I first learned about the decades-long Japanese occupation of Korea in 1985, when my grandfather told me he still dreamed in Japanese. “Granfy’s first language,” he said

我是1985年才第一次了解日本曾占领朝鲜半岛长达几十年。那天,祖父告诉我,他做梦时仍然会用日语说梦话。“日语是祖父的第一语言。”



My grandfather’s dreams were just one legacy of the Japanese occupation government’s 35-year colonization program, intent on assimilating Koreans culturally and politically, erasing their language, history and culture. Naisen ittai — “Japan and Korea as one body” — treated Koreans as the lost sibling race to the Japanese, reclaimed to be re-educated.

我的祖父用日语说梦话,只不过是日本统治朝鲜半岛35年实行的殖民政策的遗产之一,日本曾想在文化和政治上同化朝鲜民族,抹去他们的语言、历史和文化。日本帝国曾宣扬“日韩一体”——把朝鲜人当作日本失散的兄弟民族重新认领回来,接受再教育。


Many historians cite the so-called modernization of Korea by Japan as the reason for Korea’s postwar prosperity, but the Japanese police, factories and trains were designed only to more easily take Korean timber, rice, fish, coal and cotton to Japan. And the Korean people, too: by August 1945, hundreds of thousands of Koreans had been forced to fight in the Japanese Army, work in their factories, or in the case of the Korean so-called comfort women, forced into sexual slavery.

许多历史学家认为,日本所谓的日治朝鲜时代是韩国战后繁荣的原因,但日本的警察、工厂和火车只是为了方便把朝鲜的木材、大米、鱼、煤炭,棉花还有朝鲜劳工运到日本。到1945年8月,成千上万的朝鲜人被迫加入日本陆军,在他们的工厂里工作,或者像所谓的朝鲜慰安妇那样,被迫成为性奴。

On Aug. 14, 1945, just over a week after the bombing of Hiroshima, the Korean police announced that Emperor Hirohito would address the public on the radio at noon the next day. The emperor had never once addressed the public. His Aug. 15 recorded speech announced that Japan was accepting the Potsdam Declaration, effectively surrendering. His phrasing was so vague, and his language so formal, though, that the Koreans who did hear the speech had to effectively infer their liberation. The speech never once mentioned the country’s name.

1945年8月14日,在广岛被轰炸的一周后,朝鲜警方宣布裕仁天皇将于次日中午通过电台向公众发表讲话。日本天皇此前从未向公众发表过演说。裕仁天皇在8月15日的录音讲话中宣布,日本将接受《波茨坦公告,实际上是宣布投降。然而,他的措辞是如此含糊,语言是如此正式,以至于听过他这段演讲的朝鲜人只能推测他们已经得到了解放。但讲话中完全没有提到韩国这个国家的名字。

On the afternoon of Aug. 16, the Kyungsung Broadcast Station carried a very different radio broadcast, from An Jae-hong, a Korean independence movement leader, who invited Koreans to “meet our day of light.” Aug. 15 is now Gwangbokjeol, “Return of Light Day,” one of the few holidays observed in both North and South Korea. In the joint celebration resides some hope of celebrating it one day together, as one country.

8月16日下午,京城放送局播送了一段截然不同的广播,朝鲜独立运动领袖安在鸿表示,要朝鲜人“迎接我们的光明之日”。8月15日成了光复节,即“回归光明之日”,这是朝鲜和韩国共同庆祝的少数节日之一。在联合庆祝中,还保留着有朝一日朝韩作为一个国家共同庆祝的希望。

The end of the occupation and Naisen ittai left behind many Koreans who had never been taught Korean, at a loss for knowing only Japanese. When some tried to make their own Korean flags to wave in celebration, they could not remember the exact way to render it; others had their flags, kept hidden for many years. Publishing houses even lacked for Korean language typesets. The country undertook a vast educational project to undo the one it had suffered through. Dafna Zur’s “Figuring Korean Futures” outlines some of this cultural re-education effort, post-colonization, conducted in children’s literature. I wept after reading that the first issues of Chugan Sohaksaeng, a popular post-colonial children’s magazine, had articles on Yi Sun-shin and his dragon-headed ships, the global superiority of the Korean language, and Seokguram’s defaced Buddha — a more or less exact outline of that 1985 trip to see my grandfather.

日据的结束和日韩一体让许多从未学过朝鲜语、只会日语的朝鲜人不知所措。一些人试图制作自己的朝鲜国旗挥舞庆祝,但却不记得标准的制作方法;还有一些人手里有藏了很多年的国旗。出版社甚至没有朝鲜语的排印字模。
这个新生的国家着手进行了一项大规模的教育计划,以弥补曾经遭受的损失。达夫娜·祖尔 的《找到朝鲜未来》一书概括了,韩国在后殖民时代对儿童文化再教育的一些努力。
读完最初印刷发行的几期《小学生周刊》,我哭了,这是一本后殖民时代韩国流行的儿童杂志,里面写了李舜臣和他的龙首船,朝鲜语的优越性,以及石窟庵被破坏的大佛——这些差不多就是1985年我去探望祖父的那次旅行的总结。


My grandparents had met in Goheung, on the southwestern coast, in elementary school, each born during the first years of the occupation. My grandmother admired my grandfather for standing up to his teacher at school, insisting on the importance of ancestor worship for Koreans — something I had heard before, but now know could have sent him to jail or cost him his life. My grandfather began as a young fisherman, selling his catch at a market held on boats in the open ocean, before learning he could study fisheries at university.

我的祖父母是在朝鲜西南海岸的高兴郡读小学时认识的,他们都出生在日据朝鲜时代的头几年。祖母很钦佩祖父,因为他在学校敢于反抗老师,坚持认为祖先崇拜对朝鲜人很重要——我以前听说过,但现在才知道这么做可能会让他进监狱或者送命。祖父最初是个年轻渔民,在海上的露天市场出售他的渔获,后来他在大学学习渔业。

August 1945 found them living near Sinuiju, in North Pyongan Province, along the border with China, just north of Pyongyang, where he had been assigned to work as a civil servant in a fisheries laboratory run by the colonial government. He casually noted that his Japanese superiors represented his work as their own. He smuggled rice, as the ration was too small to feed his family. Even when they had almost no food, he bragged about my grandmother’s skill at cooking.

1945年8月,他们生活在平安北道的新义州市,位于平壤以北,与中国接壤,他被分配到殖民政府的渔业实验室当公务员。他时不时发现自己的日本上司把他的工作成果据为己有。,因为口粮配给太少,无法养活家人,他走私过大米。即便是几乎没有食物的时候,他也会夸赞祖母的厨艺。

After learning of Japan’s defeat on the radio, he rushed home and told my grandmother they had to go south immediately. “The Soviet Army entered Sinuiju at the end of August,” he wrote of his country’s division at the 38th Parallel between the United States and the Soviet unx.

当从收音机里得知日本战败后,他急忙赶回家,告诉祖母他们必须立即南下。“苏联军队将于8月底进入新义州,”他的国家将在美国和苏联之间的三八线上分裂。

He obtained permission for a “business trip,” and my grandparents left with their children on a 12-ton boat named the Gipungwhan — a fishermanTogether they passed safely down the coast, past the Communists, surviving a storm that nearly sank the boat before finally arriving at Incheon harbor. U.S. forces met them and directed them to take the train — free, he observed — to Seoul.

他获得了“出差”的许可,我的祖父母就带着孩子乘坐一艘名为“渔人”的12吨船离开了
他们一起顺海岸安全而下,途中遇到过..党人,在一场几乎导致沉船的风暴中幸存,最终抵达仁川港。美军接待了他们,并指示他们乘坐火车前往首尔——火车费用是免费的。

There are little mysteries I understand differently now, all these years later. Visits to my family in Korea often meant dinners where I would be told, always, what we were eating, no matter how many times they’d seen me eat it before. The Korean-American habit of quizzing one another — When was the last time you were back in Korea? Do you speak Korean? Do you read it? What food can you make? — now feels to me like the drills of people studying for a more Korean future than the one they had had.

多年之后的今天,作为韩裔美国人的我,对韩国的传统习俗和生活细节已经不甚了解。每当我去韩国看望我的家人,我总会在晚宴中被告知我们正在吃什么食物,不管我们以前曾经吃过多少次这些食物。其他韩国家庭也是这么做的。
韩裔美国人都有互相盘问的习惯——你上次回韩国是什么时候?你会说韩语吗?你会读吗?你会做什么韩国菜?——现在我觉得,这就像人们在不停地练习,只为在未来继续保持和铭记自己的韩人身份和文化。

And the more openly didactic qualities of my visits with my grandfather — always being told that Korean culture or language was superior, for example, which once felt to me like his way of chiding my father for leaving for the United States and not teaching us Korean — I now understand as the act of a man who still woke from dreams in Japanese, who had lived to see a future where his son, also born during the occupation, could decide not to live in the country once lost to them, could decide not to teach what was once forbidden for them to learn. And his grandson might never know.

以前,每当祖父对着我喋喋不休地讲述朝鲜文化或朝鲜语言的优越性时,我总觉得他是在责备我父亲去了美国,并且不教我们韩语——我现在明白了,我的祖父作为从日据时代一路走来地人,看着他同样出生在日据时代的儿子,离开了这个他们曾经失去的国家,不向下一代教授他们曾经被禁止学习的东西(韩语)。他会感到十分的痛心,然而他的孙子们可能永远都不会理解他的心情。