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Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan's Sex Slaves (Oxford Oral History)by Peipei Qiu
Synopses & Reviews
During the Asia-Pacific War, the Japanese military forced hundreds of thousands of women across Asia into "comfort stations" where they were repeatedly raped and tortured. Japanese imperial forces claimed they recruited women to join these stations in order to prevent the mass rape of local women and the spread of venereal disease among soldiers. In reality, these women were kidnapped and coerced into sexual slavery. Comfort stations institutionalized rape, and these "comfort women" were subjected to atrocities that have only recently become the subject of international debate.
Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Japan's Imperial Sex Slaves features the personal narratives of twelve women forced into sexual slavery when the Japanese military occupied their hometowns. Beginning with their prewar lives and continuing through their enslavement to their postwar struggles for justice, these interviews reveal that the prolonged suffering of the comfort station survivors was not contained to wartime atrocities but was rather a lifelong condition resulting from various social, political, and cultural factors. In addition, their stories bring to light several previously hidden aspects of the comfort women system: the ransoms the occupation army forced the victims' families to pay, the various types of improvised comfort stations set up by small military units throughout the battle zones and occupied regions, and the sheer scope of the military sexual slavery-much larger than previously assumed. The personal narratives of these survivors combined with the testimonies of witnesses, investigative reports, and local histories also reveal a correlation between the proliferation of the comfort stations and the progression of Japan's military offensive.
The first English-language account of its kind, Chinese Comfort Women exposes the full extent of the injustices suffered by and the conditions that caused them.
"This significant scholarly contribution to the history of Imperial Japan's enslavement of 'comfort women' before and during WWII presents the first English translation of testimonies from Chinese comfort women — a group that made up at least half of the 400,000 women detained and systematically brutalized in the Japanese military's comfort stations. At the book's center are 12 testimonials of survivors (most of whom have since died) who recount violent, inhuman treatment at the hands of the Japanese military and wartime collaborators. The book contextualizes their experience in relation to the progression of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931 — 1945). The wartime context is key to the particular viciousness meted by an invading and occupying force, and explains the double injustice the women faced, not only at the hands of the enemy but also by their society. Nationalist prejudice and patriarchal ideology combined to dismiss and deepen the women's suffering, and prolong injustice. The final section examines the international compensation campaign and redress movement by, and on behalf of, survivors, which began in the 1990s and included no less than 10 unsuccessful lawsuits against the Japanese government, as well as a galvanizing war crimes tribunal in Tokyo in 2000. This vital work, combining exemplary scholarship and humanitarian activism, should prove valuable to a wide audience and indispensable to specialists. 24 b&w illus. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Peipei Qiu is Professor of Chinese and Japanese, Louise Boyd Dale and Alfred Lichtenstein Chair in Modern Languages, and Director of the Asian Studies Program at Vassar College.
Su Zhiliang is Professor of History, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Communication, and Director of the Research Center for Chinese "Comfort Women" at Shanghai Normal University.
Chen Lifei is Professor of Journalism, Chair of the Department of Publishing and Media Studies, and Deputy Director of the Center for Women's Studies at Shanghai Normal University.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations
Part 1: The War Remembered
1. Japan's Aggressive War and the Military "Comfort Women" System
2. The Mass Abduction of Chinese Women
3. Different Types of Military "Comfort Stations" in China
4. Crimes Fostered by the "Comfort Women" System
Part 2: The Survivors' Voices
5. Eastern Coastal Region
6. Warzones in Central and Northern China
7. Southern China Frontlines
Part 3: The Postwar Struggles
8. Wounds That Do Not Heal
9. The Redress Movement
10. Litigation on the Part of Chinese Survivors
11. International Support
What Our Readers Are Saying
History and Social Science » Asia » Japan » Modern 1868 to 1945