SEOUL, September 26, 2017 – A French woman won the grand prize for her cartoon in the “comfort women contents contest” organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG). The contest was held to support the efforts to list records of comfort women on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.
Annabelle Godeau, 27, depicted the tragic story of the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery in her eighteen-paged cartoon. Her cartoon received good reviews from the judging panel for her good understanding of the topic, and completeness and creativity of the story.
Godeau had been grown up in Blois, a small city of France, and studied the illustration and animation at an art school in Lyon. She started to watch video clips about Korea through the Internet when she was a high school student. Her interests in Korea have made her visit Korea three times since 2012 to study Korean and work as an intern at an application development company. She used to publish her digital comics about her experience in Korea, titled “Annabelle and Korea,” at Lezhin Commics, one of the popular digital comics service platforms in Korea.
According to her, French people learn about the World War II at school, but they do not know well about what happened to Korea at the wartime. When she was staying in Korea, she came to know the stories of comfort women who were forcibly taken to military brothels to serve Japanese soldiers before and during the World War II. She developed her interests in the victims and chose the issue as the subject of her graduation work at the university. One Korean friend of hers suggested her to participate in the contest and she did.
A total of 74 entries of video clips, cartoons and other types of art works had been submitted during the contest that was held from June 21 to August 31, 2017. Among them, fifteen artworks were selected for the prizes and awarded in the ceremony held at the City Hall on September 23, 2017.
Hyeongbae Kim, the head of the judging panel, said a number of good entries expressed well about the artist’s willingness to remember the sad history of Korea and promote the issue to more people across the world with unique and refreshing new ideas.
Following the grand prize for Godeau, “The Records of Today, The Memory of Tomorrow” filmed by the university student group “400km Family,” and cartoon “Nunmul (Tears) by Haeji Jeong, a student of the Korean National University of Arts, won the best prizes.
On the same day of the awarding ceremony, around 150 elementary and middle school students and their parents participated in the contents creation contest. They joined the contest by drawing paintings, or writing essays or letters about the comfort women.
The city government is currently providing an educational class for students, adults and families at the Comfort Women Memorial Site where was opened in August 2016 at the Namsan Mountain in central Seoul. It will further push forward with historical record management and educational program development about the comfort women.