Ahead of WWII anniversary, Korean ‘comfort women’ statue brings dark history to Glendale

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The comfort woman statue in Glendale

The comfort woman statue in Glendale

The Korean comfort woman statue in Glendale was unveiled last month, reigniting the conversation about former sex slaves of Japanese soldiers during World War II. Tomorrow, August 15, marks the 68th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the former comfort women are still seeking justice after all these years.

Twelve elderly South Korean women, who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II, applied for mediation in Seoul before filing a formal compensation suit against the Japanese government, the Global Post reports. They are asking for 1.2 billion Korean won (US $1.07 million) from the Japanese government  in compensation.

 Japan and South Korea clash on many details about the history of comfort women. Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto made a remark in May that Japan’s use of some 200,000 comfort women during WWII was “necessary.”

The statue in Glendale is an exact replica of one in Seoul, South Korea, that sits right across from the Japanese embassy there, says NPR.  Glendale has two “sister city” relationships in South Korea, and according to the latest U.S. Census data, 5 percent of Glendale’s population is of Korean descent. the Glendale News Press reports, “supporters of the comfort women monument say it’s an important memorial to the wartime suffering of between 100,000 and 200,000 Asian women and girls who were forced to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army.”