In the book, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, by Viet Thanh Nguyen, an interesting issue he brings up is the idea of “comfort women.” When Korea was under Japanese rule, Korean women were taken out of their homes against their will to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese soldiers. Some Korean women were also lured with promises of job opportunities and the such, however when they arrived at their “destination” they were thrust into “comfort stations” for the Japanese soldiers. The Japanese government created these stations in fear that the Japanese soldiers in Korea would rebel due to discontent. Similarly, when the South Korean soldiers came to Vietnam, as Mr. Nguyen states, they took Vietnamese Women and made them into “comfort women.” These South Korean soldiers also brutally massacred Vietnamese civilians during the war. These acts against the Vietnamese can be examined through a psychologists’ lens. Perhaps these South Korean soldiers performed these atrocities due to the displacement of anger. Perhaps they did these acts towards the Vietnamese because they were unable to release their anger elsewhere, these acts that which the Japanese performed on the Korean people and the only way the Koreans were able to release that anger was upon the Vietnamese. This issue of “comfort women” still affects the relationship of Vietnam with South Korea today; it has just evolved and changed shape. As Mr. Nguyen states, this idea of comfort women continues today in which poor Vietnamese women come to South Korea to marry the men whom no will marry in hopes of better opportunities (143). This example shows how what has happened in the past affects the contemporary Vietnamese community today. A question for us to answer is knowing how past events affects our contemporary history, what might other events in the past be influencing society’s behavior in ways that are obscure?
Di, L. (2015, April 9). Comfort Women Photo, [Photograph]