Lost Names in Asia

What if your name disappears from the world …?

Geese fly and leave their sound. People die leaving their names.
- Chinese proverb 

Tigers die and leave their skin. People die leaving their names.
- Korean proverb

Historically, Chinese and Koreans put emphasis on names.

One’s name carries a lot of information.
Their ancestry
Their family background
Their parents’ expectations

Names reflect one’s identity. When babies are born, parents think of their future. 
They spend a lot of time and effort to name their children. 

About 80 years ago, some people had to lose their given names.
They were confronted with a harsh reality that their parents never wanted.

Numerous Asians became war victims in the 20th century.

14 girls named Su-Young
Seo Su-Young, Kim Su-Young, Bok Su-Young, Ryu Su-Young,
Po Su-Syoung, Shi Su-Young, Bang Su-Young, Gye Su-Young
And Two Wang Su-Young and three Lee Su-Young

All these girls with the same name were victims of the Nanjing Massacre.

[Nanjing Massacre, December 1937 ~ January 1938]
A mass rape and murder in Nanjing committed by Japanese troops

In 1937 during the Sino-Japanese War, Japan invaded Nanjing, then the capital of China.

Within only six weeks, the Japanese invaders murdered three hundred thousand Chinese people.

The purpose of the massacre
To create fear of the Japanese Army through a massacre in the capital of China

Due to their cruel war tactic, fourteen Chinese girls named Su-Young were killed.

In Chinese, Su 秀 [xiu] means excellent or beautiful.
Their parents probably hoped that they would live happy lives as lovely women. 

However, they became victims of a massacre.  The girls and their families were brutally murdered or raped. Men were used for Japanese military training and beheading contests. Women were raped by soldiers. Their names and dreams were lost because of Japanese imperialism.

There were another 200 thousand women, who lost their names and dreams because of Imperial Japan. They were from different parts of Asia, including Korea, China, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines. 

Many innocent Asian girls were sacrificed during the war. During WWII, Japan had a problem of their soldiers raping local women in occupied areas. The rape of civilian women produced serious anti-Japanese sentiment, leading to trouble for its occupational rule.

As a solution, Japan decided to use young women from its 10 occupied countries. It set up military brothels, so-called “comfort stations,” at Japanese military bases. The young girls were brought to those stations. They were named “comfort women,” meaning women who comfort Japanese soldiers.

With the disguised name, they were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military. Two hundred thousand Asian women lost their names and youth. No official apology by Japan has made to these women. Now, the elderly victims are dying.

Erasing names
Forced Name Change
Japan’s policy of forcing Koreans to take Japanese names

Japan forced Koreans to give up their names.

From February 1940 to August 1945, Japan implemented a policy that required Koreans to take Japanese names.

It was to erase the identity of the Korean people. For those who refused to take Japanese names, Japan denied their children admission to schools. It also took away their livelihood.

Japan aggressively promoted name change by using famous Korean people. By forcing Koreans to take Japanese names, Japan wished to destroy the identity, culture and values of the Korean people. Many Asians lost their names and lives during the Japanese Imperial Period.

However, Japan still refuses to accept the past and continues to distort history. 
Instead, Japan is trying to take away another name.

The name of Dokdo!
Dokdo was the first Korean territory taken over by Japan.

Japan is trying to change the name of Dokdo to Takeshima and erase the name of Dokdo from world maps.

Japan’s sovereignty claim over Dokdo
Japan is imposing pain on Asia again.

Global economists and futurists predict the future of Asia as a double-edged sword.

- Continent of enormous potential to lead the global economy                  
- Continent of constant territorial and historical disputes due to Japanese imperial history

VANK members have a different perspective on the future of Asia. Asia will prove its great potential by reconciling conflicts over history. Asia will get its true name back by rewinding time and resolving unsolved historical conflicts.

We need to find the key to peace in Asia. We are the ones who will create the future of Asia.

Korea, China and Japan, we must work together.

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