Photo exhibit to focus on Korea heritage

Kyodo

A second-generation ethnic Korean is planning to hold a photo exhibition chronicling the lives of Korean residents in Japan to help mark the centennial this year of Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Sin Yong, 57, of Nagata Ward, Kobe, has been collecting photos of Korean residents — ranging from ceremonial occasions such as weddings and funerals to scenes of everyday life — to keep the minority group’s heritage alive.

Nagata Ward is home to numerous ethnic Koreans, but many of them lost pictures in the fires that followed the Great Hanshin Earthquake on Jan. 17, 1995.

“It’s not about country-to-country relations. I want to convey how each person lived in those 100 years in the land of Japan,” Kim said.

He is calling on his fellow Koreans to search for any old pictures that may have been forgotten in storage, and loan them for the exhibit.

Kim has been teaching Korean culture at Kobe elementary schools and also has been running Korean-language classes for ethnic Korean students.

He came up with the idea for the exhibition after coming to realize that many third- and fourth-generation Koreans in Japan aren’t familiar with the history of Korean residents, known as “zainichi,” or how their ancestors once lived.

The exhibition is scheduled to open in November in Nagata Ward. Those who want to loan pictures for the event can call (078) 521-3855.