Saturday, August 24, 2013
Silvia Vessella Universita degli Studi di Napoli - L’Orientale Jugun Ianfu in Indonesia
Universita degli Studi di Napoli - L’Orientale
Jugun Ianfu in Indonesia
In my paper, I provide a summary of some contentious issues regarding the Japanese military comfort women system in War World II, the social and historical context of a political movement which originated as a South Korea . Japan bilateral dispute
over colonial wrongdoings but evolved into a display of transnational human rights activism and into a universal issue of sexual violence against women in a time of war, and the Japanese public’s responses to the comfort women issue..
The Japanese term jugun ianfu, “military comfort woman” has been severely criticized because it does not indicate the actual conditions the women had to suffer.
It is a euphemism for enforced military sex labourers or slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army in the name of Emperor Hirohito. The term was coined by Japanese government, military officials, and sexual industry agents, all hoping to obscure the dreadful reality behind the term: the system of Japanese military comfort women was in fact sexual slavery.
Between 1932 and 1945, untold thousands of women, euphemistically known as “comfort women” were systematically rounded up and imprisoned in “comfort stations”, brothels where they were repeatedly raped and abused by Japanese military
personnel. In the years since Japan’s defeat, these women have lived with the physical and emotional scars of their enslavement in silence.
The purpose of my paper is to outline that: 1) the Japanese government and military were fully and systematically involved in planning, establishing and operating system of comfort women; 2) the military comfort women system was sexual slavery,
organized and controlled by the military and it constituted sexual, racial, ethnic and economic discrimination and a violation of women’s rights; 3) the institution of comfort women as a means to prevent rape of local women . one of the reasons given
by the Japanese military for their introduction . was ineffective, as rape was not eliminated; 4) the suffering of the women involved had long . time effects. It did not end with liberation: many comfort women were unable to return home and some still
remain where they were abandoned, as illustrated by the case of Javanese women in Pramoedya’s book, still living in Buru Island.
Only in the 1990s, the suffering of comfort station survivors call on the Japanese government to investigate and reveal the truth about its wartime conduct, acknowledge its war crimes, punish those responsible, issue apologies and pay individual compensation to all its victims, and educate younger generations about Japan’s war crimes so as to prevent their repetition. The Indonesian Government
expressed a desire for assistance in developing welfare facilities for the elderly, rather than for projects benefiting individual former comfort women. This conclusion was reached primarily because:
(i) it would be extremely difficult to authenticate former comfort women;
(ii) it was important to protect the honour of the former comfort