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Spirits’Homecoming warm reception in North America


The movie, Spirits’ Homecoming has got very positive reception from North American audience, resulting broader release on Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk in Canada(Starting from Mar.18), AMC Empire 25 in Manhattan, NewYork,  AMC Loews Bay Terrace in Queens, New York, Edgewater Multiplex Cinemas & AMC Starplex Ridgefield  Park12 in New Jersey, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Chicago, AMC Cupertino Square16 in San Jose, CA, AMC Loews Alderwood Mall16 in Seattle, WA, AMC Sugarloaf Mills18 in Atlanta, GA, and AMC Fashion Valley18 in SanDiego, CA.


Former brothel a memorial to WWII’s ‘comfort women’

A MEMORIAL for “comfort women” during World War II opened to the public in east China’s Jiangsu Province on December 2, 2015.

It is the first in China’s mainland dedicated to the group, and was identified by victims as a military brothel run by the invading Japanese more than 70 years ago.

The memorial in Nanjing, Jiangsu’s capital, covers more than 3,000 square meters and comprises eight two-story buildings.

The Japanese took the city, then China’s capital, on December 13, 1937, where they killed 300,000 people within six weeks in what was later dubbed the Nanjing Massacre, or the Rape of Nanking.

The brothel is the largest former “comfort station” still standing.

An estimated 200,000 women from China and many others from the Korean Peninsula, the Philippines, Indonesia and some other countries, euphemistically known as “comfort women,” were forced into sexual servitude by Japanese troops.

In Nanjing alone, there were more than 40 military brothels.

In the courtyard of the memorial, there are sculptures of three “comfort women,” including one who is pregnant.

That woman was Pak Yong-sim from Korea. Once living in Room 19 of building No. 2, Pak revisited the site on November 21, 2003. She died in 2012.

More than 1,600 artefacts and 680 photos are on display, including potassium permanganate given to the memorial by late victim Lei Guiying. The powder was used in the brothel for disinfection..

“My mom was raped at the age of 9, and became a ‘comfort woman” at 13,” said Tang Jiaguo, Lei’s adopted son. “She didn’t want to talk about her past until 2006, when she testified for the crime of Japanese.”

Lei died in 2007. In her will she wrote, “May the tragedy not be repeated. May there be no more wars.”

“For a long time, the history of ‘comfort women’ was buried,” said Su Zhiliang, a professor at Shanghai Normal University.

“In recent years, the Japanese made repeated attempts to tamper with history. The move angered many whose countries had been plagued by the ‘comfort woman’ system. That is why countries like China research and protect the history.”

Yun Ju-Keyng from South Korea, president of the history museum Independence Hall of Korea, was at yesterday’s opening ceremony.

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of China’s victory over Japanese invaders, and also independence of the South Korea,” she said. “Denial of the Japanese government over the past crimes hurt the victims, who are elderly now, a second time. China and South Korea should join hands in exposing the atrocities of the Japanese imperial army, so former ‘comfort women’ can live to see the offenders apologize.”

Hiring at a sawing factory turns into a military brothel in China

Park, Ok-sun, 91 years old
Park, Ok-sun, 91 years old

When she was 14 years old, her father died. Her elder brother’s business went wrong as well.

To help her family, in 1941, at 17, she went to a place with friends to get hired as a sawing factory worker. However, right at the spot, she and her friends were shipped to China by train.  She remembered the day still vividly.

“I was so scared and kept saying, please I don’t want to go but nobody listens to me. All my friends were trembling with fear..”

Girls still did not know what and where they were shipping to. When they arrived Heirungjian Prefecture in China, girls first day started by beatings from the person in charge at the Japanese military brothel.

After 4years, Japan surrendered and the war was over. However, her ordeal had not stopped. She did not have money to go home and she involuntarily settled at a country village in China. Even in China, she could not get out of poverty.

She said, “I think my unfortunate life is my own destiny. But my children who have been suffering with me, I take that as my fault..”

WW II ‘comfort women’ push fight for justice, compensation


Manila (Reuters) — For decades, Filipino former World War II sex slaves have been fighting for recognition and compensation for the horrors they endured at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army.

But their campaign has seen little success and now the few surviving “comfort women” left in the Philippines, are hoping the next generation will continue their fight.

The group called themselves “Pamana”, or “Inheritance” in Filipino, consisting of a handful of supporters and descendants of the former Filipino “comfort women”, a Japanese euphemism for sex slaves.

Members of the “Pamana” were in charge of spreading information and joining protest actions on behalf of the former Filipino comfort women.

They regularly hold meetings at a run-down resource center, which was being co-managed by their group and women’s rights organization Lila Pilipina.

Former comfort women Hilaria Bustamante and Estelita Dy act as caretakers of the center, which holds the records of all documented Filipino sex slaves under the three-year Japanese rule from 1942-1945.

Bustamante, 89, was abducted from her home and raped inside a Japanese garrison when she was 16. She said she suffered psychological trauma growing up and cannot forget the ordeal even today.

“It’s not easy to forget what happened. We will bring this memory down to our graves. even if they give an apology, it is still difficult to forget. It is already marked in us,” she said.

Bustamante and Dy decided to offer their support in the early 90s, joining various street protests to demand compensation and justice from the Japanese government. They now live inside the center and teach visitors about the importance of women’s rights and the lessons of war.

“We just don’t want another war because if there’s another war, what happened to us may happen again to the newer generations,” said 85-year-old Dy.

Melinda Relos, a member of Pamana whose mother was a former comfort woman, said the centre was facing challenges in funding for upkeep and maintenance.

She said the center operates solely on grants and donations from non-profit groups, making it difficult to preserve and maintain the documents which were slowly crumbling with age.

Despite the challenges, Relos said members of Pamana like her will not leave the centre nor their advocacy for the former Filipino comfort women.

“Even if there are no longer any grandmothers present, we are still here. There are still surviving children, grandchildren and supporters that can join and continue the fight of our mothers,” she said.

Lila Pilipina has records of 174 Filipino comfort women when they started documentation in 1992, but said the total surviving victims could be less than 70 with many of the survivors dead due to old age.

Like their counterparts in China and South Korea, the Filipino former comfort women have been demanding justice through compensation and a public apology from the Japanese government.

Japan acknowledged in 1993 that the state played a role in forcing Korean and Chinese women into military brothels and set up a fund to provide compensation to survivors in 1995. However, Japan has refused to pay direct compensation to survivors.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a former critic of the 1993 statement, now says he will uphold it. Many Japanese conservatives say there is no proof that authorities directly coerced the women.

Tokyo exhibition shows ‘comfort women’ ordeal in Dutch East Indies

An effort to shed light on the painful experiences of females procured for brothels for the Japanese military during the war is underway at a Tokyo museum ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

In a yearlong exhibition through the end of next June, the Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace addresses the issue of sexual exploitation under the Japanese occupation in what is now Indonesia with a panel display that depicts testimony and photos from about 70 former “comfort women” along with memoranda from Japanese soldiers.

“While many local women and those of the former colonial power, the Netherlands, suffered damage, such history of Indonesia has remained unknown,” said Eriko Ikeda, director of the museum, known as WAM. “We expect people to learn through this exhibition that the comfort women issue is not only a problem between Japan and South Korea but also an issue affecting a wide area.”

The testimonials were collected by researchers, journalists and people who have supported the victimized women.

Some women said they were kidnapped by Japanese soldiers after Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies in 1942, while others said they were told by local officials they would engage in household chores but instead were dispatched to wartime brothels.

Dutch women, who had been detained at internment camps following Japan’s invasion, were forced to work in brothels against their will, according to the testimonials.

One Indonesian woman’s testimonial said at the age of 14 she had an abortion without the benefit of anesthesia after having been raped repeatedly by soldiers.

According to her account, Japanese soldiers proffered tickets that were never cashed in. She was labeled “a prostitute for Japanese” after she came forward with her story in 1993.

Some Japanese soldiers, meanwhile, write of “dining on fine meals” when they were routinely allowed outside and went to “comfort stations,” or brothels, to satisfy their sexual appetites.

“By comparing the memories of the women and the soldiers, visitors to this exhibition will be aware of the big differences in where they stood,” Ikeda said.

It is unclear how many comfort stations were operating and how many women were exploited in the Dutch East Indies, as sufficient research has not yet been conducted. Even so, the issue is drawing interest among young professionals.

“There are young film directors and photographers in Indonesia who show interest in the comfort women issue there. It looks quite hopeful,” Ikeda said.

The comfort women issue has cast a shadow on Japanese diplomacy, with South Korean President Park Geun-hye declining to hold a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since they took office — Abe in 2012 and Park in 2013.

If or how Abe touches on the issue in his upcoming statement to mark the World War II anniversary is the focus of much attention.

Taiwan reveals first memorial hall for comfort women

The local government in Taiwan plans to reveal its first memorial hall for comfort women in Aug. 2015, Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou said at a meeting on June 30.
The term “comfort women” was coined to refer to the many women, mostly Asian, who were forced into sex slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II (1939-1945).

The memorial hall will be accessible to the public in Dec. 2017, marking the 70th victory of the war.
“A decades-old grudge could be removed easily, unfortunately, this is not the reality,” according to Ma.
There were thousands of Taiwanese women who experienced the sad fate and traumatic experience of being forced into performing sexual acts during the Second World War, Ma added.
The government is active in forming and organizing a wide range of activities in remembering and honoring the victory.
“It was almost 20 years ago that I began helping Taiwanese comfort women fight for rights and justice. But, sadly, we have failed to win legal remedy from Japan,” stated Ma.
The ceremony will be opened by the relative of an unsung hero, a female American missionary who devoted herself, mainly during the Nanking Massacre, in protecting 10,000 Chinese war refugees, most of whom were comfort women.
Another memorial hall, in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, was opened at Harbin Station last year to honor Korean independent activist Ahu Jung-geun for upholding justice and fighting against the Japanese during the war.
Rows of bronze statues were erected in 2014 as a sign of protest for the torture that comfort women endured. Many of the statues represent the very figures they stand for, hoping for the justice they long deserve.
A memorial hall, which also showcases the lives of former Korean comfort women, was opened in Seoul in Aug. 2014.
The hate brought about by war is a horrible thing that the comfort women had to go through, but their history must remain true and unaltered in Asian heart, Ma stated.
Read more: http://en.yibada.com/articles/43602/20150707/taiwan-reveals-first-memorial-hall-commemorate-comfort-women.htm#ixzz3fN4lCdHh