The massacre of Najing is still to this day one of the most ruthless horrers that has ever happened in war history. Japanese soldiers not only killed Chinese soldiers they also killed women, children, dogs, and basically anything that stood in their way – they shot down. Instead of just killing the women swiftly, many soldiers ended up raping and terrorizing Chinese women and after they had their sexual satisfaction with them, they killed them. The Japanese wanted to make sure that not only China felt the fear of Japan but also every other country should fear Japan.
Japan wanted to make an example of China to show this is what happens when you resist the Japanese. From the horror it left in its wake in China, Japan went on to fight with many other countries and it eventually colonizied Korea. During its coloniztion of Korea, the Japanese government saw the perfect opportunity to use Korean women to benefit Japanese soldiers. This was the so-called birth of the “Korean comfort women.”
The Japanese government created “comfort stations” to which mainly Korean women were brought to serve Japanese soldiers’ sexual needs. The two main reasons the Japanese government saw fit to create these “comfort stations” was because one, the rate of venereal diseases kept rising among the soldiers because they sought out any prostitutes to satisfy their sexual needs and as such the government wanted to do all it could to attempt to control the venereal disease outbreak. With the creation of the comfort women stations, the government was in control of those women and made sure that they were free of any venereal diseases. The Japanese government also wanted to prevent their soldiers from raping women in the territories that they were colonizing.
Because Japan had already colonized Korea, the japanese government felt that it owned these women in its colony and as such could use them to provide free sex to its soldiers. Japan did not care that the soldiers often rapped these women many times a day and burutalized them.
Many young Korean girls and families had no idea what was going to come from the Japanese colonizing Korea. The Japanese were to be feared because of what they had done previously to other countries that they colonized, however the worst was yet to come. Young Korean women began missing left and right, others were mislead into thinking they were going to receive manufacturing jobs. The cruel surprise came when they were taken to a military “comfort station” where women “were mobilized from many Asian countries, including Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, and even some Dutch women in Indonesia were victimized.” However the majority of the girls brought to these “comfort stations” were Korean. Not only were these women subject to rape on a daily basis by numerous Japanese soldiers, they were also tortured, beaten, burned, and sometimes stabbed. Many women died of venereal disease in military brothels, while other women resorted to suicide.
Often, Japanese military preyed on unmarried virgin girls who ranged in age from their teens to their early 20s. Korean women were always treated much worse than any of the other prostitutes that were subjected to the sexual slavery of the Japanese soldiers. Korean women were not only coerced into thinking they were being given factory jobs they were also abducted and taken to these “comfort station.” The Japanese targeted poor families to take their daughters, sisters, and nieces some girls were even sold off by their own parents because they were so poor.
The Japanese government purposely chose Korean and Taiwanese women to become “comfort women” due to the assumption that they were not violating the international laws that ban the sale of children and women for prostitution.
Japanese society believed that middle/upper-middle class citizens were essentially better than lower class individuals so they protected their daughters and wives and then in turn exploited the lower class individuals knowing they wouldn’t be able to defend themselves and fight back. When these lower class Korean girls/women were taken from their homes the families were too poor to find any information regarding their daughters and they were also afraid of retribution from the Japanese government if they tried to interfere. Moreover, the families often did not know that their daughters were being used as comfort women by the soldiers.
These six are today’s faces of the Korean comfort women. They are still broken women even today because of the abuse and rapes they suffered at the hands of the Japanese soldiers during the war. Even today one can still see the pain and anguish they have carried around with themselves often in silence all these years. However, some finally mustered up the courage and came forward in the early nineties to tell their heart wrenching stories and to finally hold the Japanese soldier accountable for brutalizing them. Although when they first came forward, Japan denied any wrongdoing but finally admitted the existence of comfort women for its soldiers. Sadly, neither the japans government nor any of the solders ever apologized to these women even to this day.
The Japanese government’s behavior is utterly atrocious because many of these women have been forced to live horrible lives, dealing with venereal diseases, mental illnesses and broken bodies, from forced abortions, brutalization, daily rapes, beating, and stabbings. Some of them could never marry let alone bare children and have families because they had their uteruses removed by the Japanese so the soldiers could continue to have sex with them without the risk of them getting pregnant. The very least the Japanese government could do today is apologize to these women for this horrific treatment.
Because these women suffered so greatly they never received a proper education and ended up living in poverty. Often they were merely being able to hold jobs as maids and waitresses that did not pay well, although they worked as hard as they could. They lived sad lives because for most of their lives, and some of them for their entire lives were too ashamed and afraid to be honest about their horrific pasts as comfort women. These women went through great lengths to keep the truth even from their closest relatives.
Finally within the last decade, some feminist organizations have been established and are advocating for these women. They demand “victim’s compensation” from the Japanese government for these women as well as a sincere apology from the Japanese leader. Certainly the least the Japanese government could do is provide these women was a monetary compensation so they could live dignified lives, which they so desperately deserve after all these years.
Japan even today has a flourishing commercial sex industry, even though all brothels were closed in 1948, they were quickly replaced by so-called “special restaurants. This picture depicts two geisha prostitutes in Japan. Japan has not been able to stop its sex trade, which was already blossoming pre-war. During the war, the soldiers had to continue their sex games, for free of course and that was when the Japanese government supplied them with all the Korean comfort women that Japanese soldiers could possibly want and which they used for sex toys, raped, and brutalized during the war.
Japan still to this day condones the sex trade and it even has blossomed into an even bigger commercial business. Already in the 1920s, women in Japan that work in brothels are given “long-term employment contracts, which in a way allows the brothel owners to control the women just like the soldiers did all these years ago. Sadly, not much has changed in Japan in this regard.
Today, still like all these years ago during the war, the Japanese government still has its hands in the sex trade. Now just like it already was the case pre-war, it even benefits financially from this trade because prostitutes are highly paid and of course taxed which provides the government resources and also economic growth. The government regulates the sex trade and keeps close count of the prostitutes. At one point even pre-war, Japan had “1 prostitute for every 350 people” and in the city of Kyoto the ratio was even higher, with “1 prostitute for every 150 inhabitants. The government even went as far as creating a three tier prostitute system, with the licensed geishas on top, then the licensed prostitutes, and on the bottom were the unlicensed prostitutes. The geishas were seen as entertainers that even took singing and dancing lessons.
Although the laws were changed in 1956 and prostitution was seen as “evil,” the sex trade continued to flourish, just under many different names, and different types of establishments such as bars and meeting places. The continued sex trade in Japan is not surprising as the Japanese see sex as an important human need just as important as food and water. Clearly, this attitude on sex by the Japanese also sheds light on the very reason why the government provided its soldiers with comfort women during the war just like it provided them with comfort foods. It is apparent that Japan does not see women as anything else other than a commodity.
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Sleeper, Christopher. From F. Tillman, “All Captives Slain,” The New York Times, December 18, 1937, pp. 1, 10.
Sleeper, Christopher. “New Configurations WWII”, power point.