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Japanese imperialism in the early 20th century had left considerable historical scars upon the countries it occupied. One of them is the systematic forced mobilization of young Asian women to serve the sexual needs of the Japanese soldiers stationed abroad. These women are usually referred to with the euphemism jugun ianfu, or comfort women. Estimated to number around 200.000, the women often not only suffer from the sexual slavery under the Japanese occupation, but also from the stigma from the society afterwards.

Indonesia too, was one of the territories occupied by the Japanese military during the Second World War. And during the occupation, the Japanese also forcefully mobilized young women to become ianfu. To remember the plight of the ianfu, the Indonesian Ianfu Committee is holding an art exhibition titled Kitab Visual Ianfu (Ianfu Visual Book). The exhibition is scheduled to run from August 9 to August 23, 2016, in commemoration of World Ianfu Day on August 14. The exhibition is hosted at Galeri Cemara 6, Jl. HOS Cokroaminoto, Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Dolorosa Sinaga, a member of the Indonesian Ianfu Committee, said that it is important for Indonesia to participate in this global solidarity movement because there has been over 1000 known victims from Indonesia. “We support the movement so that we do not forget that ianfu is a part of Indonesia’s history,” Dolores said, as quoted by Harnas.

Dolorosa also stressed that future generations need to understand this practice of military sexual slavery in the context of human civilization, culture, military, and warfare, “so that in the future there would be no more women who have to bear the suffering and burden of stigma for the rest of their lives.”

The exhibition features the works of twelve women artists. The works are presented in various forms of expression, ranging from art installation, painting, illustration, and multimedia. The artists are Ade Artie Tjakra, AP Bestari, Putri Ayu Lestari, Ayu Maulani, Bibiana Lee, Dyah Ayu, Gadis Fitriana, Ida Ahmad, Indah Arsyad, Indira Natalia, Indyra, and Nia Laughlin.

The Indonesian Anime Times

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