Researcher ORCID Identifier
Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
2023 Vicky Hsing
Comfort women or comfort girls were women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied countries and territories before and during World War II. The term "comfort woman" is a euphemistic translation of the Japanese ianfu, which literally means "comforting, consoling woman." In comfort stations, women underwent regular gynecological examinations in the prevention of venereal diseases. In the recounts of former “comfort women,” the examination was a site of trauma that often-required public scrutiny and projected onto these women’s bodies an almost entertaining gaze from soldiers. At the same time, the examination reflects the internal colonialization of Western bio-medical knowledge was founded upon the exploitation of enslaved Black women during the era of US chattel slavery. The thesis zooms into a specific comfort station in Sanzao Island, China to understand these historical intersections. Based on an oral history interview conducted with Zhong Quan, Tan Tianlun, and Tan Guijue, the thesis discusses two main sources of trauma related to the comfort women issue: the nationalization of regional memory that accompanied the silencing of sexual violence and the internal colonialization of Western medical violence.
Hsing, Vicky, "Militarism and Colonial Sexology: Comfort Station’s Public Hygiene Management as Remembered by Sanzao Island Residents" (2023). Scripps Senior Theses. 2080.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.