Planned, instituted and run by the Japanese Imperial Military during the Asia-Pacific War, the ‘comfort women’ system remains hugely controversial. Although political leaders often contest the role of coercion, many argue that the ‘comfort women’ were mobilized forcibly, through processes of abduction and deception.

Utilising archival research, court testimonies and eyewitness accounts of both survivors and military and civilian personnel, this book argues its case in three ways. Part I analyses the modalities of coercion employed by the authorities and investigates the historical differences and continuities between licensed peacetime prostitution and wartime sexual slavery. Part II then examines the failures f the Asian Women’s Fund to resolve the ‘comfort women’ issue, whilst Part III explores the removal of ‘comfort women’ content from school history texts after the late 1990s and details Japan’s diplomatic efforts to prevent war victims froms uing the post-war state. Presenting a strong argument in opposition to the revisionist school of thought, this book ultimately concludes that a realistic settlement would see a victim-oriented solution that the survivors can accept.

Written by leading Japanese and zainichi Korean scholars, Denying the Comfort Women will be of huge interest to students and scholars of modern Japanese studies, gender studies, women’s studies and Asian history.

chapter |14 pages


ByNishino Rumiko, Kim Puja, Onozawa Akane

part I|76 pages

Comfort women, the Kōno statement, and the quest for truth

chapter 1|23 pages

The Kōno statement

Its historical significance and limitations
ByYoshimi Yoshiaki

chapter 2|24 pages

Forcible mobilization

What survivor testimonies tell us
ByNishino Rumiko

chapter |6 pages

Insight on the issues

Coercion, sexual violence, and rape centers in Yu County, Shanxi Province
ByIkeda Eriko

chapter 3|17 pages

The comfort women and state prostitution

ByOnozawa Akane

chapter |4 pages

Insight on the issues

Guilty verdicts for the traffickers of comfort women—the Shizuoka and Nagasaki incidents
ByMaeda Akira

part II|58 pages

Why the Asian Women’s Fund was not a solution

chapter 4|21 pages

The failure of the Asian Women’s Fund

The Japanese government’s legal responsibility and the colonial legacy
ByKim Puja

chapter |4 pages

Insight on the issues

The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, Class B and C war criminals, and Japan’s Peace Treaty obligations
ByHayashi Hirofumi

chapter 5|18 pages

A reconciliation discourse that shuns survivors

ByNishino Rumiko

chapter |13 pages

Insight on the issues

The mobilization of Korean adolescents as comfort women—colonialism and the victimization of teenage girls
ByKim Puja

part III|56 pages

A realistic settlement is a settlement that victimized women can accept

chapter 6|15 pages

Comfort women, textbooks, and the rise of “new right” revisionism

ByTawara Yoshifumi

chapter 7|15 pages

The Japan–ROK claims settlement and the comfort women

ByYoshizawa Fumitoshi

chapter 8|16 pages

Listen to survivors’ voices!

ByYang Chingja

chapter |8 pages


The struggle for justice continues
ByNishino Rumiko, Kim Puja, Onozawa Akane