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Art and Culture1 Updated: 2012-08-15 00:00:00 KST

It's August 15th and today is Korea's National Liberation Day. Our Michelle Kim is here with the celebrity news, but first, she'll tell us about a special exhibit that coincides with Korea's celebration of its independence from Japan's colonial rule.

Hello Michelle

[Reporter : ] Hello Conn-young

So, tell us more about the exhibit.

[Reporter : ] Well, this exhibit aims to shed light on the history of Koreans in Japan, many of whom moved to Japan during the colonial era to find work. But many of these people never made it back to their homeland, even after Korea declared independence from Japan. Some were kept there by circumstance, while others stayed by choice, but they all faced overwhelming discrimination and difficult conditions. Take a look.


This is a voyage certificate that Koreans going to Japan were given during the colonial era. Tattered and yellowing with age, it represented a chance for work, money, a living. Yet for many of those choosing to go to Japan at the time, the voyage was the start of a period of harsh labor and discrimination.
The certificate is part of an exhibit at the Seoul Museum of History that explores the lives of Korean citizens living in Japan, who they are, how they got there, and why they stayed.

In addition to the 400 historical documents, photos and artifacts on display, the exhibition features and 90 Nishiki-e polychrome woodblock prints, which are being shown here in Korea for the first time.
The museum says the prints played a critical role in how Japan see the history between the two countries.

After Korea declared its independence from Japan on August 15th, 1945, there were still hundreds of thousands of Koreans living in Japan -- 700,000 of whom could not make it back to their homeland.


[Interview : Kim Sun-jung, Arts and Sciences Researcher
Seoul Museum of History] "At the time, Korea was going through economic and political complications, which was why it was hard to accept Koreans living there."

The Korean-Japanese a number of challenges, including discrimination for being Korean, and it was difficult for them to find work.
Some made a living selling makgeolli, or Korean rice beer, others started gambling businesses.

The descendents of the first generation of Korean-Japanese later fought against the discrimination their parents and grandparents had faced.
Many Korean-Japanese have since found success in the country they now call home. Among them, baseball player Jang Hoon and renowned violin artisan Jin Chang-hyun are the most well known.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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