Comfort Women: Perpetuating Violence on Korean Women by the Occupying Armies

  • Ji-Hyun Lee Grinnell College


This paper examines prostitution in a militarized context on the Korean peninsula. While sexual violence like rape and forced prostitution is not uncommon in war zones, the case of the Korean peninsula offers a distinct narrative. Not only was Korea a stronghold of neo-Confucianism, a more authoritarian version of Confucianism, but the constant threat of colonization and occupation by surrounding powers signi cantly affected the psyche of the national psyche. Thus this paper attempts to trace neo-Confucian policy toward women as heavily influenced by the traumas of modernity: The Korean government passively handing over its female citizens into institutionalized prostitution (‘comfort stations’) under the military regulations of Japan and the U.S. while actively discriminating against these sex workers in the society. In this context, reassessing policies toward reparations for these comfort women becomes addressing the violence inscribed on female bodies that transcends single nationality. It reveals and recommends deconstruction of the victim-shaming culture prevalent in masculinized, even misogynistic states. It further calls for an international recognition and remembrance of these women as vocal exposés of war crimes against women.

How to Cite
LEE, Ji-Hyun. Comfort Women: Perpetuating Violence on Korean Women by the Occupying Armies. Grinnell Undergraduate Research Journal, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 1, p. 68-75, june 2016. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 june 2018.