The 'Comfort Women' Apologies: Gendered Victimhood and the Politics of Grievability

Emma Dolan* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The present chapter proposes a typology of victimhood by which to interrogate apologetic discourse. Dolan analyses statements of apology from the Japanese government to South Korean victims of the ‘comfort system’, which involved the forced prostitution as well as sexual and gendered abuse of thousands of Korean women. Unlike other scholars of the phenomenon of political apology, which have considered such statements as a form of narrative redress and justice for political victims, her analysis perceives apology as a form of gendered political discourse which seeks to determine specific groups of victims intelligible within hegemonic discourse. Thus, a typology of ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ victimhood is introduced in this chapter as a means of analysing the process by which state actors recognise specific groups of individuals as having suffered from state violence
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRe-writing Women as Victims
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Theory to Practice
EditorsMaria Jose Gamez Fuentes, Sonia Nunez Puente, Emma Gomez Nicolau
ISBN (Print)9781032087023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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