Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 296
This novel is the story of a family's migration from Korea to Japan, so I'll mostly talk about the family members.
Hoonie: The son of an aging fisherman and his wife from a small island in Korea, Hoonie is the only child of three to survive to adulthood. Hoonie was born with a cleft lip and club foot, so he doesn't get married until quite late. The result of Japan annexing Korea is broad destitution, so Hoonie's family, who has not had to spend much on marriages due to his dead brothers and his own relative insufficiencies, is enough to please the matchmaker in his village.
Yangjin: Hoonie's wife, Yangjin is the fifteen-year-old daughter of a poor farmer. She is the youngest daughter and, to a father who has lost almost everything, really just a burden to be lifted from his shoulders.
Sunja: The daughter of Hoonie and Yangjin, she helps her mother run the boardinghouse left to her father after he dies of tuberculosis. Sunja's actions are the catalyst for her family eventually migrating to Osaka, Japan.
Koh Hansu: This is the man who impregnates sixteen-year old Sunja out of wedlock. He turns out to be a wealthy businessman who is already married, although he does try to help Sunja in her life for many years.
Beak Isak: Sunja must escape her shame of pre- marriage pregnancy. To do so she marries Isak, an empathetic Christian minister with a married brother in Japan. The two move in with Isak's brother in Osaka despite the horrible anti-Korean sentiments there.
Noa and Mozasu: Sunja's sons. Noa is the child of Koh Hansu, although Sunja tries to hide this paternity from him. The two boys are very different, and their lives diverge greatly as they grow into adults.
Unlock This Study Guide Now
- 30,000+ book summaries
- 20% study tools discount
- Ad-free content
- PDF downloads
- 300,000+ answers
- 5-star customer support