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During the many years it has taken for this book to be published, countless individuals and institutions have provided support and encouragement. It is only now that I am able to express in writing the deep gratitude for all that they have done. I am first of all grateful to my teachers and mentors who have nurtured me with their intellectual generosity and challenged me with their intellectual acumen. I am especially indebted to the late James Palais who unfortunately only had a chance to read the messy first draft of my dissertation leaving his iconic ample marginalia; the late Scott Swaner who, despite his weakened health, guided me through my defense—I am honored to have been his first Ph.D. student; and Tani Barlow and Chris Hamm who held me together emotionally and intellectually throughout graduate school at the University of Washington and in the postgraduate years as I have navigated through academia. I am grateful to Ann Sung-hi Lee who sparked my interest in colonial-period literature; as well as David Knechtges, Clark Sorensen, and Chandan Reddy who enabled me to explore different methods, fields, and theories. At Cornell University, Timothy Murray, Brett de Bary, and Amy Villarejo instilled confidence in me through their enthusiasm and constant encouragement even as I became missing in action. Torn between literature and medicine while an undergraduate student, Norma Field introduced me to East Asian literature while Elizabeth Alexander taught me about African American literature. They both showed me how powerful literature and language can be in healing ugly histories and pained human hearts. Without these teachers and mentors, I would not have known the value of literature and history nor would I have witnessed the impact a scholar-teacher can make on a student’s life.

I have been very fortunate to have worked with wonderful colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, Smith College, and Dickinson College. The late Cappy Hurst, Frank Chance, Linda Chance, Frederick Dickinson, and Ayako Kano welcomed a newly minted doctoral student and gave me time to develop various new courses on Korea. At Smith College and Five Colleges, Inc., I thank Lisa Armstrong, Floyd Cheung, Richard Chu, Miliann Kang, Jennifer Guglielmo, Michelle Joffroy, Jamie Hubbard, Maki Hubbard, Kim Kono, Jonathan Lipman, Stephen Miller, Tom Rohlich, and Marilyn Schuster for their collegiality, camaraderie, and confidence in me. My time at Dickinson College was like an incubator where I was able to work safely and productively with Alex Bates, Shawn Bender, Neil Diamant, Nan Ma, Rae Yang, and Evan Young. My current colleagues at the University of Oregon have been nothing but welcoming and they have offered me supportive guidance. I feel extremely fortunate to have joined Rachel DiNitto, Roy Chan, Maram Epstein, Alison Groppe, Luke Habberstad, Kaori Idemaru, Dong Hoon Kim, Woojoo Kim, Eun Young Lee, and Glynne Walley in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

Many colleagues in Korean studies as well as in other fields have inspired me with their distinguished research, tireless service to the field, and abundant support and friendship. I am indebted to the late Nancy Abelmann, and to Jinsoo An, Paul Barclay, Lung-chih Chang, Heekyoung Cho, Ellie Choi, Hyaeweol Choi, Kyeong-hee Choi, Evan Dawley, Henry Em, Bruce Fulton, William Gardner, Chris Hanscom, Todd Henry, Theodore Hughes, Kelly Jeong, Immanuel Kim, Yung Hee Kim, Ross King, Nayoung Aimee Kwon, Ji-Eun Lee, Jin-Kyung Lee, Namhee Lee, John Lie, Hyung-Gu Lynn, Sonia Ryang, Youngju Ryu, Sunyoung Park, Sam Perry, Janet Poole, Bert Scruggs, Serk-bae Suh, and John Treat. A brief mention of their names will not do justice for all the various ways they have contributed to the writing of this book. I am equally grateful to friends and colleagues whom I have met along this journey. Jun Hong, Larry Hunt, Benita Jackson, Stephen Halsey, Caroline Kim, Yoo Jung Kong, Janelle Olsen, Jin Peh, Sachi Schmidt-Hori, Trang Ta, Newell Ann Van Auken, Caroline Yang, and Byron Zamboanga for many stimulating conversations ranging from abstruse academic subjects to ordinary everyday affects. Ruth Chon, Chris and Vanessa Hanshaw, Han Lee, and Cynthia Kwee for affirming to me the endurance of human relationships and unconditional friendships that can collapse time and space whenever we meet.

The research for this book could not have been accomplished without the generous financial support from institutions, fellowships, and grants. The Korea Foundation Fellowships, Fulbright Fellowships, Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships, Korean Literature Translation Institute grant, Smith College Pickering Fellowship and Faculty Summer Research Grants, and Dickinson College Research and Development Grants enabled me to study languages, conduct archival research, and granted me time to write. Research in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan were greatly facilitated by my affiliations with Seoul National University, Academia Sinica, and Waseda University. I thank each one of these institutions and the many teachers and colleagues who have sharpened my understanding of early twentieth-century Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. My heartfelt thanks especially to Chon Woohyung, Cheon Jung-hwan, Kim Yang-Su, Kwon Youngmin, Seo Young-Chae, Shin Bum-Soon, Chen Fang-min, Michelle Hsieh, Peng Hsiao-yen, Yu Chien-ming, Ito Ruri, and Tarumi Chie for sharing their time, knowledge, and passion for their work with me. I extend my gratitude to Sharon Domier and Mikyung Kang, two librarians extraordinaire, who provided help with identifying and obtaining numerous sources.

Parts of Chapter 1 were previously published as “A Traveler’s Modernity: The Ordinariness of Everyday Space in Yi Sang’s Essays from Tokyo,” in Yi Sang Review 4 (2005), and excerpts have been taken from “Language, Commodity, and the City: Early Modern Korean Urban Literature,” in Seoul Journal of Korean Studies 16 (2003) for Chapter 2. I would like to acknowledge and thank these journals for permitting me to reprint these materials.

I am very grateful to the editors of the East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture series Zhang Longxi and Wiebke Denecke as well as Qin Higley and Lauren Bissonette at Brill for their patience and understanding as they guided the book to its completion. The meticulous copyediting of Mary Tong and Jon Wilcox at different stages of the manuscript has improved and clarified my writing immensely. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript for their extremely helpful suggestions and constructive remarks.

Last but not least, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my immediate and extended family in the U.S., Canada, Korea, and Japan for their unfailing patience, encouragement, and love. I am fortunate and blessed to be part of the large Kim, Lee, Koo, Yoon, and Sim families that include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and sibling from whom I receive tremendous amount of love. They have unwaveringly cheered me on throughout my life from near and far. Words of thanks so utterly lack the depth of gratitude I would like to express to them for sustaining me emotionally and materially. I am especially grateful to my late paternal grandmother Yoon Y.H. who exemplified being modern in her thinking, living, and style. She was the first one to reassure me it was really okay for me to choose literature over medicine. I thank my parents as well as my aunts and uncles from whom I inherited the love of books, telling stories, and an appreciation for the visual arts. It is from eavesdropping on their life stories told in a language other than English which first piqued my curiosity about Korea and Japan. Finally, I reserve the most profound gratitude for my daughter Ella and husband Changhoon, and to them I lovingly dedicate this book. Their wonderful sense of humor and contagious optimism nourishes me and brings me infinite amount of joy every day. Ella’s exclamation that this book is “as old as I am” and her command “it’s time, mommy, for your book to be sold on Amazon!” served as a stark motivator that this book needed to move on to the next phase. With that, I thank in advance my readers.

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