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Comfort Women Day takes place in Glendale Updated: 2022-08-08 17:41:03 KST

The city of Glendale, California, home to America's first monument to the Korean victims of sexual slavery by the Japanese army, has observed its first Comfort Women Day in three years.
Marking the return of the observance after a few years off due to COVID-19, a special exhibition was also held with a number of related artworks.
Lee Seung-jae has more.

A statue of a girl, clenching her fist.
It's been over nine years since the Peace Monument was installed in the city of Glendale, California.
On July 30, 2012, thanks to the efforts of the Korean-American community and the city of Glendale, "Comfort Women Day" was officially declared.
The very first overseas monument to commemorate the victims of sexual slavery by the Japanese army was installed the following year.
2022 marked the 11th Comfort Women Day, with a special cultural event taking place at the Glendale Central Library.
It was all the more special, as it was the first time the city held the event in three years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special exhibition was also held in which four Korean artists participated, and large sculptures with historical significance welcomed visitors.

"Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to fully commemorate the 10th Comfort Women Day. So for the 11th event, we brought in large sculptures to mark the day."

And there were barriers to overcome before Glendale became the very base from where the world got to be informed of the plight of the victims.
In 2014, a far-right Japanese group even filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking the removal of the Peace Monument.
The Korean community responded strongly, and the city of Glendale fought the lawsuit.
After three years of legal battles, the court ruled in favor of the city, calling the installation of the monument legal.
And there's a reason why the Korean community along with the city, continue to fight to remember the victims of Japanese wartime sexual slavery.

"I think we should know the history right away and pass it on to future generations. And if you're faced with opposition that doesn't make sense to you, you have to be brave and fight it."

Comfort Women Day has been promoted as an official event in Glendale since 2017, and associated events will be held until October 9th.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.
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