A Little Known Dark Chapter of WWII: Japanese Army Had Female Sex Slaves

Written by on September 5, 2015 in Corruption with 50 Comments

By Omar Cherif
The Comfort Women of the Imperial Japanese Army A few days ago, I came across one of the horrors of wars that hasn't taken its fair share of publicity in history books. The topic is about “comfort women,” who were women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before, during – and after – World War II. My findings led me to the history of sexual slavery and how it was widespread around the world until not so long ago. This is the gruesome story of a countless number of women who were dehumanized and abandoned in the name of war, money, and power.

The name “comfort women” is a translation of the Japanese euphemism ianfu (慰安婦) and the similar Korean term wianbu (慰安婦). Ianfu is simply the less offensive term for shōfu (娼婦), which means “prostitute(s).” The sole ‘job’ of comfort women was to fulfill the sexual needs of Japanese military personnel and civil officers.

Many of those females were from occupied countries like Korea, China, and the Philippines. Although others from Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan (then a Japanese dependency), Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies), East Timor (then Portuguese Timor) were also interned. A smaller number from the Netherlands and Australia were involved as well.

Other Japanese-occupied territories were used for military “comfort stations,” also known as “comfort houses.” The stations were located in Japan, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, then Malaya, Thailand, Burma, New Guinea, Hong Kong, Macau, and French Indochina.

In fact, the first comfort station, a brothel, was established in the Japanese concession in Shanghai in 1932, way before WW II. Earlier comfort women were Japanese prostitutes who had volunteered for such service. However, there was a shortage of volunteers as Japan continued its military expansion, so they turned to the locals. The number of stations increased rapidly after the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937.

According to testimony, those poor young women were abducted from their homes in countries under Imperial Japanese custody and were shipped to “comfort stations” around the world. Some were 13 year-old virgins, others were older. Even though a small number was willingly recruited, in most cases, the females were lured with promises of work in factories, restaurants, and military hospitals. Or, they were simply kidnapped. Once recruited, they were kept incarcerated in the stations in foreign lands where they “lived” as sex slaves.

Indonesian comfort women

Indonesian comfort women

Military correspondence of the Japanese Imperial Army shows that there was three main reasons why comfort stations were initially established.

The essential purpose was the prevention of rape crimes committed by Japanese army personnel, and thus preventing the rise of hostility among people in occupied areas. You know, to pacify the soldiers by allowing them to discharge instead of going crazy and getting discharged.
By July 1937, Japan had already began its full-scale war against China. The soldiers were raping Chinese women and this was damaging the honour of the Imperial Army. So the idea of their very own comfort women and stations was incepted on a large scale.

A second purpose for the existence of this system was to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Servicemen who raped the Chinese women will eventually go back to Japan and the diseases will spread throughout the country and cause a large-scale social, as well as moral, issue.

A third reason was to prevent spies. The Japanese military leaders were afraid that military secrets would leak to local prostitutes if soldiers used brothels in occupied areas.

The sad part of this dark chapter in history is that approximately three quarters of comfort women died. Most of those who survived were left infertile due to trauma, abuse or sexually transmitted diseases. Other survivors, though very few, made their stories public many years later. And that's probably how we know so much.

The numbers and the dreadful details revealed were truly shocking.

According to a 1995 United Nations Commissions on Human Rights, many of the women were raped to the point of death. Some were killed by torture; such as having their breasts sliced off or having their abdomens slit open for refusing to be raped…or for no reason.

Each slave was reportedly raped an average of 10 rapes per day (considered by some to be a low estimate), for a five-day work week. This means that each comfort girl was raped about 50 times per week, or 2,500 times per year. So for three years of service – the average – each one would have been raped 7,500 times. It hurts to even think about it.

It's worth noting that Japan was not the only nation to be involved in sexual slavery in recent history. Germany and Korea, too, had their own versions of comfort stations.

German brothels in occupied France

German brothels in occupied France

For the Nazis, they were military brothels which were already set up by the Third Reich during WW II throughout much of occupied Europe for the use of Wehrmacht and SS soldiers. The idea was a relatively new creation for the Germans, so in the West they were sometimes set up using existing brothels. Until 1942, there were around 500 military brothels of this kind in Nazi occupied Europe. Often operating in confiscated hotels and guarded by the Wehrmacht, these facilities served traveling soldiers and those withdrawn from the front.

In addition to the military brothels, the Nazis also operated concentration camp brothels (Lagerbordell). Those were established as a way to control inmates, create an incentive for prisoners to collaborate, and prevent riots and escapes. It is estimated that between the military and the concentration camps brothels, at least 34,140 European women were forced to serve as prostitutes during the German occupation.


About the Author:

Omar Cherif Omar Cherif is a trilingual writer and researcher, photographer and blogger with degrees in journalism, psychology, and philosophy. After working in the corporate world for ten years, he took writing as a vocation and is currently finalizing his first book about dreams, the subconscious mind and spirituality among other topics.


You can follow Omar on here:
One Lucky Soul

And you can find more of his work on his blog and on Flickr:
One Lucky Soul

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50 Reader Comments

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  1. 507237102777107@facebook.com' Tattoo Girl says:

    Hi I’m Allina john 17 Year Old From New York USA Like like emoticon , Follow & Msg me I will reply you. I’m interested to make new friends…

  2. 10153133634957616@facebook.com' Julena Meroiti says:


  3. 10206045713960306@facebook.com' Thomas Chenhall says:

    It’s a terrible shame, Japan better just take account of what happened last time before they try to take over the world again.

    • Witty_1979@yahoo.com' James says:

      Nothing will be done in Japan. They haven’t yet acknowledge their war crimes such as the rape of Nanking where an estimated of 300,000 – 1 million civilians are killed during the occupation.

  4. 10204841039806696@facebook.com' Frode Johansen says:

    Most of them are dead, why the fxxk bring this shit up now, like 70 years after. Whats it gonna help them now, just to remind them that they were a whore before they go to the grave?

  5. 10203342786889119@facebook.com' Ernestine Brashears says:

    Sex slaves have been casualties of war since the beginning of time. men/women/boys/girls ?

  6. 419268154925083@facebook.com' Diane Berge says:

    There are so many casualties of war and not all n one side….we must learn from these and shun war at all costs

  7. 10207366186734395@facebook.com' T. Beckett Townley says:

    Seems like this will continue, until, Women, take the reigns.

  8. 10154163371222678@facebook.com' Syreeta Hill says:

    I’m pretty sure that was no where near the first time in history that happened. .

  9. 10207702595671921@facebook.com' Ellie Conroy says:

    Humanity what a joke….modern day version pimps and hookers, so lucky to be safely past my hookable years! Humanity has abused the weak and uneducated forever…something’s got to change!

    • 10207797163511194@facebook.com' JeanMarie Balkovec Kleppick says:

      Age has nothing to do with it. When people are forced to perform sexually by those with more power and no compassion, availability and abuse of those considered to be “less” has nothing to do with age and everything to do with assertion of power.

    • 10153159357637337@facebook.com' Jill Robertson Kibbey says:

      Humanity, or men?

    • 10153586431498764@facebook.com' Bram Maestro Fadenan says:

      Humanity is long gone. It is now replaced by greed of men

  10. 1490131214638963@facebook.com' Missa Lu Ank says:


    • 10205407439885250@facebook.com' Nichole Shibutani says:

      Everybody knows that out here. lol they used Korean and Chinese women

    • 1490131214638963@facebook.com' Missa Lu Ank says:

      And it makes it okay?
      Everyone knew about the bombs we dropped but for some reason we should still be sorry for it.

    • 10205407439885250@facebook.com' Nichole Shibutani says:

      Japans the only country thats forces to apologize regularly after 70 years. Compare some rape to a whole city charbroiled people 2x.

    • 1490131214638963@facebook.com' Missa Lu Ank says:

      Forced by who? Maybe instead of trying to justify evil actions with other evil actions isn’t the best way to go about this. Germans don’t apologize for their country’s history, why should people who were not around have to apologize for something they had absolutely no control of?

    • 1490131214638963@facebook.com' Missa Lu Ank says:

      History is ugly and gruesome, but we should be learning from it and not be stuck in dwelling in shit we weren’t around for.

  11. 490618547769602@facebook.com' Stephen Ambrosich says:

    ..thanks for the link. I was just asking a person yesterday about the Japanese vernacular idiom of the term `comfort women’ because it certainly was not comfortable for them.

    Here is an associative link to a very recent BBC 2 part video about rape as a strategy of war in/of the Congolese conflict.


    2 part video about Congolese rape as war, 9/15

  12. 10152914146156792@facebook.com' Kay Alcorn says:

    Ask any Korean if they’ve known about this.

  13. 10153159357637337@facebook.com' Jill Robertson Kibbey says:


  14. 10204503066968087@facebook.com' Stuart Farr says:

    Part of the new world order, who finance our enemies

  15. 1007230965976112@facebook.com' John Wiede says:

    you have to repost these things ad infinitum because people FORGET

  16. 1043973518948462@facebook.com' Josette-Marie Mieuzet says:

    iN ALL WARS with all soldiers..during the civil wae the women supposetly washing laundry would be used like that..they followed the troups

  17. 911718478895101@facebook.com' David Bailey says:

    they were just like ISIS

  18. 10203418394620226@facebook.com' Russ Ridlington says:

    This idea should not be limited to the Japanese.

  19. 1476076629380511@facebook.com' Ariel Finally says:

    That’s not new… We know that from old women who were forced by japs during ww2… Repeat…THEY WERE FORCED/RAPED… And they don’t want to hear that anymore…. After all that was a long long time ago…and gen. Yamashita surrendered at kiangan, ifugao province, Philippines…

    • 10204999447609038@facebook.com' Valerie Anne Corbyn says:

      The war was a long time ago and yet we never stop hearing about the things men endured, I lose count of the times I hear that “women had a cosy time of it, while us men were fighting for their freedom ” These things should never be forgotten, or hidden away everyone suffers in war except those who start to hem.

    • 10204999447609038@facebook.com' Valerie Anne Corbyn says:

      # them

    • 1476076629380511@facebook.com' Ariel Finally says:

      I’ll go to war if in case they’ll start to march inside our 7,000 archipelagos… I’m prepared to defend our women again…and again.

  20. 10207567374330442@facebook.com' Catherine Lethcoe says:

    nothing new under the sun

  21. 830261070405962@facebook.com' Andy Cho says:

    “comfort women” – comfort what? it’s sex slave~ horrendous crime japs still denying it

  22. 10206103357840522@facebook.com' Michelle Zirkle says:

    Comfort? Fuck off for them even naming their raping according to their penises- disgusting – these were people raped not comfortable but horrific!!!

  23. 10207205228199639@facebook.com' Charlene Smith says:

    Some people should learn how to spell a persons name before trying to impersonate him

  24. 10153586431498764@facebook.com' Bram Maestro Fadenan says:

    The sad thing is Japan even changed their history books to hide the TRUTH about their imperial past and MILITARY AGGRESSION in Asia. They did it because they wanted to refrain from paying war reparations to the victims of the war. Many of the victims have protested but fell on deaf ears. This is sad but true..

    There’s a saying: “the first casualty of war is the truth. ” the Victor will always change the history to whatever suits them

  25. robbie@pop21.odn.ne.jp' tamanyan says:

    What you American should know is the fact that U.S. forces used a Korean sex slave in Korean War.

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