A Korean woman who was forced to serve as a sex slave to Japanese troops during World War II died on Sunday. With the death of Kim Kun-ja at the age of 91, the total number of survivors has now dwindled to 37.
Born in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province in 1926, Kim was forced into sexual slavery in 1942 and sent to a military brothel for troops stationed in China’s Jilin Province.
She tried to escape several times but failed, only to suffer horrendous assaults by Japanese soldiers that led to the permanently loss of hearing in her left ear.
She returned to Korea after Japan’s defeat at the end of World War II and made a living as a street vendor. She moved to the House of Sharing, a shelter for former sex slaves, in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province in 1998.
Kim donated more than W250 million to charitable causes and pledged to give away the rest of her money, except W5 million for her funeral expenses, gathered from donations by supporters. (US$1=W1,121). Around 700 people donated W1.1 billion to help support Kim.
The Korean government listed a total of 238 sex slavery victims.