Further Reading: The Cruel Phenomenon of WWII ‘Comfort Women’

Chinese and Malayan girls forcibly taken from Penang by the Japanese to work as ‘comfort girls’ for the troops.

Editor's Note:

In our books & news pairings this week, we offer further reading on rock star Lemmy Kilmister, the ‘comfort women’ of Japan, style icon Patricia Field, and artist Ellsworth Kelly.

Lemmy Kilmister, the legendary gruff-voiced founder of British hard rockers Motörhead, left us this week after being diagnosed with cancer just days earlier. Aged seventy, with a notoriously large number of whiskey bottles and snarling Manchester-inflected songs behind him, Lemmy was genuine heavy metal’s posterchild, leading his band for thirty years, through twenty albums and countless world tours until the day he died. For more on his life in his own words: White Line Fever: The Autobiography. [via]


To much controversy and after seven decades of dispute, South Korea and Japan officially agreed this week on what to do about Imperial Japan’s so-called ‘comfort women:’ Korean women kidnapped and forced into prostitution for the Imperial Army. Along with an apology, the Japanese government will give more than $8 million to South Korea to start a foundation to help the surviving women, who are now in their eighties and nineties. Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers have pronounced the accord a “final and irreversible resolution.” For a more complex, and controversial, view of what happened in those days, C. Sarah Soh’s The Comfort Women looks at the issue not only as a war crime, but also as a phenomenon born of both Japanese colonialism and Korean patriarchy. [via the New York Times]


Style icon Patricia Field, who went from downtown, underground clothing retailer to costume designer for enterprises like “Sex and the City” and “The Devil Wears Prada” over the course of fifty years, will be closing up shop early next year, much to the the dismay of three generations of her punk, glitteringly gender-fluid customers and fans. Until there’s a much-needed biographical take on Field’s work and life, for glimpses of her work and life, search out issues of Spin, Vibe, and Advocate magazines, and check out her entry in Michele M. Granger’s Fashion: The Industry and Its Careers, out via design reference go-to Fairchild Books. [via the New York Times]


Abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly passed away last weekend at the age of ninety-two, leaving a world of colors and shapes for us to delight in. As a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, he enriched both the Hard Edge and Minimalism movements with his insistence on formal simplicity. Called mathematician, magician, poet by the Guardian, Ellsworth made great monochromatic statements, collected and explored in the monograph Ellsworth Kelly, with a timeline written by the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Tricia Paik, and published this year by Phaidon Press. [via The Guardian]