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 murphya1@uchicago.edu.

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)

Friday, February 20, 12:30-2:30PM in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)
Chun-yen Chen (Associate Professor of English, National Taiwan Normal University)
“(Re-)Mediating Word in the Age of Image”

This Friday, February 20, at 12:30 PM please join the Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop to discuss a paper by Chun-yen Chen, Associate Professor of English at National Taiwan Normal University. Professor Chen’s paper engages with conversations about the concept of mediation in current media theory and image studies by looking at the multimedia Glass Poetry initiative of an independent bookstore in a northern Taiwanese town; for further information, see this page or visit the rest of the 有河book website.

A draft of the paper is available via this link. Please do not circulate or cite this paper without the author’s permission, and please note the special time of this presentation. Light refreshments will be served at the workshop. We look forward to seeing you on Friday!