Comfort Women: A Brief Explanation
Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women is a powerful documentary about Korean women forced into sexual
servitude by the Japanese Imperial Military during World War II. Today’s film
dramatically combines the testimony of former comfort women, who demand justice
for the “crimes against humanity” of which they were the victims, with
contravening interviews of Japanese soldiers, recruiters, and contemporary
During the Asian and Pacific War (1937-45), the Japanese
government mobilized approximately 200,000 Asian women to provide sexual
services for Japanese soldiers in officially authorized military brothels. The
majority of these victims were unmarried young women from Korea, Japan's colony
at that time. In the early 1990s, Korean feminist leaders helped more than 200
Korean survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery to come forward to tell
the truth, which has further accelerated the movement of the women to have the
wrongs done to them redressed by the Japanese government.
Democratic and feminist activists in Asian countries, aided
by the victims' own testimonies, have led to an active redress movement.
Although this movement has pervaded several Asian countries, it has been most
active in South Korea, the country with the majority of the victims, and Japan,
the country of those who perpetrated the crimes.
This issue continues to emerge in worldwide headlines as Koreans still seek a
heartfelt apology from the Japanese government. Most recently, on October 29,
2012, a monument commemorating Korean comfort women was vandalized in Palisades
Park, New Jersey. This was the first monument of its kind in the United States.
For more information, please refer to this article
[Edited excerpt from Korean "Comfort
Women": The Intersection of Colonial Power, Gender, and Class by Pyong Gap Min, Gender and Society, Vol. 17, No. 6 (Dec., 2003)]
guest, Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, is a former professor of religion at Mount Holyoke
College with a Ph.D. in religion from Boston University and a renowned
independent filmmaker/writer. Kim-Gibson is well known for championing the compelling but often neglected
issues of human rights. All of her films have garnered many awards, including
the Kodak Filmmaker Award, and have been screened at numerous festivals
worldwide, in addition to being broadcast nationally on PBS and the Sundance
Channel in the United States. Kim-Gibson has received grants from the
Rockefeller and MacArthur Foundations. The author of many articles, Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women was her first book. It was described as
"unforgettable" by The
Philadelphia Inquirer. Her second book is Looking for Don: A Meditation. She also has completed editing and
compiling a memoir by her late husband, Donald D. Gibson, titled Iowa Sky, a Memoir, which is scheduled to be
published in January 2013.