Tokyo: A Tokyo museum focusing on wartime sex slavery is holding an exhibition on how Taiwanese women sexually exploited by the Japanese Army have struggled to recover from their ordeals.
The Women`s Active Museum on War and Peace, better known as WAM, has collected documents and testimony on the sexual exploitation of Taiwanese women "to hand down to the next generation," said Eriko Ikeda, the museum`s director.
"The victimised women are aging, and the hardships they went through will be forgotten if we leave them lost in history," she said, noting what she called persisting efforts by some to gloss over Japan`s past misconduct.
At the exhibition, dozens of panels show how Japan imposed its imperialist education on the island, ruled by Tokyo for half a century from 1895, and how Taiwanese women, including members of the indigenous population, were forced to serve as sex slaves, euphemistically known in Japan as "comfort women," in Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia.
"As Taiwan was the strategic spot for the Japanese Army`s southward advancement, many troops as well as military equipment and supplies went through there," Ikeda said.
"And Taiwanese women were transported to the fronts with them.
"One of the former Taiwanese sex slaves whose testimony appears on the panels is Lu Man Mei.
Born in 1926, Lu was brought to Hainan, China, at the age of 17 with around 40 women.
She was supposed to work as a nurse, but she was instead confined in a row house with dozens of rooms, where she was forced to have sex with around 15 soldiers a day.
"They queued up, saying loudly, `Make it quick!`" As some soldiers refused to use condoms, she eventually became pregnant, but her baby died after 38 days.
After returning home, she married and had a boy, but her husband left her after he was informed of her past as a sex slave.
Huang A Tao was brought from Taiwan to Indonesia together with 23 women in 1943 when she was 20 years old, after she had applied for a job as an assistant nurse.
She found her actual workplace was a so-called "comfort station. (Kyodo)