Learning about 'comfort women'

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Will S
Learning about 'comfort women'


Will S

There's an interesting story in the Globe today about one of the last surviving witnesses to the sex slavery that occurred during WWII:




SHANGHAI — At the age of 81, stooped and frail, Lin Yanjin is one of the last remaining witnesses to the truth about Japan's wartime sex slaves.

For five months in 1943, she was raped every day by Japanese soldiers who occupied the Chinese island of Hainan. She remembers the beatings and cigarette burns that left her swollen and in constant pain. She was 17 years old.

Yet the details of her story - and many similar accounts - are increasingly denied and dismissed by political leaders in Japan, where nationalism and patriotism are a rising force.

Even the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, recently claimed that the "comfort women" were not coerced.

Last month, 44 Japanese members of Parliament bought a full-page advertisement in The Washington Post to allege that the comfort women of the 1940s were licensed prostitutes who were often better paid than Japanese military officers.

For the survivors of the system of sexual slavery at Japanese military bases, the latest denials have added a deep insult to a horrific injury.

Hopefully the stories of the abuse these women suffered won't die with them or be willfully forgotten in nationalist memory-making.

I can't remember if I learned about this in school or not, but it's definitely a part of the history of that war that needs to be remembered.