There was a “performing arts comfort team” of 14 Korean comfort women who went to Japan in July and August 1943 to sing, dance, and “comfort” wounded Imperial Japanese soldiers in Japan. I previously posted two articles from August 1943 on this subreddit about this comfort team, one (Korean comfort women interviewed after whirlwind 1943 Japan tour) was an interview with the comfort women after they returned to Korea from this trip, and another (1943 editorial calls for Korean language to be wiped out) was a government policy editorial saying that this comfort team demonstrated that these Korean women learned Japanese so well because they interacted with Imperial Japanese soldiers as comfort women, so this lesson should be applied in all of Korea so as to “directly bump sincere hearts with each other”.
I’ve also added some links to Youtube videos that I found of the songs and dances that they performed. Most appear to be Japanese folk songs, but their repertoire also includes some Korean songs in a slight nod to their Korean heritage. Judging from the music selection, I’m thinking these Korean comfort women must have had very specialized music instructors from Japan come to Korea to teach them these very regional Japanese folk songs and dances.
Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo), July 14, 1943
Giving comfort singing Doraji Taryeong
Korean performing arts comfort team working hard
Burning with heroic determination to serve again, the “Korean performing arts comfort team of the Army and Navy Hospital in Japan proper”, organized by the head office of this newspaper and consisting of 14 members including Kim Geum-hong (김금홍/金錦紅), is to depart Seoul Station on the morning of July 14th for Japan proper. By comforting the brave soldiers in white who are single-mindedly focused on recuperation, the comfort team expresses their deepest gratitude to their fellow compatriots for their immense trust and affection toward the Korean peninsula. Prior to their departure, at a little after 2:00 p.m. on the afternoon of the 13th, they visited the Korea Army guided by Mr. Suzuki, Director of the Planning Department of the Head Office of this newspaper. After giving a departure speech to Mr. Kuramo, Director of the News Department, they immediately went to the main hospital of Yongsan Seoul Army Hospital to visit the injured soldiers and held a “performing arts comfort party” rich with the sentiments of the Korean peninsula in the Patriotic Hall in front of 200 soldiers in white.
Following the opening address by the group director Mr. Suzuki, Kim Jeon-wang (김전왕/金田旺) spoke on behalf of the entire group by saying, “We have decided to comfort the wounded soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy with our humble performances as a way of thanking our compatriots in Japan for their kindness on the eve of the glorious conscription order. Today, instead of a departure address, we will hold a performance in front of you, and although we are not sure if we will be able to comfort you all, we will do our best. We are reminded of the fact that we have been your sisters in the front lines as members of the glorious Imperial Army, and we are all filled with joy standing in front of you all and giving you comfort. We pray non-stop that you will all recover completely and that the day of your re-entry into the service will come sooner than expected”, giving her kind and sincere opening speech in fluent Japanese. Then the group started the performance.
All the performers, dressed in their traditional Korean clothes, sang “Arirang”, a well-known Korean folk song. The beautiful melody of the ancient folk songs of the Korean peninsula thrilled the white-robed warriors to their hearts’ content, and the Doraji Taryeong, a dance unique to the Korean peninsula, was performed with graceful Korean-inspired dance moves. The audience gave thunderous applauses to “Yasugi-bushi (安来節)” and “the Mother of Kudan (九段の母)” performed by Kim Geum-hong (김금홍/金錦紅).
The comic storytelling of the “New Family Scene” brought a whirlwind of laughter, followed by enthusiastic performances of “Sado Okesa (佐渡おけさ)” and “Night in Suzhou (蘇州の夜)”, and everyone sang a lively rendition of the “Patriotic March (愛国行進曲)”, bringing the comfort performance to a close at 3:30 p.m. [Photo: The performing arts comfort party]
Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo), July 15, 1943
A trip to comfort the brave wounded soldiers.
Performing arts team departed for Japan proper this morning
After the send-off party and the visit to the Army Hospital to comfort the wounded soldiers on July 13th, the 14 members of the “Korean performing arts comfort team of the Army and Navy Hospital in Japan proper”, organized by the head office of this newspaper and led by Kim Geum-hong (김금홍/金錦紅), visited Seoul at 8:00 a.m. on July 14th to make a departure speech, and then departed from Seoul Station at 10:05 a.m. The team members were in high spirits as they were seen off by many executives of the head office of this newspaper as well as friends and relatives, and they made their way onto the “Nozomi” train, with the crimson-red circle Hinomaru insignia on the left sides of their chests shining brightly to protect them on their 24-day trip. They left waving their hands in the air and saying, “See you later! We’ll do our best”. Kim Geum-hong (김금홍/金錦紅), a member of the group, spoke in clear Japanese recounting the excitement of the departure.
“We are not used to this kind of trip, so we are all talking to each other about trying to compose ourselves and avoiding any trouble as much as possible. If the songs and dances of inexperienced people like us can offer even a little comfort to the white-robed warriors in Japan proper, we will be very happy. We will do our best with all our hearts. Most of the members in this group are excited because it will be the first time for them to visit Japan proper. I am also very grateful that we will be able to pay homage to the Imperial Grand Shrine at Ise and other precious places, and to see the beautiful Mount Fuji”. [Photo: the Korean performing arts comfort team departing Seoul Station]
Arirang Dance: https://youtu.be/Bms4dx9ayhQ
Doraji Taryeong: https://youtu.be/o36IFUfTCMg
Mother of Kudan: https://youtu.be/F8kVbUNsOs0
Sado Okesa: https://youtu.be/qYt7ax54eXI
Night in Suzhou: https://youtu.be/4HB-kzjWc8U
Patriotic March: https://youtu.be/2CpcztEOSrs