LA Koreatown looks to install comfort women statue

January 12, 2015

By Kim Chul-soo

An effort to install a “comfort women” statue in Los Angeles’ Koreatown is underway.

A fundraising campaign to erect a memorial similar to one of a young Korean comfort woman in Glendale, Calif., will be launched by the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles in collaboration with its former presidents.

“I feel there is a need for a memorial for victims inside Koreatown to educate later generations of Korean Americans,” said Kim Young-tae, former KAFLA president.

The Glendale statue is a memorial for women who were taken in for sexual slavery by Japanese troops during World War II. Comfort women statues are installed in several locations around the U.S., including Union City, N.J., and Southfield, Michigan.

Taking into account political controversy that would emerge should the memorial be installed at Dawooljung, the Korean Pavilion that stands on land owned by the city of Los Angeles, the statue will likely be placed inside KAFLA.

Controversy continues to surround these statues, which compelled one Japanese American organization, Global Alliance for Historical Truth, to file a lawsuit against the city of Glendale last year to take down the memorial.

The alliance, which cited concern that the statue would have negative influence on U.S.-Japan relations, lost the case in August.

KAFLA President James Ahn said he had been pushing to have a Koreatown statue since taking post and that he has successfully gained the support of city councilmembers in relation to its installation.

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