Reclaiming Our Names - synopsis :: 2004/06/07 14:51

Two names, living history
Cheju Island in Korea, 1920. A group of people boarded a ship called Kundaewhan. The ferry carried colonized Koreans to Osaka, Japan. They were part of the first Korean-Japanese. 660,000 Koreans live in Japan today. Korean-Japanese have two names ; Korean name that they call 'real name' and Japanese one, an alias. The number of people using their 'real name' in public is less than ten percent of the Korean-Japanese population. For claiming Korean name in public means a life-long struggle against discrimination and prejudice toward Korean-Japanese since the colonial period. The colonial enforcement to change Korean surname into Japanese was taken effect in 1940. It is a living history to Korean-Japanese today.

Have you ever wept because of your name?

Korean-Japanese Brotherhood Club in Amagasaki high school in Osaka, June 1, 1998. The general student meeting is to be held tomorrow. A freshman, Matzuda Shoonji, is agonizing over whether he will reclaim his Korean name at the meeting. He faces an entirely solitary moment that requires a self-decision for the first time in his life. Which name will he choose?

The Time in absolute solitude
The boy made a difficult decision on the next day. I wanted to feel the very time that he spent to make decision. He might feel lone and even exhausted. His eyes seemed to ask me: what is the solution of history to be? "Our motherland was liberated from Japanese colony a half century ago, but we are not at all", says one of the third generation of Korean Japanese.

1998, DV, 67 min

winner of Woonpa Award (Best Documentary) of 3rd Pusan Int'l Film Festival
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