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Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood

From the publisher’s website:

In this autobiography, Richard E. Kim paints seven vivid scenes from a boyhood and early adolescence in Korea at the height of the Japanese occupation during WWII, 1932 to 1945. Taking its title from the grim fact that the occupiers forced the Koreans to renounce their own names and adopt Japanese names instead, the book follows one Korean family through the Japanese occupation to the surrender of Japan and dissolution of the Japanese empire. Examining the intersections of Japanese and Korean history that influenced Korea-Japan relations at the time, Lost Names is at once a loving memory of family, an ethnography of Zainichi Koreans in 1930s Japan, and a vivid portrayal of human spirit in a time of suffering and survival.

Richard E. Kim (1932 – 2009) was a celebrated novelist, essayist, documentary filmmaker, and professor of literature at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Syracuse University, San Diego State University, and at Seoul National University. He was founder and president of Trans-Lit Agency, a literary agency devoted to establishing international copyright for works being published in Korea. His books include The Martyred (nominated for the National Book Award), The Innocent, and Lost Koreans in China and the Soviet Union: Photo Essays . He was recipient of the Ford Foundation Foreign Area Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship.

From the author’s website:

In this classic tale, Richard E. Kim paints seven vivid scenes from a boyhood and early adolescence in Korea at the height of the Japanese occupation, 1932 to 1945. Taking its title from the grim fact that the occupiers forced the Koreans to renounce their own names and adopt Japanese names instead, the book follows one Korean family through the Japanese occupation to the surrender of the Japanese empire. Lost Names, which was praised in the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere, is at once a loving memory of family and a vivid portrayal of life in a time of anguish.

March 2011 marked the publication of UC Press’s 40th Anniversary Edition of Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood. The 40th Anniversary Edition includes a never-before-published speech by Richard Kim, given at the Fiftieth International PEN conference in 1987.

Originally published in 1970 by Praeger, Lost Names was reissued by the University of California Press in 1998, and a special 40th Anniversary Edition was released in 2011 with the new preface.

Entry on Goodreads.com here.

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