Korean Children longing for DemocracyIn 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)
- I looked like this in 1954. Here is a photo of myself with some of my classmates. Can you find me in this photo?
- Herod Complex. Because I was
thoroughly pampered by my teachers and friends during my high school period,
I was hopelessly spoiled, and I had some adjustment problems in later
years. I solved my own problem by inventing the word "Herod Complex."
The easiest way to solve the problem is to gain a clear understanding
of the problem.
Because Korea was a strict Confucian country, I was not allowed to have photos with girls during my high-school years. They looked so beautiful to me then that I still like to pose with high school girls, even though I am now as old as their grandfathers. Here are some photos.
- In Nara (Japan),
It was a pleasure to pose with Japanese high-school girls in their
uniforms (1994). When I was in high school in Korea, Korean girls
were dressed like this. Korea's Confucianism did not allow boys
to pose with girls at that time. It was a pleasure to do it 40
- Two Sweet Girls. While in Kharkov (July 2000), I invited these two girls to a photo with my colleague. They were just walking by. In November of 2001, they came to me while I was attending the Akhiezer memorial conference held in Kharkov. It was a total surprise to me. They asked me whether I brought their photos. I apologized to them and promised to put the pictures on my website, and I invited them to join me in the conference banquet. However, the conference organizers rejected my idea. Their reasoning was that these girls are too young. We were thoroughly disappointed. I could partially heal their wounds by posting these photos.
- Students from Israel in Krakow (Poland 2002).
- Belgian Students in Pompei (Italy 2005),
- Polish Students from Gdansk (2007). I met them at the Soldiers Memorial Park in Warsaw. They came here to study the history of their country. I like their sailor uniforms.
- British Students at the British Museum in London (2008). They came to the Museum to study Emperor Hadrian's Roman Empire. Those British youngsters are also interested in the British Empire run by their great grandparents.
- More High School Students.
- Steam Engine. Before I became old enough to know boys are different from girls, I used to like steam locomotives and steam engines. I spotted this engine at a railroad station in Hamburg (Germany 2000). I was very happy to have a photo with the engine.
ElectronicsIn 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.
- Shortwave Radios.
In 1951, during the Korean War (1950-53), I was fortunate enough to
own a US-made shortwave radio called Hallicrafters Model S-38. While
listening to the people far away from me, I developed my interest in
talking to them. I have had waiting for the present internet age.
- Maxwell, Marconi, and Sarnoff.
How did they create this world of electronics?
- Lee de Forest and Einstein. Lee de Forest invented the vacuum tube and Einstein formulated the theory of relativity. They both changed this world. Who changed more profoundly? It is debatable.
Divided CountryAfter 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.
- Proschanie Slavianki
was known as the Red Army March No.5. My high school band used to play
this music almost everyday. How could this happen in am anticommunist
country like South Korea?
Soviet FED camera which was an imitation of Germany's Leica camera. I noticed this camera at the WWII Museum in Minsk (Belarus).
- Russian Leica. When
I was a high-school boy (in 1950), one of my friends bragged about
his camera. He claimed that his Leica was made in the Soviet Unio
and is better than the Leica cameras made in Germany. I wanted to
have it, and I achieved my goal 57 years later in 2007.
- Korean War.
This page contains more photos
and stories about the Korean War.
- Soviet Tanks. Soviets developed their tank Model T-34 at a factory in Kharkov (Ukraine). The T-34 tanks were first combat-tested at the Mongolian battle against Japanese in 1939. They were mass-produced during their "Great Patriotic War" (World War II) against Germany at a factory in Chelyabinsk (Ural Mountains). These tanks did a very good job during the Stalingrad battle. About 200 of them were used at the initial stage of the Korean War in 1950, and they were un-invited guests to my house four days after the war broke out. Since then, I became interested in the tanks.
MusicThere 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.
- Click here for my music page.
Strictly ForbiddenThere 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.
- Marx's Grave at the High Gate Cemetery in London.
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.