Harvard Professor’s Paper on Comfort Women: Prostitution, Not Sexual Slavery… Japan: “Great Significance”
Comfort women were not ‘sex slaves’ forced into prostitution, but rather prostitutes under contract to the Japanese military for profit.
This claim by a professor at Harvard University in the U.S. has recently been reported in the Japanese media and has sparked a controversy.
The central figure in the controversy is Professor John Mark Ramseyer of Harvard Law School. Professor Ramseyer has published an article entitled “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War” in the 65th volume of the International Review of Law and Economics, an academic journal on law and economics scheduled for publication in March this year. The article is titled “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War.
On the 28th of last month, the Sankei Shimbun, with the consent of Professor Ramseyer, published a summary of the article and evaluated it as “highly significant.
According to the report, Professor Ramseyer argued in his paper that the comfort women and the Japanese military entered into contracts for their mutual benefit at the time, and that neither the Japanese government nor the Korean Governor-General forced the women into prostitution, nor did the Japanese military cooperate with unscrupulous recruiters. He also claimed that only a very small number of victims were tricked into being taken by recruiters.
Professor Ramseyer cited the following as the basis for his argument: 1) when the Ministry of the Interior was recruiting “comfort women” at the time, it required recruiters to hire only women who were already working as prostitutes; 2) it directly confirmed with the police that the women were applying for the job of their own volition; and 3) it instructed the women to tell them to return home immediately after their contracts expired.
The paper said that the paper was significant because it clarified that the comfort women were not sex slaves. It added that it hoped that the paper would restore the truth about the widespread image in the world that the Japanese military had used women from Korea as “sex slaves” in the past.
Professor Ramseyer mainly studies Japanese law at Harvard University, where he teaches courses such as “Advanced Japanese Rights. Professor Ramseyer introduced himself through the university’s website, saying, “I spent most of my childhood in Japan and studied Japanese history in graduate school,” and “I received a scholarship at the University of Tokyo and lectured at various universities in Japan.
The term “sexual slavery” has been used continuously in the international arena since its appearance in a 1996 UN report on comfort women victims.