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Not All South Koreans Satisfied With Japan’s Apology To ‘Comfort Women’

During a weekly anti-Japanese demonstration, South Korean students lay circuitously a statue of a teenage lady symbolizing former “comfort women” who served as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The statue is seen in front of a Japanese embassy in Seoul on Feb. 3, 2016.

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images


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During a weekly anti-Japanese demonstration, South Korean students lay circuitously a statue of a teenage lady symbolizing former “comfort women” who served as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The statue is seen in front of a Japanese embassy in Seoul on Feb. 3, 2016.

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Hidden in immature hills easterly of South Korea’s collateral is a House of Sharing, a nursing home for aged women.

It’s a bright, atmospheric place. But a residents are survivors of a dim section of history.

“It was 1942 and we was usually 15, using an errand for my relatives [in a Korean hometown of Busan], when dual Japanese group in uniform grabbed me by a arms and dragged me away,” recalls Lee Ok-seon, now aged 90. “That’s how we became enslaved.”

She was deferential and sent to work in a brothel in a Japanese-occupied area of northeast China.

Lee Ok-seon, 91, is one of a final flourishing Korean comfort women, who were forced into harlotry by Japanese occupying army in WWII. Lee was kidnapped from her relatives during age 15, and brought to work in a brothel in a Japanese-occupied segment of China. Here she is graphic in her nursing home, easterly of Seoul.

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Lee Ok-seon, 91, is one of a final flourishing Korean comfort women, who were forced into harlotry by Japanese occupying army in WWII. Lee was kidnapped from her relatives during age 15, and brought to work in a brothel in a Japanese-occupied segment of China. Here she is graphic in her nursing home, easterly of Seoul.

Lauren Frayer/NPR

Lee is one of a final survivors of passionate labour by majestic Japan’s military. Tens of thousands of Korean women were forced into harlotry during World War II. They were euphemistically called “comfort women.”

As a flourishing comfort women age and die, their stories lift during heartstrings in South Korea. They frequently seem on theatre during travel protests opposite Japan, and their stories were dramatized in a renouned film, Spirits Homecoming, that came out final year.

Japan and South Korea are now allies, and their team-work is essential in confronting a hazard from circuitously North Korea’s barb and chief programs. But a emanate of a comfort women has prolonged stubborn their relations.

The dual countries sealed an agreement dual years ago for reparations. But many Koreans — including a new boss — consider that understanding was unfair.
Lee was forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers during a brothel for 3 years, until WWII ended. Japan had taken control of Korea in 1910, and in 1945, when Japan mislaid WWII, Korea gained a independence.

“We didn’t know a fight had ended. The owners of a brothel ran away. we was inside with 7 girls, and we were starving,” Lee recalls. “A infantryman came in and told us to run. The whole city was burning.”

Lee didn’t lapse to South Korea until a year 2000. Many of a comfort women were shunned by their families. She says she only wants Japan to apologize.

“Apologize, apologize!” intone protesters during weekly rallies in front of a Japanese Embassy in Seoul. Such protests have been reason for years.
Japan says it has apologized — in 1993, and afterwards again dual years ago.

“We have been expressing a distress and apology,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in 2015, when his supervision sealed an agreement with South Korea that enclosed $8.3 million dollars in reparations for a few dozen flourishing comfort women. He called it a “final and irrevocable resolution.”

But polls uncover a infancy of Koreans wish it reversed.

“They don’t honour Korea. We can’t trust them. we feel like crying,” says Korean protester Cho Byol, 35, in front of a Japanese Embassy.

In a nursing home easterly of Seoul, these are some of a final flourishing Korean comfort women, who were forced into harlotry by Japan’s troops in WWII. Most are in their 90s now.

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Lauren Frayer/NPR

In a nursing home easterly of Seoul, these are some of a final flourishing Korean comfort women, who were forced into harlotry by Japan’s troops in WWII. Most are in their 90s now.

Lauren Frayer/NPR

She took partial in travel rallies to reject a regressive Korean boss from energy progressing this year, amid a crime scandal. Now a same activists are fasten rallies opposite Korea’s aged colonial ruler, Japan. It’s partial of a grassroots, renouned pull to reason those in energy to account, she says.

“I consider we’re in a center of a hurricane [of approved protests]!” Cho says. “I consider all feminists and victims should lift all their voices.”

Some academics worry that South Korea’s romantic invulnerability of a comfort women might problematic a facts.

“Nowadays, people consider Japan came and raped and never gave compensation,” says Park Yu-ha, a Korean highbrow of Japanese denunciation and novel during Seoul’s Sejong University. “But that’s not totally accurate.”

Park wrote a book entitled Comfort Women of a Empire, in that she disputes a numbers of Korean comfort women. She interviewed many survivors and sifted by Japanese troops records, and says there’s some justification some of a women were given labor contracts as prostitutes. Her book hurdles a perspective that all of them were rape victims, and says there were Korean center men, or collaborators, who helped trade Korean women.

The book won awards in Japan, though tools of it were redacted in Korea.

Some of a comfort women sued Park for defamation. She’s been labeled a Japanese apologist and a traitor.

“I’ve been a plant of this anti-Japanese sentiment,” Park says. “It’s partial of this post-Cold War temperament shift, as nationalism grows.”

Now that Korea is a abounding moneyed country, it’s re-examining a past as a cluster of Japan.

In one of his initial acts in office, a new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, spoke by phone with Japan’s Abe. They discussed a common hazard acted by North Korea. But a headlines here were dominated by Moon bringing adult a comfort women — and that 2015 agreement, that he pronounced a Korean people “cannot emotionally accept.”

Jihye Lee contributed to this story.