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A History of Trauma--The Comfort Women


--A Taiwanese Comfort Woman's Voice

Taipei Women Rescue Foundation
December, 1996


Two months after my birth in 1920, I was given to another family as a foster child. Because at that time, traditionally minded people favored boys over girls, I never received any education. Instead, I worked in the fields and tended livestock. At the age of 15, I began working in a steel factory. One day, a machine tore off my middle and ring fingers. I cried until my heart almost broke.

After the accident, I lived with a man, but he left me before we could formalize our marriage. He left me with a son to raise by myself. One day, a relative from my mother's side of the family introduced me to a certain Mr.Liu. Mr.Liu told me about an opportunity to go overseas and work as a waitress in a mess hall. I signed up to go, along with a dozen or so other women. Because my family was poor, I borrowed little money to help me get settled in my new job.

After setting sail from Kaohsiung harbor and spending a night in Manila, we arrived in the city of Ea-Luo Ea-Luo in the Philippines. It was only after our arrival, when we were sent to a "comfort station" rather than to a mess hall, that we discovered we had been deceived. Although I was extremely angry with this, I felt there was nothing I could do to change the situation. Apart from committing suicide there was no escape.

The comfort station was located outside a military base. Each woman had a separate room. Most of those who came to the comfort station were Japanese and Taiwanese Military porters. More soldiers came during holidays. The men first bought a ticket from the manager then were given a prophylactic. We had to have a health examination every week. Once, when I greeted a Japan's soldier, he slapped me very hard because he was drunk. I was so scared that I ran and hid. I have been unable to hear in one ear ever since.

When the soldiers moved, we had to move with them. Eventually, we moved to a new building with a lobby and two parallel rows of rooms. At one point, I had an operation to remove an inflamed appendix. After this, I was finally able to return to Taiwan because my one year, eight month contract had expired. I was 22 when I began work as a "comfort women" and 24 when I returned to Taiwan. I disembarked at Kaohsiung after the voyage back to Taiwan. Upon returning home, I hugged my foster mother and grandmother and we all cried. We cried tears of joy because they supposed I had died. Because I was very close to my foster parents, I told them what had happened to me while I was overseas. I did not want to marry, but simply helped the members of my family by working and washing clothes. Because I was afraid that people would find out what happened to me, and was ashamed, I never told my son and grandchildren about my past.

After returning to Taiwan, I was filled with anger whenever I thought of how the Japanese had deceived me. But the past is over and done with, and there is nothing I can do to change it. Eventually, I became absorbed with caring for my son and foster mother and I did not think about other things. I began suffering from backaches when I was 36. Since then, persistent health problems have forced me to regularly seek medical attention. Now, I am rapidly losing my eyesight, and I experience serious stomach and back pain. Every few days, I must see the doctor for more medicine. I oppose the Asian Women 's Fund because it was not the Japanese people who hurt me, Instead, I insist that the Japanese government bear the responsibility for apologizing and for paying compensation to former "comfort women" such as myself.


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