Event Highlights Suffering of Japanese Women in WWII
many japanese women were raped during and after WWII.
March 30, 2004 8:20 PM
Many Japanese women in Manchuria were raped during and after World War II, according to Sakura Furukubo, professor at the Research Center for Human Rights at Osaka City University at the event, “Japanese Women in Manchuria.”
The event was held March 30 in the Psychology/Ethnic Studies building in room 116. Since the College of Ethnic Studies and the Research Center for Human Rights at Osaka City University are sister institutions, Furukubo came to SF State to give her lecture. About 10 students came to hear her.
Jim Okutsu, associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, said the purpose of the event was to share information. Okutsu said that it is important to know what happened to Japanese women in Manchuria, a city in China that Japan occupied during WWII, while Japanese American women were in concentration camps in the United States.
Japanese women in Manchuria found life difficult after Soviet troops entered Manchuria near the end of the war. Furukubo said many of those women were used as "dolls" -- sexual objects.
Furukubo told the stories of several Japanese women who were raped or almost raped. In one account, a young girl threw herself out a three-story window to avoid being raped by Soviet troops.
Another account demonstrated how not only Soviet troops but also Chinese civilians tried to rape Japanese women. A Chinese man came to a woman’s house and asked her to give him her two daughters because his daughters were raped by Japanese soldiers. The woman offered herself instead, but the man changed his mind.
Furukubo also said even Japanese men offered some Japanese women as “female Kamikaze troops” to Soviet troops to protect their community and other Japanese women and children.
Furukubo said once women were raped, they were no longer part of their community and were often rejected by their husbands.
“The raped woman cannot participate in the community produced through the narrative of her experience, and she cannot possess her own discourse,” said Furukubo. “She (a raped woman) is the victim not only of foreigners in the guise of Soviet soldiers, but also of the community of Japan and (the) Japanese.”
Furukubo said she thinks that wartime rapes are in many ways similar to rapes under ordinary circumstances today.
“Raped women still cannot express what they have experienced by themselves,” Furukubo said.
Furukubo said people need to know how raped women feel through the history of wartime rape.
A Japanese woman, who attended the event but did not wish to disclose her name, said she knew the history of raped Japanese women during and after the war through her own research. Not many people in Japan talk about this topic, she said.
She also said the event was a good opportunity to learn more about what happened to Japanese women during the war years.
“It was interesting,” she said. “I hope that this topic will get more attention.”
Gabriel Woldegebriel, 22, a sophomore majoring in biology, said he did not know about what happened to Japanese women during WWII.
“I have never thought about this,” Woldegebriel said.
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