Abstract

This article examines the intersection of kokugo (national language) ideology and the kōminka (imperialization) movement in the early 1940s through the juxtaposition of two key texts: the Japanese-language story “Hikari no naka ni” (“Into the Light,” 1939), written by the Korean writer Kim Saryang and nominated for the Akutagawa Prize in 1940; and the essay “Chōsen ni okeru kokugo seisaku oyobi kokugo kyōiku no shōrai” (“National Language Policies in Korea and the Future of National Language Education,” 1942), written by the prominent Japanese linguist Tokieda Motoki. The article argues that while Tokieda’s pro-kōminka essays and Kim Saryang’s story of mixed ethnic identity may seem to convey divergent messages, both authors rely upon—and simultaneously abject— the figure of the mother, as well as the fissured relations of gender, class, and ethnicity embodied by her.

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