Cenotaph unveiled for wartime sex slaves on Miyako Island

NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) About 100 people from Japan and South Korea attended the unveiling Sunday of a cenotaph commemorating wartime sex slaves mainly from the Korean Peninsula forced to serve Japanese soldiers on Okinawa’s Miyako Island.

The stone monument bears inscriptions in 12 languages. The inscription in English reads, “We remember the suffering of the individual women who were subjected to sexual violence by the Japanese military, lament the victims of wartime sexual violence throughout the entire world, pray for a peaceful world without any more war.”

The monument was erected by researchers from Japan and South Korea as well as local residents.

Hirotoshi Yonaha, a 75-year-old islander, provided land for the site of the monument. As a boy during the war, Yonaha interacted with the women and gave them red pepper.

“I feel a responsibility to pass down the situation of the tragic war and the presence of the comfort stations,” he said at the unveiling ceremony.