Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves

Peipei Qiu, with Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei. Oxford Univ, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-19-937389-5
This significant scholarly contribution to the history of Imperial Japan’s enslavement of “comfort women” before and during WWII presents the first English translation of testimonies from Chinese comfort women—a group that made up at least half of the 400,000 women detained and systematically brutalized in the Japanese military’s comfort stations. At the book’s center are 12 testimonials of survivors (most of whom have since died) who recount violent, inhuman treatment at the hands of the Japanese military and wartime collaborators. The book contextualizes their experience in relation to the progression of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931–1945). The wartime context is key to the particular viciousness meted by an invading and occupying force, and explains the double injustice the women faced, not only at the hands of the enemy but also by their society. Nationalist prejudice and patriarchal ideology combined to dismiss and deepen the women’s suffering, and prolong injustice. The final section examines the international compensation campaign and redress movement by, and on behalf of, survivors, which began in the 1990s and included no less than 10 unsuccessful lawsuits against the Japanese government, as well as a galvanizing war crimes tribunal in Tokyo in 2000. This vital work, combining exemplary scholarship and humanitarian activism, should prove valuable to a wide audience and indispensable to specialists. 24 b&w illus. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/12/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-7748-2544-3
Hardcover - 254 pages - 978-0-7748-2545-0
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