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.