Korean human rights activist and survivor Hwang Geum Joo. I took this photo at her place in Seoul in September 2004.


About 260 memoirs from World War II published between 1990 and 2006 contain specific references to the Japanese military’s wartime brothels in which so-called ”comfort women” were forced to provide sexual services to military personnel, and sexual violence at the battlefront, the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility said Sunday.

From Vancouver-based peace activist Satoko Norimatsu’s blog:

According to a Kyodo News Agency report on December 20, 2009, The Center for Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility (JWRC) discovered that about 260 documents published between 1990 and 2006, including personal notes written by those who experienced war, had concrete descriptions of “comfort stations” installed throughout different parts of Asia, “comfort women,” and other sexual violence in the battlefields. Among those are reports of kempeitai, or military police officers examining “comfort women” and drawings of “comfort stations.”

JWRC went through about 2,000 documents, including battlefield diaries and personal memoirs, stored in the National Diet Library, from March to June this year. These documents were published during 1990’s and after, when the former “comfort women” started to call for apologies and compensation from the Japanese government.

Chuo University Professor Yoshiaki Yoshimi, who examined those documents points out that there are many specific details reported in these documents, including the deep military involvement with the sex slavery system.

Most of the documents with reference to the “comfort women” are personal memoirs, instead of public documents. Yoshimi suspects there was pressure within veterans’ associations for not speaking out about the issue.

The result of this research will be published in the December 2009 and March 2010 issues of “The Report on Japan’s War Responsibility,” the quarterly journal by JWRC.