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North Korean Refugees' Nostalgia: The Border People's Narratives


  • Mikyoung Kim

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    • Mikyoung Kim is Associate Professor at Hiroshima City University–Hiroshima Peace Institute in Japan. She edited a special edition of Memory Studies Journal on Korean memory, and is Vice President of the ROK Fulbright Alumni Association. Her research interests include memory, human rights, reconciliation, and peace in East Asia.


The writings of Northern settlers in South Korea constitute a unique voice of their own, which I call “border people's narratives.” Their narratives are often contradictory, critical and hopeful in reflecting the dramatic ruptures in their lived experiences. Their voices stretch over between past and present, and the old home in North Korea and the new place of South Korea. The border people's narratives encompass the simultaneous existence of contradictory feelings: guilt and appreciation, anger and sorrow, nostalgia and assimilation, and hope and disappointment.