header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather


 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 21
1994 - Sand Canyon homeowner Eddie Murray sets MLB record for switch-hit home runs in games (11 times) [story]
Eddie Murray


| Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021
Comfort Women CSUN
Buenos Aires, Argentina - November 3, 2019: Stand in the memory of the Comfort Women at Korea community celebrations

 

It took nearly four decades for the comfort women of World War II — women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army — to come forward and testify about their experiences. Jinah Kim, an associate professor of communication studies at California State University, Northridge, is determined to make sure those stories are not forgotten.

Kim has received a $42,600 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support her writing of a book with the proposed title “Against Forgetting: Transpacific Feminist Arts and Activism.” Her book will address how Korean feminists across the diaspora are fighting efforts to deny and erase the history of the comfort women.

“For the past 10 years, I have been following with admiration as the support for the comfort women has grown around the world,” Kim said. “There are now memorials and statues recognizing the comfort women and what they went through around the globe, including here in Glendale. All this work demonstrates the creation of a powerful interracial and intergenerational collectivity organized against the denial of gender-based violence.

“The first ‘Statue of Peace’ was erected in 2011 in Seoul, South Korea, facing the Japanese embassy,” she said. “It’s a bronze statue of a young girl with a stern gaze, wearing a traditional Korean hanbok. It is meant to exemplify lost youth, a call for peace and to highlight the atrocities the women suffered in the past, and continue to live with today.”

Kim said she will use the grant money to support a reduction in her work hours during the next year so that she can dedicate a large chunk of her time to researching and writing the book.

She noted that the book was particularly timely, in light of the contentious discussions taking place across the United States about its own civil rights memorials and politics of commemoration.

“These debates prompt us to think about the power of memorials and commemoration,” Kim said. “With the comfort women, the memorials are about recognizing and acknowledging their history, and the ways that gender-based violence is silenced.”

The comfort women memorials are not without controversy. She said right-wing/conservatives in Japan have fought vigorously against efforts for redress against what happened to the women, including threatening to cut ties with municipalities — from San Francisco to Berlin — that erect memorials in their honor.

“The issue is still of deep importance to a powerful sector of the Japanese right, so there is a concerted effort to silence that history,” she said. “It wasn’t until the early 2000s that the comfort women’s experiences were included in Japanese history books. In 2017, there was a fight led by Japanese right-wing/conservatives to erase mention of the comfort women in Texas history books.”

The efforts to deny and erase history have been met with resistance from an intersection of women of all ages and ethnicities, including Japanese, who have organized to ensure that the experiences of the comfort women are recognized and remembered, Kim said.

She said it took decades for the comfort women to go public with their stories because of the shame associated with their experiences.

“Many of the women talk about how they felt such shame,” she said. “They didn’t think about this as something negative that had been forced upon them. They saw this as a shame that they were forced to bear.”

It was a shame they bore silently, yet it impacted all aspects of the women’s lives, Kim said.

“One of the things that I find really incredible is that many of the former comfort women never talked about their experiences with their family members until their stories were publicized through testimonies and other public acts, like the institution of memorials,” she said. “There was silence at home. Many of their family members learned about what happened to them when the issue became public.”

Kim called the family members’ experience “a postmemory.” First used by Holocaust scholars, the term describes the relationship that the “generation after” bears to the personal, collective and cultural trauma of those who came before — to experiences they “remember” only by means of the stories, images and behaviors among which they grew up.

“We have noticed that our parents’ generation — the ones who have lived through the violence of World War II, the Korean War — there’s a kind of silence, yet there is also a pain when it comes to certain topics,” she said, pointing to experiences in her own family as an example.

She said her mother was one of nine daughters. Two of her mother’s sisters died in Korea during the Korean War. There are certain things her mother’s generation never talks about, she said.

“There’s a silence, and so the next generation begins to fill that silence with what we think might have or could have happened to our parents or elders,” Kim said. “You see this particularly with members of the Asian diaspora, who are children of parents who have lived through wars like this. We feel connected to it because we hear their silence, we know this history and we fill that silence with our imagining about what we think happened. So, in some ways, we own that silence.

“This is the way that gender-based violence works,” she continued. “It is not allowed to be talked about. Yet, we see it in the way these women walk in pain, or the way they avoid certain places. By documenting and recognizing their experiences, the pain lessens for them, and for us.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
Thursday, Apr 18, 2024
The College of the Canyons Center for Civic and Community Engagement—in collaboration with COC’s Golden Z Club—invites the community to attend the Nonprofit Community Resource Fair on Tuesday, April 30.
Thursday, Apr 18, 2024
For aspiring scientists at The Master’s University, taking up a student research project is no small commitment.
Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024
California State University, Northridge will confer honorary doctorates on four alumni, all respected leaders in their fields, at the university’s commencement ceremonies next month.
Monday, Apr 15, 2024
The University Student Union at California State University, Northridge is helping Matadors keep their peace during finals season with Crunch Time.
Friday, Apr 12, 2024
The Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons will host an in-person Open House event from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24 to preview academic programs offered by partner institutions, including University of La Verne and National University and showcase the facility’s rental spaces.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1994 - Sand Canyon homeowner Eddie Murray sets MLB record for switch-hit home runs in games (11 times) [story]
Eddie Murray
1874 - First train out of L.A. to reach new town of San Fernando; Newhall 2 years later [story]
train tunnel
Hello Auto Group has announced its partnership with the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative for the second annual Military Spouse Appreciation Event. This event, dedicated to honoring military spouses, will take place on Military Spouse Appreciation Day Friday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Anthony Vince Nail Spa at 24250 Town Center Drive #140, Valencia, CA 91355.
May 10: Second Annual SCV Military Spouse Appreciation Event
The Santa Clarita Artists Association has announced the 2024 scholarship award recipients. These deserving individuals have shown excellence in their high school art education and shared their plans to continue their artistic endeavors.
SCAA Announces 2024 Scholarship Award Honorees
The Valley Industry Association of Santa Clarita is set to ignite innovation and transformation with its VIA Workforce Development Conference 2024 at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Thursday, May 16. Jorge Marquez, chairman of the Los Angeles County Workforce Development Board, has been added to the list of speakers appearing at the event. He will serve as the opening speaker at the conference.
May 16: VIA Adds County Leader to Workforce Development Speakers List
The city of Santaw Clarita will host the Free To Be Me Festival for its third year at an exciting new location. On Sunday, May 5, from noon to 3 p.m., celebrate Santa Clarita’s special needs communities and their families at West Creek Park, 24247 Village Circle Drive, Valencia, CA 91354.
May 5: ‘Free to Be Me Festival’ at West Creek Park
The Los Angeles County Department of Economic Opportunity and its regional partners have held the first of several upcoming rapid response events to urgently connect soon-to-be laid off local workers, impacted by the recent bankruptcy and closure of dozens of local 99 Cents Only Stores, to critical workforce services.
L.A. County Offers Help for Workers of 99 Cents Only Stores
Youth in Los Angeles County foster care as young as 13 can open their own checking and savings accounts without an adult co-owner through the Youth Access Banking program.
Foster Youth Access Banking Program Available in L.A. County
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. The council will meet at City Hall, City Council Chambers, Items on the agenda include: Measure H funding, awarding construction contracts for traffic improvements and updating criteria for speed hump installation or removal.
April 23: City Council to Discuss Measure H Funds, Traffic Improvements
Visit Vasquez Rock Natural Area and Nature Center for a Day at The Rocks, a family fun event and tribal celebration of the Village of Mapipinga. A Day at The Rocks will be held Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 27: Day at The Rocks Family Fun Event
Princess Cruises, headquartered in Valencia, and ship builder Fincantieri of Monfalcone, Italy have announced the mutual decision to postpone the delivery of the next Sphere Class ship, Star Princess.
Princess Cruises Postpones Delivery of Star Princess, Inaugural Cruises Cancelled
1880 - Pico Oil Spring Mine Section 2 patented by R.F. Baker and Edward F. Beale [story]
E.F. Beale
The Master's University men's golf team shot a 13-under 275 to finish second at the Golden State Athletic Conference Men's Golf Championships held at Briarwood Country Club in Sun City West, Ariz.
TMU Men’s Golf Places 2nd, Women 5th at GSAC Championships
Join local nonprofit Project Sebastian for an exhilarating day of racing and community support at its Rare Warrior 24 race on Saturday, June 1, at Heritage Park in the heart of Santa Clarita.
June 1: Rare Warrior 24 Race Benefiting Project Sebastian
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station Station deputies will be taking part in the “DEA National Drug Take Back Day,” Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in front of the SCV Sheriff’s Station, located at 26201 Golden Valley Road.
April 27: Drug Take Back Day at SCV Sheriff’s Station
The College of the Canyons Center for Civic and Community Engagement—in collaboration with COC’s Golden Z Club—invites the community to attend the Nonprofit Community Resource Fair on Tuesday, April 30.
April 30: COC Hosts Nonprofit Community Resource Fair
College of the Canyons made quick work of visiting L.A. Valley College in a shortened 11-3 home victory that came on a day in which the program unveiled its newly named Michele Jenkins Softball Team Room during a pre-game dedication ceremony.
Lady Cougs Outslug L.A. Valley 11-3
For aspiring scientists at The Master’s University, taking up a student research project is no small commitment.
Retired Professor Continues to Mentor Aspiring TMU Scientists
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is warning residents not to use a Vietnamese herbal ointment called “Cao Bôi Trĩ Cây Thầu Dầu” (Castor Oil Hemorrhoid Extract) because it contains lead and can be fatal.
Public Health Urges Residents to Avoid Vietnamese Hemorrhoid Cream
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a California Apprenticeship Summit Wednesday to raise awareness of apprenticeship opportunities and career technical education pathways that connect California’s youth to high-wage, high-growth career opportunities.
State Apprenticeship Summit Connects Youth to High-Wage Opportunities
College of the Canyons student-athletes Nichole Muro (softball) and Angelo Aleman (baseball) have been named the COC Athletic Department's Women's and Men's Student-Athletes of the Week for the period running April 8-13.
COC Names Nichole Muro, Angelo Aleman Athletes of the Week
California State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Wednesday his bill improving transparency between parents and schools’ sexual education curricula passed out of the Senate Education Committee.
Wilk’s Sex Education Transparency Bill Clears Senate Committee
1945 - Actors Harry & Olive Carey sell Saugus ranch after 29 years; now Tesoro del Valle [story]
Carey Ranch
The 76.6-mile-long Antelope Valley Line has the third-highest ridership in Metrolink’s system with an estimated average of 9,000 passengers daily. However, the uneven terrain and single-tracking along the line in some areas forces trains to travel at a slower speed which results in an estimated travel time of approximately one hour between Santa Clarita and Union Station.
Metrolink to Hold Public Meetings on AV Line Capacity, Improvements
SCVNews.com