By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik
The following article concerns a famed Korean poetess-writer, Madam Yoon Deuk-han, who spent most of her life in Japan after marrying a Korean resident in Japan. Korea, the United States and Japan, in the minds of many Koreans (especially the established and old generation), should be close friends together although they all have different historical and cultural backgrounds.—Ed.
Haiku (a type of short-form poetry of Japan), which captures instantaneous realization in a single line, is called the ‘language of silence.’
In 17 characters, the hardness and sorrows of life that touch the secrets of things, nature, and life, are truly attractive.
Born in Korea, married to a Korean-Japanese, and living in Japan for 70 years, the 92-year-old Madam Yoon Deuk-han has been immersed in the magic of “capturing the moment with a vacuum pack” and has recorded important moments of life with Haiku.
‘Red-haired Madame’s Lodge’ (in Pyeongsa-ri), which is a compilation of Haikus written on tissue paper, receipts, and newspaper scraps, as soon as they are caught while traveling, is an essay that captures the precious friendships and past times that the author met while traveling around the world with Haiku.
Memories, people and landscapes left in a single line of Haiku are vividly reproduced in miniature paintings, and we invite you to the beautiful and wonderful “Next Door to the Heaven” experienced by a passionate and curious grandmother.
The authoress started the journey at the age of forty-one, feeling the emptiness of a busy life. Arriving in Rome a few days later from Paris, her first destination in 1970, she meets lively guests at a rustic hotel and spends a few fantastic days being called the “Princess from the East.”
The four men and the 'Princess' sing a song and walk the streets and go back to the days of innocence.
On the day they finally leave, they see the 'Princess' trying to bargain for the lodging fee, and they offer a favor by paying a part of the lodging fee for her. Is the excitement and longing for the one who leaves?
In fact, negotiating prices in Italy was a custom in the 1970s. They saw her negotiating and thought she had no money and tried to add money, although she had money. She felt their warm human kindness.
The reasons and methods of travel will be different depending on the different persons, but the special features of Grandma Yoon's travel story lie in the people she met while traveling. The beautiful and wonderful scenery is engraved with the ‘Time of Bliss' because of them.
In 1971, while running the original accessories business, Georgette and Pierre, young and beautiful lovers, met at a food store while staying at a guest house in Paris, and a deep friendship with Daisy, an innocent and elegant painter from Brazil, the country of Samba, and her death. The story of Elgar's 'Greetings of Love' told to him by a young cellist who was caring for his mother with dementia, and the stories about the kindness and favor from the hospitals and clubs after spraining of the ankle while spending a vacation at a Mediterranean club with a French friend. They hand the warmth of people among the people.
The author said, “The person, I, exists with the people around me. The business is busy and successful, so everything seems to be attributed to my ability, and when I couldn't move even though I couldn't see the people next to me, I could only feel the warmth of the person next to me."
Her life as a marginal man in Japan is also superimposed on the stories, and she shows the same affection for Korea, whom she gave birth to, and for Japan, whom she gave birth to for most of her life. Although we have historical problems, I recommend that we make concessions step by step and learn from each other's good points.
The book contains the story of learning Korean in front of an oven secretly from her mother during the Japanese colonial period, the situation in which she faced the North Korean People's Army during the Korean War, the story of how she got to teach English to Madam Yook Young-soo (First Lady of Korea during the administration of the late President Park Chung-hee) on the occasion of meeting with her teacher in college by chance in Daegu on the way to escape, and make a movie to introduce Korea to the world. She also looked back on her time in Korea, such as her school days when she read The Reader's Digest, when she tried to memorize the entire book.
In the concluding remarks, the authoress says, “I am very happy to publish a book in my country, Korea.”
This book also draws attention in that it was written in Japanese by a Korean author and translated into Korean by Maki Tsuchida, a Japanese.
The story of Grandmother Yoon, who was so confident in herself that she traveled to Spain alone after watching the TV mass broadcast of Gaudi Cathedral at the age of eighty-three, is just as delightful as the performances and activities of Actress Yoon Yeo-jeong (The first Korean actor to receive the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress with the movie “Minari”)!
About the authoress:
Madman Yoon Deuk-han, the authoress, was born in Seoul and graduated from Chung-Ang University in Seoul during the Korean War (1950-3) with a major in Economics.
She graduated from the Department of Economics at Chung-Ang University during the Korean War.
She won her entry in the Film Department at the University of Chicago, she gave up her enrolment but instead married a Korean resident businessman in Japan and moved to Japan in 1953.
She made friendship with various figures in the cultural circles in Japan and developed interest in cultural exchange between Korea and Japan.
In January 1965, just before the signing of the Korea-Japan Agreement, she opened the 1st Korea Exhibition at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo and contributed to the promotion of Korea's traditional craft culture.
At that time, her activities caused a ‘Korean sensation’ in the Japanese cultural world, and, after that, she made a tour of exhibitions at famous department stores in Japan such as Hankyu, Fukuya and Izutsuya.
As a result, she opened her own original accessory store--selling Korean crafts in a department store.
She made friendship with contemporary Japanese artists and actors such as Keiko Hida, Hisaya Morishige, and Junzaburo Ban, the founders of super painting, and learned Haiku, Ikebana (live flower arrangement), tea ceremony, and Tokiwazu. (Tokiwazu, according to Wikipedia, is a “narrative music” descended from “Joruri” that had developed along with Kabuki. For Tokiwazu, music with a story is performed with rhythm, which is said to be “narrated” not to be “sung” or “chanted”)