Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

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First published: June 1, 2023 – Last updated: June 1, 2023


Authors: Chae-Han Kim and Youn Soo Chob

Title: Japanese Authorities, the ‘Comfort Project’, and Tacit Contracts under Militaristic Rule during the Pacific War


Journal: Asian Studies Review

Volume: (Published online before print)


Year: 2023 (Received: February 7, 2022, Accepted: October 6, 2022, Published online: April 20, 2023)


pISSN: 1035-7823 – Find a Library: WorldCat | eISSN: 1467-8403 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, Asian History: Japanese History, Types: Forced Prostitution / "Comfort Women" System; Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / Asia-Pacific War


Link: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »The comfort women issue (also known as the Japanese military sexual slavery issue), which occurred during the Pacific War from the late 1930s to 1945, has continued to negatively impact the present and future of East Asia for more than seven decades. Even today this issue is the source of multiple and serious disagreements between governments, scholars, and citizens from across the region. This article seeks to contribute to research on the comfort women issue by shifting the focus from the relationship between the Japanese authorities and comfort women to that between these authorities and the comfort agents. It uses archival records, and in particular documents from the Japanese military and police, to illustrate that the ‘comfort project’ was not driven by the choices of the women who were caught in its midst, but rather by a hierarchical structure of wartime militaristic rule, with the Japanese authorities as the principal and the brothel-owners/recruiters as their agents. Further, the article argues that the relationship between the authorities and brothel-owners/recruiters was a tacit contract of agency: both parties had to carry out their commitments because these commitments were so credible, even in the absence of physical contracts.« (Source: Asian Studies Review)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of Japan / Shōwa era | Prostitution: Forced prostitution / Comfort women | Sex and the law: Wartime sexual violence / Wartime sexual violence in World War II | War: Pacific War / Japanese war crimes