From the publisher’s website:
Ten first-generation Korean women who migrated to Japan during Korea’s colonial period tell their compelling stories in Hidden Treasures. Powerful narratives of migration, minority life, gender discrimination, and the often difficult social relations between Korean immigrants and the Japanese are included, written in the women’s own words. During the colonial era, many Koreans came to Japan as migrant workers in search of a better life or were drafted as laborers. After 1945 they lost citizenship and were left to exist on the fringes of society. With fewer societal options available, women in particular were forced to transform and adapt. The women in this volume participated in tumultuous times in the modern history of Korea and Japan, involving physical, psychological, geographic, and cultural displacements. These women transformed themselves in multiple ways: one from colonial subject to diasporic subject, another from a young and naive virgin bride to a self-made matriarch. Each transformation involved risk, determination, and pain as the women grappled with multilayered structures of gendered, colonial, ethnic, and socioeconomic relations of power. Many of these transformations, however, also entailed self-enhancement, fulfillment, accomplishment, and, at times, triumph and joy. An introduction by leading researcher Sonia Ryang provides context for the very personal stories of these ten women. This unparalleled social history of Korean women in Japan will engage both students and general readers.
Jackie J. Kim is a freelance writer living in Hawaii and Germany.