Transforming the Grief of Military Sexual Violence to the Desire for a New Life:

Artwork by the Daughter and Grand-daughter of Jan Ruff-O’Herne


Linking Japan, Sydney and Melbourne, an on-line seminar will be conducted to learn how the daughter and grand-daughter of one of many victims of sexual violence committed by the Japanese Imperial Army successfully transformed the grief of violence to a strong desire to live through their artwork. This seminar is organized and presented by Hiroshima Network for the Solution of Japan’s Military ‘Comfort Women’ Issue.



 Jan, Carol and Ruby (photographed by Greg Weight)


Jan Ruff-O’Herne:

Jan was born in 1923 into a wealthy family who owned a sugar-cane plantation and sugar factory near Semarang in central Java in the Dutch East Indies (presently Indonesia). In 1942, when she was 19 years old, the Dutch forces on Java surrendered to the Japanese and on March 8 about 100,000 Dutch people were detained in POW camps and civilian internment camps. About 47,000 women and children were separated from the rest of the people and interned in several different camps set up outside Semarang. Jan was sent to one of these - Ambarawa No. 6 Camp - together with her mother and two younger sisters. In February 1944, 16 young women from the camp, including Jan, were sent to a “comfort station” and detained. For the following two months they were badly abused by Japanese Army officers. Jan revealed her past as a victim of sexual violence for the first time in 1992. She was encouraged by a Korean woman, Kim Hak-Sun, who had recently come forward as one of Japan’s military sex slaves. From then until the end of her life, she actively pursued Japan’s responsibility for such war atrocities and demanded an apology from the Japanese government. 



Carol Ruff (Jan’s daughter) is an artist, film maker and musician. During the 80s and 90s she produced dozens of large, exterior, social-realist murals in Australia and PNG, focusing on Aboriginal rights, women’s issues, and community, including Redfern Railway Bridge mural 40,000 Years is a Long Long Time, Adelaide Festival Theatre mural, Aboriginals Discovered Cook, and The Domain, Women on the Edge of Town. In 1995 she co-produced the documentary film 50 Years of Silence, after her mother, former ‘comfort woman’ Jan Ruff O’Herne, spoke out about war time atrocities. The film won many awards including the AFI Award, TV Logie for Most Outstanding Documentary and the Asia Pacific Festival Award. She has produced a number of solo exhibitions, including four exhibitions of paintings about her mother’s life and war time experiences; ‘Java to Gepps Cross’ toured nationally and ‘No Hiding Place’ was shown at the Migration Museum in Adelaide. Carol has exhibited at Australian Galleries in Sydney, the Araluen Centre, Alice Springs and Hogarth Gallery, Sydney. She now lives in Sydney where she is the director of Gallery East.


Ruby Challenger (Jan’s grand-daughter) is a director who has recently completed her Masters of Screen in Directing at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). She has been on film sets since her first moments out of the hospital as a newborn. Following her unofficial education in filmmaking, her career in the film industry began in the Art and Costume departments, which took her all around Australia while she learned the ropes of filmmaking. Her first short film as Director/Producer/Writer, Daily Bread, played at festivals around Australia and the world and winning awards like the St Kilda Film Festival People’s Choice. At AFTRS, she directed a horror short film, Hyde, which is enjoying a festival run and then her major work, the musical short, MumLife. She is currently developing the feature film based on Jan Ruff's life.


Yuki Tanaka was research professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University until he retired in 2015. He now lives in Australia, where he works as a freelance historian and political critic. His books include the second edition of Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II (2018) and Japan’s Comfort Women Sexual Slavery and Prostitution during World War II and the US Occupation (2002).



Sunday March 20 13:00-15:30 Japan Time

15:00-17:30 Australian Eastern Standard Time

■ The seminar will be conducted in English and Japanese

■ Zoom Webinar (After the seminar, a recorded video will be available for two weeks exclusively for people who register by March 14.)

■ Registration is free but is essential at the following email address:


■ Deadline for registration: 17:00 March 14




― ジャン・ラフ・オハーンさんご遺族の芸術活動 ―




左からジャンさん、キャロルさん、ルービーさん (撮影グレッグ・ウエイト)







ルービー・チャレンジャー(ジャンさんのお孫)さん 「映画『日々の糧』について」



田中利幸:「50年の沈黙を破って 軍性暴力と闘い続けた女性」

歴史学者(専攻は戦争犯罪史、戦争史)。現在は豪州メルボルン在住。著書に『検証「戦後民主主義」 わたしたちはなぜ戦争責任問題を解決できないのか』(三一書房)、『空の戦争史』(講談社現代新書)、『知られざる戦争犯罪』(大月書店)など。日本軍「慰安婦」問題解決ひろしまネットワーク・共同代表









■申込先 https://forms.gle/Hu9rHoZsq7NHVQd96





連絡先 090−3632−1410(土井)