Comfort Women Memorial Statue to Be Erected in SF

A mock-up the sculpture selected for San Francisco’s “comfort women” memorial.

A memorial statue to “comfort women” is to be erected at St. Mary’s Square in San Francisco this week.

“Comfort women” refers to the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement, comprised mostly of Korean women. The monument, which will be unveiled on September 22, depicts an elderly woman staring three girls standing hand in hand.

The memorial will also have an inscription denoting historical facts reading as follows:

This monument bears witness to the suffering of hundreds of thousands of women and girls euphemistically called “Comfort Women,” who were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces in thirteen Asian-Pacific countries from 1931 to 1945. Most of these women died during their wartime captivity. This dark history was largely hidden for decades until the 1990s, when the survivors courageously broke their silence. They helped move the world to declare that sexual violence as a strategy of war is a crime against humanity for which governments must be held accountable.

This memorial is dedicated to the memory of these women and to eradicating sexual violence and sex trafficking throughout the world.

The inscription will also include a testimony from a former comfort woman who expressed her “fear that a painful history during WWII might be forgotten in the future.”

News about the city’s approval to the monument has entailed a lot of opposition, especially from Japan. Hirofumi Yoshimura, mayor of Osaka, one of San Francisco’s sister cities, previously sent a letter to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, opposing the city’s decision.

Mayor Lee, however, rejected the request in his reply where he wrote, “The inscription refers the city council’s unanimous agreement to support the installation of the statue.”

Human rights activist and a “comfort woman” victim herself, Lee Yong-soo and former Congressman Mike Honda will attend the unveiling ceremony on September 22.


Original article by The Korea Daily Los Angeles