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Teacher's Comment :

Kee, Ye Ji - The Historical Background of the Comfort Women System
The Background in the Japanese Empire and in Colonized Joseon (Korea)



Kee, Ye Ji, while a student at KMLA, has been actively engaged in promoting the cause of the so-called Comfort Women, a euphemism for women, the vast majority of whom Korean, who were tricked into prostitution to serve Japanese soldiers, made available to them wherever Japanese soldiers were stationed 1937-1945. She founded a club at KMLA dedidated to providing support to the residents of the House of Sharing, and the Korea's surviving Comfort Women; Kee, Ye Ji personally accompanied one of these ladies on her trip to the United States, where she provided translation service where needed.

The paper posted here, in the draft of December 27th 2007, is still a draft. I have recommended a number of changes :
(I) to add an introduction in which a definition of the term 'Comfort Women' would be given, a history of the Japanese system to provide the service of prostitutes to their soldiers 1932-1945, statistics about the Comfort Women and their lands of origin, the geographical distribution of the 'stations', and to give a brief explanation of the present political controversy.
(II) to add an epilogue on the experience of those Korean Comfort Women who returnede after the war.
Yeji has given detailed information on both (I) and (II) in a presentation she gave in September.
Further changes I requested include :
(III) replace the term 'Joseon' by 'Korea'. In English language texts, for the years 1910-1945, most readers are not accustomed to the term 'Joseon' (which, by the way, for that period reflects Japanese terminology).
(IV) to fix the problem of table three, where the numbers do not add up
(V) to add a paragraph on pre-Japanese prostitution in Korea
(VI) to write all paragraphs prior to a conclusion in neutral perspective, i.e. to replace terms such as 'evil' by non-judgmental expressions. A judgment may be given in a concluding chapter. And this judgment should differentiate.
(VII) Ye Ji documents a rise in the number of women listed as prostitutes or in related groups in Korea over the years (the statistics do not include the large numbers of Korean women who ended up in brothels attached to Japanese garrisons). She has to examine factors other than the policies of the Japanese authorities which may have contributed to the phenomenon of a sharp increase in the numbers of women who found themselves in the role of prostitutes.
(VIII) in case of 'related occupations' (table 2), the terms Geisha / Kisaeng should be defined as many English language readers may not be familiar with both, and for Geishas/Kisaengs, Barmaids and Cafe Waitresses an explanation should be given why they are listed here in the first place.
(IX) in an appendix, the House of Sharing, its Museum and English language publications should be introduced.
(X) notes and references have to be added.

The issue of Comfort Women is politically sensitive; therefore, a publication on the topic should meet high standards.


December 28th 2007

Alexander Ganse



Kee, Ye Ji The Historical Background of the Comfort Women System
The Background in the Japanese Empire and in Colonized Joseon (Korea)