Footage of Comfort Women in Yunnan Made Public after 73 Years

For the first time in 73 years, moving images have been made public that show Korean women imprisoned by the Japanese army in China, where they served as comfort women. The 18-second-clip made its rounds on Chinese social media on June 5th.

The footage was filmed in Yunnan province, in southwest China, in 1944. Previously, there were numerous texts and photographs documenting the imprisonment of comfort women in China, but this is the first time for these moving images to be made public showing these particular scenes of wartime China.

A South-Korean research group, consisting of members of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul National University Human Rights Center, made the footage public. Researchers say the clip shows seven Korean women in front of a private house used as a “comfort station” in Songshan, Yunnan Province.

According to the Korea Times, the research team found the footage at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration after a two-year search for film records. This source also says that the film allegedly shows a Chinese military officer of the US-China Allied forces speaking with the women.

At the time the moving images were filmed, Japan was losing the war and the US-China Allied Forces defeated the Japanese in Songshan, where ‘military comfort stations’ for the Japanese troops were situated.


Footage of Comfort Women in Yunnan Made Public…

The short clip was shared on Sina Weibo by several Chinese official (media) accounts, such as the Global Times and Communist Youth League . They posted the footage under the header “Conclusive Proof!” (“铁证!”)

“They look so helpless, I don’t dare to imagine their despair and fear at the time,” one netizen commented.

“Japan needs to face its wartime history,” a typical comment said.

“History is history; no matter if they admit it or not, it will be there in the hearts of the people who suffered at the hands of Japanese soldiers,” another person commented.

News of the footage also led netizens on Weibo to post more information about the suffering of Chinese comfort women during the Second Sino-Japanese War, bringing about a lot of anti-Japanese sentiments.

“We can’t report good things about the Japanese after suffering such national humiliation,” some said.

By Manya Koetse

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