ESJF held two workshops at the 2019 T4SJ conference on Saturday, October 12. During the morning session, Danielle Dybrro and Christina Tang facilitated a workshop on Medical Atrocities: Unit 731 and the Moral Responsibility of Research, while Erin Hanlon, Sung Sohn, and Christina Tang facilitated a workshop on Sexual Slavery and Sex Trafficking Through the Lens of "Comfort Women" in the afternoon session. Special thanks go to the three SF Bay Area teachers who facilitated the workshops.
We thank all the workshop participants, especially the ones who keep coming back to our workshops year after year! Thank you for your insightful questions, encouraging comments, and great interest in our work. One participant who attended both of our workshops wrote that he’ll commit to teaching these atrocities in his classroom.
We thank all the educators and activists who stopped by our table to learn about what we do or inquire about the Peace Girl Statue, sitting right next to our table at the conference.
Big thank you goes to T4SJ for organizing yet another great conference!
ESJF is excited to release Medical Atrocities in Asia and Medical Ethics, a teacher resource guide that contains lesson plans aligned with the 2017 California H-SS Framework. These lesson plans are written by Danielle Dybbro, Erin Hanlon, and Christina Tang, San Francisco Bay Area teachers committed to teaching sidelined history through inquiry-based methods. ESJF deeply appreciates their dedication to inclusive history.
ESJF also greatly appreciates Redefine Community for their tireless commitment to our educational endeavors and the value they place on marginalized narratives, evidenced in this publication’s chilling and resonant design.
I’m deeply humbled to know that this publication was made possible by your continued support and dedication to addressing and redressing the sidelined history of medical atrocities in Asia and medical ethics.
ESJF coordinates student art exchange program for Chiba Korean Elementary and Middle School in Japan and Mariposa Kids Community Project
ESJF is delighted to announce that we are the coordinators of a student art exchange program for Chiba Korean Elementary and Middle School in Japan and Mariposa Kids Community Project (MKCP), an afterschool enrichment program founded in 2007 in San Francisco. Ten students at MKCP, ranging in ages from 2nd to 5th grade, provided their paintings to ESJF for shipping to Chiba just in time for their 48th annual student art exhibition from October 1 to October 6 in Japan.
These paintings from the Mariposa Kids are part of the week-long exhibition as you can see from the photos above. The students in Chiba will ship their paintings for the 7th annual art show at Mariposa Kids Community Project next spring.
ESJF would like to thank the following guests for making this screening so meaningful. Kwangmin Kim, Executive Director of Korea NGO Center in Osaka, provided the audience with clear answers to their questions and background information on educational injustice being committed against Korean descents living in Japan. Miho Kim Lee of Eclipse Rising provided great translations and also fielded questions from the audience. Informational flyers sent by Kyunghee Ha of Eclipse Rising, from Japan, were very helpful in giving further context about this state-organized racial discrimination through education.
We thank Jenny Chan, co-founder and executive director of Pacific Atrocities Education, for making her center available for both screenings.
ESJF would like to thank the members of Eclipse Rising, Nikkei Resisters, One Heart for Justice, Youth Forum Fukuoka (YFF), and Justice for "Comfort Women" United Kindom for attending.
ESJF is especially grateful to Director Chanyu Ko for making this screening possible. It was a great evening of much-needed exposure to rarely known racial and educational injustice, discussion, and reflection.
This film has been nominated for this year's Tokyo Documentary Film Festival.
To learn more about Korean Schools in Japan, please click here.
ESJF deeply appreciates our friends and guests from Korea, Japan, and England. It is so inspiring to see the international community coming together in the pursuit of justice for all.
Korean Schools in Japan
This historiographical documentary on Korean schools in Japan from the mid-1940s to 2018 exposes state-sanctioned racial discrimination and injustice while delivering an awe-inspiring message of hope. Eclipse Rising, Education for Social Justice Foundation, and Nikkei Resisters are proud to bring this documentary to the United States for its first screening outside of Japan.
Special guests from Japan will be available for questions and comments after the screening.
Director: Chanyu Ko
Production: “Ai’s Hakkyo Production” Committee
Narration: Hana Kang, one of the main actors in the movie Spirits Homecoming, is featured and narrates along with Kiyohara Masatsugu
Please direct any inquiries on future screenings of Korean Schools in Japan to email@example.com
The screening My Name is Kim Bokdong on the 21st was fully packed. ESJF would like to thank the two inspiring speakers, who have devoted so much energy to the restoration of the human rights of Japanese military sex slaves. Former Congressman Mike Honda spoke on the importance of education and active civic engagement. Former SF City Supervisor Eric Mar echoed the importance of education on sidelined history such as "comfort women" through amplifying the voices of the victims. On behalf of SF City Supervisor Gordon Mar, Eric also thanked Meehyang Yoon and the Korean Council for bringing this powerful and moving documentary to San Francisco.
Among many guests that evening, ESJF would like to thank Becky and Charles Shao, co-founders of APTSJW, for attending the screening.
We'd also like to extend our thanks to the members of Eclipse Rising, Nikkei Resisters, One Heart for Justice, Youth Forum Fukuoka (YFF), and Justice for "Comfort Women" United Kindom for attending.
A big thank you goes to the SFSU students who attended.
ESJF especially thanks to two guests who took a six-hour-long train ride from Bakersfield to come to the screening.
Most of all, we are so grateful to the Korean Council, an international nongovernmental organization that has been fighting to resolve the issues of Japanese military sexual slavery and to prevent the recurrent sexual violence committed against women during wartime for the past nearly 30 years. Meehyang Yoon is Chair of the Board of the Korean Council. Sunghee Oh is the Secretary of Human Rights and Solidarity Department, and Haesul Kim is the Coordinator of Human Rights and Solidarity Department.
Despite the remarkable heat (84 degrees Fahrenheit!), all attendees stayed for the length of the screening and many attended the discussion after. Peace Girl Statue and Yunsu Jo's painting greeted everyone.
This film will be playing in London on October 28 at the London East Asian Film Festival (LEAFF). For more information, go to https://dochouse.org/cinema/screenings/leaff-my-name-kim-bok-dong
My Name is Kim Bokdong is a documentary that premiered in May at the Jeonju International Film Festival and opened in theaters on August 8 in South Korea.
Come see the movie and witness the power of the collective activism led by Bokdong Kim to bring justice to Japanese military sex slaves. Thanks to the Korean Council for hosting the documentary tour in several cities in the States in September. Outside of these showings, the documentary won't be available for viewing until much later.
Click here for the movie review in the Korea Herald.
About Bokdong Kim (1926-2019): Once a Japanese military sex slave, Bok-Dong Kim later became an advocate for peace and a human rights activist. At the age of fourteen, she was forcibly taken by the Japanese military and sent to various countries, including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, following their invasion route. Eight years after her mobilization as a Japanese military “comfort woman,” she returned home. In March 1992, she made a public testimony and began her activism.
After she testified at the first Asian Solidarity Conference for the Resolution of the Issue of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan in August 1992, she testified at the World Conference on Human Rights held by the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, the 2000 Women's International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan's Military Sexual Slavery, and other occasions.
Beginning in 2012, she carried out international campaigns at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and in the United States, England, Germany, Norway, and Japan, speaking of a world without war and victims of sexual violence due to armed conflicts.
She also endeavored to provide financial aid to Korean schools in Japan, which suffer discrimination. The schools for students of Korean descent living in Japan are often excluded from the tuition subsidy program.
Kim Bokdong lived at a home called “Peaceful Our House” (평화의 우리집), provided by the Korean Council, from 2010 until her passing in 2019. She passed away on January 28, 2019, and about two weeks later, on February 12, Gordon Mar, SF City Supervisor, issued a posthumous certificate of honor for her tireless work in advocating for peace and fighting for human rights. She held onto hope until the day she passed away: “Although sometimes I question whether or not our situation is hopeful, I know we need to hold onto hope. I do. Please follow me. Let’s gather our strength and not forget about hope. Let’s hold onto hope together.”
Coverage from Xinhua (8/15/2019)
ESJF Statement: “After ‘Lack of Freedom of Expression?’” Shut Down to Suppress Freedom of Expression
Education for Social Justice Foundation (ESJF) denounces the ironic and uncivil decision announced on August 3 to shut down the exhibit, “After ‘Lack of Freedom of Expression?’, 「表現の不自由展・その後」.” We urge the exhibit to reopen immediately.
Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura who demanded the shutdown argued that “the exhibition could give the wrong impression that Japan accepts a South Korean claim that comfort women [Japanese military sex slaves] were forcibly taken by the Japanese military...” One of the pieces on the display was "Peace Girl Statue," which symbolizes a victim of Japanese military sexual slavery. The organizers of the Aichi Triennale 2019, “Taming Y/Our Passion” 「情の時代」, decided to shut down the exhibit instead of running it until October 14. The exhibit space is now covered up by blank barricades depriving people of over 20 art pieces at the exhibit, “After ‘Lack of Freedom of Expression?’”
Shutting down an exhibit, especially without consulting the artists, is a grave suppression of freedom of expression and political violence. One of the pieces on the display was done by a minor back in December 2016.
In April 2017, 11th grader Yun-soo Jo experienced injustice when the city funding to the Chiba Korean Elementary and Middle School was cut because she and her friend presented art pieces advocating justice for Japanese military sex slaves, which the Chiba mayor found problematic. As a result, he cut funding to the school as an unfair punitive measure. At the 2019 Aichi Triennale, she is experiencing yet another injustice associated with freedom of expression, which is the essence of democracy.
In addition to protecting the freedom of expression of the people, it is the humble duty of democratic society to provide a just and safe environment for the young generation, but the organizers of the Aichi Triennale 2019 have done completely the opposite. Shutting down freedom of expression is wrong. Shutting down freedom of minors’ expression is even more wrong and shameful.
The Japanese Centre of PEN International, a writers’ organization in Japan, released the following statement on August 3: “Eliminating the space for communication between creator and viewer robs art of its meaning and quashes the spirit of freedom, which is the driving force of society.”
The Japan Art Association has protested against the shutdown of the exhibition by stating "Succumbing to pressure from the government and threatening is a serious infringement on freedom of expression."
As Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura said, “highly likely, this decision violates Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression."
To learn more about Yun-soo Jo’s painting and Chiba Korean Elementary and Middle School standing up against suppression of freedom of expression, please click here.
You can send an email to the Aichi Prefectural Triennale Promotion Office urging to reopen the exhibition at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to see a copy the letter ESJF sent to the office, please click here.
International Joint Statement Applauding the Dissolution of the Contrived “Reconciliation and Healing Foundation”
We welcome the news that the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation in S. Korea has finally been dismantled. Established in 2016 as part of the flawed 2015 “comfort women” agreement between S. Korea and Japan, the Japanese government claimed the foundation was intended to help survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery, but it—and the rest of the agreement—was denounced by the victims because their input was never sought. The most offensive part of the original agreement was the declaration that it was “final and irreversible,” suggesting that reparations had been made unequivocally, when in fact the Japanese government has still not issued a formal apology for their past war crimes.
We are reminded that the disbandment of the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation teaches all of us an empowering lesson from history that no government can stand in the way of restoring the human rights of and justice for victims of Japanese military sex slaves. This redress movement is also a significant reminder to the perpetrators and the victims of sexual violence in the past and today that crimes associated with sexual violence will not be tolerated and that justice lives.
Though cabinet members in the Japanese government insist that the agreement stands, we understand that since the two main enactments—the establishment of the center and the donation of 1 billion JYP—have been annulled, the agreement is, in actuality, nullified.