Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Museum dedicated to WWII sex slaves to open on Dec. 10

Staff writer, with CNA

A museum in memory of Taiwanese women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II is scheduled to open in Taipei by the end of this year, a Taipei-based women’s rights group said.

The themes of the museum will be peace and women’s rights, said Kang Shu-hua (康淑華), executive director of the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, a driving force behind the initiative.

Before the formal opening on Dec. 10, the foundation will hold a ceremony to unveil the museum plaque on Aug. 14, a date that is considered as a memorial day for “comfort women” by civic groups in countries such as Taiwan, South Korea, China, Indonesia and the Philippines, where there were World War II victims of sexual slavery, Kang said.

Spread over about 360m2, the museum will display historical documents on Taiwanese comfort women and chronicle the exchanges between the foundation’s members and the women over the past two decades.

Aside from mounting a permanent exhibition on comfort women, the foundation is planning to organize workshops at the museum on topics such as human rights education and sexual abuse.

The museum, the first of its kind in the nation, will allow the next generation to learn more about the history of comfort women and the issue of women’s rights, Kang said.

More than 2,000 Taiwanese women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army during the war, the foundation said.

Only four of the Taiwanese women who have spoken openly of their suffering at the hands of Japanese forces are still alive, Kang said.

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

Since it took up the issue and began interviewing former Taiwanese comfort women about 20 years ago, the foundation has collected many firsthand documents.

It has also produced a documentary that is scheduled to open in local cinemas on Aug. 14, Kang said.

The 76-minute documentary, titled Song of the Reed, chronicles the later years of Taiwanese women who were forced into sexual slavery during the war.

It shows how some of the women overcame grave physical and mental trauma and grew in their attitudes toward life through 16 years of workshops organized by the foundation.

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