Comfort Women Research & Creative Scholarship Small Grants Program

The “Comfort Women” Research and Creative Scholarship Small Grants Program awards small grants of up to $6,000 to faculty and up to $4,000 to graduate and undergraduate students who have expertise or completed course work in Asian American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Women and Gender Studies, or Sexuality Studies for conducting research or creative projects on “comfort women.” The projects could reflect on the experiences of “comfort women,” the role of activists in creating remembrances, address the intergenerational trauma and impact of “comfort women” among girls and women today, or comparative experiences of the “comfort women” experience with that of other state sanctioned sexual violence, sexual slavery and human trafficking occurring in the world.  

“Comfort women” were girls and women coerced into institutionalized sexual slavery and human trafficking by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied countries and territories during the first half of the twentieth century. In 1991, Hak-sun Kim, one of the Korean survivors, became the first to break the silence about “comfort women.” Her courage led to other survivors demanding an official apology and legal compensation from the Japanese government. These survivors or “grandmothers” became human rights activists and leaders in a global movement to hold the Japanese government accountable for its past war crimes. The issue remains relevant to current acts of wartime sexual violence and human trafficking occurring around the world today.  

The Comfort Women” Research and Creative Scholarship Small Grants Program is made possible through an anonymous donation in partnership with CARE (Comfort Women Action for Redress and Education).  

Spring 2024 Call for Proposals (June 8, 2024 Deadline)

The Comfort Women Research and Creative Scholarship Small Grants Program is accepting proposals through June 8, 2024, from faculty and students for conducting research and creative projects during the 2024-2025 academic Year (grant recipient will commence their projects in August/September 2024 and complete them by May 1, 2025). The application process requires applicants to provide a description, an abstract, a budget, and a timeline for their proposed research or creative projects. The project outcomes or deliverables could include research papers, lesson plans for kindergarten to college students, chapters for academic books, poetry anthologies, films, murals, performances, or art installations. 

Grant recipients will present their projects at the College of Ethnic Studies student research showcase in Spring 2025 and share them publicly on social media, the Race, Empowerment, and Justice Project website, and the University’s digital collections archive. The recipients will also present their projects at a forum or remembrance event on International Memorial Day for “Comfort Women” (August 14, 2025). 

For questions Dr. Mai-Nhung Le at mainhung@sfsu.edu.

The Inaugural Small Grant Recipients, 2022-2023

Francis Wong, lecturer in Asian American Studies, is creating a 15 minute-long three movement musical and dance work to be performed and documented in San Francisco's St. Mary's Square at the site of the Comfort Women Memorial.  

Kathlyn Quan, lecturer in Asian American Studies, is completing a creative project, SEEKING TRUTH: Tales of the Comfort Women, which includes zines, posters and a lesson guide using zines and discussion as a way to make this topic accessible in the classroom. 

Click here to visit the Race, Empowerment, and Justice Project website.