This article is just one of many from the ‘Yōko versus Hoshiko’ column, a Keijo Nippo newspaper serial featuring fictional educational dialogues pitting Yōko, the ‘good’ Korean woman who is selfless, considerate, and cares for others, against Hoshiko, the ‘bad’ Korean woman who is selfish, greedy, and only cares about herself, as they argue about the correct way to live their daily lives in wartime Seoul. It’s a very interesting glimpse into how Koreans lived their lives in 1944 Seoul.
Yōko Higashi and Hoshiko Nishino are allegorical names. The Yō in Yōko is the Chinese character 陽 (the sun), or the yang in the Chinese yin-yang concept. Higashi literally means “East”, so her name could be translated as Sunny East, representing the Japanese Rising Sun and the goodness of East Asia. In contrast, the Hoshi in Hoshiko literally means “Star”, and Nishino literally means “West field” in Japanese, so her name could be translated as Star Westfield, representing the night sky, or darkness, and also alignment with the ‘evil’ West.
Gyeongseong Ilbo (Keijo Nippo) April 15, 1944
Going to the movie theater in the daytime?
Think twice about it, lazy girl!
Hoshiko: “Yōko, why don’t we go see a movie? It’s so boring to stay at home when it’s so warm…’
Yōko: “No, no… watching a movie in the daytime is not appropriate in these times. What if there is an air raid? There would surely be many deaths and injuries due to overcrowding. Besides, it is unbecoming to see young men and women entering a movie theater in the daytime without wearing monpe work pants or kyahan cloth leggings …”
Hoshiko: “But [Hoshiko, in her bad habit, always counter-attacks by saying ‘but’ or ‘umm’], I think that air battle films and national films are very informative, and news films are a must-see for the national people.”
Yōko: “That’s why we need to give up our seats to industrial warriors and organized groups. Besides, today is light bulb training day.”
While Hoshiko was making a flamboyant appearance at the ticket window of the movie theater out of self-centered selfishness, Yōko was diligently taking out shielding curtains and dimmed light bulbs in preparation for an unknown enemy attack today, and was ready for tonight’s light bulb training. Why don’t we watch movies only at night when we are not in organized groups? The sight of muscular young men and dressed up women entering movie theaters in broad daylight goes against the spirit of 100 million warriors who are called up for military service, and it is absolutely despicable. The emergency measures for decisive battles call for lazy people to be attacked and denounced, and demand sharp reflection by moviegoers.