Nudity, Profits Anger Surviving Comfort Women

Korean actress Lee Seung-yeon said Thursday that she has taken some nude photographs about the "comfort women." Plans are for it to be made available on the Internet -- for a fee. The "comfort women" and Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan have strongly denounced the photographs, saying, "the fact that they are trying to earn money through our painful history is unimaginable."

Lee Seung-yeon, Lototo Inc. and Netian Entertainment Inc. held a press conference Thursday and said "We are taking photos and making a film on the subject of the "comfort women" starring Lee Seung-yeon, and it will be made available from early March by way of a paid service through the wireless service provider, Syswall."

They said they were motivated by the recent Dokdo Islet dispute between Korea and Japan, and chose the subject because they were distressed to see the "comfort women" issue being forgotten all the time. They also said that the "'comfort women' were the model upon which the sexuality of women was commercialized and were the starting point for a wrong history. They said that much of the profit from the collection would go to help the women who were "comfort women."

About the level of exposure, they said that "it is not important how much of the breasts or legs is exposed. We are worrying about how much we'll reveal."

The production company said that the filming was done on Palau Island in the Pacific, where the "comfort girls" were really taken to, and plans to conduct second and third filmings in Japan, Nepal and other countries. Lee Yong-su (77), who was taken as a "comfort woman" and returned, said in a phone interview with the reporter, "I was terribly shocked. I have been living my life alone trying to soothe my heart... how can they do this?" She could not stop crying. Kang Man-seok, a researcher at Korean Broadcasting Institute, pointed out that "there is the risk that painful history might become commercialized."

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 12, 2004 21:09 KST