Almost every day, Lieutenant-General Yasuji Okamura received more and more new reports that spoke of the crimes of Japanese soldiers. Most often, they were accused of raping women in the occupied territories. The problem promised to become too serious, therefore Okamura decided to create special “consolation stations”. According to the general, they could have influenced "a decrease in the anti-Japanese sentiments that arose in the occupied territories, as well as the need to prevent soldiers from reducing their combat effectiveness due to the appearance of venereal and other diseases in them."
Room service from local women
According to the original plan, only Japanese women were supposed to work at the stations, and voluntarily. But soon they refused it, because few women agreed to the role of prostitutes. Therefore, we had to attract women from the occupied territories to the “service staff”. More often, Korean women, Chinese women and Taiwanese played the role of “comforters”. Japanese women were also present, but their numbers were disproportionately smaller. There are reports that there were several women from the USSR, as well as some European countries, in the stations. But these are isolated cases.
At first, the Japanese tried to fill the military brothels with female volunteers. But they, of course, categorically lacked. Therefore, the "subservient" began to lure deception. The girls were promised a job and a decent salary. But in the end they became not seamstresses, medical attendants or cleaners, but sexual slaves. When it fell on the stream, then these tricks did not help. More radical measures were required. Then recruiters visited villages and offered money to the poor for their wives, sisters and daughters. After the transaction, they became the property of Japan. If for some reason the girl could not be bought, the entrance was threatened and beaten. In addition, the quality "goods" are sometimes simply stolen. In general, the recruiters, as best they could, tried to do their job to provide the Japanese soldiers with a full and comfortable "rest." But soon this resource was exhausted. Therefore, they decided to connect the captured women and girls from the concentration camps to the “case”.
Here is what the Japanese Yoshima Seiti from the Yamaguchi Society of Unskilled Workers recalled: “I was a Korean bounty hunter in hiking brothels for the sexual entertainment of a Japanese soldier. There, under my command, more than 1000 Korean women were hijacked. Under the supervision of armed police, we kicked resisting women, taking away their babies. Rejecting two-three-year-old children running after their mothers, we forced the Korean women into the back of a truck, and in the villages there was a commotion. We sent them as cargo in freight ships and on ships to the command of the troops of the western part. Undoubtedly, we did not recruit them, but drove them violently. ”
“Consolation stations” (they were often called the “Comfort Battalion”) were positioned not only as “work houses”, but also as a means to protect soldiers from sexually transmitted diseases. “Bonus” was the control of the number of rapes in the captured settlements. It is clear that none of the versions could justify the abduction and deception of women, girls and girls. But the population of the occupied territories preferred to remain silent and not interfere with the Japanese. Any attempts to prevent them from being severely punished.
The number of stations grew at an alarming rate. For example, in China alone, about three hundred field brothels were created for Japanese officers and soldiers. The number of stations in other countries is not precisely known. According to rough estimates, there were more than four hundred "Comfort Battalions" in the whole of Southeast Asia.
As already mentioned, the idea of "stations of consolation" was proposed by Lieutenant General Yasuji Okamura. He explained to his superiors that such establishments can change the anti-Japanese sentiment, which is caused by the aggressive behavior of the soldiers of the Land of the Rising Sun. In addition, the stations could reduce the number of diseases with various venereal diseases.
The authorities approved and supported the idea. The stations decided to divide into three types. The first implied complete subordination to the military, and professional doctors monitored the condition of the girls. The second option was to control by private individuals. But at the same time they themselves were subordinate to the military. The third type - the rarest - was a station not only for the military, but also for ordinary Japanese. There were even exceptions, when the services of “comforters” allowed to use men of other nationalities. But it is rather an exception.
In theory, the number of rapes should now have, if not fall to zero, then at least become not so frightening. But in fact turned out differently. The number of raped Chinese women, Korean women and women of other nationalities began to increase. The fact is that the “station of consolation” were not free organizations. For the meeting with the "comforter" you had to pay. And for many soldiers the amount was solid. Therefore, they either resorted to violence or found cheaper places. And even if they were not official, there was a danger to health, the soldiers risked not wanting to spend money. For ordinary, the cost of services was five yen. But the officers and corporals of the “comforter” were cheaper by three yen.
welcome to Hell
Women who were forcibly or tricked into the category of “reduced social responsibility” lived in hell. Every day they had to serve several dozen men. Twenty to thirty customers were considered hack. Usually there were between fifty and sixty soldiers per day. The work of the station was clearly adjusted, up to the time allocated to one soldier. When the network of brothels was just unfolding, the military could spend half an hour for consolation. Over time, when the stations began to gain popularity, due to the influx of visitors, the time was cut twice (in some brothels, ten minutes were allocated to “everything about everything”). When the minutes were over, the soldier left the room, and another one immediately came to replace him. And so from morning till night. Often women did not have even five free minutes.
Here are the memories of Yoshima Seiti about the everyday life of the stations of consolation: “One Korean woman was raped on average 20 − 30, even more than 40 Japanese officers and soldiers, and more than 100 in mobile brothels. Many Korean women died tragically due to sexual violence and brutal oppression by Japanese sadists. Stripping naughty Korean women naked, they rolled them along the boards with large nails, driven up by the point, and chopped off their heads with a sword. Their monstrous atrocities exceeded all human notions. ”
The life of the “comforters” was reminiscent of the notorious groundhog day, in which they simply tried to survive. Of course, almost every second did not maintain the pace. Therefore, the mortality rate in brothels went off scale. Officially, all the workers were under the vigilant supervision of doctors. But more often this “control” was limited to the rape of the wards. According to statistics, nine out of ten women suffered severe depression, which resulted in suicide or his attempt. By the beginning of the forties, suicide for the stations had become the most common, banal affair, to which no one paid attention. In order to achieve the cherished goal - to part with life - women decided on various tricks. Someone, for example, stole opium from clients, and from doctors - potent drugs. If nothing could be obtained, then his own clothes were used.
The age of the “comforters” ranged from eleven to thirty with kopecks of years. They all lived in identical conditions - wooden barracks, in rooms designed for nine to ten people. The decoration was made up of only couches, a sink and a mat. It was forbidden for women to leave their “abode”. Severe conditions of life put an extra strain on the psyche. Depression, nervous breakdowns - all this has become commonplace, smoothly flowing into suicidal tendencies.
But there was another reason for the high mortality of women. Japanese doctors and scientists, gaining experience from their German colleagues, conducted various medical experiments on "comforters". At first, they decided to take control of childbirth. Their main weapons became the drug 606, which contained a large dose of arsenic. And although in brothels they strictly monitored contraception, sometimes in the “six hundred and sixth” it was necessary to terminate an unwanted pregnancy with any working woman.
"The drug 606" provoked miscarriages, could affect the development of infertility, fetal mutation, and also lead to the death of the unfortunate patient.
Who is responsible?
Information about the “stations of consolation” became public after the notorious Nanjing Massacre. Photos of military field brothels from Nanking hit the press. This caused the first wave of indignation. The Japanese authorities reacted to this coolly and cynically. They refused to admit the existence of “battalions of comfort”.
The first apologies were made only in the nineties of the last century. “Honor” was awarded to the surviving women, as well as the families of the victims “comforters”. But already in 2007, Japan went back down. The Prime Minister stated that there are no facts proving the abusive treatment of women. This gave rise to a second wave of indignation. Once under pressure, he soon ventured to acknowledge the fact of human rights violations at the “stations of consolation”. However, there was no question of any financial compensation for moral and physical damage. The authorities of China, Korea and other countries criticized the Japanese government. By the way, the United States, Canada and the European Parliament took their side. Thus a resolution appeared that called on Japan to take responsibility for all the terrible events of that time.
History One Korean named Pak Yong Sim became public: “In 14 for years, I was sold in an atelier in the Hupho district of the port city of Nampo (near the Korean Western Sea) and worked there as a cook, and by March 1938 was in Japan’s“ requisition of girls ... A Japanese private cop forcibly escorted me and an 22-year-old girl to Pyongyang. In Pyongyang station, I see, there were already 15 Korean women. First, in a closed wagon, and then by car they took us to the Chinese city of Nanjing. There were many Japanese barracks, and on Jinshui Street, a hiking brothel, located in a three-story house. Here began my shameful life of a sexual slave. Each room was in the size of 2 × 2,5 m, around the house - a barbed wire fence. ”
Park Yen Sim recalled that on the very first day she was brutally raped by more than ten men: “Japanese soldiers, all as one, rushed at me like evil beasts.” And the next - their number has grown to thirty.
Here is another excerpt: “If someone tried to resist, then immediately followed the punishment: they beat them with their feet, stabbed them with a knife. Or, if the "misdemeanor" was great - they cut off the head with a sword ... The marching brothel was a complete hell. Three years later, I was transported to Shanghai, and from there to Rusha near Rangoon in Burma. There, under the name "Wakaharu" I had to serve the Japanese infantry and tank crews. Two years later, again transported almost to the front line - on the border of Burma and China. Every day, under the crash of shells and bombs, I was forced to satisfy the sexual whim of dozens of Japanese martial artists. Almost all the women hijacked here in hiking brothels died from diseases, beatings and bombing. Then the barely surviving Korean women, along with the soldiers of the defeated Japanese army, were sent to a prison camp in Kunming of China. Later, I returned to my homeland, but the cripple - due to heart disease and nervous system disorder, I was delirious at night. Every time those terrible days come to mind, the whole body trembles with a burning hatred of the Japanese. I lived without knowing either family happiness or the joy of a mother in labor. Thinking about my ill-fated past, in my memory it revives many compatriots who, in a foreign land, were subjected to all kinds of tortures and became restless souls. Moreover, the Japanese government shamelessly arranges all sorts of intrigues, trying to hide its crimes in the shadow of history. I urge the conscience of the world to put pressure on the Japanese government to recognize the crimes of the past, take responsibility for them, and try to compensate for the suffering of innocent people. ”
The authors of the book “History of Korea” did not ignore the station of consolation: “In an effort to hide their crimes from the allies, the Japanese army in many cases destroyed during the retreats in 1943-45. their sexual slaves, which is one of the reasons for not many of them surviving - in 1990, there were about 200 former sexual slaves in South Korea and 218 - in North. ”
In total, between fifty and three hundred thousand women from China, Korea and Taiwan passed through the field brothels during their existence as a tool for consolation. Sometimes flash more impressive figures. But the position of the Japanese government still remains unchanged. The authorities of the Land of the Rising Sun are trying with all their might to disclaim responsibility for the war crimes of the past.
Monument to women for consolation in Korea