I wrote a post regarding the Unapologetic American;
So let's look at another nationality, but maybe in a less favorable light.
I took a trip to the demilitarization zone (DMZ) in South Korea on a tour with DMZ Group Tour,
which was hosted by our wonderful guide, Miss Moon Young:
Miss Moon Young requested if any in her group post her picture on the internet to photoshop it first, but I think she looks quite nice just as she is.
I was really impressed by Miss Moon Young's great sense of humor, but even more, her ability to tell such heart felt stories of the pain and sufferings of the Korean people. It certainly made an impression on me.
One of the accounts she relayed was one I had heard before, but not in the depth and emotion she portrayed. The story was regarding the comfort women of WW2. I'll use the less flowery talk and call it what it was, the sex slavery of the young Korean women by the Japanese soldiers of the war.
There is a memorial for this we visited;
Of all the stories Miss Moon Young delivered this day, this one affected me the most. When I think that we're given just one life to live, and these poor girls had to essentially forfeit their's to this despicable cause, it truly sickens me.
The youngest Comfort Woman still alive is Lee Yong-soo according to wiki:
According to the article she remembers being abducted by soldiers at the age of 16 and forced to work as a sex slave for the Japanese military. She learned quickly to submit or be tortured by electric shock or other means.
Can you imagine enjoying the day by a riverbank at the age of 16 with a friend, and in a single moment your life turns to hell? Being forced to perform acts 4 - 5 times a day with men she never knew? It really makes me more than sick, but it infuriates as it should every good person.
Today there are less than 10 of these women known to be alive. I would expect there are more but this is not an easy thing for a Korean woman, or any other nationality, to admit. Many bear an undue burden of shame cast upon them through no fault of their own.
I really don't need to recount more of the details but I wanted to offer enough details in a graphic way so any that may read this will be as incensed as I am. I think Moon Young was too delicate telling the story as she had to be with a large group.
Well, that's part of history now. It cannot be changed, of course. But these women have sought an acknowledgment of this event and a simple official apology by the Japanese government. Seems like a reasonable request, doesn't it?
But the Japanese have a history of minimizing this time in their past. They've even tried to portray this as a more acceptable form of self prostitution by these young Korean girls. Trying to put the blame on them for the horrors they endured for the pleasures of the Japanese soldiers!
There have been a couple times when the Japanese leadership have come close to some kind of resolve, but it has fallen apart at the last minute. Their motive would seem more to bury the event forever, rather than an acknowledgment of the true heinous nature of these acts and a true apology that could provide a small measure of healing. But, that would cause them too much embarrassment. How selfish an act!
Time is running out for any form of meaningful recognition now. These young ladies have turned to nonagenarians, having endured these pains for nearly a lifetime, while the Japanese deny culpability.
I, personally, hold current governments in high esteem for the act of confession of past crimes. Just as I commend the current Cambodian government for recognizing the Killing Fields of the 1970's as I posted here:
However, the continued obstinate behavior of the Japanese will only serve to keep this issue in the spotlight while casting an even darker shadow on their past.
I commend the endurance of the Korean women on both sides of the 38th Parallel. I was glad to see the memorial for the "Comfort Wonen" (to put it mildly), near the DMZ during my visit and praise Miss Moon Young for her ability to recount this incident with sympathy, yet without malice, bringing honor to the memory of these women. She's a better person than I am!
If you care to, please pass this message on to others, that this event be not buried in the archives of time.