“It Tears Me Up Inside”
- Born in Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province
- (Age 15)
- Lured into sexual slavery with the false promise of work
Stayed in comfort stations in Changchun and near the Mudan River by way of Andong and Sinuiju
- (Age 17)
- Rescued by Koreans in early summer; Fled to Oroqin
Married a Korean in Ji’an (outskirts of Jilin)
- (Age 18)
- Gave birth to a daughter; Daughter passed away
- (Age 21)
- Worked as a nurse in Ji’an
- (Age 23)
- Worked as a nurse in Jilin
- (Age 27)
- Second marriage
Subsequently gave birth to two sons and one daughter
- (Age 60)
- Visited Korea via the Red Cross
- (Age 70)
- Attempted recovery of nationality after visit to Korea
- (Age 72)
- Nationality recovered; permanent return
- (Age 76)
- Living in the House of Sharing in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province
Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province→ Harbin→ Oroqen→ Ji’an→ Jilin→ Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province
“I’m a member of a Full Gospel Church.
I'm no longer in China, but I have a little peace of mind knowing that God is watching over my grandchildren.
I’m a widow, and God provides a little extra attention to the children of widows. The members of my church are very compassionate to widows like me. Even those well-to-do folks who give a lot of donations to the church don't receive as much care as widows.
My prayers have been mostly answered.
Sometimes when I pray, I ask for my parents to be with God in heaven.”
The Youngest Daughter
”You were little baby. You’re too old for piggy-back rides.”
“I was the youngest of twelve children.
I was my mother’s favorite among all of my siblings.
My father had a big mustache. When I was younger, my mother would tell me to go and yank on my father’s mustache. I would pull on it as hard as I could.
My father would scream in pain and start chasing me around. But he never hit me. My parents never put their hands on me.
When my older brothers went somewhere, they would always bring me gifts even if they didn’t buy anything for themselves.
We had to trek over a mountain to get to our school. It snowed a lot in the winter. The winters weren’t as warm as they are today. We’d have to hold onto trees so we would slip while climbing the mountain. My older sisters would give me piggy-back rides.
My friend in elementary school once said to me, ‘You were little baby. You’re too old for piggy-back rides.’
We learned Korean only until the second grade. Then we weren’t allowed to even speak Korean. The [Japanese] teacher would hit us on the head if we did.
I never graduated from elementary school.
I only attended until the fourth grade.”
I was so scared – I didn’t know what was happening.
“The village foreman spread the word throughout town.
He didn’t call it ‘comfort women’ – He referred to it as ‘[government] quota delivery.’ Virgin quota delivery.
I was kept hidden away at first. I stayed at my mother’s friend’s house.
Since I was the youngest, I had always slept in my mother’s embrace. So I couldn’t bear being away from her.
I would beg and cry to see my mother. So my mother’s friend contacted my family back home. My mother said for me to return. And so I did.
But I didn’t even get to see my mother.
There we no adults left in the house. Our house was in the backwoods.
A Japanese man and a Korean man showed up.
One was a sword-carrying policeman and the other was a soldier dressed in yellow.
I was so scared of anyone carrying a sword around. I would hide and hold my breath … . I was so scared of the policemen.
They left a note. My nephew tried to stop them, but the men just threw him on the ground.
The day I returned home, I was taken [to be a comfort woman].
One of my older brothers was basically kicked out of the house, and I heard that he was [conscripted directly to battle] instead of the army [with proper training]. [The front line] is where they were going to send me. Another one of my brothers fled to Japan to avoid military service. So he was [relatively safe]. So two men from our house were gone, and I was taken afterwards.At first, they didn’t tell me where I was being taken. The village foreman told me that I would be working at a factory making linen clothes – weaving fabric. I didn’t understand what any of that meant. I was too young at the time.
I was fifteen years old.
I was taken to Sangju for transport.
I was taken in a truck – one for transporting cargo.
Some girls were lying [on the truck bed]. I think they were ill. I don’t really remember why.
I then boarded a train in Gimcheon.
[They train’s cars] didn’t even have seats. It was a cargo train. We were the ones who had been in hiding or who had run way. So they treated us especially bad. It wasn’t even possible to look out a window.
We were given rice balls and some type of Japanese radish. That’s all we were given – I got tired of eating it.
I was so scared – I didn’t know what was happening. I wasn’t thinking about eating. I just cried and cried, wondering where I was going.
I ended up in Sinuiju, North Korea. I didn’t even know that at the time. I peeked out [of the train car] at some point, and I didn’t see any Koreans. I saw Chinese people speaking Chinese.”
We washed clothes for soldiers.
“I ended up in Changchun after a while. I was there for about twenty days.
There were six of us then.
I saw military bases here and there. We weren’t allowed to go anywhere, of course. Maybe if I spoke [Chinese]. If we stayed long at one place, we did venture out sometimes, but we were usually too scared to go far. Everything was foreign to us. But somehow we managed to stay alive.
We were given corn [paste] cakes. That’s what they fed us. It didn’t taste very good – none of us had ever eaten anything like that. Rice cakes were tasty, not corn. They barely did anything for our hunger. We ate some watered-down soup with the corn cakes. Or they’d give us steamed sorghum. Chinese sorghum wasn’t even sticky (glutinous). It was different from Korean sorghum. You couldn’t even make [paste] cakes with it.
We washed clothes for soldiers. We helped [women who were permanently stationed at the base] with their laundry.
I just hung the laundry on a clothesline. Uniforms and socks – things like that. After the married the women did the laundry. There must have been about ten women washing clothes.”
It felt like I was being ripped apart. It was excruciating.
“After about twenty days [in Changchun], we were taken to Harbin near the Mudan River.
It was August or September. It was snowing in Harbin at the time.
I was too young and too small [to be a comfort woman], so I was assigned to looking after three [soldiers] who lost their vision. Another [soldier] was put under my care. It was a lot of work looking after four people. So they assigned another nurse [to care for the soldiers]. One of the soldiers recovered enough to be let out. Once it was three soldiers again, I nursed them by myself.
I helped feed them, and even guided them to the bathroom. I had to help dress them, too. I helped them with everything.
I was assigned as a comfort woman after [the wounded soldiers] were sent back to Japan.
I didn’t even [menstruate] until after the war. I didn’t know anything about that back then. I was too young at the time [to know anything about development].
[My first sexual encounter forced me into womanhood]. I wasn’t a woman yet. What would a little girl know? That’s what makes me even angrier.
[The men forced themselves into me] regardless of how difficult it was, so it was extremely painful.
It felt like I was being ripped apart. It was excruciating.
[The comfort women] were given injections of No. 606 (arsphenamine, also known as Salvarsan) to prevent us from contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
And we received medicine to clean ourselves. If we didn’t use the chemicals, [the genitals] would rot [sic], making it difficult to treat.
[The medicine] was plum red - a reddish color.
I was the new girl and one of the youngest, so I would receive high-ranking officers.
The soldiers didn’t like going to girls who had been there a while for fear of contracting diseases – especially the officers.
The officers never went to girls who had been there long. Men want to marry virgins, not women who had been married before. They want to marry virgins even for second and third marriages, right? People with money all want that. If you’re an officer, you can do whatever you want.
Sometimes women just don’t want to be intimate even with their beloved husbands. That was the most difficult part.
Once, I was struck so hard on the top of my head that it turned into a permanent bald spot. I still get frequent nosebleeds....I thought I was going to die. My face turned pale white.
The rooms were tiny. I was shoved into that tiny room [to be raped].
What other reason do [the soldiers] need? If I didn’t do as I was told, I would be beaten.
My face swelled and blood flowed [from the top of my head].
I was taken to the military hospital, and [the officer who beat me] came down. He had stars on his shoulder. He had three stars. The officer who beat me came down personally.
So I was treated by a doctor and a nurse instead of being taken to a major hospital. (Il-chul Kang is implying that the officer wanted to discreetly resolve the incident to avoid any backlash.)
The soldiers had to bring vouchers (military payment certificates) for ‘service.’ They were turned away if they didn’t bring vouchers. They had to purchase them. The vouchers were sold on the military bases. It didn’t matter if a soldier was standing in line, he’d be turned away without a voucher.
There weren’t a lot of customers. The most I received was eight old men in one day.
Some Korean men would pay [tips]. The only Japanese person to pay me money was the officer who beat me.
They gave me some ₩10 coins and ₩5 coins – the [brass coins] with the square hole in the middle.
Ten won was a considerable amount of money then.
Sometimes the men brought me food to eat.
But there was no place to spend the money. I couldn’t even leave [the premises].
[The comfort station] was surrounded by barbed-wire fences. Plus, I was so young that they didn’t want to let me wander. Older Japanese people or Japanese officers would leave [the premises], but [the comfort women] weren’t allowed to go anywhere.”
I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again. I still feel like I’ll see him someday.
“I came down with typhoid fever.
I had a terrible fever – my temperature was soaring. It made me so thirsty … . I just closed my eyes in a complete daze. I would go in and out of consciousness. I thought I would die from thirst. I wanted nothing more than a drink of water.
Typhoid fever is a highly contagious disease. Back in Korea, typhoid fever would wipe out entire neighborhoods. It was a dangerous disease.
People would get terrible fevers. Their hair would fall out, too. People would get loaded on to trucks. I saw eight people lying on the bed of the truck – some were sitting down. They would drive around loading people on to the truck.
They would burn them – burn them in a fire.
They would dig holes in the ground and load them up with firewood and gasoline. They would just throw people in there with no regard. I was one of the last people to be thrown in – I was at the top.One Korean soldier and three Japanese soldiers went to burn the afflicted people.
Two people at the top of the heap were already dead.
There was one Korean soldier at that military base.
The Korean soldier’s surname was Kim. He was in contact with the resistance.
I remember him talking about the imminent liberation of Korea.
Anyway, that Mr. Kim killed two of the Japanese soldiers [who went to burn the bodies]. He beat two of them to death, but I don’t remember if the third Japanese soldier died. He kicked him [to see if he was alive], but I don’t know. Mr. Kim pushed him off the mountain. He fired his gun and such....But I wasn’t clear what was happening. I was very ill, and my fever was around 40°C [104°F].
Mr. Kim contacted other resistance fighters. Other resistance fighters came to the mountain to save us, and they carried people into a cave. They told me later that I was bleeding heavily from my head.
After recovering, I asked about the whereabouts of Mr. Kim, and the resistance fighters told me that he had gone to Mt. Baekdu. [The Chinese] referred to Mt. Baekdu as Mt. Changbai.
They also told me that he would return from Mt. Changbai in a few days.
Mr. Kim once said to me, ‘After Korea is liberated I’m going to live in Sangju where you live.’ He always looked after me.
[Mr. Kim] always said that there would be ‘retribution.’ I didn’t even know what ‘retribution’ meant. ‘What’s retribution?’ I asked myself. I know now.
I never saw him again after he went to Mt. Changbai. I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again. I still feel like I’ll see him someday.
Since the resistance fighters killed Japanese soldiers, we were on the run. We went all the way to a place called Oroqento avoid capture.
The people there didn’t even wear shoes. They used tree bark to make clothes. It was a strange place. There was a river at the bottom of a mountain range, and the fish would jump out of the water. The resistance fighters would catch fish there for us to eat.
When my health recovered, I worked as a courier for them.
The resistance fighters would give me messages. I would hide the notes somewhere on my body and deliver the messages to a house where a man and his child lived. Then they would deliver that message to some other location. I did that for three or four months.
It’s interesting how they delivered the messages. There’s a big farming tool, a hoe, that’s bent at one end. They would hide the messages inside the hoe.
The man at the house would cook a chicken for me to eat. I would pretend to be a ginseng digger and carry messages that way.
I wore a towel over my head and pretended that I was on my way to dig up herbs.
After about three months of courier work, I heard that Korea was liberated. The resistance fighters had to look for their superiors. I don’t know if they found them or not … . There were lots of Koreans in Jilin. So I stayed in Jilin for a while and continued to a place called Ji’an. North Korea was just beyond a river from Ji’an. But I couldn’t cross the river, so I went back to Ji’an. That’s how it was...”
He told me…he would live with me in my hometown. He was a very kind young man.
“I didn’t even have a bag back then. I wrapped some clothes in a cloth to bring them back. I barely had any money. I didn’t have any place to put what little money I had. So I wrapped money in a small piece of cloth and put it in my skirt. I even used that piece of fabric as a pillow. I don’t even know when it happened, but I woke up one day and my money and clothes were missing. Someone stole them from me. One of the people I was traveling with had sold me.
[I was sold to] someone with the surname Noh. The elderly woman in that house was North Korean. Even though she was Korean, she had been in China for so long that she didn’t have any family back home. But they were still Korean. Anyway, that household bought me [from my traveling companion]. I lived in that house for about three years and worked as a farmhand.
There was a young man at that house. He was a student in a Japanese junior high school.
He was tall and very handsome. We developed feelings for each other. He told me that once [post-war] travel became easier, he would live with me in my hometown. He was a very kind young man.
I got married while I was living at that house.He was a great husband. If my mother-in-law mistreated me, he would stand up for me. I remember they would fight about me.
My father-in-law would drink and ask me to fetch my mother-in-law while I was cooking in the kitchen. He was from Pyongan Province. He’d say [in a Pyongan dialect], ‘Go and fetch your mother-in-law. Hurry.’ What were those Japanese shoes – the army boots. I suppose he wasn’t satisfied with how quickly I would fetch her. When I was working the fire in the kitchen, my father-in-law threw a boot at my face. He broke one of my teeth. That’s how I got this broken tooth. Then my husband came home. Of course, he saw what happened to my tooth and asked how it happened. So I explained the whole story to him. My husband then told me to go and stay at his uncle’s house that was nearby. He told me to just drop what I was doing (cooking) and leave. My mother-in-law was only thirty-odd years old at the time. Anyway, when she came home, my husband said to her, ‘Look at what father did to my wife with an army boot. What would the neighbors say? If he’s a parent, he should act like one. [My wife] doesn’t even have any family here – she has no one!’ He even scolded his own father and said that the family should treat me better. Since he was being disrespectful toward his father, my mother-in-law said to him, ‘You son of a bitch, your father has been drinking. Watch your mouth!’ (This implies that the mother-in-law regarded the incident as an accident attributable to her husband’s drinking.) My husband showed disdain towards his parents for the way they treated me.
My husband had to join the Army in July of that year. There was nothing he could do about that – he had to go. The Communists were at war with Chiang Kai-shek.After the end of World War II, Communist China fought against Taiwan. My husband died in that war.
If our baby daughter had received [proper medical care] at that time, she wouldn’t have died of pneumonia. She died of complications from pneumonia when she had the measles.
That’s how I lost my baby daughter. She was very sick, but [my in-laws] wouldn’t let me take her to the hospital. They wouldn’t give me any money. I didn’t have the money to buy her anything. I was too young to fully understand what was happening on the day she died. My mother-in-law went to her [immediate] family’s house. They lived in the same neighborhood. She wouldn’t return even after sunset. I didn’t even prepare food [for my in-laws]. I was caring for my baby.
My daughter was grinding her teeth. Then she just closed her eyes and passed. I covered her with a blanket. My mother-in-law eventually returned and asked, ‘So what happened to the baby?’ I stayed silent. My father-in-law came home around the same time.”
I worked as a nurse for the ophthalmologist in that major hospital.
“The village foreman said to me, ‘You’re gonna die in this house. All you do is work. You don’t even have shoes to wear.’
Then he suggested, ‘I’ll introduce you to someone. My cousin works at a small hospital in Jilin.’
I worked as a nurse at that hospital. I gave patients shots. I was pretty good at it, too. I remembered what the doctor [in the Mudan River comfort station] did to treat people who lost their vision.
After working in that private hospital for a while, I heard that help was needed at a nearby major hospital. So I transferred to that hospital.
I worked as a nurse for the ophthalmologist in that major hospital. And after some time, I went and worked for a dentist in the same hospital. It was a pretty big hospital. That hospital was the second-largest hospital in Jilin, China.
I would do everything if the doctors didn’t come in. There were chief physicians for ophthalmology, ENT, dentistry, and so on … . If the chief physician was unavailable to treat patients, I would treat them, extract teeth, or administer medicine.
I worked with some medical interns who had recently graduated from dental school. One of them accidentally extracted the wrong tooth during a procedure. I had to take care of the problem without the chief physician’s knowing.
I asked the patient to sweep the whole thing under the rug. ‘This doctor is young with a bright future. Your children will be blessed for this good deed,’ I said. We didn’t accept payment for that procedure. I told the doctor to be more careful in his practice for the sake of others. He was grateful for that day.
I was a head nurse, so I out-ranked some of those doctors. The department of internal medicine had a doctor and a chief physician. I got paid more than them. A college student eventually becomes chief physician. There was the director of the hospital, then chief physicians, and then head nurses. There were several head nurses in the hospital.
If you were a good worker, or you were better than another nurse at injections, you got promoted to head nurse. Leaders require more than just good work. You need competence. It’s not for everyone.
I had one of my children on my back while holding the other two with my hands I walked to work on icy roads [instead of taking a trolley]. No more than three or four [trolley] cars could go up [the hill]. There was only one small [trolley] car. A bunch of men would force themselves [onto the trolley for a ride].
It was a bit more difficult for me than other people. I started work at five in the morning while other nurses started a half-hour later.
Even when I went into the mountains [to search] for medicinal herbs, I had to take my baby. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to breast-feed him. Sometimes my co-workers would watch my children while I searched for medicinal herbs.
I eventually stopped working at the hospital, and my daughter went in my place.
My daughter may be have been eighteen years old.The executives at the hospital said my daughter couldn’t work in my place, but I told them that I was ill just so she would be able to. Otherwise, I would have had to work there for another three or four years.
I had no choice but to resign for my daughter’s sake. There was no work for her. What if she met some wicked man while working somewhere else? So I gave up my position.
If it wasn’t for that, I still would have been making decent wages.
I cannot accept a betrayal.
“A pharmacist in the hospital introduced us.
[My second husband] was a Korean. He grew up not knowing his parents.
He certainly was a handsome fellow. You know that famous Kim, Il-sung photo? My husband had a big, bright smile just like that. Everyone complimented his looks. But he was too good-looking for his own good.
People called him an asshole and [the other woman] a crazy bitch.
He never brought home what he earned. He spent all his money on his friends. That always disappointed me.
All he did was drink with his friends. And he would always stare at other women … . He wanted someone prettier than me … . He resented my short height and dark complexion.
I said to him, ‘I don’t care if you cheat – just bring home some money. Go and live with her if you want to, but I have to raise our kids.’ But he never left me. He’d spend the night with that woman [whom he was cheating with] and come crawling home at five, six in the morning.
I became pregnant soon after the wedding. About eighteen months later, I became pregnant again. It was a boy. He got that other woman pregnant, too. Her child was born in July, and my child was born in December of the same year. My husband saw two sons born in the same year. Imagine that...
I thought maybe he would change his ways after our son was born, but I was wrong. We eventually divorced. He wanted the divorce, and I agreed.
I don’t even want to see him in a dream. I cannot accept a betrayal.
I’ve had problems with the men in my life … . But I overcame them – even my first marriage. I found a way to go on. I think I’m most comfortable being alone.”
I took a handful of Korean soil back to China as a keepsake. I always kept it with me.
“It’s always toughest around the holidays. I cry somewhere where my children can’t see me. How could I cry in front of them? It was very hard to handle. Since I was the youngest of twelve, I was always favored. A silk trader passed through the house [around the holidays]. [My parents] would have some clothes tailored for me. I remember a yellow jeogori (traditional Korean upper garment) with red trim. They did the same around Lunar New Year’s Day. I still remember [Thanksgiving] clearly. My mother would give me a piggy-back ride, and my sisters and brothers would be sewing [new clothes] under the bright harvest moon. I would weep just thinking about [my childhood].
I visited Korea once in 1988. I came by way of Hong Kong back then. The Red Cross invited me. [I had to restore] my census registration in Korea.
I was able to visit thanks to the efforts of the Korean Red Cross in reuniting long-lost families.
So I came by way of Guangzhou and Shenzhen.Hong Kong is just across the border. My nieces and nephews lived in Korea. They came [to the airport] to greet me.
I cried and cried at the airport thinking about my family. My parents had already passed away by then.
Even after I made my way back to Korea, some people called me Chinese and told me to go back to China. That broke my heart.I took a handful of Korean soil back to China as a keepsake. I always kept it with me.
I also visited South Korea in 1998. I still had a life back in China, so I went back. A newspaper article was published about me.
I didn’t say anything – it was my [elementary school] alumna. She was in the same class as me.She felt it was in my best interest to publicize that information now that I had returned to Korea. She said, ‘You’ve lived a full life, and you don’t have plans to marry again at your old age. You should let people know about your story.’
[My friend] stated that I had been taken as a comfort woman in a television interview, and someone from a newspaper came to see me. An article about me was published soon after.
I needed ₩30,000,000 (approx. US$30,000) for the family register [to restore my Korean nationality].
I asked my nieces and nephews for assistance. One agreed to help me.
She said, ‘Auntie, I’ll help you. Don’t worry.’ I was so grateful.
I cried my eyes out … . If my older brother had earned all of his wealth by himself, I wouldn’t have been in the position to ask. I wasn’t that discourteous. But all of that wealth had been amassed thanks to the blood and sweat of my parents. When my mother married my father, he had nothing to his name. All I could think about was how hard my mother had to work for everything she obtained, and that made me cry.
I don’t know why the Korean government works this way.
“I couldn’t say that I was an ‘enlistee [comfort woman]’ (A small but critical difference in phrasing in Korean). That wasn’t acceptable. I had to say that I was just a ‘comfort woman.’ Enlistees went of their own accord. They went to earn money. Comfort women were taken by force or deceived into going. That was the key difference. We had to make that clear.
I'm going to do everything in my power to correct this problem while [the comfort women survivors] are still alive. I have to think about my country. We comfort women have been to hell and back, and future generations should never be subjected to [such atrocities].
I’m not an articulate woman, but I can say a thing or two about what I’ve been through. I want to ensure that Korea, the land in which my parents and our forefathers are buried, is protected from foreign invasion. That’s why I’m back [in Korea]. I wanted to do my part to prevent the Japanese from ever invading our country again.
The future generations have to protect Korea. If just one word I say affects even just one person, I’ll be grateful to God. We can always use another person to stand up for our country. Of course, I want to see my children [back in China]. I feel so sorrowful after I speak to my family on the phone that I can hardly sleep at night. However, I can’t compare my family to my country. Life would be meaningless without a country of your own.
Next month,I’m going to China … . It’ll be my first time [since I’ve been permanently residing in Korea]. My first time.
But I’m not nervous. Why would I be? I’m just going to my house. It’s not my son’s house – it’s my house.
I’ve performed meritorious deeds. I’ve worked for over thirty years. So, [the government] provided me with a house. It’s one of the nicest homes in Jilin. It’s located on the biggest street in Jilin – Liberation Road.
I wish my children could stay closer to me.
I wish I could spend the rest of my days with my family nearby. They say that you can’t rest peacefully if you die without family by your side … . My daughter has some money saved up. And my oldest son said he would pitch in so that we could all live under one roof without any need for government subsidies.
I’ve left my daughter and two sons behind [in China] for the Korean government. I don’t know why the Korean government works this way.
What will the Ministry of Gender Equality do about this?”
- [note 033]
- When a policeman and a soldier came to Il-chul Kang's house and took her, They threw a notice containing her name into a room.
- [note 034]
- Il-chul Kang believed that she was taken in part due to the fact that her brothers weren’t available for conscription.
- [note 035]
- Il-chul Kang stayed from ten to twenty days in a Changchun military base. Women who had done laundry for an extended period were allowed to briefly leave the premises.
- [note 036]
- Il-chul Kang nursed blind Japanese soldiers at the Mudan River comfort station prior to working as a comfort woman.
- [note 037]
- A typhoid fever epidemic swept through the Mudan River comfort station in 1945. The Japanese military loaded the infected people in trucks and drove them to a nearby mountain to be burned. Il-chul Kang said that she was able to survive the ordeal as she was one of the last people to be thrown on to the pile of bodies.
- [note 038]
- Il-chul Kang recalled that a Korean resistance fighter with the surname Kim had infiltrated the comfort station under the pretense that he was an agent for the Japanese military.
- [note 039]
- Located in a wooded area of northeast China near the Amur River
- [note 040]
- While living in the Noh residence as a farmhand, Il-chul Kang married the eldest son of their family.
- [note 041]
- Refers to the Chinese civil war from 1946 to 1950.
- [note 042]
- Il-chul Kang re-married while working as a nurse and gave birth to two sons and one daughter.
- [note 043]
- Il-chul Kang worked at a hospital from 1949 to 1980 when her daughter reached eighteen years of age. She purposely resigned from her position so that her daughter could work at the same hospital.
- [note 044]
- In 1992, prior to establishing diplomatic relations, travel from China to South Korea was restricted. At the request of her nieces and nephews, Il-chul Kang visited South Korea in 1988 as part of an overseas-Korean homeland visitation project conducted by the Korean Red Cross.
- [note 045]
- Guangzhou and Shenzhen border Hong Kong and are within Guangdong Province.
- [note 046]
- Il-chul Kang visited South Korea under a visitor’s visa in 1988 as her nationality had not been restored as a Korean at the time.
- [note 047]
- During her visit to South Korea in 1998, Il-chul Kang met an elementary school alumna who disclosed Kang’s past to the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, stirring controversy. (“A Former Comfort Woman’s Confession,” Chosun Ilbo, April 9, 1998)
- [note 048]
- Il-chul Kang returned to China in December 2002 and stayed for two months.