Pan-Pan Women in Japan Post WWII - Late 1940's

This series of photos were taken by John W. Bennett, an anthropologist while he was a member of the Japan Occupation in the late 1940s. The photographs and notes were compiled in a book called "Doing Photography and Social Research in The Allied Occupation of Japan, 1948-1951: A Personal and Professional Memoir." The captions below the photos were written by John Bennet.  A view of a typical slum neighborhood. Neighborhoods like this were frequently created as a result of the American fire bombing of Tokyo, since people fled old urban districts and settled in jerry-built housing and business properties elsewhere. Consequently, many of the inhabitants had no significant source of income, and the girls began accumulating around public transportation stations.  Teenage prostitutes, familiarly called "pom pom"or "pan pan" girls. They solicited American soldiers in particular, because these men had more money than the military personnel of other Allied forces. These photos were taken by an Army photographer with me as guide and director, one long night in 1948. Some forms of prostitution--in particular the pan pan teenage amateurs--were the direct result of the presence of GIs as sources of income and images of liberation. Source: Prostitutes in the lower level of the profession--the cheaper, less elaborate houses. Some of them might have started out as amateur pan pan girls. The famous Yoshiwara Hospital, established in the 1930s by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to examine and treat prostitutes of the Yoshiwara district. By Occupation times, it was pretty dilapidated. Some of the patients can be seen at the windows.


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