London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

When May Comes: A story of a Refugee from North Korea and his Critical Reflections on Japanese Imperialism, North Korean Communist Rule, South Korean Democracy, and the Multiracial American Society

This book is an autobiography of my life in Korea and in the United States of America, experiencing Japanese imperialism, North Korean Communist rule, South Korean Democracy, and the life in the United States.

When I left my home in Pyeongyang, North Korea, as a refugee during the Korean War in 1950, like many other North Korean refugees hoped, I thought I would be returning to my home when the month of May comes. Many of the refugees at that time thought that the UN troops were not well fitted to fight against the invading massive Chinese troops, which crossed the Yalu River and was moving toward south, during the cold winter. When, however, the warm weather of Spring in May comes, many of the refugees believed that the UN troops with Korean forces will certainly push the invading Chinese forces back to China.

My earnest but naive hope for returning to my hometown in Pyeongyang in May has been denied by the actual and cold history. The month of May, in which I hoped I could return to my home and be reunited with my mother and siblings, has never come. This experience in real history showed me the discrepancy between the subjective character of personal wishes and the actual happenings in the world. The departure from my home became the beginning of an uncharted, actual journey of my life, replacing my unrealized wish to return to my home.

In this memoir, I have summarized my life under the occupation of Imperial Japan, under the North Korean communist control, in South Korean democratic society, and in the multi-ethnic society of the United States of America. After leaving North Korea as a refugee, I studied at higher educational institutions, both in South Korea and In the United States, getting professional degrees (B.D. from Drew University, S.T.M. from Boston University, and Ph.D. from Emory University), and have been engaged in parish ministry and teaching. In this writing, I added my critical reflections on each period in which I have lived.

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.