Comfort Women

Statue of a young girl sitting

The term “comfort women” is a euphemism to describe sexual slaves under the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The most widely accepted estimate is nearly 200,000 women held captive; however, the most conservative estimates are around 20,000 women. Most of these women were from Korea, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Japan, and the Netherlands. In 1991 the first woman, Kim Hak-Sun, broke the silence about being a comfort woman, over 40 years after the events. Kim Hak-sun brought the issue to the public eye which has become a large issue in Asia. Since the 90s there have been many other women who came forward.  However, many of the women who came forward as former comfort women were shunned by their family members. In 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an apology a compensation agreement of 1 billion yen (about $8.3 million) was reached. However, the funds have since been since been frozen. There are many efforts in Asia to educate people about the horrors comfort women faced. In the Philippines, for instance, the group Malaya Lolas (Free Grandmothers) is an activist group which campaigns for justice for former Filipino comfort women. On the U.S. side, a house resolution was passed in 2007 which urged the Japanese government to formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept responsibility for their actions from the 1930s to WWII. In 2017, the first comfort women memorial in the United States was built in San Francisco. This statue caused controversy with Japan and caused them to end their relationship with Osaka, Japan in 2018. Even after the 2015 agreement some activists are fighting for justice. Currently, the number of living former comfort women are dwindling whose stories may not have been explored.

Koh, Jinyang, “Comfort Women: Human Rights of Women from Then to Present” (2007). LLM Theses and Essays. 79. https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/stu_llm/79​

U.S. Congress. House. H Res.121. 110th Cong., 1st sess. Introduced in House January 31, 2007. https://www.congress.gov/bill/110th-congress/house-resolution/121​

Morgan, Jason. “Stories about Comfort Women Not Accurate: Historian | Article.” Asia Times. April 09, 2019. https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/04/article/stories-about-comfort-women-not-accurate-historian/.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

 

photo of palace
Photos by: Louie Diaz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gyeongbokgung Palace is situated the middle of Seoul, South Korea.  The original palace was constructed in 1395 under the Joseon Dynasty and served as their main royal palace. The original palace was severely damaged during the Imjin War (1592-1598); however, it was reconstructed during the 19th century. The palace was destroyed once more during the early 20th century while under Japanese occupation. As of 2014, less than half of the buildings have been restored.

 

 

Treadaway Hall

Picture of building entrance
Picture of dedication plaque
Photo by Louie Diaz

Named after Brother Thomas Treadaway–St. Mary’s registrar from 1938 to 1969– Treadaway Hall initially housed Marianist brothers and served as a scholasticate.  Today it functions as dorms for students, contains its own chapel, and serves as archives.

St. Louis Hall

St. Louis Hall was the first building added in the modern-day St. Mary’s campus; construction of the building was finished in 1894. St. Mary’s initially established near the San Antonio River walk. St. Louis Hall was originally named St. Louis College and started as an all boys boarding school. In 1904 a full college-curriculum was added and later in 1927 the name officially was changed to St. Mary’s University.  Finally, during the 1960s St. Mary’s University became a co-ed campus.Photo of a building