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


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.

 ChigonKimSeminarPicKCS Bayside June9 2017

On Friday, June 9, 2017, Professor Chigon Kim of Wright State University gave a talk on "The Aging Korean Immigrant Population in the United States: Living Arrangements, Health Conditions, and Socio-economic Status of Older Korean Immigrants" at the new KCS location in Bayside, Queens. This event was part of RCKC's regular seminar series.

The Korean immigrant population aged 65 and over has continued to grow rapidly over decades. The percentage of older Korean immigrants (ages 65 and older) among the total Korean immigrant population has increased from less than 5 percent in 1990 to more than 17 percent in 2015. The aging of the Korean immigrant population has shown distinct demographic characteristics. For example, women outnumber men in the older age groups in part because of their longer life expectancy. More than two out of five older Korean immigrants live in two major Korean population centers, Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas. This presentation will focus on the living arrangements, health conditions, and socioeconomic status of these older Korean immigrants using data from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey. Results show that 62 percent of older Korean immigrants are married and living with their spouse. Among the non-married, a third of them live in an extended-family household (e.g., living in their own child’s family). Yet, almost half of non-married older Korean immigrants live alone. More than a quarter of older Korean immigrants have experienced one or more health problems with the most common difficulties being ambulatory (e.g., walking and climbing stairs) and independent living difficulties. These health problems are more prevalent among the non-married and living alone. About 18 percent of the older Korean immigrants participate in the labor market, and 40 percent of them are self-employed. Besides wages/salaries and business income, older Korean immigrants have various income sources such as Social Security, investment, and pension. Nonetheless, one out of five are in poverty. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of how the aging Korean immigrant population will have wide-ranging implications for families, businesses, and communities. 

We would like to thank Professor Chigon Kim, KCS, and everyone who attended the seminar.

ConferenceKoreatownsGLF2017 Pic1comprssd

On May 4, 2017, an international conference titled "Ethnic Enclaves and Urban Regeneration" was held at Global Leadership Foundation in Flushing, Queens. This event was co-organized by the BK21+ Ethnic and Koreatown Urban Regeneration Research Team at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Seoul, South Korea) and the Research Center for Korean Community at Queens College. This international conference featured presentations by researchers from China, Japan, Korea, and the United States. Topics included transnationalism, cultural contents, Hallyu (The Korean Wave), digital mapping, ethnic retention, and other interesting subjects related to Korean ethnic enclaves all over the world.

This conference was sponsored by the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Global Cultural Contents Research Center. 

We would like to express our appreciation to Professor Young Sang Yim of the Department of Global Cultural Contents at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies for all of his hard work organizing the conference. We also thank members of the community who attended this conference in the middle of a weekday.

Click the photo at the top of this newsletter or here for a link to a full schedule of the conference presentations.   



ProfMin SeminarPic GLF Apr19 2017

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Professor Pyong Gap Min of RCKC and Queens College gave a talk titled "The Advantages of Suburban Enclaves Over Urban Enclaves in Community Empowerment: A Comparison of Korean Enclaves in Queens Borough and Bergen County in the NY-NJ Area." This event took place at Global Leadership Foundation on Parsons Blvd in Flushing from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Approximately twenty people attended this talk, including three of RCKC's 2017 visiting scholars, the co-director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, and a reporter for Korea Central Daily News.

Professor Min's talk focused on the advantages of suburban enclaves over urban enclaves in community empowerment, using Korean immigrant communities in the NYC borough of Queens and New Jersey's Bergen County as case studies. Using census data, newspaper articles, and personal interviews with Korean politicians and community leaders, the talk covered three components of community empowerment: (1) electoral politics, (2) the promotion of the Korean language to American public schools, and (3) erecting "comfort women" monuments. Professor Min also discussed some of the advantageous benefits of other suburban Korean enclaves in the U.S. 


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