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LRC Speaker Series presents, Christina Yi

Date & Time:
November 24, 2017 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
CHD 420
Christina Yi, Assistant Professor, Modern Japanese Literature, University of British Columbia

"Colonizing Language: Japanese-Language Literature
in Imperial Japan and Beyond"

Abstract: With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1894, Japan officially embarked on an enterprise of territorial expansion. Acquisition of Taiwan occurred in 1895, soon followed by the annexation of Korea in 1910. The unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied Powers in 1945 signaled not only the end of the Pacific War but also the end of the Japanese empire, as one of the conditions of surrender was the redrawing of national borders.

The Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) that followed introduced changes not only in the political arena, but also in the ways “Japan” and “the Japanese” themselves were defined and discussed. This talk illuminates some of these postwar changes – as well as prewar continuities – by examining the history of Japanese linguistic nationalism and language ideology.
In particular, it will look at the Japanese-language writings of Mori Arinori (1847–1889), Yi Kwangsu (1892–1950?), and Shiga Naoya (1883–1971) in order to show how the dialectic relationship between metropole and periphery shapes linguistic, literary, and political experiences across and beyond nations even today.



Christina Yi is Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese Literature at the University of British Columbia. She received her Ph.D. in Modern Japanese Literature from Columbia University. Her research primarily focuses on Japanese-language literature by ethnic Korean writers from the 1930s to the present. Her most recent book project, Colonizing Language: Cultural Production and Language Politics in Modern Japan and Korea, investigates how linguistic nationalism and national identity intersect in the formation of modern literary canons in East Asia and is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.