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Korean interpreter honored with Woman of the Year award

Posted May. 05, 2017 07:15,   

Updated May. 05, 2017 07:20

“We don’t use the expression‎ 'comfort women.' The victims had no intention to comfort the Japanese soldiers at all. During World War II, they had to serve as 'sex slaves' for Japanese army. Nor can I simply call them 'slaves' as they were brutally victimized. That’s why I call them grandma.”

Kim Hyeon-jeong (pictured), the executive director of the Korean American Forum of California (KAFC), on Wednesday was honored with the Woman of the Year award from Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat of California. In the U.S., she is known for the “mouth for the Korean women sexually enslaved." Since the resolution on comfort women was adopted by the U.S. House of Representative in 2007, Kim has been a chief provider of interpretation services for the victims who visited the U.S. When she opens a victims’ testimony session or a press conference, the chief director of the KAFC always explains why she insists on calling the victims “grandmas” instead of “comfort women” or “sex slaves.”

“Kim has made a devoted effort to raise awareness among Americans on the damage done to more than 200,000 victims of sex slavery, helping induce an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government,” Rep. Schiff said during the award ceremony. “I am receiving this award only on behalf of the members of Korean communities who are continuing to provide both internal and external help,” said Kim. “I will continue to stand on the side of justice with our grandmas to lay bare the truth of history, and I will make a further effort to get a sincere apology from Japan.”

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com