Marianne Tarcov

 Marianne Tarcov, “Poets as Benshi: Navigating and Subverting Censorship in Wartime Japanese Poetry and Mass Media”

Thursday, October 27, 12:00 – 1:30 in Wieboldt 301N

This Thursday, we are pleased to host a mock job talk by Marianne Tarcov (Visiting Lecturer, EALC, University of Chicago). She summarizes her talk as follows:

This talk discusses several Japanese 1930s lyric poets’ use of formal motifs drawn from mass media in their works of propagandistic nationalism during the Pacific War, and argues that these writers endued their works of nationalistic poetry with oblique criticism of wartime censorship. Their strategies include reinventions of techniques to evade the censors once employed by silent film narrators, or benshi. In oral performances for recordings and radio, the writers discussed here broadcast their ambivalence towards their place as nationalized poets enlisted in a militaristic enterprise.

Please note the special time and location of this event. This is a lunchtime talk, and pizza and refreshments will be served. We hope to see you there!

Mi-Ryong Shim


Friday, October 21, 3-5 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)

Mi-Ryong Shim, “Aesthetics of New Regionalism and Korean Local Color in the Wartime Japanese Empire”

Discussant: Hyun Hee Park (EALC)

Please join us this Friday to welcome Mi-Ryong Shim, Assistant Professor of Korean Literature and Culture in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at Northwestern University. Professor Shim will present a chapter-in-progress from her current manuscript project. She summarizes the chapter as follows:

The years that followed the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War have long been remembered in Korean national history as the period of imperialization (Korean: hwangminhwa, Japanese: kōminka), a wartime campaign that targeted the transformation of the colonized population into loyal subjects of the Japanese empire. It included infamous policies, such as the push for “Japanization” of Korean names and the promotion of Japanese language as the “national language” for Koreans. These measures have long been remembered as the colonial authorities’ attempts to fundamentally eliminate Korean cultural identity. However, when looking at the journals and newspapers published in colonial Korea in the 1940s, one finds that the topic of “Korean literature” (J: Chōsen bungaku) and “Korean culture” (J: Chōsen bunka) continued to be hotly debated well into the wartime years, even as venues for Korean language publication and instruction were being systematically shut down at this time.


In this paper, I examine the debates about Korean cultural identity from the late colonial period to argue for an understanding of “Koreanness” as a contested site where contradictory frameworks within the wartime Japanese imperial discourse – namely assimilationism and Pan-Asian regionalism – competed and intersected. In relation to this broader context, I analyze two of the Japanese-language local color fiction written in the early 1940s by Yi Hyo-sŏk, one of the most celebrated writers of nativist aesthetics in the Korean literary canon. Through close reading, I shed light on how the aesthetics of regionalism and local color constructed the imperial subject by continually redrawing the boundary between the foreign and the native. I also demonstrate how these texts, even as they were part of the wartime imperial discourse, articulated moments of disruption and rupture by pointing to spaces of irony and ambivalence from within.

A draft of Professor Shim’s chapter is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact Alex Murphy at

Friday 10/7: A Conversation with Ryo Kagawa

October 7, 3:00-4:00 PM
CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St.)

Join us this Friday, October 7 for an informal conversation with visiting Japanese singer-songwriter Ryo Kagawa. Debuting in 1970 in the midst of Japan’s folk music boom, Kagawa has released more than a dozen albums over a forty-six-year career, and continues to tour extensively in Japan, where he plays around 100 shows annually. A highly eclectic musician and accomplished lyricist, Kagawa strenuously resists the label of ‘folk singer,’ despite his clear association with that genre and its moment. What is music for Ryo Kagawa? What is important to him in performance and in composition? How has music in Japan changed between 1970 and today? We invite you to come and meet Ryo Kagawa, and to engage him in conversation on these topics and more.

More on Kagawa From the Asahi Shinbun (Japanese)

Fall 2016 Schedule

All meetings will be held in Room 319 in the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS 319).

CEAS is located in the Harris School of Public Policy, 1155 E. 60th St.

9/30 Orientation and Planning Meeting

3:00 – 4:00 PM

10/7 A Conversation with Ryo Kagawa

3:00 – 4:00 PM

10/21 Presenter: Mi-Ryong Shim

Assistant Professor of Korean Literature and Culture, Northwestern University

Title: Aesthetics of New Regionalism and Korean Local Color in the Wartime Japanese Empire

3:00 – 5:00 PM

11/11 Presenter: David Andrew Knight

University of Chicago, co-sponsored with EATRH

Title: “Li Deyu and the Golden Pine”

4:00 – 6:00 PM

11/18 Presenter: Yuqian Yan

Cinema and Media Studies/East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Title: “Bringing the Past to the Silver Screen: The Burgeoning of Chinese Costume Films in the 1920s”

3:00 – 5:00 PM

12/1 Presenter: Scott Aalgaard

East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Title: “Untimely Voices: Hearing Critique in Japanese Cultural Production”

3:00 – 5:00 PM