That innocent children must pay for the crimes of their parents is one of the saddest realities today. Because their stories haven’t been told enough, we wanted to share information on the Lai Dai Han, or children born to women brutally raped and impregnated in Vietnam during the War.
The term specifically refers to the children of Korean soldiers, who were in Vietnam fighting for the U.N. at the time. The Korean military of that period were known as the most brutal of all, and their abuse and rape- and sometimes murder- of the Vietnamese women is told in the stories shared by these comfort women.
The problem with foreign military stationed in one’s country, of course, is that it’s often temporary, especially during wartime; the Vietnam prostitutes and sex slaves and their children were abandoned, left to raise their half-Korean children on their own. The children were the Lai Dai Han (or Lai Daihan), a scornful term which literally means “mixed blood”.
Born in poverty and often shunned by society, the Lai Dai Han are a sore topic for both the Vietnamese and the Koreans, who view them as embarrassments on either side.
In January of this year, Vietnam asked Korea to cancel the Vietnam War celebrations:
The negative view towards South Korea’s engagement in the Vietnam War is not because of the damage caused by defoliants or serving as mercenaries. Some soldiers committed cruel acts like civilian massacres, rape and abandoning Lai Dai Han, and the miliary leaders who condoned such acts for strategic reasons remain unrepentant. It’s tragic that a country that was liberated from Japanese colonial rule sent its troops to interfere with another country’s independence war.
It is estimated that there are anywhere from five thousand to thirty thousand Lai Dai Han in Vietnam today. Let us not forget their stories.