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From childhood to adolescence (1927-1947)

  • Tae-Joon Park was born to Park Bong-kwan and Kim So-soon in Jangan-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan on September 29 on the lunar calendar in 1927. He was the oldest child of six siblings. He moved to Japan at the age of six where his father got his job, and 'the child of Japan's colony' was raised in 'the land of the conqueror.' He spent most of his childhood and adolescence there. This period influenced him in two major ways. First, the pain and suffering of discrimination and disregard against him as 'Josenjin' inspired him to be armed with the resolve to overcome Japan, which led to his wish to make his fatherland a first-class nation. Second, the Japanese language and culture that he was forced to learn became a great asset to him later in helping smooth ties between Korea and Japan when he worked for POSCO and his fatherland.

    Park was enrolled at the department of engineering at Waseda University in 1945. However, he had to leave Tokyo for a remote mountain place very soon as a pandemonium broke out in the Japanese capital because of the indiscriminate bombing by the U.S. forces. Park heard the Japanese emperor's declaration of unconditional surrender on the radio as he was digging up a bomb shelter in the mountain on the noon of August 15th. He felt a surge of joy from the bottom of his heart. He could not shout "hurray" as there were many Japanese nearby. He just shed tears clenching his fists.

    Soon after Korea's liberation from Japan his family boarded a ship to return home. He wanted to resume studying his major in Seoul, to no avail. He returned to Japan alone to finish college for the purpose of becoming what was called a pillar of the fatherland, but he dropped out in 1947 only to return home. He spent the winter alone thinking of what to do next in his life.
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