Intimate Empire: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan
A Minor Writer
This chapter addresses the question of the “minor writer,” with a nod to Deleuze and Guattari’s formulation of minor literature. Focusing on the colonial writer Kim Saryang, this chapter demonstrates the struggles accompanying the attempt to write in Japanese, the ways in which an “internal linguistic division” marks the inhabiting of the metropolitan language. The chapter shows how the colonial Korean writer finds himself negotiating the desire for recognition by the metropolitan literary establishment and audience (a readership that projects its own exoticizing desires onto his text), the writer’s own sense of responsibility toward the representation of Korea and Koreans, and his own position as an artist. Through a discussion of the Akutagawa Literary Prize of 1940, this chapter brings all of these issues to the fore through an analysis of the ways in which Kim’s work is read in the Japanese metropole as a colonized I-novel, a work that follows the literary form of the I-novel but speaks to a collective “we”—and thus an I-novel, but not quite.