Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Short history of comfort women in Korean tradition

Soh, Chung-Hee
Women's Sexual Labor and State in Korean History

See also Vientamine kids left by Korean after Vietnam War

More than 700 hundred years ago, when the Koryo Dynasty on the Korean peninsula came under the Mongol's domination ...the Korean state was forced forced to round up young females and send them as kongnyo(literally, "tribute women") to the Mongols of the Yan dynasty for over eighty years tribute women were the Mongol's version of the comfort women.....

....When some of the captured women returned home, they were regarded as defiled women and rejected by their families.

....the state institution of kisaeng or kinyo(literally , skilled women) originated more than a millennium ago in Koryo dynasty and continued to the end of Chosun.....Generally...kinyo were despised due to their outcast status. With time, they increasing became sex workers for the government officials dispatched to provincial towns and for the troops stationed in borderline district. They private kinyo were those old retired ones who bought young girls and trained them as kinyo as a means of making a living for themselves. These kinyo apparently served mainly commoners and lower-class men.

By the mid-fifteen century...The role and function of kinyo as skilled women gradually changed into courtesans and "comfort women"(wianbu) during the latter period of Chosun dynasty. By the late nineteenth century...,kisaeng became synonymous with courtesans and whores.

The modern capitalist system of licensed prostitution emerged in Korea in the late nineteenth century....In 1916, the colonial government proclaimed an ordinance that provided nationwide regulation concerning licenced prostitution in Korea. By 1920, Korean women were working at restaurants in Japan, serving as "industrial comfort women" for Korean male laborers. When the adult entertainment business in Korea suffered as a result of the Great Depression of the 1920's, some women sex workers and business owners migrated to China,. These women were Korean versions of the Japanese karayukisan(overseas prostitutes) working as comfort women for the industrial laborers abroad.....

The majority of the young females recruited as comfort women came from lower classes. Many were deceived by "human traders" who lured them with promises of well-paying jobs only to deliver them to brothels and military comfort stations. Some, however, chose to leave home, not out of economic necessity but in search of independence and freedom from domestic violence against and gendered mistreatment of daughters
---this was originally in the first paragraph of the essay---zero)

....the South Korean army also operated its own "military comfort system" during and until immediately after the Korean War, from 1951 to 1954. ...the South Korean army's military comfort women system may be indeed the "unfortunate offspring" of the Japanese

However, I would suggest that its historical roots are much deeper than the colonial period....We should not ignore the historical depth of the Korean masculinity sexual culture that instituted the kisaen system more than one thousand years ago. Moreover, the specific way the Korean military operated the comfort system, utilizing the tickets for accessing comfort women as special rewards for bravery exhibited in battlefield, is noteworthy for its instrumentalist approach to the comfort system, not simply as commercial sex service but as as in means of conferring semi-official tribute as well as promoting future bravery..

....it has been women of the lower social classes that have engaged in sexual labor due to their social status, out of economic necessity, and sometimes forced by state power that treated them as pawns of national security in the symmetrical international relations. Since 1945, when the U.S. military occupied Korean, more than two hundred and fifty thousand women have worked as prostitutes for American troops . By the early 1970's prostitution catering to foreign men received semi-official support.

Today, the prosperous industry in South Korea generates more money than state annual budget....South Korea still find themselves trapped in "slave prositutution" enforced by unscrupulous entrepreneurs in the thriving local adult entertainment market.....

Most Sex Slaves Found in U.S. Were Korean vialink,link

The Journal of Hamel
The monasteries are build with gifts which have been collected by the people. Anybody from highly placed persons to commoners contributes to this. On itself this, however, is not enough to live on. Many monks believe that all people used to speak the same language. But the big amount of languages originates when the people wanted to build a tower to climb to heaven.

via Garlicbreath/Occidentalism

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