Added: June 4, 2016 – Last updated: June 4, 2016


Author: Muta Kazue

Title: The ‘comfort women’ issue and the embedded culture of sexual violence in contemporary Japan

Subtitle: -

Journal: Current Sociology

Volume: Published online before print


Year: April 26, 2016


ISSN: 0011-3921 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1461-7064 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

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


Link: SAGE Journals (Restricted Access)


Author: Muta Kazue, Department of Human Sciences, Osaka University

Abstract: »For over two decades, survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery during the Asia-Pacific War, euphemistically called ‘comfort women’ (ianfu), have been demanding the Japanese government take responsibility for past atrocities to restore their dignity. They have yet to obtain a satisfactory response; indeed, their demands have frequently been met with verbal attacks from the right-wing, including influential politicians. This article seeks to identify and explain some of the reasons why the problem has remained a highly controversial, but stubbornly unresolved issue. It begins by offering a brief history of the issue and then maps out the contemporary controversy. It shows that right-wing attacks should be understood as stemming from a systemic and deeply embedded bifurcation of women in Japanese society that allows the adoration of some women to comfortably coexist with misogyny, powerful rape myths, and a porn culture. These deeply permeate many areas of society, including its courts.« (Source: Current Sociology)


  Historical background
    Public demands for apology and feminist activism
  The current controversy
    Moral responsibility: The Kono Statement of 1993, and failed compensation
    The Asian Women's Fund
    Right-wing backlash
    International pressure
  Understanding the reluctance to address the issue: Deeply embedded attitudes toward women
    The bifurcation of women
  Rape in the Penal Code and the Supreme Court
    Rape in the Penal Code
    Supreme Court rulings
  Misogyny in Japanese society
    Prosperous sex industry
  Author biography

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