Seoul to present ‘comfort women’ issue at manga festival in France

January 15, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

SEOUL--At the initiative of the South Korean government, a special exhibition devoted to the painful "comfort women" issue will feature at one of Europe's leading manga festivals that gets under way this month.

More than 20 manga and anime works depicting the ordeal these women faced will go on display at the Angouleme festival in France.

"Comfort women" is a euphemism for women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II.

Many of the women were from the Korean Peninsula, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945.

"We expect the works to help a wider range of people become aware of the tragedy of comfort women and the seriousness of wartime sexual violence," said Cho Yoon-sun, minister of gender equality and family, in announcing the decision Jan. 14. "We hope they will move the hearts of people around the world."

The manga and anime works, all created by South Korean artists, will be exhibited under the theme of "Flowers that never fade." The festival will start Jan. 30 and continue through Feb. 2.

Working with Amnesty International, Seoul is determined to have Japan come to terms with this festering sore in their shared history.

The problem is complicated because Tokyo says the issue was resolved under a bilateral agreement on rights to compensation claims that was signed when the two countries normalized their diplomatic relations in 1965.

At President Park Geun-hye's initiative, the South Korean government late last year opened the first government-led exhibition themed on comfort women in Seoul to urge Japan to make aggressive efforts to "settle" the issue.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A cartoon on “comfort women,” titled “Song of Butterfly,” will go on display at the manga festival in France. (Provided by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family)

A cartoon on “comfort women,” titled “Song of Butterfly,” will go on display at the manga festival in France. (Provided by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family)

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  • A cartoon on “comfort women,” titled “Song of Butterfly,” will go on display at the manga festival in France. (Provided by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family)
  • A manga on “comfort women” to be exhibited at the manga festival in France (Provided by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family)

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