The Nation over Gender and Class: Media Framing of Comfort Women in South Korea and Japan

JAY SONG Senior Lecturer in Korean Studies, University of Melbourne
JUN OHASHI Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies, University of Melbourne

VOLUME 20, NO. 1 (2020), pp. 159–184.

In December 2015, South Korea and Japan reached an agreement on resolving the “comfort women” issue that sparked media interests. This article analyses how the South Korean and Japanese media covered comfort women in 2013–2018. The study collects over 20,000 newspaper articles and analyses distinctive media framings in liberal, conservative and leftist newspapers in South Korea and Japan. During this period, the South Korean media have gone beyond the extant nationalist and feminist narratives and incorporated a class dimension. The authors find that there have been dynamic interplays among nation, gender and class that make the debates more complex and transnational, yet the dominant narratives are still from liberal or leftist nationalists in Korea and conservative statists in Japan.

Keywords: comfort women, sexual slavery, media framing, gender, nation, class

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