[WaPo] 70 years later, a Korean ‘comfort woman’ demands apology from Japan

April 23, 2015
Comfort women memorial (Yonhap)

Comfort women memorial (Yonhap)


Seated on a sofa in an embroidered silk costume, Yong Soo Lee is a study in grim dignity. She is 86 now, and the story of her long-ago wartime ordeal emerges slowly and hesitantly at first. She speaks in an embarrassed murmur, constantly rubbing a rosary.

But as she continues, Lee’s gestures grow animated and angry, bearing mute witness to the violence and humiliation she endured for two years as a teenage captive at a Japanese military base. Her face grimaces and crumples. Her hands chop the air, grab her neck, clutch her stomach.

“At first the other girls tried to protect me because I was so young,” she says through an interpreter, beginning to weep. “I saw the soldiers on them, but the girls put a blanket over me and told me to pretend I was dead so nothing would happen to me. I didn’t know what they meant. I was only 14. I didn’t know anything then.”