Japanese Efforts to Remove N.J. ‘Comfort Women’ Monument Backfire

Japanese officials tried to remove the Comfort Women monument in Palisades Park, N.J. (photo by Steve Chong)

A Japanese effort to get a New Jersey town to remove its monument to Korean “Comfort Women” who were sexually enslaved by the Japanese army during World War II seems to have backfired. While that monument may have been the first in America to honor the victims of this wartime rape, Korean-American organizations have now stepped forward and vowed to build many more memorials.

The Japanese moves to remove the Palisades Park monument, the first U.S. memorial dedicated to the Comfort Women, has infuriated Korean-Americans, who see it as a denial that the wartime episode occurred. Comfort Women have been a source of tension between Korea and Japan.

On a visit to the Palisades Park monument last week, Chang Yoen Han, the president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York, said that the Japanese lawmakers had called the women prostitutes who sold their bodies for money — an accusation he called offensive, News Kann reported.

“The Comfort Women issue is a crucial international human rights issue, and we are planning to protest against the Japanese lawmakers’ improper remark,” he said. “We should preserve this monument in Palisades Park as a part of history, and it reminds us something which not to be repeated again in our history.”

To keep the memory of Comfort Women’s ordeal alive, Han said, “We will take the lead in spreading the information throughout international society about these unpardonable atrocities against human beings, by erecting monuments to the Comfort Women in New York, Connecticut and Long Island.”

Meanwhile, another community organization, Korean American Civic Empowerment, said it plans to erect a monument and is contacting the authorities to inquire about naming a street in Flushing, Queens, after the Comfort Women, New York Ilbo reported.

One Comment

  1. Toshiaki Haginoya says:

    Basically, the believers of 200,000 women and girls mumbo-jumbo say Korean men were so weak cowards who were unable to put up any resistance against occupation forces while such a large number of their women were dragged to “rape centers.”

    This is somewhat understandable, however, if you look into the history of Korea under Yi-Dynasty, which provided hundreds of their women every year as a tribute to Chinese dynasties for about 500 years.

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