Editor's Introduction

“New Scholarship on Korea-Japan Relations”

Kim Sung-Min

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.6 No.2 pp.7-12

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Feature Articles

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]

Hara Yusuke

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.6 No.2 pp.15-34

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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.

Worst Time since the End of WWII? - Toward Societal Reconciliation Between Japan and Korea

Seiko Mimaki

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.6 No.2 pp.35-62

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This article sheds light on how active engagement of societal actors have added new dynamism to “comfort women” activism, which has brought de-territorialization of the issue with the spread of the “comfort women” statues beyond Korea, and transformed the issue from national tragedy to a universal human rights issue. Though “victimhood nationalism” is still strong in Korean society today, which prevents Korean people to come to terms with its dark history of victimizing the others, there has been an emerging trend toward transcending simple victimhood narratives related to the “comfort women.” In mutual visits of the victims between Korea and Vietnam commemorating seventy years of Korea’s liberation and fifty years of Korea’s sending soldiers to Vietnam, we can see that memories of victimhood do not necessarily lead to a perpetual cycle of hate and anger. Since 2019, Japan-Korea bilateral relations have deteriorated to the point called “the worst in the post-war period.” Still we can find many grassroots efforts to maintain people-to-people’s ties between the two countries, especially revived feminist networks pushed by the rise of the #MeToo movement amidst heightened diplomatic tension in the summer of 2019, which could pave the way for societal reconciliation.

“Habits of the Heart”: Japan’s Shintoism and ‘Lived Human Rights’

Mikyoung Kim

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.6 No.2 pp.63-92

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This paper interweaves Japan’s human rights attitudes toward North Korea with indigenous Shinto religion. Normative claims of universal rights protection demand demystification from a careful contextualization where the norms are confronted with ‘lived’ violations. This research analyzes the way in which abduction of Japanese citizens and Chosŏn school are intertwined against the backdrop of ethnocentric Shinto ethos. This analysis contests the rhetoric that all human beings are equal and born with inalienable rights irrespective of time and places. Shintoism, primary cultural fabric in Japan, justifies ethnic hierarchy and prioritization in responsibility to protect in the name of communal tradition. The rights violation of Chosŏn school and preoccupation with abduction of citizens demonstrate a useful contrast. This research concludes by calling for more studies on subtler manifestation of ‘lived human rights’ as a reflection of religious ethos.

Book Review

Paek, Nam-nyong. Friend: a Novel from North Korea. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020. 240 pages. ISBN: 9780231195614 (paperback).

Amanda Wright

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.6 No.2 pp.95-106

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An Interview with Paik Nak-chung

Interviewee: Paik Nak-chung

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.6 No.2 pp.107-129

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