The House of Sharing, home of the many women forced into sexual slavery during WWII known as “comfort women”, opens its doors for English tours to tourists interested in this part of history.
The House of Sharing had been the home of these “comfort women” since its establishment way back in 1995. Within the house is a museum which documents the painful history of these “comfort women”.
“Comfort women” were the girls and young women across Asia – some 200,000 of them – who were forced by the Japanese army into sexual slavery during the Second World War. These “comfort women” were part of the Japanese Army’s “comfort station” system set up in the 1930s and went on until the end of WWII, in 1945. Females aged 12 to 32 were kidnapped by the Japanese Imperial Forces from various parts of Asia, were trafficked, raped and turned into sex slaves for the military.
The museum within the House of Sharing which is located Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province records the origins, arrangements of events and even the system’s human toll. It also showcases various evidences, artifacts, photographs, videos as well as original paintings made by several surviving “comfort women”. The museum in the House of Sharing is the first and most factual foundation dedicated to the said issue in history.
According to the tour organizer in a press release as reported by Korean Times, the tour’s purpose is to educate the public about the history of these “comfort women” as the House of Sharing was built to be the home of the surviving “comfort women” known as “halmoni” (grandmothers).
The press release further added that the English tours have been ongoing since 2005 and that everyone interested in this part of WWII history is most welcome.
The tour along with the following discussions during and after it and the survival stories of these “comfort women” will provide an informative and rewarding experience to tour members. Not only will it shed light to the current Korea-Japan relations, it will also give those who are in it more understanding about the many forms violence against women manifest.
A similar museum devoted to the “comfort women” and their part in WWII history exists in Japan — the Museum of Sexual Slavery by Japanese Military. Established in 1998, its purpose is to show the inhumane acts committed by the Japanese army during the said war, serve as justification for the plight the “comfort women” suffered and to educate the next geneartion about it.
For more information about the tours, visit House of Sharing website.