Tag Archives: violence against women

Spirits’Homecoming warm reception in North America

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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.

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‘Guihyang'(Spirit’s homecoming), a movie about an abducted girl’s journey as a comfort woman

Teaser of ‘Guihyang’ on Youtube

Official movie website: http://www.guihyang.com

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/makingguihyang

tposter_spirits_homecoming

The film ‘Spirits’ Homecoming’ is based on the true story of Kang Il-chul , who was forced to become sex slave for the Imperial Japanese Army during the 1940s.

Born in 1928, she was taken by force to Comfort Stations by Japanese army in 1943, when she was only sixteen years old. This movie portrays a teenage girl’s struggle who was stripped of her human rights and dignity in the name of war and the militarism.

Unlike Germany, modern day Japan government has not made amends for their war crimes of the past. Rather, the Rightist faction, which influences great control over Japanese politics insists on unacceptable arguments as they deny the forced conscription of Comfort Women along with other historically known war crime facts.

The film does not seek simply to criticize the Japanese government nor does it seek to provide shallow comfort for the victims. Instead it aims to highlight the devastation and tragedy of the history caused by the military of Imperial Japan, and to heartily send out the message that this cannot be repeated. So, we dare say that this is not the story of the ‘past’ but of the ‘future’ for all. Furthermore, this is a ‘healing movie’ that focuses on alleviating the pain of the past.

Today, only a small number of victims remain alive. It is imperative that their stories be recorded and told to the world.

The Reason to Never Forget – origins of our tale
In the winter of 2002, when Director Cho visited ‘The House of Sharing’ to perform as a traditional Korean drummer for ‘Japanese Military Comfort Women’ victims who reside there, he met Kang Il-chul.

Ms. Kang, one of the Comfort Women victims, born in 1928, was only 16 when she was forcefully ‘recruited’ by a Japanese officer. She was taken to a Comfort Station in Mundanjiang, China, and was forced to work as a ‘sex slave’ for Japanese Soldiers.

Towards the end of war, after years of indescribable torment and abuse, she was diagnosed with typhoid. She was then, transferred outside the army camp, along with other girls who were also considered ‘useless’, to be thrown into a fire pit for disposal.

Right before she was thrown into the fire pit, she was able to make a dramatic escape thanks to a surprise attack from the Korean Independence Army at the time. From then on, she dwelled in China, with no way to go home but longing to return. In 1998, after years of waiting she was able to come home, and decided to reside in ‘the House of Sharing’ along with other victims.

In 2001, during an art psychotherapy conducted at ‘the House of Sharing’, she drew ‘Burning Virgins’ which depicts her own experience. After encountering her picture, Director Cho, shocked by the horrible truth and tragedy young girls’ lives trampled brutally, grieved deeply and wrote a scenario which gave life to the movie – Spirits’ Homecoming.

From the ‘Guihyang’, official site.

Free E-Book: ‘Balsamina: Touch-me-not’

Balsamina: Touch-me-not

Click above title, and you will be linked to the download site, where you can read the book in ibook version and others.

Cover of a E-book
Cover of a E-book

‘Balsamina: Touch-me-not’ is written by the author, Jung-mo Yoon, who is a popular writer and receives many awards for his work in Korea’s literary circle. He takes great interests in history and writes many history novels, including ‘Balsamina: Touch-me-not’, a journey of a young girl who got kidnapped as a comfort woman in her early age.

We -‘Justice for comfort women’- hope that this story will reach hearts of many people across the world, and let people know the issue is still with us.

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
Dancers
Dancers

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Main choreographer: Jung-hoon Ahn

Dancers:

               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

Pope greets, consoles Korean ‘comfort women’

Pope Francis consoles  and receives a present from a former comfort woman, Bok-dong Kim whose ages is 88.
Pope Francis consoles and receives a present from a former comfort woman, Bok-dong Kim whose ages is 88.
A gift to the Pope Francis, painted by passed comfort woman, Soon-duk Kim, titled, 'Flower failed to blossom'.
A gift to the Pope Francis, painted by passed comfort woman, Soon-duk Kim, titled, ‘Flower failed to blossom’.
Pople Francis who visited S.Korea for 5 days.
Pope Francis who visited S.Korea for 5 days.

Pope Francis has blessed and consoled a group of women who were used as sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II.

Francis greeted each of the seven women, most in wheelchairs, at the front of Seoul’s main cathedral Monday at the start of his final Mass for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

He was given a pin from one of them which he immediately pinned to his vestments and wore throughout the Mass.

In an interview with The Associated Press ahead of the encounter, Lee Yong-soo, 86, said she hoped the meeting would provide some solace for the pain she and the other “comfort women” still feel more than seven decades after they were forced into sexual slavery.

Protesters rally to demand justice for comfort women

On the eve of the 69th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, dozens of rights advocates yesterday demonstrated outside the Japanese representative office in Taipei, calling on Tokyo to formally apologize for forcing hundreds of thousands of women and girls to serve in military brothels during the war and to compensate them.

“The Japanese military forcibly recruited more than 1,000 Taiwanese women to serve as ‘comfort women’ in military brothels during World War II. Only five are still alive,” Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation executive director Kang Shu-hua (康淑華) told the crowd outside the Interchange Association, Japan’s Taipei office.

“They are over 90 years old and their physical condition does not allow them to be here. Therefore, it is our obligation and responsibility to continue the struggle to fight for their rights,” Kang said.

Taiwan Women’s Link chairwoman Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) echoed Kang’s appeal.

“The sorrow and the pain in the minds of the former comfort women have become part of our emotions. We will never stop our action to demand justice from Japan,” Huang said.

A Japanese official surnamed Murata took a petition from the demonstrators, promising to forward it to the Japanese government, and provide a response within one month.

“Comfort women” refers to women from Taiwan, Korea, China, the Philippines, Indonesia and elsewhere who were forced into military brothels to serve Japanese soldiers. The exact number of comfort women remains unknown, but most researchers agree that there were hundreds of thousands.

The foundation estimates that about 1,200 came from Taiwan.

Japan denies that the government or the Imperial Army forced women to work in brothels — with the latest investigation report, released in June, concluding that “it could not be confirmed that those women were forced into the service.”

However, in 1993, after hearing testimony from 16 South Korean women, Japan offered “sincere apologies and remorse” to the women, and vowed to face the historical facts squarely, in a statement released by then chief Cabinet secretary Yohei Kono.

The following year, Tokyo set up the privately funded Asian Women’s Fund to pay compensation to women in Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Netherlands, but many surviving comfort women refused to take the money because it did not come directly from the Japanese government.

“The comfort women issue is a global issue Japan should offer national-level apologies and compensations for the dignity of the former comfort women and their families,” Amnesty International Taiwan director Bo Tedards said.

Surviving comfort women and human rights groups in South Korea, the Philippines and several other nations also held rallies outside Japanese diplomatic posts yesterday.

There is an international campaign calling on the UN to make Aug. 14 a day to remember comfort women.

Former UN special rapporteur criticizes Japan on comfort woman issue

Radhika Coomaraswamy, former UN special rapporteur on violence against women and author of the first UN report dealing with the issue of the comfort women, published in 1996, recently expressed her concern that the Japanese government’s stance on the issue is regressing to the hard-lined position that it had held before 1995.
On Aug. 9, Coomaraswamy gave an interview to a joint group of South Korean reporters assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at her home in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka. “During the period of when I was UN special rapporteur since 1995, we were getting there. I think at some point, they wrote a letter expressing regret,” she said. “There were also some commitments to change textbooks and setting up the Asian Women’s Fund. Of course it was not enough but at least it was a step in the right direction,” she said.
In 1996, Coomaraswamy composed a report titled “Report on the Mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery in Wartime” to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Her report was based on investigations inside South Korea, North Korea, and Japan.
The report – which was effectively the first time the UN had fully addressed the issue of the comfort women – defined the comfort women system as sexual slavery and urged the Japanese government to acknowledge its legal responsibility and to pay compensation to the victims.
The former special rapporteur explained that the reason she had referred to the comfort women as “wartime slaves” in her report was because the conditions that the victims had described to her were the conditions of slavery. “I called it slavery because the women were controlled by someone else against their will,” she said.
Coomaraswamy also responded to a report by a Japanese government panel that reviewed the Kono Statement recently. In the report, the panel concluded that it could not confirm that the comfort women had been forced into service. “I had interviews of the former comfort women, I reviewed a lot of historical documents, and I was provided with information by Japanese women advocacy groups. When you look at all of this information together, it is clear that most of the women were compelled to work for the military,” she said.
Coomaraswamy was also asked about the claims of Japanese right-wingers that the comfort women were wartime prostitutes and the recent trend for anti-Korean demonstrations in Japan. “In any country, there can be movements that are hostile to other ethnic groups, other countries, and women, but the state is responsible for keeping these movements from expanding into demonstrations and statements of hatred for Korea,” she said, emphasizing the role of the Japanese government.
Coomaraswamy, who used to work as a lawyer in Sri Lanka, was appointed to be the special rapporteur on violence against women for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a subsidiary of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, in 1994, and served in that capacity until 2003. From 2006 until her retirement, she worked as the UN Secretary General’s special representative for children and armed conflict.