Wangsimni Station, along with many other regions, has rightfully paid tribute to Korean women in consideration of a dark time in Korean history.
This young girl statue sits as representation of the women forced to participate as sex salves during the time when Japan controlled Korea.
When Japan occupied Korea, they forced young girls and women to work as sex slaves, or for their lack of empathy, “comfort women.” Young women, as young as 15 years old, were forced to have sex with Japanese military men. As one woman recalls, reported by The Guardian, “10-30 men a day.” It wasn’t until 1991 that Kim Hak-soon became the first woman to openly discuss her horrible experiences. The Guardian also reported in 2012 that:
“Since then, more than 230 women have identified themselves as former sex slaves. Only about 60 are still alive. Eight, including Kang, live at the House of Sharing, a facility that opened in 1992 in the hills south of Seoul.”
This month, July 2017, the Japan Times reported that “former comfort woman, Kim Kun-ja died of old age, bringing the number of known Korean survivors to 37, according to local media.”
It was also reported that condoms were rarely used, some rewashed; offering minimal to no protection to the women, and the spread of disease. Reports continued to say that forced abortions were common and many women became addicted to the medicine used to treat syphilis. The Japanese government refuses to admit that these women were forced into prostitution, rape, and captured to be sex slaves in military brothels. The Japanese government claims that they were hired to work as “comfort women.” Continuing to even say that these women are liars and that there is no proof that these situations ever happened.
You can watch the story of one of the former comfort women, here: CNN.COM
As a woman, I can arguably say that no woman wants to be paid to sleep with 10-30 men a day, unprotected, away from their families, in a dim lit uncomfortable room, during a war.
Present day, in 2017, South Korea and its relationship with Japan, regarding the war, is unsettled. Japan has since given care packages, compensation, and apologies for the pain that they have cause so many during WWII. However, the people of South Korea don’t believe that it is sincere. Protests and ways of awareness are still spread in order to not silence the crude acts of the Japanese during the war.
It will not be settled until the country announces an official apology, and even then, the memories will still haunt the remaining survivors.
Today, I was able participate in a flash mob for awareness, as to help the new generation not forget such a historical tragedy.
*I drew the Korean flag based on Wiki- not the best idea- and it is not corrrect. I apologize in advance!