Intimate Networks: The Jeju-Hanshin Passage

Apr 18, 2018, 4:30 pm4:30 pm
202 Jones



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The history and cultural production of Japan’s zainichi Korean community are typically understood within frameworks of state and nation. While we cannot ignore the power of state institutions and national sensibilities, however, neither can we ignore the local spaces and practices that constitute everyday life, and the relationship between this local order and those of state and nation. That relationship demands particular attention when the localities in question have long signified resistance to state control. The island of Jeju and the Osaka-Kobe (Hanshin) metropolitan area hold special significance for zainichi Koreans. Osaka has been home to Japan’s largest zainichi community since the colonial era, and a disproportionate number within that community trace their origins to Jeju. In his late works, Oda Makoto (1932 – 2007), one of Japan’s most politically engaged postwar authors, detailed the local character of migration between Jeju and Hanshin. In his 1997 story “Stomping on Aboji,” the narrator recounts the life of his father-in-law, who migrated from Jeju to Osaka in the nineteen-thirties, and his own trip to the island after “aboji’s” death. This paper analyzes how Oda’s description of migration and return links intimacy to locality and positions them vis-à-vis the ethnic nation-state and its “irrational” politics.

A lecture by Michael Cronin, author of Osaka Modern: The City in the Japanese Imaginary

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