Zainichi Koreans' Lives in Japan and Two Koreas

The collection introduces interviewees' early lives in Japan, return to North Korea, and defection to South Korea. They discuss how they grew up in Japan, how they went back to North Korea, and what they faced and how they were viewed there.


These transcripts were interviewed by Rina Hong

Interview With Choi Bok Sil

Choi Bok Sil (pseudonym) discusses her childhood in Japan, her parents’ differing allegiances to North and South Korea, her return to the North with her father in 1961, and her experiences there.

Interview With Lee Ok Ja

Lee Ok Ja (pseudonym) discusses how she was separated from her family when they returned to North Korea, and how she continues supporting them from Japan.

Interview With Kim Choo Wol

Kim Choo Wol (pseudonym) discusses her early life in Japan, her return to North Korea, and her defection to South Korea.

Interview With Lee Tae Sik

Lee Tae Sik (pseudonym) discusses his early life in Japan, his return to North Korea and military service in the North Korean military, before he defected to South Korea.

Interview With Kim Haeng Il

Kim Haeng Il (pseudonym) discusses his early life growing up in Japan, his disappointment upon returning to North Korea, and his efforts to escape and discourage fellow Koreans in Japan from returning to North Korea.