The 'Comfort Women' and their Representation in International Encyclopedias

An old paper on the so-called comfort women.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. On Conducting the Study
  3. The History of the Comfort Women
  4. The Representation of the Issue in International Encyclopedias and Historical Dictionaries
  5. Final Remarks and Suggestions for Further Research

(This is a revised version of a paper I wrote for university during the summer semester 2014. As I put quite a bit of work into this paper, I did not just want to let it pass as an unpublished term paper, so here it is. It was quite a hassle to create proper html from a .doc, so please excuse inconsistencies in formatting I have missed.)

Introduction

The so-called comfort women were sexslaves of the Japanese military during the Second World War from a number ofcountries, including most prominently China, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan andJapan itself.[1]Even if there is considerable evidence to prove that the Japanese military andits affiliates systematically coerced women and girls into so-called comfortstations, raped and abused them, many aspects of the matter are still underdiscussion.[2]

The term comfort women derives fromthe Japanese jugun ianfu (従軍慰安), literally translated to "military comfort women", whereas jugun(従軍) describes laborers in the military"s service, implying that theyearned money, and ianfu (慰安) is literally translated to comfort woman. These terms wereoriginally used by the Japanese military during the Second World War and lateron popularized by, among others, the Japanese journalist and author Senda Kakoand historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi.[3]Alternatively to the term comfort women, military sex slaves isused to refer to the victims by those arguing, that the euphemist implicationsof the term comfort women was not fit for a serious issue like this.Certainly, an advantage of the term comfort women is its precision: Militarysex slaves may refer to any sex slaves, as comfort women specificallyrefers to those used by the Japanese during the Second World War.

But not only the right term to use is apoint of debate: As this paper will show, many of those involved in the debate,such as the current Japanese military, the victims themselves and human rightsgroups, pursue widely differing aims. Hence, a consensus has yet to be reachedregarding many aspects of the comfort women issue such as the number ofvictims, whether coercion was used and who exactly committed which crimes.Considering the perspective of lobbyists for the cause of the comfort women survivors,it also remains to be answered who exactly qualifies to be called a victim: AreJapanese wartime prostitutes comfort women, too? Especially Korean andJapanese feminists in the 1990s emphasized, that the issue of comfort womenis not an isolated one, but generally carries important implications for humanrights.[4]As explained below, the historiographical aspect of the matter may also hint atpersistent racist and sexist thoughts among the different parties involved.

It took until the late 1980s and early1990s that the issue of comfort women gained much attention. Eventually,in 1993, then Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei apologized to the comfortwomen and textbooks where updates, so that "by 1997 almost all schoolhistory textbooks and those in related subjects included a brief reference tocomfort women."[5]Recently there has been a strong and partially successful neoconservativemovement to eradicate references to the comfort women again in Japanesemedia, first of all textbooks.

Among others, a central demand of humanrights activists and victim groups is that the public be informed about theissue. This exactly includes leaving or putting the references back intotextbooks respectively. Hence, history textbooks and in parts other media inJapan have remained a controversial topic.[6]Not only have media and political groups dealt with this matter in length, butmuch research has been done on especially the textbook debate, too. In contrastto this, only little research has been done on the representation of the issuein non-Japanese media. Especially in regard to its representations inencyclopedias and historical dictionaries[7]there has been little if any research to this day.

Print encyclopedias are useful indicatorsof the perceived relevance of information in their given context, be it atemporal or a local one. Because - like any other form of printed books - theyare bound by limitations of space, intensified by the extensive range of topicsthey cover, supposedly irrelevant information is oftentimes not mentioned. Thisalso means that long elaborations of the possible controversies revolvingaround an issue are a rare find. Mostly, they can be found only with the mostrelevant topics, or if the article deals explicitly with them. Without space todiscuss the sources the use of unconfirmed data is also hardly presentable,only the supposedly most trustworthy sources will be used. Therefore, printencyclopedias serve as a fit indicator as to what information is seen asconfirmed or as to what sources are of such a great relevance, that they mustbe included.[8]

Another important component in researchingencyclopedias, especially those with new, different concepts, is their role asmultiplicators of information to the broad public. A most prominent example forthis may be the Wikipedia, which has been among the top websites on theinternet for years. Depending on which information is given by most popular andwidely used sources like these, the public knowledge on an issue may varydrastically.[9]

This paper presents the results of a studyconducted to find out, if and how the discourse revolving around the comfortwomen and its developments are reflected in international encyclopedias,outside of the main countries immediately involved, China, the ROC and Japan.An examination of encyclopedias from these countries and in their respectivelanguages, despite certainly being an interesting topic, would be out of thescope of this paper. Only English language encyclopedias from these countrieswere included, as they are sufficiently accessible to international audiences.

As the study presented in this paper shows,just a small number of international encyclopedias deem the comfort women assufficiently important to deal with them and their story. On the other hand,issues of arguably much less importance are discussed,given they occurred in awestern context. And even among those encyclopedias that deal with the topic,the limitations set upon the range of information provided vary drastically.This paper may serve as a contribution to a number of fields of research. Forhistorians and historiographers, the limitations set by the respective editorsand authors may give hints at which sources and accounts are seen asuntrustworthy or at least too controversial to be included by an internationalcommunity of researchers and authors. The same applies to relevance: Forinstance, encyclopedias give varying accounts on the countries of origin offormer comfort women. Are Thai comfort women relevant enough tobe mentioned explicitly? Moreover, this paper may serve as a contribution tolexicography by depicting different ways encyclopedias cope with a highlycontroversial topic and its various aspects, and how this way of coping changedover time. To provide the context for presenting the study sufficiently, thehistory of the comfort women and the discussion of the matter since theSecond World War will be recapitulated first.

On Conducting the Study

For this study 41 randomly selected printencyclopedias were examined (See table 1 and 2). For reference data and toexamine possible differences between print and online encyclopedias,information from three online encyclopedias, which all contain information onthe topic of comfort women, were added after. Due to the rather minimalinternational attention paid to the issue at hand before the early 1990s, thestudy focused on encyclopedias published from 1990 onwards. A few earliertitles were checked - the earliest published in 1984 - to validate, that beforethe 1990s no information on the comfort women was included. A number ofencyclopedias, universal or of a seemingly relevant focus, written in English,German, Spanish or Indonesian/Malay were included in the study.

A huge majority of these encyclopedias doesnot provide any information about the issue at all. Because it was obviouslynot possible to read the complete encyclopedias, each included in the study wasfirst checked for entries on the term and, in case there was none, informationprovided on related issues and terms, such as the original Japanese jugun ianfu, "Second World War", "Japanese history" and "Korean history." If there were nosuch entries and no information provided on the issue elsewhere in relatedarticles, it was concluded that the encyclopedia as a whole does not provideinformation on the issue.

If any information regarding the comfortwomen could be found, the text was checked for what term is used todescribe the victims, which countries of origin where mentioned, which numberof victims is stated and whether the recruitment process is depicted as acoercive one, as these parts of the issue may convey important information ontwo questions: What information is regarded as sufficiently important to bementioned, as for example less present countries of origin of the former comfortwomen, and what party of the debate revolving around the issue do theauthors of the respective encyclopedias side with, as for example in case ofwhether a use of coercion is mentioned or not.

The History of the Comfort Women

The initial ordeals of the comfort womentook place between 1932 and 1945: According to Yoshiaki Yoshimi, one of themajor researchers on the issue, the first comfort women were recruited<ahref="#_edn10" name="_ednref10" title="">[10] for acomfort station in Shanghai, then occupied by the Japanese, in 1932.<ahref="#_edn11" name="_ednref11" title="">[11]Japanese soldiers had raped local women, which fueled anti-Japanese feelings ofthe local population. The idea to use comfort women was at least inparts based on the Japanese military"s practice of providing prostitutes fortheir troops, as could be seen already during the Siberian Intervention (from1918 onwards)[12]or even earlier, during the first Sino-Japanese War at the end of the 19thcentury.[13]At first Japanese and Korean women, later on women from a variety of countries,such as China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia were recruited.<ahref="#_edn14" name="_ednref14" title="">[14] Therewere two major groups of recruits during the early stages of the comfortwomen system: Women already employed in prostitution and girls from poorfamilies.

Prostitution was legally sanctioned inJapan and its occupied areas and Japanese culture did not taboo it.<ahref="#_edn15" name="_ednref15" title="">[15] Thisprovided for Japanese prostitutes relatively easily targetable for recruitmentand lowered the moral bar to setting up the comfort women system. Girlsrecruited from poor families were oftentimes sent away to earn money for theirfamily"s creditors or simply to earn a living for their family, andsubsequently sold to recruiters of the Japanese military. Especially during thefirst years of the comfort women system, families did usually not know,what would happen to their daughters.[16]

A major turn in the history of comfortwomen took place after the 1937 so-called Rape of Nanking, in whichJapanese troops murdered and raped Nanjing people for weeks.[17] Thisincident caused a major outcry against Japanese politics in the internationalpress. Subsequently, to prevent similar incidents from happening, theJapanese military decided to institutionalize and enforce the comfort womensystem: "It is essential to point out here, that the justification given forthis request is the prevention of rape."[18]A related, important factor is the administration"s fear of spreading venerealdiseases. By recruiting young, unmarried women - preferably virgins - andmaking the use of condoms obligatory[19]when in comfort stations, the Japanese hoped to put an end to theirspreading. In fact, the comfort women system could not prevent this fromhappening: Oftentimes, measures taken to prevent venereal diseases spreadingamong the comfort women were ignored or ineffective. Venereal diseaseswere wide-spread among them and the Japanese soldiers.[20]

After the creation of this this first comfortstation in Shanghai, an organized system of recruitment and distribution ofcomfort women ensued. Most comfort women were of Korean descentand their ordeals are by far the best documented. Women and young girls wereeither deceived under false premises or captured and consequently sent toJapanese military stations in the country or abroad under the cover of the Women"sVoluntary Labor Corps.[21]The cover of this Voluntary Labor Force can be seen as a kind ofjustification in recruiting comfort women.[22]Important, too, is that the Japanese military could isolate foreign comfortwomen further from the public and enhance their image of voluntaryprostitutes by making use of, for example, language barriers in the case of comfortwomen sent abroad.[23]Nevertheless, it needs to be noted, that the circumstances of comfort women differedfrom place to place. For example, in the Philippines there was no suchinstitutional cover-up like the Women"s Voluntary Labor Corps.There as well as in Indonesia there are cases of extremely violent, coerciveand less organized recruitment practices documented by testimony of thevictims.[24]The situation in the Philippines was special in terms of comfort women"scircumstances. Comfort Women in the Philippines were, according to manyvictims" testimony, usually recruited in very brutal ways. Common storiesinclude, for example, the rape of young girls in front of their families andthe murder of family members during the recruitment process.[25] Atleast one witness testified to have been held in a tunnel directly next to theJapanese army"s camp instead of a regular comfort station.<ahref="#_edn26" name="_ednref26" title="">[26]

There were several restrictions on theaccess to comfort stations. One was the differentiation between comfortstations exclusive for higher-ranking officers and those for lower-rankingones. Regular soldiers were prohibited from accessing officer-exclusive comfortstations under the threat of draconic penalties.[27] Also,according to Watanabe, comfort women in officer-exclusive comfortstations were preferably of Japanese or European descent and had betterliving conditions than those in regular comfort stations.<ahref="#_edn28" name="_ednref28" title="">[28] Bothforms of comfort stations were often merged towards the end of theSecond World War. Officers had to pay a much higher entrance fee, matchingtheir higher pay. To prevent soldiers and comfort women from engaging inrelationships with each other, soldiers were only allowed to visit comfortstations a limited number of times a month and they had to pay aconsiderable amount of money in relation to their wages to have access to comfortwomen"s services.[29]

As the war"s end was coming closer and theJapanese military evacuated its stations, many comfort women weremurdered or threatened to never talk about their live during the Second WorldWar.[30]Many documents were also destroyed to prevent the atrocities commited byJapanese forces, including the issue of comfort women, from becomingpublic.[31]

 

The Postwar Years: Collective Amnesia

In the years immediately after the SecondWorld War, there was only one trial related to the comfort women issue,the Batavia Military Tribunal in what is Jakarta today. During the BataviaMilitary Tribunal the case of 35 Dutch women was dealt with: Their ordeals wererecognized to be "forced prostitution".[32]It is important to note, that "it ignored similar suffering by a much greaternumber of native women in Indonesia, not to mention female victims in otherAsian countries."[33]It took until 1991, that there was a lawsuit dealing with comfort women ofAsian descent. For the next some decades after the Batavia Military Tribunal,there was in fact what has been labelled "collective amnesia"[34] aboutthe topic. Little if anything was told about the issue, and especiallygovernments remained silent about it. Four parties are to be considered tounderstand this silence: The Allied forces and the victims" home countries"governments (hereinafter Allied forces), the Japanese government, the publicknowledgeable about the existence of comfort women - even if much oftheir information may have been false - and the comfort women themselves.

Regarding the Allied forces, there areseveral theories as to why they did not proactively address the issue andpursue a legal prosecution of the culprits, except for the single case of theBatavia Military Tribunal. One of the possible reasons is a persistentcolonial, racist mentality of the Allied forces, as illustrated by the exampleof the Batavia Military Tribunal. Another possible reason is, that there werenew, supposedly more important, issues to deal with or preventing the issue of comfortwomen from being dealt with during the Cold War. Because of theextensiveness of the comfort women system, a considerable number ofJapanese soldiers would have had to be sued and convicted in a trial dealingexclusively with the issue of comfort women and sexual exploitation<ahref="#_edn35" name="_ednref35" title="">[35]during the Second World War. This could have diminished Japan"s chances foreconomic growth and restoration further in a setting of global politics inwhich a strong Japan was deemed positive if not necessary for a favorableoutcome of the Cold War. Subsequently, many of the victim"s countries of originhad an interest in good relations with Japan after it had regained its economicpower, for strong Japanese investments.[36]

In Korea and the Philippines, there weremilitant communist movements and movements to counter them. Right-wingeddictatorships as in Korea, later on also in the Philippines and Indonesia, hadno interest in promoting women"s rights and, all the less, feminist movements.Yet, it was exactly feminist groups" support that made the late struggle of thecomfort women movement.[37]Especially feminist publications argue that sexist tendencies played a role.<ahref="#_edn38" name="_ednref38" title="">[38]Because of their own use of prostitution, the Allied forces may haveencountered problems in addressing sex-related crimes. For example, South Koreaused sex tourism as a catalyst for economic growth in the 1960s and a largenumber of prostitutes served the US army in Korea during the Korea War, inThailand during the Vietnam War and in the Philippines until the closure of theSubic Naval Base and the Clark Air Base in 1992.

In Korea and Japan, the issue plays a majorrole in nationalist discourses. Japanese nationalist forces try to deny orignore and, if that is impossible, downplay the issue to escape from theperceived shame inflicted on Japan by its military"s acts. Because of thisstance of Japanese nationalists and because of their political strength, theissue is very rarely dealt with in the media.[39]The Japanese government, too, has still to officially admit that coercivemeasures were taken by Japanese military staff in the recruitment of comfortwomen to this day.[40]

Nationalist attitudes combined withpatriarchal conceptions of what a woman has to act and be like may not onlyhave led to governments not pressing the issue, but they definitely influencedthe broad public and the comfort women"s own further acts around it<ahref="#_edn41" name="_ednref41" title="">[41]: InKorea, as with many other countries the former comfort women come from, theissue of comfort women was also seen as shameful to the nation for along of time.[42]At least in Korea and the Philippines, the idea that a woman raped was sullied,a "dishonor"[43]to her family and not marriable, persisted and does in parts still persist.<ahref="#_edn44" name="_ednref44" title="">[44] Urgedby their families to conceal their ordeals and marry soon[45], manyformer comfort women"s married life became severely strained andeventually ended after their husbands learned of what had happened to themduring the Second World War.[46]

Venereal diseases and forced abortionsfurther diminished comfort women"s livelihood. Many died from themduring the Second World War and even after, many victims kept struggling withtheir diseases and their aftereffects.[47]Especially noteworthy is that many victims lost their ability to give birth.<ahref="#_edn48" name="_ednref48" title="">[48] Thisled to further discrimination and social marginalization, based on female rolemodels placing women as mothers and protectors of their families.<ahref="#_edn49" name="_ednref49" title="">[49] 

In most areas occupied by the Japanese, comfortwomen were usually held in so-called comfort stations: Hoods orbarracks usually secluded from, but supervised by, the Japanese militarygarrisons and the public"s view.[50]This was an attempt to keep the existent of these comfort women andtheir conditions secret. In fact, many people that knew of their existencethought that the comfort women willfully collaborated with theJapanese and led a good life and received decent pay for their work. Actually,most if not all did receive nothing but the most basic things to survive, suchas food and clothes though.[51]This conception of the comfort women as voluntary servants combined withthe idea that raped women were a disgrace very likely contributed to thepublic"s silence about the issue.

This remains a point to debate until today.The perception of prostitution as a shameful activity is of utmost importancein deciding which term was appropriate, for example military sex slaves versuscomfort women. Former comfort women refused the term for itsimplication of voluntariness. Contrastingly some researchers use itconsciously, indiscriminately of whether recruitment took place voluntarily orinvoluntarily, arguing, that on the one hand such a differentiation maycontribute to a continuation and reproduction of sexist approaches on gender,sex and the role of prostitution and that on the other hand, no matter how theywere recruited, the circumstances of comfort women did not differnotably.[52]Emphasizing the differences between voluntarily recruited, despite having tolive under circumstances just as bad, and involuntary comfort women, as,according to Pyong Gap Min, also done by some Korean activists, does not onlyreproduce questionable ideological views, but it also leads to a split withinthe comfort women movement.[53]This may lead to a partial exclusion of Japanese former comfort women,which in turn would weaken them in demanding compensation.

Furthermore, as explained above, most comfortwomen were recruited from poor families. Many probably had simply not themeans to speak out about the issue or keep up a long fight for their demands.<ahref="#_edn54" name="_ednref54" title="">[54] Thefact that comfort women imprisoned together were often prohibited fromtalking to each other and had to use Japanese names further intensified theirisolation during and after the Second World War. Not only did this increase thetrauma suffered by the victims, but it also prevented them from getting to knoweach other better and possibly form groups to tell their stories and join handsin making their demands.[55]

Last but not least, the idea that rape andother gender based crimes were a natural consequence of war or a plainnecessity in conflicts was prevailing.[56]

Breaking the Silence

All these factors may give an explanationto the relative absence of the issue in the media and public discourse for atleast 20 to 25 years until the 1970s:

"A number ofreports, diaries, and memoirs published in Japan during and after World War IImentioned military comfort facilities on various war fronts and throughoutterritories occupied by Japanese imperial forces. In these writings, the termianfu (comfort women) was a euphemism for prostitutes who provided sex to menin service. Although the story had no place in Japan"s official war history, itwas told and retold privately as a nostalgic (and sometimes romantic) episodein men"s memoirs and novels."[57]

In the 1970s, the Japanese journalist andauthor Senda Kako started publishing non-fiction books on the issue, whichgained a lot of attention. Other authors in both Japan and South Korea followedsoon after, but this did not yet trigger any political reactions.<ahref="#_edn58" name="_ednref58" title="">[58]

The first major article about comfortwomen was published by Matsui Yayori in Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan"slargest newspapers after interviewing an unnamed Korean former comfort woman.Even if the article did not yet gain much attention, Korean researchers pickedit up and started working more on the topic after the end of South Korea"sdictatorship in 1987. From 1988 onwards, after extensive research on her ownand consultation with Matsui, South Korean scholar Yun Chung-ok "wrote a series of reports on the issue for a Koreannewspaper."[59] These reports boosted awareness of the issue and causedan outcry by the public and political groups, which in return forced theJapanese government to react.[60]

Women rights groups managed to raisefurther awareness of and political pressure regarding the issue in the contextof the 1990 state visit of South Korean President Roh Tae Woo to Japan.<ahref="#_edn61" name="_ednref61" title="">[61] TheJapanese government continued to refuse acknowledging any involvement of themilitary in the issue, "insisting on its official position of regarding theinstitution of military "comfort stations" as private enterprise."<ahref="#_edn62" name="_ednref62" title="">[62]

Finally, in 1991, Kim Hak-sun, was thefirst former comfort woman to speak out publicly about her ordeals.<ahref="#_edn63" name="_ednref63" title="">[63] It isimportant to note, that she waited until she was the only member of her familyremaining.[64]This may have at least contributed to her willingness to give testimony.Subsequently, many more former comfort women from various countries,gave testimony and a series of lawsuits in front of the Tokyo High Court and theJapanese Supreme Court ensued.[65]In December 1991 the first of these was filed by Kim and two other Koreanformer comfort women, backed by civil society, first of all in Korea.<ahref="#_edn66" name="_ednref66" title="">[66]Further lawsuits included, among others, that by Philippine women in 1993 andthat by Taiwanese women in 1999.[67] In 1993 the South Korea government announced its support of the former comfortwomen"s demand for clarification and an earnest apology, but that it wouldnot seek financial compensation. It also started paying compensation to thevictims. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono reacted by issuing astatement (usually referred to as Kono Statement) expressing his apology to theformer comfort women.[68]

An important factor in triggering the KonoStatement had been that Yoshiaki Yoshimi found Japanese military documentsgiving evidence for the existence of comfort women in the Japanese SelfDefense Forces" archives. Further research by international researchers was inturn fueled by the Kono Statement. The early 1990s" Rwanda Civil War andYugoslavia Wars gave a new, global dimension to the issue, setting it incontext with gender based crime in war.[69]This new dimension broadened the range of disciplines dealingwith the topic, as for example more and more law experts came to mind it, andinternationalized the research conducted on it. Eventually, in 1998, sexualslavery was added to the list of war crimes in the Rome Statute of theInternational Criminal Court.[70]

Neverthelessit has to be noted, that the majority of research conducted on the comfortwomen issue was and is centered on Korean victims. Most documents probablydeal with them, and they enjoy a broad backing from civil societyorganizations, and in parts the government, as explained above. Comparativelylittle research can be found on comfort women from less prominently namedareas, such as Burma, where comfort women survivors also do not enjoy asstrong a civil society backing.

One consequence of the Kono Statement wasthe foundation of the AMF (Asian Women"s Fund), funded mainly by privatedonations. Its aim was to pay compensation to former comfort women andto teach the public about their existence and circumstances.[71]Nevertheless, both, the AMF and the Kono Statement led to a serious discoursewithin organizations of former comfort women: Because it was just ChiefCabinet Secretary Kono as a private person and not the whole government whoapologized, and because the AWF was not paid for primarily with state money,many former comfort women refused to accept them. The Japanesegovernment had and has still to give an official, legally binding apologypassed by the parliament.[72]

The next crucial event resolving around thecomfort women issue took place in 2000. The Women's International WarCrimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery (Hereinafter Tokyo Women"sTribunal), primarily organized by former comfort women and human rightsactivists, met to discuss the issue in a setting at least resembling a legalone.  Nevertheless, the Tokyo Women"s Tribunal had no official legal backing,and consequently its extensive conclusions were not binding, even if theprocedures of a regular war tribunal were followed and many people involved informer war tribunals such as the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunal took over keypositions in the Tokyo Women"s Tribunal.[73]Despite wide international press coverage and support, the Tokyo Women"sTribunal was answered with harsh criticism from Japanese neo-nationalists andwas widely ignored by Japanese media. A documentary about the tribunal byJapan"s national broadcasting NHK was only aired after radical editing, after avisit of the current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, then Deputy ChiefSecretary, to NHK higher-ups. This visit in turn led researchers andcommentators to question the neutrality of Japanese media.[74] Sincethen, there have been several attempts by Japanese officials to revise orignore the Kono Statement in regard to whether coercion was used whenrecruiting comfort women, and in which form the military was involved,especially since Shinzo Abe was elected in 2006.

One last notable event is the final step tointernationalizing the issue: United States House of Representatives HouseResolution 121 (Hereinafter H.R. 121). Activists hoped to raise theinternational pressure applied on the Japanese Government by involving the USand other seemingly uninvolved nations. Subsequently a broad front ofrepresentatives of civil society in the US and abroad, along with some senatorspushed forward the resolution. It expresses the US" support for the demands offormer comfort women for an official apology, a refusal of allclaims that the comfort women system never existed and that teacherswould teach their students about the issue.[75]It was introduced to the US House of Representatives in 2007 and passed 2007and 2014 by the US House of Representatives and Congress respectively.<ahref="#_edn76" name="_ednref76" title="">[76]

Several crucial points about the comfortwomen issue are still up for discussion and further research. Besides thedebate about the use of coercion already mentioned above, there is the questionof how many comfort women existed. "[E]stimatesvary from 20,000 to 400,000, though a careful study by historian YoshimiYoshiaki suggests a narrower range of between 50,000 and 200,000."<ahref="#_edn77" name="_ednref77" title="">[77] This estimate, 50000 to 200000, is the one mentioned bymost researchers on the topic, as well as by most encyclopedias giving a numberthat were found by the study presented in this paper. No matter the estimatednumber, a consensus has almost been reached among international scholars inestimating the relative number of Korean former comfort women at around80 percent of the victims.[78] This estimate is also most presently stated in theencyclopedias examined for this paper.

The Representation of the Issue in International Encyclopedias and Historical Dictionaries

As mentioned above, 41 print encyclopedias,published after 1984, from a wide range of academic fields and supposedlyuniversal ones were checked for this study. As illustrated in table 1, only sixout of these 41 print encyclopedias contain information on the issue of comfortwomen. Especially with those encyclopedias published for local marketsoutside of the immediately affected areas, it is to be assumed, that the issuewas regarded as of not enough relevant to be included. In fact, none of theexamined print encyclopedias from Germany[79]and Spain contained information about the comfort women. Malaysian andJapanese did not contain any information regarding the issue either. Especiallywith Japanese encyclopedias, political considerations may have been a possiblereason, even if those checked were both published before 1999, when the issuehad not yet gained as much attention.

Also, only one of the print encyclopedias,which deal with the issue, has a universal approach (The Oxford Encyclopediaof the Modern World). Contrastingly, half of the encyclopedias - Singapore:The Encyclopedia, Southeast Asia - A Historical Encyclopedia: FromAngkor Wat to East Timor and The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women'sIssues Worldwide: Asia and Oceania - are Asian studies related ones and theremainder consists of topically related encyclopedias, historiography, genderstudies or human rights related ones. This may lead to the conclusion, that theissue did not yet make it fully to the international arena until at least themid-2000s. Actually, this may have changed with the introduction of H. Res. 121(2007), the first time US representatives became actively involved in thedebate around comfort women, to the US" House of Representatives though,as the one universal encyclopedia that contains information on the issue wasalso the only print encyclopedia found to do so after the resolutions passingat all. Despite not necessarily mentioning it directly, all onlineencyclopedias checked were updated after H. Res. 121 had been passed, and withonly one exception (The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia) they wereuniversal ones.

In terms of time, a general trend can beseen in the number of publications dealing with the issue rising from 1999onwards. Reasons may be the introduction of sexual slavery to the catalogue ofwar crimes or, more likely, the Tokyo Women"s Tribunal. Because interestinglythose encyclopedias that do contain information on the issue are allcomparatively short works, it is not likely that their editing times wereextensive enough to make the AWF"s creation likely to be the triggering reason.Another fact speaking in favor of the Tokyo Women"s Tribunal giving a bump tothe perceived relevance of the issue is that the earliest of the encyclopediasexamined containing an own article on the issue was published almost rightafter, in 2001, and that those, that deal with the topic and were publishedafter, do all feature a separate article except for one exception. (Table 2)

Table1: Print encyclopedias examined(Blanks in case of unavailable information; no page given means no informationfound)

Title

Edition

Year

Page

Die große Bertelsmann Lexikothek

 

1985

-

Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon

 

1987

-

Encyclopedia of Asian History

1

1988

-

Das neue Duden Lexikon

2

1989

-

Dictionary of the Second World War

1

1989

-

Encyclopedia of the Second World War

1

1989

-

Information China

1

1989

-

The Cambridge Encyclopedia

1

1990

-

BI Universallexikon

2

1991

-

The Historical Dictionary of Singapore

1

1991

-

Historical Dictionary of Indonesia

1

1992

-

Collier's Encyclopedia

 

1993

-

Japan - An Illustrated Encyclopedia

1

1993

-

Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan

1

1993

-

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan

1

1993

-

The Columbia Encyclopedia

5

1993

-

Webster's New World Encyclopedia

 

1993

-

Meyers neues Lexikon

 

1994

-

Encyclopedia Americana

 

1995

-

Ensiklopedia Malaysiana

 

1995

-

Harenberg Kompaktlexikon

 

1996

-

Nueva Enciclopedia del Mundo - 36 Tomos -

 

1998

-

The Kodansha Bilingual Encyclopedia of Japan

1

1998

-

Encyclopedia of China

1

1999

-

Encyclopedia of Historians &Historical Writing

1

1999

1314

Censorship - A World Encyclopedia

1

2001

555-556

Das große China Lexikon

 

2003

-

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women'sIssues Worldwide - Asia and Oceania

1

2003

259; 260; 435

Southeast Asia - A Historical Encyclopedia:

From Angkor Wat to East Timor

1

2004

43; 374-375

Encyclopedia Britanica

15

2005

-

Encyclopedia of Contemporary ChineseCulture

1

2005

-

Historical Dictionary of the Philippines

2

2005

-

Japan Encyclopedia

1

2005

-

Brockhaus Enzyklopädie

21

2006

-

Encyclopedia of Singapore

1

2006

-

Singapore - The Encyclopedia

1

2006

137

The Encyclopedia of Malaysia

1

2006

-

The Encyclopedia of the Overseas Chinese

1

2006

-

The Penguin Encyclopedia

3

2006

-

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the ModernWorld

 

2008

256-257

Encyclopedia Britanica

15

2010

-

 

Table 2: Print encyclopedias checked, that containinformation on the issue by whether they feature the issue in a separatearticle.

Title

Own Entry

Censorship - A World Encyclopedia

X

Encyclopedia of Historians &Historical Writing

 

Singapore - The Encyclopedia

X

Southeast Asia - A HistoricalEncyclopedia: From Angkor Wat to East Timor

X

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women'sIssues Worldwide - Asia and Oceania

 

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the ModernWorld

X

 

Table 3: Online Encyclopedias examined.

Title

URL

Accessed

The Pacific War Encyclopedia

http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/C/o/Comfort_Women.htm/

3.5.2014 - 17:59

Encyclopedia Britannica Online

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1959015/comfort-women/

3.5.2014 - 21:26

Wikipedia<ahref="#_edn80" name="_ednref80" title="">[80]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_women/

3.5.2014 - 19:41

 

Curiously, unlike in the academicdiscussion revolving around the topic, all encyclopedias examined used the termcomfort women. Their use of quotation marks when using the term comfortwomen (Table 4), be it more or less consistent, most likely indicates aconsciousness of the problems in naming the victim. Encyclopedia editors andwriters found a similar solution as most researchers: Many give an account ofthe original term (ianfu or jugun ianfu; see above), TheOxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World even discusses the usage of theterm and possible alternatives in its article. Nevertheless, even there, themost widely used referral remains "comfort women."

Table 4: Encyclopedias checked by terms used to describecomfort women.

Title

TermUsed

Censorship - A World Encyclopedia

"comfortwomen"; jūgun i'anfu

Encyclopaedia Britanica Online

comfort women; military comfort women; juguns ianfu (sic!)

Encyclopedia of Historians & Historical Writing

comfort Women;wi'anbu; ianfu

Singapore - The Encyclopedia

comfort Women

Southeast Asia - A HistoricalEncyclopedia: From Angkor Wat to East Timor

"comfortwomen"; comfort women

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women'sIssues Worldwide - Asia and Oceania

"comfortwomen"

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the ModernWorld

"comfortwomen"; "military comfort women" (jügun ianfu); ianfu;"voluntary labor corps" (chôngsindae);

"militarysex slaves"

The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia

"comfortwomen"; comfort women

Wikipedia

comfort women; ianfu

 

When looking at the stated number ofvictims, the regarding encyclopedias give very different information (Table 4).It is to be assumed, that this can be attributed to different approachesregarding unconfirmed data, too. The average value of the numbers stated alwaysremains within a range of 100000 and 150000 victims with only one exception.The Wikipedia gives account of a much wider range of an estimation:Probably due to the lack of limitations set by printing costs and space, anumber of estimations, ranging from 20000 to 410000 victims, are mentioned. Themost extreme of these are by far the highest and the lowest number of victimsto be found in any of the encyclopedias included in this study. Similarly, TheOxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World gives a relatively broad range ofan estimate. Here, too, it is likely that a wide range was chosen to givesafety of accurate information. A totally contrasting approach is not givingfull information or none at all, as for example the Encyclopedia of Historians& Historical Writing does not give any estimate for the number ofvictims. Special is the case of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women's IssuesWorldwide - Asia and Oceania, which not only gives a relatively highestimate, but does so regarding Korean victims only, which subsequently leadsto a very high estimate if victims from other countries are taken into account.Nevertheless, no information is provided on the number of victims of anon-Korean descent. In terms of the publication date, a shift from giving noinformation, to giving a comparatively exact estimation and finally to giving awider range of numbers again is to be recognized.

 

Table 5: Encyclopedias checked by number ofvictims.

Title

Number of Victims - Minimum

Number of Victims - Maximum

Censorship - A World Encyclopedia

N/A

200000

Encyclopaedia Britanica Online

80000

200000

Encyclopedia of Historians &Historical Writing

N/A

N/A

Singapore - The Encyclopedia

~100000

~100000

Southeast Asia - A Historical Encyclopedia: From Angkor Wat to East Timor

50000

200000

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women'sIssues Worldwide - Asia and Oceania[81]

100000

200000

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the ModernWorld

20000

200000

The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia

40000

200000

Wikipedia

20000

410000

 

Korean former comfort women are notonly the most researched group, they are also the only one mentioned by allencyclopedias. Other countries of origin mentioned oftentimes are thePhilippines and China. This may be due to the extremeness of the crimes donethere, the comparatively large number of outspoken victims in the case of thePhilippines and the close relation of the comfort women issue withthe Rape of Nanking. The Rape of Nanking has been an integralpart in mainland Chinese nation building, and the Chinese government hasasserted much pressure on the Japanese government in its context.<ahref="#_edn82" name="_ednref82" title="">[82]

Curiously, Japanese women are onlymentioned as victims in about half the examined encyclopedias. A demand forclear cut lines between victims and victimizers comes to mind first. Otherpossible reasons include the incomplete collaboration between Japanese andKorean survivors and the perceived different legal situation they findthemselves in, as Japanese citizens are first and foremost subjects to Japanesenational law, not immediately to international laws.

Interesting, too, is the high number ofoccasions on which Dutch victims are mentioned and contrastingly the low numberreferences to Thai women. The frequent mentioning of Dutch women may beattributed to Ruff O"Herne"s great prominence. Together with Kim Hak-sun andRosa Henson, she is arguably the most well-known former comfort woman.Another reason may be, that the Batavia Military Tribunal"s results can serveas an official framework to confirm and validate the information given aboutthe existence and circumstances of Dutch military sex slaves of the Japaneseduring their occupation of Southeast Asia. It needs to be mentioned though,that even these do or may carry a racist component. It remains to be answered,why exactly Ruff O"Herne is such a prominent spokesperson for the comfort women"scause. Likely is, that her different social and racial backgrounds do stillgive her relevance when dealing with international audiences: Seeing forexample Korean women or Filipinas demonstrate for justice gives rise to theassumption, that the comfort women issue were an inner-Asian one; seeinga Caucasian victim may make it easier to understand the issue"s internationalrelevance. As explained above, racial mechanisms were also at work in theset-up of the Batavia Military Tribunal as no victims of native Indonesian<ahref="#_edn83" name="_ednref83" title="">[83]descent where dealt with. Contrastingly, Thai victims may be so rarely dealtwith for a lack of research, which in turn may be caused by the positive stancemany Thai people have towards the Japanese today and in the past.

A development can be seen in the descent ofvictims stated, too: The newer the sources, the more concrete information aregiven, and the more countries are mentioned explicitly. As the 1999 Encyclopediaof Historians & Historical Writing only mentions "from the Japanesecolonies" and remains not concrete, Censorship - A World Encyclopedia (2001)only mentions two countries explicitly, Indonesia and Korea. Five or moredifferent countries of origin are mentioned explicitly by the 2008" OxfordEncyclopedia of the Modern World and all online encyclopedias included inthe study, with the only exception of the Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Inthe case of online encyclopedias, there is obviously no need to keep articlesshort, as in contrast to print encyclopedias printing costs et cetera do notneed to be considered anymore. At the same time, it may be concluded that,this, too, is an aftereffect of the Tokyo Woman"s Tribunal. The Tokyo Women"sTribunal published its judgement in December 2001, at the same time releasingthe results of its extensive studies conducted on paper.[84]

Table 6: Encyclopedias checked by countriesof origin mentioned.[85]

Title

Japanese

Korean

Chinese

Taiwanese

Indonesian

Censorship - A World Encyclopedia

 

X

  

X

Encyclopaedia Britanica Online

 

X

X

X

 

Encyclopedia of Historians &Historical Writing

 

X

X

X

X

Singapore - The Encyclopedia

 

X

X

X

X

Southeast Asia - A HistoricalEncyclopedia: From Angkor

Wat to East Timor

X

X

X

 

X

The Greenwood Encyclopedia

of Women's Issues Worldwide -

Asia and Oceania

 

X

   

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the ModernWorld

X

X

X

 

X

The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia

X

X

X

  

Wikipedia

X

X

X

X

X

 

Table 6 (Continued)

Title

Vietnamese

Burmese

Filipino

From Malaya or Malaysian

Dutch

Thai

Censorship - A World Encyclopedia

      

Encyclopaedia Britanica Online

      

Encyclopedia of Historians & Historical Writing

X

X

X

X

  

Singapore - The Encyclopedia

X

X

X

X

X

 

Southeast Asia - A Historical Encyclopedia: From Angkor Wat to East Timor[86]

X

X

X

X

X

 

The Greenwood

Encyclopedia of Women's Issues

Worldwide - Asia and Oceania

  

X

   

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World[87]

  

X

X

X

 

The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia

  

X

 

X

 

Wikipedia

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

Last but certainly not least, the issue ofcoercion remains. All encyclopedias at least suggest that coercion was used inthe context of comfort women. Interestingly, it is not the two - in thewidest sense - historiographical encyclopedias that try to couch theirstatement that coercion was used. None of the encyclopedias did questionextensive brutality in dealing with comfort women, and so it may be saidthat there is, at least in international encyclopedias that take up the issue,a consensus, that the comfort women system served to severely abusewomen as sex slaves for the Japanese military in the Second World War. 

 

Table 6:Encyclopedias by statement on use of coercion, where "X" means that a use ofcoercion is stated and "~" means that not as clear an account is givenregarding the use of coercion in recruiting comfort women.

Title

Coercion stated

Censorship - A World Encyclopedia

~

Encyclopaedia Britanica Online

X

Encyclopedia of Historians & Historical Writing

X

Singapore - The Encyclopedia

X

Southeast Asia - A Historical Encyclopedia:

From Angkor Wat to East Timor

X

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women's Issues Worldwide -

Asia and Oceania

X

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

X

The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia

~

Wikipedia

X

 

A number of conclusions may be drawn fromthis study. Focusing on the lexicographic aspects, a trend to more lengthyarticles offering comparatively extensive information is to be recognized. Alikely reason is the emergence of electronic encyclopedias, most specificallythe Wikipedia with its new, more comprehensive (even if less controlled)approach.  Also, Smelser"s description of encyclopedias" traditional approachas "embod[ying]  some kind of "integrative impulse" - to symbolizecivilizational progress, to express the unity of positive knowledge[…]."<ahref="#_edn88" name="_ednref88" title="">[88] has to be limited further. This "positive knowledge" is comprised differently,obviously, depending on the authors" and editors" contexts: In the comfortwomen"s case, encyclopedias that do not discuss for example the number ofvictims ignore lower and higher estimates, as expressed in arguably biasedsources like Hata"s writing on the comfort women.[89] Especiallyin Japan Hata and his writing on comfort women are well acknowledged though,even if his count of comfort women differs much from that of other researcherslike Yoshimi. Consequently, it shall be concluded, that the "positive knowledge"strived to be presented is limited to what may trustworthy in the authors"settings.  By this, what has been described as a, at least in parts, racist andsexist perspective is usually reproduced in and by encyclopedias.

This study also hints at the development inthe reception of comfort women. At first the issue was ignored, but keyevents like the Tokyo Women"s Tribunal managed to push the matter closer to aninternational audience"s vision. Nevertheless it is most probably this alreadymentioned ignorance that is the most important finding of this study, thevalidation that the issue of the comfort women took a long time tobecome what may be referred to as common knowledge in an international setting.Even after the Kono Statement, it took another six years for the firstinternational encyclopedia to deal with the topic. Encyclopedias from seeminglyunrelated countries like Germany remain ignorant of the issue.

Final Remarks and Suggestions for Further Research

The study presented in this paper was notintended to be seen as extensive, it is meant to be seen as an initial study.By only including a relatively small number of encyclopedias, it may not beable to give final answers to the questions driving it, but it does give hintsat what these answers may look like. In case they deal with controversialtopics like the comfort women, encyclopedias give broader andbroader information. Nevertheless, many do still have a Eurocentricperspective, visible in the relatively little number of encyclopedias dealingwith the topic and in parts the information presented. Finally the effect of far-reachingevents like the Tokyo Women"s Tribunal or the introduction of H. Res. 121 isnotable.

The potentials of a study of encyclopediasregarding the matter of comfort women have been shown, nevertheless, thelimitations of such a study need to be noted, too. These limitations lieprimarily in trying to gain information from encyclopedias published in thevictims" countries of origin: Many of these countries were colonies and arestill developing countries where publishers have very limited funds and muchless encyclopedias are published than in the first world. Other aftereffectshave to be taken into account, too.

Especially the case of the Philippines maybe highlighted here, as there are extremely few encyclopedias made in thePhilippines - those, who can afford to buy an encyclopedia, are with very fewif any exceptions literate in the English language, and the production costs ofencyclopedias are too high to make an encyclopedia"s creation economicallyreasonable given the small target audience. Hence, most encyclopedias to befound in the Philippines are reprints of British or US products. Thisultimately leads to a situation, in which the specific view of Filipinopublishers, editors, authors et cetera is barely represented. In this specificcase, research on other forms of media may be more rewarding.

Not only a comparison with Philippine mediain general may be of interest, but also further research into encyclopediasfrom other countries not as present in the initial study presented here: Onlyone encyclopedia from Malaysia was included, and it does not containinformation on the comfort women. Consequently, the question remains, whetherother Malaysian encyclopedias contain information on the comfort womenissue. If not, it would remain to be researched which specific circumstanceskeep Malaysian authors from depicting the issue in a time in which even manyUS-American ones deal with the topic.

Especially the way Korean encyclopediasdeal with the comfort women may give valuable information, too. As hasbeen explained beforehand, there is almost a consensus that most comfortwomen came from Korea; it was Korean women who came out publicly first andwho filed the first lawsuits, and the government of the Republic of Koreasupported the Korean comfort women in their struggle for acknowledgementand compensation. It is very likely, that information in Korean encyclopediasdiffers much from that in those examined here - in case they deal with theissue - and, on the other hand, that a much larger number of Korean encyclopediasdo actually deal with the issue. In turn, comparing research on data from, say,Malaysian encyclopedias and Korean ones may give valuable information on howdifferent peoples cope with their past.

Finally, encyclopedias from the formerYugoslavia"s countries may be a point to further research. Drawing from theresults of the study presented in this paper, it seems likely that, like Germanencyclopedias, they will not deal with the comfort women. Information onactivists" success in setting the topic into a broader context by relating itto war crimes committed during the Yugoslavia War may be found out by examiningencyclopedias from these countries.


[1] Because it is still the most common and arguably most precise termto describe military sex slaves in territory occupied by the Japanese duringthe Second World War, the term comfort women will be used throughoutthis paper. Nevertheless, it will be set in italics due to the ongoingcontroversy about its use.

Other groups ofvictims include Thais, Burmese, Indonesians, Malaysians, women from then FrenchIndochina and a small number of Dutch women.

[2] C.f.: Yoshiaki Yoshimi, Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery in theJapanese Military During World War II, trans. Suzanne O"Brien (New York:Columbia University Press, 2000) and George Hicks, The Comfort Women:Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War (NewYork: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1995)

[3] Yoshiko Nozaki, The"Comfort Women" Controversy: History and Testimony,http://www.japanfocus.org/-Yoshiko-Nozaki/2063. Accessed: 13.05.2014, 19:03                   

[4] Kazuko Watanabe, Trafficking in Women's Bodies, Then and Now: TheIssue of Military "Comfort Women". Women's Studies Quarterly27, 1/2 (1999), 26.

Generallycaution is advised when dealing with this source as a great number ofgeneralizations, in parts incorrect, have been used. "Confucianism, which isthe basis for the patriarchal system in Asian countries, has created a culturaldouble standard." (Watanabe, Trafficking in Women"s Bodies: 23) For example inthe Philippines, which are the country of origin of many former comfortwomen and many sex workers in modern day Japan (continuities between thesetwo groups are the main issue of the article), it is very questionable whetherConfucianism really lays the foundation for any form of local culture, exceptfor that of Chinese minority groups that have not yet been integrated intosociety.

[5] Nozaki, The "Comfort Women" Controversy.

[6] C.f.: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Free Speech - Silenced Voices: TheJapanese Media and the NHK Affair, Asia Rights 4 (2005)

[7] Hereinafter, the term encyclopedias is used to refer to bothencyclopedias and historical dictionaries.

[8] Neil J. Smelser, On Compiling a New Encyclopedia, Daedalus131, 1 (2002), 151-154. QWQWQW

[9] C.f.: Darren Crovitz and W. Scott Smoot, Wikipedia: Friend, NotFoe, The English Journal 98, 3 (2009): 90-92.

[10] The term recruiting is meant to be as neutral as possibleregarding the matter of coercion. As there are still people denying a forcefulrecruitment of comfort women, this neutral term is deemed necessary.

[11] Yoshimi, Comfort Women, 45-47.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Pyong Gap Min,  Korean "Comfort Women": The Intersection ofColonial Power, Gender, and Class, Gender & Society 17 (December 2003),948.

[14] C.f.: Min, Intersection of Colonial Power, 941. Thissource mentions Dutch women from Indonesia explicitly. It does not mentionChinese victims, which are among the most often mentioned in encyclopediaarticles (table 5).

[15] See: Sheldon Garon, The World's Oldest Debate? Prostitution and theState in Imperial Japan, 1900-1945, American Historical Review 98, 3(1993), 710-32.

[16] Ustinia Dolgopol, Women's Voices, Women's Pain. Human RightsQuarterly 17, 1 (1995), 131. This issue is of special importance regardingthe debate on responsibility and coercion.

[17] Yoshimi, Comfort Women, 43-47.

[18] Ibid.; See also: Carmen M. Argibay, Sexual Slavery and the ComfortWomen of World War II, Berkeley Journal of International Law 21, 2(2003), 377.

[19] Michelle Park, Defining Responsibility for Sexual Assault - WarCrimes Committed in the Second World War, Stanford Journal of East AsianAffairs 8, 1 (2008), 25.

[20] Yoshimi, Comfort Women, 48.

[21] Korean comfort women were shipped as far as Rabaul in modern dayPapua New Guinea. See: Gordon Thomas, Rabaul 1942-1945, typescript ms: 96,quoted after Hank Nelson, The New Guinea Comfort Women, Japan and theAustralian Connection: out of the shadows (May 2007), <ahref="http://japanfocus.org/-Hank-Nelson/2426">http://japanfocus.org/-Hank-Nelson/2426, Accessed:26.04.2014, 19:46. See also: Min, Intersection of Colonial Power, 945,951.

[22] Chunghee Sarah Soh, The Korean "Comfort Women": Movementfor Redress, Asian Survey 36, 12 (1996), 1228.

[23] C.f.: Nelson, New Guinea Comfort Women.

[24] "Statement of Jan Ruff O"Herne AO", Hearing on Protecting the HumanRights of "Comfort Women" (15.02.2007), <ahref="http://archives.republicans.foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/ohe021507.htm">http://archives.republicans.foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/ohe021507.htm,accessed: 20.05.2014, 11:50.

[25] Nelia Sancho (ed.), War Crimes on Asian Women: Military SexualSlavery by Japan During World War II - The Case of the Filipino Comfort Women(Part II) (Unknown Place: Asian Women Rights Council India RegionalSecretariat and Manila Secretariat, 1998), 61-64. Stories like these can befound elsewhere, too; the difference lays in their frequency in the Philippinecase. 

[26] Sancho, War Crimes, 75-80.

[27] Nelson, New Guinea Comfort Women.

[28] Watanabe, Trafficking in Women"s Bodies, 20-21.

[29] See: Nelson, New Guinea Comfort Women and Dolgopol, Women"sVoices, 136.

[30] Maki Arakawa, New Forum for Comfort Women: Fighting Japan in UnitedStates Federal Court, Berkely Women"s Law Journal 16, 1 (2001), 180.

[31] Yvonne Park Hsu, "Comfort Women" from Korea: Japan"s World War IISex Slaves and the Legitimacy of their Claims for Reparations. Pacific RimLaw & Policy Journal 2, 1 (1993), 101.

[32] Chunghee Sarah Soh, "Japan's Responsibility Toward Comfort WomenSurvivors", JPRI Working Paper, 77 (2001), <ahref="http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp77.html">http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp77.html,accessed: 20.05.2014, 11:02

[33] Soh, Responsibility.

[34] Kelly D. Askin, Comfort women: Shifting shame and stigma fromvictims to victimizers, International Criminal Law Review 1 (2001), 24.

[35] Here, the term sexual exploitation may refer to both sexual slaveryand rape. See: Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome:1998).

[36] C.f.: Roger Dingman. The Diplomacy of Dependency: The Philippines and Peacemaking with Japan, 1945-52. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 17, 2 (1986), 307-321

[37] For example, in the Philippines, GABRIELA, the most major feministgroup of the country and the Women"s Desk of BAYAN, a leftist party, wereinvolved in the work of the Taskforce of Filipina Victims of Military Slaveryby Japan. See: Taskforce of Filipina Victims of Military Slavery Secretariat, Primeron Filipina "Comfort Women": Questions and Answers (Quezon City: Taskforceof Filipina Victims of Military Slavery by Japan, 1992), 2.

[38] Min, Intersection of Colonial Power, 940-942.

[39] Morris-Suzuki, Free Speech.

[40] Tokudome Kinue, The Japanese Apology on the "ComfortWomen" Cannot Be Considered Official: Interview with Congressman MichaelHonda, (2007), http://japanfocus.org/-Michael-Honda/2438.Accessed: 14.05.2014, 16:21.

[41] C.f.: Min, Intersection of Colonial Power, 948-949.

[42] Yayo Okano, Toward Resolution of the Comfort Women Issue—The 1000thWednesday Protest in Seoul and Japanese Intransigence, The Asia-Pacific Journal10, 50, 2 (December 10, 2012)

[43] Myrna Elizabeth P. Borromeo, Media for Justice and Healing - TheCase of Philippine Comfort Women Survivors, Review of Women's Studies20, 1/2 (2010), 88.

[44] A contemporary account on this phenomenon can be found at: BellaEllwood-Clayton, Maria Clara, Manila Girl & the other Mary - Premarital Sexin the Catholic Philippines - Constructions of Seduction. Pilipinas: AJournal of Philippine Studies 46 (2006), 10.

[45] See: Maria Rosa Henson, Comfort Woman - Slave of Destiny(Pasig City: Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, 1996), 97. For asimilar account regarding Korean women"s case, see: Borromeo, Media forJustice and Healing: 95. Interestingly, Soh mentions a related case evenwith Dutch victims (Soh, Movement for Redress, 1229).

[46] As an example may serve Remedios Estorninos Felias" testimony:Sancho, War Crimes, 71.

[47] Min, Intersection of Colonial Power, 941.

[48] Askin, Shifting Shame, 19.

[49] Park, Defining Responsibility, 26.

[50] Yoshimi, Comfort Women, 131-135 and Min, Intersection ofColonial Power, 941.

[51] Askin, Shifting Shame, 15.

[52] Maki Kimura, Listening to Voices: Testimonies of "Comfort Women" ofthe Second World War. New Working Paper Series 8 (London: London Schoolof Economics, Gender Institute, 2003), 2.

[53] Min, Intersections of Colonial Power, 939.

[54] Yoshiaki Yoshimi assumes, that most of the women accepting the AWFwere probably poor Filipinas, "who have little hope of receiving any form ofaid from their own government." (Yoshimi, Comfort Women, 24)

[55] C.f.: Sancho, War Crimes, 75-80 and Watanabe, Traffickingin Women"s Bodies, 23-24.

[56] This does not only include systematic rape, but any form of rape.As an example may serve this account from a 1943 intelligence report: "Rapingof native women seems to have been fairly common in the Buna Area, but it wascondoned by the men who seemed to accept it as the normal thing in war." See: Reporton Native Conditions in Rabaul. NAA Victoria B3476: 24, quoted after Nelson, NewGuinea Comfort Women.

[57] Nozaki, The "ComfortWomen" Controversy. The first sentence contains a reference to Takasaki,Ryuji (ed.). 1994. Hyakusatsu ga Kataru "Ianjyo" Otoko no Honne: Ajia-zeniki ni"Inanjyo" ga Atta [The "comfort facility" and men"s confessions told in onehundred books: There were "comfort facilities" all over Asia]. Tokyo:Nashinokisha. This reference has been omitted from the text for an enhancedreadability.

[58] Nozaki, The "ComfortWomen" Controversy.

[59] Nozaki, The "ComfortWomen" Controversy.

[60] Nozaki, The "ComfortWomen" Controversy and Soh, Movement for Redress, 1226-1240.       

[61] Soh, Movementfor Redress, 1232.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Publicly means non-anonymously here. A few former comfort womentold their stories as early as the 1980s, but in those cases they chose toremain anonymous. See.: Nozaki, The"Comfort Women" Controversy.

[64] Askin, Shifting Shame, 13.

[65] Soh, Movementfor Redress, 1233.

[66] For a list of very early lawsuits of former comfort women,see: Etsuro Totsuka, Commentary on a Victory for "Comfort Women":Japan's Judicial Recognition of Military Sexual Slavery, Pacific Rim Law& Policy Journal 8, 1 (1999), 49.  

[67] It needs to be noted, that there were also more lawsuit by otherorganizations and former comfort women from Korea and the Philippines.Those mentioned are the initial ones from women of the regarding countries.

[68] Soh, Movementfor Redress, 1236.

[69] Ruki Sakamoto, The Women"s International War Crimes Tribunal onJapan"s Military Sexual Slavery: A Legal and Feminist Approach to the "ComfortWomen" Issue. New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 3, 1 (2001), 49-50.

[70] Askin, Shifting Shame, 7.

[71] Shellie K. Park, Broken Silence - Redressing the Mass Rape andSexual Enslavement of Asian Women by the Japanese Government in an AppropriateForum, Asia-Pacific Law & Policy Journal 3, 1 (2002), 43-44.

[72] Kinue, The Japanese Apology.

[73] Sakamoto, Legal and Feminist Approach, 49.

[74] C.f.: Morris-Suzuki, Free Speech.

[75] H. Res. 121. July 30 2007. (Passed version).

[76] Hyun Park, Bill related to comfort women passed in US congress, Thehankyoreh (January 17, 2014). <ahref="http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/620209.html">http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/620209.html,Accessed: 21.05.2014, 20:39

[77] Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Policy Forum 07-025: Comfort women: It"s timefor the truth (in the ordinary, everyday sense of the word), APSNet PolicyForum (December 01, 2007), available at: <ahref="http://nautilus.org/apsnet/comfort-women-its-time-for-the-truth-in-the-ordinary-everyday-sense-of-the-word/">http://nautilus.org/apsnet/comfort-women-its-time-for-the-truth-in-the-ordinary-everyday-sense-of-the-word/

[78] C.f.: Soh,Movement for Redress, 1227.

It needs to bementioned, that there are still voices questioning this information, mostprominently Ikuhiko Hata, who also estimates the number of comfort women muchlower than most other important researchers on the issue and denies the use ofcoercion in recruiting them. Hata believes, that Japanese comfort women werethe largest group of victims at 40 percent (Ikuhiko Hata, No Organized orForced Recruitment: Misconceptions about Comfort Women and the JapaneseMilitary, trans. Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact (2007), <ahref="http://www.sdh-fact.com/CL02_1/31_S4.pdf">http://www.sdh-fact.com/CL02_1/31_S4.pdf,accessed: 24.05.2014, 12:53, 18). These voices are oftentimes overheard orregarded as revisionist and therefore basically invalid, especially byinternational scholars.

[79] Curiously, the German Nazis used a similar, even if much lessextensive, system in their occupied areas during the Second World War. See: Nanda Herbermann, Hester Baer and Elizabeth Roberts Baer, TheBlessed Abyss: Inmate #6582 in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for Women, trans.Hester Baer (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2000), 33-34.

[80] Hereinafter, the title Wikipedia refers to the Englishversion of Wikipedia.

[81] The numbers mentioned by The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women'sIssues Worldwide - Asia and Oceania refer to Korean victims only.

[82] C.f.: Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, TheNanking Atrocity 1937-38: Complicating the Picture (New York and Oxford:Berghahn Books, 2007), 22.

[83] The author is conscious of how problematic a term "nativeIndonesian" may be to some of the readers. Unfortunately, the limited space ofthis essay does not permit a thorough discussion of the matter.

[84] See: The Women"s International War Crimes Tribunal, "Judgement onthe Common Indictment and the Application for Restitution and Reparation"(2001), available at: http://www1.jca.apc.org/vaww-net-japan/english/womenstribunal2000/Judgement.pdf.

[85] Oftentimes concepts like "other Asian countries" ("Comfort Women."Encyclopedia Britannica Online. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1959015/comfort-women.Accessed: 3.5.2014 - 21:26) are mentioned. In this particular case, only thecountries named explicitly can be found in the table. "[F]rom the Japanesecolonies" (Kelly Boyd (ed.). 1999. Encyclopedia of Historians & HistoricalWriting. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers: 1314) and "from allJapanese-occupied territories" (Koh, Tommy (ed.), Singapore: The Encyclopedia (Singapore: Editions Didier Miller, 2006), 137) has beeninterpreted as any from (giving the current states" names) Korea, the People"s Republic of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Burma, Malaysia,Indonesia. Laos and Cambodia were left out of the table because no other sources mention them and because, at the time, they were still part of FrenchIndochina, together with Vietnam. For their relatively small political influence and size other countries like modern day Papua New-Guinea have beenleft out, too.

[86] This book also mentions overseas Chinese and Indians.Probably this is meant to say, that all kinds of Malaysian women were recruited to be comfort women.

[87] This encyclopedia mentions women from Indonesia and the Dutch EastIndies separately. It is to be assumed, that white Dutch women were meant with this.

[88] Smelser, Compiling, 151.

[89] See footnote 78.

References

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CMS Author-DateEnslin, Joshua Ramon. 2015. “The 'comfort Women' And Their Representation In International Encyclopedias”. Jrenslin.de. https://jrenslin.de/post/3.
CMS (Footnotes)Enslin, Joshua Ramon. “The 'comfort Women' And Their Representation In International Encyclopedias”. Jrenslin.de. https://jrenslin.de/post/3.
APAEnslin, J. R. (2015). The 'Comfort Women' and their Representation in International Encyclopedias. jrenslin.de. Retrieved from https://jrenslin.de/post/3
HarvardEnslin, J.R., 2015. The 'Comfort Women' and their Representation in International Encyclopedias. jrenslin.de. Available at: https://jrenslin.de/post/3.