Gender and Labour in Korea and Japan
Edited by Ruth Barraclough, Elyssa Faison
Routledge – 2009 – 166 pages
Series: ASAA Women in Asia Series
Bringing together for the first time sexual and industrial labour as the means to understand gender, work and class in modern Japan and Korea, this book shows that a key feature of the industrialisation of these countries was the associated development of a modern sex labour industry. Tying industrial and sexual labour together, the book opens up a range of key questions: In what economy do we place the labour of the former "comfort women"? Why have sex workers not been part of the labour movements of Korea and Japan? Why is it difficult to be "working-class" and "feminine"? What sort of labour hierarchies operate in hostess clubs? How do financial crises translate into gender crises? This book explores how sexuality is inscribed in working-class identities and traces the ways in which sexual and labour relations have shaped the cultures of contemporary Japan and Korea. It addresses important historical episodes such as the Japanese colonial industrialisation of Korea, wartime labour mobilisation, women engaged in forced sex work for the Japanese army throughout the Asian continent, and issues of ethnicity and sex in the contemporary workplace. The case studies provide specific examples of the way gender and work have operated across a variety of contexts, including Korean shipyard unions, Japanese hostess clubs, and the autobiographical literature of Korean factory girls. Overall, this book provides a compelling account of the entanglement of sexual and industrial labour throughout the twentieth century, and shows clearly how ideas about gender have contributed in fundamental ways to conceptions of class and worker identities.
"This edited volume is a marvelous text in terms of understanding gendered labour in Japan and South Korea." - Jesook Song, Pacific Affairs: Volume 83, No. 4 – December 2010
"Women are often divided by their gender roles in traditional societies. They must choose to either erase their gender or maintain their femininity; and between their reproductive role and being objects of male sexual pleasure, cast as either mothers and wives or as prostitutes. Women’s role as industrial workers hangs in the balance between the two. In closely examining this divide and the experiences of the women who exist within it, this book makes a significant contribution to both gender studies and studies of labour history." Maho Toyoda, Kansai University, Asian Studies Review
1: Introduction: The entanglement of sexual and industrial labour - Ruth Barraclough and Elyssa Faison 2: Sexing class: "The Prostitute" in Japanese proletarian literature - Heather Bowen-Struyk 3: Gender and Korean labour in wartime Japan - Elyssa Faison 4: Military prostitution and women’s sexual labour in Japan and Korea - Chunghee Sarah Soh 5: Slum romance in Korean factory girl literature - Ruth Barraclough 6: Shipyard women and the politics of gender: a case study of the KSEC yard in South Korea - Hwasook Nam 7: The frailty of men: the redemption of masculinity in the Korean labour movement - Jong Bum Kwon 8: Gender and ethnicity at work: Korean "hostess" club Rose in Japan - Haeng-ja Sachiko Chung
Ruth Barraclough teaches modern Korean history and literature at the Australian National University. She is currently working on her book: Korean Factory Girls: Capitalism and the Seductions of Literature. Elyssa Faison is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma and the author of Managing Women: Disciplining Labour in Modern Japan. Her current research interests include issues of citizenship and national belonging in imperial and postwar Japan.