Newsletter of the World Friendship Center, NPO
On my trip to Korea though PAX I wanted to find out what the Korean youth feel about peace, understand more about the historical problems between Japan and Korea, and experience the Korean culture. I especially think I now understand the issue about the Korean women forced to be sex slaves by the Japanese military, and I could see it from a different perspective than before.
On the first day, we joined a protest in front of the Japanese embassy. I was surprised that there were many young people, even though it was a national holiday. They were very different from the Japanese students who just sit there quietly because they were told to, but instead they were actively chanting and singing songs. The young people taking it upon themselves to act on what they think is really impressive and inspired me a lot.
On the second day we went to the house of sharing and learned about the horrific things that the Japanese military made these women do in wartime.
When we heard from the Harumonis it made me think that the terrible things that we saw in the museum had happened to these women sitting in front of me.
That thought made me tear up. Going to a Japanese school and studying the Japanese peace education all my life, learning about the truth for the Koreans hurt my heart. All the Harumonis want is a formal apology and for the stories of the so called “comfort women” in the school textbooks. I can’t understand why the Japanese government can’t do that. I said this at the Q and A after Matsumoto san’s story on the third day but, I think if we don’t learn about our past mistakes, we will not be able to achieve a truly peaceful future.
During the Q and A on our third night, I got to see many different perspectives while translating, and when I was asked about what the Japanese youth think or what kind of peace education I had, I did my best to answer those questions but I felt I wasn’t answering the questions as well as I could. Not many people are as privileged as I am to be able to take part in such trips so at the very least, I want to tell my opinions and my experience in Korea to my friends and teachers in Japan.
On our final day we went shopping with my host family, Coco and Austin.
When we got back to the peace building we had diner all together then got in a circle to talk about our memories during our stay. I am so thankful for my amazing host family and all the people who made this possible. I will never forget this experience.
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