< Back

Against Forgetting, Seoul

(May 1st, 2019, Performance at “the 1385th Wednesday Demonstration”)


Text: Myeongsoon Kim, Jong-suk Ho of Tomorrow Girls Troop

<Against Forgetting> by Tomorrow Girls Troop commemorates Japanese victims of Japanese sexual slavery during WWII together with Korean victims, to seek possibilities of women’s solidarity beyond the borders of nation-states.

We see a deep connection between the repetitive burial of history into oblivion and our society’s attitude which often erases the voices of victims of sexual violence. We aim to disobey such power that silences stories and voices of survivors.
— Tomorrow Girls Troop

Our project not only covers individually conducted performances but also includes the production and distribution of the documentation, and activities to spread awareness on the issue in Japan.

The performance has been conducted in Seoul, Tokyo and Glendale LA. The stories and history of the cities where each performance takes place plays an important role in the context of the understanding surrounding the issue, and each performance has been modified specific to the site. The location, composition and choreography of the work were all accordingly modified as well as the contextual emphasis and methodologies in the approach.

We are writing here about the performance that took place in Seoul

Seoul Performance

For the performance in Seoul, we focused on overcoming the binary framework of nationalistic borders between Korea and Japan by putting an emphasis on the shared memory of female victims and sisterhood. Most Korean people already knew about the issue surrounding Japanese sexual slavery, so the context largely differs from Glendale and Tokyo where the emphasis laid in spreading awareness about the issue.


Accordingly, we decided to conduct a performance commemorating victims of Japanese women in the Japanese sexual slavery during the 1385th Wednesday demonstration. The performance was in collaboration with Korean female college students and Japan’s anti-war feminist artist, Yoshiko Shimada, who has been performing her work, Becoming a Statue of  Japanese ‘Comfort’ Woman since 2012. The performance had been planned to coincide with the day of the new Japanese emperor's coronation, celebrating the beginning of a ‘new’ year with a new Japanese emperor, giving the performance more meaningful.

  • Japan is the only country that uses emperor calendar nowadays. For example, instead of writing 2019, Official Documents in Japan are written as Reiwa (name of the new year; each year has a name) 1st year.


The treatment of the victims of Japanese nationality and those of Korean nationality were, of course, not the same; we are not claiming to disregard the complex details -a result from the intersection of colonialism, war time mobilisation and gender. That's why, during our performance in Seoul, Shimada prepared an alternate chair to sit on, a respectful distance from the original statue. In Glendale, she sat next to the statue to emphasize sisterhood and solidarity, However, for the Seoul performance Shimada felt it would be inappropriate to sit in the chair next to the original seated statue as it is a site for the Korean victims, including the survivors who are alive. She emphasized multiple times that equating the experience of Korean ‘comfort’ women and Japanese ‘comfort’ women isn’t right. We also think that it is highly important to take the differences into consideration, and that we should not generalise the victims' memories in the process of reaching for solidarity.

About Wednesday Demo.


Wednesday demonstration, where the performance in Seoul took place is a demonstration with a history spanning more than 25 years. Since 1992, the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Korean Council) has been holding a demonstration in front of the Japanese embassy every Wednesday. The demonstration's goal is to recover the human rights of the victims, receive just resolution of the issue, prevent future wartime sexual violence, and honor victims. Several different civil organisations participate. One can contact the Korean council for participation. (http://www.womenandwar.net)

TGT members also participated in the demonstration several times before the performance. We have noticed that the atmosphere of the demonstration differs depending on the participating organisation/ individuals. Their regular program is as follows: opening song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NbYbef-39o ), progress report, and then free speech- the opportunity for individual lectures or performances. Since our performance was on Mayday and the weather was nice, more people than usual took part in the demonstration. The demonstration was held by 한국기독교장로회 전국여교역자회 and 500 people including elementary school, middle school, and highschool students; people from Cafe Nabi from Yokohama; and Marimond got together.

* Above is some support messages we got from Korea Cyber Sexual Violence Response Center and Korean American artist Yongsoon Min