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‘Whose Comfort?’By Professor Yonson Ahn

Body, sexuality and identities of Korean ‘Comfort Women’ and Japanese soldiers during WW11

Professor Yonson Ahn addressing attendees at the launch of ‘Whose Comfort?’ Photo: Courtesy World Scientific Publishing Company

In recent years, international attention has been recurrently drawn to violence against civilians including sexual violence during war as a means of furthering military or political goals. The ongoing issue of comfort women has been debated not only among Asian countries including Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines but also in numerous international forums.

This book examines the system of military comfort women in Asia and the Pacific created and maintained by Japan during World War II. It uses the comfort women system as a lens for exploring the ways in which body, sexuality and identity are deployed in the creation of patriarchal relations, ethnic hierarchies, and colonial/nationalist power. This book analyzes the role and nature of the comfort women system as a mechanism of social control by the colonial state. This requires the examining of sexuality and body politics, the social background of the victims, wartime working conditions, and regulation of soldiers’ sexuality.

This insightful and thoroughly-researched work sheds new light on the issue of sexual violence against civilian ‘comfort women’ during World War II, examining body politics, femininity, and military masculinity to analyse the impact on both comfort women and Japanese soldiers.

The issue of sexual violence against civilian ‘comfort women’ during World War II has drawn widespread attention in recent years, debated not only among in Asian countries but also in numerous international forums.

Professor Yonson Ahn is the director of Korean Studies at Frankfurt University.

Published by World Scientific Publishing Company

 ‘Whose Comfort?’ was launched  at KCCUK London, Feb 21.

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