Posters Seek to Raise Awareness of Comfort Women New York City

Comfort Women Poster (designed by Kyoungduk Seo)

As we have reported, the efforts of Japanese officials to remove a New Jersey monument commemorating the sexual slavery of Korean “Comfort Women” taken by the Japanese army in World War II seems to have backfired, with Korean-Americans racing to erect more monuments to bring attention to the women’s plight and to protest what they see as Japanese efforts to deny that the episode occurred.

The issue is nothing new to Kyoungduk Seo, a professor at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul and a Korean public relations specialist. Seo has devoted his life to bringing attention to the “Comfort Women” episode, and the Japanese efforts to remove the Palisades Park Comfort Women monument inspired him to take on a new campaign. He and eight Korean students distributed 2,500 posters commemorating the brutal episode in New York City — at Union Square, Times Square, Central Park and several other prominent locations. This poster asserts that “The Japanese goverment needs to learn from Germany’s actions.”

Newsroh published an article on the campaign and interviewed Seo, as well as a Holocaust survivor and a Japanese-American who was sympathetic to his cause. An excerpt is translated below:

“The most effective way to force the Japanese government to apologize to Comfort Women is raising public consciousness all over the world,” said Seo, who has ran ads on the abuse of Comfort Women by the Japanese army in mainstream publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Japan’s efforts to remove the Comfort Women monument [in Palisades Park] backfired, because through the press coverage of the controversy over the monument, Americans who didn’t know much about the existence of Comfort Women are now aware of the atrocities done by the Japanese army in World War II and are sick of Japan’s lies.

“If the Japanese government denies the existence of Comfort Women, it is like denying the Nazis’ Holocaust,” said Ethel Kartz, a Holocaust survivor. “The government should confess their faults on Comfort Women and apologize for them as soon as possible.”

Even a Japanese-American, who wanted to remain anonymous, agreed. “I can’t face people when they are talking about Comfort Women,” said the person, who is in his or her 40s. “Why does [the government] deny the faults of the past and make [Japanese] descendants feel ashamed?”

3 Comments

  1. Mary Poppins says:

    Why don’t you take local problem where it belongs? What does this have anything to do with US and New Yorkers?

  2. humanright says:

    122 Korean women claimed that “we were the U.S. military comfort
    women”, and sued the class action lawsuit on June 25, 2014. If the issue is not a diplomatic one about history, but a human rights
    concern for the future of all nations, the monument in NJ should engrave the phrase on the statue ” We
    were the U.S. military sex slave too.” All comfort women were the victims
    of human trafficking. The USA itself is deeply committed to this
    Korean “comfort women” matter.
    President Obama, recently said in Seoul on 25 April
    2014, criticizing Japan as follows : “I think that any of us who look back on
    the history of what happened to the comfort women here in South Korea, for
    example, have to recognize that this was a terrible, egregious violation of
    human rights. Those women were violated in ways that, even in the midst of war,
    was shocking. And they deserve to be heard; they deserve to be respected; and
    there should be an accurate and clear account of what happened.” Obama too should
    not be hypocritical.

  3. Rights Human says:

    I am very confused
    because I found the following news.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/08/05/national/politics-diplomacy/asahi-shimbun-admits-errors-in-past-comfort-women-stories/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=asahi-shimbun-admits-errors-in-past-comfort-women-stories

    It says
    that on August 6, 2014, the Asahi Shimbun,
    pro-Korean and liberal news paper in Japan, like New York Times, admitted to
    serious errors in many articles on the “comfort women” issue, retracting all
    stories going back decades that quoted a Japanese man who claimed he kidnapped
    about 200 Korean women and forced them to work at wartime Japanese military
    brothels. It means that as far as the present-day Korean Peninsula is
    concerned, the Asahi maintained that no hard evidence had been found to show
    the Japanese military was directly involved in recruiting women to the brothel
    system against their will.

    Are this memorial based NOT on historical facts,
    but on political propaganda to bully Japan and Japanese ?

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