Japanese band to perform for former sex slaves

Yukie Sato, leader of Japanese rock band “Kopchangjeongol”

A Japanese rock band will perform at a concert organized to call for Tokyo to apologize from for atrocities committed during World War II, including sex slavery.

Kopchangjeongol, an indie band performing in Korea, will play two songs at the Peace Concert to be held at Cheonggye Square in central Seoul at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Liberation Day, concert organizers said Tuesday.

The concert is part of a day-long event calling for a resolution on the issue of “comfort women,” who were forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Kopchangjeongol is a three member group and its leader, Yukie Sato, founded the band after developing a strong interest in Korean songs. The group debuted in Korea in 1999 with their first album, a collection of songs all sung in the Korean language.

Sato, fascinated with Korean food, named his band Kopchangjeongol, meaning intestine stew cooked with vegetable.

“My heart hurts when I see those former comfort women. I’m singing at the concert because I don’t want such tragedy of a war to repeat,” Sato said.

The 49-year-old said a Korean singer proposed that he participate in the concert. Kopchangjeongol are the only Japanese performers in the concert, but Sato said his nationality didn’t matter at all because he has always made appeals for “no war.”

“I’m a pacifist. My generation grew up listening to rock music in the 1960s and 70s when hippie culture was developed. We basically oppose wars and support peace. If the war hadn’t occurred, there wouldn’t have been comfort women. We can’t do anything about what happened in the past, but I think we can do something to prevent such things from happening again, so I decided to join the concert,” he said.

One of the songs the band will perform, titled “Lesson 1,” is an antiwar song sung in Japan in 1970s and Sato translated it into Korean. “I thought this song is meaningful at this time in Korea. In Japan, not many people pay attention to songs carrying messages critical of social issues. In Korea, many passionate people sympathize with such songs and I like it.”

The Liberation Day event will begin at a weekly rally held at noon in front of the Japanese Embassy by former sex slaves every Wednesday. Participants will march to Cheonggye Square afterward, where a shaman rite will be conducted for the repose of the deceased former sex slaves at 4 p.m., and memorial tablets for 170 women will be carried.

It will be followed by the Peace Concert and a one-man play, based on a poem describing the life of a former comfort woman.

On their first album “Annyeonghasimunikka” (a common Japanese mispronunciation of the Korean word hello), Kopchangjeongol covered songs by famous Korean musicians such as guitarist Shin Joong-hyun. Sato produced his solo album in 2009 and the group issued its second album in 2011. <The Korea Times/Kim Rahn>


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