* Date : 2015-05-06
The period of Japanese Forced Occupation was the most painful part of history in Korea. During that time, "Arirang" was the medicine for wounded souls, and to Korean Japanese people, the very translation of "Arirang" meant more than a mere folk song, but the essence of home and a symbol of longing and love for their homeland Korea.
Ikuno, Osaka, has the largest community of ethnic Koreans in Japan. It is also known as the center of the Korean Wave. Although a market consisting of many Korean stores is located there today, it used to be an area so bad for living it was known as "the field for raising pigs." Koreans who were taken by force settled around Hirano River and undertook difficult jobs that were rejected by the Japanese people. Their steps are retraced with a 2nd generation Korean Japanese, Jo Park.
Danba Manganese Mine is the last remaining mine in Osaka that shows the evidence of forced labor. Many Koreans were taken there by force and treated like slaves. If they were caught trying to escape, they were imprisoned and beaten. The Danba Manganese Memorial tells their stories. Lee Yong-sik, the director of the memorial, has been managing the foundation after his father, who was a first generation Korean Japanese. How did the mine and the workers look back then? What kind of message is the "Mine Arirang" trying to send on their behalf?
Korean Japanese arrived in Japan about 100 years ago and lived a hard life. They were also very confused about their identity because they were neither Korean nor Japanese. While many stories about Korea that were passed from mouth to mouth became milestones in their search for themselves, "Arirang" influenced them the most. Korean Japanese Lee Jeong-mi, Song Bu-ja, and Ahn Seong-min share their "Arirang."