Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chai, Alice Yun. "Asian-Pacific Feminist Coalition Politics: The Comfort Women Movement."

Chai, Alice Yun. "Asian-Pacific Feminist Coalition Politics: The Comfort Women Movement." Korean Studies v.17, 1993: 67-91.
Jimenez-David, Rina. "There Were Comfort Gays Too." Philippines Daily Inquirer, January 27, 2000.

Introduction: From Tradition to Modern Feminism
A Woman-Centered Perspective on Korean American Women Today by Young I. Song
A Critical Feminist Inquiry in a Multicultural Context by Sung Sil Lee Sohng
The Social Reality of Korean American Women: Toward Crashing with the Confucian Ideology by El-Hannah Kim
A Profile of Korean Women and Men in the United States
Demographic and Socioeconomic Characteristics of Korean American Women and Men by Ailee Moon
Demographic Characteristics and Trends of Post-1965 Korean Immigrant Women and Men by Pyong Gap Min and Young I. Song
Attitudes Toward Ethnic Identity, Marriage, and Familial Life among Women of Korean Descent in the United States, Japan, and Korea by Ailee Moon
Korean American Women Working outside of the Family
Work Status, Conjugal Power Relations, and Marital Satisfaction among Korean Immigrant Married Women by Hye Kyung Chang and Ailee Moon
The Burden of Labor on Korean American Wives in and Outside the Family by Pyong Gap Min
Family and Work Roles of Korean Immigrant Wives and Related Experiences by Kwang Chung Kim and Shin Kim
Korean American Identity
Searching for and Defining a Korean American Identity in a Multicultural Society by Luke I. Kim and Grace S. Kim
Intraethnic, Interracial, and Interethnic Marriages Among Korean American Women by Gin Yong Pang
Ethnic Identities Reflected in Value Orientation of Two Generations of Korean American Women by Ailee Moon and Young I. Song
Marriage and Family
Separation and Divorce among Korean Immigrant Families by Siyon Rhee
The Domestic Violence against Women in Korean Immigrant Families: Cultural, Psychological, and Socioeconomic Perspectives by Young I. Song and Ailee Moon
Korean American Mothers' Parenting Styles and Adolescent Behavior by Eunai Kim Shrake
Life Satisfaction of the Korean American Elderly by Young I. Song
Mental Health Issues
The Mental Health of Korean American Women by Luke I. Kim
Korean Women's Hwa-Byung: Clinical Issues and Implications for Treatment by Mikyong Kim-Goh
Issues for the Future
Korean Feminist and Human Rights Politics: The Chongshinedae/Jugunianfu ("Comfort Women") Movement by Alice Yun Chai
Revisioning of Family Reunions: A Case of Korean American Women and Their Families Separated by War by Sook Ja Paik and Dong Soo Kim
Modern Feminist Issues Facing Korean American Women: A Global Perspective by Young I. Song

Asian-Pacific Feminist Coalition Politics: The Chŏngshindae/Jūgunianfu ("Comfort Women") Movement
Alice Yun Chai
From: Korean Studies
Volume 17, 1993
pp. 67-91 | 10.1353/ks.1993.0001

This article examines the Chŏngshindae/Jūgunianfu issue from an Asian-Pacific feminist perspective. The Chŏngshindae/Jūgunianfu were women (primarily Korean) who were drafted by the Japanese military during the Pacific War, ostensibly to serve as laborers, but mostly to serve as sex slaves. They are referred to euphemistically as Jūgunianfu (military "comfort women") in Japanese, and Chŏngshindae (Women's Volunteer Labor Corps) in Korean. This article discusses (1) historical links between Japan's Pacific War military sex slaves and their contemporary parallels, (2) reasons why the military sex slavery issue has been buried for almost half a century, (3) the social context for politicization of the issue, and (4) global feminist and grassroots coalition politics: the Chŏngshindae/Jūgunianfu movement in Korea and Japan that has recently spread to other East and Southeast Asian countries.

"Comfort Women"/Military Sexual Slavery
Throughout history, soldiers have used rape and sexual slavery of women as effective weapons to control, destroy, and humiliate the enemy by violating its "property": women. Violence against women was justified as a reward for the fighting troops and considered inevitable. The Japanese military sexual slavery system established during its colonial expansion into China in the 1930s and lasting until the end of World War II is the most extreme and blatant case of this practice.
In the 1930s and 1940s, the Japanese government mobilized women in colonized countries (e.g., Korea, Taiwan) and occupied areas (e.g., China, the Philippines) by force or deceit, for use as sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army. The combined term military "comfort women"/military sex slaves refers to 80,000 to 200,000 women drafted for military sexual slavery by Japan between the early 1930s and 1945.
Approximately 80 percent of the military "comfort women"/sex slaves were Korean, but there were also Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipino, Burmese, Indonesian, Papua New Guinean, Japanese, Okinawan, and even some Dutch women prisoners from Indonesia.
According to the personal testimonies of survivors and government documents discovered since 1991, the use of sexual slaves, euphemistically called "comfort women," was long-term, systematic, and institutionalized state rape planned, designed, and enforced by the supreme commander of the Japanese Imperial Army. Military sexual slavery camps were managed by the army's Recreation Division, and military "comfort women"/sex slaves, classified as military supplies, were transported by the military transportation system.
Military sexual slavery camps were set up wherever army personnel were stationed: in Taiwan, Sakhalin, Burma (Myanmar), China, Manchuria, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Korea, Okinawa, and Japan. Camps could be found also on railroad and construction sites and at mines and war factories where large numbers of male laborers were working.
The system apparently began after the Manchuria Incident (1931) but was institutionalized after the Nanking Massacre (December 1937), in the hope that the army's providing a psychosexual outlet for its soldiers would prevent a repeat of the atrocity in which an estimated 115,000 Chinese civilians were killed, including 20,000 women who were reportedly raped and murdered.
In the beginning, the Japanese army drafted daughters of Korean coal miners in Kyushu, Japan. From 1938 onward, they recruited women from impoverished farm families in Kyungsang and Chulra provinces in the southern part of South Korea. As the war intensified and expanded, preteen and teenage women were drafted from factories and from middle and elementary schools all over Korea, and even married women and mothers with nursing infants were coerced into sexual slavery on Japan's battlefronts. These women worked without monetary compensation, were promised savings accounts at the end of the war that they never saw, or were paid with military coupons that became worthless after the war.
According to testimony from survivors, they were conscripted (1) by promises of jobs such as factory work, cooking, laundry work, domestic help, or nursing; (2) by the possibility of earning large sums of money to send home to their families and obtaining meals with "polished white rice," which only elite Japanese had access to; (3) by promising opportunities for formal education and technical training; (4) by threatening the family with drafting their sons if daughters were not offered; and (5) by hunting them down in public areas such as farm fields, public wells, roads, market areas, or even kidnapping from private homes.
Military "comfort women"/sex slaves were provided as royal gifts from the Emperor (Tenno). However, they were classified by the Japanese Imperial Army as military supplies in the same way as ammunition and food rations and identified by item numbers, not as human beings with names. The women, then, were used and discarded as supplies, without documentation of entry and/or exit (death), while the records for dogs and horses used by the army were meticulously kept. The women were placed in tiny cubicles partitioned by curtains, in tents, or in buildings with temporarily constructed wooden panels, unused school buildings, regular civilian houses, even on the hills at battlefields. They were gang-raped by an average of 20 to 30 soldiers during weekdays and, on weekends, between 40 to 50 or even up to 100 soldiers a day.
In order to protect the Japanese soldiers, military "comfort women"/sex slaves were given regular medical examinations for venereal disease and received injections called Number 606, which was also an effective abortifacient. Even though the soldiers were required to use condoms, many of the sexual slaves contracted venereal disease, usually within 6 to 12 months of their enslavement, in part, through the soldiers' refusal to use condoms, in part, because of the poor quality of recycled condoms, which were washed and hung to dry every day by the sex slaves themselves.
Almost invariably, women who had been deceived or kidnapped attempted to escape or to resist sexual assaults, with dire consequences. They were severely beaten or, in extreme cases, slashed to death with a sword in front of other sexual slaves as a warning against attempting escape or resistance.
According to Aso Tetsuo, a former Japanese Imperial Army gynecologist, the sex slaves were subjected to continuous gang rape at an average frequency interval of 5 to 10 minutes rather than the officially designated 30 minutes per soldier. During weekdays when they were not used for sex, they were obliged to do housekeeping chores, nursing, carrying military supplies, or even fighting in Japanese military uniform. Moreover, they were often used as human shields during last-ditch battles.
The ordeals of survivors did not come to an end with Japan's defeat in 1945. It was almost impossible for the survivors to return to Korea because the Japanese Imperial Army provided transportation only for their soldiers and civilian personnel. When Japanese soldiers returned to Japan or went into hiding, they left the women behind without informing them of Japan's surrender. They were simply abandoned, left to fend for themselves, without knowledge of where they were and without any resources. In some instances, to hide the evidence of their existence, they were driven to mass suicide along with the soldiers or massacred by being shoved into tunnels or piled into dungeons.
For those in China, the only way to return to Korea was by foot, spending many months without material resources such as clothes, shoes, and food and almost all of them suffering from ill health and sexual assault trauma.
The Korean women had been socialized in a Confucian society where virginity and chastity were considered more important than life itself. Some women committed suicide aboard civilian ships carrying them toward Korea rather than face a homecoming of degradation or lifelong social isolation. Those military "comfort women"/sexual slavery survivors who did return to Korea were unable to go back to their own home villages or to their families. Most led miserable and difficult lives. Some were captured as prisoners of war and served the Allied Occupational Forces as military prostitutes. Most military "comfort women"/sexual slavery survivors, suffering from mental and physical ill health, poverty, and inability to live as ordinary women (e.g., to marry and bear children), wished that they had died in the war.
The full extent of the sexual slavery system from 1932 to 1945 will remain unknown since the Japanese government destroyed most of the documents after the war and killed or deserted almost all of the military "comfort women"/sex slaves. Moreover, both the women survivors and Japanese Imperial Army personnel have either died or kept silent until recently.
In 1991, a 50-year silence was broken when Kim Hak Soon, a Korean military "comfort women"/sexual slavery survivor, publicly told her story. Now, approximately 1,000 survivors have come forward from all over the Asian and Pacific region and the Netherlands. They are working with activist groups to make Japan accountable for this crime against humanity.
Approximately 180 military "comfort women"/sexual slavery survivors who responded to the Korean government's registration system and the hot lines set up by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Sexual Slavery by Japan since 1992 are still suffering from the effects of their sexual enslavement. Venereal disease and other gynecological abnormalities, various physical disabilities, and mental illnesses remain as a lifelong result of the atrocities they experienced.
Despite their poverty, old age, and ill health, they, along with human rights activist groups, are working diligently at the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights demanding that the Japanese government recognize its military sexual slavery as a war crime and violation of international humanitarian laws. They are demanding that the Japanese government publicly make apologies to the individual survivors and pay reparations. The survivors are now working toward one common goal: to die with the knowledge that they have helped to bring a genuine peace with justice to the whole Asian and Pacific region and to the world.
Contributed by: ALICE YUN CHAI

Related Links
The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.
Alice Yun Chai, "Asian Pacific Feminist Coalition Politics: The Chongshindae/Jugunianfu (Comfort Women) Movement," Korean Studies, An Annual Publication of the Center for Korean Studies (University of Hawaii) 17 (1993): 67-91, George Hicks, Comfort Women: Sex Slaves of the Japanese Imperial Army (London, 1995).
Citation: Contributor last name, contributor first name. ""Comfort Women"/Military Sexual Slavery." In Women's Studies Encyclopedia, ed. Helen Tierney. Greenwood Press, 2002. today's date

Bibliography: Comfort Women

The bibliography that follows represents a general list of selected key works on the subject of "comfort women" in the Asia-Pacific during World War II. The literature is notable not just for its focus on the experiences of individual comfort women but also for its attention to the historiography—how and why this issue surfaced in the way it did beginning in the early 1990s and how it continues to preoccupy researchers and activists.

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