Comfort Woman. Sounds a bit…..comfortable, doesn’t it?
On the contrary the Comfort Women of Japan during WWII were anything but comfortable; they were brutalized, violated, terrorized, raped, enslaved, kidnapped, humiliated, de-valued and de-humanized all for the sake of what? For the sake of easing the sexual frustrations of Japanese soldiers during the war, so they say. I say it was for the sake of satiating an unspeakable evil that controlled that country at the time.
Over 200,000 women from Japan, China, South Korea and the Phillipines were forced to become sex slaves, or more pleasantly comfort women, for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The suffering these women endured is unfathomable. And although many of the women who were victims of this human atrocity have passed on, the mere mention of comfort women in these nations brings back very painful feelings and even images.
With just that amount of information said, it is hard to believe that anyone would try to justify the actions of the Imperial Army and the brutalization of these women. But if the war on women has taught us anything, it’s that there is always at least one jackass out there ready to take the lowest blow possible, in hopes of hitting a kill spot and gaining some praise for his/her efforts.
This week, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto told reporters at his weekly press conference, that the women forced to become prostitutes to entertain Japanese troops during World War II were “necessary.” He went on to further state that “anyone would understand” the role of “comfort women” when soldiers were risking their lives and you wanted to give them “a rest.” Oh, wait. This jackassery did not stop here. Hashimoto went on to say that he told a U.S. military commander during a trip to a base on the island of Okinawa that the adult entertainment business in Japan should be “utilized more” by U.S. personnel. He said, “I told him [the US commander] there are places that operate within the boundaries of the law which can be used for releasing sexual frustration, so they [the U.S. military] should fully utilize it or the marines won’t be able to control their aggressive sexual desires.” (From CNN.com)
First of all I want to point out a not so obvious label that many people have incorrectly placed upon sex slaves-prostitutes.
Sex slaves are NOT prostitutes.
A prostitute by definition, is a person who engages in a sex or a sexual act for payment. Prostitution suggests a willing participant. A Sex Slave by definition, is the organized coercion of unwilling people into different sexual practices by a controlling party. The two are not the same; actually they are polar opposites. Therefore we need to refrain from interchanging the two terms so that those who were stolen, violated, raped and de-humanized as slaves can walk in freedom once they are finally free. Second, I want to give you all some background on the comfort women of Japan. In the early stages of the war, there were voluntary prostitutes that offered their services to the army. But as the war went on and the army grew, so did the need for more prostitutes grow.
Unfortunately this is when women and young girls were tricked or kidnapped into “service”. Just as it goes on today, many women were lured into the ‘comfort stations’ or brothels by ads for employment. During WWII the men were fighting the war and the women had to take care of the families they left behind, so women had to find work. When a woman went to answer some of these ads, they were forced into service. Some women were even kidnapped right from their own homes and enslaved.
While many of the victims have died, there are still some survivors. There is a great documentary with interviews from some of the survivors called: Comfort Women: One Last Cry on YouTube. Check it out and see first hand what these women went through. Once you see what these women went through, your level of disgust for Hashimoto’s comments will rise significantly. Prepare yourself.
Multi-media artist Chang-Jin Lee’s Comfort Women Wanted showcased the actual advertisements that the Imperial Army posted. When those ads for ‘comfort’ failed, “young women from Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Netherlands were kidnapped or deceived and forced into sexual slavery. Most were teenagers, some as young as 11 years old, and were raped by as many as fifty soldiers a day at military rape camps, known as “comfort stations.” Women were starved, beaten, tortured, and killed. By some estimates only 30% survived the ordeal.” (From Lee’s site.) You can see the advertisements as well as interviews Lee obtained from survivors on her website: ChingLee.net While politicians in Japan and activists in the county are weighing in on Hashimoto’s statements and distancing themselves from him, I think more needs to be done. Any person who can openly justify the sexual enslavement of thousands of women has no business in any type of leadership position.
Further, Japan should be extremely embarrassed at the fact that their government is being tied to this atrocity yet again. If, in fact, the nation is truly sorry for it’s past crimes against humanity, then Mr. Hashimoto and anyone with his political mindset, needs to be relieved of duty-immediately!
The comments made to a US military commander alone about the adult entertainment industry in Japan warrants some sort of disciplinary action for this guy. I mean really? Are Japanese men that sexually frustrated that they believe that everyone needs a prostitute or two, just to get through the day?
While I doubt that Hashimoto will loose his position behind this, I do hope the international community rides this one into the dirt. Maybe it’s time for some of the men in Japan to become “uncomfortable”.
Finally, to all of the survivors and their families of this brutal tragedy, my heart and my prayers go out to you. I pray you find flight in your freedom. While it may be painful to hear about the unspeakable things that happened to you and/or your family-don’t allow the past to keep you in bondage. Your wings are stronger than you know!
Allow them to carry you past the pain and into your destiny!
Love to you!