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Intimate Empire: Collaboration and Colonial Modernity in Korea and Japan

From the publisher’s website:

In Intimate Empire Nayoung Aimee Kwon examines intimate cultural encounters between Korea and Japan during the colonial era and their postcolonial disavowal. After the Japanese empire’s collapse in 1945, new nation-centered histories in Korea and Japan actively erased these once ubiquitous cultural interactions that neither side wanted to remember.  Kwon reconsiders these imperial encounters and their contested legacies through the rise and fall of Japanese-language literature and other cultural exchanges between Korean and Japanese writers and artists in the Japanese empire. The contrast between the prominence of these and other forums of colonial-era cultural collaboration between the colonizers and the colonized, and their denial in divided national narrations during the postcolonial aftermath, offers insights into the paradoxical nature of colonial collaboration, which Kwon characterizes as embodying desire and intimacy with violence and coercion. Through the case study of the formation and repression of imperial subjects between Korea and Japan, Kwon considers the imbrications of colonialism and modernity and the entwined legacies of colonial and Cold War histories in the Asia-Pacific more broadly.

“Nayoung Aimee Kwon’s examination of Korean authors during the Japanese imperial period is a richly theorized, sensitive, and engaging work of literary and colonial history.” — Denis Gainty, History: Reviews of New Books

Nayoung Aimee Kwon is Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University.


  1. Colonial Modernity and the Conundrum of Representation
  2. Translating Korean Literature
  3. A Minor Writer
  4. Into the Light
  5. Colonial Abject
  6. Performing Colonial Kitsch
  7. Overhearing Transcolonial Roundtables
  8. Turning Local
  9. Forgetting Manchurian Memories
  10. Paradox of Postcoloniality

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* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.