The Director of our Research Center, Professor Pyong Gap Min, recently returned from a very productive trip to South Korea. On Thursday, January 18, 2018, he gave a talk at the South Korean National Assembly about "Generational Progression and Ethnic Attrition in the U.S. Korean Community." The event was co-organized by the Association for Studies of Koreans Abroad and the Office of Assemblymember Jeong Dong-yeong. Professor Jaegi Kim, a former RCKC Visiting Scholar, is President of the Association for Studies of Koreans Abroad. The Research Center for Overseas Korean Business and Culture at Chonnam University and the National Youth Policy Institute co-sponsored the seminar. Approximately 50 people, including members of the South Korean National Assembly, other government-funded research institutes, and various Korean scholars attended the event. The seminar was organized so the RCKC could request financial support from the South Korean government.

On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was established between the RCKC and the National Youth Policy Institute (NYPI) in Sejong City, South Korea. As part of the mutual agreement on the exchange of research and cooperation, the RCKC and NYPI have agreed to (1) exchange staff members, (2) conduct joint research projects and studies, and (3) collaborate on seminars, conferences, and symposiums. Two of the RCKC's former visiting scholars, Dr. Hyeon-chul Kim and Dr. Heejin Lim, work for NYPI. After the MOU was established, Professor Min gave a talk on "The Movement to Promote the Korean Language in American Schools in the New York-New Jersey Area" at the National Youth Policy Institute.

Professor Min returned to the U.S. late last week after a productive trip. We would like to thank the Association for Studies of Koreans Abroad, Professor Jaegi Kim, the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Assemblymember Dong-yeong Jeong, the National Youth Policy Institute, Dr. Byeongkug Song (President of NYPI), the Research Center for Overseas Korean Business and Culture, Dr. Young-Eon Yim, and Professor Young-sang Yim for their help and generosity during Professor Min's trip.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, we hosted our first seminar of 2018. Dr. Oug Ja Kim gave a talk on "North Korean Artists and North Korean Art Before and After the Korean War" at Global Leadership Foundation (GLF), located at 46-20 Parsons Blvd, Flushing, NY 11355.

Dr. Kim talked about the stories of two groups of Korean painters who ended up taking different paths during the turmoil in the Korean peninsula after Korean independence from Japan, which was followed shortly thereafter by the division of Korea into North and South. One group of artists moved to the south, while the other migrated to the north. She broadly discussed the political history of North Korea while explaining the role played by North Korean painters (who moved from the south) in the formation of North Korean art history. She also showed numerous examples of North Korean art during her presentation.

Dr. Oug Ja Kim has conducted research on education and the culture of North Korea, with a focus on the North Korean power elite. In particular, her doctoral dissertation examined the background and cultivation of North Korean power elites by focusing on Mankyung Revolutionary Academy. Dr. Kim is of our visiting scholars for 2017-2018 at the Research Center for Korean Community at Queens College.

On December 1, 2017, Professor Chunrye Kim gave a talk on "The Impact of Perceived Childhood Victimization and Patriarchal Gender Ideology on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Victimization among Korean Immigrant Women in the USA" at KCS (Korean Community Services) in Bayside, Queens. Approximately 20 people attended this presentation, which was RCKC's final seminar of 2017.

Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She earned her Ph.D. at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/Graduate Center of CUNY, and her primary research interests are victimology, domestic violence, and crime against vulnerable populations such as immigrants, children, and sex trafficking victims. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Child Abuse and Neglect, Journal of Family Violence, Sociological Forum, and Sociological Perspectives.

Professor Kim's talk examined the link between childhood physical and sexual victimization experiences and adulthood intimate partner violence among Korean immigrant women in the United States. As Korean immigrants often use physical punishment to discipline their children, and reporting sexual abuse is discouraged due to social stigma, cultural factors such as patriarchal values related to childhood victimization and intimate partner violence were also examined. The findings of this study reveal that IPV victims, compared with non-victims, experienced higher childhood victimization rates.

On October 13-14, 2017, we held our 8th annual conference at the Queens College Rosenthal Library. This year's topic was "The Redress Movement for the Victims of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery: Looking Back on the 27-Year Movement."  Nearly 200 people attended the conference.

The forced mobilization of an estimated 80,000 to 200,000 Asian women to Japanese military brothels during the Asia-Pacific War (1932-1945) was a brutal war crime. These victims of military sexual slavery have been referred to as “comfort women,” a euphemism originally used by Japanese soldiers. Although it has been over 70 years since the Asia-Pacific War and World War II ended, the Japanese government has not yet made a sincere apology and compensation to the victims.

In 1990, a redress movement began in South Korea in an attempt to persuade the Japanese government to apologize for its past actions and to sufficiently compensate the surviving victims. This movement has received global support from South Korea, other Asian countries, the U.S., and many other Western countries.

Eighteen well-known “comfort women” scholars and redress movement leaders in Korea, Japan, and the United States participated in the conference and gave very informative, eye-opening, and, in some cases, very passionate presentations on the redress movement and the “comfort women” issue.

Other speakers at the conference included New York State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, Queens College Provost Elizabeth Hendrey, Research Foundation for Korean Community President Jea-seung Ko, and Director of Queens College Minority Student Affairs Maureen Pierce-Anyan.

Click the links below for the full conference schedule and short participant bios:

Conference Schedule

Participant Bios

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Sep

September 27, 2017 - Korean "Comfort Women" Film Screening at YWCA in Flushing, Queens

On September 27, 2017, there was a screening of the film Spirits' Homecoming (2015) at the YWCA Queens, 42-07 Parsons Blvd, Flushing, NY. This film was inspired by the plight of Korean "comfort women," who were forced to be sex slaves at military brothels for Japanese soldiers and officers during the Asia-Pacific War and World War II.

This film is the story of two Korean girls, Jung-Min (age 14) and Young-Hee (age 15), who were kidnapped by the Japanese imperial army and taken to a “comfort station” in China. There, they join other kidnapped girls in serving Japanese soldiers as sexual slaves known as “comfort women”. By the end of the war, only one of the girls survived. Decades later, an elderly lady attempts to reunite with the spirit of her lost friend. This film is inspired by the testimony of Kang Il-Chul, a "comfort woman" survivor.

We would like to thank all who attended the film screening, and we would also like to thank the YWCA Queens and their kind and helpful staff members for hosting the screening.

 

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