Added: February 4, 2017 – Last updated: February 4, 2017


Author: Patrick Hein

Title: Unresolved Comfort Women Issue

Subtitle: How Pragmatism Precludes Reconciliation

Journal: The Korean Journal of International Studies

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Year: December 2016 (Received: June 8, 2015, Revised: July 28, 2016, Accepted: September 3, 2016, Published online: December 30, 2016)

Pages: 447-460

ISSN: 2233-470X – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 2288-5072 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | 21st Century | Asian History: Japanese History | Types: Forced Prostitution / "Comfort Women"; Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / Asia-Pacific War



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Korean Journal of International Studies (Free Access)


Abstract: »Even though 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, legacies about the sufferings of so-called comfort women (sexual slaves) continue to remain contested and unresolved in Japan. It is the purpose of the article to examine what kinds of reference points may shape prospects of reconciliation. Though scholarship keeps focusing on apologies and compensation issues, the prerequisites for reconciliation have seldom been dealt with. The article contends that a precondition for reconciliation is the existence of a common set of basic values and principles. How can one reconcile if evil is not recognized as evil? How can one be affected by reconciliation unless one actually meets survivors? By analyzing Japanese government sources, interviews and statements, the article shows how the change of narratives from universal and principled to pragmatic has undermined both state to state and bottom-up prospects for true and enduring reconciliation between Japan and countries affected by military sexual slavery. The comfort women issue has become an issue where history has become deeply intertwined with gender, whereby gender is used to obstruct and obscure history.« (Source: Korean Journal of International Studies)


  Analytical Framework (p. 449)
  Divided Public Opinion (p. 451)
  From Principle to Pragmatism (p. 452)
    Official Narratives Before 2012 (p. 452)
    Official Pragmatic Narratives After 2012 (p. 453)
  Less Visible Pragmatic Narratives (p. 456)
  Conclusion (p. 458)
  References (p. 459)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of Japan | Prostitution: Forced prostitution / Comfort women | Sexual violence: Types of rape / Wartime sexual violence | War: Pacific War / Japanese war crimes