Friday, July 13, 2012

1959 Oct 19 Donga Ilbo - "66% of Comfort Women Infected"

To the left is an October 19, 1959 article from the South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo. It is entitled "66% of Comfort Women Infected--Results of a Nationwide Testing of Female Entertainers." The article talks about how nationwide 392,707 female entertainers, including 261,089 comfort women, were tested for venereal disease over a 1-year period.

The article is evidence that in 1959 Korea was registering women to be "comfort women," which was a euphemism for "military prostitute." Korea was registering women to be prostitutes for UN soldiers stationed in Korea.

The 261,089 comfort woment mentioned in the article is evidence that Korea had a significant number of comfort women, of which 66.4% were infected with a veneral disease.

In the 1990s South Koreans begin criticizing Japan for its comfort women system in World War II, but have hardly said anything about its own comfort women system, which begs the question--"If Koreans thoght the Japanese comfort women system was so bad, why did the Korean Government set up a similar 'comfort women' system for UN soldiers after the Japanese left Korea?"

Below is my translation of the above article:
66% of Comfort Women Infected—Results of Nationwide Testing of Female Entertainers  
According to information obtained from the Ministry of Social Welfare on the 18th, Hagak VD Treatment Center in East Busan and other general practice clinics conducted venereal disease (VD) examinations on a total of 392,707 women last year.  
The examination of the women, which included dancers, hostesses, and unlicensed prostitute, took one year to complete.  They found that comfort women had the highest rate of infection at 66.4%, followed by hostesses at 16.2%, unlicensed prostitutes at 13%, and dancers at 4.4%.

The number of examinees and their infection percentages were as follows:

  • 261,089 comfort women with 66.4% infected
  • 63,635 hostesses with 16.2% infected
  • 51,119 unlicensed prostitutes with 13% infected
  • 16,864 dancers with 4.4% infected
However, as part of efforts to control VD, the government receives annually $30,000 worth of medicine in foreign aid, which it uses to provide free treatment at each VD treatment facility. Also, it is said that the VD Policy Committee--whose members include the Head of the Health Section of the United States Operations Mission (USOM),  the US Eight Army Medical Operations Supervisor, and other medical specialists—has selected twelve treatment facilities from the ninety-eight nationwide to detect the pathogenic bacteria at an early stage.


  1. The fact is there are still a large number of women trapped in the sex trade, (many who have been trafficked) used to entertain military troops in South Korea.
    It's a ridiculous hypocrisy. How dare the South Korean government demand reparations from Japan while continuing to enable the same treatment of its women.

  2. <Japanese translation of the Korean article of this post>




    (東亜日報 1959.10.19)