Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood

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University of California Press, Feb 27, 2011 - Literary Collections - 224 pages
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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.

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Alex Nyirady
Having read a lot of Biographies, Historical Fic, etc etc this book stood out significantly.
Narrated from the point of view of a young boy (who was also the author, Richard E. Kim) Lost Names is a book sharing the experiences of a young boy who went through the times of oppression under the Japanese during WW2. Most of the biographies I've read that were based around this time were more revolving around the war in Europe rather than Asia which is a nice change. Hands down, I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to further wrap their finger around the details of the War in Asia. Overall, the book was well balanced between making it a historical book while at the same time not putting the audience to sleep like many other historical books out there. 


Once upon a Time on a Sunday
Lost Names
An Empire for Rubber Balls
Is Someone Dying?
In the Making of HistoryTogether
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About the author (2011)

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.

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