South Korean comics featuring “comfort women”, that were displayed at an international comic book festival in France, bothered Japan. The latter expressed its “regret” regarding South Korea’s decision of presenting at the international event stories about the women forced into wartime sex slavery in Japanese military brothels.
Japan’s ambassador to France, Yoichi Suzuki, said he “deeply regrets that this exhibition is taking place”, saying it promoted “a mistaken point of view that further complicates relations between South Korea and Japan”.
However, Japan did not ask for the expo to be cancelled, Franck Bondoux, director of the Angouleme International Comics Festival in western France said.
“The subject was proposed by the South Korean government but the artists were completely free to evoke the subject independently,” Bondoux said according to the international press.
During World War II, when Japan’s army occupied Korea, China and Southeast Asia, around 200,000 women were used by Japanese soldiers for sexual services, with most of the sex slaves coming from China, the Philippines and Korea, but from other occupied territories too.
On top of the comfort women row, the festival’s organizers shut down the booth of a Japanese association that displayed revisionist WWII content and swastika images among the comics on display.