Japanese War Crimes and the Attack on Pearl Harbor
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Forced Sexual Slavery of "The Comfort Women"

The Tokyo Trials
 


 
Forced Sexual Slavery of The Comfort Women
 
      Comfort Women, http://www.comfortwomen.org/  is a "web site to remember some 200,000 women who were used as sexual slaves by Japanese troops during world War II." It is a well-balanced site, containing News articles on the subject, UN and other legal documents as well as information regarding a recent House proposal by Representative William O. Lipinski (D-3rd/IL) asking the Japanese to apologize for the atrocities of World War II and compensate their victims, including the Comfort Women.  This site also contains a compelling yet not appalling photo gallery.  Also contained is a link to the The Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues, Inc. (WCCW) home page and a listing of their activities.  Although there is really no discussion of the horrors perpetrated upon the Comfort Women and no analysis, this site is still quite useful.
 

       Comfort Women: Were they really abducted by the Japanese army?,http://coralnet.or.jp/kakichi/ bluntly denies that the 200,000 women forced to serve as sexual slaves for the Japanese army were really abducted; the alternative apparently is that they volunteered for these "jobs" or were already prostitutes hired for this purpose.  However, this site also includes a great deal of documents and testimony refuting this claim which the author of the site weakly tries to discredit.  For instance, in response to the testimony of Seiji Yoshida, a Japanese man who claims to have headed a recruitment team, the site points to the lack of corroborating evidence as a means of impeachment. No weight, though, is given to the idea that few in his position would come forward and admit their past crimes.  Similarly, the testimony of a Comfort Woman, Mun Ock-Ju, that she was abducted by a Japanese policeman is discounted as false because she did not say so initially, i.e. when she was 16.  The logic on this site seems rather stretched as do the means with which the author tries to deny that the Japanese military abducted these women.  Moreover, even if the girls were acquired by some "bad Korean pimp" as the author alleges, does that truly relieve the Japanese government from blame for the very practice of maintaining Comfort stations and turning these women into sexual slaves?
 

       Militarism, Colonialism, and the Trafficking of Women: "Comfort Women"  Forced into Sexual Labor for Japanese Soldiers, http://csf.colorado.edu/bcas/sample/comfdoc.htm is an online article by Watanabe Kazuko providing a comprehensive discussion of the Comfort Women.  It provides an insightful historical context of the practice and provides an adequate explanation of the treatment these women were accorded.  Especially interesting were the labels used by the Japanese for them, most notably "Emperor's Children" and the belief that such labels would make women eager to serve.  It also discusses the unconscionable denials by the Japanese government which did not cease until 1992.The article also discusses the Comfort Women as a Feminist Issue as well as the actions taken in response.  This is a good paper with nice analysis and credible facts.
 

        in God's Image, http://witness.peacenet.or.kr/e_comfort/library/god/godimage.htm contains  testimonials, editorials, and links to solidarities and activities.  The editorials are rather piercing and speak harshly of the stance of the Japanese government on the issue of the Comfort Women.  In one, Mee-Hyang Yoon  asserts that "[i]t seems clear that the Japanese government does not feel guilty for the inhumane war crimes" despite its grudging agreement to pay reparations to survivors. A number of testimonials provide a keen insight into the plight these women faced.  The inclusion of the testimony of Jeanne O'Herne, a Dutch Catholic girl whose family lived in the Dutch East Indies and was forced into service as a Comfort Woman, is significant as evidence that non-Asian girls were also subjected to such treatment.  Especially compelling testimonials are Your Comfort Vs. My Death: A Korean Woman's Reflection on Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, Hyun-Kyung Chung, http://witness.peacenet.or.kr/e_comfort/library/god/god3.htm and , Former "Comfort Woman for the Japanese Army," Ok-Sun Jong,   http://witness.peacenet.or.kr/e_comfort/library/god/god4.htm. The stories on this page provide a superb window into the horror of this practice and make the longstanding denials by the Japanese government even more appalling.
 
 


 
 
The Tokyo Trials
 
 
Former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo testifies during his trial at the 
old War Ministry building in Tokyo on January 6, 1948. He and 
24 other defendants were charged with "crimes against peace," 
along with conventional war crimes and "crimes against humanity."
 
        THE TOKYO WAR CRIMES TRIALS,http://www.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/NanjingMassacre/NMTT.html is a plain-text site that provides a superb factual background regarding the trial.  In addition to listing the defendants and the sentences they received, the site discusses generally tHE crimes committed.  this discussion occurs both in legal terms and in "real-world" terms, that is by describing the atrocities committed and the support given by the Japanese government in their commission.  A useful grid lists the charges and the verdicts on those counts against each of the 25 defendants (of the 28 initially charged as Class A War Criminals, two died of natural causes during the trial and one had a mental breakdown).  Basically, if you're looking for facts on the Tokyo Trials, this is the place to start.
 

        War Crimes Trials, Carlos W. Porter,   http://www.codoh.com/trials/triwartrial.html argues, in a rather strange manner, that many of the supposed war crimes committed by the Japanese during World War II were actually quite legal.  In addition to arguing that the attack on Pearl Harbor was an act of self-defense, Porter argues that the Rape of Nanking never really happened and that reports of the mistreatment of prisoners are simply extreme exagerations.  The tone of this site is that of someone "in-the-know" yet the majority of the claims are not only erroneous but disturbed and revolting.  Nonetheless, the site is worth visiting because the self-defense argument is decent and because the author does rely on international law in  places to prove that many of the atrocities were not clearly established at the time as violations of the laws of war.  As such, this site illustrates two alleged problems with the Tokyo trials, namely that of ex post facto justice and a willingness to interpret indeterminate laws in favor of the prosecution.
 

        Confessions of Japanese War Criminalshttp://www.centurychina.com/wiihist/confess/index.html provides excerpts from a book entitled Japan at War, specifically the testimonials of three Japanese War Criminals, a soldier, an army doctor, and a spy.  These testimonials are horrifying both in their lurid description of the atrocities committed but in the exuberant manner in which some Japanese soldiers committed them.  They do, however, show that not all Japanese were willing participants in these war crimes yet had little choice but to commit them.
 

       Some words of the young Japanese who involved in the discussion about Japanese war crimeshttp://www.centurychina.com/wiihist/japdeny/japsay.htm is a brief site providing the responses of some Japanese youths to questions regarding the commission of war crimes during World War II.  While this source is brief and lacks any analysis, many of the responses are startling in their lack of recognition of what really happened.  Unfortunately, no context is provided for the worth of these statements, i.e. how common such responses are.  Without that information, it would be unfounded to intuit what the author wants us to, namely that Japan has not properly repented its past deeds and instilled a sense of shame in the succeeding generations.
 

         History we shall never forget (China: 1931-1945)http://www.centurychina.com/wiihist/index.html is a thorough site covering the war crimes committed during World War II.  Perhaps its best aspect is its discussion of the Failure of Tokyo Trial, which not only sets forth the facts of the tribunal and the actions/ events for which each defendant was charged but also the reasons why the Tokyo Trial was such a failure.  Most startling was the lenient resolution of many verdicts despite the harsh sentences received.  This site is quite good,  it is factually accurate, provides a great analysis and contains a few pictures and other eye-catching features.  It also contains a number of links regarding the "Japanese denial of history" as well as other, more detailed discussions of the war crimes committed.
 

        Justice Under the Sun:  Japanese War Crime Trials, Robert Barr Smith,  http://www.thehistorynet.com/WorldWarII/articles/0996_cover.htm focuses on the trial and subsequent hanging of General Tomoyuki Yamashita in Manila on February 23, 1946.  He was convicted of war crimes by and American dominated tribunal not for his own acts, but for commanding others who committed war crimes.  Despite defense arguments that Yamashita was being charged with being a leader and nothing more, the prosecutors argued that the atrocities were so widespread that he could not have been unaware of them.  The arguments are well presented as are the underlying facts.  In addition, a number of nice pictures appear, adding to the effect.
 
 

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