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ASIAN STUDIES CONFERENCE JAPAN

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Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181





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1999 June 26 conference

Room 201

6.Searching for Korean Identity Under Japanese Rule: Colonial and Postcolonial Considerations

Chair: Mark E. Caprio, Rikkyo University


This panel is centered on themes related to Korean identity formation in both the pre-World War II setting of the Japan-controlled Korean peninsula, and the postwar setting of Korean residents in Japan.It will consider this topic from historical, sociological, and political perspectives. Throughout most of this century a significant number of the Korean diasporic population have been living under the authority of various Japanese governments.In both the colonial and the postcolonial settings, these people have struggled to maintain their Korean ethnicity amidst political and societal pressure to assimilate.It is the Korean resistance to the Japanese assimilative advances that the papers in this panel seek to address.Erin Chung's paper addresses the problem of citizenship among Korean residents in Japan today.Why is it that many choose not to accept Japanese citizenship and retain their Korean identity, even though their socio-political identity is closer to that of their country of domicile? Chung's paper will examine the politics of citizenship from both the Japanese government and the Korean resident's perspective. Young Mi Lim examines the construction of Koreanness within a Japan-centered environment from a historical perspective.Her paper will demonstrate alterations in the aspirations of Korean intellectuals to pass Koreanness on to the next generation. Mark Caprio's paper examines the use of the media as a means of identity expression in a colonial setting.Here he uses the Korean newspaper, the Dong-A ilbo, to demonstrate one means used by the Korean people to create and preserve their Korean identity, while the Japanese administration used it as a vehicle of control and suppression.

1) Erin A. Chung, Saitama University. "Citizenship, Nationality, and Ethnicity in Japan's Korean Community: Toward a New Theory of National Identity"

This paper will analyze the mutually constitutive relationship between postwar Japanese citizenship policies and Korean community voluntary associations.In particular, I will discuss the institutional factors that have mediated the construction of the Korean ethnic minority group through the lens of Korean community voluntary associations and, in turn, the role that these organizations have played in transforming discourse on national and local citizenship for foreign residents in Japan.Both as Japan's large st foreign community and as one of its most persistent colonial legacies, the case of the Korean ethnic minority in Japan poses a number of puzzles regarding the intersection of citizenship, nationhood, and ethnic identities.Why do many Korean residents choose to maintain their Korean nationalities when their socio-cultural identity is associated primarily with Japan?How have transformations in state-generated policies regarding Korean community members affected their conceptions of their rights, obligations, and civic identities? What role do Korean residents, as members of a long-term foreign community, play in the organization of Japanese civil society?How does the exercise of citizenship by minority groups of a host country affect the state?I will explore these questions by focusing on 1) the politics of granting citizenship to Koreans within the Japanese national community; 2) the politics of attaining Japanese citizenship within the Korean community; 3) the impact of citizenship policies on collective Korean identity formation; and 4) the impact of minoritized identities on the material and discursive constitution of Japanese citizenship itself.

2)Young Mi Lim, City University of New York."The Crisis of Resident Korean Intellectuals: the Social Construction ofKoreanness by Koreans in Japan"

This paper examines how ideal Korean-ness has been imagined and re-constructed during the post-war period among the resident Korean intellectuals and activists.I will focus on the transformations of Korean-ness within Japanese social and language contexts during the past three decades (the 1960s through the 1990s).There, the conventional notion of Korean-ness has been deduced from the Korean blood and lineage, and the essential Korean-ness, consisted of distinct language, history, and culture, has been constructed. Throughout this process of re-constructing the "authentic" Korean-ness to resist Japanese cultural and institutional hegemony, the advocates of Korean ethnic education continue emphasizing the significance of the systematic learning of their "authentic" language, history, and culture, all of which potentially strengthen the symbolic and essential connection with the Korean peninsula.The very same intellectuals have adjusted their discourses on the very same issue of education and language to have a more realistic vision to reflect their solidified permanent presence in Japan and accelerating Japanization of their younger generations.Even within a more recent pluralistic activism of which agenda is to pursue the common good with the Japanese, they had to re-construct their unique heritage drawn from their Korean lineage. By tracing historical changes in their educational beliefs, I will analyze the ways in which different types of intellectuals share similar strategies in re-configuring the racialized and marginalized Korean-ness, while reflecting their own double consciousness, i.e. being Korean, living in Japan, and thinking, reading, and writing in Japanese.

3) Mark E. Caprio, Rikkyo University."The Media as a Means for Empowerment and Suppression: Korean Identity and the Dong-A ilbo"

Among the concessions made to the Korean people following the March First (1919) Independence Movement was their right to publish their own newspapers in their vernacular.Although heavily restricted through censorship, the newspapers founded after 1920 provided the Korean people with a vehicle for promoting Korean identity among its readers.Through this vehicle Korean journalists scrutinized Korean traditional culture, promoted women's rights, and informed their readers of other non-Korean independence movements throughout the world, including those in Ireland and India. Journalists also created Korean heroes, as well as Japanese villains, within the pages of these newspapers.For the Japanese, allowing the Korean people this means of expression served the imperial power in two ways.First, it helped to counter the wave of criticism Japan received following its brutal handling of the Korean independence movement.Second, it provided the Japanese with a window through which to view the Korean people, one that they later used to suppress a potentially damaging second independence movement following the death of the last Korean king, Sunjong, in 1926. This paper will first examine how the newspaper can act as a medium for both the creation and the preservation of a national identity. Here the Dong-A ilbo (East Asian daily) will be examined as a (Korean) vernacular newspaper with the ambition of preserving Korean-ness under Japanese occupation.It will then demonstrate the counter-side of this freedom of expression, that of its use by the Japanese authorities as a means for information gathering and eventual suppression of expression.

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