Added: August 1, 2015 – Last updated: August 1, 2015


Authors: Constance Youngwon Lee and Jonathan Crowe

Title: The Deafening Silence of the Korean “Comfort Women”

Subtitle: A Response Based on Lyotard and Irigaray

Journal: Asian Journal of Law and Society



Year: 2015 (Published online: July 1, 2015)

Pages: 18 pages

ISSN: 2052-9015 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 2052-9023 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

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


Link: Cambridge Journals (Restricted Access)


Authors: Jonathan Crowe, TC Beirne School of Law, University of

Abstract: »This article reflects upon the continuing historical denialism concerning the Korean “comfort women” forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. We argue that the refusal of the Japanese government and others to squarely confront this wrong is made possible through the exploitation of a différend in Jean-François Lyotard’s sense of the term. The différend arises from a complex set of social, cultural, and legal sources, including patriarchal, colonial, and nationalistic constructions of the wrong and its victims. We seek to tentatively expose the nature of the différend by identifying these factors. We then sketch the beginnings of a possible response, drawing on Luce Irigaray’s strategy of emphasizing sexual difference and separation to pave the way for reciprocality between the sexes. The testimonies of the “comfort women” must be allowed to speak for themselves before a response can emerge based in other discourses.« (Source: Asian Journal of Law and Society)


  1. Introduction
  2. Phrases in Dispute
  3. The Deepening Silence
    3.1 Defining Realities
    3.2 The Gendered Double Bind
    3.3 Culture and the Double Violence
    3.4 The Hierarchy of Disempowerment
    3.5 Colonialism and Control
    3.6 Nationalism: One Discourse Too Loud
    3.7 The Legacy of Legalism
  4. Ethics and Difference

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