September 24, 2023

Book review: A moving personal account of Japan’s pro-North Korea enclave

In a fascinating book of essays, filmmaker Yang Yonghi shares the drama and heartbreak of her Zainichi Korean family

A glimpse behind the scenes often makes the most compelling nonfiction. We enjoy reading about how someone founded a corporation, waged a political campaign, or, in the case of Yang Yonghi, how she defied expectations and overcame obstacles as a member of the Korean minority in Japan to become a successful film director.

“Turning off the Camera, I Write” is a collection of essays about a trilogy of documentary films Yang made since 2005 about her community of Zainichi Koreans — ethnic Koreans in Japan. First published in Korea last October and now being released in Japan, the book is packed with fascinating details about her life, her family and North Korea.