Last of the 'comfort women'
By CFP - Globaltimes.cn, Published: 2015-08-31 14:10:53
Zhang Xiantu, an 89-year-old Chinese former “comfort woman,” sits on a traditional brick bed in Yangquan of North China’s Shanxi Province on July 18. Since abducted by Japanese soldiers at the age of 16, Zhang served as a “comfort woman” for over 20 days, according to China’s Commission of Inquiry Into the Facts of Comfort Women being Victims. Photos: Kim Kyung-Hoon /CFP
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II, South Korean photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon honors the last of the surviving 'comfort women' in China and South Korea with a series of portraits that document their stories. Now in their 80s and 90s, the women, who were forced into sexual slavery as teenagers by the Japanese military during WWII, remain in wait for an official apology and compensation from Japan.
Zhang sits beside a window in her house. Zhang is the last survivor of the 16 women who sued the Japanese government in 1995 for being abducted and forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Amy during World War II (1939 – 45). figcaption > A house where Japanese soldiers used to keep abducted women during World War II. Now abandoned, Japanese soldiers stayed here for three years and enslaved more than 50 “comfort women,” according to Zhang Shuangbin, an independent researcher. figcaption > Hao Juxiang, 92, sits in her house in Gucheng town of North China’s Shanxi Province on July 16. Hao was abducted by Japanese soldiers at around 15 and forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman” for nearly 20 days during World War II, according to China’s Commission of Inquiry Into the Facts of Comfort Women being Victims. As her health declines, Hao worries that she will not live to see an apology or compensation from Japanese government. figcaption > Zhang Shuangbin burns joss sticks and paper money in sacrifice at the grave of a Chinese “comfort woman” Liu Mianhuan, who passed away three years ago in Xipan village of North China’s Shanxi Province on July 18. When Liu was 15 years old, she was abducted and forced to be a sex slave for over 40 days during World War II. figcaption > Ren Lan’e, 84, stands in front of her home in Gucheng of North China’s Shanxi Province on July 17. Ran was abducted by Japanese soldiers when 15 years old and forced to serve as a “comfort woman” for over 20 days during World War II. She was bought back from soldiers by her mother with rice and flour. Later she married and had three sons and one daughter. figcaption > Photo: CFP figcaption > Hao Yuelian, 88, from Taiyuan of North China’s Shanxi Province, suffers from cataracts. She was abducted at 17 years old and forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman” for over 20 days during World War II. Hao avoids watching TV shows and movies about the war, especially those about Japanese soldiers. figcaption > Hao sits on her bed on July 16. Her adopted daughter said the worst tragedy to befall her was her loss of fertility, which may have been a result from her suffering during the war. figcaption > South Korean Lee Ok-sun appears in her room at a special shelter for “comfort women” established by an NGO in Gwangju, South Korea, on July 24. Born in Busan, South Korea in 1927, Lee was taken to several Japanese military brothels in China during World War II. Following the war, Lee lived in China until June, 2001. figcaption > Lee Ok-sun sits on her bed at the shelter while talking about her experiences on July 24. figcaption > South Korean Kim Bok-dong holds her painting titled “A 14-year-old girl is stolen away” in a special shelter for former “comfort women” in Seoul, South Korea on July 23. She was abducted in 1940 and taken to a Japanese military brothel, where she was raped by 15 Japanese soldiers a day. Before Japan’s surrender in 1945, Kim was taken to various “comfort stations” in Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Sumatra, Java, Malaysia and Singapore. figcaption > South Korean former “comfort woman” Gil Won-ok sits in her room at a shelter especially established for former “comfort women” in South Korea’s Seoul on July 23. Born in North Korea in 1927, she was taken to a “comfort station” in China in 1940. figcaption >
When Gil Won-ok was a sex slave during World War II, she underwent a hysterectomy after developing tumors from syphilis. She said she hopes to receive an apology from the Japanese government. figcaption > figcaption >