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Morning Dew – The stigma of being “brainwashed” (2020)

Cast:  Hikari Waza (和座 彩) , Manabu Ishikawa, Harunori Kojima
Director of Photography:  Yukiko Iioka
Music:  Stace Constantinou, Anastasia Vronski
Technical cooperation:  RAM Association (Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts)
Installation: Issei Yamagata
Support: Kawamura Arts and Cultural Foundation, Socially Engaged Art Support Grant (SEA)

Archive image contribution:
Jane Jin Kaisen
一般財団法人 宮本記念財団
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Special thanks to:
北朝鮮難民救援基金 (Life Funds for North Korean Refugees)



March 4, 2022

On Art Project “Morning Dew”: Memories, Dreams, Voices of the North Korean “Ex-Returnees” in Japan


March 4, 2022, 13:30-17:00, at Aichi Arts Center (Art Space A)

3月4日 13:30~17:00、愛知芸術文化センター アートスペースA

日本に住む脱北した元「帰国者」の記憶・夢・声:アートプロジェクト『朝露』Feb 8 3

In this hybrid bilingual event (in-person and online / Japanese and English), we invite artists Soni Kum, Hiroki Yamamoto, and Kazuya Takagawa to discuss Art Project “Morning Dew,” a product of the artists’ collaboration with North Korean defectors living in Japan which was first exhibited in Tokyo in November 2020. Among the roughly 200 North Korean defectors in Japan, many are “ex-returnees,” or members of the tens of thousands of Resident Koreans and their families who had left Japan for North Korea from 1959 until 1984. Winner of Kawamura Arts and Cultural Foundation’s Socially Engaged Art Grant, Kum’s project involved the artists to visit, talk with, and jointly work on creating their work with members of the “ex-returnees” whose migratory trajectories cut across East Asia’s colonial, postcolonial, and Cold War fissures.

If, as anthropologist Xiang Biao has noted, words such as return and returnees are far from ideologically neutral, but rather naturalizing and normalizing categories that effectively turn what is otherwise heterogeneous, contingent, and unfinished migratory trajectories into a governable pattern, what roles might art play in suspending their regulatory work and making space for alternative ways of seeing, hearing, and feeling?

This event will consist of a screening of the three artists’ video works that were first exhibited in Kitasenju BUoY, Nov 5 – Nov 10, 2020, which will be followed by a workshop.

『証言 』 Testimony

(with English subtitles, 2020, 24min, 山本浩貴/Hiroki Yamamoto, 高川和也/Kazuya Takagawa)

『朝露』  Morning Dew‒ The stigma of being “brainwashed”

(with bilingual subtitles, 2020, 60mins, 3-channel video work, 琴仙姫/Soni Kum)

In-person attendance is open to the public (no pre-registration necessary). Online participation is in principle limited to within Nagoya University (register here / for special considerations on online access please contact the hosts at )

Organized by Shota Ogawa and Ma Ran / Co-sponsored by programs in Screen Studies, G30 Japan-in-Asia Cultural Studies, Nagoya University

This project and associated research was in part funded with JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 21K12899 & JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 18K12263




April 2, 2021

Image, Stories, and Silences of “Ex-Returnees” Who Defected from North Korea to Japan: Artist Talk with Soni Kum

                                        Cornell University, East Asia Program

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Friday, April 2, 2021 at 10:00am to 11:30am (NY, EST)

Kum will discuss her installation work, Morning Dew-The Stigma of Being “Brainwashed” exhibited in Tokyo in November, 2020. It is based on interviews conducted with North Korean ex-“returnees”  now living in Tokyo. Most are  zainichi Koreans (“ethnic Koreans resident in Japan”) or their children, who from 1959 to 1984 moved to North Korean as part of the Repatriation Program. They thought  the DPRK was ‘a paradise on earth,’ only to experience the severe living conditions of North Korea’s recovery from the Korean War.  They are compelled to hide the fact that they left, or fled from, North Korea, or experience discrimination and other troubling consequences. Facing these fears of her interviewees, Kum’s work weaves together archival images, text, and silences to artistically evoke their hidden stories.

Discussants include Brett de Bary, Professor Emerita, Cornell, and Rebecca Jennison, Art Critic, Kyoto, Japan.

This event is co-sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor from an award by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This event is also co-sponsored by the Migrations initiative and the Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS).

Vimeo documentation

The Cornell Chronicle published an article about an upcoming talk

Artist Soni Kum to share stories of North Korean defectors
By Megan DeMint | March 24, 2021




November, 2020

朝露 日本に住む脱北した元「帰国者」とアーティストとの共同プロジェクト

Morning Dew
A joint project between the artist and ex-“returnees” who defected from North Korea to Japan



◆展覧会 exhibition
Artists : Soni Kum, Nobuaki Takekawa, Hiroki Yamamoto + Kazuya Takagawa

※ 週末の作家在廊予定:

※ 琴仙姫の映像作品(60分)は毎時0分に始まります。

◆オンラインシンポジウム online symposium
2020.11.5(木)19時〜21時  オンライン配信のみ・参加無料、要予約
Speakers: Soni Kum, Kazuya Takagawa, Tadasu Takamine, Nobuaki Takekawa, Yoshitaka Mouri, Hiroki Yamamoto, Chonghwa Lee

配信会場:theca(コ本や honkbooks)
協力:RAM Association(東京藝術大学大学院映像研究科)

助成:川村文化芸術振興財団 ソーシャリー・エンゲイジド・アート支援助成 (Socially Engaged Art Support Grant project supported by Kawamura Arts and Cultural Foundation)

プロジェクトのタイトルである「朝露」は、韓国の80 年代の学生運動で歌われた歌であり、暗い夜を過ごした後、純粋で美しいものに再生していく様子を象徴している。


◆琴 仙姫(クム ソニ/ Soni Kum)
アーティスト、映像作家。東京生まれ。2005年カリフォルニア芸術大学 (Cal Arts) 映像科修士課程修了。2011年東京芸術大学先端芸術表現領域美術博士課程修了。2011年より2015年まで韓国の延世大学などで非常勤講師として働きながら、ソウル文化財団からの支援を受け脱北者たちとのアートプロジェクトを推進。2016年からはポーラ美術振興財団在外研修員としてロンドンにてLive Art Development Agencyのリサーチ・アーティストとして研修。NY apexart (2012), ロンドン Pump House Gallery(2012)、韓国 釜山ビエンナーレ(2014)、ベルリン MEINBLAU project space(2017)などで展示。

◆竹川宣彰(タケカワ ノブアキ/ Nobuaki Takekawa)

1977年東京都生まれ。平面、立体、インスタレーションなど多岐に渡る表現方法で、独自のセンスとユーモアに富んだ作品を制作。国内外で数多くの展覧会に参加しながら、デモなどの路上の活動にも加わり、社会・歴史と個人の関係を常に問い直している。近年参加した展覧会は「理由なき反抗 」ワタリウム美術館(2018)、ウラジオストクビエンナーレ(2017)、シンガポールビエンナーレ(2016)、あいちトリエンナーレ(2016)など。


山本浩貴(ヤマモト ヒロキ/ Hiroki Yamamoto)


高川和也(タカガワ カズヤ/Kazuya Takagawa)
1986年熊本県生まれ。2012年東京藝術大学大学院美術研究科絵画専攻修了。 近年は、精神病理学や心理学の方法論を参照した映像やドローイング、文章等の作品を制作。主な展覧会に「ソーシャリー・エンゲイジド・アート展:社会を動かすアートの新潮流」(3331 Arts Chiyoda、2017)、「大京都」(京都:Re-Search、2017)、「ASK THE SELF」(Tokyo wonder site 本郷、2016)、「screen」(HIGURE17-15cas、2014) など。

◆助成:川村文化芸術振興財団 ソーシャリー・エンゲイジド・アート支援助成
◆協力:東京藝術大学大学院映像研究科、RAM Association



Exhibition Photo Report by ART iT







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still images from Offering, seven boats,  Installation and performance Ghost/ Resurrection/ Emergence, 2017, Der Mainbleu, Berlin, Germany








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Study of Korean War Film, 1:00:42 sec, Colour, Sound, 2017








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still images from Offering, seven boats, performance, 2015, South Korea







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Energy Drawing Series







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still images from Heaven’s Gate, reconciliation, performance/ Installation, 2014, Busan Biennale, South Korea