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The comfort women system was the organization of military brothels set up exclusively for use by Japanese Imperial troops and officers before and during World War II. This entry explores the background and rise of the comfort women system, how and why large numbers of women in Japanese-occupied territories were coerced into sexual service, and the severe degrees to which these women were oppressed and exploited.

Historical Background and the Structure of the Comfort Women System

It was during the so-called Siberian Expedition between 1918 and 1922 that Japanese Imperial troops widely used Japanese prostitutes who were working overseas, known as karayuki-san, as well as local Russian prostitutes, for the first time. As a result, the Japanese troops suffered from high rates of venereal disease (VD).

The comfort ...

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