Daughters of the Dragon

Daughters of the Dragon
William Andrews
Published date

Daughters of the Dragon is historical fiction book about Korean woman named Hong Jae-hee. She tells her terrible and unbelievable story to her granddaughter, her only descendant who was adopted by American family.

And the story is so heart-breaking it will bring tears to your eyes. As a young girl Jae-hee was ordered by Japanese occupants to be sent together with her sister to work in a shoe factory. It quickly turns out that the shoe factory means in reality comfort station for Japanese army. At the age of fourteen Jae-hee is forced to work as a sex slave for soldiers. What was happening there was for me unbelievable. For a person who never lived through war, the atrocities that took place there were simply monstrous.

But Jae-hee is a very strong person and survives two years at the station. Forced to left behind dying sister the only thing that reminds her of home is the antique comb with two-headed dragon, that her mother had given her. You would have thought that after that nothing worse could happen to her. Sadly, Jae-hee has to face a lot of hardship for the rest of her life.

I never gave much thought to divided Korea. The author shows us a glimpse of what Koreans were going through. After Japanese regime they are thrown into hands of other to oppressors, Russia and America, and are trying to established their own national government. For simple people doesn’t matter who will be ruling, they just want to end those terrible war. But when communists have established their power and Korea is officially divided, life becomes even worse. Can you imagine that at some point you are forbidden to talk to your family who lives in a different part of the country? It’s not only that you can’t visit them, you can’t even contact them. And after the civil war a lot of families were torn apart and not knowing if their loved ones survived it.

The book is loaded with emotions. We accompany Jae-hee through her tough life and keep fingers crossed for her success. But the worst part was not the abuse she experienced during the war. It was what was happening so many years after it, when you would thought that everything should be well and she finally get her happy ending. When comfort women try to talk about what happen to them they are shut down. No one wants to acknowledge the crimes Japan committed during the war. No one documents it and everyone just pretend nothing happened, what humiliates all those poor women and made them feel even more guilty.

I think that everyone should read this book. It gives your brain something to think about. And though it’s a fiction, it is based on true history. There were probably hundreds of thousands women who were used as comfort women during war. And it is abominable. We have to learn about those things to make sure none of that atrocity would happen again.