One fine day I was watching Secretly Greatly – Covertness and came across the Korean folk song ‘Imjingan’ and Im instantly mesmerized by the song since then . The Lyric was written by Pak Se-Yeong (1902-1989), born in Kyeonggi-do, the most populous province in South Korea and Ko Jong Hwang composed the music. Later on Se-Yeong became famous as the writer of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s national anthem . On further search, I bumped on Japanese remake of the folk song by the Japanese band “The Folk Crusaders”. This beautiful song says :
River Imjin runs freely through north and south but they can’t go back to their homeland. Imjin river of limpid water becomes more tranquil as it flows its path from the lands of the North to the Southern Skies. That’s how the birds fly as “Messengers of Freedom”. It asks who it was that tragically divides the homeland and the divine river to bring a rainbow in the sky . It pleads Imjin to please flow on, take their heart home and take care of it until then …. It pleads river Imjin to tell them about the tearful longing to visit home. No matter what happen the thought of their homeland will forever stay in their heart ………..
The beautiful song gradually and eventually becomes an emotional and heart wrenching song for the North Koreans . Because of the lyrics it is a well known forbidden song in North Korea. The totalitarian government must have sensed that the lyric might induce soft corners for Republic of Korea by the North Koreans. But the actual reason is best known to the governing authority of North Korea. The lyric is not only the outcome of the division of the peninsula into two Korea . The Chinese, the Mongols and the Japanese all took away the Koreans as captives and they never get to return to their homeland. The Imjin river unwantedly served as the passage to carry out all the tyranny by many conquerors and crusaders for many centuries and the divine river was the only witness, forcing it to carry bloods wherever it flows and makes courses. Nature makes the river so limpid and its tranquility becomes more refine as it flows since times immemorial. Koreans from both sides of the divided peninsula were being dislodged due to different political thought process .With the passing years, their longing to visit their roots become greater and greater …..
The river flows from North Korea through the Demilitarized Zone and down to South Korea. Many bloodiest battles have been fought there since the last five centuries. Famously known as the “River of dead” as in the past for many centuries and a decade ago during the North Korean famine, thousands of dead bodies floated down. Every time I hear the song, it instills me and I yearn to learn more and more of the tragedies revolving around the divine river. Centuries have passed, decades have passed, and the Southern Peninsula developed beyond the whole world’s astonishment but unfortunately the world might never understand the long lasting impact of the shattering incidents on the Korean people from both the Peninsula, which now stay behind the curtains of development .
PS: Any detail about the wars fought around the divine river is not being written as it might create unwanted comments and controversies. This article is solely written from emotional and sentimental point of view.