Sexual violence against women has accompanied almost every large-scale conflict, yet most of its victims are silenced. One such sad episode is that of the “comfort women,” or more accurately, the estimated 200,000 women who were recruited to sexually serve the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. As part of this immense system, many young women from all over Japan’s occupied territories in Asia were forced into service where they faced rape, torture and extreme violence at military camps, euphemistically termed “comfort stations."
Since the early 1990s, the testimonies of these women shocked the world, and were eventually taken up as a serious human rights issue by the United Nations, a host of governments, and numerous independent NGOs. Taking a different, we aimed to listen to and gauge the true feelings of some of the few remaining survivors, believing that the sea of mass media and politics is largely drowning their voices out. We sought to hear their true wishes.
As part of our Fading Away documentary series, we hoped to give a voice to these women and search for a form of healing. We traveled thousands of miles to visit the historical locations and met with the some of few remaining survivors. Along the way, we became witnesses to the scars left on their bodies and souls. Our journey brought us to Japan, Korea, China and Taipei to meet with several experts, museums and NGOs. Our team gained great insight on this controversial issue that is still widely unknown to the rest of the world.
Now into their 80s and 90s, these women are becoming weaker day by day and we believe that such traces of painful memories and tragic stories may never be healed. But by remembering them and embracing them, we will provide a step towards their ultimate closure.
Our film’s purpose is to share the emotions of the past and to connect our generations in a more personal and humanistic way. Through understanding the faults of the past, we allow them to never be erased, and prevent them from happening again.
Directors: Christopher H.K. Lee
Writers: Christopher H.K. Lee
Producers: Jae Ku, Ph.D.
Key cast: Sukyi Park