chapter  1
25 Pages

The origins of the comfort women system

Exactly when the Japanese Imperial forces first set up ianjo (comfort stations) – military brothels – for the exclusive use of their soldiers and officers is still unknown. This is because a vast number of relevant official records were destroyed immediately after Japan announced its surrender in August 1945. However, a number of official Japanese documents related to this issue have been unearthed in the last several years. Information available in these newly discovered documents strongly suggests that the first Japanese military brothels for the exclusive use of troops and officers were those set up for the Japanese Navy in Shanghai, during the so-called “Shanghai Incident” in 1932.