Two Dreams in One Bed

Empire, Social Life, and the Origins of the North Korean Revolution in Manchuria

Two Dreams in One Bed

Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society

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Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: 3 photos, 6 tables, 3 maps, 2 figures Published: November 2005

Author: Hyun Ok Park

Asian Studies > East Asia, History > Asian History, Sociology

Rethinking a key epoch in East Asian history, Hyun Ok Park formulates a new understanding of early-twentieth-century Manchuria. Most studies of the history of modern Manchuria examine the turbulent relations of the Chinese state and imperialist Japan in political, military, and economic terms. Park presents a compelling analysis of the constitutive effects of capitalist expansion on the social practices of Korean migrants in the region.

Drawing on a rich archive of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese sources, Park describes how Koreans negotiated the contradictory demands of national and colonial powers. She demonstrates that the dynamics of global capitalism led the Chinese and Japanese to pursue capitalist expansion while competing for sovereignty. Decentering the nation-state as the primary analytic rubric, her emphasis on the role of global capitalism is a major innovation for understanding nationalism, colonialism, and their immanent links in social space.

Through a regional and temporal comparison of Manchuria from the late nineteenth century until 1945, Park details how national and colonial powers enacted their claims to sovereignty through the regulation of access to land, work, and loans. She shows that among Korean migrants, the complex connections among Chinese laws, Japanese colonial policies, and Korean social practices gave rise to a form of nationalism in tension with global revolution—a nationalism that laid the foundation for what came to be regarded as North Korea’s isolationist politics.


“ [T]his book will be essential reading for all scholars of the history of Korea and Manchuria, and will be of immense interest to scholars who are interested in the comparative history of empire.” — Rana Mitter, American Historical Review

Two Dreams in One Bed is an important contribution to the scholarship of both imperial and post-imperial East Asia, and promotes the view of transnational and multiracial Manchuria that has been squarely based on global capitalism since the very beginning of the age of empire.” — Mariko Asano Tamanoi, Pacific Affairs

“[A] book to be welcomed by the specialist. . . . The student of Korean history will . . . be able to glean many nuggets of useful and interesting information...” — BAKS Online

“Drawing on Japanese, Korean, and Chinese sources, the author of this study provides an insight into an important, but little understood, chapter of modern East Asian history.” — Michael J. Seth, The Historian

“Hyun ok Park’s book . . . has carved out a critical space of research that advances much of the scholarship on colonial Manchuria while also offering historical and genealogical insights into problems of diasporic populations in the postcolonial, capitalist world.” — Ken C. Kawashima, Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History

“Hyun Ok Park’s book is a good example of deep and insightful research. It is a pioneering study which shakes some taboos, exposes ingrained misperceptions and introduces valuable new material. The book greatly increases our understanding of the social, economic, and political history of North East Asia between the two world wars.” — Andrewi Lankov, Acta Koreana

“Interspaced with narratives that capture the meanings of daily experiences, Park, exposes the socially conflicting conditions that gave rise to the North Korean ideology of self-reliance (chuch’e).” — Janice C.H. Kim, Left History

“The book is based on solid research, and the author uses archives in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. It represents a significant contribution to the revisionist historiography in South Korea and the growing literature on colonial Manchuria in the West.” — Xiaorong Han, Canadian Journal of History

“This is an ambitious work based on data in three East Asian languages—Chinese, Korean, Japanese—employing wide theoretical considerations ranging from Marxism to cultural studies.” — Han Suk-Jung, Korea Journal

“This is an important, path-breaking book for anyone interested in the histories of Korea, Manchuria, or North-East Asia.” — David Wolff, International History Review

“When we consider the ongoing migration of North Koreans into South Korea via China, and the social tensions lurking for Japanese people of Korean descent, Park's study helps clarify why these uneasy movements and wary assertions of identity continue to be anxiety-ridden, and how colonialism – while definitely a lived experience for its participants, willing or otherwise – achieves a long lifespan in the collective consciousness.” — May Caroline Chan, Interventions

"[F]ew have mastered the details of [the] Manchurian experience so thoroughly as Hyun Ok Park." — John Feffer, Korean Quarterly

“Original, well written, and ambitious, this volume reframes our understanding of ‘the social’ in a new way. By emphasizing the ways in which the Korean diaspora served as a mechanism for extending Japanese empire and by attending to various organizations of agricultural production and the everyday signs of difference, Hyun Ok Park develops a deeply social account of historical capitalism that supplements, and challenges, conventional sensibilities of imperialism. Essential for Asian studies, but a critical read for historical sociology.” — Michael D. Kennedy, author of Cultural Formations of Postcommunism

“This is a terrific book, one that demonstrates social processes among the colonized under imperialist rule. By focusing on Koreans in Manchuria, Two Dreams in One Bed decenters the nation-state—Korea, China, or Japan—and imagines a regional history. It is a new kind of study that challenges us to recognize the historicity of our major conceptual categories, and it should help us formulate a post–Cold War East Asian studies.” — Stefan Tanaka, author of New Times in Modern Japan


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Price: $27.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Hyun Ok Park is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at New York University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

1. The Politics of Osmosis: Korean Migration and the Japanese Empire 24

2. Between Nation and Market 64

3. Agency of Japanese Imperialism 96

4. Multiethnic Agrarian Communities 124

5. Colonial Governmentality 162

6. The Specter of the Social: Socialist Internationalism, the Minsaengdan, and North Korea 198

Epilogue 231

Notes 241

Glossary 281

Bibliography 285

Index 303

Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3614-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3625-9
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