“Comfort Women Wanted”: Film Screening and Q&A
Please join us for a film screening of the documentary “Comfort Women Wanted” and Q&A with the filmmaker, Chang-Jin Lee, on Thursday, March 5, at 4 pm in 180 Doe Library.
The documentary is based on Lee’s interviews in 7 countries with Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Dutch, and Filipina comfort women survivors, as well as a former Japanese soldier.
The film “Comfort Women Wanted” brings to light the memory of 200,000 young women, known as “comfort women,” who were systematically exploited as sex slaves in Asia during World War II, and increases awareness of sexual violence against women during wartime. The gathering of women to serve the Imperial Japanese Army was organized on an industrial scale not seen before in modern history.
The title of the documentary is a reference to the actual text of Asian newspaper ads during the war. When advertising failed, young women from Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Netherlands were kidnapped or deceived and forced into sexual slavery. Most were teenagers, some as young as 11 years old, and were raped between 10 to 100 soldiers a day at military rape camps, known as “comfort stations.” Girls were starved, beaten, tortured, and killed. By some estimates only 25%-30% survived the ordeal.
Historian Suzanne O’Brien has written that “the privileging of written documents works to exclude from history…the voices of the kind of people comfort women represent–the female, impoverished, the colonized, the illiterate, and the racially and ethnically oppressed. These people have left few written records of their experiences, and therefore are denied a place in history.” Despite the growing awareness of the issue of trafficking of women and of sexual slavery as a crime against humanity, this particular history has gone largely unacknowledged. “Comfort Women Wanted” attempts to bring to light this instance of organized violence against women, and to create a constructive dialogue for the future by acknowledging their place in history.