Japanese Activists’ Perspectives on the Comfort Women Issue


As former comfort women, i.e., those who survived sexual slavery under the Japanese military in World War II, filed lawsuits against the Japanese government from Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and other Asian countries, how do Japanese researchers and activists perceive this heated issue and position themselves in the debate/activism? This online seminar brings two distinguished Japanese scholars to shed light on the issue of comfort women in East Asian politics.

Time: Friday 3 March, 10:15-11:30 AM Helsinki Time (1 hour ahead of Central European Time)


Opening remark by Julie Yu-Wen Chen, Professor of Chinese Studies, Department of Cultures, University of Helsinki, Finland

  • Presentation by Sara Park, Lecturer in Japanese Studies, Department of Cultures, University of Helsinki, Finland (15-20 minutes)

Colonialism and Sisterhood: Japanese Female Activists and the “Comfort Women” Issue

  • Presentation by Aya Furuhashi, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Iwate University, Japan (35-40 minutes) with interpretation from Japanese into English

The Redress Movement for the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan

  • Q&A Session (about 30 minutes)
  • Closing Remark

About the presenters:

Aya Furuhashi is an associate professor in the faculty of education at Iwate University in Japan. Her research topic covers gender and postcolonism. Her recent works include Jedaa Bunseki de yomu joseish nyumon (Introduction to Women’s History through Gender Analysis (Chapter contribution, Iwanami Shoten, Japan, 2011) and Kioku de kakinaosu rekishi: lanfu sabaibaano katari wo kiku (History Re-Written by Memory: Listening to the Narratives of Former Comfort Women Survivors (Translation, Iwanami Shoten, Japan, 2020). She will talk about her work with Taiwan’s comfort women in Japanese. Sara Park will interpret for her.

Sara Park is lecturer of Japanese Studies at Department of Cultures, University of Helsinki. She has conducted research and published academic articles on the comfort women issue from Japanese female activists’ perspectives. In her research, she has visited NGOs working on comfort women issues in Taiwan. She is the author of a new book “Telling the Past and Writing History: Methodology of Oral History on Sociology” (記憶を語る,歴史を書く — オーラルヒストリーと社会調査) that explores the comfort women issues.

Sara Park, 2023, Between Telling the Past and Writing History: Methodology of Oral History on Sociology, Tokyo: Yuhikaku.










“Statue of Peace – Comfort Women” located at the Ashfield Uniting Church in Sydney, Australia. It commemorates the Korean “comfort women” (sex slaves) of the Japanese military in WWII. Source: Wiki.