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Chinese & Japanese
Project Proposal

Documenting Oral History: Testimonies from Victims and Witnesses of Imperial Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery During the Asia-Pacifica War

Peipei Qiu (Chinese and Japanese, Asian Studies)

Project Description

During the Asian Pacific War (1931–1945) the Imperial Japanese military coerced an extremely large number of women into the “comfort stations” to be the troops’ sex slaves. Most of these women died during their captivity, and the handful survivors were kept silent in the postwar social political environments for decades. This hideous atrocity remained largely unknown until the 1990s when the survivors broke their silence during the international “comfort women” justice movement. One branch of my research in recent years has been on the experiences of Chinese “comfort women” under the military sexual slavery system. The Ford Scholar will assist me in documenting the testimonies I collected during field research in the past two years.

Anticipated Project Activities

  • To transcribe the recordings of interviews and testimonies.
  • To translate the transcribed texts into English.
  • To verify the recorded information and conduct further research on the historical contexts of the testimonies.
  • To create English subtitles of the video recordings.

Preferred Student Qualifications and Skills

  • Native or near-native proficiency in Cantonese and Mandarin.
  • Strong Research skills.
  • Good English writing ability.
  • Experiences in video editing.
  • Some coursework in Asian Studies would be a plus.

Anticipated Follow-up Teaching/Professional Activity for Student

In addition to presenting a project report at the Ford Scholars Symposium, with the help of the instructor the student can write a paper based on the materials collected through the research and submit it to an undergraduate Asian Studies conference or journal.

Project Location

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY—Mostly Remote; In-person only on occasions when we need come to campus to retrieve and return materials.

Project Duration

Six weeks

Project Start Date

June 7, 2021

Project End Date

July 16, 2021