International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy

    Kunje Cho

    Korea, 1933-1997 Profile
    1933 Born on Sept. 5 in Nakayama, Obu, Chita-gun, Aichi Prefecture (the present Obu City), the youngest of nine children.

    1944 Called by their father, who was there on a trip, the family moved to the Tounou region of Gifu Prefecture.

    1948 Left school in the summer of his third year of junior high school to work in a coal mine to help support the family.

    1957 Moved to Tokyo and joined the Zenshinza theater group.

    1958 Joined the Central Theater Troupe of Koreans Residing in Japan and handled lighting for performances across Japan. Learned that Hansen’s disease sanatoria existed nationwide through a performance in October at Kikuchi Keifuen in Kumamoto.

    1959 Mother and elder sister wanted to move to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) as part of a repatriation project, but decided to stay in Japan by himself. Joined the arts department of Nihon University.

    1961 Left the arts department of Nihon University after three years. Found work doing lighting for movie production. In the summer, visited Tama Zenshoen Sanatorium for the first time.

    1965 Worked as a cameraman for the production of director Setsuo Nakayama’s documentary “Aru Seinen no Shupatsu (A Young Person’s Departure)”. During the year, visited Kuriu-Rakusenen where he met resident Yuji Kodama and nurse and future wife Kimiko Saito.

    1967 Married Kimiko Saito and moved to Urawa.

    1969 Assisted with the filming of “Wakamono wa Yuku (Forward Ever Forward)” , directed by Tokihisa Morikawa and filmed by Yoshio Miyajima.

    1970 Cinematographer for “Ikari o Utae (Sing Your Rage)”, directed by Yoshio Miyajima.

    1974 Assisted with filming of “Ranru no Hata (Tattered Flag)” , directed by Kozaburo Yoshimura and filmed by Yoshio Miyajima.

    1981 “Rai wa Nagai Tabi Dakara : Shi to Shashin (Because Leprosy is a Long Journey: Poems and Photographs)” , written with Yuji Kodama, published by Koseisha. “Japan’s Leprosy Sanatoria” serialized in the magazine Ningen (People) , published by Sofukan from June (three installments).

    1982 Asked by Hidenobu Ueno to edit Chikuho photo collection.

    1984 Co-editor with Hidenobu Ueno of periodical Shashin Manyoroku: Chikuho (published by Ashishobo) launched in April.

    1986 10th and final edition of Shashin Manyoroku: Chikuho published in December. After this, stayed at home and devoted himself to studying Hansen’s disease.

    1996 Diagnosed with cancer in November.

    1997 Died on June 24.