Added: January 2, 2016 – Last updated: November 4, 2017


Author: Bang-Soon L. Yoon

Title: Sexualized Racism, Gender and Nationalism

Subtitle: The Case of Japan's Sexual Enslavement of Korean "Comfort Women"

In: Race and Racism in Modern East Asia (Vol. II: Interactions, Nationalism, Gender and Lineage)

Edited by: Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel

Place: Leiden and Boston

Publisher: Brill

Year: 2015

Pages: 459-480

Series: Brill's Series on Modern East Asia in a Global Historical Perspective 4

ISBN-13: 9789004292925 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9789004292932 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

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



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Author: Bang-Soon Yoon, Department of Political Science, Central Washington University

Abstract: »Bang-Soon Yoon's chapter focuses on the victimization of Korean "comfort women" by the imperial Japanese military during World War II. It analyzes the intersection of race, sex, gender and nationalism by bringing forth three arguments. First, that it was institutionalized racism which enabled the Korean "comfort women's" victimization en masse. In other words, the sexual enslavement of these women was not possible without state involvement, whether directly or indirectly. Second, that Japan's colonial rule in the Korean peninsula made it possible for a large number of young Korean females to be systematically trafficked info Japan's "comfort women" system. The Japanese colonial government's national mobilization and cultural integration policies were thus important tools in the recruitment and subsequent transfers of these women to war zones. And third, that since Japan's colonialism set the stage for the Korean "comfort women's" victimization, nationalism has constituted a core component of the "comfort women" issue in South Korean during the postwar era and at present in particular. The gender-neutral nationalist approach, Yoon argues, has contributed to the silencing of the women-specific aspects of the "comfort women" issue for decades. Silence-breaking campaigns led by Korean feminist NGOs since the early 1990s have been significant in engendering this issue by providing the surviving victims with material benefits and facilitating public education on the issue. More often, however, it was South Korean national pride that occasionally superseded the individual victims's personal interest. (Source: Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel. »Introduction: The Synthesis of Foreign and Indigenous Constructions of Race in Modern East Asia and Its Actual Operation.« Race and Racism in Modern East Asia. Vol. II. Edited by Rotem Kowner et al. Leiden 2015: 18)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of Japan / Shōwa period | History of Asia: History of Korea / Korea under Japanese rule | Prostitution: Forced prostitution / Comfort women | Sex and the law: Wartime sexual violence | War: Pacific War | War crime: Japanese war crimes