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  • Writer's pictureSayaka

January 4: Giving a presentation in AHA in New York

I will be attending American Historical Association's annual meeting in New York to give a presentation on Japanese wives in the Chongryun-zainichi community. This is my first opportunity to present a tentative finding from our new project on the Chongryun. I'm really excited to be on this panel with my fantastic friend, Chelsea Szendi Schieder, and a world-renowned gender historian of China, Professor Gail Hershatter (although unfortunately Yumi Kim, another super sharp scholar and our friend, cannot make it this time).

Methods from the Margins: Archives of Women and Gender Histories in 20th-Century “Japan”

This program is a bit misleading as I changed my topic slightly and I only managed to change the title of my presentation. See below for the abstract:

Locating “Japanese” Wives in the Chongryun-Zainichi History

The phrase, Japanese wives (Nihonjinzuma), has a specific meaning in today’s Japanese media: a few thousands of Japanese women who joined zainichi Koreans’ repatriation movement to North Korea starting in December 1959. They are depicted as ultimate victims of this movement, and accounts about them emphasize their innocence, suffering, and pride of being Japanese. This presentation examines a larger timeframe of the phenomenon of Japanese women marrying Chongryun (pro-North Korean) Koreans in Japan. It pays particular attention to the kinds of voices and sources available—often created by men and highly educated women—and how they often lead us to an analytical lens of ethnic and national belonging, which also overlaps with a narrative of heroes and victims. The presentation raises the question of how we can incorporate stories of the majority of Japanese wives whose self-portraits do not fit in these modalities.

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