Added: July 4, 2015 – Last updated: July 4, 2015


Author: Naoko Kumagai

Title: Ontological Security and Japan’s Ideological Debate over Compensating Wartime ‘Comfort Women’

Subtitle: -

Journal: Social Science Japan Journal



Year: 2015 (Published online: June 15, 2015)


ISSN: 1369-1465 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1468-2680 – Find a Library: WordCat


Keywords: 20th Century | Japanese History | Types: "Comfort Women", Wartime Rape / Asia-Pacific War


Link: Oxford Journals (Restricted Access)


Author: Naoko Kumagai, Graduate School of International Relations, International University of Japan

Abstract: »This paper analyzes the absence of a constructive dialogue about the issue of comfort women in Japan between conservatives and liberals in spite of their respective clear concerns about the issue as part of Japan’s war responsibility. With the case of the Asian Women’s Fund’s atonement project for former comfort women, this paper suggests that both sides’ ontological insecurity controlled their interpretations of the issue and that both sides failed to understand a new notion of Japan, as proposed by the Asian Women’s Fund, in which both the Japanese government and Japanese people constitute a new public entity and act jointly to render atonement to the victims. Hardline conservatives, giving special attention to Japan’s honor, took umbrage at any atonement for former comfort women, arguing that many worked voluntarily, while anti-Fund liberals, as survivors’ representatives, guarded against any revisionist and patriarchal interpretation of the comfort women issue and persisted in pushing for truly official compensation only by the Japanese government. Hardline conservatives’ rhetoric significantly decreased the credibility of Japan’s attitude toward the issue in the eyes of the victims’ countries, while the anti-Fund liberals, by focusing their criticism against the Fund, failed to face their real rivals, hardline conservatives.« (Source: Social Science Japan Journal)

Wikipedia: Wartime sexual violence: Comfort women, Japanese war crimes, Pacific War