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The comfort station system established by the Japanese during World War II institutionalized sexual violence against women in order to supposedly prevent both violent rapes and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among Japanese soldiers. There are still arguments and denial over the issue of comfort women today, stating that these women were there of their own free will and were not enslaved. Until recently, they were regarded as “military prostitutes,” and were viewed as a disgrace by their respective cultures. However, evidence gathered since the early 1990s indicates that not only were comfort women sexual slaves of the Imperial Japanese military, but that the Japanese government and military directly collaborated to establish the comfort station system and to procure the women for them. A campaign to secure redress for the survivors began in 1992 and has been successful in reshaping public memory around the comfort station system.
History, Government, Law & National Security
comfort women, public memory, Japanese military, sexual slavery
Shields, Sara, "The Reformation of Public Memory: Campaign for Redress Shifts Public Memory of Comfort Women Issue" (2021). Student Research Poster Presentations 2021. 70.