“Comfort Stations” as Remembered by Okinawans during World War II

Series: 

Author: Yunshin Hong
Editor / Translator: Robert Ricketts
Okinawa, the only Japanese prefecture invaded by US forces in 1945, was forced to accommodate 146 “military comfort stations” from 1941–45. How did Okinawans view these intrusive spaces and their impact on regional society? Interviews, survivor testimonies, and archival documents show that the Japanese army manipulated comfort stations to isolate local communities, facilitate “spy hunts,” and foster a fear of rape by Americans that induced many Okinawans to choose death over survival. The politics of sex pursued by the US occupation (1945–72) perpetuated that fear of rape into the postwar era. This study of war, sexual violence, and postcolonial memory sees the comfort stations as discursive spaces of remembrance where differing war experiences can be articulated, exchanged, and mutually reassessed.

Winner of the 2017 Best Publication Award of the Year by the Okinawa Times.

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HONG Yunshin, Ph.D. Waseda University (2012), teaches, speaks, and writes on women and sexual violence in war and Okinawa. Her representative work is Koreans and the Politics of “Sex and Life” during the Battle of Okinawa (Inpakuto Shuppankai, 2016, Japanese).
List of Figures, Maps and Tables
Editorial Note

Introduction: Witness to Violence

PART 1: CAPITAL AND COMFORT STATIONS

1.The Daitō Islands: Comfort Stations in a Plantation Society

PART 2: COMFORT STATIONS MOVE INTO THE VILLAGES
2. The Okinawan War and Comfort Stations: An Overview (1944-45)
3. Iejima Airfield and Its Comfort Stations
4. Springboard for Invasion: Yomitan Airfield and Its Comfort Stations
5. Kadena Airfield: From Auxiliary Airstrip to “Keystone of the Pacific”
6. South-Central Okinawa: Bloody Battlegrounds, Unfinished Airbases, and Comfort Stations

PART 3: COMFORT STATIONS ON ISLANDS “INVADED” AND “NOT INVADED”

7. The Comfort Stations of Northern Okinawa
8. Premonitions of a Ground War and the Fear of Rape
9. Another Face of War: Miyakojima and the Battle against Hunger

Epilogue: "Comfort Stations" as Sites of Remembrance

Appendix: Okinawa in South Korean Scholarship
Afterword
References
Index
All interested in violence against women in war, gender and ethnic studies, memory and postcolonial studies, World War II history, East Asian international relations, modern Japanese and Okinawan history, Okinawa and modern Korean history.