Monthly Archives: August 2014

“When my name was Keoko” and Korea’s Japanese occupation

Being fairly worldly-minded, it’s very important to me to respect the past and whatever comes with it. History is full of the most unpleasant events, mistakes, petty rivalries and desperate struggles, but they all contributed in ways (good and bad) to the present day that we all live in and serve as the foundation of the future.

So, with the recent celebration of 광복절 (Korean Independence Day) on August 15th, I decided to start reading Lynda Sue Park’s “When My Name Was Keoko” to learn a bit more about what life was like during the Japanese colonization of Korea.

And our Song of the Day is a live perfomance of Korean girl group 2ne1’s ‘Come Back Home’

A little history!

Between 1392 and 1910, the Korean Peninsula was ruled by the ‘Joseon Dynasty’. However, in 1895, the Joseon Dynasty were forced by the Japanese to sign a treaty which began the course of Japanese occupation and, in 1910, Japan officially declared control over Korea.
During this occupation, Koreans were forbidden from teaching, speaking or writing Korean, Koreans were required to take on Japanese names, many historical documents were destroyed and many Korean land and business owners had their livelihoods stripped from them.
Many Koreans were forced to work in Japanese factories or the military and thousands of young Korean women were forced to work as “comfort women” to Japanese soldiers (effectively sex slaves)

You might not think you know anything about this subject, but there is in fact a very big current issue that is a result of Japan’s colonization of Korea.
When Korea was liberated, two countries came to Korea’s aid. Soviet Russia and the United States of America both became ‘international trustees’ of Korea (Russia taking charge of the north and the U.S for the south) and thus Korea was separated at the 38th parallel into North Korea and South Korea – And this is still going now, 69 years later!

When My Name Was Keoko

‘When My Name Was Keoko’ tells the story of Kim Sun-Hee and Kim Tae-Yul, two young siblings living in the midst of Japan’s rule and World War II.

I do not want to reveal too much about this book, but I can say that it has fulfilled my wish of getting a little better an understanding of what the Japanese colonization and World War II must have felt like to those who experienced it. This book has taught me a lot about the recent history of Korea as well as showing just how powerful love, for your family and country, truly is.
The story of Sun-Hee and her family is a terrifying and historically accurate portrayal of life in 1940s Korea and I highly recommend you read this book.

This book also teaches you a lot of interesting stuff, like how Kanji works, Korean history and about the Japanese and Korean language.

I will be writing more on this subject very soon and we can learn more about Korean history together!

You can also read about the author, Lynda Sue Park, and browse her other work on her website.

If you read or have already read this book, let us know what you think!

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Who is Yebin?

I’m glad you asked! (and, trust me, LOADS of you are asking!)

©Youtube/Drama Fever
©Youtube/Drama Fever

I’ve already written a post on the Internet’s favourite little cutie, but I thought I’d write a quick post to give you the quick answer you are looking for.
Yebin is a little Korean girl, born on December 27th 2011 and she’s basically the cutest little girl I’ve ever seen.
She’s just downright adorable and I think everyone would be thrilled to have a daughter that freakin’ cute!
She first went viral when a video of her Mom trying to teach her about ‘Stranger danger’ started going around and has since become an internet sensation.

Yebin’s mother uploads photos and videos of her daughter to Facebook and a Korean social media site cyworld and those pics and videos are viewed thousands of times a day.
So, basically, she’s just a super adorable Korean toddler.
And good news! Yebin is going to be a big sister! Double the cuteness!

Here are Yebin’s (Mom’s) Official pages on Facebook and Cyworld.

And, if you’re interested in going ahead and teaching your little ones Korean, you can find cheao bilingual learning resources on Amazon, like this:

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