Popular South Korean actor and singer Kim Dong-wan donated 30 million Won (US$27,500) to the surviving elderly Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II. The donation was made through the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) show Love Request, according to the statement made last January 25 by Liveworks Company, Kim’s agency.
“Comfort women” is the term used to refer to women from Korea, China, and the Philippines who were forced to work as sex slaves during the Japanese occupation in the Second World War. The Korean government as well as non-government organizations have repeatedly demanded a formal apology from the Japanese government, who has flip-flopped on the issue and has been giving ambiguous signals, depending on the ruling political party. There are now only 58 surviving “comfort women” in Korea and they have not given up in reminding people about their plight. They still participate in regular demonstrations outside the Japanese embassy in South Korea.
According to Love Request producers, Kim said that he hopes the remaining survivors will be able to receive a sincere apology while they are still alive. Officials from the Liveworks Company said that they hope the donation from Kim, who is a member of the Shinhwa idol group and who stars in the television drama “Cheer Up! Mr Kim”, will attract more attention to the cause. Kim has made other donations through the KBS show, now totalling 100 million Won (US$91,800). His first donation was 10 million Won (US$9,200) in 2003 for the victims of the Daegu subway arson that killed nearly 200 people.[ via Asia One ]