Sexual violence against women has accompanied almost every large-scale conflict, yet most of its victims are silenced. One such sad episode is that of the “comfort women,” or more accurately, the estimated 200,000 women who were recruited to sexually serve the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. As part of this immense system, many young women from all over Japan’s occupied territories in Asia were forced into service where they faced rape, torture and extreme violence at military camps, euphemistically termed “comfort stations."
Since the early 1990s, the testimonies of these women shocked the world, and were eventually taken up as a serious human rights issue by the United Nations, a host of governments, and numerous independent NGOs. Taking a different, we aimed to listen to and gauge the true feelings of some of the few remaining survivors, believing that the sea of mass media and politics is largely drowning their voices out. We sought to hear their true wishes.