‘Comfort women’ sculptor couple wins libel suit against internet media chief

(Yonhap)

(Yonhap)

A sculptor couple, known for their “comfort women” statue representing wartime sex slaves, has won a libel suit against an internet media operator who claimed another of the couple’s sculpture representing forced labor victims was modeled after a Japanese man.

The Seoul Western District Court ordered the head of an internet media outlet and another person to pay 7 million won ($5,720) and 5 million won in damages, respectively, in the civil suit filed by the couple, Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung, according to legal sources.

The couple, widely known for their girl statue symbolizing victims of wartime sexual slavery by Japan, set up a laborer statue near a mine in Japan’s Kyoto in 2016 to commemorate Koreans mobilized into forced labor under Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The statue was later installed in several other places in South Korea, including Seoul, Jeju and Busan.

The internet media chief and the accomplice claimed on the internet, Facebook or street rallies that the laborer statues were modeled after a Japanese man.

The couple has since filed the suit, seeking 60 million won in compensation from each.

“The honor of the plaintiffs appears to have been seriously damaged due to postings by the defendants, and the illegal acts were committed repeatedly and in a sustained manner, warranting the need to prevent such doings in the future,” the court said.

The court dismissed the defendants’ defense that they did not know the couple was the creator of the laborer statue, saying that the fact “was widely known through media reports and a simple information search would have found it.”

The court also said there is no clear resemblance between the images of Japanese laborers featured in school textbooks and the statue in question, except the gaunt body, the naked torso and the short pants, saying the statue represents an image easy to conjure up for a forced laborer who led a rough and hard life inside a mine.

The court ruling follows a similar damage suit the couple won against a right-wing author last year. (Yonhap)

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