Gudrun Getz


Despite the decades of work undertaken by the international legal community to attain full and satisfactory reparation for the consequences of Japan’s actions during World War II, the emotionally-charged bilateral dispute between Japan and South Korea over the issue of the so-called ‘comfort women’ continues to this day. This paper is focused on analysis of the discourses surrounding the issue through the lens of a psychoanalytic methodological framework. Based upon the therapeutic work of one of the world’s leading sexual trauma specialists Judith Herman and her text Trauma and Recovery (1992), the paper examines the issues at stake in the comfort women issue through the themes inherent to Herman’s three stages of recovery for survivors of violent trauma. The research concludes that, while there are limitations in applying psychoanalytic methodologies to diplomatic disputes, there is value in pursuing and campaigning for holistic and therapeutic approaches to historical trauma in the context of feminist legal activisms.

Author Biography

Gudrun Getz recently completed an MA Gender Studies with distinction at SOAS University of London. This paper is an extended and revised version of her final project for the Gender, Armed Conflict and International Law module under the tutelage of Dr. Gina Heathcote. Gudrun’s research interests include Japanese culture and society, collective historical memory, ecofeminism, deep ecology and feminist approaches to religious and spiritual practice.