The Curious Tale of Mandogi’s Ghost

by Kim Sok-Pom
Columbia University Press, 2010

The Curious Tale of Mandogi’s Ghost incorporates Korean folk tales, ghost stories, and myth into a depiction of epic tragedy. Written by a zainichi, a permanent resident of Japan who is not of Japanese ancestry, the novel tells the story of Mandogi, a young priest living on the island of Cheju-do. Mandogi becomes unwittingly involved in the Four-Three Incident of 1948, in which the South Korean government brutally suppressed an armed peasant uprising and purged Cheju-do of communist sympathizers. Although Mandogi is sentenced to death for his part in the riot, he survives (in a sense) to take revenge on his enemies and fully commit himself to the resistance. The Curious Tale of Mandogi’s Ghost relates the trauma of a long-forgotten history and its indelible imprint on Japanese and Korean memory. (Publisher’s description)

Kim Sok-pom was born in Osaka, Japan, to Korean parents who emigrated from the island of Cheju-do. He is best known for his seven-volume fictional work, Kazanto (Volcano Island), which centers on the Cheju Uprising of 1948.