Some people wonder why the U.S. didn't go after Japan's wartime abuses of women
during the International Military Tribunal for the Far East
. There was a very simple reason for this: American soldiers were getting a lot of poontang
during the Allied occupation of Japan
, in decidedly unethical ways.
The history of the Recreation and Amusement Association (Tokushu Ianshisetsu Kyôkai in Japanese) is still rather fragmented, but we know that it was created by the Naimusho, or Home Ministry, on August 19, 1945. The RAA recruited its comfort women by calling on their patriotic sides: some advertising played on the historical tale of Townsend Harris and his Japanese mistress, Okichi.
Within one week, nearly 1,400 Japanese women had joined the RAA in Tokyo alone, making it one of the largest prostitution organizations in world history. By year's end, the RAA was operating in twenty Japanese cities.
There are different stories about why the RAA was formed. One meme, more prevalent in Japan than anywhere else, says that the organization was formed to discourage sex-starved soldiers from raping women at random in the streets. Another account says that the RAA was formed for purely economic reasons, to allow starving Japanese women to bring home food and other vitals in a time when everything was scarce. Another view is that the "volunteers" of the RAA were simply interested in having sex with American men. Still others believe that the RAA was a token of tribute from the Japanese government to the Allied occupation authorities.
Another issue of contention among historians is whether the RAA was the occupation's idea, or the Japanese government's idea. There still isn't much evidence to corroborate either theory.
By January of 1946, 90% of the women in the RAA had contracted gonorrhea or syphilis. Venereal diseases were spreading like wildfire among the American population in Japan. Seeing this, Douglas MacArthur ordered the disbandment of the RAA, and the organization disappeared by mid-March, concurrent with the passage of a new Japanese law illegalizing public prostitution.