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Korean comfort women and Nationalism

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Printed Date: 23 Feb 2019 at 17:12
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Topic: Korean comfort women and Nationalism
Posted By: elizabeth123
Subject: Korean comfort women and Nationalism
Date Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 07:57

I have been told to write an essay about how nationalism affects the way history is remembered by using the ‘Korean comfort women’ issue to explain my argument.
But I am confused about it so would like to post this up and see if anyone could kindly help me out.

From what I understand from the question I feel like nationalism strongly relates to Korean comfort women in terms of the sense of victory in Imperial Japan, which offers them a pride towards using women from the defeated countries as military gifts. The way nationalism is remembered is therefore affected by the negative perspectives of especially Korea women who were labelled to have lower values in the society, and also building comfort stations overseas represent the empowering of Imperialism which leads to nationalism in order to show the strength of the Japanese military skills and, most of all, the emperor who is almost imitating the God-like figure.
Please correct me if I went off to the wrong direction / share your ideas. Much appreciated!

Posted By: Paradigm of Humanity
Date Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 08:29
Of course, nationalism has some deep roots to paternalism and patriarchy. What makes you suprised? Shocked

the single postmodern virtue of obsessive egalitarianism

Posted By: elizabeth123
Date Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 08:47
Thanks for the reply - I am just not sure if my points are strong enough, and if there's some points that I am missing, to show how Korean comfort women can relate to the way nationalism has affected the history.

Posted By: Paradigm of Humanity
Date Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 09:20
Do you want a feminist point of view? Ermm

Another cruel exploit of women in stupid male dominant society. That masculine pigs deserved defeat and humiliation because they always viewed fellow sisters as their slaves. Boo for fascists!

Yea... That's how I would answer if I was a feminist woman but I'm not neither of them Tongue I think they (Japs) did what they did because they were strong and they were capable of it.

the single postmodern virtue of obsessive egalitarianism

Posted By: Styrbiorn
Date Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 10:03
Originally posted by Paradigm of Humanity Paradigm of Humanity wrote:

Do you want a feminist point of view? Ermm

She didn't ask for it, did she? Why the ridiculous knee-jerk reaction?


Anyhow, having sex slaves, has more to do with the excess need for "comfort" of men serving in armies combined with complete lack of scruples than nationalism. The influence of nationalism can be indirect however. Considering yourself or your people to have more rights than your neighbours, be it by sheer might, nationalism or divine right, tend to have bad influence on your conscience. Don't take my word for it though, I'm no expert on early 20th century Japanese society , I'm speaking in general here.

Posted By: Paradigm of Humanity
Date Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 11:08
Because I'm self claimed unofficial forum clown. Tongue Trust me, you don't want to know everything. There is more pain in the world than I could bear to see...

Originally posted by Fréderike Geerdink Fréderike Geerdink wrote:

 Nursing a Doll
The two women outline a shocking picture of prostitution. Brothels that are checked by the government, but where most of the work is done under duress and in unhygienic circumstances. Women are forced to sign their official registration at a police station, sometimes in collusion with the vice squad. Forced to have abortions, and serve clients on the same day. Both women lost their reproductive organs, Marianne never had the chance to become a mother because of that. She lovingly nurses a doll, called ‘Stacy’. “I had infections inside and in the end everything had to be removed. They deprived me of the chance to become a mother. And that’s what happens to many women in the brothels. They all crave for a house, children, a family. Lots of my colleagues got a doll to look after.”

the single postmodern virtue of obsessive egalitarianism

Posted By: Northman
Date Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 13:26
- don't mind PoH...   he is still in training about how to behave....   and close to a slap over the wrist or worse....      (stop PoH - do not reply to this)
I think some other more normal members like Styrbiorn will provide some answers soon.
But for now...

   If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.    (Albert Einstein)

Posted By: Buckskins
Date Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 20:12
The comfort women were just that. For what it's worth they were compensated monetarily by the Japanese after they began to prosper. Most soldiers are young men with young men's hormones. The comfort women made them happier soldiers, which probably boosted moral. This was just one more crime committed by the Japanese in that era.

May you live as long as you want to,
and may you want to as long as you live.

Posted By: lirelou
Date Posted: 29 Apr 2012 at 04:40
Elizabeth 123, To come up with any meaningful paper, you'll have to answer several questions:

First: Who were the "comfort women", how were they recruited, how they were housed, fed, cared for, and paid. And what were their motivations for doing so. And even before doing that, you need to define who your paper considers 'comfort women'. I would advise treating women prisoners forced into sexual slavery in a different category from the 'volunteers'.  Understand that comfort women were 'recruited'. Advertisements were placed in newspapers asking for volunteers. Some were volunteers, some were sold into their contracts by relatives, and some were tricked into their contracts. 

Second: This is a minefield, but you should look into all statements with a open mind. It helps to know what the sexual mores governing "women for entertainment" were in the contemporary Asian societies of 1920-40, versus societal attitudes that developed post-war, particularly in regards to women's roles in society, the work place, feminism, etc.. 

Third: You'll need to be familiar with the relationship of the various Asian communities within which Comfort Women ere recruited to Japan itself. To take Korea as an example: Korea was viewed as a partner in the Japanese Empire. Korea had enjoyed considerable improvement under the Japanese to the point that Korean businesses partnered with Japanese businesses in conquered territories, nKorean officers had risen as high as general officer rank within the Imperial Japanese Army, and Koreans even served as Kamakazi pilots. This is something you won't be able to 'wiki'.  Taiwanese likewise served within the IJA. The point being, beware of simple, pat descriptions. The Japanese governed with far more finesse than that shown in graphic novels.

Finally, the real point of your paper, and the real mine field: How have all the facts been viewed and manipulated by Koreans, Japanese, etc., who see the comfort women issue through a late 20th century nationalist lens. Can a single truth be found? Or is the issue so bound up in gut-wrenching nationalist feeling that no honest appraisal of the issue will ever be likely?

You might find some of the comments on this blog site useful in pointing you to more readings." rel="nofollow -


Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì

Posted By: elizabeth123
Date Posted: 29 Apr 2012 at 09:40
Thanks very much! I feel like it is making more sense now :-)

Posted By: heroinchiq
Date Posted: 02 May 2012 at 03:54
Hi, I'm doing this question too. This has been helpful and I try and post things relevent if I have enough time! 

Posted By: illsa267
Date Posted: 07 May 2012 at 06:05
University of Auckland student?

Posted By: heroinchiq
Date Posted: 07 May 2012 at 06:24
Yes, well I am. Are you doing this question? Things that I think are relevant so far are obviously things such as the Kono statement (what wasn't said, reactions to this, other statements or apologies by the Japanese government), the whole text book issue (about comfort women issue not being in there), bring in things like the Asian Womens Trust Fund. Then relate this to nationalistic ideas/whatever. Any help at all would be great! 
I need more examples to be able to argue better / actually understand everything better Confused
Help me! Smile

Posted By: lirelou
Date Posted: 07 May 2012 at 19:51
If you are going to get into the textbook issue, then you will have to address the question as to whether or not:

1 - There is a single historical textbook chosen by a national board for all Japanese schools. Or

2 - There is a list of approved historical textbooks published from which Japanese schools are free to choose the one they prefer. Or

3 - There is no official approval required for Japanese historical textbooks and schools are free to choose whichever one they wish.

Understand that Japan even allows a North Korean run school system to exist within its borders for Korean minorities who wish to school their children in the Korean language and culture. Their textbooks are definitely outside the scope of Japanese history books.

I was under the impression that No. 2 is correct, but it has been so long I can't state that for a fact. If there is no "official textbook" then there really is no textbook issue: It would then be a Korean nationalist political issue with Japanese textbooks in general. 

Somebody somewhere must have a post on how Japanese textbooks are selected for their schools.

Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì

Posted By: heroinchiq
Date Posted: 08 May 2012 at 23:02
Hi, i've found a really useful book (that is kept in short loan library if you attend Auckland Uni) called "The Comfort Women: sexual violence and postcolonial memory in Korea and Japan"by C. Sarah Soh. It makes everything a lot easier to understand. Not really any of the content I found online was directly useful.

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