Tuesday, December 28, 2010

House of Sharing

House of Sharing  (My 2nd day in Seoul)  

Halmonis hands      /         My hand n_n 

Updated 12/14/11
Before my trip Jo-Anna was really nice to plan something for us to do on the weekend we will be spending
together, one day she sent me an email asking me if I wanted to go to the "House of Sharing", I had no idea what this was but I was whiling to try anything new while in Seoul so I said yes, she put us on the list to go on the tour on Sunday, and I'm really glad we had the chance to go, let me tell you a lil bit about this "House of Sharing"

The House of Sharing is a museum and home to former "Comfort Women", this women were survivors of sexual slavery when the Japanese military occupied Korea during the Asia-Pacific War (1932-1945).
Some of the former Sex Slaves and their history

Before and during World War II, estimated 100,000 to 200,000 women were tricked or forced to serve as
sexual slaves for months or years by the Japanese military. More than 80 percent of women were believed

The first “comfort station” was established in Shanghai in 1932 and Korean women from the Korean mining community in Japan were victimized.

Former "Comfort Women" are women who were forcibly recruited into sexual slavery during WWII by the
Japanese military. The majority of "Comfort Women" were Korean, due to Korea's status as a Japanese colony at the time. The House of Sharing is a residence in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do where 8 former "Comfort Women" live.

Representation of the Wednesday Protest
Wednesday Protest

The Korean Council started a "Weekly Wednesday Demonstration" in front of the Japanese Embassy located
in Jongno, Seoul at noon on January 8, 1992.

Painting made by one of the Halmoni
The first official admittance of the Japanese government’s responsibility upon the Comfort Women issue
was in April 1998 when the court Simonoseki ruled that the Japanese government should compensate three
former Korean comfort women, most of there Korean Comfort Women would not acept this compensation given by the Japanese Goverment because it was money gathered from private institutuons, and the demand was that the Japanese Goverment HAD to pay for this.

I have to say that before Jo-Anna sent me that email I didn't know anything about this situation, and after reading the Halmonies (Grandmas) testimonials I was touched, this women are not only really strong but brave, they survived but they also continue fighting for recognition and compensation from the  Japansese goverment.

So, sunday morning we woke up early to go to Gangbyeon (subway) Station (Line 2, exit 1), where we were supposed to meet the rest  of the group, once we were all there we cross the street to take a Buss (a 40min ride) then take off and take a Taxi... it was a long way to Gyeonggi-do province but it was totally worth it.

Once in there we all go to a room to watch a documentary and where the guides (Volunteers of the House
My blurry but yummy lunch
of Sharing who by the way are awesome!) gave us a small introduction about the "comfort Women" after this each one of us had to  introduce itself, we were about 40 but it was really interesting to meet people from so many places. After the introduction we took a lunch break, I had spicy pork/Tuna Kimbap and grape flavored water,  when we finished our lunch it was time to head to the Museum, this tour will start with to sculptures at the entrance/exit of the museum.

"That which we were forced to do must be recorded in history"
The first you will see is a picture of Halmoni Hak-Soon Kim where it says "That which we were forced to do must be recorded in history"

Kim Hak Soon, a former Comfort Woman, who testified in public for the first time in Korea that she was
forced to serve Japanese solders sexually. She was born in Manchuria and sold by her stepfather to a
Japanese military in 1941 when she was sixteen (Consider that Korean age is 1 or 2 years older than "universal" age)

According to an interview, this is the story of how her stepfather trade her, the life as a Comfort Women and how she ran away.

My father passed away when I was young. I was maltreated because people believed my father died due to
my bad luck. When my mother got married again, I was adopted at the age of 14. My stepfather sent me
a gisaeng school, female entertainer school, to learn music and dancing. He took me to Manchuria with
another stepdaughter to do business using us. We thought we would become a gisaeng when he treaded us.
But we were sold as Comfort Women to a Japanese platoon located in Northern China. I never knew that
I would become a plaything for Japanese solders.

I followed wherever Japanese solders went because I was so young. I didn’t have discretion even to  remember the name of troops or the commander. We were taken to an empty Chinese house located in front
of the troops and I saw three other Korean girls. At least I was relived to see them. I didn’t know their Korean names but they were called by their Japanese name, Miyako, Sadako, Sijiae. Five Korean girls became Comfort Women there and the oldest one was 22. Others were 17, 18, 18 years old and I was
sixteen. So I was the youngest.

I can’t put my life there in words. I tried not to think of my life there because it wasn’t a human being’s life. It was like a public toilet for the Japanese solders. I get frightened even now. When solders dashed to me…. I bit my lips. I ran away but got caught.

One night I ran away with a Korean man’s help when he came by the troops for his business. Every girl
got crazy to get his help on that day. They must have thought they could run away with his help. He
had a wife in Korea and did business to sell silver coins. I followed him and survived in China.  After the 1945 Liberation of Korea, I came to Seoul.

Just like Kim Hak Soon story there are plenty more, there are still many women that had never told anyone
they were Sex slaves when the Japanese occupied Korea so many stories will remain untold.

After the tour trought the museum we went to meet the Halmoni, the volunteers brought a piece of fabricm,
paint brushes and some paint so we all could paint something for them, they were there in the same room
with us, I wanted to talk to them for 1st I don't speak Korean and 2nd What was I supposed to say? "Fighting!"?, no ofense, but I just couldn't find words that expressed how I felt being aroung them, you just feel  like you wanna hug them and take care of them o_o , anyway, when we finish painting it was time to go,
the cabs had arrived and we had a long way back to Seoul.

For more information visit:  http://www.houseofsharing.org 
For Sharing House information in Korean visit:  www.nanum.org
Entrance Fee: 5,000 KRW
If you wanna go on of of this tours you can go here 

Here are some pics I took while being there....

Painting the halmonis make as therapy

Gifts presented by visitors

More Presents (Many of the visitors are Japanese)

Military Money and a Condom (that they had to wash before and after receiving a man)

All the dots represent a location of a "comfort station"

-Gisela V.

Painting made for the Halmonis

Ps. If you wanna see all the pics theres a folder on my Facebook, just have to add me :) 


  1. Oh dear, the grey on white text is not looking good, this is almost impossible to read...