An Avatar of Peace: Commemorating Human Rights Activism
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It was a cold, crisp winter afternoon in Seoul.1 Opposite the Japanese Embassy there was a bronze statue of a girl in Korean ethnic dress, sitting on a chair, an empty chair beside her. The statue commemorates the demonstrations that have taken place on that site for over twenty-five years on the issue of militarised sexual abuse perpetrated by the Japanese Army and Navy in the Asia-Pacific War. The statue is variously known as the 'Peace Monument' or the 'Girl Statue'. I made my first visit to the Peace Monument on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, the day before the regular weekly demonstration, so that I could take photographs of the statue unimpeded by the crowds.