Another ‘Star’ Extinguished

by House of Sharing International Outreach Team, 06/01/2010


Kim Ok Seon Halmoni was born in 1923 in Gyeongsangnam-do, drafted from Sacheon to Taiwan in 1939 by the Japanese Military and coerced into sexual slavery for seven years. She was beaten to a faint often in the comfort station and was almost forced to commit suicide by a Japanese officer at the end of the war. After the end of World War II, she returned to her hometown in Gyeonsangnam-do.  She became an activist in the "comfort women" movement and attended the "Assembly for Testimony" about Japanese Military Sexual Slavery held at a university in the United States.

On December 15th, 2009, Kim Ok Seon Halmoni passed away.

She continued to demand the settlement of  the "comfort women" issue by the Japanese government until she passed away.

Comfort Women is the euphemistic term used to refer to the women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during the Asia-Pacific War (1932-1945). The women, all elderly now, are respectfully called “halmoni (grandmother)”.

There are now only 89 registered survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery alive in South Korea.
 
The House of Sharing is the world's first human rights museum centered on the theme of sexual slavery.  The museum opened on August 14th, 1998 to record Japanese war crimes, to restore the honor of the victims and to function as a place of historical education.

The House of Sharing International Outreach Team works to raise awareness of the issue of Japanese military sexual slavery and to support the on-going struggle for historical reconciliation and justice. The team is comprised of both foreign and local volunteers who lead visits at the House of Sharing in English, and work to highlight the continuing crimes against humanity in the form of sexual violence during war.

What can you do to learn more and/or show your support?
1. Visit the House of Sharing – See What’s Going On for upcoming visit dates.
2.  Attend a Wednesday protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in downtown Seoul at Noon on Wednesdays. These began on 8 January 1992.
3. Add your name to one or both of the following petitions: http://www.jca.apc.org/ianfu_ketsugi/1200000.html (by Japanese civic groups--available in English)
http://www.womenandwar.net/sndsign.php (by the Korean Council.  If you don't read Korean--the first blank is for your name, then email, then mailing address, and then a message)

The Halmoni are asking the Japanese Government to
- Admit the drafting of the Japanese military "comfort women"!
-  Apologize officially!
-  Reveal the truth about the crime!
-  Erect memorial tablets for the victims!
-  Pay restitution to the victims or their families!
-  Teach the truth about this so you do not repeat the same crimes!
-  Punish the war criminals!
In addition to the above initial seven demands, "Stop Talking Nonsense", "Repeal the Asian Women's Fund", and "Establish a special law" have been added.

Photo: Kim Ok Seon Halmoni from www.houseofsharing.org

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