Women’s Experience of the Japanese Empire

One could make the argument that the women of East Asia were most negatively affected by the Japanese Empire throughout the early 20th century. While the rest of the region was beginning to grant women equal rights and opportunities, Japan used their control over the area to continue exploiting and oppressing women.

After reading the three stories from women of different origins in East Asia, it was clear they all suffered horribly at the hands of the Japanese, but at the time felt as though there was nothing they could do, no matter how much they wanted to help themselves. These survivors decades later were able to come forward and tell their story but not before irreparable psychological and physical trauma occurred.

Most of the women included in the primary sources have now come to terms with their experiences not wanting to hold grievances or anger for the faceless soldiers who traumatized them. One individual woman, Kimiko Kaneda, even expressed feeling sorry for the injured soldiers who she heard screaming in pain from the trenches.

The events described in the primary sources were not unlike the Nanjing Massacre, or Rape of Nanjing, that we discussed in class. It is obvious that throughout East Asia the Empire of Japan metaphorically and literally violated the people and land of East Asia in order to assert their dominance and continue their reign of power.

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