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ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)
S/N Korean Humanities Vol.3 No.1 pp.31-41

Some Thoughts Concerning the Issues Surrounding “Comfort Women”

Kang Seong Eun
Korea University of Japan


In this report, I address some of my observations of and reflections on the issues surrounding Japanese military sexual slavery and its victims, the “comfort women.” First, I seek to focus on the problem inherent in the process of remembering Pong-ki Pae. In 1991, Hak-sun Kim, an elderly woman residing in South Korea, came forward to recount her experience as a “comfort woman,” commonly understood to be the first such public acknowledgement. Even though Mrs. Pae, a resident of Okinawa, had already offered her testimony regarding her own experience as a Japanese military sex slave in 1975, her story was not known in South Korea. Mrs. Pae, a victim of colonialism and war, was effectively silenced, and her experience obfuscated, by the ideological polarity born of the division of the Korean peninsula. Second, I discuss the deeply moving encounter between Pok-tong Kim, another victim of Japanese military sexual slavery, and the students of the Korea University of Japan in Tokyo in 2014. Third, I seek to bring to the fore key discussions of the concept of war-dependent democracy. In the midst of the complete, conspicuous unveiling of the propensity of the Japanese right toward historical revisionism, the decline of the left has been intensely pronounced, rendering post-war democracy in Japan utterly impotent. The present conditions of such historical understanding in Japanese society necessitate an intricate re-examination of the understanding of modern Japanese history that has continued to exist until today; the concept of war-dependent democracy serves as an effort toward achieving such an end.