Added: January 24, 2015 – Last updated: April 11, 2015


Author: María del Pilar Álvarez

Title: Los usos del testimonio en los documentales de las mujeres de confort

Subtitle: Límites y obsáculos de su representación

In: Presencias culturales en el mundo global

Edited by: Carolina Mera and Paula Iadevito

Place: Buenos Aires

Publisher: Editorial Mnemosyne

Year: 2012

Pages: 177-190

ISBN-13: 9789871829149 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: Spanish

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Japanese History, Korean History | Representations: Films / Habitual Sadness, The Murmuring, My Own Breathing; Types: "Comfort Women", Wartime Rape / Asia-Pacific War


Link: Acta Académica (Free Access)



Since the 90s, the testimonies of several survivors of the sexual slavery of the Japanese army (comfort women) have attained a significant national and international political force. After forty years of silenced memories, the voices of these women – the majority Koreans - turned their experience into an essential tool for reconstructing the complex sociopolitical networking in which that past took place. The moral and affective hegemony that intertwine the heartbreaking testimonies is considered the main element that maintains the political and judicial demands. They, that have an unquestionable symbolic aura, are the bases of documentary narratives. Therefore, the bond between filmic images and truth raise the limits and obstacles of emblematic uses of memories´ (re)signification.
To what extent do the differential uses of testimonies - juridical, political and ethical – discuss the accepted bond between documentary images and truth? Is it possible to establish a balance between testimony, history and memory on film?
Considering the debate on testimony pointed out by Hanna Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Annette Wieviorka, Beatriz Sarlo and Primo Levi (witness’s paradox) and it reconstruction on films (Didi-Huberman and Claudia Feld); this article attempt to analyze the diverse forms in which testimonies are evoked and (re)appropriated in the trilogy of Byu Young Joo: The Murmuring (1995), Habitual Sadness (1997) and My own Breathing (1999); in comparison with Anthony Gilmore´s Behind Forgotten Eyes (2007) in order to answer to the suggested research questions.« (Source: Article)


  1. Aproximaciones Teóricas
    1.1. Sobre el relato en primera persona
    1.2. ¿Iconos de la verdad?
  2. Imágenes e Imaginarios
    2.1. Impresiones de la realidad
    2.2 Los usos del testimonio
    Textos Fílmicos

Lecture: Álvarez, María del Pilar. »Usos del testimonio en los documentales de las mujeres de confort: límites y obstáculos de su representación.« VII Congreso Nacional de Estudios Coreanos. Buenos Aires 2011.

Wikipedia: Byun Young-joo; Wartime sexual violence: Comfort women, Japanese war crimes, Pacific War