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Sunday, February 2, 2014

France's Angoulême Comics Festival Displays Comfort Women Manhwa


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/01/31/national/japans-wartime-sex-slavery-featured-at-manga-festival-in-france/#.Uu7xDz1_u9E

Disturbing images: Visitors look at some of the manga depicting wartime sexual slavery being exhibited at an international comic book festival in Angouleme, France. | KYODO
NATIONAL
Japan’s wartime sex slavery featured at manga festival in France
KYODO
JAN 31, 2014



PARIS – A special exhibition on sexual slavery of Korean women by the Japanese military during World War II began Thursday as part of an international comic book festival in Angouleme, southwestern France.

On the opening day an estimated 600 people visited the section on the wartime “comfort women” system, held at the initiative of the South Korean government, according to the organizers.

Japanese Ambassador to France Yoichi Suzuki expressed regret over the event, titled Festival de la Bande Dessinee d’Angouleme, and the Japanese government planned to hand out brochures to visitors explaining its stance on the issue.

“It is regrettable that a manga festival aimed at promoting cultural exchanges and mutual understanding is instead used for a political cause,” Suzuki told French media Wednesday.

The brochures were expected to state that all issues related to individual compensation for women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II have been settled under a 1965 treaty on the normalization of ties between Japan and South Korea.

The embassy prepared the brochures in French, Korean and English.

The 41st round of the event, one of the largest manga festivals in Europe, runs through Sunday.





http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2014-01-31/france-angouleme-comics-festival-displays-comfort-women-manhwa



France's Angoulême Comics Festival Displays Comfort Women Manhwa
posted on 2014-01-31 23:00 EST
South Korean government requests exhibit; Japanese government responds, issues pamphlets
France's Angoulême International Comics Festival opened on Thursday with an exhibit featuring about 10 manhwa (Korean comics) about "comfort women." The exhibit focuses on young women and girls forced into prostitution by the former Empire of Japan's military during World War II. The South Korean government requested the event to hold the exhibition.

The description at the entrance to the exhibit claims that Japan has still not recognized the problem of comfort women. The issue of comfort women has become a hot topic in Japan after Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto made a controversial comment on the subject last May. In the July 2013 issue of Studio Ghibli's Neppū magazine, director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki wrote that Japan should apologize and pay compensation for its crimes during the war, including the use of comfort women.

About 600 people visited the comfort women exhibit in Angoulême on Thursday. One female visitor commented, “This is too cruel. I'm going to show it to my daughter as well. Why won't Japan admit to this?” Another visitor said, “This is the first time I ever learned such a truth. It's disappointing that Japan won't recognize the incident.”

Yoon-Sun Cho, Minister of Gender Equality and Family of the Republic of Korea, visited the festival on Thursday to announce the opening of the manhwa exhibit titled Chiru Koto no Nai Hana (The Flower That Doesn't Wilt). An informational session about the exhibit was also planned for the local press, but it was canceled at the Angoulême organizers' request.

The Japanese Embassy is passing out pamphlets at the event's press center that detail the Japanese government's efforts and stance on the issue. However, Angoulême organizers rejected a certain Japanese manga about comfort women from being displayed at the event. The manga supports the claim that there was no forced labor of comfort women by the former Japanese military.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Fumio Kishida responded at a press conference on Friday by saying, "It is disappointing that this action does not follow stated goal of deepening international understanding and friendship through comics." Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga added, "This is a problem that should be fixed by the executive committee and non-governmental organizations."

Angoulême International Comics Festival launched in 1974 as an event celebrating comics from countries throughout the world. The annual event is the largest comics festival in Europe and one of the largest in the world. The current festival is running in Angoulême, France until Sunday. Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steamboy, Short Peace) is one of three nominees for the top prize, the Grand Prix, at this year's event.

Sources: Sankei Shimbun



http://www.nst.com.my/latest/japan-upset-by-s-korean-comfort-women-comics-at-french-show-1.475537

Email Print 02 February 2014| last updated at 02:01PM
Japan upset by S. Korean 'comfort women' comics at French show



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ANGOULEME, France: Japan has expressed its “regret” at a South Korean exhibit at an international comic book festival in France featuring “comfort women” forced into wartime sex slavery in Japanese military brothels.
Japan’s ambassador to France, Yoichi Suzuki, said he “deeply regrets that this exhibition is taking place”, saying it promoted “a mistaken point of view that further complicates relations between South Korea and Japan”.
Up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere were forced into brothels catering to the Japanese military in territories occupied by Japan during World War II, according to many mainstream historians.
Franck Bondoux, director of the Angouleme International Comics Festival in western France, told AFP that Japan had not asked for the expo to be cancelled.
South Korea’s Gender Equality and Family Minister Cho yoon-sun was present at the opening of the South Korean exhibit, entitled “The Flower That Doesn’t Wilt”, on Thursday.
“The subject was proposed by the South Korean government but the artists were completely free to evoke the subject independently,” Bondoux said.
The politically-charged issue of comfort women has stoked regional tensions, with South Korea and China insisting that Japan must face up to its World War II-era sexual enslavement of women from across occupied Asia.
In a landmark 1993 statement, then-chief Japanese cabinet secretary Yohei Kono apologised to former comfort women and acknowledged Japan’s role in causing their suffering.
But in remarks in 2007 that triggered a regionwide uproar, then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there was no evidence that Japan directly forced women to work as sex slaves.
Last week, the Japanese government distanced itself from remarks by the head of the NHK public broadcaster, who had said the Japanese Imperial Army’s system of wartime sex slavery was commonplace “in all countries during war”.
Katsuto Momii later apologised for “causing trouble” with the statement.
The French regional Sud Ouest daily newspaper received a petition, ahead of the festival’s opening, from Japanese women indignant at the South Korean exhibit.
On top of the comfort women row, the festival’s organisers shut down the booth of a Japanese association that displayed revisionist WWII content and swastika images among the comics on display.--AFP


Read more: Japan upset by S. Korean 'comfort women' comics at French show - Latest - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/japan-upset-by-s-korean-comfort-women-comics-at-french-show-1.475537#ixzz2sAwGeKZj






http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1419158/japan-upset-south-korean-comfort-women-comics-french-show

Japan upset by South Korean ‘comfort women’ comics at French show
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 2:31pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 2:31pm
Agence France-Presse in Angouleme
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exhibition.jpg
Cho Yoon-sun and former 'comfort woman' Kim Bok-dong looking at works to be displayed in the Angouleme International Comics Festival. Photo: EPA
Japan has expressed its “regret” at a South Korean exhibit at an international comic book festival in France featuring “comfort women” forced into wartime sex slavery in Japanese military brothels.

Japan’s ambassador to France, Yoichi Suzuki, said he “deeply regrets that this exhibition is taking place”, saying it promoted “a mistaken point of view that further complicates relations between South Korea and Japan”.

Up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere were forced into brothels catering to the Japanese military in territories occupied by Japan during the second world war, according to many mainstream historians.

Franck Bondoux, director of the Angouleme International Comics Festival in western France, said that Japan had not asked for the expo to be cancelled.


A woman visits the exhibition 'Les femmes de reconfort', on the first day of the festival in Angouleme. Photo: AFP

South Korea’s Gender Equality and Family Minister Cho Yoon-sun was present at the opening of the South Korean exhibit, entitled The Flower That Doesn’t Wilt, on Thursday.

“The subject was proposed by the South Korean government but the artists were completely free to evoke the subject independently,” Bondoux said.

The politically-charged issue of comfort women has stoked regional tensions, with South Korea and China insisting that Japan must face up to its second world war-era sexual enslavement of women from across occupied Asia.

In a landmark 1993 statement, then-chief Japanese cabinet secretary Yohei Kono apologised to former comfort women and acknowledged Japan’s role in causing their suffering.

But in remarks in 2007 that triggered a regionwide uproar, then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there was no evidence that Japan directly forced women to work as sex slaves.

Last week, the Japanese government distanced itself from remarks by the head of the NHK public broadcaster, who had said the Japanese Imperial Army’s system of wartime sex slavery was commonplace “in all countries during war”.

Katsuto Momii later apologised for “causing trouble” with the statement.

The French regional Sud Ouest daily newspaper received a petition, ahead of the festival’s opening, from Japanese women indignant at the South Korean exhibit.

On top of the comfort women row, the festival’s organisers shut down the booth of a Japanese association that displayed revisionist second world war content and swastika images among the comics on display.







http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/societe/20140130.OBS4493/angouleme-l-expo-qui-fache-le-japon.htm
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Actualité > Société > Angoulême : l'expo qui fâche le Japon
Angoulême : l'expo qui fâche le Japon
Sarah DiffalahPar Sarah Diffalah
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Publié le 30-01-2014 à 20h52
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La présentation d'œuvres d'artistes sud-coréens autour des "femmes de réconfort", esclaves sexuelles des soldats japonais pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale, provoque le courroux du Japon.
A Angoulême, à l'exposition sur les femmes de réconfort lors de la première journée du festival de BD le 30 janvier 2013. (AFP / NICOLAS TUCAT) A Angoulême, à l'exposition sur les femmes de réconfort lors de la première journée du festival de BD le 30 janvier 2013. (AFP / NICOLAS TUCAT)


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A Angoulême, dans les coulisses des allées des expositions du festival de BD, se joue une nouvelle crise diplomatique entre le Japon et la Corée du Sud. En cause : la présentation du travail collectif d'artistes sud-coréens dont le thème se concentre sur les "femmes de réconfort". Ce sont ces femmes, qu'on estime à 200.000, enrôlées de force par l'armée japonaise pour satisfaire les besoins sexuels des militaires lors de la Seconde guerre mondiale. L'exposition "Fleurs qui ne se fanent pas", initiée par le gouvernement coréen, une association privée et une institution publique, a pour objectif de "communiquer à un public international le point de vue de la Corée sur ce sujet, en la sensibilisant aux dommages irréparables subis par ces femmes".

Alors que le thème est connu depuis plusieurs mois déjà, le Japon s'est réveillé mercredi 29 janvier. L'ambassadeur du Japon en France, Yoichi Sukuki, a "regretté vivement que cette exposition ait lieu" estimant qu'il s'agit d'un "point de vue erroné" qui "complique davantage les relations entre le Japon et la Corée du Sud". "Je ne suis pas sûr que ce soit dans l'intérêt du festival d'Angoulême de promouvoir une vision particulière", a-t-il ajouté.

La tension est montée dès lundi quand le quotidien "La Charente Libre" a reçu une pétition signée par plus de 12.000 Japonais et dans laquelle une "ONG féministe et japonaise" s'insurge contre la tenue de l'exposition. Le quotidien rapporte également que Yumiko Yamamoto, déléguée générale d'une association de femmes, a expliqué dans une lettre ouverte au délégué général du festival, Franck Bondoux : "On ne nie pas l'existence des 'femmes de réconfort'; Mais elles n'étaient ni 200.000, ni enlevées, ni forcées par l'armée impériale japonaise ! Ce ne sont que des mensonges et histoires sans fondement [...] Le gouvernement coréen manipule le festival d'Angoulême comme sur un champ de bataille politique et diplomatique."

L'ambassadeur du Japon en France évoque lui aussi "l'utilisation" du festival à travers une "initiative qui n'est pas de nature très productive" et indique avoir "fait part de (ses) préoccupations aux organisateurs du festival et à la municipalité d'Angoulême. Ils ont compris (ces) points de vue".

Un travail de mémoire houleux

Hasard du calendrier ? L'incident diplomatique intervient dans un contexte particulier au Japon. Dimanche, le directeur de la télévision publique NHK, Katsuto Momii, a créé la polémique en déclarant publiquement que le système des bordels militaires était "fréquent dans tous les pays en guerre". "Pouvons-nous dire qu'il n'y en avait pas en Allemagne et en France ? Il y en avait partout en Europe". Aussitôt, le gouvernement a pris ses distances et assuré que Katsuto Momii avait "fait ces déclarations à titre personnel". Peu après, le patron de la télévision publique a dû présenter ses excuses pour des propos "extrêmement inappropriés". Ces commentaires sont mal tombés car la veille, l'une des 55 dernières "femmes de réconfort" sud-coréennes encore en vie est morte.

Soixante-dix ans après la fin de la guerre, la question de ces "femmes de réconfort", surtout des Coréennes (entre 80 et 85%), des Chinoises et des Philippines, continue de peser sur les relations du Japon et de ses voisins, la Corée du Sud en tête, et provoque régulièrement des tensions diplomatiques. Au sujet de Katsuto Momii, le ministre des Affaires étrangères sud-coréen a réagi en disant : "Nous ne pouvons que déplorer le fait que le patron de la télévision publique japonaise, qui devrait rester impartial, déforme de façon ridicule des faits historiques [...] La conscience historique des dirigeants japonais de premier plan est, sous l'administration Abe, descendue à un niveau dangereusement bas".

Sursaut nationaliste au Japon

En 1993, Tokyo avait officiellement présenté ses excuses pour les souffrances endurées par les victimes. "Par ailleurs, les questions des indemnités, des biens et des droits de réclamations en relation avec la Seconde guerre mondiales, y compris celle des femmes de réconforts, ont été complètement et définitivement résolues par la signature de l'Accord signé entre le Japon et la République de Corée en 1965", souligne le ministre des Affaires étrangères japonais dans un communiqué écrit suite à la tenue de l'exposition d'Angoulême. "Un fonds pour les femmes asiatiques a été créé (dissous en 2007). Le gouvernement a contribué en versant un montant d'environ 1,122 milliards de yens pour mener des programmes de soins médicaux et de protection sociale en faveur des anciennes 'femmes de réconfort', ainsi que des allocations de réparations, accompagnées d'une lettre du Premier ministre japonais de l'époque exprimant directement ses profondes excuses", dit-il encore.

Reste que depuis un an, surfant sur un sursaut nationaliste, plusieurs hauts responsables politiques ont donné l'impression que le Japon ne regrettait pas véritablement ses actions passées. Au printemps dernier, le maire d'Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, avait qualifié de "nécessité" l'enrôlement de ces femmes dans les pays occupés par le Japon. Avant de devenir Premier ministre en 2012, Shinzo Abe avait déclaré qu'il n'existait pas de preuve tangible que des femmes aient été forcées à se prostituer.

"Nous donnons la parole aux auteurs de bande dessinée et uniquement aux auteurs"

Pour Séoul, mais aussi Pékin, l'attitude de Tokyo s'inscrit dans une volonté de ne pas reconnaître son passé militariste. Le 26 décembre, Shinzo Abe s'est rendu au sanctuaire Yasukuni de Tokyo, où sont honorés 2,5 millions de morts pour le Japon, mais surtout 14 criminels de guerre... Au Nations unies, le représentant de la Chine a déploré le fait que des criminels de guerre "soient à présent considérés comme des héros, tandis que le délégué sud-coréen a rappelé qu'en 2007, le Congrès américain et le Parlement européen avaient adopté des lois qui demandaient au Japon de reconnaître ses responsabilités historiques et légales et à dédommager les victimes de ces atrocités qu'il a présenté comme de "l'esclavage sexuel".

"Nous avons traité cette question. Nous ne comprenons pas pourquoi les autorités sud-coréennes insistent", souligne aujourd'hui l'ambassadeur du Japon en France.

A Angoulême, la venue de la ministre coréenne des droits de la femme -une première pour le festival de BD- illustre bien le bras de fer des deux pays sur la question. Pris entre deux feux, Franck Bondoux a précisé, au quotidien "Sud-Ouest" : "Nous donnons la parole aux auteurs de bande dessinée et uniquement aux auteurs en exposant leurs oeuvres".

Sarah Diffalah - Le Nouvel Observateur





http://www.sudouest.fr/2014/01/31/bd-a-angouleme-offensive-de-com-japonaise-pour-contrer-l-effet-de-l-expo-coreenne-1447431-813.php



BD à Angoulême : offensive de com japonaise pour contrer l'effet de l'expo coréenne
0 COMMENTAIRE Publié le 31/01/2014 à 10h12 , modifié le 31/01/2014 à 15h36
[Mis à jour avec fermeture d'un stand négationniste] L'expo coréenne sur les femmes de réconfort, qui traite du sort des femmes enrôlées de force dans les bordels militaires nippons, suscite des réactions japonaises

BD à Angoulême : offensive de com japonaise pour contrer l'effet de l'expo coréenne
Lors de l'inauguration de l'exposition "Fleurs qui ne se fanent pas" jeudi, la ministre coréenne des droits de la femme et de la famille, Cho Yoon-sun, à droite, en compagnie du maire d'Angoulême, Philippe Lavaud.
© PHOTO FABIEN COTTEREAU
L
es tweets de la rédaction de "Sud Ouest" publiés jeudi, pour évoquer la cohue médiatique autour de Cho Yoon Sun, ministre sud-coréenne de l'égalité homme-femme venue inaugurer l'exposition consacrée aux femmes de réconfort, ont suscité des réactions asiatiques, en particulier japonaises.

Publicité
D'abord sur Twitter. Petite sélection.



Plus des tweets à idéogrammes dont la rédaction avoue qu'elle n'est pas en mesure de percer le sens.

On savait le sujet ultra-sensible, on en a eu la confirmation un peu plus tard jeudi directement à la rédaction de "Sud Ouest" Charente.

Dans la soirée, un reporter recevait sur son mail professionnel plusieurs messages venus du Japon, évoquant "la barbarie des militaires coréens durant la guerre du Vietnam". Contre-feu.

Le dernier de ces contre-feux date de ce vendredi matin à 10h03.

Un petit coup de fil à la rédaction de "Sud Ouest" Charente, émanant du service communication de l'ambassade du Japon... juste pour parler du festival.

La rédaction de "Sud Ouest" avait reçu, bien en amont du festival, une "pétition" émanant de femmes japonaises s'indignant que cette expo fasse partie du programme.

Et le Festival lui-même, comme "Sud Ouest" l'a écrit dans son édition du 30 janvier, "a eu la surprise de recevoir deux officiels de l'ambassade du Japon qui souhaitaient inspecter l'exposition".

Des croix gammées dans les mangas
Sans lien avec l'exposition, mercredi, la veille de l'ouverture du Festival, une association japonaise "Nextdoor publishers.inc" a été "invitée" à fermer son stand.

Les organisateurs du FIBD ont découvert les contenus à caractère négationniste et révisionniste des publications (banderoles de propagandes, croix gammées dans les mangas).

"Ils auraient été Américains, Français ou Esquimaux, cela n'auraient rien changé. Nous avons estimé qu'ils n'avaient pas leur place dans le stand Little Asia", a confirmé Franck Bondoux, délégué général du Festival.







http://www.liberation.fr/culture/2014/02/01/a-angouleme-la-bd-sud-coreenne-agace-le-japon_977154

Exposition «Les femmes de réconfort» à Angoulême, le 30 janvier 2014. NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

EXPOSITION - Le festival de bande dessinée accueille un exposition sur le sujet sensible de la prostitution forcée de Coréennes pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale...

Une exposition d'auteurs coréens au Festival international de la BD d'Angoulême sur le sujet hypersensible de la prostitution forcée de Coréennes pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale, les «femmes de réconfort», a suscité de vives réactions du Japon qui dénonce «un point de vue erroné».

L'ambassadeur du Japon en France Yoichi Suzuki a «regretté vivement que cette exposition ait lieu», estimant qu'il s'agissait «d'un point de vue erroné qui complique davantage les relations entre la Corée du Sud et le Japon».

Pourtant, «jamais le Japon ne nous a demandé d'annuler l'exposition prévue de longue date», a assuré à l'AFP Franck Bondoux, délégué général du Festival.

«Nous ne prenons pas parti»

La ministre des Droits de la femme et de la famille sud-coréenne Cho Yoon-Sun était quant à elle venue jeudi matin inaugurer cette exposition collective intitulée «Fleurs qui ne se fanent pas».

«Le sujet nous a été proposé par le gouvernement sud-coréen mais les artistes ont eu toute liberté pour évoquer le sujet, en toute indépendance», affirme Franck Bondoux. «Nous ne prenons pas parti et n'acceptons qu'il y ait des tentatives de récupération de part et d'autre».

La plupart des historiens estiment à 200.000 le nombre de femmes -- surtout des Coréennes, Chinoises et Philippines -- réduites en esclavage sexuel par Tokyo pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale. Aujourd'hui encore, la question de ces femmes et celle des atrocités commises par les troupes impériales continuent de peser sur les relations entre le Japon et ses voisins.

En 1993, Tokyo a officiellement présenté ses excuses pour les souffrances endurées par les victimes. Mais depuis, plusieurs hauts responsables politiques ont fait machine arrière, donnant l'impression, notamment à Séoul, que le Japon ne regrettait pas véritablement ses actions passées.

Lundi dernier encore, le gouvernement japonais a dû prendre ses distances avec le patron de la télévision publique NHK Katsuto Momii, qui avait déclaré la veille que le système des bordels militaires correspondait à une pratique «fréquente dans tous les pays en guerre».

Avec AFP
Plus d'informations sur ce sujet en vidéo


http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2984351&cloc=rss%7Cnews%7Cjoongangdaily
French ‘comfort women’ exhibit draws crowds
Event criticized by the Japanese PLAY AUDIOFeb 03,2014


Visitors view “Butterfly’s Song,” by artists Kim Gwang-sung and Chung Ki-young, which depicts the plight of the women who were sexually enslaved by the Japanese military during World War II. The work was part of an exhibition at the 41st Angouleme International Comics Festival in France. Provided by a visitor
ANGOULEME, France - Thousands of people gathered at a leading international comic festival in southwestern France over the Lunar New Year holiday.

This year’s festival focused on the plight of the women and girls who were forced into sexual enslavement by the Japanese military during World War II.

France’s Angouleme International Comics Festival - considered the Cannes Film Festival of the comic world in France - is the largest comics festival in Europe. The annual event started in 1974 and draws some 200,0000 visitors each year. The exhibit at the 41st annual event kicked off last Thursday and depicts the experiences of those euphemistically known as “comfort women.”

Over the course of four days, 16,000 people gathered at the exhibition titled “The Flower That Doesn’t Wilt: I’m the Evidence,” which displayed the works of 19 manhwa, or comic artists, including works from popular graphic novelist Lee Hyun-se, who depicted the brutalities that the victims experienced.

In one narrative, told through 24 pictures viewed from right to left, an artist tells the story of an old grandmother, the victim of sexual slavery, who gradually transforms into a young girl. The piece, drawn by artist Shin Su-ji, is titled “83,” and signifies the number of years since the Manchurian Incident, which sparked Japan’s 1931 invasion of China’s northern region.

“I could feel the artist’s desire to return the grandmother to the days when [she experienced] no pain,” said Veronique Tesoni, 52, who attended the festival.

Exhibition attendees could also view an animation clip that introduced former comfort woman Kim Hak-sun, who broke her silence after four decades - a move that encouraged other women from Korea, the Philippines and the Netherlands to come forward with their stories and fostered widespread public awareness.

“I feel so much sadness for the young girls who had to live as sex slaves at such a tender age and yearned to go home. I heard [these comics] are based on the testimonies of victims of sexual slavery, and I am moved by their courage,” Amelie Jupe, a 28-year-old French woman, said after viewing the works. “Such an exhibit should continue to be held.”

The festival displayed works depicting brutality and sexual violence against women during wartime to mark the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I.

The opening of the exhibit on Thursday was attended by Cho Yoon-sun, minister of gender equality and family. Korea announced on Jan. 15 that it was holding an exhibit on the plight of comfort women at the European comic book festival - the result of a yearlong collaboration between the ministry, the Korea Manhwa Contents Agency and the Korean Manhwa Association.

The exhibit moved forward despite opposition by extremist Japanese civilian organizations, which sent to the local press a petition signed by 16,000 people calling for its cancellation.

The Japanese Embassy expressed “deep regret” over the exhibition, calling it a mistaken point of view, and even handed out pamphlets at the festival that outlined its position.

Organizers, however, shut down a Japanese publishing booth, which displayed a banner that read, “Comfort women do not exist,” claiming the booth was politicizing the event.

Angouleme also dispatched eight police officers in plain clothes as a security measure.

Korea has demanded a sincere apology from the Japanese government and compensation for the victims of sexual slavery. But Japan’s right-wing leaders and extremist organizations have refused to acknowledge the country’s historical misdeeds. Most recently, Katsuto Momii, the new chairman of NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corp, received international backlash after claiming that all warring nations used comfort women. He even went so far as to name France, Britain and the Netherlands. The chairman also criticized Korea for demanding compensation for its aging comfort women, most of who are now in their 80s and 90s.

Franck Bondoux, director of the Angouleme International Comics Festival, said he hoped the exhibit “serves as an opportunity to repent for the past mistakes and errors.”

Likewise, Raphael Cuir, president of the France office of the International Association of Art Critic (AICA), a nongovernmental organization parterning with Unesco, told the JoongAng Ilbo on Thursday following the exhibit that “from the viewpoint of the organization, I think it was natural to accept the exhibit on comfort women issues.

“A very serious problem for [these] victims is that, for many reasons, they have been deprived the freedom of expression to tell their stories to the world. This problem must be resolved in order to discuss the issue of sexual exploitation. This exhibit serves as an important opportunity for these women to raise their voices to the international community.”

He further added that Japan denying the existence of comfort women “does not constitute as freedom of expression. ... When talking about the past, it has to be grounded in historical fact.”

BY LEE YU-JEONG, SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]



http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/entertainment/03-Feb-2014/japan-upset-by-s-korean-comfort-women-comics-at-french-show


Japan upset by S Korean ‘comfort women’ comics at French show
AFP
February 03, 2014
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Japan upset by S Korean ‘comfort women’ comics at French show
Japan has expressed its “regret” at a South Korean exhibit at an international comic book festival in France featuring “comfort women” forced into wartime sex slavery in Japanese military brothels.
Japan’s ambassador to France, Yoichi Suzuki, said he “deeply regrets that this exhibition is taking place”, saying it promoted “a mistaken point of view that further complicates relations between South Korea and Japan”.
Up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere were forced into brothels catering to the Japanese military in territories occupied by Japan during World War II, according to many mainstream historians.
Franck Bondoux, director of the Angouleme International Comics Festival in western France, told reporters that Japan had not asked for the expo to be cancelled.
South Korea’s Gender Equality and Family Minister Cho yoon-sun was present at the opening of the South Korean exhibit, titled “The Flower That Doesn’t Wilt”, on Thursday. “The subject was proposed by the South Korean government but the artists were completely free to evoke the subject independently,” Bondoux said.
The politically-charged issue of comfort women has stoked regional tensions, with South Korea and China insisting that Japan must face up to its World War II-era sexual enslavement of women from across occupied Asia.
In a landmark 1993 statement, then-chief Japanese cabinet secretary Yohei Kono apologised to former comfort women and acknowledged Japan’s role in causing their suffering.
But in remarks in 2007 that triggered a region-wide uproar, then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there was no evidence that Japan directly forced women to work as sex slaves. Last week, the Japanese government distanced itself from remarks by the head of the NHK public broadcaster, who had said the Japanese Imperial Army’s system of wartime sex slavery was commonplace “in all countries during war”.
Katsuto Momii later apologised for “causing trouble” with the statement.
The French regional Sud Ouest daily newspaper received a petition, ahead of the festival’s opening, from Japanese women indignant at the South Korean exhibit.
On top of the comfort women row, the festival’s organisers shut down the booth of a Japanese association that displayed revisionist WWII content and swastika images among the comics on display.

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