Tomasa Salinog remembers her rape at thirteen and her initiation into Imperial Japan's system of "comfort stations." Japanese soldiers burst into her home in the middle of the night, soon after the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1942. They decapitated her father and removed her to a garrison where two soldiers raped her and then beat her unconscious. After this initiation, she served as a "comfort woman" in the garrison, used by Japanese soldiers from the afternoon until late into the night, her body priced in blocks of time allocated to each soldier. Hwang Geum Joo, who grew up in Japanese-occupied Korea, remembers her "recruitment" differently.3 When she was nineteen, Emperor Hirohito purported to order all unmarried girls to work in Japanese military factories. She reported to the train station where she was packed into a Japanese military train carrying about fifty girls per car, and taken to a troop station. There she was repeatedly raped for two weeks. Then she was installed in a commodified rape center, euphemistically misnomered a "comfort station," where she served thirty to forty soldiers on the average day. She was also beaten daily. Like more than 200,000 other human commodities in Imperial Japan's system of pay-to-rape centers, both girls were priced according to perceived racial inferiority. As a Korean, Hwang Geum Joo fetched a higher price than Filipina Tomasa Salinog. The payments that the soldiers made rarely went to the women, but were retained to pay for the purported costs of cosmetics, housing, or "national security." Decades later, these women have yet to receive an admission or finding of legal responsibility from the Japanese government, much less reparations.
Mary D. Fan,
The Fallacy of the Sovereign Prerogative to Set De Minimis Liability Rules for Sexual Slavery,
Yale J. Int'l L.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjil/vol27/iss2/6