Koreans constituted the largest colonial labor force in imperial Japan during the 1920s and 1930s. Caught between the Scylla of agricultural destitution in Korea and the Charybdis of industrial depression in Japan, migrant Korean peasants arrived on Japanese soil amid extreme instability in the labor and housing markets. In The Proletarian Gamble, Ken C. Kawashima maintains that contingent labor is a defining characteristic of capitalist commodity economies. He scrutinizes how the labor power of Korean workers in Japan was commodified, and how these workers both fought against the racist and contingent conditions of exchange and combated institutionalized racism. Kawashima draws on previously unseen archival materials from interwar Japan as he describes how Korean migrants struggled against various recruitment practices, unfair and discriminatory wages, sudden firings, racist housing practices, and excessive bureaucratic red tape. Demonstrating that there was no single Korean “minority,” he reveals how Koreans exploited fellow Koreans and how the stratification of their communities worked to the advantage of state and capital. However, Kawashima also describes how, when migrant workers did organize—as when they became involved in Rōsō (the largest Korean communist labor union in Japan) and in Zenkyō (the Japanese communist labor union)—their diverse struggles were united toward a common goal. In The Proletarian Gamble, his analysis of the Korean migrant workers' experiences opens into a much broader rethinking of the fundamental nature of capitalist commodity economies and the analytical categories of the proletariat, surplus populations, commodification, and state power.
Recasting Red Culture turns a critical eye on the influential proletarian cultural movement that flourished in 1920s and 1930s Japan. This was a diverse, cosmopolitan, and highly contested moment in Japanese history when notions of political egalitarianism were being translated into cultural practices specific to the Japanese experience. Both a political and historiographical intervention, the book offers a fascinating account of the passions—and antinomies—that animated one of the most admirable intellectual and cultural movements of Japan’s twentieth century, and argues that proletarian literature, cultural workers, and institutions fundamentally enrich our understanding of Japanese culture. What sustained the proletarian movement’s faith in the idea that art and literature were indispensable to the task of revolution? How did the movement manage to enlist artists, teachers, and scientist into its ranks, and what sorts of contradictions arose in the merging of working-class and bourgeois cultures? Recasting Red Culture asks these and other questions as it historicizes proletarian Japan at the intersection of bourgeois aesthetics, radical politics, and a flourishing modern print culture. Drawing parallels with the experiences of European revolutionaries, the book vividly details how cultural activists “recast” forms of modern culture into practices commensurate with the goals of revolution. Weaving over a dozen translated fairytales, poems, and short stories into his narrative, Samuel Perry offers a fundamentally new approach to studying revolutionary culture. By examining the margins of the proletarian cultural movement, Perry effectively redefines its center as he closely reads and historicizes proletarian children’s culture, avant-garde “wall fiction,” and a literature that bears witness to Japan’s fraught relationship with its Korean colony. Along the way, he shows how proletarian culture opened up new critical spaces in the intersections of class, popular culture, childhood, gender, and ethnicity.
In the 1930s and ’40s, Japanese rulers in Manchukuo enlisted writers and artists to promote imperial Japan’s modernization program. Ironically, the cultural producers chosen to spread the imperialist message were previously left-wing politically. In Glorify the Empire, Annika A. Culver explores how these once anti-imperialist intellectuals produced avant-garde works celebrating the modernity of a fascist state and reflecting a complicated picture of complicity with, and ambivalence toward, Japan’s utopian project. A groundbreaking work, Glorify the Empire magnifies the intersection between politics and art in a rarely examined period of Japanese history.
A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more. Placing Empire examines the spatial politics of Japanese imperialism through a study of Japanese travel and tourism to Korea, Manchuria, and Taiwan between the late nineteenth century and the early 1950s. In a departure from standard histories of Japan, this book shows how debates over the role of colonized lands reshaped the social and spatial imaginary of the modern Japanese nation and how, in turn, this sociospatial imaginary affected the ways in which colonial difference was conceptualized and enacted. The book thus illuminates how ideas of place became central to the production of new forms of colonial hierarchy as empires around the globe transitioned from an era of territorial acquisition to one of territorial maintenance.
This book examines the development of national emblems, photographic portraiture, oil painting, world expositions, modern spaces for art exhibitions, university programs of visual arts, and other agencies of modern art in Korea. With few books on modern art in Korea available in English, this book is an authoritative volume on the topic and provides a comparative perspective on Asian modernism including Japan, China, and India. In turn, these essays also shed a light on Asian reception of and response to the Orientalism and exoticism popular in Europe and North America in the early twentieth century. The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, the history of Asia, Asian studies, colonialism, nationalism, and cultural identity.
Fiction created by and for the working class emerged worldwide in the early twentieth century as a response to rapid modernization, dramatic inequality, and imperial expansion. In Japan, literary youth, men and women, sought to turn their imaginations and craft to tackling the ensuing injustices, with results that captured both middle-class and worker-farmer readers. This anthology is a landmark introduction to Japanese proletarian literature from that period. Contextualized by introductory essays, forty expertly translated stories touch on topics like perilous factories, predatory bosses, ethnic discrimination, and the myriad indignities of poverty. Together, they show how even intensely personal issues form a pattern of oppression. Fostering labor consciousness as part of an international leftist arts movement, these writers, lovers of literature, were also challenging the institution of modern literature itself. This anthology demonstrates the vitality of the “red decade” long buried in modern Japanese literary history.
Why and how did Korean religious groups respond to growing rural poverty, social dislocation, and the corrosion of culture caused by forces of modernization under strict Japanese colonial rule (1910–1945)? Questions about religion's relationship and response to capitalism, industrialization, urbanization, and secularization lie at the heart of understanding the intersection between colonialism, religion, and modernity in Korea. Yet, getting answers to these questions has been a challenge because of narrow historical investigations that fail to study religious processes in relation to political, economic, social, and cultural developments. In Building a Heaven on Earth, Albert L. Park studies the progressive drives by religious groups to contest standard conceptions of modernity and forge a heavenly kingdom on the Korean peninsula to relieve people from fierce ruptures in their everyday lives. The results of his study will reconfigure the debates on colonial modernity, the origins of faith-based social activism in Korea, and the role of religion in a modern world. Building a Heaven on Earth, in particular, presents a compelling story about the determination of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), the Presbyterian Church, and the Ch'ŏndogyo to carry out large-scale rural movements to form a paradise on earth anchored in religion, agriculture, and a pastoral life. It is a transnational story of leaders from these three groups leaning on ideas and systems from countries, such as Denmark, France, Japan, and the United States, to help them reform political, economic, social, and cultural structures in colonial Korea. This book shows that these religious institutions provided discursive and material frameworks that allowed for an alternative form of modernity that featured new forms of agency, social organization, and the nation. In so doing, Building a Heaven on Earth repositions our understandings of modern Korean history.
From 1931 to 1945, Chinese citizens were subjugated to Japanese imperialism. Despite the enduring historical importance of the occupation, Translating the Occupation is the first English-language volume to provide such a diverse selection of important primary sources from this period. Contributors have translated Chinese, Japanese, and Korean texts on a wide range of subjects, focusing on writers who have long been considered problematic or outright traitorous. This volume offers a practical, accessible sourcebook from which to challenge standard narratives. It deepens our understanding of the myriad tensions and transformations at work in Chinese wartime society.
Coffee from East Africa, wine from California, chocolate from the Ivory Coast - all those every day products are based on labour, often produced under appalling conditions, but always involving the combination of various work processes we are often not aware of. What is the day-to-day reality for workers in various parts of the world, and how was it in the past? How do they work today, and how did they work in the past? These and many other questions comprise the field of the global history of work – a young discipline that is introduced with this handbook. In 8 thematic chapters, this book discusses these aspects of work in a global and long term perspective, paying attention to several kinds of work. Convict labour, slave and wage labour, labour migration, and workers of the textile industry, but also workers' organisation, strikes, and motivations for work are part of this first handbook of global labour history, written by the most renowned scholars of the profession.
In the early twentieth century, Japan was awash with typographic text and mass-produced print. Over the short span of a few decades, affordable books and magazines became a part of everyday life, and a new generation of writers and thinkers considered how their world could be reconstructed through the circulation of printed language as a mass-market commodity. The Typographic Imagination explores how this commercial print revolution transformed Japan’s media ecology and traces the possibilities and pitfalls of type as a force for radical social change. Nathan Shockey examines the emergence of new forms of reading, writing, and thinking in Japan from the last years of the nineteenth century through the first decades of the twentieth. Charting the relationships among prose, politics, and print capitalism, he considers the meanings and functions of print as a staple commodity and as a ubiquitous and material medium for discourse and thought. Drawing on extensive archival research, The Typographic Imagination brings into conversation a wide array of materials, including bookseller trade circulars, language reform debates, works of experimental fiction, photo gazetteers, socialist periodicals, Esperanto primers, declassified censorship documents, and printing press strike bulletins. Combining the rigorous close analysis of Japanese literary studies with transdisciplinary methodologies from media studies, book history, and intellectual history, The Typographic Imagination presents a multivalent vision of the rise of mass print media and the transformations of modern Japanese literature, language, and culture.
As millions of women and girls left country towns to generate Korea’s manufacturing boom, the factory girl emerged as an archetypal figure in twentieth-century popular culture. This book explores the factory girl in Korean literature from the 1920s to the 1990s, showing the complex ways in which she has embodied the sexual and class violence of industrial life.