They were told by the Japanese to work at a factory for military supplies. It was not a production factory; it was a sexual plantation. They had to confront Japanese soldiers.
“Daughters of poor farmers, daughters of households with no connection to the Japanese were deceived and taken,” said Kim Bok-dong, a victim of sexual slavery by Japan who is 80 years of age, at the Ewha Nabi Concert. “Without ever being able to bloom, countless young girls have been sacrificed.”
Since January of 1992, victims have been protesting outside the Embassy of Japan in Seoul every Wednesday, declaring for an official apology from the Japanese government. The Wednesday Protest has surpassed its 1,000th this year, and will be ongoing until the apology is given.
To take part in the struggle with the victims and other supporters, likeminded students at Ewha have come together and formed Ewha Nabi. Nabi, which is a Korean term for a butterfly, is an official symbol for the souls of victims who have passed away.
“Ewha Nabi seeks to be a part of this issue, to remember the lives and spirits of victims and continue this struggle with the rest,” said Bong Woo-ri (Dance, 2), the founder of Ewha Nabi.
To further raise awareness about the military sexual slavery by Japan, Ewha Nabi arranged cultural festivals—Ewha Peace Walking Event and Ewha Nabi Concert.
The Ewha Peace Walking Event, which was held on Oct. 29, was organized for participants to visit booths placed around Ewha campus, listen to explanations on the issue, receive stamps, and ultimately learn about the situation.
“The number of participants for the walk stopped at 10 students, but close to 130 students shared support messages at the site,” Bong said. “Participants were introduced to the general background behind the issue of military sexual slavery by Japan and the current situation.”
Performances by Ewha students in respect of the victims, a mini talk concert with those who have been a part of the fight for an apology from Japan, and the words of a sexual slave by Japan were staged at the Ewha Nabi Concert.
“As a women’s university, we cannot help but realize and be aware of this issue,” said Kim Ji-min (Chinese, 4), who was keenly waiting for the concert to begin. “I did not know exactly how to step forward and help, and this concert worked as a window of opportunity for students to willfully be a part.”
Yoon Mi-hyang, the head of The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, who spoke to the students through the talk concert, asked of students to hold consistent attention, raise awareness, and most importantly bring happiness to the victims.
“In the process of reaching our goal of receiving the apology of Japan, it is important to let our halmonee (grandmother) feel happiness—happiness for surviving the horrendous brutality of Japanese soldiers,” Yoon said. “Caring for our halmonee and keeping them from feeling alone is what I ask of the students and supporters.”
The two events hosted by Ewha Nabi raised 645,000 won. It has been delivered as Nabi Fund, which is used to support victims of sexual slavery in different countries as well.