The Consolation Unit: Comfort Women in Rabaul

Hank Nelson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    From late 1942, Australians knew that the Japanese had shipped women to Rabaul, where they worked in brothels catering for Japanese troops. Japanese captured on the Kokoda Track and elsewhere described the brothels, and New Guineans and who had been in Rabaul talked about them. Australian military and civilian prisoners saw the brothels, and a few of those Australians observed them over a long period. Japanese who served in Rabaul have left reminiscences about the brothels, and one Korean woman has testified that she worked in Rabaul. As result, there is scattered material on perhaps 3,000 comfort women in an Australian Territory, but when Australian reporters and commentators need to give the comfort women an Australian relevance, these women are never mentioned. Their experiences are not used to provide evidence on the recurring debates about whether the comfort women were coerced or free and whether they were recruited, shipped and employed by private contractors rather than the Japanese military or government.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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