Democracy without Women and the Reception of Korean Feminist Literature in Japan

Tue May 24th 2022, 12:00am
Event Sponsor
Center for East Asian Studies

The #MeToo movement that went viral in the United States in 2017 spread globally and generated a huge response. In Japan, however, it is often said that the movement had a relatively limited impact, failing to attract a mass following. It is interesting to note, however, that the Korean feminist novel Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982(2016; trans. 2018) by Nam-joo Cho became a bestseller in Japan. Why has this novel attracted a broad readership while the #MeToo movement has not gained momentum? This presentation attempts to explain this seemingly paradoxical phenomenon by investigating the socio-political and cultural milieu surrounding women’s voices in contemporary Japan. Firstly, it will give a brief overview of how women’s voices are represented in the realm of Japanese politics and social movements. With this context in mind, it will further examine the recent translation boom of ‘K-feminism’ and ‘K-literature in Japan from the perspective of cultural translation.

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About the speaker:

Jiyoung Kim is an assistant Professor in Sookmyung Research Institute of Humanities at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea. Her area of research is modern and contemporary Japanese literature and culture. After receiving her BA from Yonsei University, she obtained MA and Ph.D degrees from The University of Tokyo, specializing in comparative literature and culture. Her book, The “Postwar” in Japanese Literature and Variations of “America”: From the Period of American Occupation to the Age of the Cultural Cold War (Minerva Press, 2019) [in Japanese], examines representations of America in postwar Japanese literature in its relation to the GHQ occupation and the Cultural Cold War. It was awarded the 7th Professor Josef Kreiner Hosei University Award for International Japanese Studies in 2022. Her co-authored books include Multiple Translation Communities in Contemporary Japan (Routledge, 2015), Anti-America: The Price of Coexistence or the Beginning of Struggle? (University of Tokyo Press, 2021) [in Japanese].