This paper examines the discursive space of the ‘comfort women’ issue, focusing on Japanese ‘comfort women.’ Since they are members of the oppressor nation and typically considered to be
former prostitutes, Japanese ‘comfort women’ survivors had not often been regarded as victims until recently, even by the redress movement.
However, analyzing and elucidating their position from the perspective of them being fundamentally exploited by the nation is the key to understanding the ‘comfort women’ issue.
The purpose of this paper is to explore how those women came to be shaped into what they are today by firstly providing facts about the ‘comfort women’ system, as well as their social standing in
Japan when labeled as ‘comfort women’.
It will then provide testimonial texts from Japanese ‘comfort women’ survivors, contrasting the representation of them with the survivors’ own voices.
In doing so, this paper will survey the discursive space from the standpoint of Japanese ‘comfort women,’ looking back at feminist discussions related to nationalism.
Finally, the perception of discrimination towards Japanese ‘comfort women’ through depiction as prostitutes is presented as one aspect of the foundation for structuring the system of exploitation. This paper advocates the necessity of recategorizing Japanese ‘comfort women’ survivors’ experiences in the context of victimization.