The world's largest comic strip and cartoon festival in France wrapped up its four-day run Sunday, after drawing attention for displaying cartoons depicting former Korean sex slaves to the Japanese military during World War II.
Some 17,000 people visited the exhibition titled "I'm the Evidence" during the 2014 Angouleme International Comics Festival held from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 in the southwestern French city of the same name, according to the Korea Manhwa Contents Agency, which organized the event.
More than 20 cartoons, illustrations and videos telling the tragic stories of former sex slavery victims were featured in the exhibition, the agency said.
The cartoons were drawn by established South Korean cartoonists such as Park Geon-woong, Kim Geun-sook, Shin Ji-soo, Lee Hyun-se and Park Jae-dong to raise the world's awareness of the sex slavery issue.
Historians say up to 200,000 women, many of them Korean, were coerced into sexual servitude by the Japanese army at front-line brothels during World War II when the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony. Of the 237 Korean women who reported themselves as former sex slaves, only 55 are still alive.
However, Japan has consistently tried to hinder the exhibition of cartoons on sex slavery victims, claiming that the event distorts the purpose of the French cartoon festival. This led to the cancellation of a press conference planned to be hosted by
Seoul's Gender Equality and Family Ministry in Angouleme one day before the festival's opening to promote the exhibition. The ministry is a large sponsor of the event.
Japanese cartoonists had their booth removed by the organizing committee one day before the opening for their unsuccessful attempt to display works that distorted the issue of wartime sex slaves during the festival, which typically draw more than 7,000 cartoon industry people from around the world. (Yonhap News)