Tue, Dec 02, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese ‘comfort women’ film wins Gold Panda gong

Staff writer, with CNA

A Taiwanese documentary chronicling the later years of Taiwanese women forced into sex work by Japanese forces during World War II has won a top award at an annual documentary festival in Chengdu, China.

Song of the Reed (蘆葦之歌), a 76-minute film produced by the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, won the Best Anthropology Concern Award at the International Gold Panda Awards for Documentary, held on Tuesday last week.

The film documents how some of the “comfort women” in Taiwan overcame grave physical and mental trauma and developed in their attitudes toward life through 16 years of workshops organized by the foundation.

It beat four other documentaries from China and Spain, the foundation said.

Documentary director Wu Hsiu-ching (吳秀菁) expressed his gratitude to the enitre crew for their efforts in completing the project and capturing the stories of the women, who are now mostly in their 90s.

Song of the Reed is the second film about comfort women to be produced by the foundation.

It was screened in Taiwan last year and is expected to be released in theaters next year, the foundation said.

More than 2,000 Taiwanese women and many more across Asia were forced into sex work by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, it added.

The issue is still a point of contention among nearby nations, particularly South Korea and China, the foundation said.

Over the past two decades, the foundation has been dedicated to helping former comfort women cope with mental anguish and seek compensation from Japan.

It has launched many initiatives, including documentaries, art exhibitions and counseling workshops.

The International Gold Panda Awards for Documentary were established in Chengdu in 1991.

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