Added: September 7, 2013 – Last updated: January 2, 2016


Author: Hayato Nakayama

Title: Japanese Activists who Support Redress for “Comfort Women”

Subtitle: Why and How Do They Address the "Comfort Women" Issue?

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, University of Manitoba


Pages: v + 145pp.

OCLC Number: 914292471 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

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


Link: MSpace at the University of Manitoba (Free Access)


Author: , ,


»The purpose of this research is to find out: What led Japanese activists who support "comfort women" to hold their opinions, and what do they think contributes to the polarized public opinion about "comfort women" in Japan? What are their activities and strategies to address the issue? How do those activists evaluate their activism and the resolution process?
In-depth qualitative interviews were utilized to collect data. The research findings showed that different interpretations of the Second World War and different understandings about male and female rights and roles influenced people’s opinions about "comfort women." Japanese activists used international pressure to address the issue. Also, it was found that the rightward political trend in Japan fueled by economic recession was impeding the progress of addressing the problem. Based on the findings, suggestions were made to improve the activism, including consideration of reconciliation as a way of dealing with the problem.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. ii)
  Acknowledgements (p. iii)
  Chapter 1: Introduction and Purpose (p. 1)
    Research Questions and Purpose Statement (p. 7)
    Significance of the Study (p. 8)
    Limitations to the Study (p. 9)
  Chapter 2: Disputed War History and Gendered Violence in Conflict (p. 11)
    Contested War Memories (p. 11)
    Just and Unjust Wars (p. 13)
    Gendered Violence (p. 15)
    Gender-Based Sexual Violence in Times of Conflict (p. 18)
  Chapter 3: "Comfort Women" Issue and Its Debate in Japan (p. 28)
    Who Were "Comfort Women"? (p. 28)
    "Comfort Women" System (p. 29)
    History of Japanese Government's Responses to the "Comfort Women" Issue (p. 30)
    "Comfort Women" Controversy in Japan (p. 35)
      i) Development of Feminism Helping the "Comfort Women" Issue to be Seen As Gendered Violence (p. 36)
      ii) Feminist Perspectives Supporting Redress of Wrongs to Women Used for Sex During the War – "Comfort women" (p. 40)
      iii) The "Comfort Women" Practice Seen As a Complex Issue Related to Gender, Ethnicity, and Class (p. 41)
      iv) Neo-Nationalist's Perspectives (p. 43)
  Chapter 4: Theories of Reconciliation and Social Activism (p. 46)
    Introduction (p. 46)
    Reconciliation (p. 47)
    Historical Reconciliation (p. 50)
    Social Activisim (p. 58)
      i) Motives to Join Social Activism (p. 58)
      ii) Strategies of Social Activism and NGOs (p. 59)
      iii) Keys to Succeed Social Activism (p. 60)
  Chapter 5: Methods (p. 63)
    Qualitative Research Methodology and the Research Questions (p. 63)
    Qualitative Tools Used in In-depth Semi-Structured Interview (p. 64)
    Participants (p. 65)
    Data Gathering Methods (p. 66)
  Chapter 6: Findings (p. 68)
    What Contributes to the Different Positions on the "Comfort Women" Issue? (p. 68)
      Stories that Guided Participants to Hold Views in Support of Redress for "Comfort Women" (p. 69)
        Shinsaku Nohira (p. 69)
        Eriko Ikeda (p. 70)
        Fumiko Yamashita (p. 71)
        Shiho Kimuro (p. 71)
        Yayo Okano (p. 72)
        Hisako Motoyama (p. 73)
      What Divides trhe Public Opinion in Japan about "Comfort Women"? (p. 74)
        i) Different Understanding of the War (p. 74)
        ii) Male Dominant Japanese Society (p. 76)
        iii) Japanese National Pride (p. 77)
        iv) Left-Wing's Positive Perspective about Accepting the Issue (p. 79)
      Conclusion (p. 81)
    Activist Strategies and Activities (p. 81)
      Reconciliation is Not A Priority As A Strategy to Resolve the Issue (p. 82)
      Strategies (p. 85)
        iv) International and Domestic Pressure (p. 85)
        v) Social Foundation Development (p. 87)
    Activities (p. 88)
        i) For the Public (p. 88)
        ii) With Government (p. 90)
        iii) Research (p. 93)
      Conclusion (p. 94)
    How Activists See the Progress of Resolution of the "Comfort Women" Issue (p. 95)
      Frustrated Activism (p. 95)
      Never Give Up (p. 96)
      Challenges (p. 98)
        i) Anti-Feminist Environment (p. 98)
        ii) Rightward Trend (p. 100)
        iii) Economy (p. 101)
        iv) Unchangeable Japanese Government (p. 103)
      Conclusion (p. 104)
  Chapter 7: Discussion and Summary (p. 105)
    Suggestions to Help Better Address the "Comfort Women" Issue Based on the Research Findings (p. 105)
      i) What Made the Activists Hold Beliefs Supporting "Comfort Women" and Others Have Constrasting Opinions? (p. 105)
      ii) What Strategies and Activities Do the Activists Use to Address the Issue? (p. 109)
      iii) How Do the Activists Evaluate the Progress of their Activism? (p. 111)
    Reconciliation and Historical Reconciliation as Useful Methods to Address the "Comfort Women" Issue (p. 117)
    Summary (p. 123)
  References (p. 127)
  Appendices (p. 140)
    Appendix A–Letter to Participants (p. 140)
    Appendix B–Interview Schedule (p. 140)
    Appendix C–Interview Schedule (In Japanese) (p. 141)
    Appendix D–Informed Consent (p. 142)

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