Into the Light: An Anthology of Literature by Koreans  in Japan
240pp. October 2010
Into the Light: An Anthology of Literature by Koreans in Japan
Editor: Wender, Melissa L.;
Into the Light is the first anthology to introduce the fiction of Japan’s Korean community (Zainichi Koreans) to the English-speaking world. The collection brings together works by many of the most important Zainichi Korean writers of the twentieth century, from the colonial-era "Into the Light" (1939) by Kim Sa-ryang to "Full House" (1997) by Yu Miri, one of contemporary Japan’s most acclaimed and popular authors.

Although diverse in style and subject matter, all of the stories gathered in this volume ask a single consuming question: What does it mean to be Korean in Japan? Some stories record their contemporary milieu, while others focus on internal turmoil or document social and legal discrimination. More generally, they consider the relationship of Korean ethnicity to sexuality, family, culture, politics, and history. Thus the stories provide a fascinating window into the human experience of modernity in Japan and Korea, not only enabling us to track the ways in which grand concepts such as nation, language, empire, economy, and gender have shaped the human imagination, but also entreating us to ask how individual authors have sought to provide insight—or even guidance—on the path that grand history might follow.

The volume includes stories by Chong Ch’u-wol, Kim Ch’ang-saeng, Kim Hak-yong, Kim Sa-ryang, Kim Tal-su, Noguchi Kakuchu, Yi Yang-ji, and Yu Miri.

“This most welcome anthology is the first in English to concentrate on the literature written by Koreans in Japan. . . . It is high time that the artistic output of this community was given its due and Melissa Wender has with this anthology provided a solid building block in that direction.” —Seoul Journal of Korean Studies (24:2, 2011)

“The well-structured introductions to each writer give the reader a clear sense of the ways in which these writers blend multiple languages in their work. From stories emphasizing issues raised by minority status to stories containing no references to ethnicity whatsoever, this anthology provides a valuable window into Zainichi Korean literature.” —Korean Quarterly (October 2011)

"This groundbreaking anthology is urgently needed. It will be of particular interest to the growing numbers of English-language readers wanting to know about the experiences of migrants and minorities. The high-quality translations will also be useful in the classroom in a number of fields including Japanese literature and history, comparative literature, gender studies, and diaspora studies." —Steve Rabson, professor emeritus, Brown University

"These translations by a group of talented scholars are essential for the study and teaching of both modern Japanese and modern Korean literature, particularly as they challenge notions of literary nationalism. The collection could be used effectively in fields such as history, anthropology, and cultural studies, and makes a valuable contribution to the study of minority experiences in Japan." —Edward Mack, University of Washington

Editor: Wender, Melissa L.;
Melissa L. Wender has taught at Bates College, Tufts University, and Harvard University and is currently an independent scholar based in Boston.
Read the introduction (PDF).
Note on Translations

Melissa L. Wender

Into the Light (1939)
Kim Sa-ryang

In the Shadow of Mount Fuji (1951)
Kim Tal-su

Foreign Husband (1958)
Noguchi Kakuchu

Frozen Mouth, chapters one and two (1966)
Kim Hak-yong

Thee Korean Women I Love (1974)
Testament (1984)
Name: For Pak Ch’u-ja (1984)
Chong Ch’u-wol

Koku (1984)
Yi Yang-ji

Crimson Fruit (1988)
Kim Ch’ang-saeng

Full House (1997)
Yu Miri

Additional Readings on Zainichi Korean Literature 221