JEAIL > Volume 14(1); 2021 > Reviews
Review Article
Published online: May 30, 2021

Contracting for Sex? “True Story” of the so-called “Comfort Women” during World War II

Yuji Hosaka
Sejong University 209 Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 05006 Korea.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Criticism has erupted around the world over the paper “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War” written by Mark Ramseyer, a Mitsubishi professor at Harvard University Law School. Ramseyer insists tha “comfort women” by Japanese imperial military made “credible contracts” with recruiters regardless of the Japanese government or the Japanese military. Ramseyer further insists that the “comfort women” were certified prostitutes. However, the Japanese government selected recruiters secretly and provided them with convenience in mobilizing women. Recruiters have deceived women, mainly by job fraud, into kidnapping them to military brothels. The recruiters signed with Japanese women as barmaids (shakuhu), meaning women who served drinks. However, the Japanese military brothels were prohibited from drinking. Almost Korean women were illiterate in 1940’s, so recruiters did not make contract papers with them. It was very easy to deceive Korean women to make sexual slaves of Japanese military. The surviving Japanese military’s surgeon or soldiers testified that Korean “comfort women” had been sexual slaves.

Keywords : Ramseyer, Contract, Recruiter, Barmaid, Comfort Women, Sexual Slave

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