art to illustrate symposium on zainichi literature and culture

Symposium on Zainichi Literature and Culture

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Center for Korean Studies will present a symposium on Zainichi literature and culture on March 5 and 6, 2019, in the CKS auditorium. The symposium will run from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

The term “Zainichi” refers largely to Koreans who were involuntarily brought to Japan during the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea (1910–1945) for forced labor purposes. After World War II, some Koreans returned to their ancestral homeland, but many remained in Japan, where they have faced discrimination on all levels of society and have generally had a very low standard of living up to recent times. There are estimated to be 322,000 Zainichi Koreans in Japan today.

This two-day symposium will feature three Zainichi speakers: Dr. Kyung Hee Ha of Meiji University; Dr. Hyewon Song of Osaka University of Economics and Law; and poet Ri-bak Kim.

Kyung Hee Ha is an assistant professor in the Graduate School at Meiji University. She is currently working on a book project on Korean schools in Japan in the context of the U.S.-led war on terror. Her recent publications include “Cultural Politics of Transgressive Living: Socialism meets Neoliberalism in pro-North Korean Schools in Japan” in Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture (Vol. 24.2 [2018]: 189-205).

Hyewon Song is a visiting researcher from Osaka University of Economics and Law. Her research interests include Zainichi Korean literature/culture, gender studies, and comparative Korean diaspora studies. Her publications include Collection of the Zainichi Korean Literary Society 1945-60 (Ryokuin Shobō, 2018) and A Literary History of Zainichi Koreans: Revealing the Polyphony of Silent Voices (Iwanami Shoten, 2014).

Ri-bak Kim was born in Ch’angwŏn City, Kyŏngnam Province, South Korea, in 1942. After his father was drafted by force in 1944, he accompanied his mother to Osaka, Japan, and has remained there until today. Kim attended public schools and later entered the Department of Science at Korea University in Japan. He graduated with a degree in biochemistry in 1970.

Kim worked as a Korean language instructor for the Board of Education in the city of Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, from 1978 to 1992 and subsequently as a part-time instructor for Korean language at Osaka Kindai University, Osaka Kansai University, and Kyoto Ryukoku University. In 2006, the Republic of Korea Ministry of Culture and Tourism designated him “keeper” of the Korean language. Often cited for his service as a Korean language teacher, he won the Seoul Jipsin Literary Society award for his poetry in 2013.

Symposium Program

Kyunghee Ha will open the symposium Tuesday with a presentation titled “The Dilemma of Minority Politics in ‘Multicultual’ Japan.” Hyewon Song will follow with a talk titled “Bilingualism in Zainichi Korean Literature: An Alternative Literary History.”

Wednesday’s program will begin with a reading of poems by Ri-bak Kim and commentary on his compositions. It will conclude with a panel discussion featuring Kyunghee Ha and Hyewon Song.

This two-day symposium is free and open to all. For further information, including information regarding access for the handicapped, telephone the Center at (808) 956-7041. For information on parking on campus, consult the University Commuter Services Web site.

This symposium is supported by the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2015-OLU-2250005). The University of Hawai‘i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

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