S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies (SJJS) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.7 no.1(2021)
Ethnic Education and Multicultural Coexistence in Zainichi Korean Literature: On Che Sil’s Jini no pazuru
- Lee, Youngho
- Issue Date
- Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.7 No.1, pp. 1-22
- This study analyzes the function and significance of Zainichi ethnic education in the era of multicultural coexistence through an exploration of Jini no pazuru (Jini’s Puzzle), a novel published in 2016 by Zainichi Korean author Che Sil, and its treatment of ethnic education. Against the backdrop of “Chosŏn schools” (Chōsen gakkō/Chosŏn hakkyo), which are Zainichi institutions of ethnic education, Jini no pazuru deals with multiple issues pertaining to Zainichi Koreans, including ethnic education, North Korea and the North Korean repatriation project, and anti-Korean sentiment. The novel focuses on Jini, a student at a Chosŏn school, and the personal turmoil she undergoes in her experience of this school. In particular, the novel highlights the difficulties faced by Zainichi Korean schoolchildren, who are doubly marginalized figures in Japanese society. In this process, the novel questions the function of ethnic education, and mounts a critique of North Korea and Japanese society at large. At the same time, by innovatively incorporating the geographical space of the US, it moves away from the cliché of existing Zainichi Korean literature, which usually tends to circle around the subjects of Japan, North Korea, and Zainichi Korean society. By creating a more generalized experience in a third country, the novel sheds new light on the place of the individual within the community. Jini no pazuru illuminates the significance of ethnic education by introducing this narrative framework. The work also highlights the role of Chosŏn schools and ethnic education by showing how Jini chooses a rebellious path. Furthermore, it sends a message to Japan as it enters an era of multicultural co-existence by making manifest the multilayered issues faced by Zainichi Koreans. Through these features, the novel communicates a sense of the problems faced by minority groups within Japanese society and demonstrates the immense potential of Zainichi Korean literature.