Kimko Kaneda Essay

Kimiko Kaneda was born in October 1921 to her Korean father and Japanese mother. When she was 16 years old, Kimiko traveled to Seoul in search of better work opportunities as a housemaid for a Japanese family. At the beginning of the war, she was put on a train to Zaoqiang, China and was forced to become a comfort woman for the Japanese military. Throughout her time, she was forced to sleep with up to 20 men per day. If she did not comply with the demands of the soldiers, she was threatened and forced into submission. Kimiko recalled, “the soldier was drunk.

He waved a knife at me and threatened to kill me if I didn’t do what he said. ” Young girls were kidnapped from schools and forced to work in the comfort stations alongside Kimiko. Their genitals, still underdeveloped, became torn and infected with septic sores yet they received no treatment for their wounds. Kimiko saw many women die in the comfort stations and spent her time fearing for her own life. Following the end of the war, Kimiko underwent surgery to repair the damages the soldiers had done to her body, however, she lost her womb during the operation and was never able to bear children.

Quickly following the war, she became addicted to opium due to severe depression from her experience as a Korean comfort woman. Kimiko Kaneda is one of hundreds of thousands of Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Dutch, and Taiwanese women during World War II that was subjected to forced prostitution. While there were Japanese comfort women, it is interesting to find that a majority of women forced into comfort stations came from Korea, Taiwan, and other occupied colonies and that Japanese women were the least represented group.

These women were brutally beaten and raped. Many of these women contracted diseases and with no medication were left to die. Those who survived the war often were too humiliated to return home and became dependent on opium and other drugs to aid their depression. The overwhelming majority of comfort women from Japanese colonies suggests that coerced sexual labor was primarily inflicted upon women in Japanese colonies due to the Japanese colonization and national prejudice characterized by the chauvinistic nature that the government had over these nations.

The discussion of Japanese comfort stations during the war provides a narrative that, for many years was non-existent. Following the war, the surviving women were discouraged from coming forward with allegations against the military because the government denied any liability to all of the comfort stations. In fact, the military tried to destroy any official document that proved any government involvement. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the few documents that had not been destroyed by the government were released and survivors began to come forwarded to tell their stories.

These stories were so different than what the government had claimed that they completely obscured the way comfort stations were initially thought of. What was once thought of to have been a recreation site necessary for soldiers so they could contribute fully to the war effort, is now seen as human rights violations not only towards women but the Japanese colonies. Comfort Stations in Wartime Japan The implementation of the Comfort Stations quickly began following the Shanghai Incident in 1932 that ultimately helped engineer the founding of the Manchukuo puppet state that brought more Japanese military officials into China.

It is believed that the Navy first implemented the comfort women structure as evidence by the recollections of Okamura Yasuji, Vice Chief of Staff of the Shanghai Expeditionary Force who recalls that “the army was schooled in the military comfort women system by the Japanese Navy in Shanghai. ” The comfort stations were regarded by the military as necessities to help aid the war effort due to the overwhelming amount of rape by Japanese soldiers in occupied territories. Okabe Naosaburo, a Senior Staff Officer n the Shanghai Expeditionary Force wrote, “soldiers have been prowling around everywhere looking for women, and I often heard obscene stories {about their behavior} … these incidents are difficult to prevent. Rather, We should recognize that we can actively provide facilities. ” High standing military officials believed the employment of Japanese and occupied territory women would avert this sexual violence The prevention of military rape, specifically in China, was important because the Chinese looked at rape with a particular outrage, and the assault of Chinese women would limit Japan’s ability to maintain order in China.

Secondly, military officials believed that sanctioned prostitution would restrict the growing number of venerable diseases among troops. That is why the first confirmed military comfort station developed in Pingquan (Northeastern China) in 1933 was referred to as the ‚ÄúDisease Prevention and Hygiene Facility. ” By July of 1937, Japan had assessed full out war on China and dispatched hundreds of thousands of troops throughout the Japanese mainland.

This influx of Japanese soldiers brought on the creation of even more comfort stations. The Consulate General of Shanghai remarked in 1938 that, “with the great increase in military personnel stationed in the area due to the sudden outbreak of the Shanghai Incident, the navy established naval comfort stations as a means to aid in supporting the comfort of those troops, and those stations have continued to operate up to the present. As the full-scale war advanced, Japan continued to increase the number of comfort women under the necessity that they would provide leisure and “comfort” to the military men who were far away from their homes and families while maintaining the security of the troops as there was feared that public brothels could be infiltrated with spies.

Up until the end of the war in 1945, comfort stations were established in China, Taiwan, Borneo, Singapore, Indonesia, and anywhere else the Japanese government combated or occupied. In July of 1941, a military plan was devised that required 20,000 omfort women for every 700,000 Japanese soldiers. This ration of 1 comfort women to 35 soldiers was considered necessary to aid the war effort by not only preventing the rape of local women and diseases in soldiers but were also believed to provide leisure to soldiers without the fear of espionage. While the implementation of the comfort station system was to abstain from the rape and sexual assault of women by employing consensual women to entertain the soldiers, this did not translate into how the comfort stations were actually run.

Due to the concealment and destruction of documents relating to comfort women by the Japanese government after their defeat in the war, there is little evidence that proves exactly how many comfort women were manipulated during the war. Some of the few recovered documents, however, estimates that upward of 200,000 women were engaged in sexual slavery during the war. It is estimated that 80% of these women were lower class women from Korea who were falsely coerced into this prostitution.

Evidence shows that the remaining 20% hailed from Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. Since the military used the comfort stations to diminish the amount of sexually transmitted diseases among military personnel, young women, particularly virgins, were more favorable among soldiers. Comfort Station survivors, known as Chongsindae halmoni in Korea, recalled that girls as young as 12 were abducted from their schools and forced into sexual slavery.

The abduction of young girls and women was one method that the Japanese government used in “recruiting” women into comfort stations. The Military engaged three specific methods to obtain comfort women. The first, being the abduction of women as listed above. Secondly, they recruited known prostitutes, typically only from Japan, to volunteer for the “good of the nation. ” The third, and probably most prominent method would be recruitment through false promises of well-paying jobs. Women, a majority of them from Korea, would travel to a major city with the romise of work only to be transported via army trains, vessels, trucks, and ships to various comfort stations. A Korean Comfort Women survivor recalled that she was sent to Keelung, Taiwan under the impression that was the opportunity for factory or restaurant work. However, when Lee Mak Dal arrived in Taiwan she was taken to a house where would be confined to for the following six years.

Lee recalled, “They fed us three spoonfuls of rice, a small radish and sometimes rice porridge for a meal. ree spoonfuls…. When a soldier came in, I would cry, and he ripped off my clothes… hen he didn’t get what he wanted, he called the lady and asked why she’d taught me this way. They would sometimes take the knife and cut my arm, hit me and kicked me in my head. ” Many women, like Lee, were led to comfort stations with false hope and were horrified by their new realities as sex slaves. Interviews with 76 Korean victims by members of the Korean Council and the Research Association revealed that comfort women were confined to small and filthy shanties and were forced to have sex with soldiers up to 30 times a day.

One woman recalled that the women were not allowed to leave their stalls except to take their weekly baths, scheduled trips to the outside at or to visit the camp doctor. She spoke, “If they needed to relieve themselves when it was not their turn to go outside, they could use their special pots. ” The comfort station in Xihe, China allowed the women out for daily walks from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, however, they were only allowed in an area that was half the size of one city block. If a women refused to comply to the wants of the soldiers, they were often forcibly raped, beaten, burned, or stabbed.

Following the end of the war, the Japanese soldiers abandoned the comfort women, leaving them at the stations as they returned to their homelands. Many women either died at the stations or were to humiliated to return home. Those that did go home often felt ostracized for their involvement in the system and lived with diseases and depression until their death. Ultimately, the particularly harsh treatment of comfort women has caused controversies, especially since an overwhelming majority of these women came from Japanese colonies.