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A Critique of Lost Names, a Book by Richard E. Kim

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Love Conquers Hate

In the book Lost [1] Names by Richard E. Kim, the Koreans ingenuity from experience bolsters Edward Siedensticker’s opinion that Lost Names is not a poem of hate, but a poem of love. The Koreans in Lost Names do not fight the Japanese’s hatred with hatred back to the Japanese. The Korean people understood that fighting the Japanese’s violence and hatred would result in death and damage for both sides, and keep adding to their suffering. When the Koreans realize the consequences of fighting with hate, they wisely choose to fight the Japanese with love.

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A wise man would know not to fight violence with violence. Back when Koreans and Japanese had a rough relationship; the Japanese kept the Korean people hostage, increased famine for the Koreans, and forbid the from practicing their culture. Temporarily, the Koreans people wanted to take revenge on the Japanese for causing great suffering for the people. The Koreans realized that in the long run, making the Japanese suffer would be useless and a waste of time. The narrator and his father came to the conclusion that making peace with the Japanese and forgetting all their past mishaps would be beneficial for the Korean and the Japanese people. The following passage supports my reasoning: “Please help us! Please help us!”, he is saying. […] “Get up”, the narrator says to the man and his wife, “My father would have saved you” (159). The narrator may not have been willing to let the man and his wife in if he just thought about it for a few seconds. He took his time to really think about what the right thing to do was. Being nicer to the Japanese may not benefit the narrator and his people now, but as times change the narrator and his father know that peace would be the best for their people. As the narrator knows how it would feel to be treated unfairly from the Japanese, like when the narrator had his culture taken away from him and being beaten constantly from the Japanese; all because the Koreans are seen as inferior through the Japanese’s eyes. The narrator’s occurrences make him realize why his father is kind to the Japanese when the Japanese are cruel to the Koreans. The narrator’s realization implies that he is learning to fight with love not hate in the passage.

Secondarily, the Koreans changed their views of the Japanese because they knew how it felt to be treated immorally. The following quote from Lost Names supports my assertion, “A youngman with a shotgun is running into the house from the west gate shouting, A man from the police is coming sir! My father says, Bring him in. […] We will turn them over to you, provided the issue of your receipt, we accept your terms, says the narrator’s father” (188). The passage rehashes the idea that the Korean people are learning from the wise ways of the narrator’s father. The narrator’s father does not go up to the shameful Japanese and beat them up for all the things they have done to the Korean people, instead he politely asks for a receipt and makes a compromise. The Koreans want to ruin the Japanese, but they learn that making peace would be the better option from the narrator’s father. His father sets a good example to the Koreans and the Japanese with his respectful actions. The narrator learns from the father how to fight hate with love, and they teach the other Koreans. The Koreans shrewdness makes Lost Names a poem of love.

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As the evidence displays above, the poem of love is dominant over the poem of hate in Lost Names. Although there are examples of violence and hatred from the Japanese, the Koreans wisely don’t act for revenge, which diminishes the idea that Lost Names could be a poem of hatred alludes to that Lost Names is a poem of love. The end of Lost Names foreshadows that the Japanese and the Koreans have made peace with each other.The theme from the Lost Names teaches a good lesson; fight hate with love, and make peace.

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A Critique of Lost Names, a Book by Richard E. Kim. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 3, 2023, from
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