Visit the memorial that the whole world is talking about—"Comfort Women": Column of Strength—by joining this tour hosted by the "Comfort Women" Justice Coalition. This tour is part of the programming for the Global Urban Humanities Initiative's Techniques of Memory symposium.
These women represent the hundreds of thousands of women and girls euphemistically known as the “comfort women,” who were sexually enslaved during WWII in Asia by the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan. The three on the pedestal represent China, Korea, and the Philippines, the countries from which most of the women were taken. The woman standing is Hak Soon Kim who broke her silence and spoke out in Korea in 1991 about the sexual slavery system that had been hidden for more than 40 years.
These girls reach out across the decades and now join with all the women of #Metoo who are speaking out about sexual violence and sexual abuse. They tell us to remember them. They tell us to join the few who survive in demanding justice from the Japanese government.
Unfortunately, the Japanese government has never o cially apologized and they continue to protest the existence of the statue. The Mayor of Osaka has even severed the 60-year-old sister city relationship with San Francisco because the Memorial remains on public city land.
The city government, led by Mayor London Breed, continues to support the Memorial declaring: “These victims deserve our respect and this memorial reminds us world that women and girls must be listened to, and sexual abuse and sex tra cking must be eradicated.”
Visit the Techniques of Memory page for more information on the symposium and related events.