Comfort Women: past, present & challenges of reconciliation

VMU Center for Asian Studies invites to a series of events dedicated to the memory of “comfort women”. The problem of “comfort women” remains relevant to this day and affects international relations in East Asia. Japan views this question as resolved, meanwhile South Korea is seeking redress and a formal apology from Japan. We would like to invite you to broaden your horizons on this topic and join the discussion by participating in a series of three events on three Fridays: October 22nd, 29th and November 5th.

On October 22nd, 14:30 in room 103 (V. Putvinskio g. 23, Kaunas) screening of the movie “Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue” is going to take place. The movie by a Japanese American director Miki Dezaki analyze controversial “comfort women” issue aiming to answer the question causing intense discussions – were “comfort women” paid or they were taken into slavery. What is more, director reveals the motivations and intentions of the main actors pushing to revise history in Japan.

The movie will be screened in original language with English subtitles. After the screening a discussion (in English) with the director Miki Dezaki is going to take place, during which you will be able to ask desired questions.

On October 29th, 14:30 in room 311 (V. Putvinskio g. 23, Kaunas) open lecture “The question of ”Comfort women” in Japan and South Korea” is going to take place. The lecture will be held by Faculty of Humanities lecturers Dr. Arvydas Kumpis and PhD candidate Karolė Miuller.

Reasons of the emergence and existence of the “comfort women” network lie in the socio-political structure of Japan at the time. Even though operation of “comfort stations” ceased with the Second World War this topic and its legacy is a source of hot discussions to this day. The first half of the lecture will introduce the preconditions of the creation of “comfort women” system and the conservative Japanese stance regarding this question.

The problem of “comfort women” is undoubtedly important not only in the context of South Korea-Japan bilateral relations, but also in South Korea’s internal politics. We can see that the different Governments tried to solve this question in different approaches. The question of “comfort women” remained untouched by South Korean politicians for a long time, however, civil society did not allow to forget it. The second half of the lecture will delve into approaches to this question by different South Korean Presidents.

On November 5th, 12:00 do not miss online screening of the documentary “Song of the Reed”, organized by the University of Helsinki. Hsiu-Ching Wu movie tells the story of the experiences and healing of four “comfort women” from Taiwan. “Song of the Reed” is a soft melody carrying a powerful message which cannot be forgotten by the world.

The movie will be screened in original language with English subtitles. After the screening a discussion (in English) with the filmmaker Hsiu-Ching Wu is going to take place. The link to the movie screening will be provided to all who filled the registration form until November 1st.

We kindly ask you to follow safety requirements during the events.