[KS] Seminar on the Zainichi Author Lee Hoe-sung at Australian National University

Frank Joseph Shulman fshulman at umd.edu
Thu Oct 11 09:28:38 EDT 2012

From: asia_news-bounces at anu.edu.au [asia_news-bounces at anu.edu.au] on behalf of Duck-Young Lee [Duck.Lee at anu.edu.au]
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:18 AM
Subject: [Asia_news] Reminder - Japanese Studies Seminar Series, Tomorrow 12:30 Friday 12 Oct


A seminar in the Japanese Studies Seminar Series

by Matthew Todd

12:30pm - 01:30pm
12 October 2012
Seminar Room E3.43; 3F, BPB (Build #110)

"The Repatriation Boat: the personal and the political in the early work of Lee Hoe-sung"

In 1971, Lee Hoe-sung (1935-) became the first ethnically non-Japanese author to win the coveted Akutagawa Prize. His win marked a shift in the Japanese literary canon, seeing the creation of a space allowing the exploration of postcolonial identity in post-war Japan. Ōe Kenzaburō, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, once described him as “a writer who expresses the experiences and thoughts of the Koreans in the Japanese language”.

Lee was born on the island of Sakhalin in 1935. His early life is notable for its constant movement - Sakhalin was returned to the USSR in 1945, forcing Lee and his family to be moved to Hakodate, and later, Sapporo. Entering university, Lee became a part of the Korean student activist movement that advocated the return to North Korea for all Koreans living in Japan after the Pacific War. His work draws heavily on these personal experiences, telling the Korean story as a counter to the Japanese grand narrative.

In this seminar, I will explore several early works by Lee, examining the ways in which he constructs a subaltern identity through his work- a postcolonial, minority identity in the face of the Japanese norm. I will focus particularly on the ways in which Lee hijacks traditional Japanese literary forms to create a hybrid literature that occupies a unique space in the Japanese canon.

Works discussed in detail will include: "Towards our youth" (われら青春の途上にて: 1969); "Things left behind by the dead" (死者に遺したもの: 1970); and For Kayako (伽倻子のために: 1970).


Duck-Young Lee, PhD
Japan & Linguistics
Building #110
School of Culture, History and Language
College of Asia and the Pacific Studies
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 0200

Phone: +61 2 6125 3205
Email: Duck.Lee at anu.edu.au

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