Comfort Women Memorial

  • Comfort-Women-Memorial-WWP

Place Category: Memorial & StatuePlace Tags: Comfort Women Memorials, Places in CA, and SF Bay Area Places

  • Description

    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.

    US recognises 'comfort women' memorial

    The issue of 'comfort women', women abducted from Korea and enslaved by Imperial Japan, has long complicated Japan-South Korea relations, and now a decision by the US city San Francisco to accept a memorial to the women has prompted accusations of 'Japan-bashing' from the island nation.

    A decision by San Francisco to recognise a memorial to women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in World War II has strained ties with its sister city, Osaka.
    The statue is part of a long-running effort by activists to shed light on a very dark chapter in the history of the conflict.
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for South Korea to remove similar statues, while South Korean President Moon Jae-in has cast doubt on a 2015 agreement intended to settle the traumatic legacy between the two countries.
    Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports.

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    Address: 651 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108
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  • Photo credit - WWP team.