Nikon has ignited a huge controversy among the people of South Korea. The Japanese camera company cancelled a planned exhibit in Shinjuku, Tokyo, by South Korean photographer Ahn Sehong; the exhibit was focused on women who were used as sexual slaves by the Japanese Imperial Army during its occupation of China in 1930’s and 1940’s, otherwise known as “comfort women.”
Ahn was notified by Nikon, but was furious when the company declined to give him an answer when asked about the reason for the cancellation. Nikon officials requested to meet the photographer in person to offer their apologies, but Ahn refused. Spokespeople for Nikon have confirmed the cancellation of the exhibit to the media, and despite acknowledging the controversy over the issue, still declines to provide reasoning for the decision. Ahn has stated that he will not let the issue go easily and has demanded that Nikon continue with the plans to exhibit his work.
In terms of the outrage from those of South Korean nationality, it is connected to an issue from earlier this month about a monument in the United States. In a community with a large population of Korean descendants in Palisades Park, New Jersey, there is a monument built to honor the memory of comfort women. Japanese government officials requested that the monument be taken down, as it was reflective of behavior from a long time ago, and no longer represents the Japan of today. As expected, the town declined and its residents were furious with the request. As result, there was a small amount of protesting in Japan about Ahn’s planned photo exhibit.
Somewhere in that political mess lies the reasoning for Nikon’s decision. What do you think readers? Can you see the rationale behind either side’s motivations? We welcome you to share your thoughts and reflections with us in the comments.