HAFS COMFORTS THE COMFORT WOMEN

Nanum connects Hafsonians and the Comfort Women

We have all heard of the Comfort Women; the victims of the gruesome World War II. Up to 200,000 women are estimated to have worked as comfort women in Japan’s military brothels, most of them being Korean. Until the end of World War II, Korea was under Japanese occupation, and its people were forced to learn Japanese, which made Korean women were easier to corral – and communicate with – than women of other Asian nationalities. Many died during their ordeal, and many others died later. Since the issue came into the light in 1981, 234 former comfort women have come forward in Korea. There are now just 59 known survivors – nine live together in the House of Sharing in Gwangju city in Gyeonggi province.

“Nanum” is a student club in HAFS that visits the “Nanum House”; the place where the comfort women live. They visit this place every month and give a tour about the Comfort Woman to visitors of the Nanoom House. But this year, “Nanum” took another turn and decided to take a step closer in helping the Comfort Women.

“‘Gwi-hyang,’ Coming soon in a theater near you!” A member of “Nanum” visited each classroom to advertise about the movie scheduled to be displayed on May 15th in the visual and auditory room. “Gwi-hyang” is a movie about the unforgettable scars engraved in the hearts of the comfort-women. The movie takes place in 1943, when a young and naive fourteen year old girl is taken by Japanese soldiers, ripped from the warmth of her family. She is then forced to serve as a sex slave for the Japanese soldiers.The second showing of the movie took place on June 1st.

“It’s totally free, you don’t have to pay to watch this movie.” replied Kim Jeong Min, a member of Nanum. “It took thirty thousand won for the contract with the film distributor. ‘Gwihyang’ is a movie about the pain of the comfort women. We wanted the Hafsonians to remember about the past.”

Another event Nanum conducted is the Heeum Bracelet event. The Heeum Bracelet is a bracelet that that costs one thousand won. All of its revenue is used for the Comfort Women. Hafsonians contributed in helping the Comfort women by purchasing the bracelets on May 15th. Posters were placed in every class and around the hallways for effective advertising. On May 15th, Nanum collected reservations from the students during lunch hours and self- study sessions. The eager students gathered around to buy orange, white, blue, lime, mint purple, black, pink and light pink bracelets. The bracelets have the words “Blooming their hopes with you” written on them.

“ I love how it glows in the dark!” “Ohhh… I should have bought it too!” “I am so glad that I was able to help the comfort women and buy a pretty bracelet!” The chatter of the students filled the air when Jeong-Min handed out the colorful bracelets to the students, who made reservations.

Through the movie showing and the bracelet fundraising, Nanum has become the beautiful bridge that connect Hafsonians and comfort women. Nanum has reminded us the importance of remembering our past and fighting to keep it alive. The beautiful efforts that Hafsonians have made for the Comfort women, with no doubt, contributed in comforting their hearts.

BY Seong Hee Lee ’19

 

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