Added: July 2, 2016 – Last updated: July 2, 2016


Author: Jeongyun Ko

Title: "Good" Comfort Women Novel?

Subtitle: Ethics and Representational Tactics of Korean Comfort Women Novels in English

Journal: Feminist Studies in English Literature

Volume: 24

Issue: 1

Year: 2016 (Received: March 11, 2016, Accepted: April 10, 2016)

Pages: 99-124

ISSN: 1226-9689 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | Asian History: Japanese History, Korean History | Types: Forced Prostitution / "Comfort Women"; Representations: Literary Texts / Kalliope Lee, Mark Sampson; Types: Wartime Rape / Asia-Pacific War


Link: Korean Association for Feminist Studies in English Literature (Free Access)


Abstract: »The paper discusses continuing efforts to represent Korean comfort women by various English novel writers of different ethnic and national backgrounds. Expanding the question raised by Laura Hyun Yi Kang in “Conjuring ‘Comfort Women,’” where she notes how comfort women novels in English are governed by “techniques” and “protocols” to create “a good novel in English” as much as they aim to realize justice, I engage with the discussion of ethics and representation of comfort women and then consider literary strategies found in creating comfort women narratives in English. Reading two recently published comfort women novels, Kalliope Lee’s Sunday Girl and Mark Sampson’s Sad Peninsula, the paper highlights how the distance, or the lack of it, between the narrator/witness and comfort women characters, affects the narrativization of comfort women’s histories. Questioning the validity or the effects of the so-called vicarious experience of pain through reading, the paper discusses the intended distance-erasing strategy revealed in Lee’s Sunday Girl, where the Korean American female narrators/witnesses are connected to comfort women through the shared experience of sexual violation. It also examines Mark Sampson’s Sad Peninsula which highlights distance between the white male narrator/witness and a Korean comfort woman and questions the representational desire of the writing subject. In the process, the paper contemplates how the ethics of representation and writerly desire to create good stories can be balanced and also how the power to move people to change the reality of the present and the future can ever be realized in written pages.« (Source: Feminist Studies in English Literature)


  Trauma and Ethics of Representation (p. 102)
  Tactic One – Kalliope Lee's Sunday Girl (p. 104)
  Tactic Two: Mark Sampson's Sad Peninsula (p. 115)
  Works Cited (p. 126)
  Abstract (p. 128)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of Japan / Shōwa period; History of Korea / Korea under Japanese rule | Prostitution: Forced prostitution / Comfort women | Types of rape: Wartime sexual violence | War: Pacific War / Japanese war crimes