epilogue
e
The moment of liberation from the Japanese in 1945 was overshadowed by
violence on a scale comparable to the 1931 riots. Assaults, lootings, and a
new round of displacement once again exposed the dream of Koreans for a
stable social life as unsustainable.The violence signified the arbitrary nature
of the social relations that were consolidated through a patchwork of colo-
niallawsandpoliciesbutinstantlyvanishedwhentheforcessustainingthem
disappeared. The riots in both eras discharged Chinese antagonism toward
the Japanese and Koreans, whom Chinese perceived as the medium of Japa-
nese imperialism. As explored in this book, this national antagonism is fore-
grounded in its fragmented and antagonistic social relations, since the poli-
tics of nationality mediated and was shaped by market transactions of land
and labor.
Set on the day of liberation, ‘‘Dual Nationality’’ (Ijung kukcho ˘k), a short
story by Kim Manso ˘n published in 1948, encapsulates the colonial order
lodged in social
space.1
The story’s depiction of the abrupt dissolution of
colonial rule exposes the operations of social institutions of nationality and
private property through which colonial power domesticated the desires of
the colonized. At a glance, the story represents adaptation as a survival strat-
egy of a colonized subject living in the interstitial space between Chinese
nationalism and Japanese colonialism—a subject devoid of loyalty to any na-
tion. The protagonist, Elder Pak, appears to be an exceptional opportunist,
who, in order to improve his economic prospects, switches back and forth
between Chinese and Korean nationality (a pandoin,or ‘‘person’’ of the penin-
sula by which Japan referred to Koreans). But, more importantly, the story
signifies Elder Pak’s arduous struggle to safeguard his sovereignty over his
own labor, which is embodied in his land.
For Elder Pak, nationality is a tool for accumulating wealth. Before the
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