Imjin River - A Song from North Korea





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Published on Sep 24, 2007

Song: River Imjin (North Korea). Girl sleeping: China.

- This is a North Korean song about yearning for a day that one can visit one's home town in South Korea. Birds can go, but why can't I. This song is not about the recent human rights situation in NK. I think it was made in the 1950s. It is a lamentation about the division of country. It says "Who divided our country?" A good question. Answer is not so obvious: the USA, ex-Soviet Union, and even Japan is implicated. Japan? Yes, Japan. The division happenned in the process of de-colonisation of Korea from Japan.

Ironically, this song is popular in Japan where North Korea is hated for kidnapping Japanese citizens. But most of those who sing the song in a Karaoke bar do not understand what the song is about. By the way, the river name, Imjin, has nothing to do with the Imjin War, which means the war in the year of Imjin (The Japanese invasion of Korea lead by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1592.)

- Imjin River is Imjin-gang in Korean or Imjin-gawa in Japanese. It is located North of Seoul.

- Recently (2004) a Japanese film called "Pacchigi" (bakchigi, meaning heading) on the subject of the Koreans in Japan had this song as its theme song. The main theme of this film is "why can the Koreans (in Japan)and the Japanese not live in peace?" The right wing, nationalist Japanese regards this film and its director "anti-Japanese."

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