自分らしく生きて

When she teaches, she feels joy and contentment in life.
Ms. Jung Bok Soon (63)
Nakaku- ward, Hiroshima City
A brand-new life like a youth
Ms. Jung Bok Soon is 63 years old now.. She became a newly appointed teacher at a public senior high school in May, 1994, at the age of 62. She has been teaching commercial law, which was the beginning of a brand-new life like a youth. Her turning point was 10 years ago when she was asked to write her experience as an A-bomb victim, but she was unhappy because she couldn't express herself with her poor writing skills. This irritated her so much and after worrying seriously she decided to return to school.

Challenging and challenging to the limit of her ability
She entered night classes at a municipal junior high school when she was 52. She learned basic English and mathematics, feeling the English language was like the words of another world. She graduated from a part-time senior high school and then entered Hiroshima University. She concentrated on studying so hard she sometimes forgot to eat and sleep, especially during her five years at Hiroshima University. Sitting at the desk for a long time caused her eyes to blur and she developed lumbago. Sometimes she even wanted to hit her own head against a pillar in her chagrin when she couldn't understand German, statistics, and other subjects, but she never gave up. She studied extremely hard and tried to pull out her hidden abilities. She began not remembering when she had fallen asleep and when she had awakened. In the spring of 1994, overcoming dual handicaps of age and nationality, she graduated from Hiroshima University.

Agonies caused by discriminations during and after the war
As a Korean living in Japan, Ms. Jung has been struggling against discriminations and poverty during and after the war.
Half of her life her sufferings were beyond description. She said, "Behaving like a Japanese from childhood was necessary wisdom to survive. That was the only way to live normally as a child." Koreans were forced to call Japanese girls as "Mademoiselle" at that time. Most Japanese thought Koreans girls could not be wiser than a "Mademoiselle". Even in a footrace, Korean girls had to run behind "Mademoiselles". Every time a Japanese noticed she was a Korean, they insulted her by saying, "You smell like garlic!" and threw stones at her. There was nothing good for her when she disobeyed the Japanese.
In August, 1945, a week after the atomic bomb was dropped, Jung entered Hiroshima City from her residence in Hiba County (northern part of Hiroshima Prefecture), to look for her relatives and friends. Secondary radioactive effects of the atomic bomb have destroyed her health since then. Even after she grew up and got married, she was hospitalized again and again. A doctor said, "She can't be cured anymore." Others at a corridor whispered, " Her husband must be tired of taking care of her, she should prefer dying immediately to relieve him." These thoughtless words distressed her so much that she attempted suicide several times. Before giving birth to three children, she had a miscarriage every time.


Jung, recovering her health little by little, with her junior-high school daughter (right), around 1964.
What a wonderful life!
She suffered agonies of double discriminations being a Korean and an A-bomb victim. She could not believe anyone or anything. Worried about Ms. Jung's depression, a neighboring Soka Gakkai member communicated with her warmly. The neighbor said, "You will definitely become happy! Let's be strong together!" Jung was so much delighted at the words and the sincerity, so she joined the Soka Gakkai in 1964.
Nobody discriminated against her and everybody treated her kindly in the Soka Gakkai. She learned from Soka Gakkai members that whatever trouble we may suffer from, there is hope as long as we live. Now Ms. Jung has raised three children, volunteering enthusiastically for various activities for peace, human rights, women issues, and so on. She also has been writing to Korean friends at least once a week, sending her passion as "Messages for Peace".

With her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren
Ms. Jung's words for young people
I think it is important to have thoughtfulness to feel other's pain. You should think earnestly what you can do for peace, and make a resolution. Challenge a high target, make efforts as hard as you can, and build a strong self.

Tsunehiro Tomoda Etsuko Kanemitsu Satoshi Umesako Kunisou Hatanaka Juichi Tagawa BACK