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Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women

One evening back in May of 2000, a documentary on PBS caught my attention. It was about the many thousands of young Korean women who were essentially forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II.

The interviews with some of these Korean women - now grandmothers living in Korea, Japan, and China - were difficult to watch because of how sad their stories were, but I found myself barely able to move for the entire film.

When it came to a close and the credits began appearing on the screen, I was stunned to discover that it was written, directed, and produced by Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, my aunt. I had not been in touch with my aunt for several years, so to reconnect with her through this film was a special experience.

Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women is the title of a film and a book; both tell the personal and deeply painful stories of several grandmothers who found themselves with little to no choice but to be sexual slaves to Japanese soldiers when most of them were mere teenagers. Some of these young Korean women were deceitfully drafted by the Japanese army; they had no idea that they were being taken to provide sex to long lineups of soldiers on a daily basis.

Historical records indicate that the Japanese army set up approximately 2000 "comfort" stations during the Second World War, providing up to 200,000 women to their soldiers. Comfort women were gathered up from Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and other Japanese-occupied regions. Many of these women were inflicted with sexually transmitted diseases and severe infections. Dangerous abortions were administered when needed, some of which resulted in death for mother and baby.

To this day, the Japanese government has not fully acknowledged their systematic use of forced prostitution during World War II. If this under publicized segment of the Second World War is of interest to you, I encourage you to visit my aunt's site here:

If you would like to read her book, you can learn more about it and purchase it at

Silence Broken : Korean Comfort Women


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It is devastating to read this!

How absolutely heartbreaking and unimaginable.

I'm so sorry that all those thousands of women had to endure such horrifying conditions. Who can even imagine what that was like?

I am also appalled that the Japanese government hasn't had the moral grace or moral strength to take responsibility for this. Reparation should have taken place years ago, not to mention FULL acknowledgement.

Thank you for allowing your readers to share the pain of these innocent and traumatized women. I'm going to your aunt's website; perhaps there's something we can do now to help.

Solange Milan