The indomitable and amazing Ms. Ellen van der Ploeg at the Hague, the Netherlands
Sylvia Yu (right) interviewing Dutch comfort woman survivor Ellen van der Ploeg (left) for video and print media
That's me (right) interviewing Dutch comfort woman survivor Ellen van der Ploeg (left) for film

Transcribing interviews

Today I finished typing out my interviews with Ellen that lasted over several days in the Hague, the Netherlands. She is generous of spirit and kind-hearted and not to mention wickedly funny. My time with her was full of easy laughter and warm smiles.

She’s a courageous woman who wants the world to know the truth of what happened to her during the war. The Japanese government still has not issued a heartfelt apology to her and other survivors of sex slavery. She is not counting on one either (sad, but perhaps the most realistic scenario).

Ellen wants to prevent the enslavement and repeated rape of women from happening again. It’s her lifelong fight to raise her voice in order to stop violence against women and girls in times of war.

On another note, I believe that racial reconciliation is necessary between Japan and the ‘conquered’ countries during the last world war:  Holland, China, Korea, Philippines, Myanmar etc.  Unlike Germany, Japan has not dealt with the war and issues arising out of it, ie atrocities & war crimes. These acts of inhumane cruelty still linger in the memory of these nations and cannot help but impact upcoming generations.

However, the younger generation in Japan is largely unaware of its Imperial military’s history in Asia in that time period. When they learn of the truth, I believe we are one step closer to healing the rift between Japan and the nations that were affected by the Japanese military.

There’s so much more on my mind, but I am feeling under the weather and need to sleep. Goodnight.