A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

A River in Darkness

The harrowing true story of one man’s life in—and subsequent escape from—North Korea, one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes. Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself...

Details A River in Darkness

TitleA River in Darkness
Release DateJan 1st, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, History, Cultural, Asia, Japan, Historical, Biography Memoir, Business, Amazon

Reviews A River in Darkness

  • Lo
    The short version: This is easily the best firsthand narrative about life in North Korea that I've found, and it's a gripping, well-written story in its own right. If you haven't read anything like this, it will be VERY educational. But be aware that it doesn't have the happy ending the title implies, and prepare yourself accordingly. The long version: Some years ago, I realized that my view of North Korea was overly cartoonish. I didn't want to ...
  • Marilyn Hitesman
    The horror of life in North KoreaBeyond comprehension. The atrocities are being silenced but must be made known. No one should endure what these people do.
  • Staci
    Tragic. That one word sums up this entire memoir.I've read both Fiction and Non-Fiction books about North Korea which has provided me a pretty good background about what life is like there. What I didn't know until reading this memoir is nearly 80,000 Japanese moved to North Korea after WWII. They were told North Korea was a land of paradise. The author was born in Japan and moved to North Korea in 1960 when he was 13 years old. He lived there fo...
  • Beverly K
    Oh god, that was the most depressing book I've read in a long time. There is literally no light at the end of the tunnel for Mr. Ishikawa. On the one hand, it was a fascinating and disturbing tale of life in North Korea. On the other hand...it was a dark and dreary tale of what happens in North Korea.I think I need a break from reading for a bit now.
  • Alison Offerdal
    HeartbreakingA Japanese boy, moved to North Korea in the sixties with his family, struggles to survive the hardships and lies of the regime. Maked you appreciate what you have and the liberties so often taken for granted in Western society.
  • Susan Swiderski
    I'm glad this book isn't longer, because there's no way I was going to bed until I completed it last night. This is one of those books that punches you right in the gut. Having a nebulous idea that "things are tough" in North Korea is one thing, but reading someone's harrowing first-hand account of just HOW horrible it is takes that understanding to a whole new level. The appalling and dehumanizing conditions under which people have been living i...
  • Carlos Jaramillo
    Antes que nada quiero advertir: este libro puede ser demasiado fuerte para algunas personas.Imagina que tu vives en un hogar disfuncional. Un padre abusivo descendiente de coreanos que logra ser hipnotizado por la propaganda de un regimen autoritario y decide llevar a toda tu familia a vivir a la “tierra prometida de abundante riqueza y prosperidad”. Si, esta es la historia de como un niño japonés termina viviendo en corea del norte y como ...
  • Hannah
    "A River in Darkness" was my Kindle First pick for December, and it's hands down the best book I've read through that program. Ishikawa was born in Japan in 1947 to a Korean father and a Japanese mother. In 1960, lured by promises from the Japanese and North Korean governments of a better life in North Korea, Ishikawa's father was one of thousands of Koreans in Japan who moved his family to North Korea. Yet life was, if possible, worse in North K...
  • Debbie Smith
    A River in Darkness is a simply told tale but all the more heartbreaking and harrowing for it. While we cannot really have any conception of the living hell those in North Korea experience this novel gives us an insight as to how grim life there really is.It's quite a disturbing and despairing read but it does show the human spirit's determination to survive even under the most unimaginable and hellish conditions. It sent me on a roller coaster o...
  • Donna
    This was a depressing autobiography that reminded me of the repetitive inhumanity Solzhenitsyn describes in his accounts of living in the gulag system. But it lacks the prose that made me subject myself to Solzhenitsyn's second book. While I feel for him and hope that he thrives now that he has escaped from hell, I don't believe that I would read another book by Ishikawa. There was no closure, either. Spoiler alert, here: he left his starving fam...