Living… in Seoul in 1950, with his mother; his younger siblings, Young-ja and Young-min; his older brother Jin-tae; and Jin-tae’s fiancée Young-shin. For Jin-seok, family is everything. He especially loves Jin-tae – his best friend and his hero. The family lives in a compound with a one-floor house, small garden, stone patio, and a stream where they go after dinner to frolic and splash.
Profession… student. At 18, Jin-seok is set to attend college soon. He routinely scores at the top of his class. His brother Jin-tae works as a shoeshine to help pay for Jin-seok’s education and tells Jin-seok that he regrets giving up school himself. Jin-tae tells him, “You are our family’s dream and hope.”
Interests… though skinny as a rail, Jin-seok is a renowned lover of food. He especially loves ice lollies, chocolate, and noodles from his mother’s noodle stand.
Relationship Status… single. Jin-seok hasn’t yet made much headway with girls. Let’s hope he still has the chance in the future.
Challenge… staying alive while fighting the Korean War. When war breaks out against North Korea, Jin-seok and Jin-tae are both conscripted even though the army is only supposed to take one son per family. Jin-tae is a natural-born soldier; Jin-seok is not. Regardless, he must march into the teeth of the enemy. Perhaps the worst part for Jin-seok is when the war begins to take a toll on his once unbreakable friendship with his brother. He tells Jin-tae: “I wish this was all just a dream. I want to wake up in my bed, and over breakfast, I’d tell you that I had a strange dream. Then I would go to school, and you and mom would go to work.”
Personality… a lover, not a fighter. As a soldier Jin-seok struggles to kill, even when it would be like shooting fish in a barrel, even when hesitating might cost him his life. He doesn’t believe the South Koreans are better than the North Koreans. He is a young man of simple tastes. When Jin-seok fights, he does so for his family and for the chance to see them again, not for his country or for glory. It’s a noble attitude, but it could be a very dangerous one.
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