Task 1A: Exploratory Research – Exploring the What, Why, Who, and How

What are some of the current issues confronting our world today? Amongst them, what is of interest and a cause of concern to you?

Mass Die-Offs of Bees

In recent months, there has been an increase in the use of pesticides in agriculture around the world, many of which contain products such as neonicotinoids and fipronil, which are deadly to bees. Specifically, in Brazil, it was reported that more than 500 million bees were found dead in Brazil, just within the last 3 months. This is an issue because bees play a very important role in our ecosystem, with around one-third of the food we consume relying on the pollination of fruits and vegetables by bees.





China’s Spreading of Disinformation about Hong Kong Protests

As protests in Hong Kong continue to occur, China maintains its spreading of disinformation regarding the situation, using American social media and Chinese news broadcasts as main platforms to do so. Protesters are constantly being described as violent and unreasonable. Because of this, many people outside of Hong Kong are being kept in the dark regarding the real reason and situation behind the protests.

video: https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000006660097/foreign-agents-and-terrorists-how-china-is-framing-hong-kongs-protests.html?action=click&gtype=vhs&version=vhs-heading&module=vhs&region=title-area&cview=true&t=247





Comfort Women

Nearly a century ago, women were forced into sexual slavery and prostitution by the Japanese military, and the few survivors are still suffering the aftermath. Young girls from South Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and many more were taken from their families and countries to be physically, mentally, and emotionally abused by Japanese soldiers. And though there have been many memorials created to commemorate these Comfort Women, Japan has yet to apologize for the monstrosities that occurred all those years ago but still affect us greatly today.





Representation and Diversity in Media

It is evident that the lack of racial diversity and representation in media exists, particularly in American TV. This is an important issue as media is such a major part of society and one’s everyday life, and it’s no wonder that what is showed in the media translates to thoughts, opinions, and even actions of those that are consumers of it. They shape our views on reality.




The topic that is of particular interest to me is Comfort Women.


Why is the issue important? Who does it affect and how?

The issue of Comfort Women is one that has affected not only the young women that were forced into sex slavery back in World War Two, but our present society and those that have had to accept the existence of such a stain on our history. This is an important topic to discuss as it is one that has such incredible historical significance, but has never been fully resolved to this day. The survivors of this tragic incident have had to live with the pain and memories of the horrifying things that were done to them, and with a lack of closure and ability to move on due to Japan’s lack of an apology.

Video: a former Comfort Woman speaks about her experiences.



Who do you need to communicate to and why?

The target audience regarding the issue of Comfort Women is not restricted to any group of people, as it is an issue that all need to be educated about. However, there are certain groups of people that may find this issue something that hits closer to home, such as people from the countries that the Comfort Women were taken from. There may be some that feel that this issue is more important to women than to men, however I feel that this issue should affect both women and men, as well as both young and old, as both have been involved in the horrific situation that occurred less than a century ago. All should be aware of the situation that happened and how largely it has affected society.


How has visual communication contributed to addressing the cause?

The Statue of Peace

Kim Seo Kyung and Kim Eun Sung, Bronze Statue, 2011, http://www.pacificatrocities.org/blog/peace-girl-a-statue-of-peace

One of the many memorials dedicated to Comfort Women, the Statue of Peace was built specifically to remember and honor the women, while also calling for an apology from the Japanese government for the atrocities that occurred. As showed in the image, the statue has many underlying meanings displayed through the details of the statue such as the short hair, facial expression, and clenched fists. The dull bronze material also allows any item of clothing that is placed on the statue such as hats or scarves, which are regularly changed, to stand out more.




Yoon Hong Jo, Stationary Design, (company started in) 2011, https://marymond.kr/main/phonecase(website is in Korean)

For many of the Comfort Women survivors, drawing was an artistic medium in which they were able to not only express themselves and illustrate their experiences, but it was a way for them to cope with and overcome what they had gone through. Marymond is a Korean-based organization that uses these drawings to inspire floral-printed phone cases and stationary items that anyone can buy. Proceeds from each sale go to a fund to care for the surviving victims as well as to establish a sex slavery museum. All the prints sold on the products are very brightly and boldly colored, and this allows the designs created by the Comfort Women to really stand out, as each item is dedicated to them. This company allows anyone and everyone to show their support for the Comfort Women, even if in just a small way, and that already is enough to create some societal change in the attitudes of the people who hear about this issue.


“Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women” Screening Event Poster

Tori Hinn, Print Design, 2013, http://portfolios.risd.edu/gallery/8600855/Silence-Broken-Korean-Comfort-Women-()

This poster was created to promote the screening of a film discussing Comfort Women, called “Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women.” The way the designer deconstructs the Korean words “위안부”, meaning “Comfort Women,” into each letter creates visual interest as well as visual balance due to how the letters are spaced out. The photos of the Comfort Women as well as their drawings are shown filling some of the letters, which further illustrates what the film is about. The sans-serif font makes the poster easy to read and less hectic, and the contrast of the white font from the darker red and black background allows the name of the film to be easily seen after first being attracted by the red imagery.


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