Voice and Battle
In 1992, three Korean women publicly spoke up about the unforgivable time and demanded an apology and compensation from the Japanese government. I immediately knew they were my sisters from the other side of the globe, with the same pain. My heart started beating fast again just like when I was a little girl running around a beautiful house on my little fee. I started to feel like to run again. I wanted to run for my lost voice.
It was on December 9th, 1992 when I found my voice again. I flew out to Tokyo to publicly speak about my story for the first time. Until then, I was too afraid to think about that time because it threw me in a deep, dark hole for the rest of my life. However, I had to be strong. With my five sisters from South Korea, North Korea, Philippines, China, and Taiwan, we were able to speak together. It was the moment I broke my shell of darkness and rose again. Our voices were found again. It was an overwhelming moment. The mixture of overflowing emotions conquered my mind and vision but I was strong enough to break free from that. I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore. The fact that I have taken my first step kept my voice going, and it never stopped again.
The last thing I was still afraid of was confronting my two children. The shame was still so great. I knew I had to tell them, but I couldn’t tell them face to face. Because I treasured them so much and wasn’t able to break free from my fear, I wrote down my stories in a notebook and handed it to one of my daughters, Carol. She sobbed her heart out how I used to. She published it as my memoir book in 1994; Fifty Years of Silence.
I spent 27 years to fight for human rights against war crimes, but I was still waiting for the Japanese government to issue an official apology to the victims and to face its legal responsibility. We did not want monetary compensation but wanted them to sincerely face the violation of human rights and educate their youth about their past. I knew that the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe was waiting for us all to be dead.
In 2016, I said; I won’t die, I will live forever until the apology.
In 2018, I realized the apology would never come for me because I was too old.
In 2019, I’m at a better place now, but my spirit is still alive alongside my younger children on earth for our beautiful battle.