Chunja's Nanjing: A Novel
- About the Book
How would you feel if you found out that your grandmother is a surviving “comfort woman”? When Jonghyeok, a Korean-Chinese student studying in Japan, falls in love with a Japanese girl named Haruko, he decides to introduce her to his grandmother, Chunja. Yet, upon his arrival at the small village in Yanbian, China, he finds his grandmother surrounded by reporters. He learns that she used to be a “comfort woman” who had been forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II. Through Chunja’s retelling of her past experiences, Chunja’s Nanjing delineates violent historical injustices perpetrated by Japan against Koreans and Chinese in the border region of Gando (Jiandao) and in Nanjing.
Yet, rather than simply dwelling on the tragic past, the book brings the issue of “comfort women” to the present through Jonghyeok and Haruko—the grandson of a Korean comfort woman and the granddaughter of a Japanese soldier who served in China during the war. It is through these two young people that the author offers a glimpse of hope for reflection and reconciliation as they come to understand each other’s pain and search for a way to move forward.
Chunja’s Nanjing is an artistic journey that takes the readers through a powerful testimony about the appalling treatment of Korean “comfort women” during the war and the possibility of a new peace and resolution in Northeast Asia.
- About the Author(s)
Kim Hyeok, AuthorHyeok Kim, born in Longjing in China's Jilin Province in 1965, made his literary debut in 1985 with the short stories “Descendants of Pygmy” and “Noah’s Ark.” A former reporter for major newspapers such as The Yanbian Daily, he has published an array of novels, short stories, serialized columns and biographies. A member of the China Writers Association, Kim founded the Yun Dong-ju Research Society of Longjing after returning to his hometown and is now president of the organization. He is also working on the 12-part epic novel Garam, which is set in Northeast Asia over a period of 100 years.
Stella Kim, Translator