For years, controversy over memorials to World War II-era comfort women has driven a wedge between Korean and Japanese immigrants communities across the country.
Now a city in Michigan has entered the fray by installing a statue commemorating the comfort women, reports the Korea Times.
After years of planning and fundraising, the city of Southfield, Mich. dedicated its comfort women statue in a ceremony Saturday in front of the city’s Korean American Cultural Center. The statue is a replica of those in Glendale, Calif. (pictured) and Seoul, South Korea. Other memorials to the comfort women have been installed in Virginia and New Jersey.
The statue was initially intended to be built in a public library before protests from the Denso Corporation, a Japanese business in the area, and the Japanese Consulate General stalled the project. Fundraising and finding a suitable site for the memorial took two and a half years.
Lee Byung-joon, president of the Michigan Korean American Women’s Association, helped raise money for the project.
“We wanted to provide consolation for comfort women who received sorrow even from their parents and siblings,” Lee said to the Korea Times. “I hope us second-generation Korean Americans continue to let this unavoidable history be known.”
You can read more about the statue in Southfield at the Korea Times.