World / Reporter's Journal

Comfort Women play brings dark chapter of history to life

By Chang Jun (China Daily USA) Updated: 2015-09-01 09:50

Young girls from Korea and China were captured by Japanese soldiers and taken to military brothels to serve the invaders as sex slaves. They were forced to work until Japan surrendered in August of 1945.

Wei, from Guangxi, was captured with her baby daughter by a group of Japanese soldiers in 1944. She was repeatedly raped during which her baby girl was either beaten or given candies by Japanese soldiers to keep her quiet. Three months after she was able to escape, her daughter died. She lived out the rest of her life in shame, scorned and shunned by the people around her, including her own husband.

"I want all Japanese to know the facts. I also want the Japanese government to make formal apologies," the character Wei said.

"I was continuously raped all day and night long by Japanese soldiers…two or three of them and even four at a time. They made you suffer to the brink of dying, especially for me as I was so young back then," recalled Yi, who after years of trauma and living in shame finally stepped out into the light and went public with her painful story.

Pal, whose ordeal started at the age of 14, said "I could never forget my past. I am a human. Those who forget their past do not posses humanity. I wish I could live long enough to hear the Japanese government's apology." She died in 2006.

However, the official apology the "comfort women" and peace-loving people have longed for from the Japanese government seems to be nothing short of impossible.

In April, more than 100 Japanese lawmakers including the head of the National Public Safety Commission and state minister Eriko Yamatani, paid homage at the infamous war criminal-honoring Yasukuni Shrine, one day after Chinese President Xi Jinping told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the history issue was a major matter of principle concerning the political basis of bilateral ties.

The shrine honors about 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 Class-A convicted Japanese war criminals from World War II.

Xi also voiced hopes at the meeting that the Japanese side would seriously treat the concerns of its Asian neighbors and send out positive signals on the history issue. Historical issues, including Yasukuni visits by Japanese politicians, are a major obstacle for Japan to mend its ties with neighboring China and South Korea as the two countries were, among others, victims of Japan's wartime aggression and colonial rule.

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