Chapter 10 Challenging the Myth of Homogeneity: Immigrant Writing in Japan

In: Immigrant and Ethnic-Minority Writers since 1945
Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt
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The chapter begins by stating that, despite the presence of immigrant writers in Japan, the term ‘immigrant literature’ is exclusively used to refer to immigrant literatures in foreign countries. In contrast, the literature written by minority authors inside Japan is usually categorised according to the authors’ ethnic origin. The chapter argues that the absence of a generic term pointing to the writers’ migration experience can be related to both the heterogeneity of this relatively small group of writers, as well as to Japan’s generally rejective stance towards immigration. Both factors also explain the comparatively little scholarly attention that minority literatures have attracted so far. The chapter’s main focus is on the literature of ethnic Koreans in Japan, which dates back to the colonial period (1910–45) and which, thanks to its literary importance, has been studied since around 1980. In addition, recent trends in research on first-generation foreign-born authors are outlined.

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