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’Comfort women’ refer to women who were forcibly mobilized and forced to live as sex slaves by the Japanese military during World War II. The women were forced to have sex with their captors under brutal, inhumane conditions such as repeated rapes, agonizing physical pain, pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and bleak conditions.
Even after the liberation of Korea, the surviving victims continuously suffered from severe physical and mental aftereffects after returning to their homelands. For decades, the history of the “comfort women” went undocumented and unnoticed since mostly incinerated by the Japanese military and government at that time to avoid being charged with war crimes.
Without a sufficient apology from Japan, the fight for comfort women continues with only a few dozen alive victims. This project aims to raise awareness of a buried historical issue of ‘Comfort women’ in Korea.
How should we remember?
The original story
Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl in a small village near the sea. They were deeply in love with each other. There existed a three-headed monster called ‘Imoogi’, and one day, it appeared in the village. The Imoogi threatened to turn the village into a sea of flame if a young maiden were not offered up as a sacrifice every year.
The boy disguised as the girl and went instead of her to kill the monster. The boy wore the girl’s clothes and cut off one of the Imoogi’s heads. Afterwards, the boy took her hand and ran away into the deep forests. He promised her one hundred days to kill completely the monster. She held onto the boy in tears. The boy said he will come back with a white flag if he defeat the monster, but a red flag would mean he failed. Finally, the boy won the battle with the Imoogi, but his white flag was smeared with the blood of the Imoogi.
The girl saw the red flag and believed the boy was dead. The girl took the boy’s flag and rushed to the place in tears, where they promised to meet each other again. The girl threw herself off a cliff after pining for the boy.
As time passed, some unknown flowers came up in the place where the girl waited so long for the boy. The flowers were later named “Baek-il-hong (Zinnia elegans in English)”, meaning “flower for 100 days”.
The original story about the tale is explained with verbal commentary. The animated images help not only visualise the tale but also reinterpret the dark age of the Japanese colonization figuratively.
Simple but strong graphical techniques were used to effectively express the darkest and most hopeless time of Korean history.
Images from the original story are reinterpreted as the Japanese colonisation
The two main characters of the story, i.e. the boy and the girl, were designed based on facts from numerous sources of information on Korean society under Japanese rule.
The backgrounds of the story were designed based on facts from numerous sources about Korea under Japanese occupation. The Japanese Government-General of Korea arises with a deep and wide shadow in order to show the invasion of Japan.