“The Apology”: Free screenings of documentary about Japanese military “comfort women” in Portland, Los Angeles, and Seattle

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND) joins community groups in three cities to bring free screenings of the award-winning documentary “The Apology” directed by Tiffany Hsiung followed by discussion in Portland, Los Angeles, and Seattle in November and December 2018.

The film, which aired on PBS in October, follows the lives of three survivors–from Korea, China, and the Philippines–of the WWII-era Japanese military sexual slavery/enforced prostitution known as the “comfort women” system.

“Comfort women” are estimated 50,000 to 200,000 women who were forced to provide sexual service for members of the Imperial Japanese armed forces between 1932 and 1945. Women from Japan, Korea, China, and across the rest of Asia-Pacific were recruited through various means–from debt bondage to deception to outright conscription or kidnapping–but almost all of them are considered victims of human trafficking in today’s standards.

In recent years, Japanese right-wing nationalists (mostly from Japan) have become increasingly bold in their denial of Imperial Japanese atrocities, organizing protests and filing lawsuits against American cities like Glendale and San Francisco that have enacted memorials honoring the victims and survivors of Japanese military sexual violence. Worse, the right-wing nationalists frequently invoke the legacy of Japanese American civil rights leaders who fought for redress for wartime Japanese American incarceration, equating the remembrance and honoring of victims and survivors of Imperial Japanese military atrocities to anti-Japanese persecution in the mid-20th century. That is why we felt it was important to partner with Japanese American and other Asian American groups across the West Coast to send a clear message that Asian American communities will not be divided by historical denialism and that we stand together for justice for victims and survivors of wartime atrocities.

Portland screening will take place on Tuesday, November 13th at 6pm at Multnomah Central Library (801 SW 10th Ave, Portland), US Bank Room and is co-sponsored by People Organizing for Philippine Solidarity (POPS) and FeND. The film will be followed by a brief discussion.

In Los Angeles, the screening will be held at Art Share L.A. (801 E 4th Place, Los Angeles) on Thursday, November 15th at 6pm. The event is co-sponsored by Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, Progressive Asian Network for Action, Korean American Forum of California, Japanese American Women Speak (JAWS), Survivor Love Letter, Tomorrow Girls Troop, and FeND and will include an all-Japanese/Japanese American panel of activists/artists/scholars following the film. Speakers include Kathy Masaoka of Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress; Dr. Setsu Shigematsu, associate professor of media and cultural studies at University of California, Riverside; Tsukuru Fors of Progressive Asian Network for Action; Tani Ikeda, founder of Survivor Love Letter and Japanese American Women Speak (JAWS); and Emi Koyama, co-founder of Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND).

Seattle screening is scheduled for Saturday, December 8th at 2pm at Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave, Seattle) and is followed by an expert panel featuring historian Dr. Chong Eun Ahn of Central Washington University and anthropologist Dr. Tomomi Yamaguchi of Montana State University and local activists. It is co-sponsored by API Chaya, Asian American Journalist Association (AAJA) Seattle, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Seattle, Densho, Gabriela Seattle, International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) Seattle, Legacy of Equality, Leadership and Organizing (LELO), National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Seattle, Northwest Film Forum, Pacific Rim Solidarity Network (Parisol), Seattle Evergreen Coalition, Sahngnoksoo, SWOP Seattle, the Women’s Commission of the City of Seattle as well as FeND.

The events are in collaboration with POV, the award-winning independent non-fiction film series on PBS.

Japan-U.S. Feminist Network for Decolonization (FeND)
(713) 364-4475