10 Julio 2017 17:10
They had no choice. Their freedom was stolen
‘Comfort women’, the name given to females that were forced into sex slavery under the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, has left a sour taste in the mouth of previously occupied countries, including the Koreas, China and the Philippines.
The name derives from the Japanese word ‘ianfu’, meaning prostitute. According to personal testimonies, girls were abducted from their home and forced into brothels to perform sexual acts on Japanese soldiers, against their will.
Until now, only spoken testimonials and photographic evidence has laid bare the horrors of such sexual violence. However, South Korean officials have released what they claim to be the first real footage of ‘comfort women’ during the Second World War.
Founded by government-funded researchers at Seoul National University, the 18-second clip shows mostly Korean women lined up against a wall, talking to a Chinese soldier. The team responsible for recovering the video says the footage was filmed by US-Chinese troops in China’s Yunnan province.
Although the repugnant acts inflicted upon the seven women featured will never be forgiven, they were freed from enslavement in 1944. The officer speaking with them has reportedly been identified as Chinese captain of the China-US combined force.
Diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea have never fully recovered, partly due to the former’s inadequate response to the plight of ‘comfort women’. It took decades - until 2015 - for japan to formally apologise and agree to pay 8bn yen to compensate victims and their families.