• February 20, 2018
  • Welcome!
    Logout|My Dashboard

Queens Chronicle

Koo wants to honor ‘comfort women’

Forced into sex slavery by Japan

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2012 10:30 am

Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) would like to honor the “comfort women” of World War II with either a memorial or street renaming if he can get a consensus from the Korean community.

Comfort women were young females taken by the invading Japanese forces to service the troops. Up to 200,000 young females from China, Korea and other occupied areas were forced into complying.

Koo got the idea for a memorial after attending a symposium held at the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives on the Bayside campus of Queensborough Community College last December. The center brought together two Holocaust survivors living in Queens with two comfort women survivors from Korea.

The councilman said he was moved by their stories and decided to create some form of tribute “so the community remembers and it doesn’t happen again.” He pointed out that the plans are only in the discussion stage, but that he already had received some letters condemning the idea.

“I got a few and they were all form letters,” he said.

The councilman believes his memorial idea is not anti-Japanese and doesn’t think the opposition is from the Japanese government.

“I had dinner with the deputy chief of mission at the Consulate General of Japan in New York and he did not put any pressure on me,” Koo said.

He also noted that the Japanese government apologized for the comfort women in 1993.

Steven Choi is executive director of the Minkwan Center for Community Action in Flushing, a group that deals primarily with Korean issues. He believes the comfort women are a “sore spot historically” and would like to work with Koo on some education programs on the topic.

Terence Park, a leader in the Flushing Korean-American community, said Koo’s plans “are absolutely the right thing to do,” adding, “We must learn from history. Remembering what happened lets us go forward in a positive way.”

Also supporting Koo’s plan is Arthur Flug, executive director of the Kupferberg Holocaust Center, because “we can’t forget them. It’s history.”

He added that both the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and the Korean comfort women at the session were not afraid of dying. “They fear they will be forgotten,” Flug said.

He applauds Koo for his stance. “There’s a lesson to be learned and used,” Flug said.

Because of the event’s success, QCC students will be able to learn about problems related to the war and interact with Asian seniors under a new program that will begin in the fall.

The center already has a program for students to work with Holocaust survivors.

More about

Welcome to the discussion.


  • toshiaki posted at 10:28 pm on Sun, Jun 16, 2013.

    toshiaki Posts: 1

    You can find hoe Lee Yong-soo has changed her testimony over the past 20 years in this page


  • Pak posted at 2:53 pm on Fri, May 18, 2012.

    Pak Posts: 0

    Let me correct my writing.

    >think that almost all Korean women were prostitutes.

    think that almost all Korean COMFORT women were prostitutes.

    Actually, many were sold by her parents for their debts. Some comfort women said they cannot forgive their parents rather than Japanese soldiers.

  • Pak posted at 2:47 pm on Fri, May 18, 2012.

    Pak Posts: 0


    You just copied and pasted from what "Stunned in DC" wrote on the Timeslegder page.

    What you copied here does not have any useful information and just harassing Japan and Japanese people further.

  • Drew posted at 2:21 am on Fri, May 18, 2012.

    Drew Posts: 0

    Those extreme nationalists in Japan may think that they are trying to be "patriotic" by sending such letters to oppose this action; however, their actions are actually having a counter-effect. The more they try to deny the atrocities the Imperial Japanese Government committed in the past, the more people on this side will be unified for the cause.

    Some of these Japanese nationalists are so desperate to deny/hide Japan's not-so-beautiful past that they are actually urging people to watch propaganda/denial video clips uploaded on YouTube by a group of extreme Japanese nationalists. Truly sad, immature, and pitiful.

  • Pak posted at 3:34 pm on Thu, May 17, 2012.

    Pak Posts: 0

    This article is very biased. Where is your journalism, Liz Rhoades? You have not heard anything from Japanese experts who are studying this issue for a long time. Most well-aware Japanese, except leftists, communists, Korean people in Japan who selected to live in Japan long time ago and speak fluent Japanese but still do not change their nationality to Japanese, think that almost all Korean women were prostitutes.

    >Up to 200,000 young females from China,
    >Korea and other occupied areas were forced into complying.
    If there were 200,000 comfort women and if they had to have sex with 20 soldiers a day as Korean insists, Dr. Hata calculated that each Japanese soldier had to have a sex with prostitutes 1.3 times a day. Japanese soldiers did not have enough food. Who can have such energy to have a sex so often? Were there any time to fight in the war? Even now, a man with plenty foods cannot have a sex 1.3 times a day with his wife/girlfriend every day.

    Stop harassing Japan and Japanese people. Liz, when you want to humiliate any country, you have to learn the background and history of the country you want to attack. Otherwise, our relationship will deteriorate.

    Watch this video as a starter.
    This video is well supported with a lot of documents. You may want to verify the contents. And of course, you may want to hear from Koreans also to write a balanced article. Be careful, their history is heavily distorted.

    You are a journalist, right, who wants to write the truth?