A rally was held Monday in New York calling on the United Nations to enact a world orphans day in honor of the wishes of a Japanese woman who raised about 3,000 orphans on the Korean Peninsula during and after World War II.

Among those leading the call are 76-year-old Yoon Kee, the eldest son of Chizuko Tauchi, who is known as the "Japanese mother of Korean orphans." The initiative began in 2012, the 100th anniversary of her birth.

Tauchi, a native of Kochi Prefecture, married a Korean man who founded an orphanage in what is now South Jeolla Province. Though her husband went missing during the 1950-1953 Korean War, Tauchi raised orphans until her death in 1968.

Speaking to Kyodo News, Yoon said he wants the day to be enacted as a first step toward creating a world without orphans, which his mother yearned for.

Monday's event near the U.N. headquarters was hosted by proponents of a world orphans day from Japan and South Korea, among others, with participants including South Korean orphans who sang the common Korean folk song "Arirang."

Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Koro Bessho said establishing such a day to pursue the rights and dignity of children would match the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.