sug-in kweon on japan’s female settlers in korea


Sug-In Kweon, ‘Japanese Female Settlers in Colonial Korea: Between the “Benefits” and ‘Constraints’ of Colonial Society’, Social Science Japan Journal (First published online: June 19, 2014).

This paper explores the gendered configurations and practices within the Japanese settler community in colonial Korea. More specifically, it focuses on the experiences of urban middle-class Japanese women. Existing data show that Japanese settler women, as citizens of the metropole, reaped benefits in arenas such as lifestyle, education, occupation, and family life. Their status as women, however, simultaneously subjected them to strict patriarchal and conservative standards. While privileged as colonists, they were publicly marginalized and silenced by the peculiar dynamics created by colonialism and modernity. Based on in-depth interviews and personal memoirs, as well as official archives and statistics, this research examines the forms of modernity that Japanese women experienced in colonial Korea, highlighting both the benefits and constraints that the colonial context offered to the women. These insights will complicate the existing historiography of Japanese colonialism in Korea by unveiling the history of a social group that has rarely been discussed by scholars.

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