Protesters demand justice for the ‘comfort women’ of World War II on Global Action Day

Protesters took turns sitting with a replica of the “Statue of Peace” — or “Sonyeosang” in Korean — an artwork installed in 2011 outside the Embassy of Japan in Seoul, South Korea, as a monument to the women.

SHARE Protesters demand justice for the ‘comfort women’ of World War II on Global Action Day
Shiwei Zhang holds a sign that reads “comfort women” in Chinese, while holding the hand of a replica of the Statue of Peace, or Sonyeosang in Korean, Wednesday at the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on the Near North Side.

Shiwei Zhang holds a sign that reads “comfort women” in Chinese, while holding the hand of a replica of the “Statue of Peace,” or “Sonyeosang” in Korean, Wednesday at the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on the Near North Side.

Elizabeth Rymut/Sun-Times

Dozens of protesters rallied Wednesday on the Near North Side to raise awareness about the injustices suffered by “comfort women” at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Before and during World War II, the Japanese government forced women from Korea, China, the Philippines and other Asian countries occupied by Japan into sexual slavery in brothels that served the nation’s military.

Wednesday’s protest was organized by the nonprofit group KAN-WIN, whose mission includes providing comprehensive services for people experiencing gender-based violence, as part of the 10th annual Global Action Day to raise awareness about the plight of the victims.

“The Japanese military called them comfort women, but this term deceitfully sanitizes and erases the pain and trauma inflicted upon thousands — hundreds of thousands — of women and girls,” said Ji Hye Kim, the organization’s executive director.

Kim called the treatment of the women “one of the most horrific human rights violations in history.”

Protesters rallied in front of the Wrigley Building, 400 N. Michigan Ave., and took turns sitting with a replica of the “Statue of Peace” — or “Sonyeosang” in Korean — an artwork depicting a young woman that was installed in 2011 outside the Embassy of Japan in Seoul, South Korea, as a monument to the women.

Protesters later marched on the Magnificent Mile toward the Consulate-General of Japan, at 737 N. Michigan Ave.

Musicians perform at 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “comfort women” protest Wednesday on the Near North Side.

Musicians perform at the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” protest Wednesday on the Near North Side.

Elizabeth Rymut/Sun-Times

Dozens line up to sit with a replica of the Statue of Peace, or Sonyeosang in Korean, Wednesday at the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on the Near North Side.

Dozens line up to sit with a replica of the “Statue of Peace” in front of the Wrigley Building.

Elizabeth Rymut/Sun-Times

Protesters sit with a replica of the Statue of Peace, or Sonyeosang in Korean, Wednesday at the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on the Near North Side.

Protesters sit with a replica of the “Statue of Peace” during Wednesday’s protest.

Elizabeth Rymut/Sun-Times

Ji Hye Kim, executive director of KAN-WIN, speaks Wednesday at the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on the Near North Side.

Ji Hye Kim, executive director of KAN-WIN, speaks Wednesday at the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on the Near North Side.

Elizabeth Rymut/Sun-Times

Protestors march down the Magnificent Mile for the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on Wednesday.

Protesters march down the Magnificent Mile as part of the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Rymut/Sun-Times

Protestors march down the Magnificent Mile for the 10th annual Global Action Day for Justice for “Comfort Women” on Wednesday.

Protesters chant and hold signs as they march on Michigan Avenue.

Elizabeth Rymut/Sun-Times

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