Research

South Korea

January 1, 2018

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The Place of Requiem – a memorial for Kim Hak-soon, the first Korean woman to testify in 1991. The House of Sharing, Seoul, South Korea, (2017).

Over the summer I went to South Korea, I taught English to students at a partner university and took a course in South Korean culture and history with Professor Susanna Lim. The course was incredibly rich and I found it really challenging, but equally rewarding.

During the course, I learned about the history of Japan’s use of sex slaves for the Japanese Military, euphemistically called ‘Comfort Women’. This is primarily where my research began; being in South Korea meant I had access to a different perspective on the issue and the opportunity to learn more from that perspective.

I discovered the issue of wartime sex slaves had particular importance to the people of Korea as it’s estimated 80% of the victims were trafficked from the Korean peninsula. I came across information about The House of Sharing, a nursing home for several remaining survivors, based in rural Seoul.

Note (July 23rd, 2017)

Look at the possibilities of using ‘comfort women’ as a research start point – their use of art therapy and their Korean cultural ideals – han jeoung and etc (look up Dan Tudor article from Dr Lims class week 3) the act of sharing their story as a cathartic action of relieving their grief. Their grief can only be resolved with their demands of Japan’s government met. Their work has served as an educational tool – humanising victims of an atrocious act, allowing for the understanding of the feeling and emotion of the survivors of the abhorrent history to help prevent reoccurrence. Atrocities lost to history can never be learned from. Making art as a means of releasing pain and educating to prevent this horror reoccurring is incredibly important and can only continue – in a digital age where everyone can find anything.

 

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