Book tells story of 'comfort women'

Updated: 2014-10-22 12:22

By Hua Shengdun in Washington(China Daily USA)

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 Book tells story of 'comfort women'

Peipei Qiu, professor of Chinese and Japanese and director of the Asian Studies Program at Vassar College, discussed her new book Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan's Sex Slaves on Tuesday at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.  Liu Chang / China Daily

The story of China's World War II-era "comfort women" should be told to help ease their historical pain, said the author of a new book on the subject in Washington on Tuesday.

"If the former comfort women did not get recognition by history, it will be the second hurt for them," said Peipei Qiu, a professor of Chinese and Japanese at Vassar College, New York, about her new book, Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan's Sex Slaves.

She spoke to an audience at the US-Korea Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies.

"I hope that this book could help facilitate readers' understanding of the sufferings of the wounded women and prevent tragedies from recurring," Qiu said.

The comfort women, who also were abducted from other Asian nations occupied by Japanese armed forces, were forced into providing sexual favors to the troops.

The book features 12 personal narratives and is the first English-language account of the women's ordeal.

"Human sufferings of such magnitude cannot, and should not, be dismissed," Qiu said. "The narratives of Chinese comfort women call for a transnational understanding of the human sufferings caused by the war.

"In order to truly understand what happened in the past, it is necessary to recognize that suffering is history's main subject, not just its byproduct," she said.

The issue is controversial in Asia, especially when the Japanese government offered a different interpretation of the history (which many saw as a denial), said Jenny Town, assistant director of the US-Korea Institute.

"Comfort women span all over Asia," Town said. "It is an issue of genders and a crime against humanity. It deserves to be remembered for the abusive acts to the women, both for their own healings and social justice as well."

Sheng Yang contributed to this story.

(China Daily USA 10/22/2014 page2)