Nanjing has planned for a former “comfort station” in the Qinhuai district to be transformed into conservation units to remind people of the Japanese army’s use of women as sex slaves during WWII.
The seven two-story buildings covering an area of around 3,500 square meters on Liji Alley have been vacant for some 10 years, and the local government has already drafted plans with architectural experts to preserve the area where Asia’s largest military brothel was once located.
Jing Shenghong, a history professor at Nanjing Normal University told China Daily that the “comfort station” will be restored to its former appearance and that the construction plans could include a museum.
Another professor, at the Nanjing University of Technology estimated that it would cost at least 50 million yuan to restore the buildings.
In 2004, a Korean woman named Pak Yong-sim identified the location as the place she lived while being held as a sex slave by Japanese soldiers and plans to knock down the buildings were drawn up shortly after. The plans were soon scrapped, however, following public protest.
“Some local officials even said that the ‘comfort station’ symbolizes a miserable and shameful history and should be demolished,” Jing told China Daily. “Actually, the ‘comfort station’ stands for a history that must be remembered.”
The report estimates that more than 40 of such military brothels existed in Nanjing, although many have been knocked down.
The new developments mark the most recent turn in disputes between China and Japan surrounding the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking.
Weeks ago, China’s top legislation ratified two new national memorial days, one marking “War Against Japanese Aggression Victory Day” and the other commemorating victims of the Nanjing Massacre, seemingly in response to a controversial statement made by Naoki Hyakuta, a member of the Japanese public broadcasting company, who flat out claimed that the Nanjing Massacre “never happened”.
This news, of course, followed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s shitstorm-stirring visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in December, which further helmed frustrations among many Chinese who believe that Japan never fully atoned for the atrocities of WWII (so much so that the Chinese government allegedly said it wants to highlight Germany’s public contrition for WWII during president Xi Jinping’s trip to Germany this month as a way to embarrass Japan).
[Images via ECNS.cn]