The Sonyŏsang Statue and the Symbolism of Public Memorials
The Sonyŏsang Statue and the Ongoing Debate
An exploration of the significance of the Sonyŏsang statue in Seoul, South Korea, and the ongoing debate between Japan and South Korea over comfort women memorials. The Sonyŏsang statue, erected outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011, honors the memory of comfort women and serves as a symbol of their ongoing struggle for justice. The statue has been a source of tension between Japan and South Korea, with Japan demanding its removal and South Korea insisting on preserving the memory of the victims.
Comfort Women Statue in Hong Kong
In light of the ongoing debate surrounding the Sonyŏsang statue and the broader issue of comfort women memorials, several collaborative efforts have emerged between Japanese and South Korean citizens to address this painful history. These individuals seek to foster understanding and reconciliation between the two nations by working together. One example is the "Women's Active Museum on War and Peace" (WAM) in Tokyo, established by a group of Japanese and South Korean activists. The museum is dedicated to raising awareness of the comfort women issue and serves as a platform for dialogue between the two countries. In addition, the museum exhibits art and testimony from comfort women survivors, providing a space for visitors to learn and reflect on this shared history. Another example is Japanese and South Korean scholars' joint academic research and publications on comfort women's history. These collaborative efforts aim to present a comprehensive and accurate account of the comfort women's experiences, countering historical revisionism and promoting understanding between the two nations. These initiatives demonstrate the potential for constructive dialogue and collaboration between Japanese and South Korean citizens on the issue of comfort women. Working together paves the way for healing, empathy, and a shared commitment to justice and reconciliation.
The Controversial 2015 Agreement and its Aftermath
The 2015 agreement between Japan and South Korea aimed to resolve the comfort women issue once and for all. However, the deal faced backlash from South Korean citizens who felt it failed to address the victims' demands adequately. The agreement's controversies and shortcomings have contributed to the continued tensions between the two countries over the issue of comfort women.
"Statue of Peace - Comfort Women" located at the Ashfield Uniting Church, 180 Liverpool Road, Ashfield. Commemorates the Korean "comfort women" of the Japanese military in WWII.
The dedication of these Japanese citizens demonstrates the potential for individuals to make a positive impact in the pursuit of justice and reconciliation. Their work underscores the importance of fostering dialogue and understanding between Japan and South Korea, ensuring that the memories of the comfort women victims are honored and their struggle for justice is not forgotten.
Denial: Quick Look of History of Comfort Women and Present Days’ Complication - Guide
Approximately 200,000 women and girls were forced into sexual slavery during World War 2. They were also known as comfort women, a translation of Ianfu(慰安婦), the Japanese term for "comforting, consoling woman." Although most of the women came from Korea, women from other occupied regions such as Burma, China, Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaya, Manchukuo, Taiwan, New Guinea, Portuguese Timor, and the Dutch East Indies were also taken into the military sexual slavery.
The women suffered beatings, torture, forced pregnancies, and rape throughout the war. Even after the war, they suffered from medical complications as survivors of sexual violence. In addition, some former comfort women lived in shame and were ostracised by their community after the war. It was not until nearly 50 years after the end of WW2 that former comfort woman Kim Hak-Sun shared her testimony, inspiring other women to come out and share their stories. This work describes the system of military sexual slavery that had been erased from historical memory, and it traces Japan's alternating acknowledgment and denial of its comfort women system from the 1990s to the present.