Read Chinese Comfort Women Online

Authors: Peipei Qiu,Su Zhiliang,Chen Lifei

Tags: #History, #Military, #World War II, #Modern, #20th Century, #Social Science, #Women's Studies

Chinese Comfort Women

Chinese Comfort Women

Chinese Comfort Women

Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves

Peipei Qiu, with Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei

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© UBC Press 2013

First issued as an Oxford University Press paperback, 2014

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Qiu, Peipei, 1954–

Chinese comfort women : testimonies from imperial Japan’s sex slaves / Peipei Qiu, with Su Zhiliang and Chen Lifei.
         pages cm – (Oxford oral history series)

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-0-19-937389-5 (pbk.)

1. Comfort women – China – History. 2. Comfort women – China – Biography.
3. Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945 – Women – China. 4. Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945 – Atrocities.
5. Japanese – China – History – 20th century. 6. Soldiers – China – History – 20th century.
7. Women – Crimes against – China – History – 20th century. 8. Abduction – China – History –
20th century. 9. Prostitution – China – History – 20th century. 10. Sex crimes – China –
History – 20th century. I. Su, Zhiliang. II. Chen, Lifei, 1959-III. Title.

DS777.533.W65Q58 2014
940.53′51086949 – dc23                      2014002189

1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2
Printed in the United States of America
on acid-free paper

For those who suffered in the war
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations

Part 1: The War Remembered

1 Japan’s Aggressive War and the Military “Comfort Women” System
2 The Mass Abduction of Chinese Women
3 Different Types of Military “Comfort Stations” in China
4 Crimes Fostered by the “Comfort Women” System

Part 2: The Survivors’ Voices

5 Eastern Coastal Region
6 Warzones in Central and Northern China
7 Southern China Frontlines

Part 3: The Postwar Struggles

8 Wounds That Do Not Heal
9 The Redress Movement
10 Litigation on the Part of Chinese Survivors
11 International Support
Selected Bibliography
Figures and Tables
All photographs taken by the collaborating researchers of this book
1 Dayi (or Daiichi, in Japanese) Saloon indicated with an circle on a 1937 Japanese map
2 A cave dwelling in Yu County, Shanxi Province, used as a “comfort station” by the Japanese troops and the place Wan Aihua was imprisoned in 1943
3 Survivor Huang Youliang (on right) showing the site of Tengqiao “Comfort Station” on Hainan Island, where she was enslaved in 1941 as a “comfort woman”
4 Yuan Zhulin revisiting the old temple where the Japanese army kept her in 1940 as a “comfort woman”
5 The buildings of Dayi Saloon on Dong-Baoxing Road in Shanghai today
6 Locations of the “comfort stations” where the twelve women whose stories are related in this volume were enslaved
7 The rock cave where Li Lianchun hid in 1943 after her escape from Songshan “Comfort Station”
8 Lei Guiying giving a talk in Shanghai in 2006 to teachers and students from Canada
9 Zhou Fenying, in 2007, speaking to interviewers of her wartime experiences
10 Zhu Qiaomei at the 2001 notarization of her wartime experiences
11 Lu Xiuzhen, in 2000, giving a talk at the International Symposium on Chinese “Comfort Women” at Shanghai Normal University
12 Yuan Zhulin, in 1998, attending a public hearing in Toronto on the atrocities committed by the Japanese military during the Asia-Pacific War
13 Tan Yuhua, in 2008, in front of her home
14 Yin Yulin, in 2001, praying in her cave dwelling
15 Wan Aihua, in 2000, telling the students and faculty at Shanghai Normal University how she was tortured by Japanese soldiers during the war
16 Huang Youliang, in 2000, speaking to interviewers about her experiences in a Japanese military “comfort station”
17 Chen Yabian, in 2003, in front of her home
18 Lin Yajin, in 2007, attending the opening ceremony of the Chinese “Comfort Women” Archives in Shanghai
19 Li Lianchun, in 2001, being interviewed in her daughter’s house
20 “Comfort station” survivor Zhu Qiaomei’s home after the Second World War; her family became destitute as a result of the Japanese invasion
21 “Comfort station” survivor Zhu Qiaomei was sick at home in 2001
22 “Comfort station” survivor Mao Yinmei (middle) in front of her house with Su Zhiliang (second from right) and researchers from Germany and Japan
23 Gravestone erected by the Research Center for Chinese “Comfort Women” commemorating the life of Yang Wubang, a Hainan Island “comfort station” survivor who died on 31 August 2006, the day after the Tokyo District Court denied the Hainan victims’ claim for compensation
24 Chen Lifei (second from left), of the Research Centre for Chinese “Comfort Women,” attending the funeral of “comfort station” survivor Lu Xiuzhen, who died on 24 November 2005
25 “Comfort station” survivor Tan Yuhua (sitting second from left) with history teachers from North America after giving a talk in July 2008 about her experience during the Japanese occupation
1 “Comfort stations” in Hongkou District, Shanghai, in 1940
2 A sample list of fees charged by “comfort stations” in China





Asian Women’s Fund


Chinese Communist Party


Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference


International Military Tribunal for the Far East


non-governmental organization


National People’s Congress


Center for Research and Documentation on Japan’s War Responsibility


prisoners of war


Riben qinlüe Huabei zuixing dangan: Xingbaoli
[Documented war crimes during Japan’s invasion of north China: Sexual violence]


Riben qinlüe Huabei zuixing shigao
[A history of atrocities: Japan’s invasion of northern China]


Tietixiade xingfeng xueyu: Rijun qin-Qiong baoxing shilu
[Bloody crimes of the occupation rule: Records of the atrocities committed by the Japanese military in Hainan]


Tietixiade xingfeng xueyu: Rijun qin-Qiong baoxing shilu, Xu
[Sequel to Bloody crimes of the occupation rule: Records of the atrocities committed by the Japanese military in Hainan]


Violence against Women in War Network


Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace


This book would not have been possible without the assistance and support of many people and institutions, and to them we are deeply indebted. First and foremost, we express our gratitude for and admiration of the twelve Chinese women who courageously came forward and described their experiences in the Japanese military “comfort stations” and their continued suffering after the war: Chen Yabian, Huang Youliang, Lei Guiying, Li Lianchun, Lin Yajin, Lu Xiuzhen, Tan Yuhua, Yin Yulin, Yuan Zhulin, Wan Aihua, Zhou Fenying, and Zhu Qiaomei. Giving us their permission to publish their narratives in English makes a vital page of history accessible to a larger portion of the world.

During our research and writing, numerous people assisted us with field investigations, interviews, and research; although we are immensely grateful to all of them, it is impossible to mention each by name here. From that prodigious list we acknowledge, in particular, the kind assistance of: Cheng Fei, adopted daughter of Yuan Zhulin; Cheng Shaochan of the Research Center for Chinese “Comfort Women”; Chen Houzhi at the Nanmao Farm, Baoting County, Hainan Province; Chen Zuliang, independent researcher in Baoshan City, Yunnan Province; Fu Heji of the Hainan Province People’s Consultative Committee Historical Archives; Gao Yulan, daughter of Li Lianchun; Hu Yueling, director of Tianzi Township Cultural Centre, Hainan Province; Jiang Weixun, son of Zhou Fenying; Li Guiming, independent researcher in Yu County, Shanxi Province; Sha Bilu, director of the Baoshan City Longyang District Bureau of Local History and Gazetteer, Yunnan Province; Su Guangming, president of Lingshui County People’s Consultative Committee, Hainan Province; Tang Guoqiang, adopted son of Lei Guiying; Tan Maoxiang, son of Tan Yuhua; Wang Anzhang, stepson of Lu Xiuzhen; Zhang Xuefang, daughter-in-law of Li Lianchun; and Zhou Xie, son of Zhu Qiaomei. We also sincerely thank Chen Junying, professor of Japanese at Zhanjiang Normal University; Arimitsu Ken, coordinator of the International Solidarity Council Demanding Settlement of Japan’s Past; and Zhu Chunli of the Palace Museum, who kindly sent Japanese materials from
their own collections to facilitate the writing of this book. And we thank Yue Zhang, who helped to bring Chinese materials from China to the United States. The East Asian librarians at Columbia University, Dr. Chengzhi Wang, Dr. Sachie Noguchi, and Ms. Ria Koopmans-de Bruijn, have been extremely helpful to our research, and to them we extend our deep appreciation. Lastly, we are also deeply grateful to Ms. Barbara Durniak at Vassar College Library and Ms. Amanda Thornton at the Grants Office for their tireless assistance. We thank our student assistants at the Shanghai Normal University as well as Xuan Liu, Sally DeWind, Maria Ichizawa, and Charlotte Ong at Vassar College. Their help over the years has been extremely valuable. We also acknowledge Vassar College graduates Lesley Richardson’s senior thesis research on the “comfort women” redress movement in South Korea and Japan and Leann Peterson’s work in translating the first draft of Zhu Qiaomei’s account.

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