In 1944, he was abducted from his village by Japanese soldiers and forced to dig tunnels at a World War II camp. In 2005, he learned he was mistakenly listed among Japan’s war dead at a Tokyo shrine.
For most of his life, Kim Hui-jong has kept what he considers a shameful secret. In 1944, as a teenager, he was abducted from his village in northern Korea by Japanese soldiers and forced to dig tunnels at a World War II military camp on the island of Saipan.
It would take him a decade of marriage to tell his wife about his past. Kim, 86, still often dreams of the battlefield shelling that severely damaged his hearing and the taunts of his captors: “You Koreans are like canned meat; we can take you anywhere and use you as we see fit.”
He always considered his Japanese enslavement, and the two years he later spent as a U.S. prisoner of war, as a lifelong humiliation. Then, in 2005, Kim received a new insult he insists he still cannot bear: For decades, the former conscript learned, he has been counted among Japan’s war dead and, because of an administrative error, his name is listed at Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni shrine. He could no longer remain silent.
Above: Kim Hui-jong, 86, of South Korea, has been trying to get Japan to remove his name from a list of that country’s World War II dead: “I never fought for the Japanese; I was a forced laborer.” (Matt Douma, For The Times / August 15, 2011)——-
Client: ”What is LG?”
Me: ”LG is a company based in South Korea. They started with electronics and moved to appliances and other areas. They’ve gotten to be a pretty well-respected business.”
Client: “I don’t want any of that Japanese crap.”
Me: ”Korean. They’re Korean.”
Behind The Curtains of the Day: Filmmakers Lynn Lee and James Leong document the inner workings of North Korea’s powerful propaganda machine as the first foreign film crew allowed inside Pyongyang’s secretive University of Cinematic and Dramatic Arts.
Watch this. Yes, I know it’s 25 minutes long, but it’s worth watching.
It’s exceptionally strange for me to watch this because the entire time all I can think about is how similar we are — we’re all Koreans. They’re speaking the same language, eating the same foods. But then they start talking about Kim Jong-Il, referring to him as “Dear Leader” or talk about Juche, and I am again struck by the incredibly wide chasm between us. It’s shocking how much a country can divide in only 60 years.
Also I really recommend you guys read the memoir, The Aquariums of Pyong-Yang, which tells the story of a Kang Chol-Hwan and his imprisonment in the Yodok concentration camp in North Korea. And if you want to learn more about the human rights crisis in North Korea, I recommend you check out: Human Rights Watch, The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, and LiNK, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the North Korean crisis, and aids & protects North Korean refugees in the underground.
Korean percussion music
These are my people. My people are badass.
Side note: If you ever go to a sporting event where 1. there is a Korean team participating (e.g. World Cup, Olympics) or 2. a Korean athlete on said team (e.g. Park Ji-Sung on Manchester United) - there will always, always be a fairly large contingent of Koreans (or Korean-Americans, if we’re in the States), banging away at pots and pans and these drums.
I AM NOT KIDDING. IT’S SORT OF AWESOME.