The Second World War brought forth devastating issues including the enforcement of women and girls into sexual slavery by a Japanese Army known as the Imperial Army. It is at that moment that moment that comfort women was born. Directly translated into ianfu, meaning sex workers, the numbers of abused women and girls were approximately 360,000. Even though there are statistics, most people still debate over the actual number. In fact, this debate is still under research for many reasons including seeking justice for the girls and their families. In addition to the numbers, it is critical to note that the victims hailed from Korea, the Philippines in addition to China.
What Really Happened?
In the war, women were utilized as comfort stations. Some came all the way from Thailand, East Timor, Burma and Hong Kong. Following the women stories, young girls were attacked in their homes. Others were lured into sex with empty promises built on working in the factories, restaurants and other comforting work stations. Moreover, some were promised education opportunities. However, immediately they were recruited, they were imprisoned in comfort stations within and out of their nations.
Establishing the Comfort Stations
The first comfort station was formed when the military correspondence of the Army of Japan wanted to prevent the occurrence of more sexual crimes. In a bid to protect girls and women from the brutality of rapists, the army found it necessary to intervene between the surrounding communities and the army personnel. Seeing that the armies were displeased by the short supply of Korean comfort women, the military started acquiring women from Japan and Korea. As that moment, history was being made as many women felt defrauded by being forced to be part of army brothels.
The Future of Korean Comfort Women
After years of reliving the comfort women stories of being mistreated and tortured in the hands of the military men, women are now being heard by different governments especially Japan and North Korea. To address this issue, the two states held a meeting on December 28, 2015 and signed a contract over the former wartime and sexual exploitation to compensate the victims of sexual abuse. Initially, Japan parted with about 1 billion yen which translates to roughly $8.3 million. In the agreement, it was discussed that the amount would be channelled towards the parents of the deceased victims and living victims of comfort cases.
Similarly, South Korea considered this matter by evaluating the dialogue and agreeing that the statue of a comfort woman would be yanked out from the entrance of the Japanese embassy. Being a public issue addressed by two to more states, many people disagreed with the fact that the matter was going to be settled in the terms that fairly pleased the people of Japan and not Korea. As such, there was a fierce resistance that called for the installation of new statutes outside the Japanese Consulate located in Busan.
Over the few years, there has been a rise in the number of controversial cases linked to the South Korean comfort women. These controversies are partly appended to the fact that Manichean worldview subdivides the people into innocents in addition to oppressors. Moreover, these cases lack some legitimacy and alternative viewpoints. Therefore, in the past, the people of South Korea have been made to believe that North Korea was a puppet regime made to oppress its people.
The General Observation
There is an ongoing investigation to these comfort women testimonies and the government of Japan is dedicated to finding actual solutions to settle this issue in regards to the statues and the compensation schemes.
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