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Letters between Korea and Japan

Posted August. 10, 2007 05:46,   


The essay-style letters between novelist Shin Gyeong-suk (44) and Japanese writer Tsushima Yuko (60) have been published under the title of, “House With a Mountain, House With a Well.” Since March 2006, the letters have been printed in both the Korean literary magazine Hyundai Munhak and Japan’s Subaru for a year. The two writers have been corresponding since they met at a Korean-Japanese writers’ forum a decade ago in Japan.

“I imagine your mother working in the country fields. The mother of Shin Gyeong-suk who lives in an isolated room teaches me that the small and frugal everyday life that requires patience is what bears fruit in the end.” (Tsushima)

“We didn’t decide beforehand what we would write about, but it turns out last time that we wrote about the same thing. I vaguely guessed that writing together with Tsushima would be pleasurable.” (Shin)

From the early letters that defined happiness in the little things, they have evolved to confessing inner thoughts. Daughter of novelist Dasai Osamu (1909∼1948), Tsushima, calmly pens down memories of her father who committed suicide, her dead brother who had Down’s syndrome, and a son lost in an accident. Shin also writes of her illegitimate mother who cannot read her daughter’s stories, and childhood memories of being pushed behind her brother.

They talk not only of personal matters, but also of juvenile crime problems, visits to the Yasukuni shrine, the division of South and North Korea, and other societal problems. It is a compilation of letters written by writers in both countries in a warm, clear-cut style.