The history of Japan’s confrontation with its brutality during World War II has hardly been a shining moment of honesty in that nation’s reaction to its actions. Japanese school books rarely deal with issues such as the rape of women or brutality toward prisoners of war. Unlike Germany, which has created museums and ongoing education programs concerning the Holocaust, Japan prefers slumbering in the sleep of denial. Fortunately, in 2005, the Women’s Active Museum on War was created in order to present to Japanese people the true story of what happened. It currently is holding an exhibit in Tokyo that deals with exploitation of Chinese women by members of the Imperial Japanese army.
According to the exhibits director, Eriko Ikeda, “in China, many women were abducted and raped by Japanese soldiers as a warning against anti-japanese movements there.” The Imperial Army established ‘comfort stations’ “which we should rather call rape stations.. after Japanese forces advanced into each region.” The exhibit offers visual materials as well as individual stories of what happened to women both during the time they were being raped and the aftermath of the experience. It also presents stories written by Japanese soldiers who admit they raped women. One panel depicts the story of a Chinese woman who was raped, escaped and then gave birth to a child. Her husband was furious at her and the boy experienced problems in school and from an abusive father who never acknowledged him as a son.
Comfort Women are still fighting to obtain compensation for their wartime brutality and it is a difficult and onerous task to obtain financial compensation.