Edited by Jongtae Lim and Francesca Bray
Ron P. Toby
Sinitic Poetry (Kanshi) from the Japanese Court, Eighth to the Twelfth Centuries
Edited by Judith N. Rabinovitch and Timothy R. Bradstock
After the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, the social status of the Chinese in Korea changed dramatically, and so did their image. They were viewed as the nationals of the superior country beforehand, but were considered “unruly,” “uncivilized,” “barbaric,” and “unsanitary and dirty” thereafter. This research aims to explore how and why this reversal of image happened by focusing on the reportages of the Independent from 1896 to 1899. The Independent, or Tongnip Sinmun, was one of the modern newspapers influenced by the Western civilization. Published fully in Korean, the Independent was meant to enlighten the Korean multitudes by reporting the situation of the nation to the general public. From 1896 to 1899, the Chinese were put in a position of “nationals without treaty,” which led to the fall of their status in Korea due to lack of protection of their country. Their image was further damaged because of the rise of Korean nationalism, which was elaborated along with the modernization. By examining the Chinese in Korea at the end of 19th century and the change of their image, this research tries to illustrate an intensive case of “Othering,” (that is, the birth of the Overseas Chinese) for the reason that they were considered to be not only superior, but also “Us” in the Hua-Yi system（華夷體系）before the War, and foreigners because of the Korean nationalism.
Based on the three essays in the present issue, this introduction aims to offer a key for the search of breakthrough in the studies of Overseas Chinese by constructing a table with two axes, the unity of analysis and the autonomy of the actor. Therefore, the table not only positions the three essays, and explains their contributions with reference to the field, but also highlights the importance of reflexivity in the studies of Overseas Chinese. This academic enterprise concerns the immigrant, which stands at the core of political debate. Moreover, it concentrates on the Chinese whose identity is particularly delicate because of China’s dramatic fall and remarkable rise in the modern time. As a result, the reflexivity offers a key to face the nationalist sentiment, against and for China, and plays a role for a better communication, both in science and in politics, in a more and more diversified world.
This is a factual story of an academic journey of three-decades told by the author about how she thrived in her research on Chinese Overseas in Europe. The author was among few academics from prc who went to study in Amsterdam in the mid-1980s. Ill-prepared and bewildered, she received help from Chinese Overseas. The experience marked the beginning of her life-long academic interest in Chinese Overseas. She was trained as a historian at Xiamen University specializing in Chinese in Indonesia for her ma, and she completed her doctoral degree in sociology at the University of Amsterdam specializing in Chinese migrants in Europe. She spent years conducting field work to study Chinese communities in different European countries. She became a Professor at Xiamen University, China, and published many papers and books on Chinese in Europe.
Tan Kah Kee, an overseas Chinese, was not only a political leader but also an educator in Modern China and Southeast Asia. He devoted his life to Chinese education and social enlightenment, and founded Jimei School and Amoy (Xiamen) University during the 1920s-30s. As an overseas Chinese with strong national and local identity, he advocated a new type of education as a strategy for social improvement. He also created a hybrid architectural style known as yangzhuang wanmao (western dress with a Chinese round hat) which can be described as a British colonial building with Minan (southern Fujian) influence. This paper discusses the tangible and intangible cultural heritage left by Tan Kah Kee, using the examples of Jimei School Village founded by Tan and the space of the Ao Yuan burial site in his hometown. First, I will introduce the background of his growth and the process of his immigration overseas. Then, I will analyze the establishment of Jimei School Village and the construction of the campus. In addition, the “view of museology” exhibited by Tan Kah Kee’s cemetery, Ao Yuan, was used to analyze the educational enlightenment that he pursued throughout his life. Finally, through the discussion of Tan’s cultural heritage, I analyze the contribution of his modernity project and its deficiency.