Girls as young as 14 years old were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military. The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung, is an excellent documentary about three former “comfort women” that survived the atrocity. In the film, Hsiung calls the survivors “Grandmas.” We meet Grandma Cao Hei Mao from China, Grandma Gil Won-Ok from South Korea, and Grandma Adela Barroquillo from the Philippines. Theirs is a story of pain and shame and the journey to healing and reconciliation.
In the documentary, Grandma Cao Hei Mao recalls the day a soldier came to kidnap her. Her father would have been killed had he tried to save her. She nearly died giving birth to two babies while in captivity. All three grandmas lived a life of not just physical pain, but emotional pain. Grandma Adela never told her late husband about the experience, for fear that he will leave her.
I recommend showing this film to shed light on the atrocities of war in Asia during World War II. It is a topic that some students may not have heard of. Over 90% of comfort women did not survive the war. Those that survived lived a life of shame and trauma. It was not until the 1990s that some women spoke out.