I think the theme of this book is sacrifice. There are two main characters in this story, and they have both sacrificed many things for their family.
SunHee was a teenage girl, living in mainland japan during the early 1900s. In this novel, she lives with her Korean family; her father, her mother, her brother (Tae-yul)and her uncle. Her country has been occupied by the Japanese for a long time. During the occupation, all the Koreans which includes her family is discriminated against by the Japanese citizens. Throughout her teenage years, SunHee had sacrificed many things that she had valued, at the same time, she lost her family, and her friends.
Tae-Yul, her older brother, was struggling to deal with the japanese soldiers, he had much more responsibilities in their family compared to Sun Hee, only because he was a boy. He was older, he understood many things, he understood what he had to give up to save his family. Tae-Yul and his uncle decided to serve in the Japanese army to give their family better conditions;”But if I join the army, things will be much better for you. Families of volunteer receive rice rations and other considerations. Look at Sun-Hee’s clothes.”(115,Park) Even though they are serving in the Japanese army, they act like spies inside of the army, they are not loyal to the Japanese, they try in many ways to disrupt the order of the Japanese army.