Digital Museum:The Comfort Women Issue and the Asian Women's Fund
 Japanese Military and Comfort Women >Who were the Comfort Women?-Women Were Collected

 Who were the Comfort Women?-Women Were Collected

Thus, comfort stations were established as a result of decisions made in those days at the expeditionary military headquarters. When the stations were constructed, the military would often designate certain people as business agents and commission them to bring women from Japan.

Letter of request sent by the Chief of Police at the Shanghai Consulate-General to the Chief of Nagasaki Marine Police (dated 21 December 1937), Shiryoshusei,Vol.I, pp.33-38

On the request to support women traveling to provide comfort to the Imperial military men. The relevant organizations carefully considered ways to provide comfort to the officers and men as the Imperial Army marched to the front. And it was agreed during meetings of representatives of the Military Attache Bureau at this Consulate and the Military Police to establish military comfort stations (in actual fact, brothels) at various locations on the front, as part of the installations there."


The Consulate
a) Permission of Doing Business
b) Identification of Comfort Women and Contracts to do business
c) Procedures of Entrance into China
d) Handing over those people to the Military Police

The Military Police
a) Transfer of business proprietors and women to places of services
b) Protection of business proprietors and women

The Military Attache Bureau
a) Preparation of Places and Houses for the Services
b) Health Control and Examination of Sexual Diseases


In early 1938, agents canvassed in different parts of Japan, hoping to employ 3,000 women to serve in the Imperial Army's comfort stations in Shanghai. Their efforts were criticized by the police in different parts of Japan, who equated the agents' efforts with kidnapping unsuspecting women and said that they were tarnishing the honor of the Imperial Army.

The reaction of the Director of the Police Bureau of the Home Ministry was to issue a memorandum on 23 February 1938, stipulating that all recruited women had already to be involved in prostitution in Japan, be at least 21 years of age, and obtain permission from their parent or guardians to go overseas. On 4 March the same year, the Adjutant of the Ministry of War issued a notice with the following instructions.

The stipulation that the women must be at least 21 was made because the International Convention for the Suppression of Traffic in Women and Children, which Japan had ratified, prohibited the prostitution of minors. As the number of comfort stations increased rapidly, the Home Ministry and the Army Ministry found themselves increasingly involved in the issue. A document compiled within the Police Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 4 November 1938, contains a request that agents be designated in different prefectures to recruit 400 women: 100 from Osaka Prefecture, 50 from Kyoto Prefecture, 100 from Hyogo Prefecture, 100 from Fukuoka Prefecture, and 50 from Yamaguchi Prefecture. The recruitment, which was to be carried out in a top-secret fashion, was in response to a request from two men: (i) Arifumi Kumon, who was a Major in the army's aviation squad and a staff officer in the Furusho's Army of the South China Expeditionary Force, and (ii) the head of the Enlistment Division of the Army Ministry. Their request was: "Please help... sending,,, about 400 women for the purpose of prostitution... at comfort stations of the Southern China Expeditionary Force."

If recruitment of women from Japan homeland was carried out in above way, how were women collected in Taiwan and Korea. According to research by Zhu Delan, after the Japanese navy occupying the island of Hainan sent a request, in 1939, to the naval office in Taiwan, the office asked Taiwan Takushoku Co., Ltd., to become involved. The company committed to promote Japanese state policy, constructed comfort station buildings on Hainan, chose agents, and gave them money. The agents, who were Japanese, then took women in their employ to Hainan. These women were destined to become comfort women, and were "at least 21 years old and already involved in prostitution." In this case, it would appear that the rules in effect in Japan were also applied when recruiting in Taiwan, although whether they were always followed is unknown. Because in ratifying the International Convention for the Suppression of Traffic in Women and Children in 1925, the Japanese government excluded the colonies from its application.



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