Participated by Korea’s best cartoonists
The Korean cartoon exhibition held under the theme of “Flowers that never fade” at the Angouleme International Comics Festival is being displayed at the Korea Manhwa Museum as an encore. Under a shared vision of promoting people’s awareness about the truth behind the issue of “comfort women,” top artists such as Lee Hyunse, Kim Gwangsung, and Park Jaedong joined the exhibit.
People from all walks of life have appreciated the exhibit. For instance, a mother brought her child to teach history properly.
An elderly woman(60) from Bucheon said “Although former comfort women are speaking the truth, the history is being forgotten. I hope that artists would continue their effort to raise public awareness about comfort women.”
Kook Hyojung(27) commented “Even for a person like me who knows much about the comfort women issue, the exhibit was remarkable. I guess it would be a useful tool in helping the public have a better understanding of the issue as well.”
The following is the list of art pieces being exhibited.
◇ Ahn Soochul ‘A train for a holy war(automaton)’
Ahn Soochul and Kang Hyosook turned their work ‘A train for a holy war’ into an automaton, an operable machine.
During World War II, the Japanese military justified its sexual slavery by arguing that it is in the middle of a ‘holy war.’ When the train is put into motion, Sakura turns red, indicating comfort women’s han or resentment and sorrow.
Artist Ahn is a story writer, cartoon aids developer, and adjunct professor at Sangmyung University. He is well-received for his successful attempts to incorporate cartoon into automata.
◇ Ahn Soochul ‘A song of a butterfly(automaton)’
The motif of ‘A song of a butterfly(automaton)’ was ‘The Japanese soldiers picking pear‘ and ’At a comfort facility,‘ drawings by former comfort woman Kang Deokkyung. While pears withering away show comfort women’s spoiled heart and mind, birds tied to a branch symbolize victims who can’t return to their old home.
◇ Kim Gwangsung, Jeong Giyoung ‘A song of a butterfly’
‘A song of a butterfly’ is based on verbal stories in which two victims dramatically find their way out and survive a war. Artist Kim Gwangsung who is famous for ‘To be defeated in a moment’ was in charge of drawings, while writer Jeong Giyoung, an instructor for story telling and Vice President at the Association of Korea Manhwa Story Writer, wrote the story.
◇ Tak Youngho ‘A flower ring’
It is based on a story of two sisters who were taken to comfort facilities. The elder sister pays tribute to her younger sister who died in the facility. The exhibit was produced by Tak Youngho who currently teaches students at Jeonju University and Sejong University.
◇ Oh Seyoung ‘Spring for a 14-year-old girl’
It is based on a story in which a victim meets one soldier and talks about her experiences. The cartoon reflects victims’ tough reality where they find it uneasy to go back home. The exhibit was created by Oh Seyoung who is renowned for a short cartoon with high literary values.
◇ Choi Insun ‘Where are we headed?’
A Japanese soldier told little girls that he would help them make money. The girls only found out later on that they would be forced to get engaged in sex slavery. Every image and word has a symbolic meaning. The cartoon was produced by Choi Insun who is famous for her unique drawing style.
◇ Kim Geumsook ‘Secret’
‘Secret’ is by Kim Geumsook who is based in France. She was invited to NMK, a cartoon festival in France, and awarded with ‘The press award granted by journalists in the culture circle.’ ‘Secret’ aims to send a message to the Japanese government that ‘comfort women survivors are the genuine evidence.’
◇ Park Gunwoong ‘Tattoo’
The cartoon is based on former comfort woman Jeong Oksun’s testimony. It throws questions like ‘What does war mean to us? What are human beings?’ The work is created by Park Gunwoong who has constantly drawn cartoon to reveal irrationalities in contemporary society.
◇ Kim Jeongki ‘An entangled knot’
Two strings are entangled like a twisted bread stick. The first string signifies a life of a comfort woman, while the second string symbolizes a life of a Japanese man who was forced into the army. It was war which brought tragedy into the lives of these two people The cartoon was produced by Kim Jeongki who is known for a ‘drawing show,’ web-toon, cartoon, and other forms of performance art.
◇ Choi Shinoh ‘70 years of nightmare’
It is a story of a victim who has had a nightmare for seventy years. The cartoon portrays how a little girl was dragged into a comfort woman facility. Choi Shinoh received ‘Kids’ Cartoon Award’ at the 8th Bucheon Manhwa Contest.
◇ Lee Hyunse ‘Nippon Sward’
Lee Hyunse is one of the most well-known cartoonists. The cartoon features a brave woman who scowls at a beast-like Japanese soldier.
◇ Kim Hyungbae ‘Untitled’
The Rising Sun Flag represents the Japanese military flag. A women’s pain caused by the military’s violent activists is well-shown. Kim Hyungbae has been renowned for science fiction cartoon for children since the 1970’s.
◇ Cha Sungjin ‘When the day comes’
Throughout their lifetime, comfort women have waited for ‘the day’ to come when the Japanese government would deliver genuine words of apology.
Cha Sungjin crosses over diverse genres including historic and kids’ cartoons.
◇ Koh Kyoungil ‘Untitled’
The Japanese military installs a bomb onto comfort women’s body. There is a stark contrast in the facial expression between a perpetrator and a victim.
Koh Kyoungil is a satire cartoonist.
◇ Paek Sungmin ‘Corpse’
A comfort woman victim has her two arms outstretched just as Jesus. What stands out is the bloodstain on the left side of the chest which represents a stigma attached to victims.
Paek Sungmin draws historic and satirical cartoons.
◇ Shin Jisoo ‘83’
This is built upon imagination of what it would be like when the Japanese military sends true words of apology to comfort women victims just as they had hoped. The cartoon has 24 frames and reflects women of different ages.
Shin Jisoo has worked on many illustrations. In 2012, she participated in the Artist-in-residence program offered by the Angouleme.
◇ Park Jaedong ‘Endless road’
A woman left a small village and she has walked a long, rough journey. She is covering her face with her hands, trying to hide her sorrow, but in vain. The cartoonist is trying to show the woman’s past, present, and future.
◇ Kim Shin ‘Still holding onto hope’
A statue of a girl in front of the Japanese Embassy in Korea and a comfort woman are placed side by side. They are surrounded by yellow butterflies which symbolize hope.
Kim Shin has produced educational and satirical cartoons.