Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution during World War II and the U.S. Occupation

By Yuki Tanaka | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

This research project started as an extension of my last book, Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II, in particular Chapter 3, “Rape and War: the Japanese Experience.”

Initially I had no plan to cover the conduct of the Allied forces in relation to the comfort women issue. However, my two research trips to the US altered the original plan. In late 1995 and early 1996 I was asked to conduct research at the US National Archives in Maryland by Mr. Ōmori Junrō, a director of the TV documentary section of NHK ( Japan Broadcasting Commission), for a documentary film project. My assignment was to find documents that would reveal why, at the end of World War II, the US military authorities were not interested in prosecuting the Japanese who had been responsible for the sexual exploitation of vast numbers of so-called “comfort women, ” despite their clear knowledge of this matter. On the first trip to the US in December 1995, I spent long hours at the US National Archives, searching any documents that might give some hint to the answer. I concentrated on the documents prepared during the Battle of Okinawa. As I knew that some of the US troops who landed on the Okinawan islands had come across many Korean comfort women abandoned by the Japanese forces, I hoped to find relevant official reports. The result was miserable. I could not find a single document that referred to comfort women, and I came back to Australia on Christmas Eve without any “Christmas present” for Mr. Ōmori. I was embarrassed to report this totally unsatisfactory result to him in Tokyo.

Therefore I was really surprised when he asked me to go back to the US to try again a few months later. This time I drastically changed my research strategy. I started investigating the US military documents in reference to their own soldiers' sexual conduct during World War II, hoping that I might find some clue using this indirect way of searching. My speculation was right. I was astounded by the amazing content and the large volume of vital documents that I found. I photocopied almost all of these documents and brought them back to Australia. As soon as I returned home, I visited the Australian National Archives and the War Memorial and started uncovering similar documents. The amount and content of relevant Australian documents that I subsequently found was a further surprise to me. Some of the results of these discoveries are included, mainly in

-xvii-

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Japan's Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution during World War II and the U.S. Occupation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Figure and Tables xi
  • Plates xii
  • Foreword xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Author's Note xx
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Origins of the Comfort Women System 8
  • 2 - Procurement of Comfort Women and Their Lives as Sexual Slaves 33
  • 3 - Comfort Women in the Dutch East Indies 61
  • 4 - Why Did the Us Forces Ignore the Comfort Women Issue? 84
  • 5 - Sexual Violence Committed by the Allied Occupation Forces Against Japanese Women: 1945-1946 110
  • 6 - Japanese Comfort Women for the Allied Occupation Forces 133
  • Notes 183
  • Index 206
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