Last Chinese ‘comfort woman’ to sue Japan dies

CCTV News

Photo by Chinanews.com Photo by Chinanews.com

The last living “comfort woman” of the 16 Chinese who sued Japan since the 1990s died in North China’s Shanxi province without receiving a sought-after apology from the Japanese government, Shanxi Evening News reported on Friday.

Zhang Xiantu, 89, had been fighting for an apology from the Japanese government since 2000 when she went to Japan for the first time to testify as a victim and witness of Chinese women who were sexually enslaved by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Last Chinese 'comfort woman' to sue Japan dies

Last Chinese 'comfort woman' to sue Japan dies

The last living "comfort woman" of the 16 Chinese who sued Japan since the 1990s died in North China's Shanxi province without receiving a sought-after apology from the Japanese government, Shanxi Evening News reported on Friday. Zhang Xiantu, 89, had been fighting for an apology from the Japanese government since 2000 when she went to Japan for the first time to testify as a victim and witness of Chinese women who were sexually enslaved by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

“At her last moment, Zhang still told her sons to keep on suing the Japanese government. Dying without getting an apology is a shame for the old woman,” said Zhang Shuangbing, who has long been devoted to investigating and interviewing comfort women in North China’s Shanxi province.

During an interview in May, Zhang recalled the day Japanese soldiers kidnapped her. “It was only on the second day of the lunar new year in 1942 that I was taken away by the Japanese soldiers, who broke into my house,” she told reporters with The Beijing News.

Seizing the reporter’s hand, Zhang said, “Life in those days was destroyed by the Japanese”, as she remembered she was forced to be a comfort woman for more than 20 days. She recalled how she suffered serious gynecological diseases before she was ransomed, but she found it difficult to express herself fluently as it was too painful to remember much.

Photo by China Daily

Photo by China Daily

At that time, Zhang’s son, Guo Aiming, told a reporter it had long been his mother’s wish to accept an apology from the Japanese government since she didn’t get one in 2000.

In the 2000 lawsuit against the Japanese government asking for an apology and compensation, Zhang didn’t get the expected result, but did get an acknowledgement from a relevant Japanese authority that Japanese soldiers did do harm to Chinese women during World War II.

Chinese women weren’t the only females used as sex slaves. “Comfort women” were used by Japanese soldiers in South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the issue of “comfort women” was “the biggest obstacle” to South Korea and Japan’s effort to improve their relationship before the first formal meeting between her and Japan’s Shinzo Abe on Nov. 2.

China Daily


Sexual slavery in Japan during WWII

For more about the comfort women during WWII, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes talked with Jim Spellman.

 
Jim Spellman discusses the comfort women during WWII

Jim Spellman discusses the comfort women during WWII

For more about the comfort women during WWII, CCTV America's Elaine Reyes interviewed Jim Spellman.

 

  • Maija Devine

    I’m deeply saddened about the death of the former Chinese comfort woman Zhang Xiantu (89) on 11/13/15. (Shanxi Evening News (http://www.cctv-america.com/2015/11/13/last-chinese-comfort-woman-to-sue-japan-dies). She was only 16 when she was taken by Japanese soldiers, who broke into her house. Ironically, that tragedy occurred on lunar January 2, of 1942, one day after the Chinese New Year when the Chinese celebrate it for days (with fireworks and nearly non-stop popping of firecrackers) and even carrying it into January 15. Koreans celebrated into January 15, too. Zhang’s captivity in a Japanese military brothel seems to have been brief–about 20 days–compared to years most Korean comfort women spent, providing sex to an average of 10-20 Japanese soldiers per day per girl. However, the length of captivity seems irrelevant when one considers the depth of the shock and trauma of their experiences. The physical and psychological damage they received continue to hurt and haunt them to the end and, perhaps, even beyond death. According to CCTV-America, 47 former Korean comfort women are still alive in S. Korea. Over the past several years, I visited The House of Sharing (www.nanum.org), an hour’s drive south of Seoul, and spent time, eating meals and chatting with the 10 former comfort women living in the residential building adjacent to The Museum of Japanese Sexual Slavery. The youngest of the women is 88. Many of them are in fragile health. One woman, who was taken at age 17 in 1943, was beaten by the first Japanese soldier (an officer). The blow to the left side of her head resulted in a hearing loss for life. I had to shout hard into her right year. My most recent visit with the women was on 9/3/15. Pictures and stories were posted on Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/MaijaRheeDevine/posts/411988989008361

    May Zhang Xiantu find peace at last and may those still living keep living and find peace and good things life has to offer, by armfuls each of the days left to them. #comfortwomen #maijarheedevine #apology #compensation #japanesemilitary #sexslave Tedx Talk:
    http://youtu.be/GFD-6JFLF5A