So this article shows an example of a Korean “women’s volunteer corps” (joshiteishintai, 女子挺身隊), one of many that were organized by the Japanese military to extract more labor from Korean women. According to South Korean estimates, some 200,000 Korean women were recruited into the “women’s volunteer corps”, among whom 50,000 to 70,000 became comfort women. That means some 25% to 35% of the Korean women in the “women’s volunteer corps” ended up as comfort women. That’s a pretty shocking number. Let’s remember that many of them were school age girls – the article itself describes them as children. So not only was it adult sex trafficking, it often was also child sex trafficking. The women covered in this article were working at a factory in Toyama, Japan, but they could have easily been shifted to any other type of work depending on the constantly changing immediate labor needs of the Japanese military.
Although the name of the factory in Toyama is redacted in this article, we now know that, from June 1944 onwards, some 1090 Korean women in the “women’s volunteer corps” were brought to a factory in Toyama run by Nachi-Fujikoshi, a company which made naval weaponry during the war. At first, girls aged 17 to 20 years old were recruited at the Toyama factory, but then the age range was expanded to 13 years to 21 years old by January 1945. It’s pretty likely that this article is describing the same factory. About 300 other Korean women in the corps were also sent to Nagoya to make Mitsubishi warplanes, about 100 were sent to Tokyo to a textile factory, the list goes on and on.
June 13, 1944 Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo)
Even etiquette is taught
Sufficiently prepared to accept women’s volunteer corps
In Gyeongnam and Gyeongbuk, the women’s volunteer corps have already been formed to go to Japan proper to fight for the urgent increase of production, and 200 women have been recruited in Seoul and Incheon. The head of the labor section of Seoul, Mr. Tamotsu, spoke about the application process.
“Joining the women’s volunteer corps means directly participating in the holy war. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax in this time of crisis. Fortunately, there is a deep understanding of this point, and since the application process began, many applications have poured in, which is very encouraging. There is no need to worry about the living environment, health, hygiene, and morals at the host workplace, as it is fully equipped.”
Mr. Kimura, General Manager of the Personnel Department at Toyama Prefecture’s [redacted] Plant, who is hosting the volunteer women, said the following:
“We recently took a group from Gyeongbuk, and all of them were very enthusiastic about their work and their performance was very good. The factory is making every effort in all areas, including labor management, wages, and education. As for the labor corps from the peninsula, they are housed in dormitories according to their region of origin for the first six months until they become accustomed to life. There are no hygienic concerns since there are 12 or so people to a 20-tatami mat room, and there is ample food available. The factory takes every precaution to ensure that there are no omissions, as the children are very important to them. The dormitory mothers are women who understand the situation on the peninsula.” (Photo: Maidens of the Gyeongbuk Volunteer Corps learning etiquette at the [redacted] Factory)
(my transcription into modern Japanese orthography with punctuation marks added or modified for clarity)