|Title||CLAIMING COLONIAL MASCULINITY: SEX AND ROMANCE WITH JAPANESE WOMEN IN CH’AE MANSIK’S COLONIAL FICTION|
Kim Su Yun
Vol. 21 No. 1
pp. 255~282 (all 28 pages)
Ch’ae Mansik, romance, colonial intimacy, colonial masculinity, Japanese femininity, Japanese imperialism.
This article explores the representation of erotic desire and romance in the works of one of the most influential authors of colonial Korea, Ch’ae Mansik (1902–50), focusing on his short story “Kwadogi” (Transition, 1923) and his novella Naengdongŏ (Frozen Fish, 1940), which revolve around heterosexual intimacy between Koreans and Japanese. It investigates the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality in colonial-period literature, in particular, how Ch’ae fits Korean masculinity into the colonial hierarchy as regards encountering Japanese women in their private spaces. The article suggests that the anxiety of colonized male elites in intimate relationships with colonizer women manifests the tension between making a Japanese woman on the one hand an object of erotic desire and on the other hand a respectable lady. In managing this tension, the colonized male figures attempt to elevate their position in the hierarchy of the Japanese Empire. It also suggests that Ch’ae produces the image of a Japanese woman as both the symbol of Japanese femininity and imperialism—an alternative womanhood that supports both colonized men and the Japanese imperialist project, submissive to both patriarchies. In this way, I argue, the male writers were not colonized subjects in crisis, as they have often been described in literary scholarship, but active participants and agents of Japanese and global imperialism.