A year ago, I was a freshman student who could not wait to begin studying at a university. During that time, I wanted to spend my time in a more productive manner. It was not long before I encountered the ‘Peace Butterfly Network’. It is a student union club, in which students from different colleges gather together to learn and act on issues concerning Japanese military sexual slavery, which is also known as ‘Comfort Women’. I have started this club as a staff of a project called ‘Peace Butterfly Run’. It is a marathon held every March, in which the runners of the project donate money to the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery and the victims of wartime sexual violence. I was able to learn about the basic knowledge of the issue and the reason why we should care about it. Furthermore, I participated in a campaign in which we sold bracelets in order to donate money and gather signatures of the citizens to receive an apology from Japan. I have gained enough information for about a month of these experiences as a staff of the project. In the past, I was not aware of Japanese military sexual slavery since I was busy living my own life. I was ignorant of the things that were happening around me. However, my life has changed after taking this opportunity as a member of the Peace Butterfly Network. The interest toward this issue has driven me to become a formal member of the Peace Butterfly Network, thereby allowing me to have a deeper understanding of this issue, participate in the Wednesday demonstration, attend different seminars, and open the forum. Moreover, being a part of the Peace Butterfly Network had not just provided me with the opportunity to look at the world in a broader perspective, but it also helped me in meeting lots of affable friends. I have met friends who shared the same interests as mine and they encourage me when I am uncertain of my decisions.
To sum up my personal experience, what I have learned the most from this club activity is that we should care about things that seemed to be irrelevant in our life. Every time I go out for a campaign to speak about Japanese military sexual slavery, there are always people who are asking me with questions such as ‘Do you think you can change the world?’ Other people thought that it was meaningless. The first time when I encountered them, I was afraid and I dreaded seeing them. They made me lose confidence. However, I realized that I am doing the right thing and from that moment, I became more confident. There is a slogan saying: ‘If not now, then when? If not me, then who?’ I think this applies to the problem of Japanese military sexual slavery. It is the issue of the past and yet, it is also the issue of the future. Nothing changes if we do not do anything to solve this problem because the same thing will happen again. Japanese military sexual slavery is not about politics, but instead, it is about human rights. In order to stop crime against humanity, we should start to care about others. Many people accuse Japan of not taking responsibility for what they have done, as well as their attitude of not feeling any remorse. In my opinion, the factor that is preventing the Japanese military sexual violence to be solved, to some extent, relies on the public indifference toward this issue. It is not the public’s obligation to fight for justice, but it is their responsibility to assert what is right in order to achieve justice. As a member of the Peace Butterfly Network, I sincerely anticipate the time when everyone will start to show their concern about Japanese sexual military slavery and care about the Peace Butterfly Network as well.