I recently had the opportunity to visit a place called Nanum Jip, or Sharing House. Not only is it a place of refuge for Korean women formerly interned as sex slaves by the Japanese during World War II, but it is a museum offering little known insights into this dark time in history.
My visit inspired and impassioned me to pen an article on the subject, recently published on The WIP. Please read the excerpt below and for the full article, visit The WIP. Let’s spread the word and help the Korean Comfort Women fight for justice!
She smiles brightly as she pushes her walker past me on the garden path. Though her eyes have turned milky with cataracts and age, her gaze is bright. She is tired of fighting. I am about an hour south of Seoul, South Korea in a place called The House of Sharing. Created in 1992, the house is a safe refuge for former Korean sex slaves to live in relative peace, away from the scrutiny of those who would judge them for circumstances they endured as young girls during the Japanese occupation of Korea and World War II.
The diminutive woman in the garden is Kim Gun-ja. Born in Pyeongchang City in 1926, her family – like so many at the time – was stricken by poverty. By 1939, when Kim was a mere 13 years old, both her parents had died, leaving her with the responsibility of caring for her two younger sisters. Unable to bear the burden under such abject circumstances, the three girls were split up and taken into various neighborhood families.
For Kim, separated from her sisters, the nightmare was still just beginning. When she was 17, her adopted father sold her to the Japanese army. This was when the horrors of her life as a comfort woman in the war-ravaged area of Manchuria (now China) began. For three years, Japanese soldiers raped her over 20 times a day. She was finally released when the Japanese government surrendered to the Allied Forces. Although her life was spared, the physical and emotional toll was too much to bear, and she, along with thousands of other former comfort women, retreated into solitary, forsaken lives.
For the full article, please visit The WIP.