Chinese soldier with Korean ‘comfort women’ after they were liberated by US-China Allied Forces, Songshan, Yunnan Province, China. September 3, 1944 Photo by Charles H. Hatfield, U.S. 164th Signal Photo Company, US National Archives

When the first survivor, Kim Hak Soon, came forward in 1991 as having been a “comfort woman” for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II, her testimony inspired countless others to come forward and share their own stories. Today, we call them halmonis, meaning “grandmothers” — a term of endearment in Korea. “Comfort women” was a label coined by the Japanese to imply consent, when in reality, they were either kidnapped or lured by the false pretenses of jobs abroad.

Despite the overwhelming number of testimonies and historical evidence to support their claims, no acceptable apology or legal reparations have been offered by the Japanese government. Still today, Japan has not formally apologized or legally recognized their role in institutionalized sexual slavery during WWII.

Former “comfort woman” Lee Yong Soo continues her activism because she believes “one of the reasons we have so much sexual violence in this world is that the crimes such as those committed by Japan have not been completely resolved. But I am here to tell you in person what happened and what Japan did, because I don’t want to see this happen again to the next generation.”

There are now only 11 survivors remaining.

Artist Bios

  • Arin Yoon

    Arin Yoon (she/her) is a documentary photographer and visual artist based in Kansas City, Kansas. Her work focuses on women, notions of family, displacement, identity, and representation. Yoon is a National Geographic Explorer, an International Women’s Media Foundation Fellow, and a We, Women Photo Artist. She is a member of Women Photograph, Diversify Photo, and the Asian American Journalists Association. Her work has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Reuters, ProPublica, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Yoon has exhibited at venues internationally, such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History in Seoul, South Korea. She has an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts as well as a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.


  • Photoville


    Photoville is a New York-based non-profit organization that works to promote a wider understanding and increased access to the art of photography and visual storytelling by producing a free annual festival, amplifying impactful narratives, and connecting artists to a wide global audience by activating accessible public spaces via large scale exhibitions.

    Proudly devoted to cultivating strategic partnerships and creative collaborations with community spirit, UPI approaches its mission of cultivating a wide, diverse audience for powerful photographic narratives by working closely with visual artists, city agencies, nonprofit organizations and educators worldwide to create new exhibition and public art opportunities that showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography. For more information about Photoville visit,

The Legacy of Korean “Comfort Women” and Their Continued Fight for Justice

 archive : 2022

Featuring: Arin Yoon

Curated by: Arin Yoon Photoville

Presented by: Photoville
  • Photoville
View Location Details Number 29 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 2

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