Su Yun KimSep 7, 2021
Fictions of Colonial Intimacy in Korea, 1905-1945
Cornell University Press 2020
As in colonial situations elsewhere, Korean experiences of Japanese empire featured many attempts by the imperial authorities to regulate intimate aspects of Korean life, including intermarriage between colonizer and colonized peoples. While official messaging and policy promoted Korean-Japanese unions, cultural output including films, short stories and novels from the time also focused on the topic, including works by Korean writers authored in both Korean and Japanese languages.
In Imperial Romance: Fictions of Colonial Intimacy in Korea, 1905-1945 (Cornell UP, 2020), Su Yun Kim places the works of several prominent authors alongside official documents and media reports from the time to show how these reflect the political, ethnic, linguistic and of course affective complexities of romantic relations in an imperial setting. This intriguing book offers a revealing window into a lesser-studied dimension of empire at the interpersonal level, shedding light on questions of identity, domination and sentiment amid a colonial history which remains contested to this day.
Ed Pulford is a Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and indigeneity in northeast Asia.