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Research Seminar No.184, 22 January 2018
16:30-, The Interdivisional Education and Research Building, 5th Floor
「Koreans of the South Sea Islands: The Copra industry and the Koreans in Yap Island during the Japanese Period」
CHO, Sung Youn (Research Center for the Pacific Islands, Kagoshima University: Jeju National University)
The objective of the present research is to investigate into the history of a Korean family who lived in Yap Island of the South Sea Islands during the Japanese colonial period. By investigating into the Japanese community that lived in Yap Island which was one of the main islands in the South Sea Islands, I will provide a review of adaptive strategy of Koreans who were part of the community.
The person that I interviewed was Doosung Ko, who lives in Jeju Island in Korea now. He was born in 1934 at Yap Island, lived there until he was 7 years old, and returned to Jeju Island in 1940.
Father Myeongryoe Ko was born in 1902, opened a store, and engaged in the work of collecting Copra from the locals. Ko went around the island to collect coconuts. In the late 1930s, he opened hospital and restaurant in Yap Island and became a successful businessman who rubbed shoulders with Japanese. In 1940, he came back to Jeju Island and escaped the pacific war.
Meanwhile, Hwang Young-sam, who lived on the island of Satawal Island, and collected Copra by mobilizing residents. He was killed by the villagers, and after that event, Hijikata Hisakatsu entered the island with his disciples, and acts as a Copra collector on the other hand, as an artist, as a folk scholar.
The two cases show me about Koreans activities how to engage in commercial activities, unlike those of the Koreans who were forcefully mobilized during the Pacific War. It would have been possible for the Korean people to gain recognition in their own networks by gaining recognition from the Japanese community in order to succeed in the South Sea Islands.
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