In October 2002, a South Korean documentary film director Kim Cheol Min attends an event hosted at Mt. Geumgang: National Rally for Reunification by Students and Youths from South and North Korea and Abroad. It was influenced by the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration. In the hope of contributing to the nation’s reconciliation, unity, and reunification, around 500 students and youths from South and North Korea and abroad attended the event. Here,Kim encounters the Korean Japanese (Zainichi) for the first time. To get to know them better and deeper, he grabs his camera and heads to Japan.
The Korean Japanese are neither ‘South Korean’ nor ‘North Korean’. They refer to themselves as ‘Chosun people’. Many people find the term difficult and awkward because the word ‘Chosun’ cannot be defined simply. Multiple discussions intertwine the word. In Japan, ‘Chosun’ is consciously and unconsciously connected with North Korea, making the word a form of hate speech. When the Korean Japanese say “I am from Chosun”, they are making a declaration or pledge to proactively rescue the word that is engraved with a history of oppression and ordeal. Lee Jong Chan
~~Diaspora Film Festival 9