【Report】The 2nd “Meet the Author” series was held! Professor GyongSu MUN introduced his publication, The Jeju 4.3 Incident: The Narrative of Death and Rebirth in the “Island Country”

The second session of the “Meet the Author” series of AJI Book Club took place on Wednesday, November 2. This time, Emeritus Professor GyongSu MUN (Ritsumeikan University) talked about his book, The Jeju 4.3 Incident: The Narrative of Death and Rebirth in the “Island Country” (Heibonsha, 2008; Iwanami Gendai Bunko [Expanded Edition], 2018).

This book tells the story of what really happened during the “Jeju 4.3 Incident”, in which more than 130 villages were burned down and nearly 30,000 islanders were killed on Jeju Island, the largest island in the southernmost part of the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, this book describes the historical background and investigates the long struggle to reveal the truth behind the incident, tracing the process of restoring the true story, which led to the rebirth of the island community.

Professor Mun first discussed the events leading up to the “Jeju Incident”; the background of the armed uprising, the liberation and division of the Korean Peninsula, the situation of Jeju Island right after the liberation, and the series of massacres after the outbreak of the Korean War. He also gave a detailed explanation about the form of the public and nation-wide debates on the issue regarding the restoration of the honor of the victims, which evolved before and after the promulgation of the Jeju 4.3 Special Law. In addition, Professor Mun mentioned that a space for reconciliation beyond the logic of exclusion was created in the Korean community in Japan, because Koreans who escaped the incident and smuggled themselves into Japan formed the shared living space regardless of differences in thought. In this sense, this Incident has much to do with the situation of the Korean community in Japan.

The contents of this book, which are based on empirical evidence accumulated through the author's various experiences including his research activities in Korea since his graduate school days, and the introduction of his past experience associated with this book made the introduction to this book quite exciting for the attendees.

In the Q&A session, the attendees could share a very meaningful exchange of scholarly and academic views on issues related to perspectives of this tragic incident, which had been discussed from multiple perspectives such as how the Korean government's policy of restoring the honor of the victims and how the truth of the Jeju 4.3 Incident impacted the Korean community in Japan, and how the Incident was perceived from their perspective.

Professor GyongSu Mun talks about his book

Attendees for this session

The Asia-Japan Research Institute (AJI) holds events constantly on academic books such as the “Meet the Author” and “Book Launch” series organized by the AJI Book Club. Please check the previous events of the AJI Book Club here.