Kim Sok-pom’s books on Jeju 4·3 include the Death of the Crow (1957, right) and the Volcano Island series (1976-1997, left). Kim collects the 1st Jeju 4·3 Peace Prize at the KAL Hotel, Jeju City, in 2015.

Kim Sok-pom

A writer who devoted his life to Jeju 4·3 literary testimonies


Kim Sok-pom (92) is a Jeju-born Zainichi Korean novelist who published “The Death of the Crow” in 1957. It was the first story created with the theme of Jeju 4·3 and helped Japanese people understand what had happened during the Jeju Uprising and Massacre. Between 1976 and 1997, Kim wrote “Volcano Island,” a 12-volume saga inspired by the same historic period. “Volcano Island” made him the winner of the Osagi Jiro Prize (1984) and the Mainichi Art Award (1998). In 2015, he was named the winner of the 1st Jeju 4·3 Peace Prize.

For nearly 50 years, the Jeju public were forced to remain silent about 4·3. The author described this, using the term “the annihilation of memories.” To quote what he claimed in his book: “Because the power that the authorities used to annihilate the people’s memories was too frightening and dreadful, many of the local public forgot their own memories. In this sense, it was the slaughter and suicide of memory. It is unparalleled even in world history, and Jeju people have survived it.”