognized the shame that these comfort women felt, as demonstrated by their refusal to speak about it. This indicates a low level of social respect these women experienced. The American report, however, does not look at why these women felt so much shame or whether or not the Japanese forced them into the work. Finding accurate descriptions from comfort women during the war is unlikely, because the same reluctance these women faced in speaking with their families about their situations would likely carry over and prevent them from sharing true nature of their work with
Tanaka, Toshiyuki, Timothy L. H. McCormack, and Gerry J. Simpson. Beyond Victor’s Justice?: The Tokyo War Crimes Trial Revisited. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2011. Print. pp. 251 52 United States of America. United States Office of War Information., op. cit. 53 Ibid.
interviewers. In the latter section of this paper, the difficulties these women face will be highlighted and will help explain why they appeared distraught. The recruitment techniques that were used to attract comfort women did not reveal the true nature of the work and prevented them from leaving. On March 4, 1938, Chiefs of Staff of the North China Area Army and Central China Area Army issued a statement revealing the immoral recruiting practices. They highlighted that some men are “causing social problems by trying to recruit [women] illegally” and that “some have been arrested and investigated because of their methods of recruitment and kidnapping.” 54 While it is certainly good for the Japanese state to recognize that illegal recruitment is occurring, it nonetheless demonstrates that some comfort women had no agency over whether their job and thus they experienced involuntary servitude and the resulting sex could not be consensual. In addition, the letter states, “in [the] future, when recruiting those [women], each Army must tighten control,” 55 however it makes no mention of helping the comfort women who had been recruited or engaging in future investigations. A report released by the Congressional Research Service confirms these findings, saying that Japanese officials “resorted in many cases to coaxing
Figure 1 Contrary to what they had been promised, the working conditions for many were poor and they lacked privacy, as demonstrated by their low quality bathing units and their communal nature. Although communal bathing may have been more common at this time particularly during war, the unique sexual nature of their work, combined with these bathing rituals contributed to particularly poor working conditions
and intimidating these women to be recruited against their will.”56 Furthermore, the Japanese government had to have been aware of these violations, as the same report indicates “the involvement of the Japanese military at all stages in the operation of the system: the recruitment of women, the transport of women, and the operation of
Senda, Kakō., op. cit., Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 23 Ibid., pp. 23 56 United States of America. Congressional Research Service. Japan's Military "Comfort Women" System., op. cit., pp. 10
comfort stations.”57 Even if the Japanese did not intend to use such harsh recruiting techniques, they knew they were happening and could have stopped them. The diary of the Japanese medical officer Yamaguchi Tokio who was tasked with performing medical exams to test for sexually transmitted infections during the Asia-Pacific War reveals the lack of agency these women had. He felt that “these girls unwillingly came to see me because local leaders talked them into complying …this kind of work does not suit me, and I cannot get rid of the thought that this is a violation of humanity.”58 His firsthand account demonstrates the lack of humanity these women experienced, as well as the strict control the Japanese had over them. Based on this evidence and more, the Congressional Research Service concludes “most comfort women were in the system involuntarily if one defines involuntarily to include entering the system in response to deceptive recruitment.”59 Although the conditions these women experienced may have caused them to suffer a great deal, it was not a strategy that was used to punish the enemy through rape, as many of the comfort women were Japanese at this time and their previously stated motives did not call for this. At three comfort houses, Japanese women served alongside Koreans. In Jiujiang 143 comfort women were Korean and 107 Japanese, in Wuhu 22 were Korean and 48 Japanese, and at Nanchang 100 were Korean and 11 Japanese. 60 Although Koreans outnumbered the Japanese, it is unlikely that the Japanese military raped Koreans to suppress their population, as they did the same thing to the Japanese women. During World War II, the recruiting efforts were more forceful, leading many women to unwillingly become comfort women, which made them victims of the war crime of rape. An experience of a comfort woman Mun P’ilgi in 1943 indicates the deceptive practices. When describing an older man she says, “he would give me an
Ibid., pp. 9 Kazuto, Mizobe ed., Doku San Ni: Mohitotsu no Senso (private publication, 1983) pp. 58. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 22 59 United States of America. Congressional Research Service. Japan's Military "Comfort Women" System. , op. cit., pp. 12 60 Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 15
introduction to a place where I could both learn and earn money. I had been so resentful that I hadn’t been able to study, and his proposition was so attractive… There I saw there was a truck parked, with a Japanese policeman.” 61 Not only does this describe deceptive recruitment practices that manipulated the vulnerabilities of young girls, but it also shows that the Japanese state played a role at the most basic level. The police took even more direct initiatives in an experience recorded by a comfort woman Hwang Keum-Ju. She describes her experience when a “the soldiers loaded us in dirty trucks…all the girls thought we were going to work at some kind of factory.” 62This describes a higher level of organization, as the police and the military had to be coordinating their efforts. In addition, the girl was blatantly lied to, as few women, particularly in a modest society like Korea, would have equated prostitution with factory work. The Japanese also went to Korea for the purpose of finding women to export to act as comfort women in other states. In the Psychological Warfare Team’s survey, the analysts noted that “early in May 1942 Japanese agents arrived in Korea for the purpose of enlisting Korean girls for ‘comfort service’ in newly conquered Japanese territories in Southeast Asia.” 63 They were deceived into thinking that it was “work connected with visiting the wounded in hospitals, rolling bandages, and generally making soldiers happy” 64 and the Japanese were complacent in promoting this misunderstanding. Because the Japanese went to Korea with the goal of finding more women to use in their new territories and lied about the terms, they are complacent with the war crime of rape, because they forced women into nonconsensual sexual arrangements where they did not have the power to deny sex. The women were unable to leave, as “the contract they signed bound them to Army
P'ilgi, Mun. "I So Much Wanted to Study." True Stories of the Korean Comfort Women: Testimonies., op. cit., pp. 81 62 Schellstede, Sangmie Choi., and Soon Mi. Yu. Comfort Women Speak: Testimony by Sex Slaves of the Japanese Military : Includes New United Nations Human Rights Report. New York: Holmes & Meier, 2000. Print. pp. 4 63 United States of America. United States Office of War Information., op. cit. 64 Ibid.
regulations and to work for the ‘house master’ for a period of six months to a year.”65 This also creates a system of involuntary servitude. If they had become comfort women on their own fruition and had the ability to leave then the situation would not have been rape, but because the Japanese coerced them through manipulation and did not allow them to leave it was. The comfort women during World War II were paid such low wages and charged a great deal for their necessities that they were unable to leave, creating a system of involuntary servitude. A Korean
Figure 2 Although the comfort women had access to food, they were charged high prices for it, reducing their disposable income and making them dependent on the Japanese "masters."
comfort woman Yi Sangok shares the experience of being paid, but having so much taken from her wages to pay for clothing and other necessities that her master provided. One recalls that her master took so
much money that, “I never had any money in my hands.”66 This prevented her from having the agency to leave even if she were allowed to. The housemasters acted as pimps, receiving “fifty to sixty per cent of the girls' gross earnings depending on how much of a debt each girl had.”67 These women were working to pay down their debt, but because “Many ‘masters’ made life very difficult for the girls by charging them high prices for food and other articles” 68 this was impossible. This created a system of indentured servitude. Although this is common among pimps even today, the Japanese military, due to their high level of involvement with running the comfort houses, played an active role making it a state sanctioned crime. Because these women were unable to leave unless they paid their debts, their economic situation
Ibid. Sangok, Yi. "I Came Home, But Lost My Family." True Stories of the Korean Comfort Women: Testimonies., op. cit., pp. 129 67 United States of America. United States Office of War Information., op. cit. 68Ibid.
forced them into sexual slavery. This prevented them from consenting to sex and made every act of sex a real or potential rape. Although the Japanese army’s actions led many women to be raped because its systematic decisions forced these women into sexual intercourse without consent, it is important to note that many were forcibly and violently raped as well. “The proprietor of the comfort stations… told me to go into a certain room, but I refused. He dragged me by my hair to another room. There I was tortured with electric shocks. He was very cruel. He pulled out the telephone cord and tied my wrist sand ankles with it. Then shouting "konoyaro!" he twirled the telephone receiver. Light flashed before my eye, and blood shook all over. I couldn’t stand it and begged him to stop. I said I would do anything he asked. But he turned the receiver once more. I blacked out.” -Yi Yongsu69 These violent rapes help explain the feeling by many Korean scholars that the Japanese used rape as a weapon of war against the Koreans and other Asians. This type of violent rape does appear to be a weapon and one could argue that it is being used as a weapon against the woman in the case above. As horrific as it sounds, this does not meet the definition for rape as a weapon of war, because it is not intended to terrorize the entire community or pacify the people. Instead, a single act led to a great deal of individual suffering because of an individual’s independent actions. While the Japanese government knew about the coercive recruitment practices and general mistreatment of the comfort women, there is little evidence to indicate they knew such violent rapes occurred. If they had, they likely would have worked to prevent it, as it would cause tensions that would be counter to their motives of maintaining stability in conquered lands. Making women sterile is one tool genocide perpetrators use, however the sterility that resulted from the Japanese rape of women was a by-product, not a direct aim, meaning this argument does not viewing these rapes as a weapon of war against the comfort women. In fact, official regulation forced every individual
Yongsu, Yi. "Return My Youth to Me." True Stories of the Korean Comfort Women: Testimonies., op. cit., pp. 91
engaging with comfort women to use condoms. 70 This indicates it was not the aim of the Japanese to impregnate the comfort women as a means of eliminating the Korean race or the races of other Asian cultures. In addition, the use of condoms also indicates that other birth control methods such as forced sterilization would not be necessary, as condoms would prevent pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted infections. One must note that many individuals did not follow the Japanese regulation and as a result, some comfort women were left infertile. One comfort woman, Huwang Kumji recalls, “The new girls were to serve the officers, as they were virgins. The officer didn’t use condoms, so quite a few of us became pregnant … after curettage was operated three or four times, they became barren.”71 In this scene, officers who should have been enforcing official rules violated them and as a result, unsafe abortion mechanisms were used, which resulted in infertility. To some extent the officers should have been relied upon to uphold the regulations, but again, this was not being used as a tool to sterilize these women, but rather was a byproduct. This does still mean their human rights were violated, as under the Rome Statute72 forced sterilization was codified as a human rights violation. While the statute was not in effect during this period, it indicates that from a modern perspective how their human rights were violated. While ethnic factors played a role in the greater number of Koreans that served as comfort women, historians who argue ethnicity was the major factor fail to recognize the large number of Japanese comfort women during the Asia-Pacific war. Historian Yuki Tanaka argues, “Japanese military leaders did not believe Japanese women should be in that role. Their mission was to bear and bring up good Japanese children” and not be “the means for men to satisfy their sexual urges.”73 If this were the case, then it seems unlikely that the Japanese would have used
Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 53 Kumju, Hwang. "I Want to Live without Being Treated with Contempt." True Stories of the Korean Comfort Women: Testimonies., op. cit., pp. 74 72 United Nations. Rome Statue. International Criminal Court, 10 Nov. 1998. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/99_corr/2.htm>. 73 Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 32
Japanese women as comfort women during the Asia-Pacific War. Instead, it is more likely that economic indicators, such as the high levels of poverty in Korea played a greater role, as poverty made it easier for recruiters to coerce Korean women. During the Asia-Pacific War, “Korean comfort women sent to China early in the AsiaPacific War were residents of Japan, mostly indentured workers, rather than coming directly from Korea.”74 This indicates that it was the economic vulnerability of the Koreans that made them targets, as earlier Japanese were sent to Korea. Later exploitation based on economics was executed on the macro level, as Korea was poorer than Japan, and on a micro-level as well, because the Japanese went after the most vulnerable Koreans, such as those who were indentured servants. Ethnic factors likely played a role, but economic actors were more powerful. This means that rape was not used as a weapon of war, but rather the war efforts allowed the Japanese to take advantage of already vulnerable women.
3.3 Role of Allies It is important to note that the allies, specifically the American troops who arrived in Japan during World War II, also used the comfort stations. The author of the official history of the Hokkaido police wrote that “special comfort stations for the occupation troops, set up as an emergency measure, was utilized to maximum degree, and the number of women victims … in the general population was therefore kept to a minimum.”75 This not only indicates that the Allies used the comfort stations, but that the Japanese saw their use as a way to avoid sexual
Figure 3: Japanese comfort women serving a United States Military Officer
assaults being inflected on the general population.
Ibid., pp. 10 Japan. Tokyo Metropolitan Police Headquarters. Nippon Keisatsu No "ianfu' Seisaku. N.p.: n.p., 1996. Print. Part I. p. 53. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 135
Based on the recruitment techniques of looking for old licensed prostitutes, one may conclude that these comfort women were not all Korean, but in fact many were former Japanese prostitutes. 76 This fear of mass rape of Japanese civilians was also not unwarranted. The Okinawa Prefectural Historical Archives tell tales of Americans “‘hunting for women’ in broad daylight … During the battle, violence against women occurred everywhere in Okinawa.”77 While comfort women may have prevented civilians from being raped, the question of whether the comfort women paid too high of a price is beyond the scope of this paper. In another example, American soldiers were seen as sexual aggressors, even though the US military took actions to prevent it. In September of 1945, G.I. Johpa wrote in a contract to borrow a Japanese soldier’s car that “this car is to be used to pick up any girls who fuck.”78 This demonstrates that some American soldiers were heavily focused on finding women to have sex with and that comfort women could be one solution to this problem. In response to meeting with General Hall, American General R.L. Eichelberger stated, “we have had assault cases reported and a stern directive was given to everyone concerned that rowdyism, looting and vandalism would not be tolerated.” 79 Official efforts were put in place, but they were not sufficient to prevent the problem. The Japanese relied on comfort women to solve a problem the allies could not. This does not mean it was the ideal solution, but the Japanese motives were not malicious.
Nanking Jiken Chosa Kenkyukai. Nankin Jiken Shiryo-shu. Tokyo: Aoki Shoten, 1992. Print. P. 53. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 135 77 Shō, Rōdō F. Baishun Ki Kansuru Shiryō. Tōkyō: n.p., 1955. Print. pp. 12-13. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 13 78 Seiichi, Kaburagi. Hiroku: Shinchu-gun Ian Sakusen. Tokyo: Shufu to Seikatsu-sha, 1972. Print. P. 25. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 118 79 Seiichi, Kaburagi. Hiroku: Shinchu-gun Ian Sakusen. Tokyo: Shufu to Seikatsu-sha, 1972. Print. P. 35-36. Cited in: Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan’s Comfort Women, op. cit., pp. 124
4.1 Rape as a War Crime Following World War II, international law, as well as treaties and norms began to treat rape as a war crime, however the difficulties of prosecuting perpetrators prevented many from receiving justice. Before the end of WWII, “the governments … began to formulate the principles of international law that would govern the conduct of the post-war trails,” 80 including the Tokyo Trials. Although “rape is mentioned with regularity … there is little information about enforced prostitution,” 81 which made it difficult, if not impossible to prosecute recruiters or Japanese military officials who allowed women to be forced into prostitution and subsequently raped. Article 5 of the Tokyo charter, did however describe crimes like “‘enslavement, deportation, … [which] alone would have encompassed the experiences of the comfort women.”82 Prosecutors also could have used “the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 to argue that enforced prostitution should be deemed an ‘inhumane act.’” 83 Although forced prostitution was not necessarily stated directly, the prosecutors had the tools during the Tokyo trials to secure judgments against those involved with the comfort women. Prosecutors did not seek indictments against those who facilitated rape and forced prostitution, likely due to the shame associated with these issues. Yuki Tanaka, Tim McCormack, and Gerry Simpson argue that the “Tokyo proceedings steered clear of indictments for sexual crimes given that rape convictions were difficult to secure.”84 They may have been difficult, but tribunals after war always must grapple with difficulty, meaning it is more likely a problem associated with the nature of the crimes. These social norms made it so “these crimes were never made a central focus of the prosecutors’ case nor of the Judgment despite the scale and
Tanaka, Toshiyuki, Timothy L. H. McCormack, and Gerry J. Simpson. , op. cit., pp. 249 Ibid., pp. 250 82 Ibid., pp. 254 83 Ibid., pp. 254 84 Ibid., pp. 277
horror of the practice.”85 Cultural norms and judgments regarding sexual violence prevented individuals from coming forward and prevented legal instruments from being put in places do deal with the war crime of rape. The lack of prosecution and the limited focus on the comfort women’s human rights violations at the Tokyo trial left it an unresolved conflict, which has increased tension between Korea and China in the modern era. Yuki Tanaka, Tim McCormack and Gerry Simpson argue, ““The present-day controversy surrounding the issue of the ‘comfort women’ is at least in part due to the silence of the Tokyo Tribunal.” 86 Unlike other war crime victims, the comfort women were not given an open forum to express the crimes they endured, nor did they receive any justice. This can be attributed to the shame associated with sexual assault, a fact the Japanese military knew about. After the Japanese state apologized in 1993, Japanese nationalist politicians lobbied for its recantation. In addition, the Japanese Minister of Education Nakayama Nariaki said they “should be proud of what they were, ‘given their existence soothed distraught feelings of men.’”87 This ensuing controversy demonstrates that the conflict over the women has not ceased and that the Tokyo Trail failed in its job to provide restorative justice. Treaties and norms that Japan subscribed to directly as a country and more broadly as a member of the international community could have allowed Japan to face repercussions for its actions. The International Convention of the Suppression of White Slave Traffic of 1910 stipulates that: “Whoever, in order to gratify the passions of another person, has procured, enticed, or led away, even with her consent, a woman or girl under age, for immoral purposes, shall be punished, notwithstanding the various acts constitute the offence may have been committed in different countries” 88
Ibid., pp. 244 Ibid., pp. 280 87 Ibid., pp. 280 88 Yoshimi, Yoshiaki., op. cit., pp. 156
This means that the Japanese recruiters’ techniques could have been deemed illegal according to the treaty that Japan had signed and ratified. This, however, is not the case, because the 1921 edition of the treaty stipulates that “signatories were allowed to declare the colonial territories were excluded from the treaty’s provisions (article 14).” 89 Japan did exclude Korea, meaning that the exploitation these Korean comfort women experienced was not a violation of the treaty. This indicates that powerful dynamics between colonized society and the colonizer. Japan did, however, violate the Slavery Convention of 1926, which protected “family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property” 90 in occupied territories. Japan did not ratify the treaty, but the International Court of Justice argued, “It was generally accepted that customary international law prohibited the practice of slavery and that all nations were under a duty to prohibit the slave trade.” 91 As described, the comfort women were treated as slaves, so the actions of the Japanese and the rape that they experienced to constitute a violation of international human rights norms. Modern court judgments have gone further and more clearly stipulate the issue of rape and reestablished rape as a war crime. The ICTY has been the leader in this movement and cites two main influences for its judgments on sexual violence: “the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals.”92 In its recent judgments, it established that “rape constitutes a crime under international humanitarian law,” but that “rape is not precisely defined.”93 This indicates that progress has been made regarding prosecuting rape as a war crime, but that the delicate nature of sexual violence makes it more difficult to define. The court relied on a great deal of evidence for its findings. It stated that “the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits rape in
Ibid., pp. 157 Ibid., pp. 161 91 Ibid., pp. 161 92 Sharratt, Sara., op. cit., pp. 17 93 The United Nations. Security Council. S/1994/674. N.p., 27 May 1994. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.his.com/~twarrick/commxyu3.htm#II.J>.
article 27” 94 and “protocol I to the Geneva Conventions contains in article 76 an express prohibition of rape and other sexual assaults.” 95 They also cited the “Hague Convention (IV) Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land,” which says, “A single act of rape or sexual assault constitutes a war crime.” 96 Under modern court judgments, international law clearly would have identified the use of comfort women as a violation of human rights, because of the women’s lack of agency and the rape this resulted in.
4.2 Command Responsibility Laws governing command responsibility, or the responsibility that a military leader has for his or her inferiors, plays a role in assigning responsibility for the human rights violations soldiers committed. The ICTY noted “A person who gives the order to commit a war crime or crime against humanity is equally guilty of the offence with the person actually committing it.” 97 This is particularly relevant for the issue of comfort women, because the state played such a significant role in providing access to and encouraging the use of comfort women. Even though the soldiers may have committed the acts of rape, the fact that they were coerced into doing it by their superiors make their superiors also responsible. In addition, the orders that were given by superiors to recruit women unlawfully make them guilty of war crimes as well. Importantly, the Japanese (as well as the Americans), should have taken greater actions against those who violated the human rights of comfort women, such as the brutal rape some men performed. Officials knew that these women were being treated poorly, but instead of bringing them to justice, they largely ignored the problem. The ICTY identified this as a violation of the Geneva Convention, which states “Superiors are moreover individually responsible for a war crime …
Ibid. Ibid. 96 Ibid. 97 Ibid.
committed by a subordinate if they knew, … that the subordinate was committing or was going to commit such an act.” 98 In many statements presented above, officers knew that the comfort women’s human rights were being violated, yet they did little to prevent such abuses from taking place. The Geneva convention makes distinct stipulations for “military commanders [who] are under a special obligation, with respect to members of the armed forces under their command or other persons under their control, to prevent and, where necessary, to suppress such acts.” 99 A modern understanding of command responsibility would have held the Japanese officials responsible for the rapes that occurred, because the state played a role in promoting the involuntary servitude, which resulted in rapes. Although command responsibility calls for those with authority to take responsibility for the harm their orders cause, it does not exonerate the actor who inflicted the harm from assuming responsibility either. The Geneva Convention does not directly mention this and says soldiers have presented the defense of superior orders, however it would not be a valid defense according to modern precedent. Based on the Nuremburg principles, if “a person acted pursuant to an order of his Government or of a superior [it] does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact available to him.''100 In the case of the comfort women, the Japanese soldiers did have a choice of whether to engage their services. It may have been difficult to remain abstinent, but this was always an option. Command responsibility is not an excuse for the rape that resulted from the Japanese use of comfort women.
4.3 Domestic Law The use of comfort women violated not only international law, but the domestic laws the Japanese had put in place. This makes the case against them stronger under international prosecution, because the acts are seen as criminal
Ibid. Ibid. 100 Ibid.
domestically as well. The crimes the comfort women endured included “crimes of human trafficking and abduction, as well as the crimes of abduction overseas and transfer across international borders.” 101 These directly violate the Japanese Penal Code, Act No. 45 of 1907. Chapter XXXIII bans “crimes of kidnapping and buying or selling of human beings,” while article 224 stipulates “a person who kidnaps a minor by force or enticement shall be punished.” 102 Because many of the masters who ran the comfort stations profited from their acts, the comfort houses also violated the rules stipulated in Article 225, which banned “kidnapping for profit.” 103 Furthermore, article 227 made “receiving kidnapped person[s]” a crime, so those who received comfort women would have been breaking the law if they did not ensure the women were there by their own free will. 104
Center for Research and Documentation on Japan's War Responsibility (JWRC). Latest Research on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery (“Comfort Women”). N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://space.geocities.jp/japanwarres/center/hodo/hodo38.pdf>. 102 Ibid. 103 Ibid. 104 Ibid.
While the legacy of wartime rape still persists today and the comfort women are indeed victims of masculine atrocities persecuted during wartime, it is incorrect to identify the rape that Japanese soldiers propagated as a weapon of war. The definition for using rape as a weapon of war requires that the sexual assaults had the intent of carrying out a military aim and were not the unfortunate byproducts of war. While the Japanese state played an intricate role in facilitating these roles, its focus was not on the women themselves, but on serving their men. These women thus faced terrible working conditions and were manipulated into sexual acts for which they had no ability to consent. This system violated international law and domestic penal codes, indicating that the comfort women system lead to clear violations of the women’s human rights and ultimately facilitated numerous war crimes. The evidence does not show that the Japanese used rape as a war crime, rather rapes resulted from the poorly monitored system. The rape itself was not intended as a tool to suppress Korea or the other Asian states, but was consequence of the military actions that did. Arguing that the comfort women did not experience rape as a weapon of war does not serve to make light of their suffering nor does it excuse the actions of the Japanese state, but it does mean that another definition must be used. The comfort women employed by the Japanese during the first half of the 20th century suffered war crimes, but these crimes do not constitute rape as a weapon of war.
Bibliography Adam, Heribert. Hushed Voices: Unacknowledged Atrocities of the 20th Century. Highclere: Berkshire Academic, 2011. Print. Buss, Doris E. "Rethinking ‘Rape as a Weapon of War’." Feminist Legal Studies 17.2 (2009): 145-63. Springerlink. 17 July 2009. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.springerlink.com/content/478l7r67018lj048/fulltext.pdf?MUD=MP. Center for Research and Documentation on Japan's War Responsibility (JWRC). Latest Research on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery (“Comfort Women”). N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://space.geocities.jp/japanwarres/center/hodo/hodo38.pdf>. Goldstein, Donald M., and Katherine V. Dillon. The Pacific War Papers: Japanese Documents of World War II. Washington: Potomac, 2004. Print. Hicks, George L. The Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War. New York: W.W. Norton &, 1997. Print. Howard, Keith. True Stories of the Korean Comfort Women: Testimonies. London: Cassell, 1995. Print. Pilzer, Joshua D. Hearts of Pine: Songs in the Lives of Three Korean Survivors of the Japanese "Comfort Women" New York: Oxford UP, 2012. Print. Schellstede, Sangmie Choi., and Soon Mi. Yu. Comfort Women Speak: Testimony by Sex Slaves of the Japanese Military : Includes New United Nations Human Rights Report. New York: Holmes & Meier, 2000. Print. Schmidt, David A. Ianfu, The Comfort Women of the Japanese Imperial Army of the Pacific War: Broken Silence. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2000. Print. Sharratt, Sara. Gender, Shame and Sexual Violence: The Voices of Witnesses and Court Members at War Crimes Tribunals. Farnham: Ashgate, 2011. Print. Sharratt, Sara. Gender, Shame and Sexual Violence: The Voices of Witnesses and Court Members at War Crimes Tribunals. Farnham: Ashgate, 2011. Print. Sharratt, Sara. Gender, Shame and Sexual Violence: The Voices of Witnesses and Court Members at War Crimes Tribunals. Farnham: Ashgate, 2011. Print.
Soh, Chunghee Sarah. The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2008. Print. Soh, Sarah. Japan's Responsibility Toward Comfort Women Survivors. Japan Policy Research Institute. University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim, Mar. 2011. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp77.html>. No. 77 Stetz, Margaret D., and Bonnie B. C. Oh. Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2001. Print. Tanaka, Toshiyuki. Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution During World War II and the US Occupation. London: Routledge, 2002. Print. Tanaka, Toshiyuki, Timothy L. H. McCormack, and Gerry J. Simpson. Beyond Victor's Justice?: The Tokyo War Crimes Trial Revisited. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2011. Print. Tétreault, Mary Ann. "Accountability or Justice? Rape as a War Crime." Feminist Frontiers. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2004. 415-27. Print. United Nations. Rome Statue. International Criminal Court, 10 Nov. 1998. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/99_corr/2.htm>. United Nations. Security Council. Resolution 1820. N.p.: n.p., 2008. 19 June 2008. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1820(2008)>. United Nations. Security Council. S/1994/674. N.p., 27 May 1994. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.his.com/~twarrick/commxyu3.htm#II.J>. United States of America. Congressional Research Service. Japan's Military "Comfort Women" System. By Larry Niksch. Washington: n.p., 2003. Congressional Research Service, 3 Apr. 2007. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://japanfocus.org/data/CRS%20CW%20Report%20April%2007.pdf>. United States of America. United States Office of War Information. Psychological Warfare Team Attached to U.S. Army Forces India-Burma Theater. Exordio.com. By Alex Yorichi. N.p., 9 Nov. 2001. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.
<http://www.exordio.com/1939-1945/codex/Documentos/report-49-USAorig.html>. UNITED STATES v. KOZMINSKI. 487 U.S. 931. U.S. Supreme Court. 29 June 1988.FindLaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2012. Yoshimi, Yoshiaki. Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in the Japanese Military during World War II. Trans. Suzanne O'Brien. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Print. "二战期间日本军妓照片曝光 附图解 [During the second world war Japan military sexual slavery photo exposure with illustrations]," (2012.03.06) at < http://bbs.tiexue.net/post2_5735977_1.html > [accessed 15 Nov. 2012; translated by Bing].
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.