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|Outside the Mainstream|
— Minority Experiences in Japan —
History 1973M Fall 2012
Tuesday 9:30-10:50 J. Walter Wilson 402
James L. McClain Office hours: Tuesdays 1:15-2:45
105 Sharpe House and by appointment
130-132 Angell Street (James_McClain@Brown.edu)
When Japan ratified the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1979, its representative reported, “The right of any person to enjoy his own culture, to profess and practice his religion or to use his own language is ensured under Japanese law. However, minorities of the kind mentioned in the Covenant do not exist in Japan.”
Nothing could have been further from the truth. At the turn of the new millennium, Japan is — and for a long time, has been — home to immigrants from abroad, indigenous populations that have been forced to accept Japanese citizenship, outcast communities of Japanese ethnicity, and otherwise ordinary persons who have elected to live outside the mainstream and challenge its core values. This course offers an historical analysis that examines how these minority communities came into existence, struggled to maintain distinctive lifestyles in what is often viewed as one of the world’s most homogenous societies, and influenced the flow of Japanese history.
topics and readings
You are expected to read and to think about the assignments according to the following schedule. To this end, I have requested the Rockefeller Library to make available all readings through the Course Reserve (OCRA) system (the course password is Zainichi7). The course syllabus, discussion handouts, films, links to pertinent sites, current media articles, and other materials can be accessed through the myCourses website.
September 11: Welcome
Assignments and expectations
Japan and its neighbors, 1600~1868 (presentation, with images)
Optional background readings for the period to 1868:
Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan, chs. 1-4 (pp. 10-59), or
James L. McClain, Japan: A Modern History, chs. 1-3 (pp. 5-112).
September 18: Outsiders on Japan’s periphery
Japan’s troubled relations with its Korean and Ainu neighbors
An imaged presentation about the Ryūkyū Islands (modern-day Okinawa Prefecture)
William Wayne Farris, “Ancient Japan’s Korean Connection,” Korean Studies 20 (1996), pp, 1-22 (focus on the key arguments rather than try to retain all the archeological details).
Jurgis Elisonas, “The Inseparable Trinity” in John W. Hall, ed., The Cambridge History of Japan, vol. 4: Early Modern Japan, pp. 235-300 (please scan pp. 235-65 attentively enough to grasp the key points and then focus on pp. 265-300).
Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Re-Inventing Japan (M. E. Sharpe 1998), pp. 9-23 of the chapter entitled “Japan.”
Ronald Toby, “Carnival of Aliens: Korean Embassies in Edo-Period Art and Popular Culture,” Monumenta Nipponica 41:14 (Winter 1986), pp. 415-56 (do not worry about remembering the mind-numbing details describing the individual representations on pp. 426-445 but, instead, focus on the history of the embassies at the beginning of the article and Toby’s observations about popular culture at the end, on pages 445-56).
William W. Fitzhugh, “Ainu Ethnicity: A History,” in Fitzhugh and Chisato O. Dubreuil, eds., Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People, pp. 9-27.
Richard Siddle, “Ainu History: An Overview,” in William W. Fitzhugh and Chisato O. Dubreuil, eds., Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People, pp. 67-73.
David Howell, “The Ainu and the Early Modern Japanese State,” in William W. Fitzhugh and Chisato O. Dubreuil, eds., Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People, pp. 96-101.
Brett Walker, The Conquest of Ainu Lands, chs. 2 (“Shakushain’s War”), pp. 48-72, and 7 (“Epidemic Disease, Medicine, and the Shifting Ecology of Ezo”), pp. 177-203.
September 25: Outsiders inside Japan — Outcasts and criminals
Urban street gangs and romanticized heroes
Ian Neary, Political Protest and Social Control in Pre-War Japan: The Origins of Buraku Liberation, ch. 1 (“Genesis of Buraku Communities”), pp. 12-29.
Gerald Groemer, “The Creation of the Edo Outcaste Order,” Journal of Japanese Studies 27:2 (Summer 2001), pp. 263-93.
David L. Howell, Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan, ch. 2 (“The Geography of Status”), pp. 20-44.
Gary Leupp, “The Five Men of Naniwa: Gang Violence and Popular Culture in Genroku Osaka,” in James L. McClain and Wakita Osamu, eds., Osaka, pp. 125-58.
Modernity and Minority Experiences
Optional Background Readings for the period 1868-1945:
Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan, chs. 5-13 (pp. 60-241), or
James L. McClain, Japan: A Modern History, chs. 4-14 (pp. 113-555).
October 2: Expanding borders, incorporating people
Conquering Hokkaidō and the Ryūkyū Islands — imperialism or “enlightened development”?
Japan’s new “outsider” citizens
Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Re-Inventing Japan, pp. 23-34 of the chapter entitled “Japan.
Richard M. Siddle, Race, Resistance and the Ainu of Japan, ch. 3 (“Former Natives”), pp. 51-75.
David L. Howell, “Making ‘Useful Citizens’ of Ainu in Early Twentieth-Century Japan,” Journal of Asian Studies 63:1 (February 2004), pp. 5-29.
“The Hokkaidō Former Natives Protection Act” (Law No. 27), March 1899; in Richard M. Siddle, Race, Resistance and the Ainu of Japan, pp. 194-96.
“The Song the Owl God Himself Sang” (tr. from Ainu into Japanese by Chiri Yukie; tr. into English and introduced by Kyoko Selden), Japan Focus (January 2009), pp. 1-19.
*Richard M. Siddle, Race, Resistance and the Ainu of Japan, ch. 5 (“With Shining Eyes: Ainu Protest and Resistance, 1869-1945”), pp. 113-46.
*Alan S. Christy, “The Making of Imperial Subjects in Okinawa,” positions 1:3 (Winter 1993), pp. 607-39.
Julia Yonetani, “Ambiguous Traces and the Politics of Sameness: Placing Okinawa in Meiji Japan,” Japanese Studies 20:1 (2000), pp. 15-31
October 9: The great Korean migration
The forced and voluntary nature of Korean migration to Japan
The lived experiences of Koreans in Japan in the 1930s and 1940s
Gendered memories of the past
“Koreans in Japan,” in Wikipedia, pp. 1-13.
Michael Weiner, Race and Migration in Imperial Japan, ch. 4 (“Migration, 1925-1938”), pp. 112-53, and ch. 5 (“Assimilation and Opposition”), pp. 154-86.
Sonia Ryang, “The Great Kantō Earthquake and the Massacre of Koreans in 1923,” Anthropological Quarterly 76:4 (Autumn 2003), pp. 731-48.
Brian Burke-Gaffney, “Hashima: The Ghost Island,” Crossroads: A Journal of Nagasaki History and Culture 4 (1996), pp. 1-7.
Kim Hyo Soon and Kil Yun Hyung, “Remembering and Redressing the Forced Mobilization of Korean Laborers by Imperial Japan,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 7-3-10 (February 15, 2010), pp. 1-12.
*Sonia Ryang, “Inscribed (Men’s) Bodies, Silent (Women’s) Words: Rethinking Colonial Displacement of Koreans in Japan,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 30:4 (1998), pp. 3-15.
October 16: Bad boys, naughty girls, criminal women
Middle-class values and hegemony
The urban poor and juvenile delinquents
Abe Sada and “the crime of the century”
Radical political women (imaged presentation)
James L. McClain, Japan: A Modern History, pp. 345-51 (“The Urban Middle Class”).
David R. Ambaras, Bad Youth: Juvenile Delinquency and the Politics of Everyday Life in Modern Japan, ch. 2 (“Assimilating the Lower classes”), pp. 30-65.
*Malanie Czarnecki, “Bad Girls from Good Families: The Degenerate Meiji Schoolgirl” in Laura Miller and Jan Bardsley, ed., Bad Girls of Japan, pp. 49-62.
*(Film) In the Realm of the Senses (愛のコリーダ); directed by the renown Ōshima Nagisa, this is a graphic depiction of “the crime of the century” and the events leading up to it.
“Notes from the Police Interrogation of Abe Sada” in William Johnston, Geisha • Harlot • Strangler • Star, pp. 163-208
October 23: Looking back, thinking ahead
What have we learned so far?
What mega-developments shaped the contours of minority experiences between the 1860s and 1940s?
How did minorities assert “agency”? To what ends?
What do we want to learn about the period from 1945 to the present?
(Presentation) Mega-developments that will shape the contours of minority experiences after 1945
Optional Background Readings for the period:
Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan, chs. 14-17 (pp. 243-334), or
James L. McClain, Japan: A Modern History, chs. 15-17 (pp. 517-632).
October 30: Koreans in postwar Japan: Hardships and joys
Former Japanese “nationals” become unwelcomed “aliens”
The Cold War and the creation of a Korean diaspora
Ethnic education collides with the ideology of Japanese hegemony (imaged presentation)
The lived experiences of Koreans-in-Japan
*Mark E. Caprio and Yu Jiao, “Legacies of Empire and Occupation: The Making of the Korean Diaspora in Japan,” The Japan-Asia Journal, vol. 37-3-09 (September 14, 2009), pp. 1-20.
John Lie, Zainichi (Koreans in Japan): Diasporic Nationalism and Postcolonial Identity, Preface (p. ix-xiv) and ch. 1 (“Silence”), pp. 1-31.
*George De Vos and Daekun Chung, “Community Life in a Korean Ghetto,” in Changsoo Lee and De Vos, eds., Koreans in Japan: Ethnic Conflict and Accommodation, pp. 225-51.
*Jackie J. Kim, Hidden Treasures: Lives of First-Generation Korean Women in Japan, the “Introduction: On Korean Women in Japan: Past and Present” by Sonia Ryang, pp. xiii-xxvii; “I Love to Study” concerning Tokumoto Hiroko (Jung Bun-Ki), pp. 3-18; “Blessings Came Later in My Life” concerning Kim Ch’ae-Yun, pp. 65-75; and “Now I Can Say That I’m Happy” concerning Sǒ Meng-Sun, pp. 111-32.
“Rikidōzan,” in Wikipedia, pp. 1-6.
*Riki Dōzan (力道山), a Japanese-Korean film directed by Song Hae-seong; tells the life story of the famous sumo star and later professional wrestler; received the South Korean film industry’s Grand Bell Award for best directing and an award for cinematography).
November 6: Still on the fringe…
Ainu liberation movements (an imaged presentation)
Burakumin and the drive for assimilation
Okinawans “at home on the “islands and “abroad” in the Osaka diaspora
“New Law concerning the Ainu People” (Draft), adopted at the General Assembly of the Utari Kyōkai; May 27, 1984; in Richard M. Siddle, Race, Resistance and the Ainu of Japan, pp. 196-200.
“Ainu Shinpō: Act for the Promotion of Ainu Culture & Dissemination of Knowledge Regarding Ainu Traditions” (a law passed by the Japanese Diet in 1997) Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, 2000, pp. 1-9.
Simon Cotterill, “Documenting Urban Indigeneity: Tokyo Ainu and the 2011 Survey on the Living Conditions of Ainu outside Hokkaido,” Japan Focus, November 7, 2011, pp. 1-8.
*Roger I. Yoshino and Sueo Murakoshi, The Invisible Visible Minority: Japan’s Burakumin (published in 1976), ch. V (“Current Ghettos”), pp. 61-80, and ch. VI (“Current Liberation Activities”), pp. 81-101.
Ian J. Neary, “Burakumin in Contemporary Japan,” in Michael Weiner, ed., Japan’s Minorities (Routledge 2009 second edition), pp. 59-83.
“Family Registries: What Basically are Koseki?” Ancestry.com, pp. 1-3.
*Laura Hein and Mark Selden, “Culture, Power, and Identity in Contemporary Okinawa,” in Hein and Selden, eds., Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power, pp. 1-35.
*Matthew Allen, “Okinawa, Ambivalence, Identity, and Japan,” in Michael Weiner, ed., Japan’s Minorities (Routledge 2009 second edition), pp. 188-205.
Asato Eiko, “Okinawan Identity and Resistance to Militarization and Maldevelopment,” in Laura Hein and Mark Selden, eds., Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power, pp. 228-42.
Steve Rabson, “Memories of Okinawa: Life and Times in the Greater Osaka Diaspora,” in Laura Hein and Mark Selden, eds., Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power, pp. 99-134.
“Okinawa Shutterbug Captures Varied Reactions to Hinomaru,” Japan Times, November 19, 2011, pp. 1-4.
November 13: Zainichi identities: Constructing and reconfiguring ethnicity in the 1970s and 1980s
What does “Zainichi” mean? Where did the term come from?
The lure of a North Korean “homeland”
The impact of Japanese government policy on Zainichi identities
Tessa Morris-Suzuki, “Freedom and Homecoming: Narratives of Migration in the Repatriation of Zainichi Koreans to North Korea,” in Sonia Ryang and John Lie, eds. Diaspora without Homeland: Being Korean in Japan, pp. 39-61.
Sonia Ryang, “The North Korean Homeland of Koreans in Japan,” in Sonia Ryang, ed., Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin, pp. 32-54.
*“Dear Pyongyang” (dvd), directed by Yang Yonghi.
Kang Sangjung, “Memories of a Zainichi Korean Childhood” (tr. Robin Fletcher), Japan Focus, February 2, 2007, pp. 1-24.
*John Lie, Zainichi (Koreans in Japan): Diasporic Nationalism and Postcolonial Identity, ch. 3 (“Cunning”), pp. 66-96, and ch. 5 (“Reconciliation”), pp. 133-67.
*Fukuoka Yasunori, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan, tr. Tom Gill, pp. 42-60 (“A Typology of Zainichi Identities”), 61-70 (“Learning to Live with Japanese/Case Study 1: Lee Kyung-Jae”), 119-28 (“Going It Alone/Case Study 8: Yu Hwa-Mi”), 134-43 (“Turning Japanese/Case Study 10: Ogawa Yoko”), and 188-95 (“I Hate Japan, but I’ll Live Here Anyway”).
November 20: Young NEETs and Freeters; the middle-class homeless — Life on the economic margins
Economic stagnation and the new “lost generation”
Day laborers and the homeless
Kosugi Reiko, “Youth Employment in Japan’s Economic Recovery: ‘Freeters’ and ‘NEETs’,” Japan Focus, May 11, 2006, pp. 1-4.
*Mary C. Brinton, Lost in Transition: Youth, Work, and Instability in Postindustrial Japan, Preface (pp. xi-xvii), Ch. 1 (“The Lost Generation”), pp. 1 -33, and Ch. 6 (“Narratives of the New Mobility”), pp. 148-65.
David H. Slater, “The Making of Japan’s New Working Class: ‘Freeters’ and the Progression From Middle School to the Labor Market,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 1-1-10, January 4, 2010, pp. 1-33.
Tom Gill, “Failed Manhood on the Streets of Urban Japan: The Meanings of Self-Reliance for Homeless Men,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, v. 10, issue 1, no. 2, January 2, 2012, p. 1-12.
*Mapping the Future, Nishinari (未来世紀: 西成; Mirai seiki, Nishinari), a documentary directed by Tanaka Yukio and Yamada Tetsuo.
November 27: Popular culture and “The Mob”
Sports stars and pop idols
The yakuza (an imaged presentation)
Ethnicity and dissident behavior
John Lie, Multiethnic Japan, ch. 3 (“Pop Multiethnicity’), pp. 53-82.
*James E. Roberson, “Uchinā Pop: Place and Identity in Contemporary Okinawan Popular Music,” in Laura Hein and Mark Selden, eds., Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power, pp. 192-227.
*Laura Miller, “Those Naughty Teenage Girls: Japanese Kogals, Slang, and Media Assessments,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 14:2 (2004), pp. 225-47.
Christine Marran, “So Bad She’s Good: The Masochist’s Heroine in Postwar Japan, Abe Sada” in Laura Miller and Jan Bardsley, ed., Bad Girls of Japan, pp. 80-95.
*Sonia Ryang, Love in Modern Japan, ch. 4 (“Body and Soul”), pp. 95-125.
“Enjo kōsai,” in Wikipedia, pp. 1-6.
“Masayuki Machii,” in Wikipedia, pp. 1-2.
December 4: Returnees and foreign workers
How are the experiences of Nikkeijin and Zainichi similar as economic migrants? How are they different?
How and why have Brazilian-Japanese created two homelands: Japan and Brazil? Are there parallels with Zainichi and the conception of North Korea?
What are some of the effects of economic migrants on Japanese society? How are they viewed, and why is that so?
Yoko Sellek, Migrant Labor in Japan, pp. 55-63 and 72-84 only of Ch. 2 (“Arrival of Foreign Workers through Various Informal Mechanisms”), pp. 93-106 only of Ch. 3 (“Foreign Workers in the Context of Economic Recession”), and Ch. 9 (“Japanese Society and Foreign Residents — Anti-immigration Extremism and Human Rights”), pp. 208-19.
*Keiko Yamanaka, “I will go home, but when?”, ch. 6, pp. 120-52 in Mike Douglas and Glenda S. Roberts, eds., Japan and Global Migration.
*Tsuda Takeyuki, “Acting Brazilian in Japan: Ethnic Resistance among Return Migrants,” Ethnology 39:1 (Winter 2000), pp. 55-71.
“Japan Pays Foreign Workers to Go Home,” New York Times, April 22, 2009, pp. 1-4.
“Japanese Trainee Program Is Said to Exploit Workers” New York Times, July 20, 2010, pp. 1-4.
“Japan Keeps High Wall for Foreign Labor,” New York Times, January 2, 2011, 1-3.
Rhacel Salazar Parrenas, “What I learned by Being a Migrant Sex Worker,” parts 1 and 2, Business Week, October 12 and 13, 2011, pp. 1-5.
*Lawrence Repeta and Glenda S. Roberts, “Immigrants or Temporary Workers? A Visionary Call for a ‘Japanese-style Immigration Nation’,” Asia-Pacific Journal (November 29, 2010), pp. 1-10.
Sakanaka Hidenori, “The Future of Japan’s Immigration Policy: A Battle Diary,” Asia-Pacific Journal (November 29, 2010), pp. 1-5.
December 11: Reflections: Causes and historical context
The relationship of past to present
The nation-state — a convenient target?
Where does the myth of homogeneity come from? Why does it live on?
Review John Lie, Zainichi (Koreans in Japan): Diasporic Nationalism and Postcolonial Identity, ch. 5 (“Reconciliation”), pp. 133-67.
*John Lie, “The End of the Road?,” in Sonia Ryang and Lie, eds. Diaspora without Homeland: Being Korean in Japan, pp. 168-79.
John Lie, Multiethnic Japan, “Conclusion,” pp. 170-83.
*Sonia Ryang, “Visible and Vulnerable: The Predicament of Koreans in Japan,” in Ryang and John Lie, eds. Diaspora without Homeland: Being Korean in Japan, pp. 62-80.
Chris Burgess, “The ‘Illusion’ of Homogeneous Japan and National Character: Discourse as a Tool to Transcend the ‘Myth’ vs. ‘Reality’ Binary,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 9-1-10 (March 1, 2010), pp. 1-21.
*David L. Howell, Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan, ch. 1 (“Introduction”), pp. 1-19.
Assignments and ASSESSMENT
This course is constructed around a series of exercises, outlined below, that are designed to (a) sharpen our analytical skills, (b) enhance our ability to effectively read historical texts and cultivate historical thinking, (c) hone our capacity to express clearly our ideas to others in both prose and oral forms, and (d) expand our ability to listen to, reflect on, and reassess our ideas in light of what we learn from sharing our thoughts with others.
Outside the Mainstream is a seminar-style course, and class discussion is its core component. The weekly discussion sessions are intended to provide an opportunity to articulate your understanding of the reading and film assignments in a public forum, to listen to the perceptions and insights of fellow students, and to use the intellectual exchange to refine and expand our common knowledge of Japanese history. Moreover, the study of minority experiences in Japan is still a relatively young field, and we will read most of the important scholarly works in this course. Thus, you are expected to attend class faithfully and to contribute meaningfully to the conversations. In all, discussion participation will count for approximately 55 percent of the course grade. Following each of the twelve substantial discussion meetings (October 23 is excepted as a review session), I will record my assessments of participation, scaled from 4-0, as follows:
4 = Prepared exceptionally well; contributed insightful ideas that engaged the opinions of others and advanced the discussion in new and helpful directions.
3 = Prepared thoroughly; contributed thoughtful ideas and engaged the views of others.
2 = Attended the discussion but participated little.
1 = Attended the discussion but did not participate or offered ideas that were off the mark; the score of 1 reflects the hope that the student learned something by listening.
0 = Absent from the discussion
Although regular attendance and enthusiastic participation is expected, there are occasions when a student may legitimately be absent (documented illness or alien abduction, for instance). In those cases, one can receive partial credit by submitting a brief written summary of the main ideas contained in the assigned readings.
In order to enhance our ability to understand historical arguments, articulate them concisely to others, and appreciate critical questions and observations, each of you will have the opportunity to serve as a rapporteur on two occasions. That is, at the beginning of class you will outline to your classmates the main argument presented in a particular reading (a journal article or book chapter), comment on the evidence the author used to support the argument, and then assist with class discussion as appropriate. Following the class, you will write and distribute a short (3-4 paragraph) essay that summarizes the author’s argument and use of evidence, comments on the relevant class discussion, and concludes with a critical evaluation of the article/book chapter. Please choose from the readings marked with an *; you will be asked to make your selections when we meet on September 18. Together, the rapporteur efforts (in-class presentation plus write-up) will count for approximately 15 percent of the course grade.
Following five (5) discussion sessions of your choice (except when you are participating in a Rapporteur Session), each student will submit a short, two-paragraph statement on a topic announced in advance or during class. These write-ups will be submitted electronically by 12:00 of the day following class discussion. In total, they will account for 10 percent of the course grade.
Each student will complete a research project. The prototype undertaking for a history course is a research-based term paper. In the case of History 1973M, the standard will be a “draft essay” that approximates a regular 12-15 page composition. “Draft essay” means that rather than writing a complete paper, each student write a full introduction (two or three paragraphs). Then s/he will write the topic sentences for each of 20 or so paragraphs that represent the main body of the essay (subdivided into sections as appropriate). Each topic sentence should clearly state what the main point of that particular paragraph will be. Each topic sentence should be supported, briefly, with 2-4 pieces of evidence (facts/events) that that substantiate the idea advanced in the topic sentence. A fully written conclusion (two or three paragraphs) will round off the argument. The essay also should include a separate, full bibliography of the main sources used for the assignment (the exploration of electronic resources is encouraged).
Any topic related to minority experiences in Japan is acceptable. Some students may wish to expand and build on an interest that emerges from a particular course discussion; others may prefer to explore the history of a group not included in this course, such as long-time Chinese residents, sexual minorities, medical minorities, and so forth.
Options other than a “draft essay” also are possible. For instance, some may prefer to submit a fully written 10-page term paper in place of the “draft essay.” Others may wish to critically review films (see the list of holdings at Brown below) and compare them to written scholarly treatments. Still others might want to pursue an interest that s/he developed in some other Brown course. Students are encouraged to work together to conceive and research a particular topic. Each person, however, will submit an individually-crafted final product.
Students are encourage to consult with the instructor early in the semester concerning the final project. Every must decide on a research project by October 23, and we will use part of the session on that day to finalize plans. All projects are due by 12:00 noon on Tuesday, December 18. Projects will count for approximately 20 percent of the course grade.
The final course grade will be calculated as follows:
Quality of contributions to weekly discussions: 55 percent
Rapporteur sessions 15 percent
Discussion write-ups 10 percent
Research project 20 percent
F I L M S
Brown owns several films that offer additional perspectives on issues and concerns of this course. I have scheduled three (In the Realm of the Senses, Dear Pyongyang, and Riki Dōzan) for us to see and discuss. You are encouraged to view the others as well.
In the Realm of the Senses (愛のコリーダ; literally “The Bullfight of Love”). Directed by the renown Ōshima Nagisa, this controversial 1976 film follows the life of Abe Sada and “the crime of the century.” 108 minutes.
Dear Pyongyang. This documentary by the Zainichi director Yang Young-Hee focuses her Osaka family, particularly her father’s decision to send his three sons to live in North Korea. Released in October 2005, the film won considerable praise at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. 107 minutes.
Riki Dōzan (力道山). Based on the life story of the famous sumo star and later professional wrestler, this 2004 Japanese-Korean production was directed by Song Hae-seong; it won the South Korean film industry’s Grand Bell Award for best directing and an award for cinematography. 137 minutes.
The Sun’s Burial (太陽の墓場, Taiyō no hakaba). Directed by the renown Ōshima Nagisa, this 1960 film takes viewers into an Osaka slum and examines gangs, crime, and the struggle to survive in a brutal environment. 87 minutes.
Death by Hanging (絞死刑, Kōshikei). This 1968 film, also directed by Ōshima Nagisa, is based on a 1958 murder case in which Ri Chin’u, a man of Korean ethnicity, was arrested and convicted for killing two Japanese school girls. The plot is overly complicated, and the directing occasionally heavy-handed (at least in the view of some/me), but Ōshima received high praise for his complex treatments of guilt and consciousness, justice, and the persecution of ethnic Koreans in Japan. 117 minutes.
Kazoku Cinema (가족시네마; 家族シネマ). Directed by Park Chol Soo and released in 1999, this Korean/Japanese co-production is based on the satirical autobiographical novel of the same name by the celebrated Zainichi author Yu Miri. 106 minutes.
Go. Directed by Yukisada Isao and based on a novel of the same title by the Zainichi author Kaneshiro Kazuki, this 2001 film (a gigantic hit in Asia) tells the story of a boy of Korean ethnicity who falls for a Japanese girl and who, through the hardships of love and friendship, learns to overcome prejudice rooted in nationality and race. 122 minutes.
Pacchigi! (パッチギ！, often rendered as “Love and Peace!” and sometimes as “We Shall Overcome Someday!”). Directed by Izutsu Kazuyuki and released in 2005, this award-winning film looks at prejudice in Japanese society by following the romance between a mainstream Japanese boy and a cute but tough-as-nails Zainichi girl in Tokyo in 1974. 118 minutes.
Echoes from the Miike Mine. Directed by Kumagai Hiroko, this film tells the history of the Miike Coal Mine, the largest mine in Japan, which ceased operations on March 30, 1997. Kumagai interviewed over 70 individuals, men and women, including Koreans who were forcibly brought to Japan. The film not only explores Miike’s past but also encourages viewers think about the future, about what it means to work and to live courageously. The film received several awards in 2006, including the Japan Congress of Journalists Prize. 103 minutes.
Mapping the Future, Nishinari (未来世紀: 西成; Mirai seiki, Nishinari). Directed by Tanaka Yukio and Yamada Tetsuo. The Nishinari district in Osaka is home to one of Japan's largest and most famous concentrations of day laborers, with much of the population being composed of homeless persons, Burakumin, former yakuza, and Korean-Japanese. Filmed over two years, this documentary follows Mr. Suzuki, who was once on the verge of becoming homeless himself, as he works at the Life Support Office, an NPO that helps the homeless with medical treatment, accommodations, and employment. Composed of interviews with Suzuki, the NPO staff, and the residents of Nishinari, the film explores stereotypes of Nishinari held by outsiders; the complex history of the district, including rare archival footage of the 1961 Kamagazaki Riot; and the voices of the people themselves. It was voted as the third best documentary of 2007 in the Kinema Junpo poll of critics. 53 minutes.
Our School (Uri hakkyo; 우리학교). Directed by Kim Myeong-jun (also romanized as Kim Myung-jun) and released in 2007, this documentary follows a group of Zainichi Korean students through a year at a school run by the pro-North Korea General Association of Korean Residents. Voted Best Korean Independent film of 2007. 131 minutes.