Between the March First Movement and the Great Kanto Earthquake: Critique of Colonialized Representation of Koreans in Nakanishi Inosuke’s Novella Futei Senjin [The Unscrupulous Korean]

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S/N Korean Humanities Vol.6 No.2 pp.15-34 ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)

Hara Yusuke
Doshisha University

Received May 30, 2020; Revised version received July 14, 2020; Accepted August 30, 2020


In the one hundred years since the March First Movement, the relationship between Korea and Japan is at its nadir. Keeping this current state in mind, this article examines how the March First Movement was understood in Japanese literature in an attempt to shed light on the various historical meanings of the March First Movement. Nakanishi Inosuke, the author discussed in this article, is a rare Japanese writer who recognized the historical nature of the March First Movement as a fundamental protest against colonial rule. He worked as a journalist in P’yŏngyang in the early 1910s and suffered the hardships of prison life in the colonies, which was extremely rare for a Japanese. Based on such experiences, he published a series of writings depicting colonial Korea in the 1920s. This article concentrates on one of such writings, Futei Senjin [The Unscrupulous Korean], and examines the meaning of this provocative title. Originally, the term “Futei Senjin” began to be used by the Japanese colonial power, which defined Koreans who resisted Japanese colonial rule as evil terrorists. And the March First Movement precipitated the rapid expansion of the term, from Korea to the colonial center. In the early 1920s, this term was widely recognized in the colonial center, creating an extremely negative and dehumanized image of the Korean people. In this vein, the term “Futei Senjin” can be characterized as an amalgam of the frightening, repulsive images of colonial Korea held by the Japanese during this period. Such images eventually led to the indiscriminate massacre of Koreans by the Japanese people amidst the chaos following the Great Kantō Earthquake in September 1923. Between the March First Movement and Great Kantō Earthquake, Nakanishi warned of the dangers of these distorted images of Koreans shared by the Japanese in his anti-colonial novella Futei Senjin [The Unscrupulous Korean], a warning that has yet to lose its validity in the current Japanese society filled with anti-Korean discourse.

Key Words : Nakanishi Inosuke, Futei Senjin, colonialism, March First Movement, Great Kantō Earthquake

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