The Clan Records

The Clan Records: Five Stories of Korea

Kajiyama Toshiyuki
Translated by Yoshiko Dykstra
George Akita
Yong-ho Choe
Copyright Date: 1995
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  • Book Info
    The Clan Records
    Book Description:

    Although little known in the West, Kajiyama Toshiyuki was one of Japan's most prolific and popular writers. The son of a civil engineer, Kajiyama was born in Seoul in 1930 and remained there until his family was repatriated to Japan at the end of [World War II].The Clan Records: Five stories of Koreanot only offers a sampling of Kajiyama's work in English for the first time but also represents the first English translations from the Japanese that deal with Korea under Japan's harsh military rule, which lasted from 1910 to 1945.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6464-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    George Akita and Yong-ho Choe

    Toshiyuki Kajiyama (January 2, 1930–May 11, 1975), one of postwar Japan’s most prolific writers, is but little known in the West. This volume offers a sampling of his work in English for the first time.

    Kajiyama was born in Seoul, Korea, where his father, Yūichi, was a civil engineer in Japan’s administration of Korea. Yūichi was born in Hiroshima and had served in the same capacity as civil engineer in Taiwan before he was transferred to Korea with his wife, Nobuyo. Nobuyo had been born in Kahuku on the island of Oahu in what was then the Territory of...

  4. The Clan Records
    (pp. 7-46)

    In those days I held a job in a government office because of a cowardly desire to avoid the draft. It came about this way….

    As a result of my physical examination I was classified as unfit for military service, but since my weak constitution had led me to enter the school of fine arts, and in those critical times oil painting was a trivial activity, I was clearly in danger of being called up for some kind of labor service. Sure enough, in that summer of 1940, just at the beginning of August, I was ordered to report for...

  5. Seeking Life amidst Death: The Last Day of the War
    (pp. 47-72)

    Remembering the last day of the war, August fifteenth of 1945, still fills me with guilt and frustration. On that fateful day I was an insolent, cheating student who went boating on the Han River and enjoyed lascivious fantasies in the darkness of a movie theater while all my classmates in the national labor service were being dazed by the news of Japan’s collapse and confused by the meaning of their tears, which flowed without being summoned. Furthermore, on my way home that day, I dealt a hard blow to my friend Hisatake, when he told me about Japan’s unconditional...

  6. When the Hibiscus Blooms
    (pp. 73-110)

    Going to China, Manchuria, or Korea in the hope of making a fortune attracted many Japanese in the 1930s. The trend was encouraged by Japan’s government, which had had ambitions in Manchuria even before it annexed Korea. In addition, Japan’s economy had deteriorated during the Great Depression, and many Japanese wished to leave their home country.

    Responding to the circumstances, Ikeda Shinkichi took a teaching position at Keijō High School in Seoul after he graduated from Tokyo Imperial University.

    Shinkichi was the youngest of five brothers. According to the eldest brother, his career had been “somewhat delayed.” All his brothers...

  7. The Remembered Shadow of the Yi Dynasty
    (pp. 111-160)

    On a hot and rainy night in the summer of 1940, made even more miserable by hordes of mosquitoes, Noguchi Ryokichi met an extraordinary young woman in the pleasure quarter of Seoul. Kim Yŏng-sun was a kisaeng, the Korean equivalent of a Japanese geisha. In those days, both geisha and kisaeng were officially licensed to serve as entertainers in the pleasure quarters of Seoul.

    Unlike the Japanese geisha, the Korean kisaeng had been decreasing in numbers for more than twenty years, and in 1940 the few who still appeared in high-class restaurants, such as the Kitei in Chongno, were scarcely...

  8. A Crane on a Dunghill: Seoul in 1936
    (pp. 161-187)

    Many red dragonflies were hovering about as Akutsu Minoru left the great, white building that housed the governor-general and his staff. Depressed by everything, he sighed, “This will be my second autumn in Korea.” The thought of yet another hard winter was the worst affliction of all.

    Because he’d been raised in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s large islands, he could bear the heat of summer well enough, but not the cold of winter. The biting cold of Korea’s winters penetrated his very bones. The usual alternation of three absolutely frigid days followed by four days of relative warmth that...