Activism

Students Lobbied For Years To Erect Statue Honoring WWII Sex Slaves

These students fought to erect a “comfort woman” statue to honor the women who were sex slaves in WWII.

“They were forced into sexual slavery and raped daily, and we think it’s only right that they should be remembered in their suffering, and also in their bravery,” explained Gemma Hong.

Hong and Euwan Kim lobbied for two years to memorialized victims and survivors of human trafficking in Japanese wartime military brothels. It’s estimated that more than 200,000 girls and women from Korea, China and the Philippines were forced into prostitution before and during World War II.

Kim designed the statue using negative space to represent their assault and forgotten history.

“The statue itself is a circle and the backdrop of it is the yin yang symbol on the Korean flag. And in the middle of the circle, there’s the gap, the gap in history, which is reflected by the comfort woman figure,” she said. “And that’s the negative space that I was talking about where there was a gap in history. And once we filled that in, then we have the complete yin yang.”

The statue is located at a WWII memorial site and approximately 20 students from the Youth Council of Fort Lee worked to create it.