Photo: Photographs of the Soul. Courtesy of Ahn Sehong
Ahn Sehong's "Layer by Layer Project: Military Sexual Slavery by Japan During the Second World War" is being exhibited (the second time this year) at Gallery Furuto in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward through Sept. 9.
The exhibition features 36 black-and-white pictures of 12 Korean women who were abandoned in China, after being forced into Japanese military sexual slavery during the Pacific War.
The first exhibition, at Nikon Gallery, encountered rightist backlash, a pattern used to repress controversial views in Japan since the postwar period. Tomoko Otake's Aug. 19 article at The Japan Times details Ahn's experience and gives voice to the photographer's compassionate and humanitarian motivation, just as he gives some voice to these displaced, forgotten victims of military sexual violence and war:
"This is not an issue of Japan-Korea relations," he said. "It's an issue of how war can infringe on the human rights of women who are the most vulnerable members of society. Japanese prostitutes were also taken (to other parts of Asia) as comfort women, and their rights were significantly trampled upon as well."
Toyohiro Mishima's Sept. 4 article at The Asahi explains how the second exhibition came about through the support of Kozo Nagata, a Musashi University professor and Kazuo Tajima, the manager of Gallery Furuto.
Twelve of the photographs are available for viewing at Ahn's website, Photographs of the Soul.