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Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Khoan Vu Khac
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Vu Khac Khoan was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 19, 1917. His father was a literary scholar and his mother a devout Buddhist. Khoan was the fifth of seven children, most of whom are still living in North Vietnam. As a child he studied Chinese classics with his father, and later he was educated in French in elementary and secondary schools. In 1940 he enrolled in Hanoi University, first in medical school and later in the school of forestry, where he earned a bachelor of science degree. Next he enrolled in law school, but he quit to concentrate on writing, acting, and producing plays with a group of students around the university. In 1946 he joined the anti-French resistance movement along with many other students. After the division of Vietnam in 1954, he fled to South Vietnam with his wife and two children. There he was employed as an editor in the Information Ministry for a time, but he quit when he realized that President Diem was a dictator. In about 1955 he formed a group of writers and published a magazine, the title of which may be translated as Point of View. It was banned by the South Vietnamese government after a few months of publication. The group continued to publish many books, however, and another magazine, Propaganda. Khoan was also associated with the Third Force, a peace group which favored seeking an alternative governing force that was neither communist nor capitalist. After 1963 this group included many Buddhists. Khoan was professor of drama in several Vietnamese universities and professor of drama and literature at Dalat University in the highlands. His play "The Last Three Days of Genghis Khan" was produced by students at the latter university and quickly became well-known, but it was banned in 1962 by President Diem, who saw it as a political satire. With the collapse of the South Vietnamese government in April of 1975, Khoan and his family left Saigon on one of the last two airplanes evacuating government officials and other personnel from Vietnam. Four months later they arrived in the Twin Cities under the sponsorship of the Hope Church of Richfield, and the family now lives in Bloomington. In Minnesota Khoan has been a leader in the organization of the Vietnamese Buddhist Association of Minnesota and the Vietnamese Cultural Association of Minnesota. In December of 1977 the latter group sponsored a week-long conference, "To Save and Maintain Our Culture," at the International Institute of Minnesota. The highlight of the conference was the production of one of Khoan's plays, "The Misunderstanding". A year earlier, in 1976, Khoan's play "The Last Three Days of Genghis Khan" was produced in Minneapolis by the Theatre in the Round Players. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Khoan discusses the long history of Vietnam's struggle for independence and peace; the role of Buddhists in the struggle; and the participation of students. He also describes his impressions of Minnesota and provides information on the early Vietnamese community in the state, including the development of Vietnamese religious and cultural organizations. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: This long interview, in three parts, contains the insights of an outstanding Vietnamese writer and cultural leader in the Minnesota Vietnamese community. It is particularly valuable because it includes material on the history of the Vietnamese people both in their homeland and their new settlement.
4.5 hours sound cassette
160 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
03:57:00 running time
Interviewee: Vu Khac, Khoan
Interviewer: Mason, Sarah R.
Made in: Bloomington, Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States
Asian Americans -- Minnesota
Vietnamese Americans -- Minnesota.
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 51 (Library Call Number)
AV1981.361.17 (Accession Number)
MNHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project'
Audio transcript, Part 1
Audio transcript, Part 2
Audio transcript, Part 3