HKHTC Director of Education Simon K. Li met with Professor Lee (李聖順所長), Director of the Korea Chongshindae’s Institute, in Gyeonggi-do. The two researchers discussed the history of Korean women drafted for military sexual slavery by the Japanese during World War II. It is estimated that 50,000 to 300,000 Korean women were forced to become military sex slaves during the war. Since 1990, when the institute was founded, and Kim Hak-soon and Moon Ok-ju’s public statements were made in 1991, more former Korean comfort women survivors have since come forward or signed up as comfort women victims.
Korea Chongshindae’s Institute is the only research institute in Korea which aims at research on the Chongshindae issues. Since its establishment in July 1990, the institute’s voluntary research staff have been devoted to disclosing the truth about the Chongshindae, which, for half a century after WWII, had been neglected.
This July, one of the few remaining Korean comfort women survivors Ms Kim gun-ja passed away shortly before HKHTC Director of Education Simon Li arrived in Seoul. Mr Li was invited to attend her memorial services and he also talked to former comfort woman Ms Lee Yong-su, a close friend of Ms Kim, after the funeral.
“I lived a hellish existence at the comfort station, facing an average of 20 Japanese soldiers every day, and sometimes as many as 40. I came to the US because I needed to hear an apology from Japan before I died… We want them to understand that there is a price to pay for the human rights violations and war crimes they committed.” Kim Gun-ja testified to the horrors of her experience of being a Japanese military comfort woman at a Feb. 2007 hearing on the issue before the US House of Representatives. Ms Kim is the third comfort woman survivor to pass away in South Korea this year. The number of survivors has now dwindled to 37 of the 239 registered with the South Korean government. Our Director of Education was at the site of commemoration in Seoul (video in Cantonese):
This July, Director of Education Simon K. Li visited the Museum of Sexual Slavery by Japanese Military and met with Mr Jeong Ho-cheol of its International Outreach Team. They had an in-depth discussion on the “comfort women” issue in Korea. Today, there are only 37 “comfort women” survivors alive in South Korea. The quote in the above photo is from the very first Korean “comfort woman” survivor who came out and spoke up for justice.
The Museum of Sexual Slavery by Japanese Military is an affiliate of the House of Sharing, which is home to the living “comfort women” survivors in Korea. It is devoted to reflecting the true history of “comfort women” during World War II in Asia. It is remarkable that the museum reconstructed a “comfort women” house in its exhibition. To listen to Mr Li’s explanation of how the setting of rooms in “comfort women” houses looks like, please click the links below for more information:
Director of Education Simon Li visited the world’s first “comfort women” house in Shanghai. Former sex slaves would be a more historically accurate term as they were only euphemistically referred by the Japanese government as “comfort women”. It is now an apartment, but some remnants of the house such as the ticket booth for Japanese soldiers to get sex slaves are still there. Mr Li talked with some residents and heard painful stories from them. He also investigated the remnants, which were unfortunately not preserved by the authorities.
HKHTC Director of Education Simon Li met with Professor Chen Lifei (co-author of Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves, UBC Press, 2014) of the Chinese “Comfort Women” History Museum at the Shanghai Normal University in July. Professor Chen gave Mr Li a tour of the moving exhibition on comfort women victims. They then had a meaningful exchange on how to approach the comfort women issue in classroom.