Here is a note of People’s Artiste Jo Chong Mi, teacher of the Pyongyang Kim Won Gyun Conservatory.
“I was born in Japan. I liked music from my childhood, but never thought of being a singer. It was after I appreciated the revolutionary opera ‘The Flower Girl’ in the summer of Juche 62 (1973) that I really wanted to become a singer.
At that time, the Mansudae Art Troupe from the homeland performed the opera in Japan, creating a great sensation. It gave a performance in Fukuoka Prefecture, too, where I was living. I enjoyed such a wonderful performance for the first time in my life. With a dream to learn genuine music and become a singer in the homeland, I came to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in October that year at the age of 16.
I entered the then Pyongyang University of Music and Dance and learned music from competent teachers, using the best piano all for myself.
I was given uniforms free of charge according to seasons and even school things and scholarship under the benefits of the socialist system. After graduating from the university, I became an actress of the Phibada Opera Troupe, a dignified art organization, as I wished.
A few years later, I played the leading part of the revolutionary opera ‘The Sea of Blood’ widely known to the people. It was really unbelievable.
My parents had thought little of my dream, regarding it as a fancy of an innocent girl. But the dream came true in the motherland.
In order to improve my musical qualifications, the state saw that I studied in the postgraduate course at my alma mater and had practical training abroad.
When I listen to the songs I sang including ‘Socialist Paradise’ and ‘The Boundlessly Generous Embrace of the Motherland’, I recollect with deep emotion those days when I grew to be a singer loved by the people in the homeland.
In those days, I gave four vocal recitals at home and became an international concours prize winner and People’s Artiste.
After more than 30 years’ career as singer, I taught many students at the university. Some of them are active as singers at authoritative art troupes of the country after graduation.
Over 40 years has passed since I was repatriated.
The socialist motherland was enshrined in my heart as the benevolent bosom that defends and takes care of the destiny of all children of the nation.
I think lots of overseas Koreans can lead a proud life, while firmly preserving the national character and pride despite all kinds of obstructive moves of the enemy because they are convinced that the great motherland defends their destiny.
I want my disciples to sing proudly and highly of the grateful motherland. And I have nothing more to wish, if my efforts are helpful to their growth.”