<Against Forgetting>, Tomorrow Girls Troop
<Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Women>, Yoshiko Shimada
Time: Sunday, February 18, 2–4pm, 2018
Location : Glendale Central Park
“We are gathering in solidarity to bring justice to the comfort women of the past who have been forced into silence and to women of the present who endure torture and violence at the hands of the military.” - Recitation during <Against Forgetting>
Tomorrow Girls Troop performed in collaboration with the Japanese artist Yoshiko Shimada to pay tribute to “comfort women,” the hundreds of thousands of women who were forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan between 1932 and 1945, as well as to bring awareness to contemporary issues surrounding war and sexual violence worldwide. Shimada reprised her performance <Becoming a Statue of a Japanese Comfort Woman>, which honors the Japanese “comfort women” whose tragic personal histories are often ignored or invisibilized by their own country. Tomorrow Girls Troop debuted a new performance <Against Forgetting> that connects the plight of comfort women and our current reckoning with sexual harassment. Eight performers including three TGT members recited a statement for solidarity, handed sunflowers to the girl statue, and gave hugs to Shimada during the performance. TGT members Held placards that say “Apology, too much to ask?” “Against forgetting.” and “I’m with her.”
The performances took place at the Peace Monument (“Comfort Women” Memorial) in Glendale Central Park. The bronze statue of a young girl was erected in 2013, and is among several memorials that have been installed at numerous international sites, including the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, China, Germany, Australia, and the United States. The commemoration of “comfort women” has been a controversial topic among East Asian countries, particularly in diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan. As reported in the New York Times in November 2017, the mayor of Osaka, Japan, declared that he would cut ties with the city of San Francisco after constructing its own “comfort women” memorial. As politicians bicker and broker deals that often fail to acknowledge how these women were exploited as instruments of the Japanese imperial war machine, the legacies of the victims are at risk of being invisibilized or distorted.
The two artists’ performances aim to overcome the nationalism strongly engraved in the issue, and to seek solidarity beyond the boundaries between the nations in the past and the present.
2:20: Introduction by Yong Soon Min, the Los Angeles-based Korean American artist.
2:20: Yoshiko Shimada's durational performance starts.
2:30: TGT performance (15 min) - the 1st round.
3:00: TGT performance (15 min) - the 2nd round.
3:20~4:00: Conversation with the performers.