Chon Wolson

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Chon Wolson (Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan, 1959–) is a soprano opera singer[1] in Japan and a Member of the Nikikai Opera Company. Despite being born in Tokyo, she is a second generation Korean.


In 1985, Chon Wolson sang the leading part in two operas - Poulenc's La voix humaine and Ravel's L'heure espagnole . She later went on to sing leading parts in The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), The Turn of the Screw (Britten), Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Madama Butterfly (Puccini), Salome (Richard Strauss), Carmen (Bizet), and La traviata (Verdi).

In 1985, she gave a solo vocal performance in Pyongyang, North Korea. In 1994, she performed the title role in Carmen (director: Flavio Trevisan) in the Seoul Opera House, South Korea.

She became the first singer in decades to sing songs in Japanese during an event commemorating the Tokyo-Seoul Sister City 10th Anniversary in the South Korean capital, where Japanese songs were prohibited.

In 2002, Japan and South Korea co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup Soccer Tournament and she appeared in such events as the "Japan-Korea Friendship Concert" (Suntory Hall, Tokyo); the Japan and Korea gala concert "Crossing the Sea" (Tokyo Opera City), Japan-South Korean joint opera Chun Hyangjeon, singing the national anthem before the match and at the welcome of South Korean President Kim Dae Jung organized by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Prime Minister's Official Residence.

In 2004, marking the 20th anniversary of her debut, a special 90 minute-long program titled "The diva who crossed the strait – 20 years of the Korean singer in Japan", featuring Wolson's career, was broadcast on the Japanese national broadcasting station NHK. "The diva who crossed the strait" won the 13th Shogakukan (Japan) non-fiction grand prize in 2006.

Wolson sings Love of Country, which is an appeal for peace between the North and South. Documentary programs created about these concerts were broadcast on the South Korean national TV KBS on “Sunday Special” as well as in Japan. In 1996, Wolson sang Love of Country on South Korea's New Year's Eve program, marking the first time the program featured a live performance. Later, she gave recitals in several South Korean cities.

Personal life[edit]

Chon's four brothers were participants in the 1959–1984 repatriation program sponsored by Chongryon in the late 1960s, and fell victim to purges of Zainichi Koreans by Kim Il-sung. Her second brother died in a concentration camp in 1970; the other three were released in 1978. The three surviving brothers met Chon during the 1985 Pyongyang performance, but as a result of the stress placed on them during the meeting, she refused further performances in the communist nation. After her mother died in 2005 she published a book in December 2006 titled "Kaikyo no Aria" ("Aria over the Strait)", her memoirs.[2]


  1. ^ Ryang, Sonia (2008-09-30). Writing Selves in Diaspora: Ethnography of Autobiographics of Korean Women in Japan and the United States. Lexington Books. pp. 71–. ISBN 9780739129029. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Matsubara, Hiroshi (2007-01-20), Japan's Korean Residents Caught in the Japan-North Korea Crossfire, retrieved 30 March 2017 

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