In East Asia, Chinese ethnic Korean literature has drawn scholarly attention from Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese scholars. They mostly situate the literature within a “double identity” (ijung chŏngch’esŏng 이중정체성) that is both Korean and Chinese and examine how the literature sheds light on the relations and tensions between the two sides of the identity. This article explores the critical potential of the literature beyond the limits of a double identity and within a borderland milieu. The Yanbian Ethnic Korean Autonomous Prefecture is located along the northeast border of China and is adjacent to the Korean Peninsula, Russia, and Japan. Through a close reading of the early postwar poetry produced in the region by the representative Chinese ethnic Korean poet Ri Uk, the article examines how Chinese ethnic Korean literature may serve as a nexus of connection and negotiation among multiple cultures. Those who are familiar with the region know that these cultures have been deeply alienated from each other during multiple rounds of imperialization by regional and global powers. A close examination of the multilateral connection of a borderland ethnic literature with regional power holders offers insights into the ways cultures connect despite historical conflicts and ideological opposition.

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