"Comfort women"- an euphemism for sex slaves during the Chinese occupation by the Japanese Imperial Army. These women were used as objects by the military. Many were kidnapped from their homes and sold into slavery. More on this subject on later posts.
There were more than 40 comfort stations in Nanjing alone during the occupation. Most of them are demolished, for example, a comfort station site called 安乐酒店慰安所 or Ease Hotel Comfort Station where sex slaves were held is now a construction site. See photo 1 below.
The biggest comfort station that existed in Asia was also in Nanjing. It is called 故乡楼慰安所 or Hometown Comfort Station. There is currently a plaque on the wall of the building to commemorate the victims. However, the building is currently abandoned. It is an eyesore in the middle of a busy street. There are plans by Nanjing University to preserve it. This building needs to be reserved for us and our children to remember the victims during the Japanese occupation of Nanjing. Once it is destroyed, there is no going back. However, according to Professor Jing in an interview by China Daily, the real estate prices in Nanjing might lead the property to be sold for profit.
Photo 1. 安乐酒店慰安所 Ease Hotel Comfort Station
Photo 2. 故乡楼慰安所 Hometown Comfort Station exterior
Photo 3. 故乡楼慰安所 or Hometown Comfort Station interior
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Growing up as a child in Hong Kong, I heard much about the terrors that my grandparents on both sides of the family had endured under the rule of the Japanese during their invasions in Pacific East Asia. While these tales horrified me as a child, it sparked an interest in me and set me on the path of getting my bachelor’s degree in history at the University of San Francisco. I was so intrigued by the subject that by the time I was fourteen, I had read Iris Chang’s award winning book, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, which was a gift from my grandfather, who insisted that this portion of history can never be forgotten.
As I grew up, I soon realize that most people in the world, even my peers in Hong Kong, were either indifferent or ignorant of the subject. Whilst I was disappointed by this realization, it continues provide me with the motivation and drive to spread the knowledge of this largely forgotten past; as the age-old expression goes: those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
Nicole Dahlstrom is a non-profit marketing specialist with a history of coordinating marketing efforts for non-profit start-ups. She began her career while still in college when she interned at a local non-profit start-up called Spread the Care. After receiving a B.A. in Marketing, Nicole spent a year as an employment specialist with the national volunteer program, AmeriCorps. During her term of service, she aided a diverse set of clients with anything from learning to speak English to writing a business plan. Since finishing her term of service in September of 2014, Nicole has pursued a freelance writing career while studying online marketing for non-profits. She currently works as the Development Coordinator for the growing San Francisco based non-profit, Pacific Atrocities Education.