Korean Children longing for Democracy

In 1945, before the country was divided, I was in the North. I moved to the South in 1946 and finished my elementary school in Seoul in 1948, when Koreans had their first general election. We produced a drama about this election one month before the election day (May 10, 1948).

In the center is a photo of a rich landlord asking poor tenants when they are going to pay the rent. I played the role of this landlord, unfortunately. Most Koreans were poor at that time, and they needed democracy to liberate themselves from poverty.

On the upper left is a photo of the people ready to vote. On far left is a female leader who leads the people to the polling station. Her name was and hopefully still is Kim Soojun, and I used to like her. I met her several times after graduation but not after the Korean War. My heart was broken when I saw her house completely demolished during the fierce city combat of September (1950).

In 1948, she was mature enough to behave like a gentle lady, but I was catching up very rapidly. By 1950, I think I had a broader scope of the world.

On the upper right is a photo of my female classmates dancing to the "Waves of Danube" by Josef Ivanovich. This is the first waltz I heard whose title I still remember. This dancing company consisted of twenty girls. One of them used to stare at me while others did not care. She was really pretty, and her parents were very rich. Her house also disappeared during the September battle of 1950.

These girls danced also to the "Over the Waves" by Juventano Rosas (Mexican composer). This is still my favorite music. Whenever I have opportunities, I ask musicians to play this delightful music. When I was in Vienna in 2006, I asked this accordionist to play the "Over the Waves" at the Augustinerkeller restaurant. Like to hear the music? Click here.

Lower right. The girls had to learn how to cook. Good old days!! I had a special relation with those girls, and I was once invited to enjoy the food they prepared.

After 1948, I met this tiny pianist several times until 1954 when I left for the United States. In Busan in 1952, she had a photo with her high-school friends. She is second from right. I obtained this photo in Pittsburgh in 1955 from the girl on far left, who now lives in Buffalo. I of course remember their names, and I like to see them again!

These girls are wearing their high-school uniforms. How about me? I was also wearing my own high-school uniform. In this photo, I am shaking hands with General Maxwell Taylor, who was the commander of U.S. Forces in Korea at that time (1953). Under him were 330,000 combat-ready American troops. General Taylor later served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during the Kennedy administration and designed Kennedy's Cuban invasion plan in 1962 which included a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. This photo appeared in Korea's newspaper for students, and I became very popular among the girls. One of those girls later became my wife .

High School Period (1948-54)


In 1949, I became interested in how radio receiver works. I am still interested in electronics. If you think my webpages are somewhat unusual, it is because I am still interested in wireless communication and I am still eager to talk to people far away from me. Here are some stories I wrote about radio communication.

Divided Country

After the end of World War II in 1945, American and Soviet troops came to Korea, and the dividing line was the 38th parallel. Soviets were very quick to establish a communist regime in the North headed by Kim Il-Sung. Many educated and Chritian-oriented Koreans in the North moved to the South. There were many those 38 refugees in my high school, and I even picked up Pyongyang-style dielect while attending the high school in Seoul.

Thus, my personality had been profoundly affected by the division of the country. Let us examine in detail.


There are these days many world-class Korean musicians, but it was not the case during the period of the Korean War. I lived in the south-eastern coastal cities in Korea, where I could pick up radio signals from Japan. I started learning music from their radio programs. This learning process is still continuing.

Strictly Forbidden

There was one item strictly forbidden to Korean boys or girls. They were not allowed to read about, talk about, and hear about Karl Marx. Your are now invited to my Marx page.

What Marx said about "workers of all lands" is well known. Marx said many other things. I like what he said about philosophers. He said they are mostly useless. I agree with him.

After High School

copyright@2006 by Y. S. Kim, unless otherwise specified.