Music Places .. 1945-50 .. NHK .. 1950-1954 .. 1954--

Y. S. Kim's

Musical Autobiography

If you visited my website, you should have noticed I am making efforts to communicate with you. I am using photos, colors, my travel experiences, as well as my physics resources.

However, I was always anxious to add an acoustic dimension to my webpages. I think I can do this using my music resources. I do not know how to play any musical instruments, but I have been a diligent listener since my childhood. If I list songs and orchestral pieces in this page, you will like some of them, and you will think about your own past. This is how I intend to communicate with you.

I spent the first eleven years of my life in a farming village, with a cotton-picking experience. This photo was produced in Paris (2010) with cotton samples from Israel. The state of Israel did not exist at that time.
Sound-reproducing technologies have gone through some evolutions since then.
My listening devices started with spring-driven 78rpm record players. How did they work?

I still do not have devices to send my favorarite songs directly to you, but I am able to bring them from YouTube pages. Great! Let us listen.

When I was a Child

Korea was under Japanese occupation until 1945. When I entered the Korean educational system, I had to learn Japanese language and sing Japanese songs. I still like some of those Japanese songs.

Later Elementary School Years (1945-48)

After 1945, the school system was run by Koreans, and I was not allowed to sing Japanese song. I grew up in the meantime, I started enjoying music in the proper way. Here are some of my childhood favorites.

Middle/High School (1948-54)

During 1948-50, I was in my middle school. I used to enjoy music produced by my school chorus and band. Let us listen.

Alas, the Korean war broke out in 1950.

We had to move to Korea's southern port of Busan, where I was able to pick up Japanese radio signals. It was possible to hear the NHK programs from its local station in Fukuoka, but I was able to listen to Tokyo using my short wave radio which
my father bought for me in 1951. With this electronic device, I learned more about Japan and Japanese music while I was transforming myself from a boy to a man.

It was refreshing to hear Japanese songs not oriented to war efforts (before 1945).

Yes, Japan still had excellent singers who used to sing war-time military songs. While Japan needed new voices, a young talented girl emerged from Yokohama. Her name was Misora Hibari. She started to cheer up the entire country.

In addition to those Japanese songs, NHK presented to me every night delicious Western music programs. I still remember many of those Spanish and Latin American items. I used to pick them up directly from NHK's JOAK station in Tokyo. This station was at the top of Tokyo's Atagoyama hill about 1 km south of the Imperial Palace. Japanese started their broadcasting operation here in 1925, and continued for 30 years until 1955. The station moved to a modern, and the original station became a broadcasting museum. I went there in 1995 and brought this photo.

Let us reproduce those songs I used to hear in Korea. The artists are different, but the songs are the same.


During the Korean war (1950-53), there were more than 300,000 American troops in Korea. They maintained their radio network called American Forces Korean Network. They called their station "the Voice of Information and Education," but its program was largely for entertainment.

Korea's Vienna

Danish hopital ship "Jutlandia" at the Busan Harbor during the Korean War (1950-53). This floating hospital had 300 beds.
How about Koreans in the South? Yes, Koreans are song-loving and music-loving people. During the war period (1950-53), all Korean musicians, along with other intellectuals, were all squeezed into in the port city of Busan at the south-eastern corner of the country. They were very active and cooperative. They held their concerts and recitals often.

First of all, they were quite diligent in training their children to be world-class musicians. This is the reason, why so many Koreans are active in world stages these days.

Indeed, this war-time capital city was another Vienna.

In 1954, I came to the United States.

Before I left Korea, I could handle about 2,000 Chinese characters. I can still read them and get the meaning from each character, but I cannot write too many now. Before coming to the United States, I think I stored about 2,000 musical items into my memory, and I still keep them. This was the starting point for learning more in the United States. It is always a pleasure to learn.

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