Those women who were employed for providing sexual services for the Imperial Japanese military outside of home country up until 1945 are called “Comfort Women.” This system was an extension of the publicly recognized prostitution system practiced at the time in Japan to overseas locations. But, in recent years, the issue of comfort women has become a significant political issue between Japan and the Republic of Korea and other countries. The United Nations Human Rights Council has been demanding the Government of Japan an apology, compensations to the victims and the prosecution of the perpetrators. However, the widespread perception that ″comfort women” were ″sex-slave″ is not based on historical fact. Rather, the story was highly likely fabricated for political purposes.

Below, you will find several documents, selected among many on the basis of credibility, which would indicate the true situation of “comfort women” prior to and during the Second World War in Asia.

United States Office of War Information Psychological Warfare Team
Japanese Prisoners of War Interrogation Report No. 49
(October 1944)
Available at the U.S. National Archives and Record Administration, College Park, MD.

A "comfort girls" is nothing more than a prostitute or "professional camp follower" attached to the Japanese Army for the benefit of the soldiers.

▶Interviewing 20 Korean Comfort Women, the U.S. military revealed the life of these controversial women to the world for the first time

▶These women were recruited by private business persons, but not were taken away by police or military

▶The report concluded they were nothing more than prostitutes

On the basis of interviewing 20 Korean comfort women in Burma (Myanmar) in 1944, U.S. military intelligence officers concluded that the comfort women were nothing more than prostitutes or “camp followers". They were recruited by private businessmen, and worked at comfort stations managed by business persons. Their working conditions were regulated by the Japanese military, having a day off in a week and receiving a weekly health check. They were generally warmly treated by Japanese soldiers and received an income which far exceeded that of the customers, soldiers. Some sent money back home. This report is a first-hand documentation on comfort women which should be considered as the basis for understanding comfort women.

by: United States Interagency Working Group
Final Report to the U.S. Congress of the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records
Publisher: IWG (April 2007)
available at:

▶This study was conducted by two legislations of the U.S. Congress mobilizing all U.S. government agencies for revealing German and Japanese war crimes, an unprecedented undertaking

▶The Japanese section was added at the request from an anti-Japanese Chinese-American organization, but it was heavily disappointed with the result

▶No major war crime was found in the part on Japan, including comfort women issue

This Interagency Working Group was established by U.S. Government’s two legislations for uncovering Nazi and Japanese war crimes during the World War II which had been documented in classified files. Its final report was submitted to the U.S. Congress in 2007, after making hitherto classified 8.5 million pages of documents from CIA, FBI and other governmental organizations made available to the general public and spending more than $30 million over 5 year period. Although IWG revealed much new information about Nazi crimes, they could not find any major war crimes (including enslavement of women) with the Japanese military.

Author: Hata, Ikuhiko
Comfort Women and Sex in the Battle Zone
Publisher: Hamilton Books (2018)
Originally published in Japanese in 1999 as 『慰安婦と戦場の性』from Shinchosha

▶In-depth study by notable Japanese historian on the nature of comfort women based on numerous documents

▶Recently made available to English-speaking readers

▶The contents are strikingly similar to the observations contained in the U.S. Military Report No. 49 of 1944

▶A majority of comfort women were Japanese

▶Comfort women had an income 10 to 100 times the income of their customers; Japanese soldiers

This is a comprehensive compilation of information on comfort women. Although this book was published in Japan 1999, the lack of English version prevented access of this rich resource to the English speaking population. Now, it is available from Hamilton Books. The author relates the comfort women system with the publicly accepted prostitution system in the prewar and wartime Japan, and compare this with the practices in other countries. Carefully examining the narratives of ex-comfort women, reveals falsehood of the girl hunting story told by Seiji Yoshida. This book presents consistent observations with those revealed in the 1944 U.S. military report No. 49.

Author: Soh, C. Sarah
The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan
Publisher: University of Chicago Press (2008)

▶A remarkable anthropological study on comfort women by a Korean scholar in the U. S.

▶Comfort women’s statements have been changing over time in the direction of accusing Japan

▶Ex-comfort women’s statements are not credible

This is the first serious anthropological research on the life of comfort women. In addition, this book was written by a female scholar who came from South Korea. She examined testimonial narratives of many ex-comfort women, and identified consistent transformations of their stories over time. The famous ex-comfort women, Yong-su Lee (Yi) initially stated she wanted to have a new life and went to a Korean recruiting agent, but later stated that she was taken away from home by force. There is a distinct pattern: their testimonial narratives in late years are more in line with the theory of the enslaved comfort women which has been advocated by anti-Japan organizations.

by: Deputy Foreign Minister Sugiyama, Shinsuke
Statement Made at a U.N. Human Rights Meeting in Geneva (February 16, 2016)

Link: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Consideration of the seventh and eighth periodic reports  (February 16, 2016, Geneva)
(Summary of remarks by Mr. Shinsuke Sugiyama, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Question and Answer session)

Link: YouTube  CCTV Video News Agency
Published on Feb 16, 2016
Japanese gov’t denies issue of comfort women at UN session

▶The Government of Japan officially denied their involvement in recruiting comfort women, denied they were “sex-slaves” and their number was much less than commonly expresed

▶Japan stated that misinformation on comfort women was spread by Asahi Newspaper

This is a statement made by the chief representative of the Government of Japan at a United Nations Human Rights meeting in Geneva. He made the following points:

(1) the comfort women were not “sex-slaves”
(2) they were not forcibly taken away by the Japanese military and government authorities
(3) their total number was much less than 200,000 which some organizations were claiming

In addition, he stated that false perceptions were spread by Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper in the 1990s and 2000s. This was the first comprehensive counterattack to the theory of enslaves comfort women which was widely spread in the world.

Author: Miyamoto, Archie
Wartime Military Records on Comfort Women: A Compilation of U.S./Allied/Dutch/Japanese Military Documents. Second Edition
Publisher: Self-Published (2017)

▶Eleven U.S. military reports are introduced for describing about comfort women

▶Korean women were purchased, paying their families from 300 to 1000 yen depending on their qualifications

Their age ranged from 19 to 31

▶The Japanese Army had regulations against use of involuntary women in comfort stations

Lieutenant Colonel Archie Miyamoto of U.S. Army (retired) assembled military documents from the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and Korea related to comfort women. Although it is only 53 pages long, they clearly indicate the nature of the comfort women. Having been recruited by private business persons, they were engaged in the prostitution business which was allowed but regulated by the Japanese military codes for the protection of the women as well as the military.

Author: Mera, Koichi
Comfort Women NOT Sex Slaves: Rectifying the Myriad of Perspectives, Second Edition
Publisher: Toplink Publishing (2018)

Hollywood Book Review:
“…’Comfort Women Not Sex Slaves’is a book that readers will find enlightening and intriguing. Mera’s text is a book that will definitely inspire a discussion among readers and is a book that will make readers think…..”

▶The revelation of Comfort Women as Prostitutes by a U.S. military document

▶Concise Summary of the Comfort Women controversy

▶The Validity of the Kono Statement is seriously damaged by the Government of Japan’s 2015 Study

▶Full listing of Comfort Women monuments in the U.S.

▶Confession by Asahi Newspaper of misreporting on Comfort Women

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the comfort women issue with emphasis on the responses of the Government of Japan to the demand for apology and compensations. In addition, this book contains the transcript of key documents such as the “Kono Statement’” U.S. Army Report NO. 49, 2015 Japan-the Republic of Korea Agreement, and Sugiyama’s statement of 2016 in Geneva. Furthermore, it contains a full transcript of “The Background Review of the Kono Statement” which was made by the Government of Japan. This review significantly reduced the weight of the Kono Statement as it was influenced by political forces. Another notable point introduced here is the admission by Asahi Shimbun of misreporting the Seiji Yoshida’s book and statements.

Author: Hosoya, Kiyoshi and Yamamoto, Yumiko
WWII Korean Women Not Sex-Enslaved: A Myth-Bust!
Publisher: Xlibris (2018)

▶Complete rebuttal of the sex-slave theory of comfort women

▶Enslave theorists lack evidence

▶Point by point analysis of former comfort women’s statements

▶Seiji Yoshida Fiction writer, not documentarist

▶Korean comfort women could purchase two houses in Tokyo with her annual income

This book presents clear contrast in the perception of comfort women between the theory of enslaved women and the one presented in the U.S. Military Report No.49. On the evidence available the authors claim that those who insist the theory of enslaved women are accusing Japan in order to drive a wedge to the alliance of the United States and Japan. To arrive at this conclusion, the authors have utilized various reliable documents and analyses based on them. For example, for denying the claim that most of the comfort women were massacred at the end of the war, the authors utilize the population pyramid of the population of the South Korea which is available for the United Nations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *