An Unforgettable Ordeal: Chinese ‘Comfort Women’ in World War II


  • Yuting Xie Roland Park Country School
  • Emily Kraeck Mentor, Alumni Princeton University



Comfort Women, World War II, Redress Movement, Confucianism, Patriarchy, Japanese Colonialism, Chinese Women


Using methods including analyzing firsthand testimonies, images, and secondary sources, this paper explores the multiple factors that resulted in the silence of Chinese comfort women survivors in both wartime and the postwar period: shame culture, patrichy, and lack of political and cultural support for comfort women. Due to both patriarchy and related shame culture and a lack of political, cultural, and international support for survivors, few Chinese women spoke up about their experience within the comfort women system prior to the redress movement beginning in 1991; in the 1990s, societal and government support for comfort women increased, leading many comfort women to not only share their experiences but seek justice in the process. To begin, this paper provides an overview of essential historical context, including Japanese colonialism, the establishment of “comfort women” systems, Chinese comfort womens’ suffering, and the post-war struggles and ongoing plight of victims and survivors. Next, this paper argues that due to shame, culture and patriarchy; the lack of political, cultural, and international support for comfort women; and the mental and physical trauma that they experienced, comfort women survivors refused to speak up or seek justice for decades during and after World War II. Finally, this paper investigates key differences between the Cultural Revolution and redress movement, analyzing why comfort women spoke out during the latter period but largely remained silent during the postwar period from 1945 to 1990. 


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How to Cite

Xie, Y., & Kraeck, E. (2021). An Unforgettable Ordeal: Chinese ‘Comfort Women’ in World War II. Journal of Student Research, 10(3).



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