WWII Hand-drawn Portraits of Korean “Comfort Women”, ca. 1944
(BURMA) Prisoners of War at Burmese detention CAMP LEDO monitored by the Allies.
Album of 18 original Portrait Sketches of Nurses, Japanese POWs and Korean Comfort Women from Ledo and Myitkyina. 原作
Burma, circa 1944.
Drawn on cards measuring approx. 10 x 7 inches and smaller, each mounted; assembled together in a modern black loose-leaf album.
A rare record of World War II Japanese detention camp portraiture of Korean Comfort Women. These pen and ink with watercolor wash drawings depict accurate portraits of Comfort Women (7); also men, including POWs (6); and other women (5) including two Seagrave Nurses and a Singalese girl (Ceylon), one annotated “Mata Ne” [see you later] at bottom right.
The album is an unique time-capsule into this barbaric enlistment of young women who were given several hundred yen upfront without realizing what obligations would follow. The Japanese Army recruited these women in Korea starting in May 1942, the majority of them ignorant and uneducated (in their twenties) for unspecified service, originally associated with visiting the wounded in hospitals, rolling bandages, and generally making the soldiers happy. They were offered plenty of money for family debt payments, easy work and prospects of a new life in Singapore although mostly these were unfulfilled promises.