タグ : 歴史の真実を求める世界連合会
THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR HISTORICAL TRUTH (GAHT) www.gahtjp.org
●Focusing historical issue from the overseas point of view chapter 2
WHAT WERE THE COMFORT WOMEN?
Then, what were the Comfort Women? This issue is discussed in detail by Historian Ikuhiko Hata in his book published in 1999, The Comfort Women and the Sex in the Battlefields. The Imperial Armed Forces of Japan established “Comfort Stations” in which Comfort Women worked in Shanghai in 1932. At that time, as reactions to the Manchurian incident, the Chinese troops attacked the small Japanese Naval brigade in January. Immediately Japan dispatched Army troops to Shanghai. The Japanese side successfully repelled the opposing troops, made a ceasefire agreement in March, and the Army troops went back home in May. However, during their stay, many raping incidents of local girls were reported. Thus, staff officers of the dispatched troops initiated a request to Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture to send a group of female entertainers. As a result, the raping cases vanished.
The Comfort Stations established lasted only for two months because the troops went home soon after. But, the scheme of the Comfort Stations and Comfort Women established in Shanghai had been maintained ever since then. The principal components of the scheme were: (1) Comfort Stations should be prepared and managed by private entities according to the rules set by the Armed Forces. (2) The facilities could be used only by military and military-related persons. (3)There should be one holiday every month. (4)Those who obtained license to operate must present to the Military Police the name, nationality, the date of birth, resume, and photo of each female worker called Comfort Woman. (5)Once every week Military doctor would review the health of each worker , and those workers who were diagnosed to be ill were not allowed to work. (6)Condoms and disinfectants should be used. (7)Working hours should be from 10AM through 6 PM, and 7PM through 10PM. (8)The fee should range from 1 yen through 1.50 yen. (9)Workers should not be allowed to go out of the permitted zone without a permit. (10)The facility managers would be deprived of the permit if they did not follow the rules on the division of income between the manager and the workers. In other words, the managers of Comfort Stations were placed under strict supervision by the Military.
From the above description, it is known that this system of Comfort Women was for protecting local women and girls from sexual violence and for protecting soldiers and women from sexually transmitted diseases. This was a rare case in which military forces had adopted an organized policy on the sexual pressure of service persons. Behind this policy was a publicly accepted system of prostitution in Japan.
It is said from the ancient times that prostitution is the oldest profession of women. In modern times, for preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, prostitution was granted an official status when the workers were registered in France and other places during the 19th century. In Japan as well, the registration system of public prostitution requiring parental permission was started toward the end of the 19th century. Workers were allowed to quit the job. The Comfort Women of Japan were established in this environment.
When the Pacific War was started in 1941, the Japanese military troops went to not only in China, but also to several countries in Southeast Asia. Accordingly, the number of Comfort Women increased. They were recruited not only within Japan proper but also in Korea and Taiwan which were parts of Japan. Some of women from China, Indonesia, Philippines had been added. The situation of Comfort Women at that time has been reported in the United States Office of War Information Psychological Warfare Team’s report NO. 49. This report is based on interviews with 20 Korean Comfort Women who were captured in Burma. The report which was written in 1944 presents the following:
Recruiting: They were recruited by Japanese managers in 1942, with a promise of high income. The exact nature of work was not explained.
Daily Life: Each woman was given a room in which she lived and took customers. Meals were provided by the Japanese couple who managed the Comfort Station and paid for by the Comfort Women. As they had a lot of money, they had a luxurious life. As they received periodic health checks, their heath conditions were good.
Work Conditions: As the number of Comfort Women was small relative to the demand, they had to keep service time strictly. A soldier was served up to 30 minutes, and an officer up to 40 minutes. They worked from 10AM through 12 AM, and had Wednesdays off duty, on which they received health checks. Comfort Women requested customers to use condoms and were careful in heath matters.
Remuneration: Generally, the managers took a half to 55% of the gross income, and the rest went to the Comfort Women. Each Comfort Woman took roughly 750 yen per month. The salary of a freshman soldier was 7.50 yen and sergeant 25 yen per month. Their income was exceptional.
Relationship with Japanese Soldiers: Generally the soldiers were kind to them, having parties together, and some requesting marriage. There are some cases of actual marriage.
Then, this report concluded that the Comfort Women were nothing more than prostitutes.
Koichi Mera, Ph. D.
President, GAHT-US Corporation