Set in Bronze: Examining the Women’s Movements and the Politics of Comfort Women Memorialization
Apologies and reparations for comfort women, or sex slaves for the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, are a contentious issue between the survivors, their supporters, and the Japanese government. After decades of silence, many surviving comfort women have publicly come forward to demand justice—yet the Japanese government has continued to deny responsibility. In response, comfort women supporters and activists have created public memorials throughout the world, particularly in the US. These memorials have caused Japanese diplomatic intervention and demands for removal, sparking a battle for recognition in the public sphere. In this thesis I explore the comfort women movement and the controversy surrounding the memorials, reexamining these memorials as a form of recognition, reparations and reconciliation.