Zainichi, Mobility, and Jeju Island: On the Representation of Island in the Novels of Kim Sokpom and Lee Yangji

Myungsim Yang: Konkuk University

Published Date: Apr 22, 2024 | Accepted Date: Apr 22, 2024 | Submitted Date: Apr 22, 2024


During the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945), about a quarter of Jeju residents moved to Japan to escape their hardships, as Jeju Island’s industry was inferior to the inland area. In light of this, about 60% of Osaka Zainichi Koreans are deemed from Jeju Island. Against this backdrop, the meaning and symbol of Jeju Island, respectively, are well embodied in novels written by Jeju people who moved to Japan. For them (i.e., Koreans living in Japan), Jeju Island is not only their homeland but also a place where they have painful memories. In addition, Jeju Island means their own identities itself since they are in a minority group in Japan. Many Zainichi writers who were born on Jeju Island and moved to Japan or were born in Japan regard Jeju Island as their hometown. Thus, this paper will explore well-known writers who dealt with “Jeju Island” as their subject matter by dividing them into generations. Specifically, Kim Sok-pom’s Death of a Crow (1957) deals with the restoration of a tragic historical site based on the 4.3 incident; Lee Yangji’s Haenyeo (Female Divers, 1983) sublimates the fundamental anxiety and fear inherent in the existence of Zainichi into the image of a female diver “in the water.” Jeju Island, as an internal colony, has a meaning as a “collective space” that heals the collective memories of the people of Jeju who have fought against and resisted external violence. The analysis of these works intend to shed light on how the space of Jeju Island in Zainichi Korean literature was reconstructed in a complex way as it became one with historical records and personal memories throughout generations.


Jeju Island, Kim Sok-pom, Lee Yangji, Mobility, Zainichi, Zainichi Korean Literature

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Kritika Kultura
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Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)