Expression of voices, identities, and faith: Oral histories of Korean Christians and their experiences with the Japanese

Michael Young-Suk Oh, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This study examines the experiences and attitudes of Korean Christians who lived under the Japanese occupation of Korea. Of particular interest are the formation and development of various aspects of identity (particularly national and religious) and how these dynamics influence subjects' attitudes, actions, and reactions. Related to these issues are the expression of voice and the role of religious faith in overcoming oppressive circumstances. ^ The research centers upon an investigation of what factors influenced the identity formation and development of Christians who lived under the Japanese occupation of Korea in addition to discerning what role religious faith and national identity play in their attitudes and actions towards the Japanese during the occupation period and up to present day. ^ The main research methodology is the collection of oral histories through interviews that give voice to heretofore untold stories of considerable historical significance. Subjects are either Koreans who are missionaries in Japan studying at Christ Bible Institute or Koreans currently living in America and attending a Korean-American church. The research lens and tool for examination of data is narrative and discourse analysis informed primarily by the works of Mikhail Bakhtin, Mark Freeman, and Stanton Wortham. Primary focus is upon the process of identity construction through narrative, the dialogic nature of linguistic production, and narrative performance. ^ I argue that in the presentation of their life stories and experiences under the Japanese occupation, the research subjects represent their identities as resilient and divinely blessed with both nationalistic and faith dynamics contributing to their actions and perspectives towards the Japanese and their conceptualization of their past, present, and future. ^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Anthropology, Cultural|History, Asia, Australia and Oceania

Recommended Citation

Michael Young-Suk Oh, "Expression of voices, identities, and faith: Oral histories of Korean Christians and their experiences with the Japanese" (January 1, 2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3260960.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3260960

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