Preserving Japan’s Brothels from WWII

Image: Japanese 'comfort station'
Undated “Comfort station” which used Asian women who were forced to work in the brothels.

China is in the process of taking steps to protect buildings that were once used by Japan’s Imperial Army as brothels used exclusively by the military during the Second World War. The government intends to keep the buildings was evidence of war crimes that resulted in sexual slavery of local women.

Nanjing, a city in the south, is creating plans to protect the seven buildings in the Liji Alley of Nanjing City, Xinhua. A news agency described the military brothel as the largest brothel of its kind in Asia.

It is believed by a history professor from Nanjing Normal University, Jing Shenghong, the buildings have great historical value and they needed to be saved to serve as a reminder to the entire world of the crimes perpetrated by the Japanese to women from all across Asia.  Historians believe upwards of 200,000 women from Korea, China, and other nations were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese brothels during WWII. The women were called “comfort women,” however the women themselves experienced nothing but unpleasantness.

Japanese politicians have gotten criticism from their Asian neighbors, which included South Korea and China, for trying to deny their involvement in female sexual slavery.

Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, reported his government would not alter the 1993 statement that was recognized the involvement of the Japanese military forcing women to work in the brothels.

South Korea has pressured Japan to settle a long-running grievance over the victims who were forced into wartime sex slavery. They extended a formal apology and have provided compensation to them; however, Japan refuses to comply. The Japanese government stated the matter has been settled in 1965 with a treaty that normalized the relationship between the two countries.

The Global Post reports that there are only 55 survivors left alive. The average age for these ladies is approximately 88 years old.

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE