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Into the Light

Into the Light: An Anthology of Literature by Koreans in Japan

Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    Into the Light
    Book Description:

    Into the Light is the first anthology to introduce the fiction of Japan’s Korean community (Zainichi Koreans) to the English-speaking world. The collection brings together works by many of the most important Zainichi Korean writers of the twentieth century, from the colonial-era "Into the Light" (1939) by Kim Sa-ryang to "Full House" (1997) by Yu Miri, one of contemporary Japan’s most acclaimed and popular authors. Although diverse in style and subject matter, all of the stories gathered in this volume ask a single consuming question: What does it mean to be Korean in Japan? Some stories record their contemporary milieu, while others focus on internal turmoil or document social and legal discrimination. More generally, they consider the relationship of Korean ethnicity to sexuality, family, culture, politics, and history. Thus the stories provide a fascinating window into the human experience of modernity in Japan and Korea, not only enabling us to track the ways in which grand concepts such as nation, language, empire, economy, and gender have shaped the human imagination, but also entreating us to ask how individual authors have sought to provide insight—or even guidance—on the path that grand history might follow. The volume includes stories by Chong Ch’u-wol, Kim Ch’ang-saeng, Kim Hak-yong, Kim Sa-ryang, Kim Tal-su, Noguchi Kakuchu, Yi Yang-ji, and Yu Miri.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6079-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Note on Translations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    In early twenty-first-century japan, Koreanness has again become trendy. Although what the Japanese call “Korea booms” have occurred a number of times in the past fifty years, these enthusiasms have been transient and have not much affected the lives of people of Korean descent in Japan. Whether the same will be true of the current interest remains to be seen. During the twentieth century, however, when the stories in this volume first appeared, Koreans in Japan, commonly known in English as Resident or Zainichi Koreans, were more often objects of discrimination or ridicule than of envy or fascination.

    During the...

  5. Into the Light (1939)
    (pp. 13-38)

    My story begins with a very strange boy named Yamada Haruo. Haruo always kept to himself, watching the other kids from a safe distance. Although he was picked on constantly, he himself would taunt the girls and the younger boys behind their backs. Or whenever someone fell down, he was quick to laugh, as though he’d been waiting for something like that to happen. He neither gave love nor received it. He looked a bit creepy: not much hair, big ears, and pale eyes. And he was dirtier in appearance than any other child in the neighborhood. Autumn was already...

  6. In the Shadow of Mount Fuji (1951)
    (pp. 39-65)

    The road out of town was flanked by barley fields.

    It was the beginning of February and the green shoots of the barley were just beginning to show above the black earth. To our left, in the distance, Mount Fuji towered sharply, crowned with white clouds. As we walked, Fuji wavered up and down.

    Iwamura Ichitarō was an absolutely indefatigable talker. The previous evening he had talked the whole night through by himself, and today again, as soon as we had left the house he had captured new acquaintances Yun Chae-hak and Yi Kyŏng-kuk and had begun relating his life...

  7. Foreign Husband (1958)
    (pp. 66-91)

    I didn’t think of myself as a foreign husband. I spent so much time trying to assimilate into my wife’s country that I thought all my struggles would finally come to an end when I was permitted to become a citizen. Deep inside, something still nagged at me, but that feeling was so faint that I convinced myself that I wouldn’t even notice it if no one made mention first.

    In a mixed marriage, one person usually assimilates into the other culture. It is rare for two sides to meet half way and adapt equally in practice. Typically, it is...

  8. Frozen Mouth (1966)
    (pp. 92-111)

    And moses said unto the lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. (Exodus 4:10)

    A freezing wind was blowing in from the north. With my chin thrust forward, I squinted my eyes, hunched my shoulders, and walked into the wind. Barren trees stood here and there in an unruly formation in the vast lonesome wasteland where I walked. A grey dusk was gathering. As twilight approached, only the silhouette of a distant mountain ridge was visible against the...

  9. The Korean Women I Love (1974)
    (pp. 112-127)

    Our half-lives as woman: comprehensible only when they have been filtered through the lens of humanity. Or maybe our whole lives. Except those of us who are Korean women.

    These women are me, and when I say I love us in my title, I am laughing at myself for boldness, my lack of hesitation at expressing these feelings of self-adoration; yet at the same time it does not make me blush with shame.

    My certainty about saying I am Korean women and they are me can only be because I have borne a child, raised a child.

    Of course, even...

  10. Testament (1984)
    (pp. 128-128)
  11. Name: For Pak Ch’u-ja (1984)
    (pp. 129-131)
  12. Koku (1984)
    (pp. 132-141)

    My makeup is done.

    I draw back from the mirror and stare fixedly at my face, all made up.

    The foundation is even and glowing on my skin, the lips red and shiny. The pair of eyelids, painted with three shades of eye shadow, from light to dark, blink heavily, as if to fix control the gaze of the woman looking at herself.

    I am silent.

    I pull out a cigarette and light it. Smoke escapes from my lips and then it blows out toward me, the woman who put on the makeup, the made-up woman.

    All the while, the...

  13. Crimson Fruit (1988)
    (pp. 142-171)

    On-nyo noticed the daylight fading in the tiny garden beyond the single-paned glass door, and she hurriedly prepared to go home. She wanted to refill the hot water in the sink and clear all the dishes before changing shifts with “Mama.” But Noriko still was not back from her rounds of gathering up the delivery dishes. It always happened like this. Whenever it was time for On-nyo to leave, Noriko would rise at the very last minute possible, as if it had just dawned on her to start the rounds, though she did them every day.

    “Boy, it’s cold.”


  14. Full House (1997)
    (pp. 172-220)

    The door opened with a groan.

    “Come on now, come in,” we heard, as our father’s sly smile flashed at us from the darkness of the house.

    There was a shoe cabinet behind him, I could see, on top of it, two Ainu woodcarvings, one, nearly three feet tall, of a man, and another of a bear clenching a salmon in its teeth. A brand new bamboo sword was propped up between the cabinet and the wall.

    Yoko, my younger sister, and I went in. The smell of paint hung heavily in the air—probably no one had opened the...

  15. Additional Readings on Zainichi Korean Literature
    (pp. 221-224)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 225-230)