Listening in

The languages of the body in Kim Ch’ang-Saeng’s ‘Crimson Fruit’

Authored by: Catherine Ryu

Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138792296
eBook ISBN: 9781315762210
Adobe ISBN: 9781317647720


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The ethnic landscape of contemporary Japan has become increasingly variegated, with a growing number of diasporic communities. Koreans residing in Japan, commonly known as zainichi Koreans, have their historical origin rooted in the early twentieth century, when the Korean peninsula was under Japanese rule for thirty-five years (1910–1945). The body of literary works produced by zainichi Koreans thus spans over three generations and is now categorized as zainichi literature. It has become more of a norm than an exception to include zainichi literature in anthologies of modern Japanese literature, or handbooks about the topic. Together with the writings of other minority groups – Okinawans, Ainu (indigenous people of Japan historically inhabiting Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and the Kuril islands), and burakumin (also known as ‘the untouchable’ or ‘the outcast’), to name just a few – the very presence of zainichi Korean authors’ works in modern Japanese literature reflects a more accurate cultural hue than otherwise of multiethnic Japan (Lie 2004). Yet, set up as a separate category within Japanese national literature, zainichi Korean writings are usually physically relegated toward the end of an anthology and conceptually marginalized as a minority literature. 1

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