She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Telling the story of her experience as a sex slave, Siin-Do Song (born 1923) is paving the way for thousands of women to pursue justice. Siin-Do was one of the “comfort women” to the Japanese military during World War II. Following the war, Siin-Do faced harsh racial and ethnic discrimination as a Korean living in Japan. Using her own name in a culture that forbids talking of such things, Siin-Do filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government asking for an apology and compensation. Her quest for justice is a protest against both sexual violence during the war and racism after it.
“Siin-Do Song’s actions make us realize that the impunity of crimes of violence against women in war should be ended” says Yuko Sugiyama
Sorry, their is no photo for Siin-Do Song, Japan & Korea
She works for VAWW-NET Japan.
The tragedy of Siin-Do’s victimization began when she was a young girl, growing up in Korea at a time when her country was under Japanese rule. At age 16, Siin-Do ran away from an arranged marriage on the day of her wedding, and was approached by a Korean woman who told her she could make money if she went to the battlefield of “her nation” (Japan). In 1938, Siin-Do was taken to China, which had just been invaded by Japan. There, she was forced to serve for years as a “comfort woman” in a “comfort station,” which meant servicing hundreds of soldiers who would wait in line for their few minutes of rape. When Japan surrendered in 1945, Siin-Do fled China, leaving behind children born in the brothel.
Supported by various human rights groups, on April 5, 1993, Siin-Do filed a lawsuit against the government in the Tokyo District Court. In 1994, she testified at a public hearing of the Asian Tribunal on Women’s Human Rights in Tokyo, organized by the Asian Women Human Rights Council and the Women’s Human Rights Committee of Japan. The “military comfort women” issue was recognized as a violation of women’s human rights. However, in 2003, the Japanese Supreme Court dismissed her case.
An elderly Korean living in Japan, Siin-Do now has few social rights – she cannot vote, nor is she entitled to a pension. The citizens of Japan tend to be ignorant of many of the crimes their government perpetrated during the War. Accordingly, they dismiss and slander someone who speaks out publicly. The time it has taken Siin-Do to wage her battle has exhausted her financial resources.
Nonetheless, her commitment to public speaking has resulted in widespread awareness of the issue and the empowerment of other survivors of sexual violence.
The formation of VAWW-NET Japan, an NGO founded in 1997 to fight for government redress for “comfort women,” was inspired by Siin-Do’s work. VAWW-NET Japan was responsible for the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal for Sexual Slavery by Japan’s Military (2000), which found Emperor Hirohito guilty of War Crimes and State Responsibilities during World War II. (1000peacewomen).
Former sex slaves sue Japanese government: Angry old ladies are stepping forward to testify about the horrors of their years as Japanese “comfort women” … Former sex slaves sue Japanese government
Angry old ladies are stepping forward to testify about the horrors of their years as Japanese “comfort women” … (full text).
Some 200,000 women were dragooned into “comfort stations”. Most were coerced or abducted. An estimated 80% were Koreans. According to the government, Koreans (and local women who did not know Japanese) were recruited in order to prevent leakage of information, the lowering of morale of the troops if they saw Japanese women in such circumstances and the “degradation” of Japanese people in relation to the colonised population, and also to decrease the birth rate of the Korean people. Under Japan’s colonial rule (which began with the annexation of Korea in 1910), the government took harsh measures to promote assimilation and the virtual elimination of the Korean identity. The “comfort women” system was entrenched in this discrimination against the Korean people (aspects of which continue in Japan to this day) … (full text).
Waww-Net links in Japanes (or Korean?) (sometimes with a bit english):
in english languages:
Statement of Protest to NHK by VAWW-NET Japan;
Interview with Matsui Yayori, Representative of VAWW-NET Japan.