Forget her not….. : My name is Kim Bok-soon(2014)

The revised performance of ‘My name is Kim Bok-soon’, the dance performance received great reception among critiques and general audience. With the Korean traditional song, ‘Arirang’, as a background music, the performance narrated the life of a comfort woman before she was abducted and after her soul got damaged. The performance ends up with a hope.


Choreographer, Jung-hoon Ahn
Choreographer, Jung-hoon Ahn

photo 3-14

photo 1-16

Main choreographer: Jung-hoon Ahn


               Hyung-sup Kim, Myung-hoon Chung, Hye-yeon Han, Sun-hee Cho, Ka-ram Yo, Hyun-suk Lee, Hyun-kon Cheon,

               Byoung-hee Choi, Hyun-sang Yoo, Myoung-seong Kwon, Ye-rin Lee, Da-hye Yoo, Joo-ae Lee, Ji-yoon Chung, 

               Su-jeong Hwang, Sol Han, Jung-in Hong, Ji-hyun Ha, Ha-rang Choi

Performed at the National Theater of Seoul, S.Korea


KONO STATEMENT: Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the result of the study on the issue of “comfort women”

The Government of Japan has been conducting a study on the issue of wartime “comfort women” since December 1991. I wish to announce the findings as a result of that study.

As a result of the study which indicates that comfort stations were operated in extensive areas for long periods, it is apparent that there existed a great number of comfort women. Comfort stations were operated in response to the request of the military authorities of the day. The then Japanese military was, directly or indirectly, involved in the establishment and management of the comfort stations and the transfer of comfort women. The recruitment of the comfort women was conducted mainly by private recruiters who acted in response to the request of the military. The Government study has revealed that in many cases they were recruited against their own will, through coaxing, coercion, etc., and that, at times, administrative/military personnel directly took part in the recruitments. They lived in misery at comfort stations under a coercive atmosphere.

As to the origin of those comfort women who were transferred to the war areas, excluding those from Japan, those from the Korean Peninsula accounted for a large part. The Korean Peninsula was under Japanese rule in those days, and their recruitment, transfer, control, etc., were conducted generally against their will, through coaxing, coercion, etc.

Undeniably, this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women.

It is incumbent upon us, the Government of Japan, to continue to consider seriously, while listening to the views of learned circles, how best we can express this sentiment.

We shall face squarely the historical facts as described above instead of evading them, and take them to heart as lessons of history. We hereby reiterate our firm determination never to repeat the same mistake by forever engraving such issues in our memories through the study and teaching of history.

As actions have been brought to court in Japan and interests have been shown in this issue outside Japan, the Government of Japan shall continue to pay full attention to this matter, including private researched related thereto.

August4, 1993

Upcoming ‘comfort women’ exhibit to seek Tokyo apology

A Taipei-based group is to hold an exhibition on “comfort women” aimed at urging the Japanese government to offer a formal apology and compensation for forcing thousands of women into sexual slavery during World War II.
The “814 Special Exhibition” is to open on Nov. 25 and run through Dec. 10, which is Human Rights Day, said the show’s organizer, the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation.
The foundation is inviting the public to write messages or draw pictures that convey their feelings on the issue to the Japanese government and express their support to surviving comfort women.
The messages and pictures can be sent to the foundation and are to be used in banners and animations that will be displayed at the exhibition, the foundation said.
“We are hoping that we will receive 814 messages and pictures,” foundation executive director Kang Shu-hua (康淑華) said, referring to the title of the show.
The foundation said it is raising funds for the event, which is to be held in cooperation with Hong Kong artist Phoebe Man.
The foundation has joined organizations in other countries whose nationals were also forced to work in military brothels in an international campaign to have Aug. 14 designated global memorial day for comfort women.
On Thursday last week — Aug. 14 — the foundation held its annual protest outside of the Taipei Office of the Interchange Association, Japan, to demand a formal apology from Tokyo for the World War II atrocities the Japanese Imperial forces committed and offer compensation to comfort women. The association represents Japan’s interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.
Over the past two decades, the foundation has been dedicated to helping surviving Taiwanese comfort women cope with their mental anguish and seek compensation from Japan.
The foundation has launched several initiatives to attain justice for the more than 2,000 Taiwanese women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, it said.

By Taipei Times

Murayama critical of Japan’s historical stance

Tomichi Murayama, the former prime minister of Japan
Tomichi Murayama, the former prime minister of Japan

In critical remarks against Japan’s current administration, former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said that “Japan cannot survive as a nation” should it deny its history of wartime aggression.

“The Murayama Statement is the Japan nation’s official historical perception and has become an international pledge, so it is impossible to review it,” Murayama said at a forum held yesterday by the Northeast Asian History Foundation in central Seoul.

Murayama is known for his shaggy white eyebrows and a resilience that doesn’t betray his 90 years. But he is most recognized internationally for his landmark statement made on Aug. 15, 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

In this address, Murayama, who served as Japan’s prime minister from June 1994 to January 1996, expressed “heartfelt apology” that Japan “through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries.”

“Any person who has become the prime minister of Japan has to uphold [the Murayama Statement], and any person who is not able to uphold it cannot stay in office,” he elaborated in a Korean-language translation of his full speech.

Regarding Japan’s military’s sexual enslavement of girls and women during World War II, Murayama said, “The leaders of each country need to sit down and speak frankly on what is the best method to resolve the issue.”

Murayama further told a panel of 28 current and former Korean and Japanese lawmakers, scholars and heads of civilian organizations: “I never thought that the Murayama Statement would become such a problem now.”

The 1995 Murayama Statement and the preceding 1993 Kono Statement are now considered fundamental pillars for bilateral ties. Both played important roles in advancing relations between the two countries. The Kono Statement, delivered by Yohei Kono, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary at the time, effectively apologized to the women forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during the war.

He added that when Abe first became prime minister in 2006, he claimed he would honor the Murayama Statement, though since he was elected for a second term in 2012, he has made remarks that appear to deny that.

In 2013, Abe said that there is no definitive answer either in academia or within the international community on what constitutes aggression and that he might not honor the entire statement. After much backlash, however, he finally conceded to uphold it.

During the gathering, the former prime minister also emphasized the importance of educating Japanese youth about the country’s history of wartime invasion and added that the recent controversies “may be a good opportunity” to promote such education.

“What is decisive is the people, so the people need to raise their voices on what is good or bad,” he said, regarding Japan’s history of invasion and concerns surrounding collective self-defense. “If the public’s voice becomes bigger, their votes can change the National Diet.”

“I don’t know how many years I have to live,” he added, “but I will pledge my remaining life on this.”

By Joong-ang Daily

Another California City to Honor Sex Slavery Victims

The suburb of Fullerton in Orange County, California will set up a memorial to women who were forced into sexual slavery by the imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

It will be the 11th of its kind in the U.S. as part of a Korean-led campaign to shame Japan into taking responsibility for the atrocity.

A statue commemorating women forced into sexual slavery in World War II, in Glendale, California A statue commemorating women forced into sexual slavery in World War II, in Glendale, California.

The City Council of Fullerton on Wednesday passed a bill on placing a statue of a young woman symbolizing a former sex slave in front of the city museum. Similar statues have been erected in Glendale, California and Southfield, Michigan.

The 3-2 vote was passed after listening to opinions of Korean-American and Japanese-American residents, who make up small but significant minorities.

The same day, the City Council voted to support the U.S. House of Representatives’ resolution calling on Japan to make reparations for the atrocity.

The statue in Fullerton was initiated by the local government and a women’s group.

Back in 2010, when the first memorial honoring what the Japanese euphemistically refer to as “comfort women” was dedicated in Palisades Park, New Jersey, the issue was chiefly a concern of Korean-American communities.

But the issue has now sparked more diverse interest.

Local administrations in Nassau County in New York, Bergen County in New Jersey, and Fairfax County in Virginia have taken the initiative to set up monuments honoring comfort women.

Rightwing Japanese have attempted to throw a spanner in the works. They filed a suit calling for the removal of the statue in Glendale, and vandalized the monument in Palisades Park.

But the sabotage attempts have tended to backfire. With more victims testifying about their tragedy, many Americans have come to view the issue as a question of universal human rights.

Japan’s attempts to whitewash to admit its past wrongs have gone down badly in the U.S., where the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is often remembered more keenly than Nazi atrocities.

Several federal lawmakers who regularly lobby on Korean issues have visited the memorials, including Ed Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Adam Schiff, Scott Garrett, Bill Pascrell and Mike Honda.

Former Korean prime ministers Han Myung-sook and Kim Hwang-sik have also visited them.


UN Human Rights Official blasts Japan over Comfort women issue

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

The United Nations’ top human rights official blasted Japan for what she described as its failure to “provide effective redress to the victims of wartime sexual slavery.”

“It pains me to see that these courageous women, who have been fighting for their rights, are passing away one by one, without their rights restored and without receiving reparations to which they are entitled,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement Wednesday.

Ms. Pillay, a South African national whose tenure as commissioner will soon come to an end after six years, criticized the lack of “any public rebuttal by the government” of Japan against “denials and degrading remarks” by public figures.

This year, Tokyo conducted a review into how a 1993 official apology was drafted. The review, prompted by conservative lawmakers who have long questioned the Japanese military’s direct involvement in recruiting World War II “comfort women,” said it couldn’t be confirmed whether the women were “forcefully recruited.”

Ms. Pillay said the issue was “a current issue, as human rights violations against these women continue to occur as long as their justice and reparation are not realized.”

When asked Thursday about the newest U.N. condemnation–just last month, the U.N. Human Rights Committee advised Japan to investigate and prosecute wartime perpetrators–Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, reiterated the government’s longstanding view. “Our country’s consistent position has been that the issue of comfort women has been settled between Japan and South Korea” in a 1965 treaty, he said.

Mr. Suga said Japan has provided aid to the women “from a moral standpoint.” Japan will “continue to patiently explain its position,” he said.

Ms. Pillay’s comments were the latest to keep the comfort-women issue on the front burner, nearly 70 years after the war ended. This week, South Korea said it would publish its first comfort women white paper—in English, Chinese and Japanese.

Additionally, Japanese conservatives claimed vindication this week when the liberal daily Asahi Shimbun retracted some stories it ran in the 1980s and 1990s that seemed to back allegations about the imperial army abducting Korean women.

By Wall Street Journal Asia

U.S House Resolution 121

H. RES. 121

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

July 30, 2007

Whereas the Government of Japan, during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II, officially commissioned the acquisition of young women for the sole purpose of sexual servitude to its Imperial Armed Forces, who became known to the world as ianfu or comfort women;

Whereas the comfort women system of forced military prostitution by the Government of Japan, considered unprecedented in its cruelty and magnitude, included gang rape, forced abortions, humiliation, and sexual violence resulting in mutilation, death, or eventual suicide in one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century;

Whereas some new textbooks used in Japanese schools seek to downplay the comfort women tragedy and other Japanese war crimes during World War II;

Whereas Japanese public and private officials have recently expressed a desire to dilute or rescind the 1993 statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the comfort women, which expressed the Government’s sincere apologies and remorse for their ordeal;

Whereas the Government of Japan did sign the 1921 International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children and supported the 2000 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security which recognized the unique impact on women of armed conflict;

Whereas the House of Representatives commends Japan’s efforts to promote human security, human rights, democratic values, and rule of law, as well as for being a supporter of Security Council Resolution 1325;

Whereas the United States-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of United States security interests in Asia and the Pacific and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity;

Whereas, despite the changes in the post-cold war strategic landscape, the United States-Japan alliance continues to be based on shared vital interests and values in the Asia-Pacific region, including the preservation and promotion of political and economic freedoms, support for human rights and democratic institutions, and the securing of prosperity for the people of both countries and the international community;

Whereas the House of Representatives commends those Japanese officials and private citizens whose hard work and compassion resulted in the establishment in 1995 of Japan’s private Asian Women’s Fund;

Whereas the Asian Women’s Fund has raised $5,700,000 to extend atonement from the Japanese people to the comfort women; and

Whereas the mandate of the Asian Women’s Fund, a government-initiated and largely government-funded private foundation whose purpose was the carrying out of programs and projects with the aim of atonement for the maltreatment and suffering of the comfort women, came to an end on March 31, 2007, and the Fund has been disbanded as of that date: Now, therefore, be it

That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan—
(1)should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Forces’ coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as comfort women, during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II;
(2)would help to resolve recurring questions about the sincerity and status of prior statements if the Prime Minister of Japan were to make such an apology as a public statement in his official capacity;
(3)should clearly and publicly refute any claims that the sexual enslavement and trafficking of the comfort women for the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces never occurred; and
(4)should educate current and future generations about this horrible crime while following the recommendations of the international community with respect to the comfort women.