Many victims of Japan’s military conquest in WWII affected women. They were often abused, or even used as sex slaves. Every Wednesday, these women, known as “comfort women,” are congregating outside the embassy for Japan in Seoul, South Korea. They demonstrate courage and remembrance of the atrocities which occurred.
But after the devastating tsunami and earthquake crisis, these elderly women demonstrated something else: envelopes of cash, words of encouragement which they put into collection boxes. Even when we have been hurt, put down or unjustly treated, may we all have the courage to demonstrate kindness and compassion for those in the present day. These “comfort women” are showing their forgiveness and love during a time of need, and especially to a modern Japanese population, much of whom were not involved in the war, though their culture and history might have been.
There are not many comfort women remaining, while more than 200,000 were thought to be victims in the 1940s and 50s. This small group is making a difference by turning anger into acceptance and care in the present day.
It’s so easy to simply put up a block against those we feel wronged us. What courage these women demonstrate to extend an olive branch after such an excruciating event in their lives. It gives me inspiration to look at my own life, and perhaps some of the injustices that I feel have occurred, and instead return calm, return kindness, return forgiveness, as I would wish to be forgiven.
Read more in The Christian Science Monitor’s article, “South Koreans Pause Protests to Grieve for Japanese.”