Sentimental Journey Home
-To Busan of 70 years ago-
Special thanks to Mr. Hur NamSik, the Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City
and the people of the International Relations Division
who made this unbelievable journey possible.
|In October, 2007, I had a great luck to meet Mr. Hur NamSik, the Mayor of
Busan Metropolitan City, Korea, when he attended the Governors' Summit
held in Karatsu.
At Yoyokaku, a dinner party was held. I, as the landlady, greeted the guests. When I talked with the Mayor of Busan, I told him that I was born in Busan in 1944. Until 1945, Korea was a part of Japan, as you may know.
Mr. Mayor said that I was always welcome to the hometown Busan. If I had some information, he kindly said, he would be able to locate my birthplace, the house we lived in, the schools my mother went and also the schools where my father taught.
This was a rare chance that I had to jump on. I had long wanted to go to Busan, not the present Busan which is so easily accessible from Karatsu, by only 30 minutes' flight from Fukuoka, but the old Busan of long long ago where My father and mother met and the children were born.
The most important reason why I want to go there is my mother.
Mother is 92 years old now, and because of cerebral infarction she now lives in a mingled intoxication of past and present. She always wants to go home in Busan. Home, where her parents are waiting for the youngest daughter. Another home where her husband and the new-born baby, whom she had lost when the baby was 3 years old, are waiting. Highschool where she, every morning, raised the National Flag as the representative of the whole school, and the elementary school where she spent her happiest childhood.
I have barely any memories about Busan, because I was only one year-old in 1945 when Japan lost the War and all the Japanese people who lived in Korea, Taiwan, Manchuria, abandoned their estate and retreated to Japan with much difficulty. Sometimes children were left, sometimes old people remained who could not walk hundreds miles to the southmost ports of Korea.
Retreat was comparatively easy for my family, because we lived in Busan. We did not need to walk a far distance. My sister and I were taken back safely.
Father had to re-build his life from the beginning, but somehow he did it, and we were happy again in Karatsu. Busan was forgotten, and nobody spoke about the place for 60 years.
We lost Father 13 years ago, and Mother didn't speak about Busan at that time either. Only after Mother got ill, her hidden desire and longing for her lost days and the lost baby came up to the surface.
I, as a daughter, can not soothe her yearning, and for the reason of my mother, I gradually got to long for Busan too.
Then, I met the Mayor.
I decided to go. My sister, 3 years senior to me, my cousin , 79 years old, who still clearly remembers about Busan.
My husband joined. So we four started for Busan on December 3, 2007.
The following is the report of our time-travel to the present and past Busan.
What is your impression about this time-travel?
I was quite thrilled, and though the weather in Korea was so cold and freezing, my heart was filled with warm friendship and gratitude. Now I can share the memories of Busan with my mother.
Thank you again, the Busan people, who made this dream come true.