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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Han

Comfort women statue’s trademark registration suspected to be for profit.

It has turned out that the sculptors of the “comfort woman statue,” Kim Eun-sung and his wife were seeking to register a trademark for it. In 2016, Mr. Kim, a director of the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (the Korean Council), filed a composite trademark application for letters and figures for the said statute with the Patent Office to request that its sculptures be registered products.

Trademark rights are for monopolizing trademarks to be attached to products for sale. That is, Mr. and Mrs. Kim would be able to exclusively use a trademark for the “comfort woman statue” to make money by selling related products. The Patent Office dismissed his application by saying, “This would not serve the public interest,” and, “The design is not special, either.” To date, they have produced nearly 100 comfort woman statues and have earned 3 billion won or more. Despite having already made such a great deal of money, they have claimed the comfort woman statues made by others as “copyright infringement” and have required all of them to be destroyed.

Their acts like the above are extensions of the suspicion that the Korean Council had a monopoly on the “comfort women movement” and benefitted itself. A shelter for comfort women operated by the Korean Council was used by Lawmaker Yoon Mee-hyang’s acquaintances or some left-wing groups as a resort in rather than by the comfort women victims. Yoon’s father was receiving a salary for being stationed at this facility and her husband was taking on the Korean Council’s assignments. The condolence money for the deceased comfort women was shared by pro-North Korean and anti-U.S. groups close to the Korean Council. Even another suspicion has arisen that the head of the said facility who committed suicide had been helping herself to the money in the comfort women victims’ bankbooks. It is said that the directors of the Korean Council, such as Yoon Mee-hyang, deliberated a subsidy support project for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, resulting in making over 1 billion 600 million won their own, which means that even citizens’ tax has partly turned into their spending money. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family refused to submit the materials to the National Assembly to hide such facts. It would be unforgivable if the pains of the comfort women victims have been exploited for lining the pockets of certain forces. All the suspicions must be thoroughly clarified.


● Chosun Ilbo (Editorial dated June 17, 2020)

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