P6. Topics in Korean Studies

Session: Session 1, 12:00 – 1:30 pm, Friday 9/29

Category: Individual Paper

Location: Innovation

Chair: Yidan Xiong (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Paper Presenters: Joseph Owiti, Fumitoshi Yoshizawa, Xiaoyang Yue


The Role of Cold War Rivalry in South Korea and North Korea’s Engagement with Africa

Speaker: Joseph Owiti
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: The Academy of Korean Studies
Abstract: Both North and South Korea launched relations with African states around the 1960s (Iwata, Takuo, 2012). Whereas literature abounds on the history of North and South Korea’s relations with Africa, the irregular manner in which those relations were established is less researched. Additionally, Communist North Korea’s significant Cold War-era economic and military ties with states in Africa is seldom discussed. So, other than resources, what factors drove the begrudgingly divided Koreas to Africa? What was the impact of these engagements, and how are they relevant in today’s relations? This research reviews books, journals and other sources to investigate how Cold War-related competitions between North and South Korea prompted their need for strategic friendship. Predictably, ideological and political differences took center stage. North Korea targeted African states that were sympathetic to its Socialist agenda, while South Korea made friends with African nations aligned with the USA or the West. The 1960s was also an opportune era because newly independent states, many of them in Africa, had shaped the UN membership landscape significantly. Both Koreas would need those numbers to join the UN. Not to mention that each of the Koreas sought more friends to recognize its side as the authentic Korea. Today, South Korea has diplomatic ties with virtually all African states and currently seeks to increase its official development assistance to the continent. North Korea, which has relations with only a few countries in Africa, struggles with its quest to win more diplomatic missions there, and has not given up.

Historical Analysis of a Diary – What Makes Him a Japanese Activist for Friendship with Korea, 1932-1968

Speaker: Fumitoshi Yoshizawa
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: Niigata University of International and Information Studies
Abstract: Postwar Japanese movement for friendship with Korea, such as anti-diplomatic normalization between Japan and Republic of Korea (ROK), has been discussed as peace movement for anti-American imperialism or mobilization to people diplomacy for Japan by People Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK). However, research failed to explain internal factors or mentality of activists who was engaged in this movement. This presentation focuses on the life of an activist, Kensuke Kimoto (1932-2005), who was born in colonial Korea and moved to Japan after WWII. He was engaged in the movement from 1959 to 1969. This paper examines more than 30 of his diaries that he started to write at fourteen. His diaries show he has considered Korea as not the theme of his life but just a birthplace despite affirming anti-Korean War movement until mid-1950s. The paper illustrates the process to get his concern with Korea has been complicated highlighting description of his life, thought, and his boyhood memories in colonial Korea. The paper emphasizes the importance of critical experience which integrates memories and experiences which are fragmented. It was a turning point for him to meet a Korean who learned his motherland language and got to work for Korean nations and people when Korean Homecoming Project was launched in 1959. Even after leaving from the movement in 1969, he continued to think Korean affairs in his diaries. Implications of these findings encourage to understand postwar Japanese movement in the light of internal aspects or Japanese historical responsibility for colonialism.

Goodbye and Hello: Translocal Zainichi Identity in Matsue Tetsuaki’s Personal Documentary Annyong Kimchi

Speaker: Xiaoyang Yue
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: University of California, Irvine
Abstract: This paper examines the personal documentary film Annyong Kimchi (1999) by third-generation Zainichi Korean filmmaker Matsue Tetsuaki. I read this film through Ma Ran’s framework of translocality from her book Independent Filmmaking across Borders in Contemporary Asia (2020), in which “disparate strands of Korean diaspora filmmaking” are threaded together “across multiple locales, not in terms of any homogenized identification with a homeland but exactly through envisioning how the formation of diasporic identities has been a painful, contingent process of fragmentation, friction, and differentiation” (95). I explore how Matsue (who refers to himself as Korean-Japanese) embraces his own multi-layered identity and uses the personal documentary genre to pluralize conceptions of the “Zainichi” community. The majority of Annyong Kimchi is constituted by conversations between Matsue and his relatives, both in Japan and in Korea. Moving between nation states and languages, the film asks us to question what it means to be “local.” This paper explores how personal documentary—a genre of Japanese documentary filmmaking that explores the relationship between the director and his/her social environment—generates a flexible link between location and ethnic minority identity that fits into the translocal framework. Following Ma, I argue that the translocal link generated by the first-generation Zainichi Korean is a trigger that allows descendants to shape themselves into translocal subjects, and translocal subjects interact with each other to build a community of senses. Using personal documentary as a methodology, Zainichi filmmaker Tetsuaki extends this community to a wider range of audiences and makes his minority voices heard.