First Film Clip Emerges of Japan's 'Comfort Women'

South Korean researchers found it in the US National Archives
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2017 11:05 AM CDT

It's just 18 seconds long, but a new video released by South Korean researchers makes history for the worst of reasons. The clip shows Korean "comfort women" held as sex slaves by the Japanese military, reports the BBC. It's believed to be the first such film clip known to exist, though images of "comfort women" had previously surfaced in still photographs. The good news is that the video shows the women after US and Chinese troops arrived to free them in China's Yunnan province in 1944.

A research team from Seoul National University found the footage in the US National Archives after a two-year search, reports Reuters. An American soldier is believed to have filmed the scene, in which a Chinese officer talks to the women lined up in front of a building used as a brothel. Japan forced an estimated 200,000 women to work as sex slaves for its soldiers during World War II. (Earlier this year, South Korea angered Japan with a statue honoring the women.)

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