Japan

“Comfort Women” – A Twisted Euphemism

 

CEO Message

“Comfort Women” – A Twisted Euphemism
LONG STORY SHORT WITH LESLIE WILCOX: Nora Okja Keller

Honolulu’s Nora Okja Keller, author of the acclaimed novel Comfort Woman

 

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOI remember exactly what I said some three decades ago to a Honolulu news colleague, when we first heard the expression “comfort women” and learned what it meant.

 

“How twisted is that?” I said. “A truly deceptive term to hide horrendous brutality against the powerless.”

 

Of course, that’s what euphemisms do. They mask unpleasantness; they blunt the horror.

 

This euphemism refers to young women of little means, mostly teenagers, forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Sino-Japanese War and World War II. In filthy conditions, they were required to sexually service 20, 30, sometimes 50 Japanese soldiers a day.

 

They endured beatings, infection, disease and abortions. Most died.

 

At the end of World War II, survivors felt so much shame that many didn’t go home. They sought new lives and didn’t speak of their ordeal. One former captive was Keum-Ju Hwang, of South Korea, who finally resolved to tell her story before she died. She spoke in 1993 at a University of Hawai‘i symposium – and Honolulu resident Nora Okja Keller was in that audience.

 

Keller, born in Seoul and of half Korean ancestry, felt a “burden of history” and embarked on a journey of research and writing. The result was a critically acclaimed first novel, Comfort Woman. She recalled that before she heard Ms. Hwang’s account, she was only aware of scenes in Korean soap operas: “There’d be this mysterious woman, veiled in black, going through the background. And the reference would be, ‘Oh…do you see that woman? Something bad happened to her during the war.’”

 

PBS Hawai‘i will air an encore of my 2008 Long Story Short conversation with Nora Okja Keller on Tuesday, October 16, the week before our October 22 premiere of a POV film, The Apology, which follows three survivors – from China, the Philippines and South Korea. (See interview with the filmmaker on pages 4-5 of our October Program Guide.)

 

Keller’s inspiration, Ms. Hwang, died in 2013, knowing she had done her part to let the world understand her soul-scarring but freeing truth.

Aloha nui,

Leslie signature


 

 

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawai‘i

 

Kazuo Yamane, a Nisei Japanese American from Hawai‘i, played a crucial strategic role in WWII. Drafted just before the war, Yamane became a part of the 100th Infantry Battalion. He was plucked from their ranks for his exceptional knowledge of the Japanese language, which would lead him to the Pentagon and to Europe, where he served under President Eisenhower. Yamane would eventually use his language skills to help shorten the war in the Pacific.

 

 

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the WWII Internment Camps

 

Using historical footage and interviews from artists who were interned, this film tells the story of how traditional Japanese cultural arts were maintained at a time when the War Relocation Authority emphasized the importance of assimilation and Americanization. Included are stories of artists in the fields of music, dance and drama who were interned at Tule Lake, Manzanar, Amache/Granada, Rohwer, Gila River and Topaz.

 

 

FAMILY INGREDIENTS
Japan – Miso Soup

 

Part foodie, part travelogue, part genealogy, Family Ingredients follows acclaimed Hawaiʻi restaurateur and sustainability hero Ed Kenney, as he meets with different individuals in the Islands, and follows each person’s cherished food memory to its origin around the globe. He takes off to explore Okinawa, Tahiti, California, Japan, Puerto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands, showcasing how cuisine can profoundly unite cultures, communities and families.

 

Japan – Miso Soup
In Japan, miso factories are like microbreweries in America. Host Ed Kenney and fellow Hawai‘i restaurateur Alan Wong dive into the origins of miso soup, Wong’s favorite childhood dish, and search for the finest ingredients.

 

 

FAMILY INGREDIENTS
Tahiti – Poisson Cru

 

Part foodie, part travelogue, part genealogy, Family Ingredients follows acclaimed Hawaiʻi restaurateur and sustainability hero Ed Kenney, as he meets with different individuals in the Islands, and follows each person’s cherished food memory to its origin around the globe. He takes off to explore Okinawa, Tahiti, California, Japan, Puerto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands, showcasing how cuisine can profoundly unite cultures, communities and families.

 

Tahiti – Poisson Cru

It started because they said it couldn’t be done. Polynesians navigated their world on canoes following the stars. Modern seafarers proved it was true. Meet a crewmember on the Hokulea worldwide voyage traversing the planet with a stop at his ancestral home. A family moment to remember and a dish never to forget.

 

 

FAMILY INGREDIENTS
Okinawa – Soki Soba

 

Part foodie, part travelogue, part genealogy, Family Ingredients follows acclaimed Hawai‘i restaurateur and sustainability hero Ed Kenney, as he meets with different individuals in the Islands, and follows each person’s cherished food memory to its origin around the globe. He takes off to explore Okinawa, Tahiti, California, Japan, Puerto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands, showcasing how cuisine can profoundly unite cultures, communities and families.

 

Okinawa – Soki Soba
Okinawan soba is not to be confused with Japanese soba. The blend of noodles, soup and pork spare ribs embodies the spirit of the Okinawan people and the complex history that make up its islands.

 

FAMILY INGREDIENTS
Hawai‘i – Poi

 

Part foodie, part travelogue, part genealogy, Family Ingredients follows acclaimed Hawai‘i restaurateur and sustainability hero Ed Kenney, as he meets with different individuals in the islands, and follows each person’s cherished food memory to its origin around the globe. He takes off to explore Okinawa, Tahiti, California, Japan, Puerto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands, showcasing how cuisine can profoundly unite cultures, communities and families.

 

Hawai‘i – Poi
Hawaiian cuisine is blazing its way into kitchens across America with exciting flavors and ingredients, but the most famous Hawaiian dish is the one that is most misunderstood.

 

WWII MEGA WEAPONS
The Tunnels of Okinawa

 

Learn why Imperial Japan built a network of defensive lines, bunkers and fortifications across the island of Okinawa.

 

The tide of war in the Pacific has now fully turned against the Imperial Japanese forces. In a fierce and brutal island hopping campaign, the Americans are winning battle after battle, rapidly gaining ground in their ultimate goal of invading mainland Japan. However, the Japanese decide that the island of Okinawa will be their own last bastion of defense.

 

 

NOVA
The Impossible Flight

 

Follow two intrepid pilots as they take on the greatest aviation adventure of our time, overcoming countless challenges as they construct and fly the first solar-powered airplane around the world.

 

 

1 2 3 5