Hidden Treasures: Lives of First-Generation Korean Women in Japan (Asia/Pacific/Perspectives Series)

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Ten first-generation Korean women who migrated to Japan during Korea's colonial period tell their compelling stories in Hidden Treasures. Powerful narratives of migration, minority life, gender discrimination, and the often difficult social relations between Korean immigrants and the Japanese are included, written in the women's own words. During the colonial era, many Koreans came to Japan as migrant workers in search of a better life or were drafted as laborers. After 1945 they lost citizenship and were left to exist on the fringes of society. With fewer societal options available, women in particular were forced to transform and adapt. The women in this volume participated in tumultuous times in the modern history of Korea and Japan, involving physical, psychological, geographic, and cultural displacements. These women transformed themselves in multiple ways: one from colonial subject to diasporic subject, another from a young and naive virgin bride to a self-made matriarch. Each transformation involved risk, determination, and pain as the women grappled with multilayered structures of gendered, colonial, ethnic, and socioeconomic relations of power. Many of these transformations, however, also entailed self-enhancement, fulfillment, accomplishment, and, at times, triumph and joy. An introduction by leading researcher Sonia Ryang provides context for the very personal stories of these ten women. This unparalleled social history of Korean women in Japan will engage both students and general readers.

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Editorial Reviews

Well-chosen photographs enhance the graceful, intelligently annotated narratives. Sonia Ryang's introduction contextualizes the women's lives, and the fine bibliography directs readers toward further study. Highly recommended.
Reference and Research Book News
Kim presents the life stories of ten first-generation Korean immigrant women in Japan, that enrich our understanding of the social conditions and political dynamics of Koreans in Japan, and the legacies of the past that the new generation of Korean women in Japan must face and overcome.
Japan Times
These voices preserve for us the bravery and resilience of these ten women, and through them we can sense the tribulations and triumphs of all those others who cannot speak. For making this amount of oral history available and for deciphering the stories of these women, Jackie Kim deserves our gratitude.
Japan Studies
Jackie Kim's book provides unprecedented insight into the lives of first-generation zainichi women.
Well-chosen photographs enhance the graceful, intelligently annotated narratives. Sonia Ryang's introduction contextualizes the women's lives, and the fine bibliography directs readers toward further study. Highly recommended.
John Lie
Hidden Treasures records the recessed but resonant voices of Korean women in Japan. At once poignant and painful, passionate and powerful, the narratives are literally recovered treasures. With Sonia Ryang's rewarding introduction, it is an invaluable contribution to the study of East Asia's tumultuous twentieth century.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742535954
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Series: Asia/Pacific/Perspectives Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Jackie J. Kim is a freelance writer living in Hawaii and Germany.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: On Korean Women in Japan: Past and Present Chapter 2 Prologue: In Search of Hidden Treasures Part 3 Part I: To Join My Husband Chapter 4 I Love to Study Chapter 5 I Have Done My Best Chapter 6 Through His Grace Part 7 Part II: Journey of a New Bride Chapter 8 No More Tears Chapter 9 Blessings Came Later in My Life Chapter 10 Dear General Kim Il-Sung Part 11 Part III: Solitary Sojourn Chapter 12 It's My Destiny Chapter 13 Now I Can Say That I'm Happy Part 14 Part IV: Growing Up in Japan Chapter 15 We Koreans Have Come a Long Way Chapter 16 A Life Worth Living Is a Life That Has Meaning

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