Triangular Collaborations: Diasporic Encounter and Space of Temporal Reunification
Kyung Hee Ha (Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, North Carolina State University)
Since the early 2000s, Korean schools in Japan have been subject to state sanctions, hate speech/crimes and media misrepresentation due to their ties with a pro-North Korea organization in Japan known as Chongryun. Among their various efforts to continue ethnic education rooted in decolonizing theory and praxis, this presentation examines what I call the “triangular collaboration” where Korean residents in Japan, Japanese citizens and South Korean supporters came together to hold a charity concert in Hiroshima in August 2014. Under South Korea’s National Security Law (1948~current) which prohibits its citizens from “contacting North Korean residents,” it has been challenging for South Koreans to interact with the members of the Korean school community as they can be defined as “North Koreans.” In the triangular collaboration, the Japanese civic groups played a crucial role in creating the space and means for a rare diasporic encounter by easing tensions involving the two Korea states. The space of temporal reunification enabled Koreans in Japan to (re)claim material, emotional and ideological ties with their homeland(s) as diasporic subjects and assert their full membership as ethnic minorities in Japan simultaneously. This event not only promoted ethnic minority rights to education but also resisted the forceful erasure of histories and memories of Koreans in Japan that directly speak to Japan’s imperial past, the unending Korean War and escalating anti-Korean racism and hate.
About the speaker: Kyung Hee Ha is an assistant professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at North Carolina State University. Informed by critical scholarship in ethnic studies, Japanese cultural studies and postcolonial feminism, Kyung Hee's research engages with subaltern knowledge production among Zainichi Koreans. She's currently working on her monograph tentatively titled Zainichi Koreans at the Intersections of Empires that situates Zainichi Koreans at the crossroads of North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the United States and examines poetics and politics of dissent amidst rising state sanctions, racist hate crimes, and media misrepresentation.
Event is co-sponsored by the Critical Asian Humanities program (AMES) and the Asian American and Diaspora Studies program.