In 2010, E. Taylor Atkins published his book Primitive Selves: Koreana in Japanese Colonial Gaze, 1910-1945, seeking to make sense of the seemingly recent Japanese enthusiasm for Korean culture. As a historian of modern Japanese and Korean cultural history who focuses mainly on transnational popular culture, Atkins sought to prove that the twenty-first century South Korean, or hallyu, wave is not without historical precedent. This book positions itself within historical Japanese Imperial scholarship, focusing on cultural history rather than military or policy. Instead of concentrating on how the Japanese Imperial gaze of Korean culture shaped Korea through the imposition of Japanese culture onto the colonies, Atkins instead emphasises how the Japanese gaze on the Korean peninsula worked to shape the identity of the metropole, highlighting the importance of transnational flows on the creation of Self. The result is an interesting view into the complexities in the current and historical cultural connections between Japan and the Korean peninsula. Primitive Selves (2010), offers the reader a comprehensive and well researched look into the historical Japanese fascination with the Korean culture and traditions, something that continues to be relevant in an increasingly globalised world.
In his very detailed introduction, Atkins explains [...]
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