Violence, Commerce, Marriage
On August 16, 1945, women together with their children crowded Tokyo’s main train stations, for fear that U.S. soldiers would rape those remaining in the city.1 Over the following week, reports from around Japan signaled mounting panic. In Kure, near Hiroshima, and Hachinoe, in Aomori prefecture, residents worried that Allied troops would rampage through their cities.2 In Fukuoka City, an army officer advised that women and children should flee, and female government staff were instructed to evacuate.3 In Kanagawa prefecture, to the south of Tokyo, where Allied troops were expected to land at the port cities of Yokohama and Yokosuka, local authorities warned councils to evacuate women and children inland.4 Neighborhood associations planned to establish vigilante corps, and anxious parents spoke of disguising their daughters to look like men.5 Major national newspapers tried to dampen fears, but some, such as the Yomiuri Hōchi Shimbun, still discouraged Japanese women from walking alone down quiet streets.6
Japanese authorities had issued such warnings before. In the Caroline Islands, the Japanese military told women that they would be raped when the Americans came.7 In Saipan, warnings of rape and murder led hundreds of civilians on the island to kill themselves and their families rather
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Publication information: Book title: Occupying Power: Sex Workers and Servicemen in Postwar Japan. Contributors: Sarah Kovner - Author. Publisher: Stanford University Press. Place of publication: Stanford, CA. Publication year: 2012. Page number: 49.
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