It’s tough being a writer, a filmmaker, a human rights campaigner and… well… simply put, a human being.
Anyone creative [and in fact we all are in some way] surely can’t avoid getting involved with politics, activism or attempting to stop wrongdoings in the world, and I am no different.
Way back in [perhaps] 2011 or 2012 I became aware of those females labelled as ‘comfort women’. In fact, maybe I already knew about it prior to that but a few events got me a little involved with their plight, fight and right to justice.
There was a musical (Jo Cho’s mini masterpiece “GUMOK” – links and clip below) – which I not only witnessed but was one of the film crew for it – and then the situation on Jeju Island (https://miniminimovie.com/featured-film-gureombi-the-wind-is-blowing).
The latter area, or surrounding area, I also visited out of plain interest, care & love and for research due to my Korean documentary.
(Director: Jo Cho; Actress/dancer: Jihay Kim; Choreographer: Hany Park; Cameraman: Jason Verney)
These things changed aspects about me and something inside of me.
However, before I go any further, I must mention that those two items are not directly linked but do involve the military of some kind.
Fast forward to the latter part of 2014 and I was invited to attend and film a conference. This conference revolved around, and heavily, the ‘comfort women’ situation. It also had an interesting angle to it. These were Japanese activists campaigning for what they – and frankly anyone with a heart – understandably believed, and continue to believe in.
From this point on, I’ll simply use the the same description which exists on both the Vimeo and YouTube versions of this film and therefore from the ‘mini mini movie’ itself – it’s essentially a panel talk by the 4 Japanese women listed in the description, chaired by the wonderful Dr. Colette Balmain, and also an interview by MMM (aka Native Nomad Pictures; Jason Verney; Yours Truly).
‘Comfort Women’ and Sadly More Items… or More Sad Items
The 3 segments of this EXCLUSIVE film – Panel Talk; Q & A; Interview – cover not only sexual slavery and ‘comfort women’ but there is talk of human rights in general, trafficking, U.S. navy bases (e.g. Jeju Island; Okinawa) and the problems in countries across the globe.
[NOTE: A better quality version of this film will follow in due course – this one was created for use on iPhones, iPads, other smartphones and tablets, and therefore is of a different quality & file size.]
In light of the December 2015 decision by South Korea and Japan to ‘come to an agreement’ – without consulting victims or indeed most people outside of the governments – and ‘forget’ women who suffered as sex slaves in the Second World War… and then my collaboration with a good friend, bringing such a shameful agreement to further masses in February 2016 (by way of doing so right in front of U.N. General Secretary, BAN Ki-Moon [ original YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/MPhurcpGnEw ]…), I felt it necessary and apt to finish editing this video and make available to anyone interested, and therefore, surely anyone with a heart.
There, perhaps, hasn’t been a more timely, desperate or more important time in all the history of ‘comfort women’ than right now.
A little detail:
Having been granted exclusive access and permission to film this event in the latter part of 2014, I not only had the chance to hear from these truly remarkable ladies, who have been activists for many years, but also great questions from the audience and finally conduct an interview with the panel afterwards. All this in the grandiose setting of the inside and grounds of the Oxford’s renowned Mansfield College.
Technical aspects to note:
The sound was difficult to amend (although I did change a lot of the audio, where I could) and this was due, in the most part to the air-conditioning which was switched on some of the time. Who would I have been to intervene at the panel talk and deprive such honest, sweet women of such refreshment of air? There are enough stifling elements in the world.
The interview in the last element of this film includes much of these women conversing in Japanese. This is deliberate, as not only do I feel that English should not ‘always’ be the only language heard but also I thought and felt it only fair to let Japanese people hear them discussing in detail before they answer in English.
After all, the Asian ‘comfort women’ issue stems from Japan, and not simply from Japanese men but – and more importantly – Japanese women, victims and those with a heart and passion for human rights.
Dr. Colette Balmain
OTHER RELATED LINKS:
RELATED FILMS OF INTEREST:
Thanks for watching – and reading (if you made it this far).
And now… the Video in Question…
(or should be ‘the Questions in the Video’?)