“Comfort Women” to be Taught in 10th Grade World History Classes Across California

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California Department of Education made the final decision to include “Comfort Women” history in the California High School textbooks.

When “History/Social Science framework” was announced in December last year, it generated rival petitions signed by thousands on each side of Korean and Japanese communities. The guidelines recommend that the subject of “comfort women,” women and girls who were coerced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II, be taught to high schoolers “as an example of institutionalized sexual slavery, and one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century.”

Due to the multicultural and multiethnic population of California, decision whether or not to teach the history of “comfort women” has been much divisive. As several online petitions show, people from Japanese and Japanese American community argued against the announced framework, demanding to also describe “comfort women” as “well-paid prostitutes.”

Korean and Korean American community didn’t hold back. Both in Southern and Northern California, Korean American Forum of California, Nabi USA, 3.1 Women’s Association, and numerous other groups held campaigns supporting the decision to include the “comfort women” history in 10th grade history text books. More than 20 thousands of people supported the decision by signing the petition.

Even though the decision has been made and the framework has been adopted to include “comfort women” in 10th grade text books used in California Public High Schools, it’s only the first step to be taken to educate the history of “comfort women” as an important piece of world history. In order to promote proper education about the history, people in the community are continuing their campaign and support.

 

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Translated and edited by Heewon Kim