Forever Alien

A Korean Memoir, 1930–1951

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About the Book

Korean native Sunny Che spent most of her early childhood in Japan, where she and her family were treated as outsiders. She returned to Korea, only to find herself a stranger in her homeland. This memoir is the story of her personal struggle amidst the crucial events enveloping Asia at midcentury. Part I chronicles her childhood in Japan and the beginning of the war in the Pacific. Part II describes her return to Korea, the turmoil of Korea’s liberation from Japan, and the Korean War. From a schoolgirl’s perspective, Che describes events both global and intimate. She depicts the alienation and chaos of war and migration, as well as the domestic trials of a family seeking not merely to survive but to hold on to their heritage. Her story is at once a unique perspective on history and a moving chronicle of her own childhood, providing a detailed picture of diverse cultures irrevocably changed by two devastating wars.

About the Author(s)

Political activist Sunny Che was the 1996 recipient of the Democratic Achievement Award by recommendation of Senator John Glenn. She lives in Worthington, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Sunny Che
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 261
Bibliographic Info: photos, map, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2154-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5130-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Part 1: A Korean Childhood in Japan, 1930–1944
1. Korean Roots     3
2. Wandering Koreans     6
3. Fukui     9
4. Life in Fukui     12
5. Mother     23
6. Going to School     29
7. Death of Mother     38
8. The Third Grade     43
9. Stepmother     45
10. Moving to Nagoya     50
11. New Home in Nagoya     53
12. Life in Nagoya     57
13. The Coming War with America     63
14. Pacific War     67
15. Graduation     70
16. Middle School     75
17. War Time     78
18. Going Home     87

Part 2: Growing Up in Korea, 1944–1951
19. So This is Korea     93
20. Pohang     99
21. Life in Pohang     101
22. My Favorite Aunt     108
23. My Father’s Brothers     111
24. Wonju     117
25. My Government Work     123
26. The Last Throes of World War II     129
27. Peace at Last     139
28. The Family Tragedy     150
29. Seoul     157
30.The Return of Duli     164
31. Carpenter Lee     168
32. Running Away from Home     171
33. Miss Laird     176
34. Methodist Mission School     181
35. Summer of 1949     200
36. The Prep School     209
37. The Korean War     216
38. Tongsan     224
39. Taegu Churches Evacuated     228
40. Pusan     232
41. Working for Uncle Sam     235
42. The Last Days in Korea     245
43. Goodby, Korea     248

Index     251

Book Reviews & Awards

Florence Roberts Head Award— Ohio Library Association
“a delightful coming-of-age memoir and a unique perspective on a tumultuous era in modern Asian history”—Booklist; “offers a candid and illuminating account of a remarkable personal odyssey…[a] stunning memoir”—Ohioana Quarterly; “powerful narrative…valuable”—Pacific Affairs; “Sunny Che is a solid writer, and she does a skillful job of linking the narrative of her personal life with local events and world affairs…quite a remarkable story, a heartfelt read”—Korean Quarterly; “Fascinating and colorful…a poignant narrative.”—Dr. Anna Charr Kim, National-Louis University.