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Japan’s ‘Comfort Women’ And Historical Memory: The Neo-Nationalist Counter-Attack

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the themes raised in recent works of 'historical revisionism' and analyses the representation of 'comfort women' in neo-nationalist discourse in Japan. The state and military involvement in running the 'comfort facilities' in the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy and the use of force in the procurement procedure of 'comfort women' are central to the denial discourse of neo-nationalist works. The narratives of the 'comfort women' are also conditioned by personality, interests and social values of the society to which they belong. In neo-nationalist writings, 'comfort women' are represented as professional prostitutes motivated by money and earning high incomes. Japan's neo-nationalists also point to the universality of military brothels to legitimate their claims. The purpose of the neo-nationalist historians in interpreting the past according to their present needs is clearly involved in the constitution of particular versions of the past as history.

Keywords: comfort women; historical revisionism; Japan; military brothels; neo-nationalists; professional prostitutes



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