One Amazon reader notes as follows:
“4.0 out of 5 stars
A must-read above all others on the subject
September 15, 2017
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
“After rereading the book recently, I have renewed respect for Professor Soh – she has taken a very courageous step to reject the ‘master narrative’ of the comfort women issue by providing so much on the historical background of Korea as well as revealing information on many of the comfort women survivors, facts that are conveniently left out by activists of the redress movement. It is no wonder that Chong Dae Hyup, the main organization that promotes the movement in South Korea, no longer wants to do anything with Professor Soh, but her name not being on the list of academics supporting the 2015 Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan, an attempt to pressure Japan to further acknowledge and once again account for the ‘past wrongs,’ really speaks volumes.
More than anyone in American academia, she fully understands the complexity of the issue as demonstrated in her extensive research, and she is undoubtedly the most qualified to discuss the matter objectively, having received education inJapanese, Korean, and English. Moreover, she is currently a resident and scholar in the United States, making her independent of any activist groups from overseas, which allows her to speak freely without compromising academic integrity. While I personally do not support transnational feminism which is what the professor identifies herself with, this book must be thoroughly studied in order to partake in any reasonable discussion on the issue of Imperial Japan’s Comfort Women system. A solid 4.5 stars for the depth of the research and the overall objectivity that is maintained throughout the book. “
Quotes from the Book:
“I contend that the personal tragedies of Korean comfort women arose, in part, from the institutionalized everyday gender violence tolerated in patriarchal homes and enacted in the public sphere (including the battlefront) steeped in what I call “masculinist sexual culture” in colonial Korea and imperial Japan. Notwithstanding South Korean nationalists homogenizing rhetoric of the comfort women as sex slaves who were deceived as volunteer labor recruits or chongsindae (Editor’s note: volunteer female factory workers), my research findings strongly suggest that most Korean comfort women survivors were not mobilized as chongsindae.
Whereas some Korean survivors stated having been kidnapped, others revealed that they were “sold” to human traffickers by their indigent parents. In fact, compatriot“entrepreneurs”- men and women from colonial Korea who not only procured girls and women for the Japanese army but also, in many cases, managed or ran comfort stations- lured the majority of them. Furthermore, some chose to run away from home in order to escape domestic violence and maltreatment or the oppression of crushing poverty, fervently aspiring to become modern autonomous “new women.” (p. 3-4)
Were they forcefully Recruited?:
“..in light of the continuing controversy concerning the issue of “coercion by the military” in the recruitment of women, a clarification ought to be made for accuracy’s sake regarding the manner in which Korean comfort women survivors were recruited. In cases of Yi Yong-su and Kim Kun-ja, their original published testimonial narratives told very different stories from the current, paradigmatically established image of all former comfort women having been drafted by the Japanese military.
One may also note that in stark contrast to the dramatic but untruthful exaggerations some survivors have recently added to their original and published stories in order to live up to the paradigmatic story of the forcible recruitment by the Japanese military, some other South Korean survivors have firmly refused to be interviewed after the initial investigation for the government certification process. Some kept their silence out of fear of making “speech errors” that might lead to the cancellation of their registration and hence the cessation of their welfare support money.” (p. 101)