top of page



In April when camellia, rapeseed and cherry blossoms bust out, Jeju becomes an island full of spring flowers. The view of Jeju 70 years ago would not have been much different from now. Spring came back in that year of Jeju 4 · 3, but the warmth of the season only melted the frozen ground, and didn’t reach the people stepping on it.


There were many villages swallowed by the flames of ideology. The weak civilians were wounded and collapsed. The devastation that has occurred throughout Jeju remains as scars of many people even after 70 years, reminding us of the pain. There are only few survivors who have survived to date and testify about the incident now. Psychological and physical trauma has always followed the survivors like shadow, and they are still has to endure each day. In the hearts of the bereaved family, sadness of losing family, husband, and child is filled like camellia red flowers In April.


It was a place where the surviving victims or bereaved families wanted to avoid. It was not easy to find traces of the past, covered by the years. It is also rare to trace back memory and find a place that preserved its former appearance. Photo shooting at the historic incident is an act of confronting the time, and recall the agonizing memory they experienced in the past. Nostalgia arose from the wrinkled eyes of a wife who had lost her husband and from the back of a son who misses his father. The tears of a brother, who had lost his newborn orphan baby in his arms, flowed constantly.


During the period of filming, I hoped that it would be a time for people to heal their wounds in the process of confronting their memories. Because they did not forget anything, and they stood together in hope that many people who live today will also remember the red scar that blooms in the heart of Jeju year after year. Through photographs, I hope to vividly document the reality of confrontation with history and suffering pain of individuals.




In the midst of winter, waiting for spring...


December 2018

Eunju Kim



‘The Nogunri massacre’ involved killing of up to 300 innocent people with bombing and machine guns under the railroad bridge of Nogunri in South Korea by the U.S. military forces in the name of ‘blocking the invasion of North Korean People's Army (NKPA)’ between July 25 and 29 in 1950 after the outbreak of the Korean War. The ‘twin underpass’ where the massacre happened is in a small village surrounded by many mountains with large rocks. On one side of the twin underpass, pedestrians and vehicles occasionally pass by, and on the other, a mountain stream flows. White circles, triangles, and squares along the walls of the bridge are all traces of bullets and bombings. You can also notice some bullets still lodged on this bridge. Numerous remnants seem to show the cruel devastation of the time.

The people who fled to the twin underpass in the summer heat were unable to drink anything except bloody water in the bombing that lasted 72 hours, and they had to experience birth and death one after another. Some mothers hid their children in their skirts to save their young sons and daughters. When the shooting did not stop because of the crying babies, some parents had to block their babies’ mouth, leading them to die in order to stop others from being sacrificed. Men who took off their clothes to camouflage their bodies with mud to escape in the overnight had survived, but most women and children who could not saw their ends under the twin overpass. Approximately 37 people had survived.

Despite surviving this horror, the mental trauma and external injuries have constantly tormented the survivors for 67 years, forcing them to endure every day in pain to this day now. At the end of July, in the middle of the midsummer night, the townspeople in the village perform ‘group ancestral rites.’ Unfortunately, some cannot even do that because the whole family was massacred during that time.

For the victims and the families, the crime scene where it all happened are inevitably the place they would want to avoid. The victims who return to the place say: “The thought of it makes my head hurt”, “Let’s not go there”, “It’s hard to bear the thought coming into my head”, “My whole body hurts more at this time of day.” Photographing at a place where historical events took place forces them to confront the past by recalling painful memories. Long time has passed since then, but they stood there hoping that everyone else would not forget that they had not forgotten anything.


July 30th, 2017

Eunju Kim

A mother is the singular light in a darkroom. She gives hope amidst endless darkness and suggests a much needed direction. These are my thoughts about motherhood.

The 5·18 Uprising lasted for 10 days from May 18 to 27, 1980. Mothers witnessed their husbands and children sacrificed by an authority called the nation. I wondered how they have managed to survive until now. I wanted to know the present of those mothers who have embraced and lived with the traumatic pain of those days. They were each asked to stand at the place where they lost their loved ones. Places of sorrow for individuals, connected by the history of 33 years.

Although many days have passed, to the old woman it remains a scar as deep as the wrinkles carved on her face. Never once did the mothers of May receive public attention as the fighters on the front row of the battle, but it was their endurance of pain as the mothers of sons, the mothers of husbands and the mothers of the world, that brought the peace that we have now.

The saying that a woman is weak but all mothers are strong might be an excuse created to force sacrifice in them. Such like the mothers of May who modeled for this project. It is not my wish to reproduce their inherent pain in these photographs. I only hope that they look just as they do in their daily lives.




Eunju Kim

bottom of page