Tag Archives: roger rudick

Book Review #2

22 Feb

Story of a Comfort GirlI went inside and bowed to Chiyun, whose simple blue uniform was dirty with stains. He did not seem to notice me. On the wall was the familiar picture of the ugly young man, Emperor Hirohito. I always thought he was not a very impressive man for an Emperor. An Emperor should be handsome and strong, not boyish and ugly. Maybe that’s why the Japanese had to try to keep us weak, so people would not notice how much more handsome and strong a man such as my father was than their Emperor.

Story of a Comfort Girl is the novelized version of a stage play written by Roger Rudick based on the testimony a comfort woman, Ji In-sil. Ji, then 70 years old, offered her testimony to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1991. Ji’s account begins in 1941 in an unnamed village, where Ji and her widowed father, a teacher with anti-Japanese sentiments, fear Japanese reprisals. Ji’s father instructs her to flee to Busan, if he ever fails to return from late-night meetings with his fellow anti-Japanese scholars. Ji begins a journey to live to with her father’s family in Busan, is abducted under false pretenses by Chiyun, a minor Korean functionary at the post office, along with two other Korean girls, goes to Japan, and then finally to an unnamed Pacific island, where a Japanese unit is attacked by American forces. In the process, Ji and the other two girls are repeatedly raped by Japanese sailors and soldiers, and both of the other girls are murdered by Japanese soldiers.

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