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Sculpting Empathy: The Transmedial Journey of the "Comfort Women" Image, Girl Statue of Peace (2011) in South Korean Pop Culture


SaeHim Park

The term "comfort women" is a disturbing euphemism that conceals the grave reality of the military's sexual violence perpetrated by the Japanese Empire within its occupied and colonized regions from 1931 to 1945. Today, the Girl Statue of Peace (2011), known as "pyeonghwaui sonyeosang" in Korean, has risen as a prominent and profoundly revered symbol of the activism seeking redress for "comfort women" in South Korea. This conversation delves into the transformation of the Girl Statue from a public monument into a cherished personal memento, taking various forms such as gifts, miniatures, and even tattoos. Presenting is SaeHim Park, a PhD candidate in Art, Art History & Visual Studies and a Global Justice and Equity Fellow 2023-2024 at the John Hope Franklin Center. Park is completing her dissertation on the politics of imaging "comfort women," military sexual violence of Japanese Empire, in the contemporary Korean visual culture. This talk will be moderated by Leo Ching, Professor in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department. Professor Ching's research interests include colonial discourse studies, postcolonial theory, Japanese mass culture, and theories of globalization and regionalism. Image Caption: 작은 소녀상/Peace Statue/平和少女像, War and Women's Human Rights Museum, Seoul, South Korea


Asia focus, Humanities, Lecture/Talk, Visual and Creative Arts