White Chrysanthemum is the latest book about Korea that delves into its darker history.
While Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko deals with the Korean Zainichi in Japan, White Chrysanthemum deals with the Korean ‘comfort women’ issue.
Mary Lynn Brachet’s novel runs on two complementary narrative tracks. The first narrative is narrated by Hana – who is taken by a japanese soldier and sold in sexual slavery. The second narrative follows Emi – who is looking for her sister after the end of World War II.
The story essentially is about the forced separation of two sisters by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War. Hana describes the war years, while Emi’s narrative is set at a later date with the elderly Emi rembering the past and attempting to find her sister.
The story tries to show the heartbreaking effects of not only the sexual slavery of young girls by the Japanese military but also the separation and division of a family by a global conflict.
Despite the Korean ‘comfort women’ issue being still strongly protested by Koreans within Korea, Mary Lynn Brocht’s “White Chrysanthemum” helps bring forward the issue to a wider global audience. It also helps the general public to understand the issue from the perspective and thoughts of the two Korean girls within the novel.
The book “White Chrysanthemum” has been highly anticipated by many major newspapers such as the guardian and already has thousands of good ratings on the Good Reads website.
Have you already bought or read Mary Lynn Bracht’s “White Chrysanthemum”?
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*Zainichi Koreans are Koreans who are born and reside in Japan, but are heavily discriminated against due to their Korean ethnicity. There are at least 855,000 Zainichi Koreans residing in Japan today, and they trace their beginnings to the time when Imperial Japan ruled over Korea (1910 – 1945).
** The Korean ‘comfort women’ issue dates back to the Second World War when Imperial Japan had colonised the Korean penisula. ‘Comfort women’ were women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese army during World War Two.