Glendale will be the first city on the West Coast to have a memorial for the WWII era Comfort Women. That's the euphemism for the tens of thousands, some say hundreds of thousands of women drafted to serve in brothels for the Japanese military. Kim Bok-Dong is in town to witness the unveiling. She also spoke before a packed house at the Museum of Tolerance to tell her chilling tale. She was 15, the daughter of a fairly well-off farming family. She says, a Japanese man came to her mother and said she needed to serve her country, now under Japanese rule. He promised her a job in a factory. Instead, she was taken from country to country, servicing so many men in a day, she'd lose count. And, by day's end, she'd be too exhausted and in pain to get out of her bed. This is a story she only told her mom when she returned home after the war's end. She believes, her mother was so upset and distressed, that she got sick and died, due to it. Meantime, she had no need to tell anyone else what she survived until 1992. That's when another Comfort Woman came out and demanded the Japanese government recognized their crimes and pay reparation. Now, Kim is among maybe 58 acknowledged surviving Comfort Women, still calling for a proper apology from Japan. She hopes that people who hear her story will put pressure on the US government to then pressure Japan's government. She is grateful to Glendale but saddened by those who object to the memorial. Buena Park was considering a similar memorial, but after an email campaign objecting to the proposal, the city is now reconsidering the idea.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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