China Focus: Document sheds light on “comfort women” during WWII

NANJING, July 5 (Xinhua) — Experts from China and the Republic of Korea Wednesday revealed a list confirming the names of 135 “comfort women” from the Second World War.
A list of 210 people, who were originally from the Korean Peninsula and lived in Jinhua of east China’s Zhejiang province, was kept in the Jinhua City Archives. The list was marked April 1944.
The documents were discovered in the archives at the end of 1980s, but didn’t attract much attention, said Chen Yanyan, head of the archives.
“The 210 people were from the Korean Peninsula. The document lists their names, ages, place of birth, and professions,” said Chen.
In November 2016, Su Zhiliang, director of the “comfort women” research center at Shanghai Normal University, studied the document and discovered the secret missing information from the list.
“There were photographers, businessmen, caterers, drivers, shop assistants, confectionery dealers, and translators, but there are no details of the professions for over 100 females aged between 20 to 30. Their addresses were found to be the same as owners of comfort stations,” said Su.
“We made the conclusion that these people worked for the station and they were ‘comfort women,'” he said.
“Being forced to be ‘comfort women’ was a unspeakable shame, so their profession was not stated on the list,” he said.
“Comfort women” were women and girls forced into sex slavery by the Japanese during World War II.
Among the list of 210 people, 147 of them are believed to have worked at the comfort stations. That number was made up of seven owners, five management staff, and 135 “comfort women,” Su said.
In Jinhua alone, there were 10 comfort houses, he said.
Su said there are several other documents that substantiated the existence of these comfort stations. One Chinese “comfort woman,” aged over 90 years, also confirmed the existence of the comfort stations. She refused to be named, Su said.
Lee Sin Cheol from Sungkyunkwan University said the document is an important piece of evidence confirming the Japanese army established comfort stations during the war.
Lee said such documents have also been found in the Republic of Korea. “We will continue to present evidence of the war victims and refute false claims by rightists in Japan who want to distort history,” Lee said.
Su estimated that some 400,000 women in Asia were forced to serve as “comfort women” during Second World War, nearly half of whom were Chinese.

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