Nakajima's Colonial Mentality: Translation as Colonization in Colonial Korea


  • Emily Emiko McNeill Student


colonization, colonial Korea, originality


Colonization can be found in the national history of many peoples to this day. In 1910 when Japan began their colonization of Korea, they were late to the game that Western civilization had become systematically proficient. As a result of colonization’s dependence on representing the colonized as inferior; the act of translation became a tool for colonizing nations to cement their authority. It is in this way that the concept of originality becomes a metaphor for colonized nations becoming a translated copy to the colonizers original. Japan, like the colonizing nations before them, saw this connection and used translation to create a discourse that exemplifies Korea’s dependence on the Japanese original, as well as a strategy of control against resistance. Through his 1929 short story “Landscape with Patrolman: A Sketch of 1923”, Japanese writer Atsushi Nakajima mediates his mixed sense of colonized and colonizer through Korean patrolman and translator Cho who is forced to side with the colonizers while also being the colonized. By examining how translation has been used as a discourse for colonization and control, Nakajima’s text is seen as a rendition of his sympathies for the people Japan colonizes due to his own self-colonization, but also his ambivalence towards the ethics Japan’s colonial endeavors.