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A Study on Ryōtarō Shiba’s Gaze toward Korea as Represented in Kara no Kuni Kikō (「韓の国紀行」)

  • Journal of the Association of Korean Geographers
  • Abbr : JAKG
  • 2018, 7(3), pp.363-386
  • DOI : 10.25202/JAKG.7.3.8
  • Publisher : Association of Korean Geographers
  • Research Area : Social Science > Geography
  • Received : November 2, 2018
  • Accepted : December 6, 2018

Lee, Dong-min 1

1가톨릭관동대학교 지리교육과

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study aims to analyze the gaze toward Korea represented in Kara no Kuni Kikō (「韓の国紀行」), a piece of travel literature written by Ryōtarō Shiba. To conduct the analysis, 377 geographic concepts were deduced from the text of Kara no Kuni Kikō. Keywords from each place or region where Ryōtarō Shiba visited were extracted from the geographic concepts and were then constructed into semantic networks, through which the characteristics of the gazes toward those places were analyzed. Contextual and sophisticated meanings of the semantic networks were interpreted using the method of phenomenology. The interpretation was based on the theories of tourist gaze, developed by John Urry, and postcolonial geography. The characteristics of Ryōtarō Shiba’s gaze toward Korea as represented in Kara no Kuni Kikō are as follows: First, anthropological gaze was the majority among the gazes toward places and landscapes of Korea represented in Kara no Kuni Kikō. The main motivation of Ryōtarō Shiba’s travel to Korea was a kind of anthropological motivation to find the origin of Japanese people and Japanese ancient history. Moreover, he gazed at places and landscapes of Korea as a spatial representation of the origin of Japanese people and Japanese ancient history. Second, Kara no Kuni Kikō represented a romantic gaze toward the honest and kind-hearted Korean people and the rural landscape. Third, the gazes toward Korea represented in Kara no Kuni Kikō implied complex meanings from the perspective of postcolonial geographies. More concretely, the gazes were a mixture of respect for Korean society and culture and a negatively distorted orientalist gaze. Ryōtarō Shiba is a so-called “Japanese national writer” with a great influence on the Japanese people, and the characteristics of his outsider’s gaze are probably indicative of a gaze common to the Japanese people rather than of his own private gaze. Therefore, Ryōtarō Shiba’s gaze toward Korea represented in Kara no Kuni Kikō holds significant literary geographical meanings. The results of this study suggest the need for further research on the characteristics of Japanese people’s gazes toward Korea as well as that represented in Japanese literature.

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