1st Edition

Interviews with North Korean Defectors
From Kim Shin-jo to Thae Yong-ho

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 20, 2021
ISBN 9780367716165
July 20, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
278 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Originally compiled and written by North Korean defector and author Lim Il, this English-language edition, thoroughly annotated by Dr. Adam Zulawnik, is a fascinating collection of 34 interviews with highly prominent North Korean defectors residing in South Korea, ranging from religious figures, to artists, politicians, North Korea experts, and even divers and subway train operators.

The 33 interviews herein are listed chronologically according to the interviewees' date of arrival to South Korea and span almost 70 years. The book also includes six special columns addressing key issues pertaining to North Korean defectors and their lives in South Korea, such as the relationship between North Korean defectors and their South Korean counterparts (South Korean defectors to North Korea; nomenclature (how North Korean defectors have been referred to in South Korean society over time); arrival and settlement provisions from the South Korean government; the nuanced difference between defectors, defector-residents, and the displaced; North Korean defector-residents and their position in South Korean politics; and a short biography of five notable North Korean defector-residents who were not interviewed. The English translation also contains an exclusive 34th interview with Lim Il, the source text author which was carried out towards the end of the project in October 2020.

The book is a valuable testament to North Korean defector-residents and unique in that it provides a candid account of each individual’s experience. It will prove to be especially useful to students and scholars seeking to understand the complex dynamics of North Korean society and the status of exiles in South Korea, and a vital resource for students of Korean Studies.

Table of Contents

The infinity symbol (∞) is used to separate interviewee occupations prior to and after defection to South Korea. The interviews are listed chronologically based on the year of defection to South Korea.

Translator’s Preface

Introduction by Source Text Author, Lim Il

1. Kim Shin-jo | Korean People’s Army Soldier ∞ Pastor

2. Ahn Chan-il | Korean People’s Army Soldier ∞ Chairman of Sungy Dongji Association

3. Chon Chol-woo | Exchange Student in Germany ∞ President of Gohyang FS

4. Kang Chol-hwan | Yodok Prison Camp Inmate ∞ North Korea Strategy Center Chairman

5. Im Young-sun | Soldier of Korean People’s Army ∞ Chairman of The Committee for the Nine Northern Korean Provinces

Special Column: South Korean Defectors and North Korean Defector-Residents

6. Kim Tae-bom | North Korean Logger in Russia ∞ Director of the Peace Unith Korea Defectore Alliance

7. Kang Myung-do | Premier Kang Sung-san’s Son-in-Law | University Professor

8. Cho Myung-chul | Teacher at Kim Il-Sung University ∞ Member of the 19th National Assembly (2012), politician

9. Ahn Myeong-cheol | Security Guard in the DPRK Army ∞ President of NK Watch

10. Jeong Seong-san | DPRK Soldier ∞ Musical Director

Special Column: North Korean Defectors-Residents and Naming Problems

11.  Rhee Min-bok | Agricultural Researcher ∞ Leader of Anti-North Korean Balloon propaganda program

12. Han Yong-su | DPRK Soldier ∞ First North Korean Subway Train Operator

13. Jeong Nam | Railway Worker ∞ President of Glov Co., Ltd. (Sunflower oil producer)

14. Shim Ju-il | DPRK Soldier ∞ Head of North Korean Soldiers of Christ Association

15. Kim Seong-min | DPRK Soldier ∞ Founder and President of Free North Korea Radio

Special Column: Arrival Support and Benefits

16. Park Sang-hak | Trader ∞ Chairperson of Fighters for a Free North Korea

17. Hong Sun-kyung | DPRK Envoy to Thailand ∞ North Korea Expert

18. Joo Myung-shin | University Teacher ∞ Chairperson of North Korean Defector Artists’ Association

19. Park Kwang-il | Middle School Teacher ∞ Chair of Youth Forum of North Korea Democratization

20. Song Byeok | jik’gwan seondong (propaganda) Operative ∞ Artist

Special Column: Displaced Persons and North Korean Defector-Residents

21. Kim Tae-san | President of Joseon-Czech Joint Footwear Venture ∞ North Korea Expert

22. Joo Seung-hyun | DPRK Soldier ∞ University Professor

23. Kim Heung-kwang | University Teacher ∞ Director of the North Korean Intellectuals Solidarity

24. Jeon Ju-myeong | Youth Worker ∞ President of Unity Preparations North Korean Defectors’ Association

25. Park Seong-jin | University Student ∞ Sohaegeum Musician 

Special Column: North Korean Defector-Residents and South Korean Politics

26. Park Myung-ho | Party Loyalist  ∞ First North Korean Defector-Resident Diver

27. Ji Seong-ho | Disabled Youth ∞ President of NAUH

28. Lee Ung-gil | University Student ∞ President of Saeteomin Lounge (New Residents’ Lounge) 

29. Jang Se-yul | University Teacher ∞ Leader of Gyeore’eol Unification Solidarity 

30. Choi Hyeon-jun | Protection Agent ∞ President of Unification Future Solidarity 

Special column: Other Notable North Korean Defector-Residents

31. Kim In-chul | Trader ∞ President of Jiwon Publishing 

32. Im Kang-jin | DPRK Soldier ∞ Private Business Operator 

33. Thae Yong-ho | North Korean Minister in the UK ∞ North Korea Expert 


34. Exclusive Interview with Author Lim Il | Construction Worker in Kuwait ∞ Writer

Selected Bibliography

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Lim Il is a church pastor and regular contributor to Tong’il Shinmun (Unity News). He is himself a North Korean defector, having previously worked as a construction worker in Kuwait. He has authored multiple books in Korean.

Adam Zulawnik is an Academy of Korean Studies Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Monash University, Australia. He was a founding member of the Korean Studies program at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His current research focuses on the translation of the Korean and Japanese languages in political and historical settings.