At the back of St. Mary’s Square in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the
retired judge Lillian Sing—who, long a trailblazer, was Northern
California’s first Asian-American female judge—unlocked a temporary
plywood gate. Behind the gate, in the corner of a terrace, stood a
week-old memorial. Against the backdrop of city skyscrapers, three
teen-age girls, cast in bronze, stand in a circle, holding hands. Next
to them, looking on, stands the figure of an elderly woman in Korean
dress—Kim Hak-sun, the first so-called comfort woman to speak out, in
1991, about her horrific sexual enslavement, during the Second World
War, by the Imperial Japanese Army.
Sing had come to the park that day with Julie Tang, another retired
judge and her co-chair in the project to create the memorial. “What they
did was so brave,” Tang said, as she gazed up at the three girls.
Chinese, Korean, and Filipino, they represent the estimated two hundred
thousand women from countries across East and…