comfort woman, -girl, -station

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jul 16 19:04:07 UTC 2008

Not in OED. All these terms appear to be translations from Japanese.
1992 _N.Y. Times_ (Jan. 14) A8: Until today, Japan's official position has long been that the "comfort girls" were recruited by private enterprise, not the military....The military played a large role in operating what were euphemistically called "comfort stations."...The "comfort women" debate has been but one of the continuing tensions between Tokyo and Soul in recent years.
The literal meaning of "comfort woman" (in English, anyway) is "a female prostitute, typically forced into service from the local popuation by Japanese military authorities, who was compelled to provide sexual services for Japanese troops."
This is the earliest ex. I find in the _N.Y. Times_, though apparently the existence of  "comfort women" was revealed to the West in war crimes trials in Djakarta in 1948. 
It is quite a shock, then, to find a pair of academics using the word as a simple (and apparently "charming") synonym for any female prostitute whatsoever:
2001 A. C. Robinson & P.E.H. Hair in R. J. Rider _Reflections on the Battlefield_  (Liverpool: Liverpool U.P.) 11: The 'dangers' were principally the seeking out [by British troops in France in WWI] of those in a later war aptly termed 'comfort women.'

The American Dialect Society -

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