위안부: COMFORT WOMEN

Sex slavery has been an issue that has haunted Korea for years, and puts a huge strain in Korean-Japanese relations. For those who do not know much about this issue, below is a very well made animation for this issue. It even uses the voices of actually survivors who share their traumatic and agonizing past. Moreover, the reason for this topic is that I had been able to experience one of the famous 수요 집회 or Wednesday Demonstrations. These demonstrations are held weekly to continuously urge Japan to readdress the issues relating the comfort women.

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The motto of the recent protests “박근혜 퇴진!!!” or “Park Geun Hye resign”. This is seen in Gwanghwamun November 9th, 2016.

With the recent events lately, whether that be the American elections, or the calling for President Park’s resignation, the international atmosphere has been fairly somber (at least in my international stratosphere). Although, I have been able to visually see and experience the importance of continuous gathering and protesting. Here is the breakdown of my encounter with the famous Wednesday Demonstrations on November 9th, 2016. I arrived quite early, as it starts at noon, so I found the location of the event, and just walking pass those setting us filled my entire body with an emotion that I cannot explain. The best I can do is that it was an emotion mixed with instant heartache, sentimentality, and slight exasperation. After walking past, I grabbed a cup of joe, yet my mind was still spinning and eager to physically experience what has only been seen through a screen for years. As I walked around Gwanghwamun 광화문, I wanted to see if there were any events going on. There was nothing but the stationed Sewol protest and remnants of the recent and continuous protest on President Park’s resignation. (seen below)

After the short walk, I went to the protest and two women were leading the conversation reminding about the events that had happened in the past and the lackluster response Japan has given over the years. They also brought up the inadequate performance of their President as well. It was extremely evident in just their voices the passion they had for this issue and their strong will to not give in. Following their opening remarks, they started to introduce those in the audience and each group that was announced spoke as well. The sense of community and collectivity surrounding one cause brought a lot of inspiration in me. Those spokeswomen did not fail to acknowledge everyone. Being a person who has not participated in many protests, I was quite surprised and impressed by the acknowledgement of everyone. In the end, I left early for class, but even though there was some lost in language, I am thankful that I was able to take part in this historical on-going protest. It was something I will always keep dear to my heart and it is an issue I will never stop supporting. Justice needs to be served to all of the victims during that time and time is sadly running out.

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In this photo, a Japanese man is speaking about this tragic history in Japanese, while another man translated it into Korean.

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A statue of a girl that represents the sexual victims by the Japanese military is seen in front of Japanese embassy in Seoul, South Korea, December 28, 2015.

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