Between 1931 and the end of WW2, hundreds of thousands of girls and women were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army. They were called euphemistically “comfort women”.
The Japanese Administrations continued to deny the truth of this massive crime against humanity, but the women who survived the horror had the courage to reveal it to the world.
In 2015, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors decided to build a memorial to the “Comfort Women” to educate the community about stopping human trafficking of women and girls. The memorial was unveiled on September 22nd, 2017.
A year after the memorial dedication, San Francisco’s sister city, Osaka, ended their 60 years sister-city relationship due to the lack of acceptance of the accusation of Japan in this massive crime.
The memorial of a 10-feet tall bronze statue, made by Steven Whyte, was installed in 2017 to honor these women, their strength, and their courage to come forward and share their stories.
The statue depicts three girls standing back to back holding hands. Each represents a country from which came the highest numbers of victims: China, Korea, and The Philippines.
At a distance stands a bronze figure of an older woman watching the girls. This woman represents Kim Hak-Sun – a Korean human rights activist who was the first ‘comfort woman’ to tell her story in public.