“Who Forced Them Become Comfort Women?” Excerpt from Liberty Times dated 11 July 2015

台湾 自由時報 自由廣場 11 July 2015
「誰強迫慰安婦?」  林瑤棋 (醫師)


Excerpt from Liberty Times dated 11 July 2015

Who Forced Them Become Comfort Women?

Written by Dr. Lin Yau Chyi (medical doctor)

I read your newspaper article on the 17 issues regarding the Revised Government Guideline for Teaching of Taiwan history. On the 17th issue about “comfort women” you stated that “they were forced to become comfort women.” Since I have some knowledge in regards to this issue, I would like to point out the following.

My aunt’s husband, Mr. Yen, was running a restaurant in Shalu, but with the outbreak of the Pacific War, Taiwan suffered depression and especially restaurants and bars were seriously affected by the depression. Thus, starting around 1943, he started a broker business of comfort women, while still running his restaurant. It turned out that the broker business was so much more profitable than the restaurant business. Often he talked to my grandmother about his broker business and I was old enough to understand their conversation. Some of the conversation I remember were: “Everybody was poor, so many bar girls wanted to become comfort women when I recruited them” “I went around the countryside and recruited many daughters of poor families.” “I earned so much money being a broker.”

I am an old man of 80 years old now, but as far as I knew and saw, there was not much difference between comfort women for Japanese or for Chinese. I also can say out of my conscience that there were much more comfort women in the Republic of China (than in Taiwan during Japanese rule.) Even for 30 to 40 years after 1950, I assume there were at least some 20,000 to 30,000 comfort women in Taiwan, Penghu, Chinmen and Matsu. Many of them are still alive but they simply do not come on the surface asking for compensation.

When I was on military duty in the 50s, I saw a 17 year-old comfort girl in a military comfort station on Chinmen Island. While she was a streetwalker at Bao Dou Li in Wanhua District, she was arrested by police and sent to a comfort station. Since she was a young new-comer, she was forced to have over 10 customers a day. Those customers were strong artillerymen and she spent days crying from the pain. She was saying, “I have so much pain but I am not allowed to have any day off.” Is it correct to say that a girl like her was forced to become a comfort woman?

I once heard the following from a police officer named Tsai, who was transferred from Taipei to the countryside where I lived. “When we needed more comfort women in the military comfort stations, police along with the national defense department arrested streetwalkers and sent them to the comfort stations. Since the law of the Republic of China only grants the permit for prostituting to women over the age of 20, many young girls of 16 to 17 years old, who were sold by their families but could not prostitute legally because of being under age, had no choice but to become streetwalkers. If we wanted to arrest them, all we had to do was to go to Hwan Her South Road in Bao Dou Li. We could easily arrest more than 10 streetwalkers just in the morning. Arresting such streetwalkers was one of the good and easy police duties since we could get a reward based on the number of arrests, and we were considered to be doing good police work.”

In short, the Republic of China is guiltier than Japan in forcing Taiwanese women to become comfort women. The revised guideline should be more careful about this issue.

2015-07-11 06:00

◎ 林瑤棋


















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