School forced to postpone former comfort woman's graduation

School forced to postpone former comfort woman's graduation

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) The National Tainan Girls' Senior High School in Tainan, southern Taiwan had to call off a plan to present a commemorative graduation certificate Thursday to a 93-year-old who was forced into sexual slavery by Japanese forces during World War II, the school said Wednesday.

The presentation had to be postponed because Hsiao Tao Ah-ma has taken ill and has been admitted to a hospital, a spokesman for the high school said. To prevent disturbing her, the school will conduct the conferral after the "Ah-ma" (which means grandma in Taiwanese) is feeling better, the spokesman said.

Hsiao Tao Ah-ma is the nickname of Cheng-Chen Tao, who said she passed the entrance examination of the Tainan Girls' Senior High School at the age of 19. At the time, Taiwan was still under Japanese colonial rule and the school was called the Second Girls' Senior Middle School of Tainan County.

However, she never got to finish her studies at the school because soon after she began, she was abducted one day by Japanese policemen on her way to school and taken against her will overseas to serve as a "comfort woman," providing sexual services to Japanese servicemen during the war, according to the Ah-ma.

Throughout her life, she has wished for an apology from Japan and to complete her studies at the Tainan high school, the Ah-ma said.

After learning of her wish, the school decided to present her with a commemorative graduation certificate, despite some history scholars doubting that Hsiao Tao A-ma had actually not been enrolled because there is no official record of her enrollment.

Tao (meaning peach in Chinese) has said that she did begin studying at the school, but was never registered because she got taken away.

Her tragic past is revealed in a documentary, titled "Song of the Reed," which chronicles the later years of Taiwanese women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese forces during World War II.

The Taiwan government is still negotiating with Japan for an apology to the Taiwanese comfort women and compensation for them. (By Chang Jung-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)

Updated : 2021-02-27 03:37 GMT+08:00