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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.64, No.2, 219 ~ 239, 2018
No-Yong Park’s Passing as Political Gestures
Heui-yung Park
This essay examines the first-generation Korean American writer, No-Yong Park’s falsehoods about his ethnic identity to suggest how and why he passed for Chinese, and to explore the political, anti-Japanese implications of these actions. The essay first identifies erroneous information circulating about his biographical background, presents some other materials that help us better understand the context in which he forged his Chinese identity, and then examines how he represented himself as Chinese in his published works. I would argue that Park’s self-identification as Chinese was a resulting outcome of his naturalization caused by the Japanese colonial power in Korea and also one of his surviving strategies in the racist environment within American society. Looking at some of his works―including Making a New China (1929), An Oriental View of American Civilization (1934), Chinaman’s Chance: Autobiography (1940)―and examining how he represented Korea and its people reveal how he tried to raise voice for them. By doing so, this essay illuminates Park’s resistance to Japan’s colonial discourse and power in Korea while revealing his lifetime passing as Chinese―far from his refusal to belong to the Korean community, or to acknowledge being Korean.
Key Words
autobiography, Chinaman’s Chance, identity, Korean American, No-Yong Park
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