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South Korea

In/fertility among Korea’s "Comfort Women" Survivors: A Comparative Perspective

Citation:

Soh, C. Sarah. 2006. “In/fertility among Korea’s ‘Comfort Women’ Survivors: A Comparative Perspective.” Women’s Studies International Forum 29 (1): 67–80. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2005.10.007.

Author: C. Sarah Soh

Abstract:

This article explores the social psychological and physiological impact of wartime military sexual slavery on postwar lives of former "comfort women" by analyzing Korean survivors’ testimonial narratives of han (long-held bitter resentment) and my multisite ethnographic research findings on the topic. Taking a comparative perspective of a "person-centered anthropology," it attempts to historicize the experiences of wartime enforced sexual labor and its impact on reproductive capacity in postwar marital lives among some Korean, Filipino, and Dutch survivors. [Soh] posit[s] the cumulative number (as well as the degree of roughness) of forced sexual intercourse–operationalized as the length of sexual servitude period–as a crucial factor in affecting the survivors’ reproductive successes in postwar marital lives. Other important intervening variables for survivors’ in/fertility that [Soh] theorize[s] include sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive disruptions, and exceptionally privileged treatment resulting in reduced sexual workload.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2006

Korean "Comfort Women": The Intersection of Colonial Power, Gender, and Class

Citation:

Min, Pyong Gap. 2003. “Korean ‘Comfort Women’: The Intersection of Colonial Power, Gender, and Class.” Gender & Society 17 (6): 938–57.

Author: Pyong Gap Min

Abstract:

During the Asian and Pacific War (1937-45), the Japanese government mobilized approximately 200,000 Asian women to military brothels to sexually serve Japanese soldiers. The majority of these victims were unmarried young women from Korea, Japan’s colony at that time. In the early 1990s, Korean feminist leaders helped more than 200 Korean survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery to come forward to tell the truth, which has further accelerated the redress movement for the women. One major issue in the redress movement and research relating to the so-called “comfort women” issue is whether Japan’s colonization of Korea or gender hierarchy was a more fundamental cause of the Korean women’s suffering. Using an intersectional perspective, this article analyzes how colonial power, gender hierarchy, and class were inseparably tied together to make the victims’ lives miserable. By doing so, it shows that a one-sided emphasis on colonization or gender hierarchy will misrepresent the feminist political issue and misinterpret the “comfort women’s” experiences.

Keywords: sexual violence against women, colonial power, gender, class

Topics: Armed Conflict, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan, North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2003

Human Rights, the Sex Industry and Foreign Troops: Feminist Analysis of Nationalism in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines

Citation:

Zimelis, Andris. 2009. "Human Rights, the Sex Industry and Foreign Troops: Feminist Analysis of Nationalism in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines." Cooperation and Conflict 44 (1): 51-71.

Author: Andris Zimelis

Abstract:

This article explores the relationship between prostitution, nationalism and foreign policies using a feminist analysis framework. Although scholars have dealt with the theoretical role of women in nationalist projects, there is little work factually supporting these theories. There is also a paucity of works demonstrating the role of prostitution in national security policies. This article rectifies these shortcomings and demonstrates that, although prostitution is illegal in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, these governments have played an active role in supporting and maintaining the prostitution industry geared at servicing US troops. The US troops, in turn, have protected the national security of each of these countries for all of the post-Second World War era. In this context, it seems clear that 'national security' does not include the physical, economic, legal and social insecurity of Japanese, Korean and Filipino women despite their contribution to the most quintessential Realist policy - national security. 

Keywords: nationalism, national interest, prostitution, human rights, sex industry, US troops, foreign policy

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Nationalism, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Japan, Philippines, South Korea

Year: 2009

South Korean Movements Against Militarized Sexual Labor

Citation:

Moon, Katharine H. S. 1999. "South Korean Movements Against Militarized Sexual Labor." Asian Survey 39 (2): 310-27.

Author: Katherine H. S. Moon

Abstract:

The suffering that many South Korean women experienced under the Japanese military's sexual slavery (chongsindae) practices has been properly noted not only in South Korea but in other nations as well. The chongsindae movement (CM), however, was preceded by a similar group, the kijich'on movement (KM). KM was formed in the mid-1980s to recognize and publicize the plight of Korean prostitutes servicing American soldiers in the US military camptown, or kijich'on. A comparison of the two movements' ideology, leadership, and organization is presented to provide a rationale for CM's success in making the 'military comfort women' a universal women's rights concern, even as KM has remained localized and less recognized as a group.

Keywords: prostitution, Japanese military, US military, chongsindae movement, sex trafficking, kijich'on movement

Annotation:

  • The chongsindae movement (CM) addresses the problem of the military “comfort system” in South Korea which resulted in women being trafficked to military bases and forced to work as sex workers, beginning with the Japanese colonial rule. Since the mid-1980s, the kijich’on (KM) movement has also been formed, protesting the issue of U.S. military camptown prostitutes who became “victims of debt bondage and objects of foreign domination” (311). Moon discusses these two movements in connection with each other, comparing the ideology, leadership, and organization of each in the context of the changing civil in South Korea since the late 1980s. The author’s goal is to account for the relatively localized and less recognized status of the KM movement as opposed to the overall success and publicity gained by the CM movement. She ultimately concludes that the CM movement has overshadowed rather than supported the kijich’on problem.

Topics: Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 1999

Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in US-Korea Relations

Citation:

Moon, Katharine H. S. 1997. Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in US-Korea Relations. New York: Columbia University Press.

Author: Katharine H. S. Moon

Abstract:

Drawing on a vast array of data - archival materials, interviews with officials, social workers, and the candid revelations of sex industry workers - Moon explores the way in which the bodies of Korean prostitutes - where, when, and how they worked and lived - were used by the United States and the Korean governments in their security agreements. Weaving together issues of gender, race, sex, the relationship between individuals and the state, and foreign policy, she shows how women such as the Korean prostitutes are marginalized and made invisible in militarily dependent societies both because of the degradation of their work and because of their importance for national security.

Keywords: prostitution, governance, military sexual assault, national security, sex trafficking

Topics: Gender, Women, Governance, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Race, Security, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea, United States of America

Year: 1997

Human Trafficking in East Asia: Current Trends, Data Collection, and Knowledge Gaps

Citation:

Lee, June JH. 2005. "Human Trafficking in East Asia: Current Trends, Data Collection, and Knowledge Gaps." International Migration 43 (1-2): 165-201.

Author: June JH Lee

Keywords: militarization, human trafficking, data collection, Filipina women

Annotation:

  • The goal of this paper is to “examine the general trends in human trafficking reported in East Asia from rather disparate sources, identify the main issues and problems raised in the existing information sources, and discuss data collection, research activities, and knowledge gaps” (166).
  • The link between trafficked Filipina women and the Rest and Recreations facilities of U.S. military bases in South Korea is discussed, and the author notes that the connection between the sex trade and militarization in South Korea is a recurrent theme in studies of the issue. 

Topics: Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: China, Japan, Philippines, South Korea

Year: 2005

Gender, Migration and Civil Activism in South Korea

Citation:

Lee, Hye-Kyung. 2003. "Gender, Migration and Civil Activism in South Korea." Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 12: 127-53.

Author: Hye-Kyung Lee

Abstract:

Since the late 1980s, Korea has experienced an influx of migrant workers from neighboring Asian countries. The total number of migrant workers in 1990 was less than 20,000, but rose to 340,000 in 2002. International migration in South Korea shows less extensive feminization than in comparable receiving countries in East Asia. This paper examines why female migration, which accounts for only 30-35 percent of all migrant workers, is less extensive in South Korea, and why domestic work, the major occupation which has accelerated female migration in the region, is not popular in South Korea. It also assesses the current state of migrant and civil society movements providing assistance to migrant women in South Korea. Although the number of these NGOs is small, their activities have highlighted the problems and issues in international marriages and the entry of foreign female entertainers in the sex industry. The paper argues that civil movements for migrant women have contributed to reconsiderations of notions of nationality and citizenship in Korea.

Keywords: immigration, migrant workers

Topics: Citizenship, Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Nationalism, NGOs Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2003

Modern-Day Comfort Women: The U.S. Military, Transnational Crime, and the Trafficking of Women

Citation:

Hughes, Donna M., Katherine Y. Chon, and Derek P. Ellerman. 2007. "Modern-Day Comfort Women: The U.S. Military, Transnational Crime, and the Trafficking of Women." Violence Against Women 13 (9): 901-22.

Authors: Donna M. Hughes, Katherine Y. Chon, Derek P. Ellerman

Abstract:

The trafficking of women has been a lucrative moneymaker for transnational organized crime networks, ranking third, behind drugs and arms, in criminal earnings. The U.S. military bases in South Korea were found to form a hub for the transnational trafficking of women from the Asia Pacific and Eurasia to South Korea and the United States.
This study, conducted in 2002, examined three types of trafficking that were connected to U.S. military bases in South Korea: domestic trafficking of Korean women to clubs around the military bases in South Korea, transnational trafficking of women to clubs around military bases in South Korea, and transnational trafficking of women from South Korea to massage parlors in the United States. 

Keywords: military sexual assault, sex trafficking, organized crime, US military bases

Topics: Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea, United States of America

Year: 2007

Transnational Desires: Trafficked Filipinas in US Military Camp Towns in South Korea

Citation:

Cheng, Sea-Ling. 2002. Transnational Desires: Trafficked Filipinas in US Military Camp Towns in South Korea. PhD diss., University of Oxford.

Author: Sea-Ling Cheng

Topics: Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Philippines, South Korea, United States of America

Year: 2002

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