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Archives, Asian Studies, Historiography, History, Human Rights, Interdisciplinarity, Memory, Oral History, VC, Women's Studies, WWII
Peipei Qiu, Professor of Chinese and Japanese on the Louise Boyd Dale and Alfred Lichtenstein Chair and Director of Asian Studies at Vassar, talks about her book Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan's Sex Slaves, published this year by Oxford University Press. "Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan's Sex Slaves features the personal narratives of twelve women forced into sexual slavery when the Japanese military occupied their hometowns. Beginning with their prewar lives and continuing through their enslavement to their postwar struggles for justice, these interviews reveal that the prolonged suffering of the comfort station survivors was not contained to wartime atrocities but was rather a lifelong condition resulting from various social, political, and cultural factors. In addition, their stories bring to light several previously hidden aspects of the comfort women system: the ransoms the occupation army forced the victims' families to pay, the various types of improvised comfort stations set up by small military units throughout the battle zones and occupied regions, and the sheer scope of the military sexual slavery-much larger than previously assumed. The personal narratives of these survivors combined with the testimonies of witnesses, investigative reports, and local histories also reveal a correlation between the proliferation of the comfort stations and the progression of Japan's military offensive."