Key Note Speaker
Keith Howard, Professor
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
University of London
In the last few decades, we have become accustomed to the concept of cultural heritage. We visit museums, where mausoleums of our shared social history reside. We search out World Heritage Sites – which Jansen-Verbeke (2009) labels the 936 ‘places to visit before you die’. And our gaze falls on crafts and performance arts, including music, as intangible cultural heritage. The intangible heritage has become part of the economic imperative of tourism, as well as a driver of nationalist distinction. UNESCO celebrates arts and crafts as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, or as ‘elements’ placed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. States seek to re-valorize and protect local and national cultural heritage, ignoring the polemics against preservation and seemingly accepting that the past can be maintained, that it can be kept alive and venerated.
Music is a core part of the preservation systems for intangible cultural heritage that today operate throughout East Asia. Starting with pertinent legislation in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China dating from 1950, 1962, 1982 and 2003 respectively, and noting how much of the academic community has from a position of skepticism come to embrace these preservation systems, my presentation explores what we can observe today: folk music on urban stages, sacrificial rituals broadcast on TV, ‘airport art’ for tourists, appropriation, assimilation, development and, of course, massive arguments between academics, culture bearers, and policy makers. My remarks develop themes from my recent edited book, Music as Intangible Cultural Heritage: Policy, Ideology and Practice in the Preservation of East Asian Traditions.
Vladimir Tikhonov, Professor
Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages
My presentation will focus on the diverse meanings invested into the descriptions of the Korean-Japanese romance by both Korean and Japanese authors in late nineteenth – early twentieth century (pre-colonial period and the epochs of “saber rule” and “cultural policy” in colonial Korea). In the majority of the cases, the descriptions are explicitly politicized. In a number of works by the Japanese authors, romance between a Japanese male and Korean female was an explicit metaphor for the Japanese “guidance” in “leading backward Korea to the civilization”. For example, in a popular novel, The Wind Blowing Yellow Sand (Kōsafuku Kaze, serialized by daily Asahi in 1891-1892) by journalist-turned-writer and a “Korean hand” of Late Meiji Japan, Nakarai Toshui (1860-1926), a son of Meiji loyalist and a Korean woman, Hayashi Masamoto (Lim Chŏngwŏn), marries a Korean woman he falls in love with, and concomitantly heads a “Korean revolution” and achieves a grand “East Asian alliance” against Russian penetration in the course of his Korean adventures. Love between a male Japanese activist and a Korean woman depicted mostly as a passive object of the “rescue” by her Japanese sweetheart, denotes here Japan’s position as Korea’s “savior”.
It has to be noticed that the inferior position of the Korean part in the Korean-Japanese romance descriptions was not limited to the Japanese works only. The first ever Korean literary work to portray a Korean-Japanese marriage was arguably Yi Injik’s (1862-1916) Japanese Beauty Married to a Poor Korean Man (Pinsŏnnang ŭi Ilmiin, serialized by Maeil Sinbo in 1912), where a Korean man has to listen to the complains of his Japanese wife who married him – when he still was a promising young student back in Japan – in hope for a comfortable life in Korea, but ended up living in miserable penury. Apart from being poor, the Korean man is depicted as indolent and prone to empty bragging, surrounded by superstitious good-for-nothings. His suffering wife, interestingly enough, is depicted as speaking only Japanese in the family – Korea was colonized by Japan in 1910, and the colonizers did not feel too pressured to learn the language of the colonized. Some critics argue that Yi Injik’s narrative of an “inferior colonial man” is partly autobiographical (he was married to a Japanese himself), although given Yi’s literary fame and relatively high social position (by 1911, the director of the Confucian academy, Kyŏnghagwŏn, in the Korean colonial capital), the exaggerated “inferiority” of Japanese woman’s Korean husband might have been inspired mostly by a deeply-seating inferiority complex of a colonial intellectual.
This Orientalist/self-Orientalising construction was, however, challenged by the Korean writers of the 1920s. Many of them were educated in Japan; however, harsh colonial realities made them to take a more critical view on the Japanese claims of mission civilisatrice and Japanese’ self-positioning as the colonial herrenvolk. Kim Tong’in (1900-1951), in his description of his obsession with buxom Japanese girl in Tokyo in 1918-1919 (monthly Pyŏlkŏn’gon, February 1930), puts himself into the privileged position of voyeur. While the Japanese girl the crash on whom he develops, rejects him on ethno-racial grounds (as an “inferior Korean”), he is primarily obsessed by her seductively plump body (“a good pig to make some ham of”) – female plumpness being his personal sexual fetish – rather than by her presumed “civilizational” credentials. Interestingly, Kim’s rather physical obsession with the Japanese girl sharply contrasts with his purely platonic love for a girl of mixed Western-Japanese parentage, whom he met as a 15-year old during his first year of study in Tokyo. Red hairs and “Western” looks inspire romantic expectations, while the Japanese sexuality is described in a rather denigrating way. The inferiority complex towards the (imagined, rather than real) “West”, common to both Japanese and Korean intellectuals of the time, becomes a “weapon” of sorts in the discursive struggle against the Japanese presumptions of superiority.
In a word, ‘romance’ became a playing field for the national(ist) sentiments and ambitions, both colonialist and anti-colonial. Japanese authors, following the common Orientalist stereotypes, tended to feminize Korea as such. And even in the writings of the Japanese left-wing authors – Sata Ineko’s (1904-1998) well-known poem Korean Girls (“Chosen no shōjo”, – Roba, May 1928) – Korea depicted as a pitiful woman looks more like an object of (condescending) sympathy than a equally placed comrade in a joint struggle. In the Korean writings, by contrast, Japanese women are sometimes depicted as sexually attractive but less culturally sophisticated, or as seductress/calculating luck-hunters. As such, they threaten the existing patriarchal order in Korea; at the same time, such a portrayal works to subvert the colonialist “superiority” claims.
Stina Jelbring, Senior Lecturer
Department of Oriental Languages
In classical Japanese poetry (waka) and poetics there is a common terminology using terms based on position or form, as for example the makurakotoba (“pillow-word”), a form of epithet whose name probably refers to the fact that a word was “put on top of” the word that it modified. Such devices also include a potential to create metaphor. On the other hand, functional concepts, such as yu (metaphor, figure), hiyu (simile, metaphor) and names for poetical styles, like soeuta (indirect style), nazuraeuta (figurative style) and tatoeuta (metaphorical style) appear in for instance classical poetics. We may see matters as depending on the choice of terminology based on position/form or function – we may see advantages or disadvantages with either approach. By using terms based on form or position, subtle functional variations may be discerned which might be overlooked by the more general terms, but by employing the general terms, we may see metaphorical expressions in a conceptual and perceptive dimension.
The question is, however, if these concepts of classical Japanese literary metaphor may be comparable to other notions of metaphor, originating outside of this context, and if so, in what way do they relate? Do they translate?
In this paper we shall take a closer look at the way metaphor is described in some seminal works of classical Japanese poetics and how metaphor is created in waka poetry, and put this in contrast to concepts outside of this context. With the classical Japanese literary context as point of departure, different concepts of literary metaphor originating within and outside of the Japanese classical literary context shall meet in a comparative poetics discussion.
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