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Top>People>Utilizing his strength in the Korean language to work as both an instructor and translator


Mr. Kaoru Hasuike

Mr. Kaoru Hasuike [Profile]

Utilizing his strength in the Korean language to work as both an instructor and translator

Mr. Kaoru Hasuike
Assistant Instructor, Niigata Sangyo University, Translator

In order to resolve the abduction issue, refrains from criticizing the system of North Korea

Last August, the Shincho Documentary Prize was awarded to Mr. Hasuike's book entitled Revisiting the Korean Peninsula (Shinchosha Publishing). Although Mr. Hasuike touches upon the hardships of his life in North Korea, he does not make any statements which criticize the system of North Korea. Mr. Hasuike gives the following reason for his treatment of the subject.
“I am afraid that criticism of the North Korean system would have a negative effect on the abduction issue. Maintenance of the current system is the most important issue for North Korea. Furthermore, many of Kim Jong-il's aides are extremely careful towards all matters. After my return to Japan, if I were to incessantly criticize the North Korean system, then such aides would tell Kim Jong-il that returnees to Japan are making inappropriate statements and that other abductees should not be returned.”

Although this explanation makes sense, doubts still remain. Mr. Hasuike was abducted during his 3rd year of university in 1978. He was forced to live in a dictatorship for 24 years. Undoubtedly, there are many things which he wants to say, and it would be normal human behavior to let all of his opinions and feelings come pouring out. However, Mr. Hasuike is exceedingly reserved towards the abduction issue. Perhaps the 24 years that he spent in North Korea taught him how to endure.
“Perhaps you are right. It is necessary to be extremely careful regarding one's words and actions in North Korea. I never would have survived unharmed if I had honestly expressed myself through words and actions.”

He says that the presence of his family helped him to endure.

Mr. Hasuike was abducted together with his wife Yukiko. The two were dating at the time of their abduction. Their marriage may have been the only bright spot in an otherwise horrible situation.
“I definitely think so. I was able to endure for 24 years because of our marriage, our two children, and the strong bonds of our family. It would have been horrible to have been all alone in a country deprived of freedom.”

Seeking to be an instructor who can see eye-to-eye with students

After returning to Japan in 2002, Mr. Hasuike worked hard to fill a 24-year gap and to enrich the lives of his family. He began working at Kashiwazaki City Hall in February of 2003.
“The City Hall was kind enough to offer me a position. I was able to obtain skills such as computer proficiency, and the time that I spent at City Hall was beneficial for my future work as a translator.”

Mr. Hasuike utilized his ability in the Korean language and began working as a Korean instructor at Kashiwazaki Citizen's Plaza in the same year that he returned to Japan.
“The Korean boom in Japan had reached its height at that time, and I had a lot of students eager to learn Korean.”

Mr. Hasuike also began teaching Korean as a part-time instructor at Niigata Sangyo University. He currently works as an Assistant Instructor at the university's International Center.
“I don't think that I am the typical instructor. For example, if a student said that he or she didn't want to attend my class because it is boring, my answer would be something like ‘Fine, don't attend the class. Take it easy and do something that you like.’ I also hope to be able to give students romantic advice and to see eye-to-eye with students.”

Obtained his diploma and is now able to call Chuo University his alma mater

Considering his goal to utilize the Korean language, it was only natural for Mr. Hasuike to expand beyond his teaching activities and begin work as a translator. The opportunity for him to begin work as a translator was provided by his high school classmate Mr. Kouji Sato, who has translated many British and American mystery novels.
“An agent for a translation company accompanied Kouji on a visit to Kashiwazaki. The agent recommended several works, one of which was Kim Hoon's masterpiece The Lonely General.

The work tells the story of Korean Naval commander Li Shunshin, who repelled the Japanese Navy when Hideyoshi Toyotomi attempted to invade Korea during the Bunroku and Keicho Periods in Japan. Initially, Mr. Hasuike was worried that the work may have contained anti-Japanese content.
“However, the book didn't contain such anti-Japanese content. I felt that Li Shunshin's way of living, his faith in his own convictions, was something with which modern Japanese could empathize.”

When an offer arrived from the publishing company Shinchosha, Mr. Hasuike began a challenging new career as a translator. These events took place in August of 2004. However, translation of the work was not easy. Following advice from his friend Mr. Sato, Mr. Hasuike began by first translating the entire work without worrying about details. Then, after 3 months had passed, he began the process of polishing the manuscript.
“It was really hard work. In January of the following year, I quit my work at City Hall in order to focus on the translation.”

Mr. Hasuike completed the translation in mid-February. After receiving approval from the editor, the translated work was published in May of 2005. This marked the birth of Mr. Hasuike as a professional translator.

Since then, Mr. Hasuike has secured his position as a renowned translator by translating many Korean novels and poems. His works include Our Happy Time (Shinchosha) and other translations of works by best-selling author Kon Yoon.

In addition to his work, Mr. Hasuike has also focused on academics. After returning to Japan, he resumed his studies at Chuo University and obtained his diploma in 2008. He visited the Tama Campus on Homecoming Day in October 2008 in order to participate in a talk show with Professor Satoru Osanai of the Faculty of Law.
“Because I was abducted by North Korea, I was only able to study on the newly established campus for about 3 months. However, now that I have graduated, I am able to call Chuo University, Tama Campus my alma mater. This makes me extremely happy.”

Since returning to Japan in 2002, Mr. Hasuike has continued to daringly embrace many new challenges in order to fill the 24-year gap in his life. Mr. Hasuike says that he plans to continue both his teaching and writing activities in the future.

(Offered by: The Chuo University Times, Issue 461)

Mr. Kaoru Hasuike
Born in Niigata Prefecture in 1957. Currently serves as Assistant Instructor at Niigata Sangyo University. Abducted during his 3rd year in the Faculty of Law, Chuo University. After abduction, was forced to live in North Korea for 24 years. After returning to Japan, resumed his studies at Chuo University. Published his first translated work, The Lonely General, in 2005. Graduated from university in March 2008. Has translated and authored many books.