Review: Kim Yideum – Blood Sisters

Kim Yideum: Blood Sisters Translated by Jiyoon Lee Deep Vellum, 2019, 202pp Originally published as 블러드 시스터즈 by Munhakdongne, 2011 I seem to be on a roll with translated fiction this year. Two disappointments (Marilyn and Me and Kim Jiyoung), but now seven that are highly recommendable. I picked this novel off the reading pile […]

Brief book review: Suni Samchon

Hyun Ki-young: Suni Samchon Translated by Lee Jung-hi Asia Publishers Bilingual Edition, 2012, 186pp Jeju Island, in Korean literature of the late 70s and 80s, is not the honeymoon destination of more recent years. It was a place of poverty, of bitter memories – a place to escape from rather than a destination to visit […]

Former UK Home Secretary to unveil statue commemorating Vietnamese victims

In an article on Politics Home, former UK Home Secretary Jack Straw writes about South Korea’s need to investigate rape and other atrocities inflicted by South Korean soldiers upon women during the Vietnam War. Despite Korea’s history of Japanese military sexual slavery, successive South Korean governments have refused to investigate their own military’s crimes against […]

Review: 1987 – When the Day Comes

1987: When the Day Comes is one of those movies which could not have been made a couple of years ago. It would have got the director and its all-star cast included on the infamous blacklist of suspected lefties who would not get government support in future. And to have the director of this film […]

UK Premiere screening: 1987: When the Day Comes

After Save the Green Planet (2003), one of my own favourites from that decade, director Jang Joon-hwan took a long break. I’m afraid I missed his second feature, Hwayi: A Monster Boy (2013), something that I’m going to have to rectify, because his third film, coming to the Picturehouse Central this month, has been getting […]

Book review: Shin Kyung-sook – The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness

Shin Kyung-sook: The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness Translated by Jung Ha-yun Pegasus Book, New York, 2015, 369pp Originally published as 외딴방, Munhakdongne, 1995 When reading Ahn Jung-hyo’s White Badge, I found myself wondering why, despite what I thought was my general antipathy to novels with listless central characters who can’t seem to find their way […]

Book Review: Ahn Jung-hyo – White Badge

Ahn Jung-hyo: White Badge Soho Press, NY, 1989, 337pp Originally published as 하얀전쟁, 1983 Translated by the author If I saw Jeong Ji-young’s White Badge (1992) when it screened in London eight years ago, I do not remember it. I cannot imagine having a similar lapse of memory concerning Ahn Jung-hyo’s Vietnam war novel on […]

SOAS conference: Colonialism and its Reverberations

A good half-day conference coming at the beginning of February. Check the event’s Facebook page or the SOAS website for updates. Colonialism and its Reverberations: ‘Comfort Women’ and Historical Revisionism in Korea and Japan Professor Yonson Ahn (University of Frankfurt), Professor Vladimir Tikhonov (University of Oslo), Professor Chong Yeonghwan (Meiji Gakuin University) 3 February 2018, […]

Film review: A Taxi Driver

I went along to watch A Taxi Driver out of a sense of duty. What can be said about Gwangju, I thought, that hasn’t been said already? I’d rather see a documentary. Plus, Korean movies with foreign actors always raise slight alarm bells with me (Isabelle Huppert in Hong Sang-soo’s In Another Country left me […]

Double book review: two takes on Shin Sang-ok

Paul Fischer: A Kim Jong-il Production Penguin / Viking 2015, 353pp Steven Chung: Split Screen Korea – Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema University of Minnesota Press 2014, 262pp The story of actress Choi Eun-hee and Shin Sang-ok combines elements of both romance and thriller as well as representing important phases in the history of film […]