Intimate Empire: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan
Forgetting Manchurian Memories
This chapter considers Korea’s shifting location in the Japanese empire which was intimately linked to geopolitical changes occurring in Northern China and Manchuria. Although such triangulations in the region among Japan, Korea, and China/Manchuria were extant long before Japan’s colonial invasions into the peninsula and the rest of the continent, regional connections remained obfuscated for decades as a result of postcolonial and Cold War divides imposed with the collapse of the Japanese empire in 1945. This chapter joins recent developments in scholarship to reframe the history of the region beyond ongoing binary divides. The life and works of Kang Kyŏngae, a colonial-era woman writer from Korea who migrated to Manchuria, offers an important vantage point from which to think about the intersections in the region and their divided legacies into the postcolonial present. The complexities of Kang Kyŏngae’s corpus and its fate in the literary canons of the divided postcolonial Koreas is considered by way of focusing on what is left out in a simple binary reading of nationalist resistance and pro-Japanese collaboration.