Kim Hak-sun was a Korean human rights activist who campaigned against sex slavery and war rape. During World War II, Hak-sun was among many young women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army. She was the first woman to come forward about the plight of the comfort woman. As the first to share her story, she helped to bring to the public’s attention the issue of Japanese sex slavery during the Pacific War when she went public with her story in August, 1991. At a press conference, she described her suffering as a comfort woman. She said that seeing the Japanese imperial flag “still makes me shudder. Until now, I did not have the courage to speak, even though there are so many thing I want to say.”  In December, 1991, she filed a class-action lawsuit against the Japanese government.[3][4] At that time, she was the first of what would become dozens of women from Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Netherlands who came forward to tell their stories of being forced to be sex slaves of Japanese military. She was the lead plaintiff and initially the only one to use her real name in connection with the case. She was inspired to finally take her story public after 40 years of silence, by the growth of the women’s rights movement in South Korea. Kim died in 1997, with the court case still ongoing.

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