The ‘Comfort Women’ Issue and the Embedded Culture of Sexual Violence in Contemporary Japan

Citation:

Kazue, Muta. 2016. “The ‘Comfort Women’ Issue and the Embedded Culture of Sexual Violence in Contemporary Japan.” Current Sociology 64 (4): 620–36. 

Author: Muta Kazue

Abstract:

For over two decades, survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery during the Asia-Pacific War, euphemistically called comfort women (ianfu), have been demanding the Japanese government take responsibility for past atrocities to restore their dignity. They have yet to obtain a satisfactory response; indeed, their demands have frequently been met with verbal attacks from the right-wing, including influential politicians. This article seeks to identify and explain some of the reasons why the problem has remained a highly controversial, but stubbornly unresolved issue. It begins by offering a brief history of the issue and then maps out the contemporary controversy. It shows that right-wing attacks should be understood as stemming from a systemic and deeply embedded bifurcation of women in Japanese society that allows the adoration of some women to comfortably coexist with misogyny, powerful rape myths, and a porn culture. These deeply permeate many areas of society, including its courts.

Keywords: Japan, Korea, comfort women, comfort women issue, Conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, conflict-related sexual violence, conflict-related sexual violence against women, South Korea

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against Women, Sexuality Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan, South Korea

Year: 2016

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