Chinese Comfort Women provides a fascinating look into the comfort houses, and sex slaves, of Imperial japan. Prior to reading this book I had no idea as to what went on in Japan and China (as well as Japanese territories) regarding their comfort houses and sex slaves. In fact, I’d had no idea that comfort houses had actually existed. After reading this book, I felt that I truly had an understanding of the atrocities that went on in Imperial Japan in regards to their comfort houses.
This book provides a comprehensive history of the comfort houses and the women who were forced to work in them, both from the perspectives of the women and from a purely historical (data) perspective. The first half of this book focuses on purely the historical facts of the comfort houses (it leaves a lot of personal feelings out of the equation) and analyzes a lot of data and information trying to get a grasp on how many women were actually kept in the comfort houses as sex slaves and how many comfort houses were actually in operation during the war years. The second half focuses mainly on the accounts of the comfort women who survived. The book gives there testimonies and verifies that all of their information is factual, in order to give the reader a very clear picture of the atrocities that were committed in the comfort houses.
The firsthand accounts were a really good thing to include in this book. While the stats and information at the beginning were certainly shocking, they didn’t drive home the horribleness of the comfort houses for me. I was able to keep myself distanced from the information while just reading straightforward information; that was not the case when the firsthand accounts were presented. Many of the accounts from the women were so awful and touching that I instantly connected with the information, feeling disgust and horror over what had occurred.
The writing in this book is really quite pleasant to read (although I did find a few basic spelling errors). The first half was written factually and scientifically, but the author still inputed some feeling into the writing by expressing exclamations at how atrocious the living conditions were. The second half of the book I thought was especially well written. The author writes down the stories of the women, keeping them as true to the originally text as possible, and inputting brief explanations of concepts that the western reader might not be familiar with. The second half was powerful and extremely easy to read and understand.
In the end I rather enjoyed this book, as much as one can enjoy a book about atrocities committed upon women. I would definitely recommend this book to any history buff, or just someone who would enjoy learning more about wartime comfort houses set up by Japan. Comfort houses and the women who were forced to live in them are not something that are widely known about or understood, this book does a fantastic job of educating the reader on what went on and getting the information out there to the world in an easy to read manner.
I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.