During the Second World War (1932-1945), hundreds of thousands of Korean women became “Comfort Women,” which is a euphemism for women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army. These women were conscripted into many Asian countries from Korea and imprisoned at military comfort stations. After the war, many of them committed suicide or remained in foreign countries instead of returning home, as they were ashamed of their past.
Since Japan’s defeat in 1945, the comfort women have struggled through physical and emotional consequences of their enslavement for more than sixty years. To date, out of the estimated two hundred thousand whose lives were forever scared by this tragedy, only two hundred women have testified about their ordeals. Their bold testimonies would help prevent history from repeating itself.
In this project, I am approaching the story of the comfort women by using the number of incidents, women, stations, and testimonies metaphorically.
Jungeun Lee was born and raised in South Korea. She studied architecture at Hoseo University in Korea and received a MFA in Photography from University of North Texas. During her graduate years, Jungeun discovered a piece of Korean history unfamiliar to many. This finding led to further research and production of Silenced Suffering: The Comfort Women Project. In 2010, she held her MFA exhibition at 500X Gallery in Dallas. Jungeun was the first place recipient of the 2010 PhotoNOLA Review Prize. Her work is showing at the Holocaust Resource Center & Archives in New York. She currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas.