A Harvard professor has sparked international backlash after publishing an academic article arguing that Korean comfort women -- sent against their will to imperial Japan to have sex with soldiers -- were not actually forced into their prostitution but that they actually chose their positions.
J. Mark Ramseyer, a Harvard Law School professor specializing in Japanese legal studies, published his article in the peer-reviewed International Review of Law and Economics in December, scheduled to publish in print this month. In his article, "Contracting for sex in the Pacific War," Ramseyer argues: "The protracted political dispute between South Korea and Japan over the wartime brothels called 'comfort stations' obscures the contractual dynamics involved." He goes on to illustrate ways that the women of Korea, then under rule by Japan, were actually given voluntary contracts to work for the Japanese army as prostitutes. Now, that article and Ramseyer are the subject of international outcry.