Session Abstract: After 1945, the American occupation of both Japan and South Korea converged with Cold War exigencies and narratives of national victimhood to re-align imperial territory into strict national boundaries between post-imperial Japan and postcolonial Korea. However, memories of border crossings during the Japanese colonial period - by both imperial and colonial populations - have animated and re-animated Japan’s imperial past up to the present day. This panel will discuss how memories of Japanese imperialism in Korea engender a diverse array of post-imperial and postcolonial cultural productions that refuse to be confined to binarized frameworks of Japan and South Korea as oppositional sides in colonial memory.
Deokhyo Choi examines how Japanese repatriate writers from Korea drew on colonial settler memory to imagine imperial demise in early postwar Japan. Christina Yi looks at how Japanese repatriation narratives circulate in postwar East Asia as to amplify - or silence - various gendered voices of empire. Melissa Karp examines the figure of the Korean imperial collaborator as a ghostly, unsettled presence after imperial occupation. Adhy Kim compares Zainichi Korean and Korean American literary accounts of Zainichi life under Japanese-U.S. imperialism. Together, these papers illustrate how literature and film may serve as stubborn reminders of Japanese-Korean colonial relations despite postwar disavowal, while also creatively appraising what memories of empire might mean beyond the aims of ethno-nationalism.
Paper Presenter: Deokhyo Choi – University of Sheffield
Paper Presenter: Christina Yi – University of British Columbia
Paper Presenter: Melissa Karp – Duke University
Paper Presenter: Adhy Kim – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill