Zainichi Communists, Revolutionary Local Color, and the Antinomies of Colonial Representation
This chapter performs close readings of several works of Japanese proletarian literature produced at a time when Koreans made up at least a third if not more of the Japanese Communist Party. The complex figurations of Koreans in Japanese proletarian fiction at this time reflected the broader contradictions that governed their participation in the Communist Party, its labor unions, and the Japanese proletarian cultural movement in general, where they were often seen as the boldest of revolutionaries and simultaneously stigmatized as low-level activists. Depending on the site of their publication, Korean participation in the revolutionary movement was often represented in forms of literature that celebrated local color in the colonial peripheries or fetishized Koreans in exotic and seemingly nonrevolutionary ways. The chapter diverges from many recent studies of Japanese empire, however, in that it focuses exclusively on a Japanese resistance movement that was opposed to the empire. It tries to restore the complexity and contradictions of its contemporary critique of imperialism.
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