Nation, Blood, and Self-Determination

T. Fujitani

in Race for Empire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780520262232
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950368 | DOI:
Nation, Blood, and Self-Determination

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This chapter focuses on two media forms that most dramatically and compellingly articulated the dominant discourse on Korean soldiers or Korean male youth volunteering to become soldiers—namely, literature and film. The purpose is to analyze the ways in which they utilized soldiering both to diagram ideal forms of Japanese national subjectivity for Koreans and to narrativize normative personal, social, and other relationships. The chapter pays special attention to the recurring themes of blood, adoption, and self-determination to make the argument that these cultural productions helped blur the boundaries between Koreans and metropolitan Japanese, as well as between colony and nation, sometimes emphasizing common ethnic origins but in other cases transcending the symbolism of blood altogether. Moreover, as in the case of Japanese Americans choosing to become American or as is seen within the doctrine of modern nationalism more generally, they consistently represented the formation of the national subject as ultimately an act of choice or self-determination.

Keywords: Korean soldiers; Korean male youth; young men; army volunteers; literature; film; soldiering; Japanese; self-determination

Chapter.  14661 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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