Re Jane: A Novel

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2016-12-26 02:27Z by Steven

Re Jane: A Novel

Pamela Dorman Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
352 Pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0525427407
Paperback ISBN: 978-0143107941

Patricia Park


For Jane Re, half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, Jane toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops and nineteenth–century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed’s blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind.

Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is. Re Jane is a bright, comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just out of obligation to others, but for one’s self.

Journeying from Queens to Brooklyn to Seoul, and back, this is a fresh, contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre and a poignant Korean American debut.

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Biracial Identity Development: A Case of Black-Korean Biracial Individuals in Korea

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2016-11-26 22:23Z by Steven

Biracial Identity Development: A Case of Black-Korean Biracial Individuals in Korea

International Journal Multicultural Education
Volume 18, Number 3 (2016)
pages 40-57
DOI: 10.18251/ijme.v18i3.1193

Hyein Amber Kim, Lecturer in Korean Language
University of Washington

This study examines two cases of Black-Korean biracial individuals and 4 Black-Korean biracial public figures who were playing influential roles in South Korea (Yoon Mi-Rae, Hines Ward, Insooni, and Moon Taejong). The purpose of this study was to understand how Black-Korean biracial individuals construct their identities, how they navigate various identity options, and how they understand experiences they have in South Korea that are significant to their identity development. This study raises a number of issues in the Korean context where the ideology of a “pureblood” Korean race still prevails, and biracial Koreans continue to face implications of racism and colorism.

Read the entire article here.

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Eyes Wide Cut: The American Origins of Korea’s Plastic Surgery Craze

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-08-17 02:16Z by Steven

Eyes Wide Cut: The American Origins of Korea’s Plastic Surgery Craze

The Wilson Quarterly
Fall 2015

Laura Kurek

South Korea’s obsession with cosmetic surgery can be traced back to an American doctor, raising uneasy questions about beauty standards.

At sixteen stories high, the doctor’s office looms over the neon-colored metropolis. Within the high-rise, consultation offices, operating rooms, and recovery suites occupy most floors. Additional floors house a dental clinic, a rooftop lounge, and apartments for long-term stays. This is Beauty Korea (BK), a one-stop, full-service plastic surgery facility in the heart of Seoul, South Korea.

South Korea has an obsession with plastic surgery. One in five South Korean women has undergone some type of cosmetic procedure, compared with one in twenty in the United States. With plastic surgery’s staggering rise in popularity, an attractive physical appearance is now the sine qua non for a successful career. Undergoing surgery to achieve an employable face in South Korea is just as commonplace as going to the gym in America.

The most popular surgery is Asian blepharoplasty, the process of changing the Asian eyelid, commonly referred to as the “monolid,” into a double eyelid. The second is rhinoplasty, or a nose job. The prevalence of these two procedures, especially the “double-eyelid” operation, has led to a delicate question: Are South Koreans are seeking to westernize their appearance? Cosmetic surgeons and scholars tread lightly around the issue. Some argue that Western culture — a broad and imperfect term — cannot claim “big eyes” as unique to its definition of beauty. Others note that only 50 percent of the Asian population is born with monolids. Some practitioners, including Dr. Hyuenong Park of OZ Cosmetic Clinic and Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Kenneth Steinsapir, deny altogether that double-eyelid surgery is intended to make its recipient appear more Western.

The story of an American surgeon in the postwar Korea of the 1950s, however, suggests otherwise…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracial families socially excluded

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-04-26 20:28Z by Steven

Multiracial families socially excluded

The Korean Times

Kim Bo-eun

Multiracial family members in Korea have become more stabilized but continue to feel isolated due to obstacles in building relationships with locals, a survey shows.

According to a Statistics Korea’s survey of 17,849 multiracial households here, more immigrant brides and naturalized Koreans have trouble befriending Koreans than in 2012, when the last survey was conducted.

More than 30 percent of the respondents said they lacked social ties — they did not have anyone with whom they could discuss problems they need help with, or enjoy pastimes and spend their leisure time with.

More respondents said they felt lonely. And perhaps due to the lack of acquaintances and friends around them with whom they could share information, they also were found to have greater problems in raising their children here.

Trouble with relationships was not only limited to mothers with foreign backgrounds — the children were also found to have trouble finding close friends…

Read the entire article here.

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Unpublished Black Asian History

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2016-03-11 01:36Z by Steven

Unpublished Black Asian History

Grits and Sushi: my musings on okinawa, race, militarization, and blackness

Mitzi Uehara Carter

This photo captures a quiet story of a multicultural South, black philanthropy, transpacific militarism and its hauntings, the organizing strength of of Black women, and the power of Black journalism and photography. How does this one photo tell me about all these things?

First, I have to explain what inspired me to dig this picture out of an old album…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-Race Korean Adoptees Use DNA to Search For Roots

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2016-03-03 01:51Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Korean Adoptees Use DNA to Search For Roots

NBC News

Young Jin Kim

Sarah Savidakis, 55, lived in South Korea until she was nine years old, at which time she was adopted by a Connecticut family.

For Savidakis, who says she has grappled with the effects of early childhood trauma, memories of her life in Korea — including those of her birth mother — vanished around the time she arrived in the United States in 1970.

“I have some flashbacks here and there,” Savidakis, who lives in Tarpon Springs, Florida, told NBC News. “But to this day, my mother is [like] a ghost or a silhouette.”

Savidakis is among the thousands of mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the Korean War to American or U.N. soldier fathers and Korean mothers — many of whom were adopted into American families.

Seeking information about her birth parents, Savidakis in September tested her DNA through a commercial genealogy service and identified a first cousin, once removed. The relative helped her identify and connect with a half-brother and half-sister. She learned that her father — who was of Scottish and Irish descent — had passed away in 2014…

Read the entire here.

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Korean TV networks move to oust discrimination against gender, race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2015-10-19 19:33Z by Steven

Korean TV networks move to oust discrimination against gender, race

The Korean Herald

Claire Lee

A much-criticized scene from MBC’s “Three Wheels,” where two female comedians appeared in blackface in 2012. Photo: MBC Screengrab

In 2012, South Korea’s public broadcaster MBC sparked outrage among international viewers when it aired a segment of two Korean female comedians in blackface on its comedy show “Three Wheels.”

The show received mounting criticism, mostly from overseas viewers, who claimed the particular scene was blatantly racist. The producer of the show eventually offered a public apology, explaining the two women were simply parodying Michol — a black male character featured in Korea’s hugely popular 1987 TV animated series “Dooly the Little Dinosaur.”

Regardless of the intention, many critics argued the scene was undoubtedly insensitive and discriminatory against blacks. While appearing in blackface, the two comedians sang “Shintoburi,” a 1999 Korean pop song that praises Korean heritage and culture, specifically mentioning kimchi and soybean paste.”I did not think it was funny. What were they thinking?” an international viewer said in a YouTube video she posted to criticise the show…

…Korea’s concept of “multicultural families” in particular was often used in the local media to convey negative connotations of foreign workers and migrant wives from Southeast Asia, said UN expert Mutuma Ruteere, who also urged Korea to enact a wide-ranging antidiscrimination law.

In a report submitted to Ruteere last year, local activist Jung Hye-sil pointed out the term “mixed-blood” was still being used frequently by the Korean media when referring to multiracial individuals, in spite of the UN committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s 2007 recommendation that Korea end the use of the particular expression. The committee also urged the Korean public to overcome the notion that the country is “ethnically homogeneous” back in 2007.

According to Jung’s report, however, a total of 1,287 Korean news reports — from both print and broadcast outlets — used the term “mixed-blood” when referring to multiracial individuals from 2012-2014. Jung also addressed that a number of these reports were favourable toward those with a Caucasian parent, notably by praising their physical attractiveness.

The report also pointed out that the Korean media unnecessarily differentiates between multiracial children and children of foreign-born immigrants who are not ethnically Korean.

For example, a news segment aired by MBC in 2012 used the term “mixed-blood multicultural children” when delivering information that Korean-born children of migrant wives are more likely to receive education in Korea than children immigrants who were born overseas.

“The discourse of ethnic homogeneity based on the notion of ‘pure blood’ has been causing discrimination in the form of social exclusion by placing restrictions on the lives of the multiracial population in Korea, as they are seen as a threat to Korea’s ‘pure bloodline,'” Jung wrote in her report, noting that the very first children who were sent overseas for foreign adoption in 1954 from Korea were mixed-race children born to African-American soldiers and Korean women…

Read the entire article here.

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Desiring biracial whites: cultural consumption of white mixed-race celebrities in South Korean popular media

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2015-08-18 20:05Z by Steven

Desiring biracial whites: cultural consumption of white mixed-race celebrities in South Korean popular media

Media Culture & Society
Volume 37, Number 6 (September 2015)
pages 937-947
DOI: 10.1177/0163443715593050

Ji-Hyun Ahn, Assistant Professor of Communication
University of Washington

Contextualizing the rise in white mixed-race celebrities and foreign entertainers from the perspective of the globalization of Korean popular culture, this article aims to look at how Korean media appropriates whiteness as a marker of global Koreanness. Specifically, the article utilizes Daniel Henney, a white mixed-race actor and celebrity who was born to a Korean adoptee mother and an Irish-American father, as an anchoring text. Analyzing how Henney’s image as upper-class, intelligent, and cosmopolitan constructs what whiteness means to Koreans, the study asserts that Henney’s (cosmopolitan) whiteness is not a mere marker of race, but a neoliberal articulation of a particular mode of Koreanness. This study not only participates in a dialog with the current scholarship of mixed-race studies in media/communication but also links the recent racial politics in contemporary Korean media to the larger ideological implications of racial globalization.

Read or purchase article here.

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Kang Soo-il’s drugs ban ruins inspirational tale for mixed-race Koreans

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive on 2015-08-13 20:49Z by Steven

Kang Soo-il’s drugs ban ruins inspirational tale for mixed-race Koreans

The Guardian

John Duerden, Asian football correspondent

The striker with an American GI father was on the verge of a dream debut for South Korea after a lifetime struggle against discrimination when he tested positive for an anabolic steroid he blamed on moustache-growing cream

Claiming that you have failed a drug test because of the application of moustache-growing cream is sure to amuse and there are plenty of internet memes of Kang Soo-il with facial hair that would put Dick Dastardly to shame. But it really wasn’t that funny and ended a football dream that meant more than most. Few players had gone through such hardships to appear for their national team but just hours before it was actually, finally, going to happen for the South Korean, the negative news of the positive test result came through.

Instead of leading the line for his country at the start of qualification for the 2018 World Cup, Kang is banned for much of the season, his international career likely over before it started…

Read the entire article here.

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Homeland Tour for Biracial Adoptees

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-18 16:47Z by Steven

Homeland Tour for Biracial Adoptees


Katherine Kim

Dawn Tomlinson

photographs by Denis Jeong

International adoption began in South Korea in 1953, as thousands of Korean children were left parentless and/or homeless by the Korean War, while many others were born to Korean women and fathered by American GIs or soldiers from one of 16 UN countries stationed in the country. Late last year, the Me & Korea Foundation and MBC Nanum hosted the first-ever homeland tour of Korea tailored for mixed-race adoptees. The co-authors were two of the 25 participants on the 10-day-long tour, which was funded by Korean Adoption Services, the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Jesus Love Presbyterian Church in Seoul. The following is a personal reflection of the authors’ experience returning to their birth country.

As half-Korean, half-white adoptees who came to the U.S. as toddlers more than 50 years ago, we were raised in white communities by white parents having little to no understanding of our Korean roots. A Korea homeland tour tailored to mixed-race adoptees, we believed, was a start to understanding this painful chapter in our personal histories.

For adoptees as a whole, a visit to Korea is more than about just travel and tourism. It can trigger profound feelings of loss and rejection. For mixed-race adoptees born during the post-Korean War era, those feelings are further complicated by the fact that we look neither fully Korean nor fully Western, and are a minority among more than 200,000 Korean adoptees worldwide.

While Korean War orphans were cast as “nobodies,” having lost their family lineage, mixed-race children fathered by American GIs or other UN soldiers during the war were thought of as even more inferior—we were known as tuigi, slang for “devil’s child.” We were labeled the “dust of the streets,” the lowest of the low. Within that bottom hierarchy even, Korean whites were treated better than Korean blacks.

Regardless of the nationality of our fathers, most mixed-race adoptees were born stateless, as our Korean mothers, often abandoned by these servicemen, could not confer citizenship onto us.

We were, and still are, the in-betweens…

Read the entire article here.

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