Two Public Performances Honor Victims of Japanese Sex Slavery During WWII

At Glendale’s Central Park, Yoshiko Shimada and Tomorrow Girls Troop will commemorate this still-festering historical wound.

L: Yoshiko Shimada, R: Tomorrow Girls Troop (courtesy Tomorrow Girls Troop)

Between 1932 and 1945, thousands of women — hundreds of thousands by some estimates — from Korea, China, and the Philippines were pressed into sexual slavery to serve Japan’s Imperial Army. Although a formal agreement between Japan and South Korea was recently reached, the legacy of these “comfort women,” as they are known, continues to be a source of trauma, shame, and anger throughout the region. In recognition of their plight, statues dedicated to the victims have been erected in cities throughout the world, from Asia to Europe and the US, including one that sits in Glendale’s Central Park.

This Sunday, two performances will take place in the park in commemoration of this still-festering historical wound. Throughout her career, Japanese artist Yoshiko Shimada has grappled with Japan’s uncomfortable wartime legacy, especially in relation to women’s complex role as both victims and enablers of their nation’s militaristic nationalism. Shimada will re-stage her 2012 performance “Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Woman,” in which she memorializes women from her own country who were forced into sexual servitude, yet who are often left out of the historical narrative. International feminist art collective Tomorrow Girls Troop will stage “Against Forgetting,” a collaborative performance that honors the story of the Comfort Women as well as contemporary victims of state-sponsored sexual violence. Those wishing to participate should wear bright colored tops and arrive at 2pm for a rehearsal.

When: Sunday, February 18, 2–4pm
Where: Glendale Central Park (201 E. Colorado St., Glendale, California)

More info here.

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