So Long Asleep: Waking the Ghosts of a War chronicles a decades-long project to excavate and repatriate the remains of Korean men who died doing forced labor in Hokkaido during the Asia-Pacific War. During WWII, “more than a million men were taken from Korea to labor at sites across Japanese and the South Pacific Islands; over 200,000 of them were sent to Hokkaido.”(Byung-ho Chung) Many died in harsh conditions in the foreign land. In 2015, 70 years after the war’s end, a group of international volunteers, led by Japanese priest Yoshikiho and Korean scholar Byun-ho Chung, repatriated 115 victim remains to South Korea. The documentary raises important questions about war remembrance, reconciliation, repatriation, and international cooperation. (Produced and Directed by David Plath, 60 minutes, 2016.)
- Roderick Wilson, Assistant Professor, History and East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Rubie Watson, former director of Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University
- Ga Young Chung, PhD Candidate, Global Studies in Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
David Plath, director and producer of the film, will be present for Q&A following the panel discussion. David Plath, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, received an award for distinguished contributions to Asian Studies from the Association for Asian Studies in 2013.