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The politics of transnational welfare citizenship : kin, state, and personhood among older Sakhalin Koreans Lim, Sungsook 2016

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       THE POLITICS OF TRANSNATIONAL WELFARE CITIZENSHIP: KIN, STATE, AND PERSONHOOD AMONG OLDER SAKHALIN KOREANS   by   SUNGSOOK LIM      A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY   in   The Faulty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Anthropology)     THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)     March 2016    © Sungsook Lim, 2016   ii  Abstract   This dissertation examines the return migration and the reconfiguration of personhood among older Sakhalin Koreans. Based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 2010 to 2011on Sakhalin Island, Russia and in South Korea, I explore how transnational return mobility shapes discourses, practices, and imaginaries of kinship and citizenship among older Sakhalin Koreans. This study situates the return program as an imperial formation, and a contemporary ethno-nation-building project of Japan and South Korea. I contend that this particular program has provoked complex emotional and political discourses around family separation and reunion, as well as raised questions of inclusion and exclusion among older Sakhalin Koreans reflecting on their relationship to the three nation-states, Japan, South Korea, and Russia. This study highlights how older Sakhalin Koreans reconstitute personhood through practices of kinship and citizenship in a transnational milieu where post-colonial, post-Cold War, and post-socialist transformations intersect.   Adding the prism of everyday moral experiences to the analytical lenses of kinship, transnational citizenship, and humanitarianism, I analyze the unexpected consequences of return mobility among both mobile and immobile subjects. I examine how older Sakhalin Koreans imagine and make sense of separation from and reunion with offspring, friends, and companions, as well as living and diseased kin across multiple spaces and times. I also explore experiences of citizenship. These include aspirations for living, transnational strategies for drawing welfare entitlements in Russia and South Korea, and claim-making practices. I argue that these processes entail problematizing, criticizing, and reflecting on the self, all part of how older Sakhalin Koreans constitute personhood.  My study suggests that kinship, citizenship, and the politics of care are crucial components for understanding transnational mobility. Moreover, my research underscores the confluence of age, gender, and life course as crucial factors in the experience of mobility, an approach rarely taken in the study of transnational mobility. Finally, this study critically analyzes how ongoing large-scale social transformations intersect with everyday lives, and thereby provides a much needed perspective on transnational mobility. This dissertation offers a grounded understanding of how post-colonial, post-Cold War, and post-socialist transformations have shaped personhood in Northeast Asia and more broadly Eurasia. iii  Preface  This dissertation is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Sungsook Lim. The fieldwork reported in this dissertation was covered by UBC Ethics Certificate number H09-01708.   Figure 1 is of Public Domain. Source: The Perry-Castañeda Library at the University of Texas.     iv  Table of Contents  Abstract .................................................................................................................................. ii Preface ................................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ................................................................................................................... iv List of Figures ........................................................................................................................ vi Acknowledgements .............................................................................................................. vii Dedication ............................................................................................................................... ix Introduction............................................................................................................................. 1 The end of vicissitudes? ........................................................................................................ 2 Return as an everyday moral experience .............................................................................. 4 Notes on Sakhalin Koreans: Making and unmaking transitions ......................................... 14 Getting into the field ........................................................................................................... 23 Chapter outline .................................................................................................................... 31 Chapter 1: Pathways to Return ........................................................................................... 33 1.1. Liminal time, liminal space: Evacuation from Sakhalin after 1945 ............................ 35 1.2. Struggle for recognition: Grassroots actions among returnees in Japan ...................... 37 1.3. Sakhalin Koreans become a political and legal “problem” ......................................... 39 1.4. Emerging international politico-ethical project ........................................................... 53 1.5. The exodus of Sakhalin Koreans? Mixed emotions, unexpected consequences ......... 61 1.6. Permanent Return Project as imperial debris ............................................................... 67 1.7. Sakhalin in 2010: Everyday landscape of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk ................................... 70 1.8. Chapter conclusion ...................................................................................................... 75 Part I: Separation and Union in the Transnational Space ............................................... 76 Chapter 2: Parent – Child Ties Across Multiple Times and Borders .............................. 77 2.1. Subject-formation through connecting and disconnecting .......................................... 78 2.2. Elderly mothers on the move ....................................................................................... 80 2.3. Transnational connection ............................................................................................. 95 2.4. Making self into kin and stranger .............................................................................. 106 2.5. Chapter conclusion .................................................................................................... 113   v  Chapter 3: Everyday Togetherness and Intimacy: Friends, Companions, and Strangers .............................................................................................................................................. 115 3.1. Everyday togetherness and closeness ........................................................................ 116 3.2. “Grandfathers wave a flag”: Marriage and transnational mobility ............................ 127 3.3. “Doing kompanii”: Tension among women in domestic space ................................. 138 3.4. Chapter conclusion .................................................................................................... 146 Part II: Desire and Despair of State Protection ............................................................... 149 Chapter 4: Becoming “Flexible” Welfare Subjects in the Neoliberal Era? .................. 150 4.1. Moments of border-crossing: Materiality, performance, and mixed emotions ......... 151 4.2. Affective experience of becoming welfare citizens ................................................... 155 4.3. Making a home in the homeland ............................................................................... 157 4.4. Manipulating welfare entitlements ............................................................................ 171 4.5. The aspiration to live: Exploring possibilities ........................................................... 180 4.6. Chapter conclusion .................................................................................................... 181 Chapter 5: Constraints and the Struggle for Legitimate Bodies .................................... 183 5.1. Negotiating values on mobile and immobile bodies .................................................. 183 5.2. Contested victimhood: Negotiation of deservedness, and claim-making .................. 197 5.3. The possibilities and impossibilities of special welfare subjects ............................... 211 5.4. The politics of inclusion and subjectivity .................................................................. 224 5.5. Chapter conclusion .................................................................................................... 226 Conclusions .......................................................................................................................... 228 Bibliography ........................................................................................................................ 233   vi  List of Figures  Figure 1  Map of East Asia, the Perry-Castañeda Library at the University of Texas. Public Domain ................................................................................................................................... 35    vii  Acknowledgements  I would like to express my gratitude to many people who have made this dissertation possible. First and foremost, I would like express my appreciation to the Sakhalin Korean people. I have been very fortunate to have met older Sakhalin Koreans who generously invited me to their homes and allowed me to interview them. They were likely exhausted by my persistent questions and frequent visits. I really appreciate that not only they answered my questions, but that they also shared their thoughts, memories, and everyday life with me. I am grateful to them for serving wonderful meals and sharing fresh foods that I had never eaten before. Spending time “doing something together” with them helped me to adjust to life on Sakhalin immediately. From their lives full of joy and sorrow, I learned much. I did not write about all of it in this dissertation, but I will cherish these lessons in my memory. My sincere thanks also go to the staff of the Sakhalin State Regional Museum. I thank Dr. Tatiana Roon, who sponsored my stay on Sakhalin. Vitaliy Tyan and Eugenia Maynagasheva shared their office space with me and gave me the opportunity to explore events and activities in the museum, through which I deepened my understanding of local history. I am also grateful to the staff of Sae Koryŏ Sinmun for sharing their wisdom and knowledge about the lives of Sakhalin Koreans. Their devotion to their work and to the local community impressed me. Although I benefited greatly from them, I regret that I could not return the favour and contribute to their institutions. However, I acknowledge here that all of these people have contributed in important ways to the production of this dissertation.  I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my advisor, Professor Alexia Bloch. Without her patience and tireless support, I could not have overcome many difficult situations and finished this dissertation. Dr. Bloch’s area of expertise and her impressive program of research gave me great insight into matters related to Eurasia. Throughout my graduate program, she taught me how to question thoughts and express ideas. I am indebted to her for encouraging my research and allowing me to grow as a researcher, and especially for giving me the freedom to explore ethnographic and theoretical questions on my own. I remain forever thankful to her. I would also like to acknowledge Professor Ross King for his continuous support during my doctoral program. Dr. King generously allowed me join his course in my first year at UBC when my research project was not yet defined. His advice helped me to direct my focus on Sakhalin. He provided tremendous support and encouraged me and many other graduate students to take the time to engage in high-quality research. His encyclopedia-like knowledge of the Soviet Union and Korea across various times and spaces always made me want to devote myself to this kind of study forever. I show my deep gratitude to Professor Millie Creighton for carefully reading and commenting on several versions of this dissertation. Dr. Creighton’s deep interest in my research and constructive criticism helped me to develop my arguments, specifically around issues of kinship, and to widen my research to include various perspectives. I am sincerely grateful to Professor Jennifer Jihye Chun for staying on a member of my supervisory committee even after moving to Toronto. Even in very early drafts, Dr. Chun quickly understood what I wanted to say and to focus on. Dr. Chun’s insightful comments helped me to sort out theoretical arguments, enriched my ideas, and deepened my understanding of the subjects of my research. The professors on my committee have been tremendous mentors for me, and their guidance has helped me in all the different stages of my research and writing of this dissertation.  viii  Over the course of my multi-sited ethnographic research, I was fortunate to receive the support of many scholars and associates of institutions on Sakhalin, and in South Korea, Japan, and North America. Dr. Yulia Din shared her knowledge of the histories of Sakhalin Koreans with me and continues to be my colleague and friend. I would like to congratulate her on her doctorate degree, and I look forward to collaborative work with her. I thank Dr. Nam Hye-Kyung for finding and introducing me to an amazing host family on Sakhalin. I also thank Yang Kwangsam for being my friend and refreshing my mind by chatting, watching movies, and going to the seaside on Sakhalin. I am deeply grateful to Professor Chung Byung-Ho and Professor Lew Seok-Jin for providing me with opportunities to present my research project to undergraduate and graduate students in South Korea. Professor Chung Byung-Ho has always been there to listen to me and to give advice. His enthusiasm and continuous interest in my research have reminded me of the significance of research into Sakhalin Koreans. I thank Dr. Cho Hee-Jung and Yoon Jeongku for hosting me in Seoul. My sincere thanks also go to Dr. Han Hyein and Dr. Nakayama Taishō for sharing their new research results about colonial histories and repatriation of Sakhalin Koreans. I am thankful to the mentors and graduate students in the SSRC Korean Studies Dissertation Workshop held in 2013 for their thought-provoking questions. I am also grateful to Helen Kim, Asian Studies librarian at UBC, who ordered various materials necessary for my research. I appreciate Professor Chang Yunshik for thoughtful discussions in his office, as well as for being in Vancouver at the time I completed the PhD degree. I would like to express my heart-felt gratitude to all of these people.  I would like to thank all of my friends who supported me in writing, and who encouraged me to strive towards my goal. I am grateful to my friends: Emily Birky, Natalie Baloy, Marie-Eve Carrier Moisan, Oralia Gomez-Ramirez, Susan Hicks, Sara Komarnisky, Tal Nitsan, Robin O’Day, Solen Roth, Larry van der Est, Ana Vivaldi, Sandra Youssef, Rafael Wainer, Son Jeonghye, and Tatiana Nomokonova. I also thank Yu Insun, Hong Sebin, and Han Didi for helping me to keep going every day. Their various forms of support helped me to overcome setbacks and stay sane over the course of my study in Vancouver. I would like to acknowledge the committee members of Vancouver Save Article 9 and the Meeting of White Rock. I am especially indebted to Norimatsu-Oka Satoko for her friendship. The valuable discussions with Satoko got me away from the tasks of reading and writing and helped me to keep focusing on the politics of Pacific- and Northeast Asia. Besides all of these people, I thank my friends with whom I studied, worked, and hung out during my undergraduate and graduate years, as well as the friends I met during years spent working for NGOs in Japan and South Korea. Thank you for the stimulating discussions, for the sleepless nights we spent drinking and working together. I deeply appreciate your belief in me. A special thanks goes to Travis R. Venters for his constant encouragement to be brave and “cool.” Travis, I’ve survived!  Finally, my deepest gratitude goes to my father, mother, and brother. Words cannot express how grateful I am to my parents for their constant support and strength. None of this would have been possible without their patience. They have long demonstrated by example how we should live a human life. I dedicate this dissertation to you in the Year of the Monkey, a special year for us.  ix  Dedication         For my father and mother      1  Introduction   Sakhalin: “How can they live without children? How can they have a good life alone in South Korea?”  “I heard that when women live together, they often fight with each other.” “I decided to go to South Korea because I can receive a pension here and there.”  South Korea:  “It’s better to live separately from your children.” “I came to South Korea because of my father.” “We can’t have this house.” “This house will revert to the state.”  Sakhalin:  “They’re like pigs! Just eating and doing nothing. Taking whatever the state gives them.” “I don’t understand why I’m not allowed to return. I am the son of a forced laborer.”  “Why is it elders go back and forth between here and there? They should stay in one place.”  * * *   This dissertation addresses the consequences of return migration among older Sakhalin Koreans.1 I begin with various representative comments that are articulated and circulated among older Sakhalin Koreans in a transnational setting. These are presented to clarify the point of departure and central focus of my study. Return is a pivotal topic of older Sakhalin Koreans’ everyday conversations, concerns, and curiosity. During the period of my research (2010-2011), a number of Sakhalin Koreans I came to know migrated to South Korea, and many of those who had migrated earlier also travelled back and fourth between Russia and South Korea. As the commentaries above show, older Sakhalin Koreans express their thoughts about return migration in terms of family connection and disconnection and public welfare entitlements. These processes also entail complex emotions, feelings, and                                                  1 The term “Sakhalin Koreans” is neither an official name nor a name used among older Sakhalin Koreans. What older Sakhalin Koreans call themselves is not static but differs depending on from whom they aim to distinguish themselves. For example, in everyday contexts when they differentiate themselves from Russians, they frequently say “Chosŏnsaram” (“Korean people” in Korean), in which “Chosŏn” indicates “Korea” before the North-South division. “Sakhalinskii” (adjective form of Sakhalin in Russian) and “Sahalin [Chosŏn] saram” (“Sakhalin [Korean] people” in Korean) are used in cases where older Sakhalin Koreans wish to express difference between themselves and Soviet Koreans from Central Asia. In addition, among young people, I heard that the words, nash, ne nash (“our, not ours” in Russian) were used in situations where they aimed to differentiate Sakhalin Koreans from South Koreans. In this manner, the ways Sakhalin Koreans refer to themselves are fluid. During my research among older Sakhalin Koreans, “Chosŏnsaram” was most frequently heard. However, it would be confusing if I referred to them as “Korean people” (“Chosŏnsaram” in English) in this dissertation. In order to avoid such confusion, I have selected the term “Sakhalin Koreans.” 2  sensibilities. Older Sakhalin Koreans are grappling with a situation that compels them to renegotiate understanding of kinship and citizenship whereby they re-discover, reflect on, and transform themselves. In situating Sakhalin Koreans’ moral and political experiences shaped by the return policy, and forged within post-colonial and post-Cold War contexts, as well as within a history of socialist transformations, this ethnographic study examines how older Sakhalin Koreans’ personhood is reconstituted in a transnational setting.   The end of vicissitudes?  Since 1990, when the Soviet Union and South Korea established diplomatic ties, over 4,000 Koreans on Sakhalin Island (in the Russian Far East) have migrated to South Korea. The return of older Sakhalin Koreans is often framed as diasporic migration to their ethnic homeland within a global and post-Cold War era. However, this return is distinctive because it has been sponsored not only by the South Korean government but also by another key institutional actor – the Japanese government. Throughout the post-war period, the Japanese government officially denied its involvement in the migration of Koreans to Sakhalin during the Japanese colonial era, as well as in the Koreans’ evacuation from Sakhalin after the war. Also, throughout the Cold War era, despite demands for family reunification of Sakhalin Koreans and their kin in South Korea, the South Korean government did not take action. However, with a shifting political climate of the late 1980s, both governments strategically embraced humanitarian policies whereby Sakhalin Koreans were recognized as exceptional subjects to be aided. In 1995 together the two governments agreed to arrange return migration for eligible Sakhalin Koreans. Consequently, the return has been regarded as a “resolution” of the vicissitudes faced by Sakhalin Koreans because of 20th-century geopolitics in Northeast Asia. This predominant understanding of Sakhalin Koreans’ return indicates “the end” of two political upheavals: colonialism and the Cold War.   However, a question remains: how has this “end” been experienced by Sakhalin Koreans? The state-centred perspective leaves little room to look at the social dimension of “the end” (cf. Kwon 2010) and the socio-political implications of “the end.”2 In 2004 when I                                                  2 Pointing out that discourses concerning “after 1989” in international studies and political science homogenize (the end of) the Cold War, Kwon suggests that the end of the Cold War was not monolithic and calls for examining how certain people and local communities experienced it in particular ways. He offers critical questions as a response to the comment that “the Cold War is over,” by asking “Whose Cold War, and which aspects of the Cold War is that person talking about?”(2010:36). 3  learned about the return migration of older Sakhalin Koreans to South Korea, a question occurred to me: how has the end of the Cold War arrived for Sakhalin Korean people? I was also concerned with how the “end” really shapes their everyday lives. My encounters with older Sakhalin Koreans deepened these questions and inspired me to examine their ongoing lives in the context of return. It is my hope that this study will help to broaden our understanding of subjectivities and personhood in the historical junctures of post-colonial, post-Cold War, and socialist transformations. In the following section, I continue to clarify my key argument, discussing why and how return migration causes contested moral experiences through which older Sakhalin Koreans configure kinship and citizenship, thereby transforming themselves.  Why do kinship and citizenship matter in a transnational space?   In hearing older Sakhalin Koreans’ emotional accounts of return mobility during the time I conducted ethnographic fieldwork, I found that kinship and citizenship were central in their moral discourses on connection and disconnection, and inclusion and exclusion. This situation is largely derived from the return policy which limits migration entitlement based on birth year, and sponsors welfare assistance to returnees in South Korea. While the details of the policy will be examined in the following chapters, here I briefly explain why kinship and citizenship are imperative to the everyday lives of older Sakhalin Koreans in the moment of return migration.  Both on Sakhalin and in South Korea, older Sakhalin Koreans associate crossing a state border and living in South Korea with separation from and union with various kin members. Although the return operation is conducted under the aegis of an ethical idiom of humanitarianism, which in theory includes all subjects (Fassin 2010:239), not all Sakhalin Koreans are entitled to migrate to South Korea. The return project has produced ineligible subjects, including many middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans, as well as adult-children and grandchildren. It causes older Sakhalin Koreans to produce moral discourses around the parent–child dis/connection. In addition, welfare provision—distributing housing to each unit of two people in South Korea—engenders the social imaginaries of new and unexpected companionships in domestic spaces. Moreover, some people link return to a tie between the self and deceased kin. These consequences suggest that Sakhalin Koreans imagine and make 4  themselves into subjects who are both included in, and excluded from, certain kinship relations.  Along with kinship, citizenship is key to the process in which older Sakhalin Koreans are made into moral and political subjects. On one hand, various forms of state-sponsored material support and services in South Korea allow Sakhalin Korean returnees to feel fortunate. Returnees also become transnational agents between Russia and South Korea. On the other hand, stayees on Sakhalin feel a sense of unfairness and struggle to become legitimate returnees. In this context, stayees negotiate a sense of victimhood through which past experiences of citizenship are employed and reinterpreted. Return migration provokes aspirations for mobile living through resources provided by the nation-states of Japan and South Korea, something that appears an antidote to the lack of Russian state protection for Sakhalin Koreans.  This study is grounded in the ways in which older Sakhalin Koreans situate themselves through practices, discourses, and imaginaries of kinship and citizenship in a transnational condition. I consider these experiences as the intersubjective processes of modes of being. This dissertation, which demonstrates how the return policy shapes particular transnational lives of older Sakhalin Koreans, analyzes the personhood of older Sakhalin Koreans through the lenses of kinship, citizenship, and transnationalism. The first section of this introduction explores key literatures framing my study. Second, to provide a nuanced examination of Sakhalin Koreans’ social lives, I trace discussions of late socialist and post-socialist transformations. In the final section, I turn to an account of the fieldwork process.   Return as an everyday moral experience   Examining the way that transnational lives of older Sakhalin Koreans are shaped by structural conditions is one of the goals of this study, with my ethnography primarily focusing on the diverse perspectives of older Sakhalin Koreans. The actual experiences of older Sakhalin Koreans are not played out like coherent narratives and stories as if a culturally bound group of people react in unison to every single major social change. In order to analyze the return mobility and its consequences for older Sakhalin Koreans, I found that contemporary scholarship of everyday morality and ethics is a useful tool (Das 2012; 5  Laidlaw 2013; Lambek 2010; Zigon 2007, 2008). In recent years, anthropological studies of moral and ethical dimensions of social lives have increased, challenging predominant understandings of morality.3 The past focus rested on Kantian and Durkheimian notions of morality, which primarily look at moral forms based on the idea that people are obligated to follow rules and principles for social order. This view was also supported by the static view of a culturally bound society and community, which assumes that one culture has one morality.   The new scholarship of everyday morality has offered a different analytical lens, informed by (neo-)Aristotelian virtue theory and Foucault’s ideas of ethics. In particular, the Foucauldian notion of ethics, which informs the relation to the self and the cultivation of the self, allows us to examine a mode of becoming certain kinds of moral and ethical subjects. Through employing phenomenological, ontological, and first-person perspectives, this literature approaches morality as being-in-the-world, in which the central focus is given to a modality of moral experiences (Zigon and Throops 2014:2).   Within this literature, I find the analytical tool of moral subjectivity to be useful in my discussion of older Sakhalin Koreans’ experiences of return. Laidlaw argues ethical subjects are made not only through the ways in which subjects act on the self in power relations, but also through the “active processes of reflective self-formation” (Laidlaw 2013:101). This rests on Foucault’s discussion of how one becomes an ethical being through the reflexive enactment of stepping back: one detaches from oneself, establishes the self as an object, and reflects on the self (cited in Laidlaw 2013:102–103). This reflexive act is played out within a situation where subjects choose to act given limited possibilities. Through such acts, subjects become and are recognized as moral beings (Faubion 2001; Zigon 2008). Moreover, as scholars in this field maintain, the processes of self-fashioning always involve others (persons and objects). Hence, the analysis of subject-formation attempts to highlight the “modality of being-together-with” and “relational-being” (Zigon and Throops: 2014). This perspective echoes the anthropological understanding of subjectivities that considers the intersubjective and relational nature of subjectivity (Biehl, Good, and Kleinman 2007). Based on these discussions, I consider return migration as an                                                  3 One of the controversial debates in the anthropological study of morality and ethics is that the definitions of these two concepts are varied and unsettling. Even though a distinction is mentioned, scholars often use these two words interchangeably. I use the word “moral” in the following discussions of everyday moral experiences.  6  everyday moral experience, and examine how older Sakhalin Koreans’ personhood is transformed through return migration.  My point is clarified by considering the works of two scholars—Jarrett Zigon (2007, 2008) and Cheryl Mattingly (2014). Zigon points out that morality is not simply about “right,” “wrong,” “good,” and “bad,” on which the classic sense of morality focused. He calls for careful analysis of what is moral to certain people, taking an example of moral talk among people in Moscow, in which they use descriptive words such as “fair and unfair,” “dishonest,” “cruel,” “steal,” and “lie” (Zigon 2008:16). It is suggested that morals are approached as “the acquired attitudes, emotions, and bodily dispositions of a person throughout their life” and that a moral person is “both morally self-critical, as well as critical of her social world” (2008:16). Referring to the concept of a “moral breakdown,” Zigon discusses how in moments when everyday unreflexive practices become problematic, people work on the self through an “ethical” response to the problematic issues. His analytical framework suggests that the processes of becoming subjects include not only the ways in which subjects encounter moral dilemmas but also their subsequent acts, which indicate the ways they keep going.   This perspective contributes to my examination of how specific moral terms, emotions, and attitudes are articulated among older Sakhalin Koreans as they criticize themselves and others living in their social world. However, Zigon’s separation of unreflexive practice (moral) and reflexive enactment (ethical) has limits regarding the understanding of everyday morality (Das 2012; Laidlaw 2013). This differentiation is derived from the understanding of everyday routine actions as habits. However, habits are part of everyday life, which is a site of moral striving (Das 2012).4 This point is further discussed by Mattingly (2014). Demonstrating the ways in which Afro-American mothers become moral beings as they struggle regarding the life possibilities of disabled children, she argues that transformations take place not in the domain of crisis but in the everyday. Mattingly proposes “moral laboratories,” arguing that “the everyday moral” involves                                                  4 Discussing how the focus on intentionality and agency tends to reduce mundane actions to habits, Veena Das (2012) proposes that everyday habits are also ethical work, into which reflective moments are blended. For example, the practice of giving gift entails the danger of undermining others through humiliation, as well as possibilities of providing help according to others’ needs. Das suggests that a mode of performance of giving gift employs “a register of normativity other than simply fulfilling a social obligation” (2012:141). 7  experimental aspects and new experiences through which the subjects engage in reflection, critique, and transformations.  Drawing on these analytical tools, I explore the ways in which older Sakhalin Koreans encounter unexpected situations and engage in their ongoing lives, which are experimental and new. I also examine how, in this process, they engage in acts such as reflections on and critiques of themselves, others, and the society (and state) they relate to. My study offers an analysis and understanding of how subjectivity is formed and moral experiences are forged in the domains of kinship and citizenship, to which I turn in the next section.  Subject-making through kinship   This study considers the kinship of older Sakhalin Koreans; however, investigating the forms and rules of kinship between Russia and Korea or between socialist and Confucianist family ideologies is not my main focus. Such a static perspective is criticized by Yan, who studied changing kin relations in northeast China for three decades. Yan contends that the predominant analytical frameworks of lineage theory and Confucianism have prevented researchers from focusing on social change and the individual emotional aspects of sociality (Yan 2001, 2003). The focus on emotionality and ambiguity (Peletz 2001), as part of the recent kinship framework of relatedness (Carsten 2002, 2004), encourages researchers to demonstrate the processes entailed in individuals’ social relations.5 My study contributes to work on relatedness while employing the analytical tools of everyday moral experience to examine how family separation and union are played out among older Sakhalin Koreans.   Bringing moral subject-formations into the kinship domain helps us look at individual sensibility and acts rather than at fixed forms of kinship. Taking the example of childrearing, Zigon suggests that it is not only the practice of child socialization but also a mutual process of becoming a certain kind of person and a moral being (Zigon 2008:104).                                                  5 An overview of anthropological scholarship of kinship has been discussed by Carsten (2004), Franklin and Macknnon (2001), Peletz (1995), and Yanagisako and Collier (1987). Carsen proposes the concept of “relatedness” for a broader analysis of the processes of sociality rather than studying static rules and forms. For example, this concept allows us to study how kinship is created as it involves emotions, as well as power and difference. In addition, the concept of relatedness helps us to examine how local senses of what is considered “given” (nature) and what is considered “made” (culture) are produced (Carsten 2004).  8  This point rests on Faubion’s argument that kinship is considered as a system within which one “qualifies the self as a subject through its relation to others” and specifies the self “in the particularity of its relations to particular others” (2001:11–12). Faubion also discusses how because this ethical system gives space for reflection, kinship both limits and produces possibilities for the self and one’s relations to others.   This perspective is paramount in the literature on adoption. In particular, Signe Howell’s framework of kinning, which draws in part on Faubion’s argument, analyzes the ways in which Norwegian adoptive parents incorporate “foreign” children (others) into kin as they also make themselves into parents (2006:64). This analysis helps me to consider older Sakhalin Koreans’ acts around separation and union as part of kinning in transnational settings. However, the Sakhalin Koreans’ case is slightly different from that of adoptive parents; rather than incorporating others into kin, they include themselves in and exclude themselves from kin. Interestingly, I found that these acts are similar to adoptees’ performative and imaginary acts of negotiating with whom they dis/connect.   Carsten’s (2007) discussion of adoptees’ process of searching for their birth kin is useful for my analysis. Carsten argues that although information and knowledge about family members make adoptees feel a sense of connectedness, the ways in which such knowledge is activated vary. Some move on trying to find birth kin immediately based on new information, while others limit themselves by stopping and postponing the next steps of searching for family (Carsten 2007:418–422). I consider that adoptees’ acts of allowing and limiting themselves to search for family members reflect how negotiation of connection and disconnection entails management and care of the self and subjects’ own acts.  Based on these discussions, I analyze what kinds of specific sources and acts are employed by older Sakhalin Koreans in the processes of making themselves into subjects of separation and union in transnational contexts. Moreover, by showing that such processes involve diverse kin and non-kin (fictive kin), as well as the living and deceased, I highlight how older Sakhalin Koreans’ fluid personhood is negotiated and reconfigured.   9  Subject-making through transnational citizenship   The return migration of Sakhalin Koreans has been promoted by the Japanese and South Korean governments. Rather than religious organizations, transnational institutions, or non-governmental organizations, the two governments are the major actors that sponsor welfare assistance. In addition, public welfare in Russia serves as a significant element that shapes mobility of older Sakhalin Koreans. Considering this specific condition, I examine the role of states in return. My approach to the state refers to people’s everyday experiences of the state, authority, and power (Das and Poole 2001). Based on this perspective, I draw on the literature of citizenship to explore the subject-formation of Sakhalin Koreans through various experiences of citizenship in a transnational space.   Considering the effect of shifting technologies on the notion and experiences of citizenship, anthropologists approach citizenship through a lens of claim-making practices and subject-formation in domestic and transnational contexts (Das 2011; Holston 2009; Ong 2003; Phillips 2011). As Adriana Petryna discusses, scholars examine how subjects’ desires, claims, and needs are negotiated within the context of shifting criteria of citizenship (Petryna 2003:254). Offering the idea of “biological citizenship,” Petryna (2003) studies the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, where those exposed to radiation have struggled (and failed) to become legitimate bodies of state protection by using wounded bodies, expressing suffering, and employing medical knowledge and documents. Petryna’s study also shows how those subjects’ claim-making practices are shaped within the domains of a shifting market economy, a bureaucratic system, and scientific knowledge.   Drawing on these discussions, I propose the concept of “transnational welfare citizenship.” I use this concept to examine how older Sakhalin Koreans become transnational agents by utilizing their citizenship (and welfare entitlement) in Russia and South Korea. I also explore how immobile subjects are produced and how they struggle to be legitimate returnees. In addition, I draw on two approaches to analyze emotional and affective experiences of citizenship, and the socio-political implications of this process. The first is Navaro-Yashin’s examination of affect (2009) among Turkish-Cypriots in Northern Cyprus. In the post-conflict context, Turkish-Cypriots migrate to and live in the space former Greeks residents left leaving behind their possessions. Navaro-Yashin demonstrates how the actual practices of Turkish-Cypriots, including moral discourse and reflexive evaluations of the 10  objects of ruin that constitute subjects, produce feelings and an affect of melancholy. She also examines how these processes shape subject-formation. The second is Susana Narotzky’s argument (2012) about the modes of provision that inform how people configure historically embedded political relations with states and other institutions. By adding the literature of citizenship into these discussions, I am concerned with two points. How are specific affects and emotions involved in the process of return? How are negotiation and reconfiguration of citizenship among older Sakhalin Koreans shaped by structural power?   My discussion of transnational welfare citizenship engages with the scholarship on citizenship, but also differs from the previous studies. While the new literature on citizenship suggests that nation and ethnicity are no longer the source for claim-making or legal and ethical criteria of citizenship, I nevertheless show that ethnic and national dimensions of political subjectivity serve as a source for claim-making among older Sakhalin Koreans. Drawing on the discussion of social citizenship (Yalçın-Heckmann 2011), which considers how diverse subjects struggle for social rights (such as labor, housing, health care, and education) in post-colonial, post-socialist, as well as transnational contexts, I analyze older Sakhalin Koreans’ subjectivity within these social formations. This analysis contributes to the ongoing debate about the relationship between social and political citizenship in transnational contexts.  My analysis of the personhood of older Sakhalin Koreans forged through kinship and citizenship practices shows the processes of becoming subjects of connection and disconnection, inclusion and exclusion, and the subjects’ sense of belonging across diverse times and spaces. Through the prism of everyday moral experiences, I show the ways in which older Sakhalin Koreans negotiate the kinds of persons they are and should be. This process also involves a reflection on what kinds of persons they might have been (Mattingly 2014). Ultimately, this study attempts to link these ongoing and contested processes of negotiating personhood to larger social transformations.  Unsettling return   Along with the study of kinship and citizenship, I situate my study within studies of transnational return migration. My study especially draws on qualitative studies of return mobility, and comparative studies of return programs in post-Cold War contexts. With these 11  frameworks, my dissertation offers an analysis of the return policy of Sakhalin Koreans and of transnational social lives of older Sakhalin Koreans.  The return migration of Sakhalin Koreans is part of the global-scale return mobility seen in many places (King and Christou 2011). Considering the growing and diverse forms of return mobility, King and Christou (2011) offer six types of return mobility: (1) short-term visits, (2) trial staying, (3) the return mobility of children, (4) second-generation (adult) return, (5) return in adulthood (e.g. post-retirement migration), and (6) return to ancestral homes. In the literature on return (and diaspora), scholars demonstrate the ambiguities and ambivalence of return rather than the classic sense of nostalgia for home. For example, on one hand, transnational subjects utilize the social capital of “ethnic” substances; on the other hand, new differentiation is produced. In addition, ethnographic studies have demonstrated how “home” is constructed by actual peoples’ practices (e.g., Brah 1996; Schein 1999; Winland 2002; Svasek 2002). Anthropologists’ attention to actual practices of return have shown that homecoming is a challenging and unsettling process (Markowitz and Stefansson 2004).   While my ethnographic materials highlight the contested practices and meanings around return among older Sakhalin Koreans, my discussion differs from prior works. In the literature of return migration, attention is paid to transnational agents, and their practices are understood either as adjustment to the culture of “home” or as acts to maintain the culture of “the other home” where they grew up. As King and Christou precisely point out, the focus on “immigration” is derived from an assimilation framework (2011:455) in which ethnicity and nation are central to the analysis. I do not dismiss the dimension of ethnicity, but my task is to reveal in what situations ethnicity becomes (less) imperative, (de-) emphasized, and utilized among older Sakhalin Koreans. I link these practices to experiences of citizenship among mobile and immobile subjects beyond the dichotomy of “home” and “homeland.”   I reveal the particularity of the return program of Sakhalin Koreans as drawing on comparative analysis of return programs in the post-Cold War era. Compared to other diasporic Koreans’ return migration to South Korea since 1990, the case of Sakhalin Koreans is distinctive. While the South Korean government offers diasporic Koreans such as Korean Chinese and Soviet Koreans, special visas and statuses to access employment as a 12  means to satisfy the nation’s economic interests (Skrentny, Chan, Fox, and Kim 2009:49–51), Sakhalin Korean returnees are granted citizenship and welfare entitlements. The return program of Sakhalin Koreans may be more similar to the cases of Germany, Israel, and Greece, in which institutional return migration programs are managed and the rights of citizenship and welfare support are granted to co-ethnic migrants from the former Soviet Union (Skrentny, Chan, Fox, and Kim 2009: Voutira 2011). However, Germany requires the subjects to take language exams (von Koppenfels 2009), while Greece judges “returnees” after subjects enter Greece and undergo interviews to assess if subjects have “national consciousness” (Voutira 2011:259).6 Such “cultural” affinities are not expected to be performed by Sakhalin Korean returnees to South Korea. Each country has different policies in different times, but I suggest that the institutional recognition of co-ethnic returnees and the automatic citizenship granted to return migrants shape specific return policies.   In addition, the identification of returnees with citizenship rights are mediated by histories and geopolitics, as Joppke and Rosenhek suggest (2009:95). For instance, Germany recognizes “returnees” who were from former communist countries but not those from Denmark, Italy, and France (Joppke and Rosenhek 2009:83). Germany’s return program a product of Cold War politics, was designed to “rehabilitate” co-ethnic subjects who had been expelled as a result of World War II. 7 Israel’s return policy includes Jews regardless of geographic place, a fact defined by the idea of Zionism and also by political interests to protect the state from conflict with Arabs of Palestine (2009:79). I build on such studies of return in my analysis of the particular politics and histories that make the return program of Sakhalin Koreans distinctive (chapter 1).   By analyzing politico-historical structures of return programs, my ethnographic study aims to reveal specific transnational and global contexts of the Sakhalin Korean’s return program. I also examine how the specific policy unsettles the transnational processes of older Sakhalin Koreans.                                                     7 In addition, in the case of Germany, the subjects from the former Soviet Union are especially expected to perform their past experiences of ‘suffering’ in the Soviet Union while many of those subjects are not able to speak German (Mandel 2008:210–217). 13  Bringing aging into transnational mobility  My study offers a broader perspective on transnational mobility, especially by bring bringing the aging dimension into the analysis of transnationalism. In qualitative studies of transnational migration, in which the primary subjects are working-age adults, the dimension of aging has been little considered. Warnes and Williams (2006) suggest looking at specific processes of aging subjects’ transnational migration and of being aged in a particular space, a subject they examine in the post-retirement migration among middle-class older people from Northern and Western Europe to Southern Europe. Otherwise, elderly people are often depicted as remaining in rural regions and at home, where grandmothers take care of grandchildren as a result of the absence of working-age parents.8 Such realities are indeed seen in many regions. Many older people experience transnationalism through their adult children who work overseas. However, these depictions prevent a deeper and broader understanding of the lives of elderly people in different transnational contexts.  Just a few studies demonstrate older people’s transnational migration. Here I consider Sarah Lamb’s extensive ethnographic study of the migration of Indian elders to the United States (2002, 2009). Lamb shows that elderly Indian people negotiate intergenerational care relations with adult children and new life in the U.S. through their moral discourses on “modern” and “traditional,” as well as “American” and “Indian.” While the elderly Indian people express that independent life in the U.S. represents personal freedom, they face hardship as they feel that they lose intimacy (love) and continue to play the role of a caregiver, taking care of grandchildren to make them “Indian.” By demonstrating elderly people’s sense of self, Lamb offers an understanding of aging subjects’ moral lives in a transnational space.  Like Lamb’s work, my study also considers elderly subjects as transnational agents. In contrast, however, my focus is more on negotiations around kinship and citizenship practices negotiated between multiple nation-states. Qualitative studies on the relationship between aging and transnational migration have tended to assume that elderly people have a fixed idea about ideal forms of care or have been engaged in certain modes of exchange with adult children before they migrate. Empirical and ethnographic attention to diverse forms of                                                  8 King and Vullnetari’s work (2006) is one of the few in-depth analysis of the impacts of young people’s emigration on older people’s lives in a rural region of Albania. 14  transnational migration and transnational processes in mid and later life is imperative to broaden a perspective of personhood among elderly people in transnational and global contexts. My study shows how the institutional entitlement to return affects complex kinship and citizenship practices between returnees and stayees, and I consider if only relationships with adult children are imperative to elderly people when they migrate to a different country. Moreover, I try to answer how particular practices, imaginaries, and understandings of transnational migration are generated when nation-states offer welfare services in the destination countries. Finally, I highlight how aging and life course affect elderly people’s agency and subjectivities in transnational contexts. My ethnographic study based on these questions will contribute to broadening the understanding of the experiences of transnationalism among aging subjects.  Altogether, I explore how the specific return project shapes a particular return policy and subsequent experience of negotiating kinship and citizenship among Sakhalin Koreans. This study also underscores how age and life course affect the experience of mobility.  Notes on Sakhalin Koreans: Making and unmaking transitions  This dissertation draws on research conducted in 2010. Because my analysis is based on key moral and political aspects of older Sakhalin Koreans’ lives I came to know in 2010. I do not show a whole picture of their lives. However, this does not mean that the ways in which older Sakhalin Koreans articulate moral discourses and negotiate various meanings are not historically shaped. Considering my ethnographic material through the lens of late socialism and post-socialism, the following sections provide a nuanced examination and understanding of how older Sakhalin Koreans’ social lives are influenced by their particular historical experiences. By doing so, I contend that older Sakhalin Koreans’ contemporary moral experiences in the moment of return are not understood by a perspective that assumes their lives to be a product of the mix of two homogenous cultures and spaces, such as “the Soviet” and “Korean” cultures. For decades, they have inhabited a social world that has been filled with moral pluralism.  15  Late socialism: Governing byt  Ethnographic studies on post-socialist societies in Eurasia have widely explored subjectivities in a time of uncertainty after 1989. In order to analyze the diverse experiences of transitions, this literature often traces how local societies were “Sovietized” in the 1920s to 1930s, emphasizing the way decades of socialism shaped diverse communities. Although this perspective reveals the larger social contexts of transition around 1989 and the fall of the USSR, it has limits when it comes to understanding older Sakhalin Koreans’ life trajectories. I will clarify this through a brief explanation of the different political histories of Sakhalin Koreans and Soviet Koreans.9 People often confuse Sakhalin Koreans with Soviet Koreans, who were deported from the Primorskii Krai (the Maritime Provinces) to Central Asia in 1937 as part of Stalin’s purges and ethnic cleansings.10 Simply put, considering the international history of the territory of Southern Sakhalin (Karafuto in Japanese), which was Japan’s territory from 1905 to 1945, for several decades until after World War II Koreans on South Sakhalin were not subjects of Soviet sovereign power, but instead subjects under Japan’s colonial regime.                                                   9 The term “Soviet Koreans” is not their official name. They call themselves “Koresarŭimi” (Koryŏ saram in standard Korean); the history of Koryŏ saram has been studied by King and Kim (2001) and Chang and Kim (2003). 10 The ways in which older Sakhalin Koreans view Soviet Koreans are diverse and situational. Based on my interviews with and observations of older Sakhalin Koreans’ daily conversations, I found that for older Sakhalin Koreans, Soviet Koreans were seen as having a higher social status, and this view has been historically and politically shaped. After the southern part of Sakhalin was returned to the Soviet Union, the Soviet officials sent Soviet Koreans to Sakhalin. Most of them served as local communist party members, school teachers (in the Korean schools on Sakhalin), and in general joined the local intelligentsia. Thus, it can be assumed that the government expected these Soviet Koreans to play a role as social engineers in helping Sakhalin Koreans adjust to Soviet society by utilizing ethnic ties. (The majority of them returned to Central Asia after local Korean schools in Sakhalin were closed in 1964.) From Sakhalin Koreans’ perspectives, those Soviet Koreans (who spoke fluent Russian) were viewed as more “Sovietized” than themselves. Their distinctive political subjectivities have been partly produced in this political domain. In chapter 5, I will describe the different relations of Soviet Koreans and Sakhalin Koreans with North Korea in the late socialist period.  My Sakhalin Korean informants expressed “difference” in diverse ways. For example, on one hand, one middle-aged man perceived the different political positions of Soviet and Sakhalin Koreans during the Soviet period in his account of Sakhalin Koreans being surveillance carried out by one Soviet Korean woman, who was sent by the central government. On the other hand, in response to my question about any differences he feels between the two, he answered: “we are all Koreans just the same.” Another example is that when recollecting how she had met Soviet Koreans, one elderly woman said: “those people are very like Soviet people. They are confident.” Moreover, in everyday conversation, differences in food consumption are most frequently discussed: Soviet Koreans eat much more meat, milk (and dairy products), and bread, while Sakhalin Koreans eat more fish, seafood, rice, and spicier food. What is more, older Sakhalin Koreans differentiate Soviet Koreans by the language that they use; they consider the Korean that Soviet Koreans speak to be ‘poorer’ and ‘stranger’ than the Korean they speak. 16   Moreover, narratives tracing how seventy years of socialism shaped local subjectivities do not fit into the life trajectories of older Sakhalin Koreans. On the southern part of Sakhalin, there was an elastic transition after the war (in 1945). Even though south Sakhalin reverted to Soviet territory, the administrative systems were not all transformed overnight. Even the evacuation of Japanese people from South Sakhalin was an ongoing process carried out until 1949 (chapter 1). Furthermore, among the older Sakhalin Koreans’ life histories that I collected, memories of the Stalin era were rarely recounted. The era recurrently invoked in recollecting their youth was “the Khrushchev era.” I do not claim that the Stalin era and its social contexts were irrelevant. Rather, I suggest that in contrast to elderly Soviet citizens, including Soviet Koreans and those living in Provincial Russia (e.g., Paxson 2005; Rogers 2009; Ssorin-Chaikov 2003), older Sakhalin Koreans’ social lives are punctuated by different historical and social events. The post-Stalin (post-1953) and late socialist period play a key and distinctive role.  The dominant Western political science scholarship on the post-war social conditions in the eras of Nikita Khrushchev (1953–1964) and Leonid Brezhnev (1964–1982) featured “thaw” and “stagnation.” However, historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have shed light on the late socialist period from the 1960s to the 1980s as a significant subject of analysis for understanding social change in the Soviet Union.11 Reviewing studies of late socialism, Dobson (2011) summarizes that while the Stalin period is characterized as the moment when coercive power was exercised in the domains of politics and economy, in the post-Stalin period, byt —meaning “everyday life” in Russian—became a site of governance. Scholars have demonstrated how various changes occurred in everyday life. These include the growing consumption of music, art, and goods from the West (Yurchack 2005) and tourism in other countries (Gorsuch and Koenker 2006). Scholars also shed light on shifting family life, gender roles, and domestic life, focusing on the effects of a spatial and architectural change from communal living to separate apartments (Reid 2010; Attwood 2004). In spite of the official promotion of family unity in the late socialist era, contested spheres of private, moral lives, such as growing divorce rates and family conflicts are also                                                  11 The new literature also considers the continuities from the Stalin period. The study of social change in the late Stalin period (e.g. Fürst ed. 2006) helps to provide a deeper understanding of late socialism.  17  examined (Field 2007).12 Moreover, scholars have documented how welfare was enhanced in this period, as material incentives were offered to the needy, such as women and children. Dobson (2011) states that the central point in these studies is to show how the notion of individual and relative freedoms emerged. Rather than emphasizing at retreat of the state power, scholars have explored how different technologies of governance were utilized to shape the new Soviet person; at the same time, these studies have revealed that the official plans to govern everyday life were inconsistent and in practice brought about unexpected consequences.   These works have helped me contextualize older Sakhalin Koreans’ lives on Sakhalin. However, the majority of the research subjects in these works had social backgrounds similar to those of the intelligentsia, Komsomol (the communist youth league) and party organs, and those living in Moscow and St. Petersburg.13 How such social backgrounds, which “we might call it class” (Dobson 2011:912), shaped people’s experiences of change in the late socialist period is little examined. For example, studying the working-class young people in a “closed” city of Ukraine, the site of the biggest missile factory in the USSR, Zhuk (2010) maintains that working-class youth desired and consumed culture from the West in a different way than those of the Komsomol youth in Russian urban centers. Desiring and consuming culture had a counteractive aspect as a response to political discourses such as nationalism, Russification, and anti-Semitism. Moreover, as Dobson (2011) suggests, consideration of other political and social subjects (such as Gulags and kolkhoz farmers) points to different trajectories of social change and forms of governing and subjectivities. For example, Round’s study (2006) shows how Gulag survivors in Magadan were constantly deprived of various social entitlements and support from their families throughout the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. In the study of indigenous Nivkh people in Northern Sakhalin, Grant also highlights the impacts of the local economic restructuring                                                  12 I have selected scholars, who mostly conduct research in Russian contexts, but Dobson’s article (2011) discusses the large body of literature on late socialism.  13 Based on archival research in Moscow, Hanya (2004) found that in 1957 the local communist party committee on Sakhalin suggested that the central committee allow young Sakhalin Koreans who did not have Soviet citizenship be permitted to become members of the Komsomol; however, this was rejected. Hanya mentions that it was not clear whether the membership criteria changed during the 1960s, but citizenship was an important factor for membership in the Komsomol. In my interviews with older Sakhalin Koreans, I did not hear any comments about the Komsomol and did not meet any Sakhalin Koreans who identified themselves as members. When I casually asked what the Komsomol was, one middle-aged man simply mentioned: “those people get better jobs.” 18  through forced resettlements from the 1960s to the 1970s. In small towns, kolkhozes were shut down and a range of social services decreased (Grant 1995:124–133). These studies offer a broader understanding of late socialist change among individual subjects and communities on the political, economic, and geographic peripheries.  Although my study explores contemporary daily lives among older Sakhalin Koreans, as with the ethnographic studies of byt, I discuss how older Sakhalin Koreans’ social lives in the late socialist era were shaped in particular ways. This analysis is situated in the ongoing comparative study of late socialism and post-socialism. In addition, this is presented to provide a more nuanced understanding of Sakhalin Koreans’ moral and political experiences in an era of return. In the next section, I show that everyday life was a site where older Sakhalin Koreans lived through moral plurality.   Living through moral plurality   Here I briefly touch upon older Sakhalin Koreans’ everyday lives on late socialist Sakhalin by focusing on three key domains: (1) housing; (2) household economies and labor; and (3) family and gender.14 However, as Dobson suggests, oral histories of late socialism are not free from subjects’ specific experiences of, and reflections on the post-socialist transition (2011:921); my discussion (which draws on interviews with older Sakhalin Koreans) also contains the subjects’ interpretations and reflections. Thus, in a strict sense, this section does not analyze a form of governing. Instead, I detail the social context of older Sakhalin Koreans’ everyday moral lives.  First, studies of housing during late socialism have often demonstrated the shift from communal apartments to separate apartments during the Khrushchev era, and examined how the new domestic spaces affected people’s sense of freedom, individualism, and consumption (Attwood 2004; Reid 2010). However, Sakhalin Koreans’ experiences have                                                  14 While many studies on post-socialism have considered religion as one of the crucial domains where power and subjectivity are played out, the influence of religion on older Sakhalin Koreans’ everyday lives on late Soviet Sakhalin was negligible. In none of the houses I visited did I see a krasnyi ugol (“red corner” in Russian) or religious icons (cf. Paxson 2005). Among the older Sakhalin Koreans whom I met, two people regularly went to a church on Sakhalin, while there were several returnees in South Korea who identified themselves as Christians or Buddhists. However, all of them had started to practise religion after 1990 under the influence of South Korean missionaries on Sakhalin and/or after migration. For older Sakhalin Koreans, family, gender, household economy, labor, and citizenship were central sites of the everydayness in which they experienced various changes during the late socialist time. 19  been different (see chapter 4). They did not live in communal apartments.15 In the post-war southern part of Sakhalin, many continued to live in Japanese-style houses made of wood. They gradually rebuilt (and newly built) those houses with new materials, such as cement. Older Sakhalin Koreans say that they made houses “the Soviet way,” which was more substantial than that of poorly heated Japanese houses. Many Koreans lived in the “personal houses.” In the 1970s and 1980s, when additional separate apartments were constructed and young Sakhalin Koreans (now middle-aged) were integrated into industrial sectors, these Sakhalin Koreans were allocated flats. For both generations of Sakhalin Koreans, having a personal house with a garden symbolized wealth. At the same time, they conceived of the shift to living in a separate apartment as being “civilized.”  Second, another domain of everyday life that is little considered in the literature on late socialism is the household economy and labor (see chapters 2, 4, and 5). In the post-war context of Sakhalin, working-age Sakhalin Korean men continued to work in coal mines, which had operated since the Japanese period, as well as in logging. Some women were employed in the public sector, such as in cleaning and textile work. However, Koreans also engaged in entrepreneurial activities, including setting up photo studios, barbershops, and retail.16 Many women who were not hired in factories and offices worked in farming by using gardens near their houses not only for maintaining their family’s subsistence, but also for small-scale business. Even the men and women working in the public sectors gained additional income through commercial farming.17 For both men and women, these economic activities were a crucial source of household income.                                                  15 I did not encounter any communal apartments in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and did not hear any information about communal apartments from older Sakhalin Koreans.  16 Considering the official discourses during the late socialist period, in particular under Brezhnev (1964–1982), Zhuk (2010:9–11) states that the attention of the Soviet leadership shifted away from heavy industries to the production of consumer goods, based on Brezhnev’s proposed idea of “socialist consumption,” which attempted to construct a better and more productive society than capitalism could. At the ideological level, the Soviet leadership planned to invest in consumer sectors such as foods and textiles, as they considered the period to be “the last stage before the final phase of Communist social formation” (2010:10). But in reality, socialist consumption did not go as planned.  17 Paku (1990), a Sakhalin Korean man, mentions in his memoir that the management of farming became common among Korean women, particularly after Khrushchev’s promotion of “personal farming” (Paku 1990:28–29). However, I assume that this public decision was not the only factor that encouraged women to work in farming. For example, one middle-aged man told me that right after the Soviet army had landed on Sakhalin, his parents started to sell vegetables to the Soviet army. Moreover, in response to my question as to why they engaged in farming, the elderly people simply explained: “We did what we used to do” and “What else could we do?” These statements indicate that women engaged in farming partly because it was the only 20   These entrepreneurial activities, which contributed to manage their livelihoods, served as a source of moral values of framing their household economies, and also for their everyday existence. Older Sakhalin Koreans understood that their economic activities for daily consumption were different from the majority of Soviet people on Sakhalin, who migrated to Sakhalin after the war and worked in the more varied public and production sectors. While seeing personal farming and entrepreneurial work as occupying a lower position in the occupational hierarchy, many Koreans (both elders and middle-aged people) are proud of how their economic activities generated cash and wealth and contributed to the local economy.    Finally, family and gender roles are domains of everyday life in which Sakhalin Koreans experienced social change in the late socialist context (see chapters 2 and 3). In particular, older Sakhalin Koreans use the Soviet moral trope of kul’turnyi (“cultured”) in their evaluative descriptions of their generational experiences of gender roles and family lives. According to Volkov (1999), the concept of kul’turnost’ (“cultured-ness”) became a robust ideological term for the Soviet Union’s modernizing project during the Stalin period, especially in the late 1930s. It invoked the idea of so-called “high” culture, and civilized manners and behaviors which were associated with modern urban forms of life. The concept of kul’turnost’ encompasses a range of everyday activities including hygiene, clean appearance, a level of literacy (in Russian), being educated, and speech acts. Following industrialization in the 1930s, the authorities were concerned that an influx of peasants into urban cities would bring about “disorder” and “anomie.” In this context, the concept of kul’turnost’ was strategically deployed to make peasants and the subjects of “backwardness” (often signifying indigenous people) into modern urban subjects who would be invested in the new ideals of socialist society. In addition, the state reassessed how it dealt with the desire for personal possessions and social status, both of which had been disparaged as bourgeois values and practices in the early years of the Soviet Union. The new ideology of kul’turnost’ created space for individual consumption. Volkov argues that the ideology of kul’turnost’ was employed for pragmatic and ideological goals: namely, by transforming                                                  thing that they knew how to do. More details about Sakhalin Korean women’s experiences of labor are discussed in chapter 2.  21  individuals into civilized subjects through managing everyday lives, the authorities and state aimed to fashion public order (Volkov:1999).  Older Sakhalin Koreans express this moral trope when they talk about their family lives and gender relations. For example, compared to the elderly generation, middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans explain that having fewer children and living separately from one’s parents represents a more civilized way of life. In addition, many older Sakhalin Korean men and women told me that Russia is a country where people “respect women,” which is a “civilized” thing to do. Women’s employment in the public sector and political domains is seen as one of the examples of a civilized way of life. Men offering help to women, connoting the protection of the physically “weak,” is considered civilized. Elderly Korean women invoke the idea of “civilized” from their perspective of times when such practices were absent from their own lives. However, the way that middle-aged people (both women and men) perceive and use this moral trope is slightly different. They invoke the moral idiom of being “civilized” as they compare themselves not only to their parents’ generation, but also to South Koreans whom they encountered after 1990. For example, many asked me why South Koreans do not consider “women to be human beings.”  Having considered key domains of everyday life among older Sakhalin Koreans in the late socialist period, this section suggests that Sakhalin Koreans have lived through moral pluralism within various everyday domains. In this process, older Sakhalin Koreans were conscious of “what Soviet people do,” as they stated when referring to local Sakhaliners, many of whom moved to the southern part of Sakhalin from the mainland of the Soviet Union after the war.18 From a structural perspective, this shows the way in which Sakhalin Koreans adapted themselves to the new environment and became modern Soviet subjects. But if I consider Sakhalin Koreans’ perspectives, I can also conclude that they negotiated and understood moral values in their everyday lives “by placing themselves in a specific relation to an exemplar” (Laidlaw 2013:83). This point is helpful in considering how older Sakhalin Koreans managed their lives on Sakhalin; they were shaped by subtle and everyday historical experiences involving relations to social bodies of Soviet people. Their particular encounters with change are also seen in their assessment of the transition in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, which will be discussed next.                                                  18 In contrast, they tend to view the indigenous people on Sakhalin as “poor” and “uncivilized” people. 22  The door was opened: The (in)articulation of transition  In the early stages of my research, I was interested in how older Sakhalin Koreans lived and how they would talk about their lives from the late 1980s to the early 1990s in comparison to the findings of ethnographic studies of the early years of post-socialism. However, these moments were already one of the various pasts for older Sakhalin Koreans by the time of my stay in 2010. In fact, it was seldom discussed in daily conversations and interviews.   This in-articulation, however, does not mean that Sakhalin Koreans do not reflect on the transition. They assessed it in particular ways. I found elderly Sakhalin Korean women’s reactions unique. For example, when talking about their life histories, many women did not mention the late 1980s and the last years of the Soviet Union as punctuating their lives. This made me more curious about how they refer to this period. However, “perestroika” or “collapse of the Soviet Union” were the only words that I knew. Thus, I experimentally asked: “How was life during perestroika?” and “How was the moment of the collapse of the Soviet Union?” Many elderly women did not recognize the words as signifying a particular time in recent history. Instead, the elderly women (and the majority of older Sakhalin Koreans) referenced a shift in their ties to South Korea that came about in the late 1980s. They preferred their accounts of their first visits to South Korea by saying, “When the door [to South Korea] was opened.” After this, I used this phrase and every interviewee immediately understood to which historical period I was referring. In addition, it is important to note that the phrase “when the door was opened” implicitly entails praise for Mikhail Gorbachev. Almost all of the older Sakhalin Koreans (both elders and middle-aged people) whom I met told me: “Gorbachev did a good job!” and “Thanks to Gorbachev, the door was opened.” Some elderly women raised their thumbs in approval.  While I heard such positive expressions, I was still interested in how older Sakhalin Koreans experienced and talked about changing economic and material lives. As to my question about whether they had faced a shortage of goods during the time of the transition, many elderly women clearly said: “No. Nothing special happened. It was not difficult at 23  all.”19 One middle-aged man jokingly told me: “People would say ‘there is nothing.’ But my refrigerator and pantry were full of food.” He laughed.   While dramatic change was not strongly felt in everyday economic life, several elderly women perceived that a large social change had taken place. This was expressed by a non-verbal act. They turned over their palms and said, “Sesang (“the world” in Korean) became like this.” This indicates a large-scale transition that is uncontrollable. Elderly women would say: “Since the world became like this, the climate of Sakhalin has been getting hotter and South Korea has been getting colder.” In this way, they perceived the transition as associated with other large-scale changes. The middle-aged people frequently said: “communism (or socialism) became capitalism” in a conversational context, where they talked about how the politics, society, and economy of Russia are moving “forward” or “backward.”   In these conversations about the transition, I did not encounter nostalgia for the socialist past. Considering the lack of nostalgia, I often asked what they would think if Russia reembraced socialism. Furrowing their brows and shaking their heads, they said: “No!” Rather than providing an explanation for the reason behind saying “no,” many turned to evaluative talk. For example, they reflected: “Russia would not develop and become like South Korea and Japan.” While I often heard them reminisce about the “good” days in their youth, the “good” was not the socialist system itself (see chapter 1). While older Sakhalin Koreans sense large-scale social change in diverse ways, overall the radical changes signalled with the transition onset of “glasnost” and “perestroika,” including the opening of borders, were a welcome change. The transition is remembered as a time of hope and optimism, as articulated in the phrase, “the door to South Korea was opened.”  Getting into the field  This dissertation is based on ethnographic research I conducted on Sakhalin and in South Korea from 2010 to 2011. I would like to note that the older Sakhalin Koreans in this study do not represent all Sakhalin Koreans. Moreover, this study on transnational return migration is limited for two reasons: the return process extends beyond just the Sakhalin to                                                  19 Material difficulties were felt among middle-aged people after 1995, when local factories and mines were closed, a subject I discuss in chapter 3. 24  South Korea route and it involves other subjects besides “Koreans.”20 In addition, younger Sakhalin Koreans are not the primary subjects of this research. Thus, I do not invoke the idea of a “Sakhalin Korean community.” However, these subjects were not completely absent in the lives of the older Sakhalin Koreans that I met; I take into account how their thoughts, talk, and everyday acts are partly affected by those other subjects’ social conditions and attitudes, as well as by their interactions with them.21 Return migration affects and is affected by diverse subjects in wider transnational space, but in this dissertation I focus on older Sakhalin Koreans who live on Sakhalin and in South Korea. This focus shaped my fieldwork.  I spent the first seven months of my research in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, an administrative city of Sakhalin Oblast, which has a population of approximately 170,000. I contacted older Sakhalin Koreans in three key public spaces. One of the public spaces was the Senior Centre, where elderly women had by-weekly gatherings. At these meetings, ten to twenty women regularly sang and danced to karaoke music and had lunch. On these occasions, I observed the women’s everyday conversations and gradually contacted some people for interviews. I also found the local Korean newspaper to be a key source for research. The newspaper enabled me to acquaint myself with the local political and economic situation, as well as to find out about local public events such as festivals, concerts, and ceremonies. In addition, I found the senior staff members of the Korean newspaper company to be key subjects for my research. They welcomed my inquires about issues covered in the newspaper, as well as issues raised in my interviews with older Sakhalin Koreans. The discussions with the staff members helped me to figure out the nuanced meanings of words and sensibilities within the research context, where there were                                                  20 Japan is also a place to which Sakhalin Koreans move under the Japanese government’s repatriation program. People who have parent who is/was Japanese, or people who have Japanese spouses that are eligible to go to Japan, can migrate to Japan. In addition, it is not only ethnic “Koreans” who migrate to South Korea. The eligible subjects’ spouses are entitled to migrate to South Korea regardless of citizenship and ethnicity (see chapter 2).  21 For example, I visited the office of a non profit organization, located in Hokkaido, which offered social services for returnees from Sakhalin. An worker of the organization told me that the Sakhalin returnees in Japan had circulated the rumor that the returnees in South Korea receive many more benefits and much more material assistance than those in Japan. I heard exactly the same rumor from the older Sakhalin Koreans: those living in Japan are given more support and their lives are “better” than theirs’ in South Korea. What is more, Koreans from Kazakhstan, but born on Sakhalin are included in this return entitlement. This shows that social imaginaries, rumors, and discourses of return are circulated not only within Russia and South Korea but in a broader transnational space.  25  few material sources about Sakhalin Koreans’ everyday lives (especially about women and elderly people). Moreover, I was able to observe how the newspaper company, a former state institution, struggled to manage the difficult economic situation (see, for example, Bloch and Kendall 2004). On Sakhalin, I also visited the Family Union Association, which primarily provided assistance for the procedure of return migration. At the Association I learned about the return process and heard various some stories around return.   In January 2011, I moved to South Korea where I conducted research in three venues: (1) Homeland Village, (2) Incheon Welfare Center for Sakhalin Koreans, and (3) other public apartment complexes. Fortunately, I was able to follow some of the Sakhalin Koreans whom I had met on Sakhalin. This enabled me to track their lives in South Korea. Moreover, some people with whom I had conducted interviews on Sakhalin introduced me to their elderly mothers and siblings living in South Korea. I contacted those subjects, but I also followed discourses that were circulated in South Korea regarding Sakhalin. Considering how returnees feel and make sense of their lives in the new material, spatial, and social environment, I looked at how key moral discourses are produced and appreciated differently in South Korea than on Sakhalin.   In May 2011, in the final stage of my research, I revisited Sakhalin. My follow-up research was conducted among the older Sakhalin Koreans whom I had met on a regular basis in 2010. Through casual and open-ended conversations, I tried to see how their daily lives and their thoughts had changed. In these interactions, many expressed curiosities about the lives of their friends, siblings, mothers, and fathers in South Korea, asking me: “How were their lives in South Korea?” “Do you think they [the returnees] live well?” As some of them had already heard via phone that I had visited to their kin in South Korea, they enjoyed hearing what I had eaten and what I had talked about in their kin’s houses. I was part of the older Sakhalin Koreans’ transnational social world.   During my stay on Sakhalin and in South Korea, I had casual and structured interviews with a total of sixty people. In daily interactions and interviews, understanding older Sakhalin Koreans’ complex linguistic practices was a challenging task for me. Among the elderly generation, most of them hesitated to speak, or did not speak Russian since the majority of them did not have formal education in Russian; they were already adults when the war ended. For example, one elderly woman told me how her Russian sounded odd: “My 26  granddaughter always makes fun of me when I talk to her in Russian.” However, elderly people did use Russian words which were related to labor, technology, and daily necessities. In addition, some spoke Japanese. Especially when some women heard that I had come from Japan, they talked with me in Japanese. These elderly people attended Japanese schools during colonial times. The dialects of northeast Japan were also reflected in their speech. I also found that the elderly women were proud of their Japanese language ability, which sometimes caused tensions with other elderly women who did not go to school. Moreover, most elderly people spoke varieties of Korean from the southern regions of Korea.  Middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans’ linguistic practices are more complicated. Their linguistic practices varied depending on family members’ language abilities and other factors, such as education, jobs, regions they had lived in, and experiences working in South Korea and Japan after perestroika. Outside the home, they generally spoke Russian. There was a tendency for them to speak Korean when talking with the same generation of friends and siblings, but to speak to offspring in Russian. The dialects of the northern regions of Korea and the language used by the Soviet Koreans from Central Asia also emerged at times, reflecting contact with media, material objects, and people from those regions. Middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans also used some Japanese words.    Certainly older Sakhalin Koreans are multilingual. However, for them, these abilities proved a powerful sense of “neitherness.” Older Sakhalin Koreans often reflected how they do not speak even one language properly. But they also made fun of themselves through quotidian jokes about their “mistakes” and miscommunications with others (especially South Koreans). As I will show in this dissertation, language is not just a tool to express their ideas and thoughts but part of everyday moral experience (Ochs 2012).   Women and stayees22  While I interviewed men and women who were returnees and stayees, the key subjects in this study were women and stayees. In the initial stage of my research, I did not plan to select women and stayees as specific subjects of my study. Unexpectedly, I encountered the reality that women and stayees played a significant role in shaping moral                                                  22 The phrase, “stayee,” is grammatically incorrect, but I use this expression to show the differentiation between “returnees” and those who stay on Sakhalin among Sakhalin Koreans. 27  experiences of return. For example, in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, it was difficult to find elderly Korean men. Elderly Korean men were considered rare social bodies among Sakhalin Koreans not only because the majority of men had moved to South Korea, but also because so many men had passed away. This was partly due to a gendered aging phenomenon on Sakhalin. According to the local newspaper, the average life span of men was 59 years in 2011, while that of women was 72 years (Sae Koryŏ Sinmun 2011a). Within this social context, the few elderly Korean men living on Sakhalin had already been the principle research subjects of scholars and journalists from Japan and South Korea. Their life stories had been widely published. It is not an exaggeration to say that researchers coming to Sakhalin compete to find elderly male interviewees. In the Welfare Centre in South Korea that I first accessed, I found that the facility predominantly housed female residents: there were 83 women but just 13 men in the facility.23 Despite the shortage of elderly men, I contacted several elderly men. As I was concerned with their contemporary ongoing lives rather than with the past, which other historians have studied, I posed questions to encourage them to talk about return migration.   In addition to the demographic aspect, women are the main subjects of this study because I found that in contrast to men, women widely produced and circulated discourses around return both on Sakhalin and in South Korea. Parent (mother)–child dis/connection, everyday domestic life, and welfare were women’s concerns. New and unexpected experiences of themselves and others were sources of women’s everyday conversations on the phone, in gatherings with friends and family, and in rituals and ceremonies.   In order to study transnational return, I drew upon multi-sited methods and I followed key people, objects, and discourse. This was useful but, at the same time, I found that staying in one place was also very effective in examining the way in which people shape their transnational social world. I realized this when I stayed on Sakhalin. I remembered a tip I had heard from a visual anthropologist when I had studied in South Korea in 2003. I was told that a camera lens should be held in one position to record people who are moving. If the camera follows objects’ movements, it cannot catch mobility. I did not intend to use this technique but settled on it by chance. Living with and spending a long time with the stayees                                                  23 This number includes critically ill patients who have difficulty communicating verbally. These patients lived on the first floor, while relatively healthy people stayed on the second floor. I had interviews with the latter people, among whom there were seven men.  28  on Sakhalin, I was able to witness the movements of the returnees and also see their movements from the stayees’ perspectives.   I will add one point about the subjects of my study. I focus on the personhood of older Sakhalin Koreans at time of return. However, this study also offers many ethnographic descriptions of the return processes that I observed. These include, for example, the complicated feelings among would-be migrants before leaving, the affective and emotional moment of crossing borders at the airports in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Incheon (South Korea), and reactions right after return among new returnees. Through this ethnography of border crossing, I introduce a broader perspective on return that involves moral sensitivity and rationality. By this, I show how subjects who are related to international borders negotiate complex social relationships and memberships through connection and differentiation (Heymen and Symons 2012).   Doing something together  I gathered information about the returns and past social lives of Sakhalin Koreans through accessing the public venues on Sakhalin that I mentioned above. However, most of the ethnographic materials were collected during the extensive time I spent meeting and talking with individual older Sakhalin Koreans. Many people kindly let me join in, not only with kin rituals and family dinners, but also with daily activities. I tried to follow what they did: going for a picnic at the park, seaside, and rivers; gathering seaweed and clams; cooking; going to the hair salon; gardening; singing; and eating together. I also spent considerable time socializing in their houses because, except for one case, the interviews were conducted in their houses.24 Every time I visited, older Sakhalin Koreans waited for me to arrive before cooking. When I said “I’m full,” they would reply, “You are young, so eat.” I was always stuffed from all the food I felt obliged to eat during my research. Some people also told me: “People in Moscow never treat guests like this; they just give a cup of coffee.” Older Sakhalin Koreans believed that Sakhaliners (not necessarily Koreans in this context) treat guests with warmer hospitality than people living in larger urban centers do.                                                  24 This exceptional case happened when one middle-aged man suggested meeting in a cafeteria. He mentioned that it is hard to invite a guest to his house. When I met him in the cafeteria, he said: “This is the South Korean way, isn’t it?” 29   Among the many daily activities, the card game played among women, called “hat’o” in Sakhalin Korean, especially embodies how personhood is negotiated.25 It was one of the most significant and symbolic activities that helped me to learn the rhythm of women’s everyday lives. Moreover, it enabled me to look at how discourses, meanings, and imaginaries of return were produced and circulated. I first watched the women playing games because I did not know the rules. However, I became exhausted just watching them play all the time. Then I learned how to play. Since then, I participated in the card game numerous times. Usually the women gathered two to three times per week and spent six to seven hours playing the games. When I stayed on Sakhalin, I joined in their games as much as I could. During one game, one woman jokingly said to everyone: “Sonia [indicating me] will be scolded by her mama; you came to Sakhalin to study, but became norŭmjaengi (a “gambler” in Korean).” Another woman said: “What can we do? We turned Sonia into a norŭmjaengi.” They all laughed.   Some of the reasons why “go-stop” attracts people in South Korea are also applicable to Sakhalin Koreans in regard to hat’o. It has a dynamic plot and partly depends on luck. As one game finishes in (shorter than) ten minutes, people can play numerous games in a sitting. Also, a card in the field is not known until it is turned over, meaning that the game is unpredictable. These two elements make the game dynamic (Han 1999:215). The unpredictable and dynamic flow of hat’o is similar to the games of mah-jong that were played among the Chinese people in a rural village studied by Chu (2010). The Chinese villagers considered that wins and losses were not only determined by their skill but also by luck. As they kept playing, the villagers would win and lose. Chu argues that the dynamism                                                  25 In standard Korean, it is called hwat’u. It is also called “go-stop” in contemporary South Korean society. However, in this dissertation, I use the term hat’o, which the older Sakhalin Koreans use. In origin the term is Sino-Korean meaning literally “battle of flowers”: because of the floral patterns on the cards. This card game came from Japan (called hanafuda) to Korea at the end of the 19th century. In turn, hanafuda was inspired by cards brought from Portugal to Japan in the 16th century. The games of “go-stop” in South Korea and hanafuda in Japan have varied depending on period and region. The rules of the game that older Sakhalin Koreans play were different from “go-stop” in South Korea. However, it is difficult to identify the origin of this game. Middle-aged Sakhalin Korean people told me that older people used to play it when they were children.  Hat’o consists of a total of 48 cards, which have no numbers but have symbols of nature and animals that signify the four seasons. The basic rule is that several cards are put on the table, and a player places one card from the cards they have. If the player’s card matches one of the cards in the field, the player takes the two cards. If a player’s card does not match a card in the field, the player’s card is placed in the field. Each set of cards has a different amount of points. The person who accumulates the most points wins. Those who lose pay the points that the winner gets with their cards. However, if the points that they pay are not sufficient, they pay them with cash. Sakhalin Korean people use coins, not paper money.  30  of the mah-jong game symbolizes the flow of luck and fortune in the unpredictable change of temporality. In a similar vein, Sakhalin Korean women perceive and enjoy the unpredictability of hat’o. For example, when someone’s card matches one of the cards in the field and she captures the two cards, Sakhalin Korean women usually say: “[the cards] have come to you” rather than “you got them.” While they understand their skill affects the flow of the game, this indexical expression shows that winning and losing is partly determined by the card they pick up—i.e., by luck.  Moreover, hat’o among Sakhalin Koreans has other implications. Just as Chu suggests that mah-jong is not a space of exchanging tiles and money but a moment for other transactions and distributive practices (2010:266–267), Sakhalin Koreans exchange a wide range of conversations, rumors, and gossip about what is happening to them and others and also about what happened in the past and what will happen in the future. However, hat’o among Sakhalin Koreans is different from mah-jong among villagers in China. More women engage with hat’o than men. In South Korea, I saw Sakhalin Korean men gathered in public spaces in apartment complexes where they played chess and mah-jong. In addition, unlike chess and mah-jong, hat’o is played by many people at once. When I participated in the games, an average of four to eight people joined in. Also, while there were always core members, other members could come in and out of the game. The Sakhalin Korean women welcomed new members. They said that the more people join, the more interesting the game is. This indicates the women’s expectation that the game would become more fun and dynamic as more people joined in. However, I argue that it also implies that, for the women, the card game serves as a space and moment in which they actively cultivate themselves through exchanging moral and emotional feelings (empathy, critique, and reflection) with many different others, and these feelings are often conflicted and contested. In such a way, by “doing together,” their relational mode of being (personhood) is configured in the everyday.    31  Chapter outline  This dissertation consists of seven chapters. Chapter 1 provides a brief genealogy of Sakhalin Koreans’ return within the context of the geopolitical transformations in 20th-century Northeast Asia. I show how the social bodies of Sakhalin Koreans could traverse borders within the contexts of the emerging humanitarian regime in Japan after 1990 and the post-Cold War transition between South Korea and Russia. I also analyze what kinds of politics are involved in the return of Sakhalin Koreans.  Chapter 2 focuses on key discourses around parent–child separation and union, including connection between mothers and adult children, with deceased parents, and with living kin in South Korea. I consider how these discourses around separation and union exist and intermingle, as well as how the contemporary discourse of return is different from the past discourse of home during the Cold War period.  Chapter 3 turns to demonstrating how older Sakhalin Koreans negotiate the processes of separation and union with other key forms of relatedness, including companionship and friendship. Utilizing the concept of a symbolic union (and the concepts of imagining, finding a companion, and facing ironic dis/connection with friends), I illuminate the ways in which Sakhalin Korean women renegotiate changing everyday intimate relations on one hand, and gender norms and power in an intimate domain, on the other.   Chapter 4 discusses the ways in which older Sakhalin Koreans become “flexible” welfare subjects as they employ their citizenship within the two nation-states. I demonstrate that senses of security and fortune are discharged through returnees’ practices such as talk, the production of meanings and values, sensory experiences, and the consumption of a range of humanitarian aid, including new apartments, domestic objects, pensions, partial living expenses, and exemption from medical fees in South Korea. In addition, I explore returnees’ transnational practices and strategies to examine how they become mobile subjects.   Chapter 5 illuminates the contested aspects and paradoxes of becoming transnational subjects. First, I consider the two moral discourses of dependency and nothingness and examine how meanings and values are attributed to social bodies, which in turn produce new differences. Second, I explore stayees’ struggles to be legitimated bodies. Third, I highlight returnees’ feelings of being privileged welfare subjects in South Korea due to moral and material indebtedness to two nation-states, including Japan and South Korea.  32   The consequences of the return of Sakhalin Koreans are profoundly shaped by the return policy that is a product of the transnational politico-ethical humanitarian project supported by the Japanese and South Korean governments. But Sakhalin Koreans’ everyday moral and political experiences are also played out on post-socialist Sakhalin. This ethnographic study aims to examine, in this transnational space where post-colonial, post-Cold War, and post-socialist changes intersect in complex ways, how kinship and citizenship shape the im/possibilities through which older Sakhalin Koreans negotiate personhood.   33  Chapter 1: Pathways to Return   Although the Japanese and South Korean governments facilitated the Sakhalin Koreans’ return project, this does not mean that this project was proposed and determined by the two states alone. Various actors were involved in the negotiation of the process of return. In particular, civil society advocates in Japan and Sakhalin Koreans themselves played an important role in this process in which they made efforts to raise the return and family reunification of Sakhalin Koreans as a pubic issue to be “resolved” both during and after the Cold War period. Because of my focus, neither the modern international history surrounding Sakhalin Island, nor the “origin” of Sakhalin Koreans will be discussed.26 I instead trace how the family reunification of Sakhalin Koreans and their movement across state borders have been negotiated by various actors. This chapter thus considers the social, historical, and political contexts of return to reveal the transformation of the return of Sakhalin Koreans into a transnational state-sponsored project.  My goal is to offer an understanding of how the return and family reunification of Sakhalin Koreans has emerged as a socio-political issue to be “resolved” in Northeast Asia within the post-Second World War and the Cold War contexts. I especially present (1) some of the political and historical conditions under which the recognition of Sakhalin Koreans became important but contested and (im)possible; (2) civil actors who engaged in a “resolution”; and (3) legal discourses that various state and civil actors employed. In considering the legal and ethical discourses and various responses among Sakhalin Koreans and other civil actors, I also examine how Sakhalin Koreans have been recognized and made into particular beings.  This chapter highlights the multifaceted contexts of return. First, I present a brief description of the repatriation of the Sakhalin Korean population from the southern part of Sakhalin after World War II. Second, I highlight the civil and grassroots actions behind the return of Sakhalin Koreans and the reunion of their kin from the 1960s to the early 1980s.                                                  26 Miki (2013) suggests that the study of Sakhalin Koreans should take a broader perspective beyond ‘national’ boundaries by employing considerations of trans-regional and ethnic contexts. For example, this view calls for analysis of Sakhalin Koreans’ economic activities, employment, and migration during the 1930s in the southern part of Sakhalin and comparing these to those of other imperial subjects such as Chinese and Japanese. Another type of comparative study that is suggested in order to shed light on Sakhalin’s social, political, and economic situation is to consider the conditions in geopolitically-related regions occupied by Imperial Japan such as Manchuria, the Maritime Provinces in the Russian Far East, and Hokkaido.   34  Third, I show how the border-crossing of Sakhalin Koreans was made possible by political shifts from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, eventually resulting in their becoming subjects of humanitarian projects. In addition, drawing on the discussion of humanitarianism, I explore the kinds of politics that are juxtaposed with this return project. Finally, I describe the socio-economic conditions of post-Soviet Sakhalin as another significant context of return mobility. This chapter shows that the return project involved long-term negotiations and compromise. However, I also suggest that the return project is a product of Japan’s and South Korea’s strategic re-engagement with Sakhalin Koreans at the intersection of the post-colonial and post-Cold War changes in Northeast Asia.   * * *   On Sakhalin in 2010, I was present when one elderly Sakhalin Korean man was interviewed by two Japanese researchers about his and his family’s lives during the Japanese colonial era. One researcher pointedly asked: “Not all Korean people were forced to come to Sakhalin as laborers, right?” After the interview, as I walked with the elderly man to a bus stop, he said: “People always ask whether we were forced to come to Sakhalin or not. But to me, the real question is not why we came, but how we remain trapped here.” This man’s comment about why they were not able to return reveals the contested representations and understandings of who were/are the Sakhalin Koreans within a political situation where much public attention has been devoted to determining whether the Sakhalin Koreans were originally conscripted laborers within the Japanese colonial regime. However, the elderly man’s reaction reveals that long years of “being trapped” and relevant feelings of “being left” have also shaped the subjectivities and personhood of older Sakhalin Koreans. Taking his comment as a departure point, this section examines how the social and political bodies of Sakhalin Koreans became “discovered” in civil societies and spaces of debate by state actors since the 1960s and 1970s. Before describing these processes, I discuss the evacuation of Japanese and Koreans from Sakhalin after World War II ended.     35     1.1. Liminal time, liminal space: Evacuation from Sakhalin after 1945   Following the Russo-Japanese War (1905), the southern part of Sakhalin (Karafuto in Japanese) shifted from Russian to Japanese control. After the end of World War II in Asia in 1945, there were 358,568 “Japanese,” along with 23,498 “Koreans” on in southern Sakhalin (Din 2013:46, Nakayama 2012:104).27 From August 13 to August 23, 1945, about 88,000 “Japanese” left Karafuto for Hokkaido (Japan) through various means, including emergency                                                  27 The war on the southern part of Sakhalin ended on August 25, 1945. In 1945 just before evacuation, other than Japanese and Koreans, there were around 2,000 indigenous people (Ainu, Nivkh, and Uilta). There were also 300 people categorized as foreigners in Japanese official documents: Poles, Germans, Chinese, and Russians who had migrated to Sakhalin before the Russo-Japanese War (Nakayama 2012:104). See Sergei Fedorchuk (1992) for a study of the lives of these “foreigners” in the southern part of Sakhalin under Japanese rule. Russia China Figure 1: Map of East Asia. Source: The Perry-Castañeda Library at the University of Texas. Public Domain 36  evacuation and smuggling themselves out of Sakhalin.28 After the Soviet military temporarily halted the evacuation, the US-USSR Agreement on Repatriation, signed in December 19, 1946, resumed it. Based on this agreement, a total of 292,590 people were repatriated from 1946 to 1949. During this period, some Koreans also smuggled themselves out of Sakhalin, for example, by bribing the Soviet military. Lacking specific information about their evacuation, many Koreans believed that they would be sent back to Korea.29 However, repatriation of Koreans was not officially carried out.   Meanwhile, Sakhalin Koreans’ family separation was invoked by Korean laborers in the Kyushu area and Ibaraki Province of Japan as they made claims based on family reunification and evacuation of Koreans from Sakhalin. In 1944, the Japanese cabinet decided to transfer those men, who had worked on the southern part of Sakhalin from the late 1930s to the early 1940s, to the coal mines in Kyushu and the Ibaraki area in Japan (Chŏng 2008).30 There were 3,191 Korean miners who were sent to those areas while some of their wives and children were left behind on Sakhalin. Employing a series of strikes, some of these men sought to reunite with their families.31 Despite such struggles, however, their demands did not bring about the evacuation of Koreans from Sakhalin.                                                  28 Following a cease-fire agreement between Japan and the USSR, and the disarmament of the Soviet military on August 28, 1945, around 18,000 people on the southern part of Sakhalin were sent to Siberia and the northern part of Sakhalin as part of the labor force (Nakayama 2012:105). 29 Biographies and memoirs of older Sakhalin Koreans refer to this point. In fact, many Koreans gathered in the port town of Ōdomari (Korsakov in Russian), waiting for a chance to depart after the war ended. Some Sakhalin Koreans also shared with me the rumor of Koreans being the first to be evacuated. By simply stating, “We, Koreans had to leave first,” these older Sakhalin Koreans seemed to take their return for granted. Such comments suggest that those Sakhalin Koreans did not perceive their political subjectivity around the time of the end of the war in terms of being subjects of the defeated country, Japan, which had fought against the USSR. 30 While this type of mobilization is sometimes called “double conscription”—which refers to the act of being conscripted twice (once from Korea to Sakhalin and once from Sakhalin to Kyushu)—the official and legally recognized terms are “transference” and “transfer” (J. tenkan haichi, K. chŏnhwan paech’i) (Chŏng 2008). This was part of a large transfer of material and human resources planned and conducted from 1942 based on the decision of the Japanese cabinet. Chŏng (2008) discusses the movement of miners from Sakhalin to the Kyushu area of Japan due to the decrease in output of coal within small mines on southern Sakhalin and the lack of ships to send coal from southern Sakhalin to other regions. To reduce costs, ‘surplus’ miners were thereby transferred. Through life history interviews, Chŏng also studies the processes of this transfer and the consequences of this transfer for the lives of Korean miners and their families on Sakhalin.  31 In South Korea, I met two Sakhalin Korean elderly women whose male kin had been transferred during this period. One woman’s husband had been smuggled from Kyushu to Sakhalin while the other woman’s older brother and father had simply failed to return. Showing me a note with the location of the mine where they were supposed to have been sent, she said: “Not knowing whether this note would be helpful in finding out the location of my father and brother, I brought it with me from Sakhalin.” 37   Later, in 1956, with the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the USSR, there were significant moves to change the living conditions of Sakhalin Koreans. One of the central issues within this normalization process was the repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) from the Soviet Union. At this time, Japanese civilians on Sakhalin also had a chance to return to Japan. Although the Soviet government claimed that all “Japanese” civilians had been repatriated in 1949, many remained on Sakhalin for various reasons. For example, the local Soviet civil administration was concerned about the impact of workers’ withdrawal from the industrial sectors, and it required them to stay (Din 2013:49). The civilians also included Japanese women who married Korean men (Nakayama 2013). In 1956, after the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the USSR, these “Japanese” civilians became subject to repatriation to Japan. Their Korean male spouses were also allowed to migrate to Japan, where they would be given a new legal status as foreigners. From 1957 to 1959, a total of 2,345 Japanese civilians left Sakhalin (Nakayama 2014:6).32 In the 1960s, many of these original Korean and Japanese returnees from Sakhalin began to alert the Japanese and South Korean public to the existence of many Koreans still left behind on Sakhalin.  1.2. Struggle for recognition: Grassroots actions among returnees in Japan   Returnees from Sakhalin sent letters and petitions to Japanese ministries and the South Korean delegations in Japan. They wrote that many Koreans remained on Sakhalin and asked for them to be evacuated from Sakhalin.33 Neither government, however, wished to become embroiled in Sakhalin-Korean issues by acting on the demands of returnees for Koreans to be evacuated and kin to be reunited. In 1958, the returnees also appealed to the Japanese Red Cross to petition the Red Cross in Geneva. The Red Cross responded that it was not the returnees in Japan, but the Sakhalin Koreans and their South Korean family members, who should submit documents demonstrating their desire to reunite with family. In 1959, the returnees made a list of 2,048 Sakhalin Koreans (including their names and addresses) who wished to return to South Korea and reunite with their family members and                                                  32 Of them, there were 749 Japanese civilians and there were 1,541 foreigners (Nakayama 2014:6). The latter refers mostly to Korean husbands and the children of those Japanese civilians.  33 The Republic of Korea’s delegation was sent to Tokyo in 1949. 38  sent it to the Red Cross Headquarters in Geneva. The Red Cross in South Korea also received a petition signed by to 1,000 names from South Koreans who had relatives on Sakhalin (Hyon 2012:177–178). In this manner, returnees in Japan initiated many forms of grassroots activities to reunite with their family members on Sakhalin, despite lacking resources and having little support from either the Japanese (Ōnuma 1992; Takagi 1990) or South Korean public.  Despite such difficulties, these returnees continued to facilitate the exchange of letters between Sakhalin Koreans and their South Korean relatives. In fact, during my fieldwork on Sakhalin, many middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans told me stories of their parents’ generation reading those letters from South Korea again and again. For example, one middle-aged man told me of a friend’s father committing suicide. Later, his friend’s family found a letter from his kin in South Korea under his pillow. The ink on that letter was faded by tears. Since letters were not regularly exchanged, Sakhalin Koreans read the same letters over and over.34 Those letters helped them confirm that family members were alive, but they also made them feel the distance and sense of separation. After migrating to Japan, the returnees made efforts to connect with family members across international state borders.   The normalization of treaties between Japan and South Korea in 1965 was another important opportunity for the returnees to demand the reunion of Sakhalin Koreans with families. The returnees petitioned the South Korean government to raise issues with Japan concerning the Sakhalin Koreans. However, no articles regarding them were mentioned in the normalization talks. The South Korean government persisted in its viewpoint that Japan was legally responsible for their repatriation. In fact, the South Korean government’s main concern was domestic conditions. It was afraid of an inflow of population from a communist country, including too many refugees (Han 2011:182).   In contrast to the indifferent stance of the South Korean government, in the late 1960s, the local Soviet government on Sakhalin took a more positive view of Sakhalin Koreans’ return. The local Department of Visas and Registration35 and the authority of                                                  34 Many older Sakhalin Koreans told me that it became difficult to exchange letters with their South Korean kin during the mid-1970s. During this period, some Sakhalin Korean families who demanded evacuation from Sakhalin were deported to North Korea, a subject I will discuss later. 35 OVIR (Otdel Viz i Registratsii), referring to the department for Visas and Registration, was part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (from 1935 to 2005), which dealt with the registration of foreigners in the USSR 39  Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk responded that they would allow the departure of those Koreans who wanted to leave Sakhalin if Japan would permit their entry (Ōnuma 1992:78).36 However, as I explore below, the Japanese government did not pursue this potential opening.  Compared to the visits and reunion of family arranged between the USSR and non-communist countries, such as West Germany and Israel during the 1960s and 1970s, Sakhalin Koreans struggled to reunite with kin across the border in the same period.37 Even at a time when the Iron Curtain divided many nations in Europe, economic and political relations between the USSR and some of the non-communist countries mentioned above allowed family meetings across the borders. In contrast, while ties between South Korea and the USSR were not altogether lacking, these two countries had little room to negotiate the reunification of separated families after the Korean War.   Family reunification was not officially and systematically arranged until the late 1980s.38 In the post-Asia Pacific War and Cold War periods, both the Japanese and South Korean governments adopted a negative attitude towards Sakhalin Koreans’ return for family reunification. This became known as an “abandonment policy” within public discourse. Despite the lack of progress at the state level, Sakhalin Koreans became gradually recognized in Japan and South Korea in the mid-1970s. The following sections show some of these changes with a focus on how political, legal, and ethical discourses made Sakhalin Koreans into “problems” to be solved.  1.3. Sakhalin Koreans become a political and legal “problem”  From the 1970s, Japanese attorneys, scholars, and civil activists became more aware of the returnees’ grass-roots activities. Since the 1960s, most of them had engaged in social movements against Japan’s post-war relations with the U.S., as well as with other countries in Asia. They called for Japan to take responsibility in the post-war context for “properly”                                                  and subjects of emigration. Those Sakhalin Koreans who lacked USSR citizenship were registered in this department. 36 Due to the lack of diplomatic ties between the USSR and ROK, the local authorities could permit the departure of Sakhalin Koreans on the condition that they would go to Japan. 37 In the post-Stalin era, around 300,000 people renounced their USSR citizenship and emigrated based on family unification schemes. This involved people identifying as German, Spanish, Greek and Armenian (Ginsburgs 1984:129). 38 During the 1970s, there were two exceptional cases of Sakhalin Koreans’ migration to Japan and South Korea. 40  compensating the victims of war originally from Asian countries. As they focused public attention on the plight of Sakhalin returnees, key legal and ethical issues of whether the Japanese government was responsible for the repatriation of Koreans were raised. These issues also became debated among civilians, legal specialists, and Japanese government officials. In the following section, I not only highlight these processes but also consider recent scholarly discussions in an effort to address the question of why Sakhalin Koreans were left behind. I focus on the role of key state institutions such as the central and local governments of the Soviet Union, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), and the South Korean government.  1.3.1. An unsettling discourse: Why and how were Sakhalin Koreans left behind?   Why were Sakhalin Koreans left behind? This question has been long debated among scholars, legal specialists, and civil activists studying Sakhalin Koreans. In general, scholars have relied on the answers provided by John Stephan (1971), the first historian to publish in English on the modern international history of Sakhalin Island. According to Stephan, Koreans remained on Sakhalin after the war due to the Soviet demand for labor, the political instability of the Korean peninsula, and the lack of transportation to Korea (Stephan 1971:161–163). Following this premise, it has also been assumed that the evacuation of Sakhalin Koreans from the southern part of Sakhalin was carried out by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) and the USSR under the U.S.-Soviet Treaty of December 19, 1946. This explanation presumes that neither Japan nor Korea exercised diplomatic authority to transfer these subjects back to their respective homelands from Sakhalin.   Judicial experts and scholars in Japan, however, problematize the subject of repatriation, and “Japanese Nationals,” within this treaty. In legal debate, attention has focused on the ways in which Sakhalin Koreans were included or excluded from the category of “Japanese Nationals”. Regarding the status of Koreans under the Japanese colonial regime, Koreans were considered Japanese “nationals”; 39 yet their civil and colonial status remained distinct from that of the Japanese based on their household registry.                                                  39 The process of implementing the registry system in Korea during the colonial period was not unitary but varied over time. Here, I focus on Koreans’ nationality just before the war ended.  41  Registered to the “outland” (J. gaichi) of Korea, the transfer of their registration to the “inland” (J. naichi) of Japan was prohibited. Based on this “ethnic” differentiation, Koreans were later excluded from the category of “Japanese” after the war (Kashiwazaki 2000:22–23, Ryang 2005:92). Considering their ambiguous status, advocates in Japan asserted that Koreans should be included in the category of “Japanese nationals” as former “Japanese imperial subjects” and, therefore, subject to evacuation.   While such judicial discourses have dominated public discussion since the 1970s, recent scholarship examines official documents related to the post-war repatriation policy in Northeast Asia—including those concerning Koreans on Sakhalin—to offer a broader understanding of why Sakhalin Koreans were left behind. When archives and government documents on Sakhalin emerged after 2000 in Russia, the United States, and South Korea, scholarly attention turned to Sakhalin Koreans on Sakhalin and in South Korea. This recent scholarship requires scrutiny to highlight the complex processes through which key state institutions within the USSR, SCAP, and South Korea recognized and dealt with ‘Koreans’ on Sakhalin at the transitional moment between 1945 and 1950.   First, based on sources in Moscow, including the memoire of Dmitrii Kriukov, the chief of the civil administration on Sakhalin from 1945 to 1947, Din (2013) contends that the federal authorities of the USSR and the local authorities on Sakhalin disagreed as to the status of the Koreans’ evacuation. In 1947, the Council of Ministers of the USSR proposed a plan to repatriate Koreans on Sakhalin to North Korea. This plan was not implemented, Din argues, due to the local civil authority’s opposition. Without specifically distinguishing the “Japanese” from “Koreans,” Kriukov was concerned about the out-migration of the population from south Sakhalin after the war. Moreover, while the transfer of Soviet citizens from the mainland to Sakhalin was promoted, it occurred more slowly than planned. Thus, Koreans were not specific targets of internment. Rather, with the local administration seeking continued production and economic stability on the southern part of Sakhalin, it prevented Koreans’ evacuation. Meanwhile, other states, including Japan, the “Koreas,” and SCAP, had little authority to intervene in the local authority’s decision-making process (Din 2013:53).  Second, recent scholarship also investigates how SCAP and also the U.S. authority in South Korea acknowledged Koreans on Sakhalin after 1945. Evidence suggests that SCAP 42  both recognized and considered the repatriation of the Korean population on the southern part of Sakhalin (Chang 2007).40 The U.S. occupation authority in South Korea, however, opposed this plan as it was worried about the precarious post-war situation in South Korea (Hyon 2012) where some six to eight million people were returning from Japan, Manchuria, Taiwan, and other Pacific regions. In a situation of social, political, and economic instability after 1945, the U.S. authority refused to actively take up the return of Sakhalin Koreans.   Third, scholarship also suggests that the return of Sakhalin Koreans was never seriously considered even though the South Korean government knew about their predicament. This was partly due to the political tension surrounding South Korea, Japan, and Northeast Asia after the Korean War. For example, after the war, the Syng-Man Rhee administration (1948-1960), which was dependent upon U.S. economic aid, cooperated with Japan to build an anti-Communist network. Due to Japan’s establishment of diplomatic ties with the USSR just three years after the Korean War, and further economic and civil exchanges with China (PRC) and North Korea, Rhee turned to anti-Japanese ideology to legitimate his government.41 Instead, a central concern for the South Korean government was the diasporic Korean population’s migration to North Korea, which I will discuss below. So long as Rhee’s reaction to those Koreans’ movements engendered antipathy toward the Japanese government and North Korea (Han 2011; Hyon 2012), no steps were taken toward Sakhalin Koreans’ return.   Based on newly discovered archival sources and interpretations, scholars have revealed the multifaceted nature of Sakhalin Koreans’ abandonment in the aftermath of Japan’s occupation of south Sakhalin and Korea and the emerging Cold War structure. Within the liminal time and space of Northeast Asia from 1945 to the early 1950s, it can be argued that political and historical contingency is what prevented the evacuation of Sakhalin Koreans and their movement across borders. However, it is hard to deny that the social bodies of Sakhalin Koreans were also left behind for the political and economic “stability” of local and state authorities.                                                   40 When some civilians in Seoul sent a letter to SCAP in 1946 requesting Koreans’ return to South Korea, the South Korean government asked SCAP to survey the number of Koreans remaining on Sakhalin (Saharin Zanryū Kankoku Chōsenjin Mondai Giin Kondankai (“The Diet Members’ Gathering for Sakhalin Koreans”) 1994:311-317).  41 Son offers an analysis of how both anti-Communist and anti-Japan ideologies emerged and became modified in the post-Korean War context (Son 2011:239–272) 43   These discussions reveal the ways various state institutions recognized Sakhalin Koreans. In spite of this, the legal and ethical discourse of Japanese government’s responsibility has persisted. Judicial experts and civil advocates in Japan claim that the repatriation of Sakhalin Koreans by the USSR and SCAP would have been impossible without the knowledge of the Japanese government or military. Assuming that the Japanese authorities had a firm grasp of the distribution of the population in the occupied territories such as Manchuria, Taiwan, and China, they assert that the USSR and SCAP were highly constrained in evacuating Koreans from Sakhalin. In addition, they point to Japan’s involvement in the practical issues of repatriation, such as the arrangement of ships and the costs of transfer. Thus, civil society advocates assert that the Japanese authorities cannot deny their complicity in the exclusion of Koreans from the project of repatriation and their responsibility for the Sakhalin Koreans’ return in the post-war period.  In legal discourse, Sakhalin Koreans came to be considered a political problem to be solved. Along with this discourse, the contested interpretation of Sakhalin Koreans’ nationality in 1952, when the structure of the Cold War was being configured in Northeast Asia, is another controversial point of legal debate.  1.3.2. An unsettling discourse: Did Sakhalin Koreans lose Japanese nationality, and if so, when?  The Soviet Union and South Korea did not have diplomatic ties until 1990. Since Japan was the only state with official diplomatic relations with both the USSR and South Korea from the 1960s into the 1980s, the returnees from Sakhalin and civil activists in Japan called upon the Japanese government to negotiate for family reunification with the two states. The Japanese government, however, declared that it was not responsible for Sakhalin Koreans since Koreans were not considered ‘Japanese’ from 1952 on the basis of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. This declaration raised the key question of whether and how Koreans on Sakhalin had lost their “Japanese nationality” in 1952. In order to understand this question, it is necessary to consider the post-World War II international order in the Asia-Pacific, and how it was affected by the San Francisco System.   The concept of the San Francisco System is often proposed by political scientists and historians, as a master framework for understanding the post-war regional and international 44  configuration of power in the Asia-Pacific (Dower 1971, 1993; Hara 2007, 2015; Iriye 1977).42 Signed by 48 nations in 1951, the San Francisco Peace Treaty (hereafter SFPT) dealt primarily with the sovereignty of Japanese-occupied allied territories and the compensation owed by Japan to Allied civilians and POWs in the aftermath of World War II. Through considering this treaty and its effects in the Pacific-Asia, scholars have demonstrated how the Cold War structure was formed in the Asia-Pacific. Instead of reviewing all the debates here, I select the discussions relevant to Sakhalin Koreans’ political status to highlight how these historical ‘facts’ are employed to unsettle legal and ethical discourses of responsibility in the relations between the relevant states and Sakhalin Koreans.   With the initiation of the SFPT in 1952, the Allied occupation of Japan ended. The SPFT effectively indicated Japan’s official recovery of its sovereignty while, in theory, renouncing all its rights and claims to territories such as Korea, Taiwan, the Kurile Islands, and South Sakhalin. However, this treaty was not “peacefully” agreed to (cf. Price 2001). The Soviet Union was among the states refusing to sign this treaty.43 Moreover, other nations, including communist and nationalist China, the two Koreas, and the Mongolian People’s Republic were not invited to the negotiations.44 In this contradictory situation where the political influence of the UK and the U.S. was reflected in the contents of the                                                  42 The concept of the San Francisco System is regarded as reflecting the particular processes of “the end” of the war and the onset of the Cold War structure in East Asia and the Pacific. These are constructed distinctively from those of Euro-Atlantic contexts. According to Hara (2007, 2015), in the latter, it is generally appreciated that “the Yalta System” was the context within which key international players, including the Soviet Union, the U.S., and Britain, competed for hegemony among divided nations in Europe. However, the Pacific region formed different pathways. Hara convincingly argues, first, that post-colonial political movements and the following civil wars in the Pacific region were key factors that brought about the “hot” wars. Second, in the Asia-Pacific, not only the U.S. and the Soviet Union, but also China (PRC) was a key competitor. Finally, as seen in the national division of several nations, including Vietnam, China, and Korea, the Cold War conflicts have shaped a more complex Cold War environment in East and Southeast Asia than in Europe (2007:5).  43 A total of 52 nations participated in the treaty but three, including the USSR, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, refused to sign it. India, Burma, and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were invited but did not attend the signing of the treaty. The return of South Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands to the USSR was promised at the Yalta Conference (1945) as compensation for the Soviet Union’s entrance into the war with Japan. But in the SFPT itself, although there is a reference to the definition of the boundaries of the Kurile Islands, there is no mention of the recipient of the territories (Hara 2007:12). This ambiguous statement brought about a dispute between Japan and the USSR (and now Russia) over the northern territories. As this example shows, the USSR refused to sign this treaty since many articles in the SFPT retreated from key points raised at the Yalta Conference. 44 Fearing China’s influence over Hong Kong and Malaysia, Great Britain opposed China’s participation in the SFPT.  45  treaty, shifting relations of international power brought about cracks in the Pacific region’s power structure after World War II. Scholars have proposed the San Francisco System as the means to analyze the U.S.’s growing supremacy in the Asia-Pacific.45 This method not only enables us to understand Cold War politics within the context of the post-war and colonial processes, but also to examine the continued influence of this system on unresolved political disputes, especially in East Asia, and particularly in regard to land claims, post-war compensation, and the presence of U.S. military bases.  Although the SFPT deals primarily with the issue of territorial sovereignty, it also serves as the basis for justifying the “foreigner” status of Sakhalin Koreans and the disengagement of the Japanese government from the issue of Sakhalin Koreans. Following this treaty in 1952, Japan’s Ministry of Justice declared that the Koreans (and also Taiwanese) had lost their Japanese nationality, thereby asserting that it had no legal or political responsibility for the Sakhalin Koreans.46   In response to this claim, advocates for Sakhalin Koreans have problematized their legal and political status at the time the SFPT was signed in 1952. As pointed out above, the Soviet Union’s refusal to sign the SFPT indicates, for example, that no peace treaty was established between the USSR and Japan. In the mid-1950s, the local Soviet authority on Sakhalin went so far as to offer the Sakhalin Koreans Soviet nationality by officially considering them to be “former Japanese subjects.” As I show in chapter 5, instead of choosing a Soviet nationality, many Sakhalin Koreans “chose” other formal statuses, including North Korean nationality or remaining “stateless.” Thus, the political status of Sakhalin Koreans remains unclear. Furthermore, civil advocates contend that the 1952 Japanese Ministry of Justice Notice is effective for Koreans in Japan, but not for Koreans in the territory of south Sakhalin.47   The advocates identified another legal argument that Sakhalin Koreans had not renounced Japanese nationality. Tanaka, for example, points out that the SFPT did not contain any explicit references to citizenships of the colonized populations (Watts 2010:95–                                                 45 U.S. supremacy in the Asia-Pacific was supported by other security treaties signed in 1951 between the United States and other countries such as Japan, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand.   46 The four main points of the 1952 Notice by Japan’s Ministry of Justice are discussed by Watt (2010:95–96). 47 Considering that the PRC (1949) and the two Koreas (1948) were established before 1952, the populations in these countries acquired their citizenship based on their respective country’s citizenship law at the time. This Notice was therefore, in fact, pertinent to the status of Koreans and Taiwanese within Japan.  46  96 [Tanaka 1995:64–65]). The advocates argue that renunciation of citizenship was not defined based on the international treaty, but based on subjects’ will, and nations’ citizenship laws.   Legal experts have offered another counter-argument pointing to the inconsistent ways in which the Japanese government included and excluded its “nationals.” Specifically, these experts follow the cases of Japanese wives with Sakhalin Korean husbands who were repatriated in 1956. Under the colonial regime, Japanese wives with Korean husbands on Sakhalin were, in theory, removed from their household registry in Japan. In 1952 the Ministry of Justice announced the loss of Japanese nationality for those who had already been removed from the registry before the enactment of the treaty. The Ministry also stated that the Japanese wives of Korean and Taiwanese husbands were considered Koreans and Taiwanese. Nevertheless, in 1956, after the normalization of Japan-USSR relations, those living on Sakhalin were allowed to return to Japan and their political status as Japanese citizen was “recovered” on the basis of their former household registry. In critiquing this inconsistent treatment of Japanese wives and their husbands as ethnic discrimination, legal experts and advocates assert that Sakhalin Koreans should have been considered subjects of evacuation.   These legal debates were produced as advocates tried to clarify political relations between Sakhalin Koreans and the Japanese government. Via these legal discourses, the advocates and the Japanese government debated Sakhalin Koreans’ official and political status on Sakhalin in the post-war period. However, their interpretations of Sakhalin Koreans’ citizenship are contested. In this context, the advocates raised questions about the very basis of Koreans’ migration to Sakhalin.   1.3.3. An unsettling discourse: Why did Koreans move to Sakhalin?  In searching for a “resolution,” both the returnees and their advocates have raised the fundamental issue of why Koreans moved to Sakhalin in the first place. Simply put, a central point of this debate is the movement of Koreans to the southern part of Sakhalin as part of 47  Japan’s labor mobilization during the Asia-Pacific War.48 This movement is situated within the larger political and economic context of mass labor mobilization planned and implemented by the Japanese colonial government during the Asia-Pacific War in the period 1939 to 1944. The advocates stressed this fundamental problem, and initiated lawsuits in 1975 to ascertain the Japanese government’s responsibility for the return of Sakhalin Koreans, who had been mobilized in a forced and compulsory manner. Consequently, the concept of “forced labor” became a central subject of discussion.   Though the forced mobilization of some Korean men is difficult to dispute, recent scholarship suggests that their movement to Sakhalin during the colonial period was more complex. I briefly describe the three phases of this movement. First, in the early period after the annexation of South Sakhalin, the local government attempted the long-term settlement of Japanese as a way of maintaining the labor force. The Japanese government initially planned to develop agricultures, but due to the harsh climate, by 1910, it turned to developing the pulp and paper industry. As part of these developments, the number of Japanese immigrants gradually increased. However, since few Japanese immigrants moved, the Karafuto Office, a local administrative division, turned to settling Koreans and Chinese on Sakhalin (Miki 2012:57–58).   Second, the number of Koreans increased into the 1920s partly because of the convergence of local demand for labor in factories and construction sites with the evacuation of Koreans from the northern part of Sakhalin.49 In contrast to the Chinese, who mostly engaged in seasonal and collective labor in coal mines and construction sites, Koreans tended to move to Sakhalin through recruitment and social networks and to engage in a more varied type of employment. Structurally, however, Koreans constituted the bottom layer of                                                  48 Though they focused on Koreans, this does not mean that these advocates ignored other populations. The Japanese on Sakhalin were also considered subjects of mobilization during the preparations for war. Additional subjects of dis/placement included the indigenous people (Nivkh, and Uilta) (cf. Tamura 2013).  49 From 1920 to 1925, the Japanese military occupied North Sakhalin as “compensation” for the massacre of Japanese soldiers in Nikolayevsk (in the RFE) by the Red Army. Miki argues that in the early 1920s following the Russian Revolution (1918), there were Koreans who moved to Northern Sakhalin from various regions of Northeast Asia, but especially from the Maritime Province. In northern Sakhalin, those Koreans worked as low-skilled laborers within the fishery and agricultural sectors. In 1925 when North Sakhalin was no longer occupied by Japan following the convention between the USSR and the Empire of Japan, these populations evacuated to South Sakhalin. They moved not to the Soviet mainland, but to south Sakhalin because they could not afford to pay the expenses to return to the mainland and because some tried to reclaim their properties in the north (Miki 2012:70–72). These are some of the primary reasons for Koreans’ movement from northern to southern Sakhalin.  48  the labor market on Sakhalin, working as loggers, coal miners, construction workers, innkeepers, drivers, and day laborers (Miki 2012:62).   Finally, during the 1930s, Karafuto became more integrated into the imperial economic system as a supply site for Japan’s wartime efforts (Miki 2013:2). As a result of the war, the demand for coal became higher and the mobilization of labor into mines on southern Sakhalin became more systematically implemented. In particular, after the passage of the National Mobilization Law in 1938, the Japanese government directed Koreans to core industrial sectors. From 1939 to 1944, 16,113 Koreans, short of the planned 19,500, moved to Karafuto (Imanishi 2012:38).50 In contrast to other labor mobilization efforts often involving the government, the recruitment of Koreans to Sakhalin was carried out by private corporations.51 In addition, another distinctive aspect of this mobilization was that laborers migrated with family members. In order to ensure local political stability and the long-term settlement of Koreans, the Karafuto Agency Police encouraged laborers to be accompanied by their families (Han 2011:167). Older Sakhalin Koreans often spoke of such migration patterns; for example, elderly women recounted how they followed their husbands to Sakhalin after marrying in Korea. Some middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans told me that they moved to Sakhalin with their mothers after their fathers, older brothers, and other male kin had left Korea. While Koreans’ mobility entailed diverse processes, their movement primarily took the form of labor migration, shaped by Japan’s imperial political economy during wartime (Imanishi 2012:38).52 However, as shown in the beginning of this chapter, this predominant legal discourse of “forced labor” (explaining why Koreans moved to Sakhalin) is powerful and overshadows other explanations for why Sakhalin Koreans were left on Sakhalin.                                                  50 Imanishi notes how this number is still not clear because the governments’ statistics that his study draws upon exclude the numbers of Koreans who moved to Sakhalin throughout the year of 1944 and also in 1945. The fact that the Karafuto Office did not keep records on the demography of Koreans also makes it difficult to arrive at an exact number (2012:38).  51 Examples of the sovereign power of private companies under colonial rule are also seen in other colonial contexts in Africa and Asia. Drawing on Membe’s concept of “private indirect government,” Hansen and Stepputat review the study of sovereignty to demonstrate how the actual operations of the slave trade and the control of populations were run by private companies associated with states in Europe (Hansen and Stepputat 2006:303).  52 This argument is supported by the demography of Koreans; the number of Korean men on Karafuto was at least double that of women.  49   The judicial discourses of responsibility for Sakhalin Korean’s return emerged during the late 1970s. At this time, returnees and their advocates visited and negotiated the return and reunion of Sakhalin Koreans with their kin with various representatives and state officials in Japan, South Korea, and the Soviet Union. As I show next, their legal claims were partly in reaction to the negative attitudes of these state officials towards Sakhalin Koreans’ attempted border-crossing.     1.3.4. Thawing out the Cold War   Why was the border crossing of Sakhalin Koreans impossible during the 1960s and 1970s? The political actions of the returnees and their advocates show how the border crossing of Sakhalin Koreans became a political football within international relations. In examining how states exercised authority over Sakhalin Koreans’ movement, this section will illustrate the process through which the return of Sakhalin Koreans became strategically transformed into a humanitarian and moral issue.  The Soviet side took a particularly rigid attitude towards Sakhalin Koreans’ departure for reunification of family during the mid-1970s. In 1976, the Soviet officials asserted that the issue of Sakhalin Koreans had to be discussed not with the Japanese government and its civilians, but with North Korea. Although Soviet officials stated that they understood that many Sakhalin Koreans who wished to be reunited with kin were originally from southern Korea, it emphasized that the legitimate partner for the negotiation of their return was North Korea (Takagi 1990:158)  These claims reflected their view of Japanese advocates’ actions as anti-Soviet propaganda—a suspicion that was strengthened by the negative depiction within Japanese media of the Soviet oppression of Sakhalin Korean “victims” (Ōnuma 1992:93–94). Also, the Soviet view was affected by the North Korean government’s efforts to prevent the repatriation of Sakhalin Koreans to South Korea. Following the Korean War, after the factional conflicts and purge in North Korea (Lankov 1999, 2004) and the withdrawal of around 300,000 members of the People’s Liberation Army (China) from North Korea, North Korea promoted the migration of Koreans to North Korea mostly from Northeast China, the Russian Far East (including Sakhalin), and Japan (Li 2012; Morris-Suzuki 2007). At this time, North Korea encouraged Sakhalin Koreans to emigrate to North Korea by promising 50  educational and employment opportunities (see chapter 5).53 Because the mobilization of diasporic Koreans was an important means for its socialist-nation building, the North Korean government resisted the migration of diasporic Koreans to South Korea in the Cold War period. These social and political reactions from outside the Soviet Union partly affected the Soviet government’s position.  While it was obvious that the South Korean government was expected to play a crucial role in Sakhalin Koreans’ border-crossing, its social, political, and economic conditions made it difficult for advocates to negotiate with Soviet officials. Both civil activists and the returnees called upon the South Korean government to permit the entry of Sakhalin Koreans into South Korea. During the Park Chung-Hee administration (1961–1979), the government maintained its claim that Japan was primarily responsible for the Sakhalin Korean issues. This was done, despite strong opposition from the Korean public, in order to normalize South Korea’s diplomatic relations with Japan in 1965 (Han 2011) and to receive economic aid from Japan in exchange for waiving the right to claim damages.54 The South Korean government’s negative stance towards hosting Sakhalin Koreans from the USSR also reflected its broader refusal to support the repatriation of overseas Koreans (Hyon 2012:182). Instead, South Korea adopted a policy of sending its ‘surplus’ population overseas, whether that meant as labor migrants to South America and West Germany, or as orphans to Euro-American countries.55 Finally, Japanese advocates further made it difficult to actively engage the Korean officials since advocates were opposed to the South Korean authoritarian state’s violence and oppression of civil liberties (Utsumi, Ōnuma, and Tanaka 2014:149–154).   The South Korean government left little room for any consideration of Sakhalin Koreans, but small changes were seen in South Korea by the 1970s. For example, South Korean media outlets gradually increased their coverage of Sakhalin Koreans which,                                                  53 The cause of this campaign was partly the demand for labor but it can also be explained by other factors, including North Korea’s domestic politics, DPRK-USSR relations, and the socio-political conditions of Korean diasporas in China, the Russian Far East, and Japan (see Li 2012; Morris-Suzuki 2007). In chapter 5, I explore this point by linking it to past citizenship of Sakhalin Koreans. 54 The normalization treaty between Japan and South Korea was signed after a 14-year negotiation process (from 1951 to 1965). Negotiation over compensation for past harms proceeded with difficulty during the 1950s. But in the 1960s under the Park regime, it was suddenly signed despite protests from both the public and opposition parties.  55 During the 1970s alone, there were 46,000 Korean children who were adopted outside South Korea (Kim 2010:20–21). 51  similarly to Japanese media, harped on the oppressiveness of the Soviet regime. Moreover, South Korean civilians expanded their search for separated families and amplified their demands to be reunited with kin not only on Sakhalin but also in other places in the USSR and in China. With the establishment in 1970 of the Organization Promoting Repatriation of Interned Koreans on Sakhalin, South Korean legal experts also joined this movement.56  In Japan, however, things were more complicated. Though some changes were seen, on the whole, the Japanese government’s position of disengaging itself from the Sakhalin Korean issue remained unchanged. For example, some assembly members, local government representatives, and members of the Socialist Party actively pushed for the government to discuss Sakhalin Koreans’ family reunification with Soviet officials. They advocated for the Sakhalin Korean issue to be included in the 1973 summit negotiation between Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.57 In this meeting, however, the Japanese government declared that Sakhalin Koreans could only pass through Japan en route to South Korea; all the expenses for their passage should also be paid by the South Korean government. As such, Japan was considered a space of temporary passage.   1.3.5. Moving forward, moving back   Faced with such structural limitations, the returnees and their advocates in Tokyo pursued legal action, for example, initiating in 1975, the so-called “Sakhalin Lawsuit.” The main goal of this lawsuit was to verify that Sakhalin Koreans were legally in a position to return, by putting this case against a defendant, the Japanese government (Takagi 1990:77). The fundamental fact of Sakhalin Koreans being forcibly mobilized as laborers was strategically deployed. Yet, because in Japan there were no plaintiffs on whose behalf their lawsuit was filed, they sent letters to Sakhalin Koreans on Sakhalin calling for volunteers; selecting four among those who replied, and filed their lawsuit.                                                    56 In Korean, it was called Hwat’ae ŏngnyu kyop’o kwihwan ch’okchinhoe. In 1980, the organization changed its name to the “Organization of Families Separated [between] China and the Soviet Union” (chungso isan kajokhoe); its central goal was to promote the union of kin between South Korea and socialist countries including the PRC and the USSR. However, with 70% of its members living in poverty, it was difficult for this organization to take public action (Ōnuma 1992:98) 57 This was the first summit level meeting since 1956 when diplomatic relations between Japan and the USSR became normalized. Prime Minister Tanaka was also well known for establishing Japan’s diplomatic ties with the PRC in 1972. During this 1973 visit, while Brezhnev’s main agenda was to review Japan’s role in the economic development of Siberia, Tanaka’s main concern was Japan’s territorial sovereignty over the Kurile Islands (Hara 1998).   52   This legal action succeeded in garnering attention from some Japanese ministers in the Diet. In 1975, the Minister of Justice stated that since the Japanese government had a moral responsibility to deal with Sakhalin Koreans, it would consider the situation as a humanitarian issue. Later, the Minister of Justice even granted 387 Sakhalin Koreans permission to enter Japan in 1978; due to opposition from the Immigration Bureau and other ministries, this action was never realized (Takagi 1990:152).  In contrast to such legal wrangling in Japan, a symbolically significant incident took place on Sakhalin in 1977 when forty Sakhalin Koreans who had demanded entry to Japan were suddenly deported to North Korea. Most of the literature on Sakhalin Koreans refers to this as “the deportation of To Man-Sang families” (To Man-Sang was one of the deported subjects). In 1977, To’s family and other Sakhalin Koreans protested in front of the civil administration office demanding departure from Sakhalin and entry into Japan. To Man-Sang already had permission from the local authorities to depart from Sakhalin and was waiting for the Japanese government’s entry approval when they were suddenly all sent to North Korea; nothing has been heard of them since (Paku 1995; Kuzin 2010).  When I conducted fieldwork on Sakhalin in 2010, the impact of this incident still reverberated among older Sakhalin Koreans. Many continued to wonder where those families had gone and whether they were still alive or dead. They also told me that after this incident, it became difficult for them to contact their kin in South Korea. As one woman put it, “At that time we did not say that we had relatives in South Korea.” Since that time, civic actions of Sakhalin Koreans around the issue of return have visibly declined. I assume that this decline can be attributed to the fear provoked by such an incident that has also shaped their everyday political imagination of state power and authority.  In this section, I have outlined the legal discourses and socio-political contexts within which Sakhalin Koreans came to be considered a political problem. Within the Cold War tension and the post-Asia-Pacific War context, interactions among various actors including state officials, civil advocates, and Sakhalin Koreans played a crucial role in the production and circulation of these legal discourses which made Sakhalin Koreans into political bodies. However, by the late 1980s, when the Cold War tension was significantly transformed, Sakhalin Koreans became more visible as victims and their mobility was allowed, which I discuss next. 53  1.4. Emerging international politico-ethical project  The Soviet Chief Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced perestroika (reconstruction) in 1985 and glasnost’ (openness, public discussion) in 1987.58 These policies were launched to “improve the efficiency and productivity of the Soviet government and industry by increasing accountability and the flow of necessary information” (Ries 1995:165). These policies changed the Sakhalin Koreans’ relation to South Korea drastically. This change was further accelerated from the South Korean side through the so-called Northern Policy, initiated under the Roh Tae-Woo administration (1988–1993). Finally, Japan’s humanitarian regime after 1990 provided the ideological, discursive, and material foundation for Sakhalin Koreans’ return migration. This section spells out how these transitions shaped Sakhalin Koreans’ return pathway when, to borrow a Sakhalin Korean expression, “The door was opened.” My analysis of the social and political implications of the return migration that made Sakhalin Koreans into exceptional subjects rests upon the scholarly discussions of humanitarianism. In the following sections, I first clarify the analytical framework upon which my discussion draws. Second, I go on to discuss how actual return was negotiated, planned, long suspended, and finally implemented as a state-sponsored project within the two socio-political contexts of South Korea and Japan. Third, I trace the unexpected consequences of Sakhalin Koreans’ return in the early 1990s. Finally, this section will discuss political implications of the return of Sakhalin Koreans.  1.4.1. The politics of humanitarianism   My analysis of how Sakhalin Koreans’ return was conducted as a politico-ethical project is built on an examination of ethnographic studies of humanitarianism. Scholars demonstrate how vulnerable subjects such as refugees, asylum seekers, and other displaced people are “saved” by various institutions and organizations such as NGOs, religious groups, UN organizations, and states. In this context, medical and legal anthropology have studied events, practices, and discourses that are carried out within a moral framework of humanity                                                  58 I follow Yurchak’s translation of glasnost’ (2005:4). In addition to “openness,” glasnost’ is also translated in English with words, “publicity.”  54  and humanitarianism (Fassin 2005, 2010; Feldman 2007; Feldman and Ticktin 2010; Malkki 1996; Redfield 2012, 2013).  My analysis answers the call to recognize what kinds of politics and power operate in recognizing, producing, and governing suffering bodies. Malkki’s pioneering work on Hutu refugees in Tanzania (1996) demonstrates that the humanitarian project recognizes certain subjects as being worthy of being saved through employing symbolic ethical values of universal humanity, which renders them apolitical and ahistorical beings. Didier Fassin comments on Malkki’s work, explaining that the recognition of suffering bodies is “the fulfilment of a political debt toward ‘citizens of humanity’”(Fassin 2005:376). Scholars argue that the production of subjects to be saved through claiming humanity separates an ethical domain from the political, and this makes political and historical factors insignificant (Feldman and Ticktin 2010). This view helps me to analyze how key governments and advocates strategically separate the political from the moral and opt for a humanitarian approach to the return and family reunification of Sakhalin Koreans.  Miriam Ticktin’s argument and her study of the humanitarian regime in France has been central for developing an analysis and understanding of the complexities of humanitarianism. Ticktin suggests an unintended dimension of humanitarian projects. Since suffering bodies become visible only in urgent situations — such as war and violence—that need immediate redress, long-term solutions are little considered (Ticktin 2011, 2014). In a similar vein, Feldman demonstrates that the practitioners of humanitarian operations also experience unexpected outcomes. Those actors who present themselves as subjects of a “good” deed often confront limitations to their actions. As a result, they are often compelled to compromise (Feldman 2007). These scholars show that humanitarian projects that require urgent solutions entail compromises and cause unexpected effects.   In addition to unexpected aspects, Ticktin also sheds light on the complex outcomes and politics of humanitarianism. Contemporary humanitarian actions overlap with such projects as development, state-building, military intervention, and gendered and racialized subject-making (2014:281–284). In her study of an emerging regime of care that has produced exceptional suffering bodies who are worthy of protection in France, Ticktin (2011) argues that not only medical knowledge and techniques, but also cultural pathologies make subjects visible victims who need immediate help. In this process, biology is used as 55  an essential, pure, and fixed resource that defines universal humanity beyond the political. However, those visible victims are required to perform cultural Otherness; in Ticktin’s work, most of these exceptional refugees are Muslim women and those from former colonial countries. Ticktin reveals that the humanitarian care regime in France is a political strategy that creates the imagined suffering bodies, and at the same time produces non-qualified subjects who are able to work. Ticktin contends that morally legitimate bodies are mediated by economic inequalities and colonial history. This also reproduces racial, gendered, and geopolitical hierarchies.  In the following sections, I draw on the scholarship of humanitarianism, and specifically Ticktin’s work. I first situate the return of Sakhalin Koreans, which was officially announced and implemented based on humanitarian concerns when discourses around the post-war political situation and the Cold War shifted in South Korea and Japan. I show how Sakhalin Koreans were recognized and made into visible victims. Second, I trace the unexpected aspects of return. At the end of this section I examine what kinds of political projects are involved in the return of Sakhalin Koreans.   1.4.2. South Korea’s Northern Policy  In the 1980s the continuation of the military regime in South Korea under President Roh Tae-Woo adopted a new diplomatic strategy towards socialist countries known as the Northern Policy (pukpang chŏngch’aek).59 This strategy was largely influenced by and contextualized within the global capital flows to the Eastern Bloc. Given the difficulty of elucidating a direct link between the Northern Policy and the South Korean government’s attitude toward Sakhalin Koreans, instead I show a symbolic aspect of this Northern Policy and its political implications for Sakhalin Koreans.   Inspired by West Germany’s diplomatic policy of Ostpolitik,60 in 1998 President Roh employed the Northern Policy (sometimes called Nordpolitik) which paved the way for South Korea’s rapprochement with communist regimes on the Eurasian continent. South                                                  59 Kim (2011) argues that the Northern Policy is different from the policy toward North Korea. In particular, Kim argues that the latter policy failed because of family reunification between North and South Korea not being practiced during Roh’s regime.  60 This policy was implemented by Willy Brandt, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1969. The policy sought a reconciliation with the Soviet-bloc countries in Eastern Europe. 56  Korea began to explore Eastern European markets through trade and investments. Gorbachev’s Perestroika policy further increased the economic relations between the two countries (Kim 2011).  In addition to such economic effects, the Northern Policy also held strong symbolic meaning for the South Korean government. With South Korea set to host the Olympic Games in 1988, Roh was eager to invite socialist countries. The previous two Olympics held in Los Angeles (1980) and Moscow (1984) had been both boycotted by the “opponent blocs” during the Cold War.61 For the Roh administration, the Seoul Olympic games were a significant opportunity to demonstrate South Korea’s autonomous diplomacy (Kim 2011:86) as well its political and economic strides toward the international community.   These symbolic successes with Cold War politics, in turn, significantly affected the ways in which the social bodies of Sakhalin Koreans were defined by South Korean state officials. In fact, since 1976 the South Korean government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the South Korean Ambassador to Japan, and the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) had discussed Sakhalin Koreans’ return to South Korea within unofficial talks (Yŏnhap Nyusŭ 2007). They stated that reunification of families between South Korea and the USSR would demonstrate how North Korea’s opposition to Sakhalin Koreans’ return was a reflection of its “inhumanity” from the perspective of the international community. They also saw this as leading to a split between North Korea and the Soviet Union. In this discourse, the South Korean state institutions strategically used the political idiom of “the same race” (tongjok) (Yŏnhap Nyusŭ 2007). This discourse made Sakhalin Koreans the subjects of this imagined political category, ethno-national-kin. South Korea thus came into consider it a point of pride to allow the border-crossing of Sakhalin Koreans in contrast to North Korea’s inhumane treatment of these subjects. Within a context where Cold War politics was perpetuated, the South Korean state utilized a fictional ethno-national-race boundary. This strategic myth-making transformed Sakhalin Koreans into ethno-national victims.   The South Korean state recognized the political bodies of Sakhalin Koreans based on ethno-national-kinship ideology. According to this myth, belonging to ethno-national-kin                                                  61 The previous military regime of the Chun Doo-Hwan administration (1980-1988) also engaged in “sport diplomacy.”  57  signified “natural” and universal humanity. The reality was completely ignored, however. For example, Sakhalin Korean families included people identifying as Japanese and Russian. Sakhalin Koreans were not technically from South Korea, which is a political community produced by the Cold War after 1948. In addition, as Sakhalin Koreans had lived on Sakhalin for more than forty years, they were culturally different from South Korean citizens in South Korea. More importantly, the earlier “abandonment policy” of the South Korean government was completely abandoned. Through this politics, Sakhalin Koreans were recognized on the basis of invented humanity, namely in terms of an unchanging ethno-national-kin bond. This political imaginary served the South Korean government’s engagement with the family reunification and return of Sakhalin Koreans.  As a consequence of this politico-ethical project, Sakhalin Koreans were transformed into legitimate bodies for crossing the border at the time of the Olympic Games in Seoul. Those who were invited included those working for the local Sakhalin Korean media as well as representatives of ethnic Korean associations on Sakhalin. The government arranged for the South Korean Red Cross to oversee the homeland tour. Sakhalin Koreans were taken to amusement parks, cultural institutions, and large factories. Encountering a “prosperous” South Korea that was no longer the poor country that they remembered, it was hoped that these Sakhalin Koreans would report on the material “development” and “prosperity” of Seoul. In addition, following 1989, one year before the establishment of diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union (1990), the South Korean government exceptionally allowed family reunification in South Korea. Along with this humanitarian service, since 1990 Sakhalin Koreans served—just like the ethnic Korean Chinese—as a source of cheap labor in South Korea’s labor market. Many middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans whom I met had experienced working in its service sectors. They also worked in restaurants and on construction sites using visitor visas with three month-stays to shuttle back and forth between Sakhalin and South Korea. While some older Sakhalin Koreans found working in South Korea fun and exciting, others had difficulty adapting to its strict hierarchical relations in the workplace and heavy workload.  Although family reunification and short-term labor migration were welcomed, the South Korean government was deeply concerned about the domestic security of settling former members of a socialist society. The South Korean state employed the fictional 58  ideology of homogenous ethno-national-kin, but they excluded many Sakhalin Koreans from this political community. In addition, there were also concerns about the financial burden of settling them. In 1990, the Japanese cabinet approved a budget for Sakhalin Koreans’ return. Nonetheless, the South Korean government delayed the implementation of their return, contending that the full costs of return and settlement in South Korea should be paid by the Japanese government. The South Korean government’s engagement with Sakhalin Koreans was deeply affected by Cold War politics and the political economy of the time. This politics also reflected inconsistent and limited return entitlement.  1.4.3. Fifty years after the Asia-Pacific War  After the end of the almost fifty-year rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan and the election of Tomiichi Murayama, a member of the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP), as Prime Minister, politics shifted.62 The Japanese government began to interpret the Sakhalin Koreans’ return in different ways—in line with the emergence of a humanitarian regime in Japan. The origin of humanitarian aid and other humanitarian actions by the Japanese government, state and quasi-state institutions, private corporations, NGOs and NPOs, and individuals can be found in the post-Asia-Pacific War context of the 1960s (Nishikawa 2005).63 Humanitarian action initially took the form of development aid. The material and economic assistance of development aid was juxtaposed with Japan’s shifting position as an economic superpower in the 1970s, as well as with the discourse of “internationalization” (kokusaika) in the 1980s.64 To situate the Japanese government’s involvement in Sakhalin Koreans’ return within a broader context, I briefly discuss the                                                  62 This transitional moment is also closely linked to Japan’s political shift, called the end of “the 1955 System,” which refers to the long-term post-war political system in Japan from 1955 to 1993. In 1993, the bi-party system between the ruling party, LDP, and the opposition party, the Socialist Democratic Party, that had been maintained since 1955, unravelled. Dower (1993) discusses the U.S. influence on this system from the 1940s. 63 Nishikawa (2005) discusses the religious foundations of Japan’s humanitarianism by examining the case of humanitarian actions in East Timor. In contrast, I show how the Japanese government’s engagement with Sakhalin Koreans’ return cannot be contextualized within an examination of only religious and philosophical origins. 64 After World War II, Japanese private enterprises developed business in the Asia-Pacific regions that were once occupied by the Japanese military. State organizations including the ODA (Official Development Agency) and its governing body, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), played a key role in instituting material aid. 59  Japanese government’s humanitarian approach to the return of Sakhalin Koreans by examining three key domestic and international changes.   One key domestic change was the establishment of an organization consisting of non-partisan Japanese assembly members. In 1987 they were tasked with discussing the Sakhalin Korean issue not only with the state representatives of Japan, but also with government officials from South Korea and the Soviet Union. By 1994 the number of members had grown to 155. Another change beginning in the 1990s was the emergence of a discourse of “post-war responsibility” that was widely circulated by civil, scholarly, and juridical actors. This resulted in many lawsuits demanding wartime reparations, including salaries paid to Chinese and Korean workers by the Japanese government and private corporations.65 The 1991 public testimony by so-called “comfort women,” survivors of Japan’s wartime military sexual slavery, was another factor that had further social and political impacts. Altogether, these post-war political and legal actions made it difficult for the Japanese state to avoid dealing with “unresolved” issues, including Sakhalin Koreans.   Idioms of humanitarianism and moral responsibility circulated in Japan’s Diet where assembly members from the nonpartisan organization and representatives of the sate debated their standpoints on Sakhalin Koreans. In this debate the assembly members emphasized that Sakhalin Koreans were once mobilized for an industrialization project that was deeply linked to Japan’s war efforts. Thus, repatriating the populations to their home after the war was a humanitarian responsibility. The members also maintained that humanitarian actions should be taken for Sakhalin Koreans who “longed for home” (bōkyō no nen)66 and for reunification with family who had not been able to meet for more than thirty years. The government representatives responded that although the government is not able to take political and legal                                                  65 In the 1990s, an awareness of political issues, which had been long muted by Japanese state institutions’ and private corporations’ regarding development aid during the 1970s and 1980s emerged in many Asian nations. In addition, this change coincided with another critical issue examined by civil society activists about Japan’s reliance on the Security Treaty and the U.S. during the Cold War (Yoneyama 1999:7–8).  66 The significance of the symbol of “home,” furusato (or kokyō), in Japan is noted by Creighton (1997). Creighton demonstrates that “hometown” and “home village” (furusato) are symbolized by rustic rural scenery in Japan. “Home” evokes emotional memories and the memories of childhood, as it is also linked to nurturing and motherhood. Since the 1970s, the image of furusato has been commodified in the market in changing social situations such as the growth of urban dwellers and the influence of Western lifestyles and culture. In the commodification process, nostalgia for futusato has been intensified, but the specific places of “home” are not identified; instead, “home” is “de-contextualized” (1997:239). Creighton argues that the quest for the symbolic “home” has been tied to belonging and cultural identity of Japan in modern and urban contexts, where furusato plays a key role in linking the present and future via the past. 60  action (on the basis of the SFPT and the South Korea-Japan normalization treaty), they would deal with Sakhalin Koreans’ return from a humanitarian standpoint. This attitude was related to another repatriation project.   Since the 1980s, the Japanese government had arranged return for overseas Japanese from northeast China. This emerged as an unresolved post-war issue (Tamanoi 2006; Watts 2010). However, the Japanese state did not clarify a rationale for its responsibility because the justification of the repatriation of those Japanese subjects required the government to identify uncomfortable historical facts, such as the colonization of Manchuria and exploitation of China (Efird 2008:378–379). While leaving these issues ambiguous, the Japanese government promoted return migration of Japanese civilians from China to Japan. In a context where the rationale for engaging in the return of its “co-ethnic” subjects remained unspecified, the historical and political backdrops to the situation for the “Other,” Sakhalin Koreans, were also hard to identify. Instead, the Japanese government drew on the idea of “longing for home,” something humans are universally thought to have, to justify state involvement in the return of Sakhalin Koreans.67 Based on the belief that a longing for home reflects their humanity, the government announced it would take humanitarian action.  In August 1994, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Asia-Pacific War, Japan’s Prime Minister Murayama officially released a statement about the Japanese government’s role in Sakhalin Koreans’ return, as follows:   This issue [repatriation of Sakhalin Koreans] cries out for our attention particularly from a humanitarian perspective, and the government intends to decide upon support policies as soon as possible, in full consultation with the governments of the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation, and to implement them as [and when] they are firmed up (Murayama 1994).   In Murayama’s statement, along with Sakhalin Koreans, two other issues were raised: moral responsibility for former “comfort women” and a financial obligation to the residents in                                                  67During this research, I visited the Hokkaido Prefecture of Japan where many returnees from Sakhalin had lived due to its geographic proximity to Sakhalin. I visited a local non-profit organization (NPO) that provided social support for returnees from Sakhalin. This NPO had been established to arrange the settlement of Japanese descendants from China. 61  Taiwan.68 Within this political context that the emerging humanitarian regime associated with Sakhalin Koreans can be understood. The Japanese government separated a moral domain from the political histories, leaving the political ambiguous. In the next section, I show how Japan and South Korea’s involvements resulted in ambiguous and inconsistent return entitlements.   1.5. The exodus of Sakhalin Koreans? Mixed emotions, unexpected consequences  In 1989, the South Korean media showed emotional moments of reunion among Sakhalin Koreans and their kin at Kimpo International Airport in Seoul. Sakhalin Koreans met South Korean siblings and relatives coming from southern provinces. Some other Sakhalin Koreans brought their family’s ashes from Sakhalin. Still other elderly men met wives and children. In addition, many also visited their parents’ graves. One expression frequently used to depict such emotional reunions was “sea of tears” (nunmul pada). However, how long such affective moments last is a different story. Moreover, return migration was not realistic for all Sakhalin Koreans. The following section draws on local Sakhalin Korean newspapers (Sae Koryŏ Sinmun) and coverage by Japanese journalists (Hokkaidō Shinbunsha 1988; Itō 1990) to portray the diverse ways that family reunification was experienced by Sakhalin Koreans from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Based on these sources, I examine the complex emotional experiences of older Sakhalin Koreans. In order to show the significant shift in the return project, the section is divided into two parts: before and after 2000.   1.5.1. Return before 2000  The transnational mobility of Sakhalin Koreans to South Korea can be considered as similar to the wider phenomenon of return mobility seen in the Soviet Union after 1990; however, the Sakhalin Koreans’ case is distinctive. The first wave of migration from Russia (and the former USSR) to other Western countries from 1989-1994 was characterized by                                                  68 The Asia Women’s Fund for “comfort women” was also established under this humanitarian regime. The establishment of diplomatic ties between Japan and the PRC (1972) left some of the war compensation for residents of the colonial Taiwan unresolved. Via the Asia Women’s Fund, “Atonement project” was promoted, which includes construction of welfare facilities in Indonesia, and payments of “atonement money” and provision of welfare services and goods to former “comfort women” in Taiwan, the Philippines, the Netherlands, and in South Korea (Asia Women’s Fund 2007). 62  migration to “ethnic homelands” for Russian Germans, Jews, and Greeks (Pilkington 1998:11–12). The normalization of relations between South Korea and the USSR in 1990 played a crucial role in Sakhalin Koreans’ mobility. Also, unlike Russian Germans, Jews, and Greeks, not all Sakhalin Koreans were eligible to return, and the South Korean government, a host country, did not actively support Sakhalin Koreans’ settlement. Rather, ambiguous, inconsistent, and limited migration entitlements provoked unexpected reactions among older Sakhalin Koreans.  Permanent return or return migration was not suggested or demanded in the early 1990s. In fact, prior to 1989, from 1981 to 1987, when South Korea and the USSR did not have diplomatic ties, temporary family reunification was already being arranged.69 These temporary meetings had been held in Japan. A total of 51 Sakhalin Koreans visited Japan and stayed in the homes of the returnees and their advocates in Tokyo in order to meet their kin from South Korea. The question of permanent return was not posed until some Japanese advocates visited Sakhalin; at this time the Japanese government said that it might take into consideration the permanent return of those men who had wives and children in South Korea. While the issue of long-term return was not explicitly discussed, there was a sense of public sympathy for men who remained unmarried on Sakhalin and were long-separated from their families in South Korea.  With the visits of many older Sakhalin Koreans to South Korea after 1990, the issue of return migration became more prominent. Using the excuse that housing, social welfare, and other government infrastructures were not ready for the return of Sakhalin Koreans, the South Korean government only prioritized the return of Koreans who had no families on Sakhalin (muyŏn’go) who had records of household registry in South Korea. Among these subjects, those with South Korean lineal kin were allowed to return first.70 South Korean lineal kin were viewed as a source of security and guarantee for returning Sakhalin Koreans.                                                  69 During this period, stateless subjects gained permission for departure more easily than did Sakhalin Koreans who had North Korean nationality. The latter subjects were not able to visit Japan. This was due to a lack of diplomatic ties between Japan and North Korea and to the Russian government’s lack of authority over the departure of stateless subjects. The citizenship of Sakhalin Koreans in 1988 was as follows: there were approximately 32,000 who had Soviet citizenship, 2,700 who were Stateless Persons, and 300 who had North Korean citizenship (Kuzin 2010:164).  70 In 1989 before the USSR-South Korea normalization treaty, the local authorities of Sakhalin permitted the departure of those Sakhalin Koreans who (mostly) had South Korean kin to act as guarantors in South Korea. After 1990, such restrictions no longer existed in Russia, while South Korea continued to regulate eligibility.  63  However, even through the subjects had lineal kin in South Korea, those who had families on Sakhalin were not allowed to return; they had to be ‘single’ on Sakhalin.   These inclusions and exclusions provoked various reactions among older Sakhalin Korean men in particular. For example, those “single” men who remained unmarried or did not have families on Sakhalin could move back to South Korea to live either with their South Korean kin or in a welfare facility in South Korea.71 However, the situations of Sakhalin Korean men who had families both in South Korea and on Sakhalin were complicated. These men had married in Korea before migrating to Sakhalin. After the war, they re-married on Sakhalin. Those with wives and children both in South Korea and on Sakhalin, meanwhile, were excluded from this provision, prompting some to divorce their wives on Sakhalin in order to return.   After reuniting with their family members in South Korea, these men continued to express complex feelings. Some stated that it was “better” to live at “home” than in a “foreign land” even though material conditions in South Korea might be worse and reuniting with their family was difficult. Some returnees stayed with their lineal kin such as their siblings, which made them uncomfortable. Others declared that it was hard to take care of themselves and their South Korean wives since both were elders. Without welfare assistance, it was also difficult for those men to survive; many of their South Korean relatives lived in rural areas and were also poor. As a result, some men returned to Sakhalin to reunite with their wives whom they had divorced in order to go to South Korea. Such “reverse returns” illustrate some of the unexpected dimensions of their return to South Korea.   Second, in addition to the prioritization of “single” subjects, another source of confusion for the older Sakhalin Korean men was the birth year-based eligibility requirement. According to a local Sakhalin Korean newspaper, only those born before 1927 were allowed to return to South Korea.72 One man born in 1928 complained about being excluded from this return policy even though he was also a forced laborer. I propose that this                                                  71 Later, one religious organization promoted a welfare facility, and some of those Sakhalin Koreans who did not have South Korean lineal kin were allowed to migrate to South Korea and to live in the facility. 72 I was unable to find any official statement about this entitlement. But considering the fact that those born before 1927 were adults over 18 years of age in 1945, I presume that the return entitlement was given to those who had migrated to Sakhalin as laborers, based on a labor law which allowed companies to recruit those above 18 years of age.  Later in 1994, the representatives of local Sakhalin Korean organizations demanded that those born after 1930 be included in the return. 64  age requirement did not consider experiences among poor Koreans during the colonial period. Koreans in general and economically disadvantaged people, in particular, did not report a child’s birth to the local municipal offices right away. This was due both to the high infant mortality rate and to the view that public registration was of little significance. In addition, some under-aged Korean men used their father’s or older brothers’ names and IDs to get jobs; still others left their hometown to work outside of Korea on behalf of male kin and household heads who were the subjects of recruitment. Therefore, such birth-based eligibility which relied on official documents, ignored the Sakhalin Koreans’ specific experience and provoked a sense of injustice.  Third, citizenship evoked emotional dilemmas among Sakhalin Koreans. Since dual citizenship was not allowed in South Korea, many older Sakhalin Koreans renounced their Soviet citizenship. Some did so because they thought that acquiring South Korean citizenship to live in South Korea was “natural.”73 Others did so with great concern about their retirement pension. Regardless of their citizenship status—the Soviet Union, North Korea, or Stateless—Sakhalin Koreans were entitled to a pension in the Soviet Union, and it was a key material object that held significance for them (chapters 4 and 5). Their concerns about their pension show how the return of older Sakhalin Koreans to South Korea was laden with ambivalences.  Considering the various responses and concerns that were articulated by the Sakhalin Koreans in the early 1990s, I suggest that the entitlement of return was not universally offered, but limited from the beginning. In addition, the policy did not take into consideration the quality of life after return. Despite such problems, in a situation where many senior Sakhalin Koreans were passing away and there were no policies or public assistance for return, both the representatives of Sakhalin Korean organizations on Sakhalin and their advocates felt compelled to find the most expedient way for them to return to South Korea. But after 2000, with the official implementation of return as an international state-sponsored project, the priority given to those Sakhalin Koreans who were single, had kinship relationships in South Korea, and were seniors changed.                                                   73 I found a tendency to renounce Soviet citizenship (or to stop receiving a pension in Russia) among elderly Sakhalin Korean women who did not work in the industrial sector, but instead worked in the private agricultural sphere during late Soviet times. They acknowledged that their labor pension was lower than for those who worked in the industrial sector. 65  1.5.2. Return after 2000  Based on an agreement in 1994 that began to implement an infrastructure for the Sakhalin Koreans’ return, both the Japanese and South Korean governments began to institute the Permanent Return Project. The implementation of a material infrastructure was a response to elderly Sakhalin Koreans’ desire for a space to live by themselves in South Korea. It included the construction of an apartment complex with 489 units called Homeland Village in Ansan, a suburb of Kyŏnggi Province. While the Japanese government paid for the deposit and rental fee of the units, the South Korean government supplied the land.74 In addition, the Japanese government built a medical and welfare facility called Incheon Welfare Center for Sakhalin Koreans for those who needed physical assistance. With the construction of these residential facilities in South Korea, the return entitlement of the Sakhalin Koreans also changed. Those born before August 15, 1945 became eligible. Moreover, since each household space was for two people and not one, both people had to meet the criteria. If one person was born after 1945, neither was allowed to return to South Korea. Two persons (married couples and friends) who were either ethnically “Russian” or from “the northern part of Korea” were also not allowed to return. Although the return entitlement expanded, it did so by excluding people on the basis of age groups, ethnic groups, and birthplace.  Despite the provision of such material infrastructure by the governments, there were unexpected consequences. For example, in 2000 Homeland Village remained less than fully occupied (Chŏng and Yŏm 1999). Partly this was because many older Sakhalin Koreans had jobs on Sakhalin and thought that it was sufficient to go to South Korea for temporary visits but not to relocate permanently. More importantly, it was hard for Sakhalin Koreans to imagine a new life in South Korea without their offspring. Another consequence of priority being given to companions was, ironically, to make single subjects “problematic”—compelling some to find a companion to live with in South Korea. Those returnees who                                                  74 In 2005, The Japanese government also capitulated to the demands of local Sakhalin Koreans by constructing the Sakhalin Koreans’ Cultural Center on Sakhalin for those who did not wish to return to South Korea. This building includes a Korean restaurant, an event space, and some classrooms. While local Sakhalin Koreans often used these facilities, they were also available for other local residents. In addition, the Korea Education Center, an organization of the Ministry of Education of South Korea, is also located within this facility. While the local representative of a Sakhalin Korean ethnic organization initially demanded the construction of a welfare center for those elders who had not moved to South Korea, it was never seriously considered.  66  became widows or widowers after moving to South Korea also married each other in collective marriage ceremonies (Ch’oe 2003:122).   While many Sakhalin Koreans did not seriously consider return in the beginning, as I will show in the chapters that follow, they changed their minds when they heard from other returnees about “life in South Korea being OK.” By this, they meant that they could survive economically with government assistance. They could also enjoy South Korea as a site of consumption. With more Sakhalin Koreans returning to South Korea, Homeland Village soon became full and, after 2008, it became necessary to allocate new housing to the returnees.  Despite the growing demand for return among Sakhalin Koreans, many of the marriage partners of the eligible Sakhalin Koreans remained excluded. Responding to this issue in 2009, the Japanese and South Korean governments expanded the program to include a companion of the subject who was eligible to return.75 As long as the Sakhalin Korean was eligible, so was their companion regardless of age, ethnicity, and birthplace. This new policy also created a distinction between “first generation” and “second generation” of older Sakhalin Koreans. While the Japanese government bore the expenses of the former, the South Korean government bore the expenses of the latter. I suggest that this introduced an international division of humanitarian aid. As a result of this humanitarian project, Sakhalin Koreans also began to occupy an exceptional position. After 1990, for older Sakhalin Koreans lacking property, social capital, and the ability to work in South Korea, the government’s welfare assistance became a crucial condition of their return. Older Sakhalin Koreans became categorized as “special welfare subjects,” a topic I discuss in chapter 4.  On Sakhalin, many criticized the Japanese and South Korean governments in regard to the limited entitlement, but Sakhalin Koreans also criticized the senior Sakhalin Korean men who had negotiated the terms of the return project in the 1990s at the expense of those who remained behind. For example, in 2010 one elderly woman told me: “Those elderly Korean people thought only about themselves, not thinking at all about others and the                                                  75 Since 2009, “the first generation” subjects have been allowed to migrate to South Korea with one companion. But there has been another ‘exceptional case.’ Along with one companion, one disabled child is also considered “the second generation” subject and allowed to return. In this case, “the first generation” of subjects can migrate to South Korea with two companions. 67  future!” What they meant was that these senior Koreans only thought about the condition of their return without thinking about their subsequent separation from their children.  In response to these criticisms, one key person who had worked for an ethnic Korean organization on Sakhalin recollected the past and told me: “We just did what we could at the moment.” Both the Sakhalin Korean senior men and their advocates were, in other words, forced to compromise in the negotiation proceedings.76 The advocates and the elderly Sakhalin Korean men thought return should be arranged immediately because elderly Sakhalin Korean men who wanted to return did not have much time to live. In this urgent situation, the return project was arranged without consideration of either the long-term consequences or diverse voices among Sakhalin Koreans. Hence, while many found the policy of return migration problematic, the advocates and senior Sakhalin Korean men embraced the project.77  1.6. Permanent Return Project as imperial debris   Although the return project expanded in 2009, the entitlement of return did not change. August 15, 1945 is the day when Emperor Hirohito as Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese imperial army, officially announced Japan’s surrender. In Japan, August 15, 1945 is widely understood as the end of the Asia-Pacific War and the defeat of Japan. In contrast, the two Koreas today view this date as marking their liberation. Considering that the return entitlement is given based on this symbolic date and the political implications of Sakhalin Koreans’ return, I suggest that the Permanent Return Project in the name of humanitarian aid is a sort of “imperial debris” of the present (Stoler 2008).78                                                   76 In 1989 when the South Korean and Japanese governments agreed to engage in the family unification and temporary return of Sakhalin Koreans, the advocates withdrew their appeal of the Sakhalin Lawsuit, which was filed in 1975 without the Judgement of First Instance. After this, the Sakhalin Korean plaintiffs began a new legal proceeding in 1990 demanding compensation, but this lawsuit was also withdrawn in 1999.  77 This attitude stands in striking contrast to the case of South Korean “comfort women.” South Korean advocates strongly rejected receiving the monetary support because it was collected not only from the government but also Japanese civilians. The advocates and some of the South Korean women who were former “comfort women” viewed the state and privately funded monetary compensation for their ordeals as a form of humiliation. For controversial reactions to and consequences of the Asia Women’s Fund, see Soh (2008). By contrast, older Sakhalin Koreans embraced the return project.  78 Pointing to the limitations of such concepts as colonial legacy and empire, Stoler (2008) proposes examining imperial formation through the concept of “imperial debris.” While the former concepts consider fixed forms of sovereignty (and also leftover and memory), the concept of imperial debris examines a process of becoming, as Stoler puts it is the “enduring quality of imperial remains” that shapes the present and future (2008:194). I build 68   By using the concept of imperial debris, I argue that the state-sponsored return project is what Stoler calls a graded form of sovereignty. It indicates a process and a political project that the effects of empire have reactivated (2008:194). This graded sovereignty is being formed within the present, following 1990 and the shifting geopolitical relations between Japan and the rest of Asia (Gluck 1997:16) which resulted in legal and ethical discourses of accountability, as well as suffering among civilians and former military personnel in Asia being voiced.79 Japan’s technologies of empire were grounded in exploitation, displacement, and mobilization of subjects for the purpose of war. After 1990, when the end of the Cold War coincided with the fiftieth year anniversary of the Asia-Pacific War (Gluck 1997), the Japanese government and private corporations were confronted with re-engagements with former colonial and imperial subjects. The return project of Sakhalin Koreans is a way in which graded sovereignty is being recomposed in a persistent way.  I suggest that Japan’s re-engagement with Sakhalin Koreans is mediated not only by colonial history but also by post-colonial racialization. Since the 1920s, the concept of the national body (kokutai) served as a dominant national ideology in Japan. This ideology requires that heterogeneous ethnic groups to unite and constitute one national polity under the emperor system. However, in the post-war context, this ideology shifted and a new national ideology emerged emphasizing Japan as a homogenized nation (Oguma 2002; Weiner 2009). This racialized ideology was used to assimilate and exclude “Others” who earlier had been technically included. Koreans are one of these Others and this ideology affected the Japanese government’s legal discourse concerning the nationality of Sakhalin Koreans. I contend that the humanitarian return project is interwoven with the re-assessment of political relations between the Japanese government and Sakhalin Koreans in the post-War and post-colonial contexts. The Japanese government expresses a moral responsibility for “first generation” subjects based on the date of the end of the war. This shows that Sakhalin Koreans were re-nationalized and became legitimate subjects. The Japanese government may not have completely predicted this effect. Nevertheless, the strategic                                                  my discussion here on the concept of imperial debris because it helps me consider “strategic and active positioning within the politics of the present” (2008:196).  79 The subjects who started to raise voices in public are not limited to people in Asia but also include “Japanese.” As Gluck notes, in Japan, while heroic stories were narrated, many other civilians’ stories “remained frozen memor[ies]” (1997:16) until around 1989 when the Cold War ended.  69  politico-ethical approach eventually formed the politics of the present (Stoler 2008:196, 198).  The concept of imperial debris suggests that imperial formations of the present cut through nation-states, as well as through an “interior” and “exterior” (Stoler 2008:204). This point helps me argue that this graded form of sovereignty is not being reactivated only by the Japanese government, but also by the South Korean government. The South Korean government placed primary responsibility on the Japanese government to address the return migration of Sakhalin Koreans. In this way, the South Korean government makes a reasonable excuse for its involvement in the return project. As they play a supplementary role, the government avoids possible antipathy from South Korean citizens.80 By using this strategy, South Korea makes older Sakhalin Koreans victims of Japanese colonialism, and reproduces the victimized nation. South Korea’s engagement with the return ultimately recomposes the imperial debris.  In addition, considering the effects of this humanitarian action, I propose that this return project is juxtaposed with South Korea’s ethno-nation-building shaped by Cold War politics and global capitalism. South Korea performs the role of a “generous” state homeland which cares for “poor” diasporic kin from a socialist country. This fictional nation is, in fact, hierarchized based on Cold War geopolitics. By limiting the number of older Sakhalin Koreans who can live in South Korea, the South Korean government compels other younger Sakhalin Koreans to cross the state border as consumers and laborers. This is the same way that the South Korean state treats Korean Chinese and Koreans from the former Soviet Union. Diasporic Koreans from socialist countries are positioned with lower status than those from the U.S. (Seol and Skrentny 2009).81 In addition, in maintaining the non-eligible subjects, South Korea does not challenge the sovereignty of Russia (or the Sakhalin local                                                  80 While empathy and moral sentiments for diasporic Koreans are expressed in South Korean media, public opinion sees giving rights and entitlements to those subjects in South Korea as “unfair.” For example, I met one South Korean middle-aged woman near an apartment complex where older Sakhalin Korean returnees live. She said, “Why do only those people receive many things from the government? My parents also experienced a war.” 81 In their study of the citizenships of Chinese Korean workers and Korean Americans in South Korea, Seol and Skrentny (2009) argue that ethnio-nationhood in post-Cold War South Korea is hierarchized. The subjects from China, a socialist country, are given fewer entitlements than Koreans from the U.S. I suggest that this hierarchy reflects the Overseas Korean Act passed in 1998. In this act, overseas Koreans were identified as those who emigrated from South Korea after 1948 when the Republic of Korea was established. This definition excluded Korean Chinese and Koreans in the Soviet Union because they left “Korea” before 1948.  70  government). For the Russian and local Sakhalin governments, out-migration of its citizens has been a constant concern, something I describe in the next section. Instead, not only South Korean media, but also the Sakhalin local media, the Sakhalin governor, and Sakhalin Korean entrepreneurs often represent the bodies of (young) Sakhalin Koreans as a bridge between Russia and South Korea. They are expected to play a role in connecting the two nation-states, but are also expected to make economic contributions to both countries in an era of post-Cold War global capitalism. Finally, I suggest that this ethno-nation-building is inseparable from the production of real “foreign” Others, such as migrants from Southeast Asia and overseas Chinese (Hwagyo).  I argue that the return project is part of the formation of a new regime of sovereignty within the post-Cold War transitions in Northeast Asia. I also suggest that the discourse of “the ends” of political upheavals is problematic. The return project is an ongoing political project, and I will continue to explore the return project shapes Sakhalin Koreans’ moral experiences.  1.7. Sakhalin in 2010: Everyday landscape of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk  I have briefly illustrated the new return policy after 2000 as one of the contexts shaping contemporary return migration among older Sakhalin Koreans. Yet in order to understand the complex consequences of return, another social context needs to be taken into account: the shifting social, political, and economic conditions of post-Soviet Sakhalin. By this, I consider the Sakhalin region as part of a transnational social field (Glick-Schiller, Basch, and Blanc-Szaton 1992) in which the various discourses and meanings of return are produced and the everyday practices of older Sakhalin Koreans are carried out. This section aims to portray the landscape of Sakhalin and the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in 2010. In particular, I focus on the impact of global capitalism on the region, and the local concerns and reactions to social change.   In everyday conversations among older Sakhalin Koreans, they often made contradictory statements that were full of ambivalence. On one hand, they spoke of how Sakhalin had changed so drastically; on the other hand, they complained that “nothing has changed at all.” Although their understanding of change is situational and diverse, I describe the social context of Sakhalin in which such discourses are produced and circulated. 71   First, one of the crucial factors to affect the local landscape of Sakhalin Island was the flow of capital through offshore oil and gas exploration, the Sakhalin Project.82 From the 19th century and throughout the Soviet period, Sakhalin became the object of international interest due to its natural resources, including coal, timber, and oil. In the post-Soviet context, while interest in the first two sectors declined, oil and gas exploration began receiving growing international investment.83 Foreign actors became increasingly involved because the domestic oil industry lacked capital, technology, and offshore drilling experience even though it had knowledge of oil and gas (Bradshaw 2010:353).84 On Sakhalin, the Sakhalin Projects were launched to produce and export oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) via pipelines to the Russian Far East, as well as to the Asia-Pacific regions such as Japan, South Korea, China, India, and Taiwan.85 Involving a variety of global actors, such as multinational oil companies based in the U.S. and Europe, trading companies from Japan, and international financial institutions and service companies from around the world (Bradshaw 1998:148–151), the total investment for the Sakhalin Projects amounts to US$5 trillion.86   Despite the scale of these projects, the Sakhalin administration receives only a minimal share of the royalties and revenues generated by these projects (Bradshaw 2010:348). Following the election of Vladimir Putin in 1999, the asymmetrical nature of the center-regional power relations was reinforced. Such power relations are captured in the statements by many older Sakhalin Koreans: “Moscow will take 95%, leaving only 5% for Sakhalin!”  In local media and among older Sakhalin Koreans, however, the economic situation and future prospects of Sakhalin are also viewed relatively positively, at least compared to the situation of other provinces in the Russian Far East, such as Yakutsk (the Sakha Republic) and Primorye. For example, local Sakhalin people find employment in oil                                                  82 The Sakhalin Projects have a total of six different projects, but to date, Sakhalin Projects I and II are the only ones working. 83 This decline was caused by high production costs, low labor productivity, and lack of investment in maintaining the infrastructure of the workers’ settlement (Bradshaw, Chernikov, and Kirkow 2000:197–198). 84 See Bradshaw (2010) for the economic and political history of the Sakhalin Project. Bradshaw, an economic geographer, traces the processes of the oil and gas development project with a focus on various power relations between region and center, state control over the industry, and the international oil companies’ roles. 85 The effects of the construction of pipelines and the Sakhalin Project on indigenous peoples is discussed by Roon (2006).  86 These companies involved include Gazprom, Rosneft, Shell, ExxonMobile, British Petroleum, Mitsui, and Mitsubishi. State agencies of Japan, China, and India are also involved. 72  and gas related jobs, so there is a low unemployment rate (around 4.6%).87 Moreover, despite the unequal revenue-sharing scheme, the projects are understood to be beneficial in supporting the local welfare system and expanding local infrastructure, such as road construction.  The growing influence of Sakhalin’s oil and gas industry is seen in the shifting cultural ideas and economic activities among local people, as well as in the ethnically divided labor market in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. For example, many young people (and their parents) regard employment in an oil-related company such as Rosneft, Gazprom, and ExxonMobile as highly desirable, so they major in “practical” subjects such as English and information technology. The growing interest in these subjects is also reflected in the name of Sakhalin’s first private college: the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Institute of Economics, Law, and Information. This private institute was formed by a local Sakhalin Korean in 1991. In addition, with the growing number of business traders from Pacific Asia, Europe, and North America, more local people are engaging in hotel, restaurant, and retail businesses. Finally, such economic shifts are also bringing about an increasing flow of labor migrants from the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, China, and North Korea.88 These migrants work as bus drivers, house and office cleaners, fruit vendors, and also work on construction sites.   In addition, another prominent change is the growing spatial and social proximity of Sakhalin to the East and to Pacific Asia through the flow of material objects and the development of new transportation infrastructure. For example, in 2010, direct flights from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul were introduced. From Sakhalin, I was able to take a two-hour non-stop flight to Tokyo and four-hour flights to Seoul. With both South Korean and Japanese consulates on Sakhalin, it is easy for the local citizens to get travel documents and other assistance. Moreover, while Eastern and Western Europe have been relatively popular destinations for leisure travel, the new connectivity of global                                                  87 However, Sakhalin Korean people told me that since many oil- and gas-related jobs (specifically in the construction sector) are seasonal, in winter those jobs were not available. The ratio of workers in retail, accommodation, and food service sectors is also, in fact, higher than that of workers in the oil and gas sector. 88  Migrant workers’ moves to Sakhalin are also explained by local out-migration and the relatively stable retail and service industry in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.  73  capitalism in Asia encourages more Sakhaliners to travel to other temperate climates in regions such as Southern China, Taiwan, and Thailand.   Furthermore, these proximities are experienced in everyday consumption through flows of material objects. The majority of cars are imported from Japan, many processed foods and seasonings are shipped from South Korea, and imports of vegetables from China are increasing. It is not difficult to find Japanese and Korean restaurants in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The retail market in the city is called “Peking” (Beijing). Clothing comes from countries all over Eurasia such as Moscow, Belarus, Turkey, China, and South Korea. Clothes and other fabrics and accessories are sold not only in the local markets but also in mid- and large-scale shopping malls located on the outskirts of the city, which attract many young people. In contrast, a Soviet-style department store (univermag), located in the central area of the city, is becoming less popular. In this material landscape, the local people, in particular older people, are sensitive about the origin of consumer objects. For example, in market and every day talk, older Sakhalin Koreans often discuss whether an item is from “Russia,” “China,” “Europe,” “Moscow,” “Sakhalin,” or “South Korea” etc. In 2010, the local Sakhalin peoples’ everyday socioeconomic lives were very oriented towards East Asia.89  These transformations do not necessarily lead to a better life for Sakhaliners. The local government, media, and people often express concern about various problems, including a declining and aging population. The Russian Far East, in which Sakhalin is located, has faced an out-migration of people for the past two decades. The populations in Magadan, Kamchatka, and Chukotka have been in consistent decline. While the local government of Sakhalin has promoted professional class migration of Russian citizens from the mainland, in particular, medical doctors and other skilled workers, few have heeded the call. Older Sakhalin Koreans often lamented that “all smart Russian people who used to live on Sakhalin have gone” and “only people like ‘us’ are left behind.” They made sense of the population decline through devaluing those living in the Sakhalin region. Aging is also considered a problem. One-third of the population on Sakhalin is older than 65 years of age.                                                  89 Such shifting sociocultural and economic orientations to East Asia are also mentioned by Bruce Grant who first conducted fieldwork in 1990 on northern Sakhalin and then revisited in 2011 (Grant 2012). Grant briefly compares the sense of remoteness of Nivkh people when northern Sakhalin was a closed border zone in 1990 to the contemporary sense of proximity to East Asia. 74  The low pension was an everyday source of discontent for older people. Older people criticized the government’s inability to take care of its people. Like impoverished people in Russia talk about themselves (Höjdestrand 2009), older Sakhalin Koreans also considered themselves as beings no longer needed by society.   In everyday conversations and reflections on their lives, older Sakhalin Koreans evaluate the local and national social change in diverse ways. Life on Sakhalin is not evaluated in terms of whether it is “good” or “bad.” I will discuss this in the following chapters. In this section, I would like to note that, like other areas of Russia in the post-Soviet context, older Sakhalin Korean people felt a sharp gap between the rich and the poor. I witnessed this gap among older Sakhalin Koreans when I visited the house of one of the richest Sakhalin Koreans who had a garage-sized bathhouse and sauna and two domestic workers. The house was a cottage-style house, located on the outskirts of the city, like those across Russia that emerged as social stratification intensified in the 1990s (Humphrey 2002). By contrast, I saw other elderly people sharing a bedroom with their adolescent grandchildren. Many older Sakhalin Koreans who moved to the city from the rural regions of Sakhalin after the closure of the mines struggled to find a source of income. Moreover, when they talked about local social change, many older Sakhalin Koreans were also concerned about their grandchildren’s future. One middle-aged man told me: “This country does not teach children anything good!” Some expressed fear about their grandchildren growing up on Sakhalin with its high rates of crime. Their concerns reflect the local media and television programs which frequently report crimes by gangs and young people who are addicted to drugs.   I have focused on several notable socio-economic changes on Sakhalin, and have briefly described the everyday social lives of people on Sakhalin from the older peoples’ perspectives. I have considered these points in order to provide the basis for a more nuanced examination of older Sakhalin Koreans’ social imaginaries, of their production and negotiation of meanings and values, and of their sense of belonging in a time of return. In the following chapters I discuss all of these subjects.  75  1.8. Chapter conclusion  In this chapter, I have traced Sakhalin Koreans’ return. By considering the legal, political, and ethical discourses, as well as the political actions of various actors, I have shown how their social bodies and border crossing have been made into a “problem” demanding a “resolution.” This chapter has also contextualized the Sakhalin Koreans’ return within shifting geopolitical transformations. These include the end of World War II, the emerging Cold War structure, the easing of Cold War tensions, and the emerging humanitarian regime. Tracing these processes, I have sought to highlight how the Sakhalin Koreans’ return has become a state-sponsored humanitarian project.   Drawing on anthropological studies of humanitarianism, this chapter has also examined the distinctive political implications of the return project of Sakhalin Koreans. The key actors of many humanitarian projects that scholars study are religious groups and UN-based institutions and organizations. In contrast, I have proposed that the return project of Sakhalin Koreans intersects with imperial formations and nation-building whereby both Japanese and South Korean states re-engage with Sakhalin Koreans as former colonial subjects in strategic ways in the post-colonial and Cold War contexts. I argue that what makes the experiences of return mobility and transnational lives of older Sakhalin Koreans distinctive is precisely the colonial and Cold War histories.   Despite this chapter’s focus on large social transformations, I also maintain that these contexts do not reveal or explain all the practices and consequences of return among older Sakhalin Koreans in 2010. Their actual experiences are full of complex, inconsistent, contingent, and unpredictable elements. Moreover, the meanings and understanding they have of their lives remain contested. Thus, in the chapters to follow, my ethnographic study offers further analysis of older Sakhalin Koreans’ experience of kinship and citizenship to demonstrate why and how this humanitarian project ironically provokes moral discourses around what is “inhumane.”  76  Part I: Separation and Union in the Transnational Space  In Part I, I examine how return migration shapes older Sakhalin Koreans’ experiences around family separation and union in transnational settings. I argue that return mobility entails complex imaginaries, emotions, aspirations, and discourses of connection and disconnection. Considering the ways that Sakhalin Koreans encounter and live through unexpected situations, Part I aims to show how their relational mode of being and a sense of personhood are reconstituted in the context of returning.  Part I is divided into two chapters. Chapter 2 focuses on the parent-child tie. I examine the kinds of discourses, emotions, and meanings that older Sakhalin Koreans produce and circulate around the subject of separation and union of parent (mother) and offspring between Sakhalin and South Korea. Second, I consider that older Sakhalin Koreans represent and narrate their return migration as they evoke symbolic connection with and disconnection from other kin. Chapter 2 highlights how older Sakhalin Koreans make themselves into kinds of subjects through kinship in the process of crossing the state border and migrating to South Korea.   Chapter 3 explores how the migration entitlement based on year of birth and housing arrangements in South Korea also encourages older Sakhalin Koreans to imagine, manage, and appreciate symbolic separation and union in relation to friends, as well as companions. I focus on the specific moral discourses and imaginaries surrounding such friendship and companionship, and explore how these processes involve the negotiation of gender and power, and everyday closeness.  By demonstrating a range of experience around separation and union in a transnational setting, I suggest that kinship serves key components of older Sakhalin Koreans’ personhood. It is not simply that family is ‘naturally’ a given for older Sakhalin Koreans. Rather I argue that the return migration project forces them to reckon with kinship, across diverse times and spaces.  77  Chapter 2: Parent – Child Ties Across Multiple Times and Borders    In Incheon Welfare Center for Sakhalin Koreans, I had casual conversations with elderly women in public spaces such as corridors, the television room, and gardens, and also in their living quarters. One day, as I talked with one elderly woman in her room, she whispered to me: “You may hear from the grandmothers that they left their children on Sakhalin, but the truth is they are not cared for by their children on Sakhalin. That’s why they had to leave Sakhalin.” On Sakhalin, Kolya, in his late 50s, thought I was a representative of South Korean organizations or a South Korean journalist, and suddenly came to me with tears in his eyes, saying: “How is it possible for parents to abandon children and leave [for Korea]? There are no such human beings in the world! Only Koreans! Koreans are really unlearned (K. mospaewŏssta).”  Throughout my fieldwork, older Sakhalin Koreans’ conversations, both on Sakhalin and in South Korea, constantly circulated a discourse of separation between parents and children—specifically older women and their adult children. I also found that women became targets of the discourse, and of moral criticisms. In this chapter, I examine this phenomenon and ask a number of questions. For example, how does the transnational migration of older women who are mothers become problematized? Within the context in which many women have left Sakhalin, how do older Sakhalin Korean women, both on Sakhalin and in South Korea, imagine and appreciate both living apart and living with adult children? How do returnees actually practice connecting and disconnecting in transnational contexts? These questions are discussed drawing on the subject of transnational family and kinship.   Along with the mother-child bond, Sakhalin Koreans also associate transnational return migration with symbolic separation and union in relation to other relatives, including deceased parents and their living relatives in South Korea. The latter half of the chapter explores the ways in which older Sakhalin Koreans manage their emotions and commitment to these persons, who are embedded in past emplacement and displacement. In addition, I discuss the new type of discourse and sentiments regarding return by comparing them to the dominant discourse of homeland in the Cold War era.   This chapter aims to show ways that the inter-subjectivities of older Sakhalin Koreans are re-formed through complex imaginaries and acts of connection and 78  disconnection, under circumstances where transnational mobility becomes possible for themselves and for those close to them. I also discuss what kinds of roles kinship plays in the older Sakhalin Koreans’ negotiation of a sense of personhood.   2.1. Subject-formation through connecting and disconnecting  My analysis of older Sakhalin Koreans’ experiences of separation and union concerns kinship. But drawing on the analytical lens of everyday moral experience, I extend the discussion of personhood and kinship into a transnational setting. This section clarifies this point. First, the study of everyday moral experience helps me to examine specific acts of older Sakhalin Koreans around kinship connection and disconnection, without interpreting these acts based on a simple dichotomy of “good” or “bad.” In the scholarship of kinship, expectations around and ideal models of gender and kinship roles are considered significant social factors that shape people’s behaviors and ideals. However, as Zigon (2008) and Mattingly (2014) point out, people do not always have fixed ideals in their everyday lives. Even in the moment where particular subjects confront radical changes and find themselves in “bad” or unfamiliar situations, this process does not necessarily entail explicit expectations.  I use this perspective in my discussion of the ways in which subjects negotiate personhood. The processes of qualifying and reflecting on a sense of self in relation to kin and others do not always involve fixed and ideal forms of kinship roles attributed to a homogenous nation and culture. Subjects draw on fluid and flexible ideas in diverse settings. In her study of Afro-American women who have children with disabilities, Mattingly suggests that although those mothers make efforts to be “good mothers,” being a good mother is not static (2014:20). The women’s moral endeavors to be good mothers constantly change in specific circumstances where they face plural moralities in institutions and spaces such as homes, clinics, churches, and streets (2014:8).90 The case of divorced fathers’ sense of fatherhood in Britain also provides an example of a non-static sense of personhood (Strathern 1996 [Simpson 1994]). An example is given of a divorced father who has six children expresses fatherhood in different ways in relation to each child. Emotional and                                                  90 Zigon (2008) also suggests that we think of women’s moral endeavors to be undertaken not with the aim of being ‘good mothers’ but with the aim of “being good” at being mothers. 79  financial commitments, residential arrangements, and qualities of contacts affect varied senses of fatherhood.   The discussion of everyday moral experiences offers a perspective that a sense of personhood, embedded in certain kinship, is not fully determined by a fixed and ideal model of kinship roles. This does not suggest that this scholarship disregards structural conditions, rules, and norms. However, as other scholars also propose, a range of everyday moral and ethical lives are not completely reduced to large historical processes and national ideologies (Rogers 2009:18). It is also argued that moral enactments can change over time in response to various actions, including the subjects’ own realizations and actions, as well as the presence of others (Zigon and Throop 2014:10). Drawing on this analytical framework, which looks at temporal and situational aspects of being-in-the-world, I examine the types of transformative and challenging moments and circumstances in which older Sakhalin Koreans reckon with kinship separation and union, and negotiate fluid personhood.   Second, my analysis of subject-making processes among older Sakhalin Koreans, which involves both specific acts and imaginaries of connection and disconnection, is inspired by the idea of “kinning” and the study of adoptees’ acts of searching for families. These are useful in analyzing the transnational situations of older Sakhalin Koreans and their commitment to self in relation to kinship. As discussed in Introduction, Howell’s concept of kinning (2006) that informs Norwegian parents’ incorporation of foreign children in transnational space, helps me to examine older Sakhalin Koreans’ discourses and imaginaries of separation and union as a subject-making process that they undertake in making themselves kin. In addition, Carsten’s analysis (2007) of adoptees (mostly living in Europe) helps me to examine the subject-making processes of older Sakhalin Koreans involving kinship knowledge, as well as acts of ceasing connection.91 Some scholars have argued that biological kinship knowledge serves as a source of personhood in Euro-Western contexts (Strathern 1999), but Carsten finds that while kin information makes adoptees feel a sense of connection, many adoptees often suspend their search for kin, which she considers an act of “limiting adoptees themselves” (2007:418-422). Carsten then develops her argument that kinship relations are not only about knowledge, but also entail actions taken when utilizing this knowledge. Drawing upon Howell’s and Carsten’s discussions, I examine                                                  91 This echoes the idea of cutting, ending, and stopping flows of networks (Strathern 1996). 80  how the diverse discourses, imaginaries, and practices surrounding kinship separation and union in transnational contexts of Sakhalin Koreans constitute a process of re-making themselves.  I also explore the personhood of older Sakhalin Koreans, as reconstituted through diverse moral acts surrounding connecting and disconnecting in a situation where older women and men have migrated to South Korea. Both chapters 2 and 3 examine this question, with especially chapter 2 exploring parent-child relations. The following section begins with a discussion of mother-child separation.   2.2. Elderly mothers on the move  Observing everyday conversations, including rumor, gossip, and jokes, and interviewing older Sakhalin Koreans both in South Korea and on Sakhalin, I found that their discourse problematizes mothers’ migration. Some women found clear explanations for their mobility and for staying away from Sakhalin, while many others were struggling in search of meanings for their absence from Sakhalin or their decision to stay. In the following sections, I explore the women’s contested emotions by considering three discourses, including: (1) abandonment; (2) burden; and (3) completion of mothering. In addition, I provide a section that considers the experiences of mothering of older Sakhalin Koreans to offer a nuanced understanding of why and how different generations of Sakhalin Korean women (and men) consider mother-child separation as morally imperative. I go on to show how older Sakhalin Korean women not only criticize mother-child separation, but also produce new meanings and imaginaries to make sense of the migration of older mothers.    2.2.1. The discourse of abandonment: Who abandoned whom?  As I showed with Kolya’s and one elderly woman’s commentaries about mothers’ migration leaving children behind, Sakhalin Koreans articulated mother-child separation on Sakhalin and in South Korea. This is because of the return migration policy that does not allow adult children to migrate to South Korea. In this context, the idea around abandonment circulates among older Sakhalin Korean women themselves.92 I found that their feelings vary                                                  92 When Sakhalin Koreans express a sense of abandonment, they invoke not only the word, “abandon” but also other words, including “left,” “being left,” “care,” “being cared for.” 81  slightly, depending on generation and age, place of residence (South Korea or Sakhalin), and past experiences. Moreover, among returnees in South Korea, such factors as residential space and their length of stay in South Korea affect their understanding of the relationship between parents and children. Considering this diversity, I examine the various ways in which older Sakhalin Korean women represent their own mobility or decision to stay and how they deal with their own emotional struggles.   In South Korea, I witnessed and heard how elderly women living in the welfare center often compared their situation to animals and insects. They viewed their own behaviors of having left their children as “inhumane,” making them worse than animals. For example, in 2011, I met Ki-Bok (age 86), who had lived in South Korea since 1995. She often invited me to her room, and liked to talk about her life and her children living on Sakhalin. She reflected on her situation:   When I was sitting still outside, I saw ants crawling near my foot. Even ants move with and take care of their own children. Tears came to my eyes. I am worse than that.  When hearing the life story of another woman who had also lived in South Korea for more than ten years, the woman suddenly asked me: “Do you know the cruellest creature in the world?” I said I had no idea. She responded: “Human beings. It is because parents [which indicated herself and other elderly returnees] leave their own children. How cruel we are!” I visited one elderly woman who spent her youth on Sakhalin and had lived in Moscow with her son before migrating to South Korea. She had lived in South Korea for two years when I met her. Greeting her in a typical Korean way, I casually asked her how her physical condition was, and she said, “I do not have any energy… we are like birds, flying alone here without children. That is not a human life, is it?” I learned that elderly returnee women blamed themselves and considered their migration to South Korea as “inhumane.”  Mother-child separation was also a key topic among elderly stayee women (first generation subjects) on Sakhalin. But elderly stayee women evaluated their own decisions to stay on Sakhalin in comparison to returnees’ decisions to leave Sakhalin. They spoke about their main reason for staying, explaining that they cannot possibly migrate to South Korea, thus leaving and abandoning their children on Sakhalin. In the Korean Senior Center on Sakhalin, where they gather and sing songs, dance, and have lunch twice a month, I met 82  one elderly woman in her late 80s. She came to the gathering by taxi, which was a journey taking one hour. When we sat down on the sofa, I carefully asked if she ever considered living in South Korea. She got a little excited and said: “How can I abandon my children whom I breastfed in a difficult time after the war? How can only I by myself live a better life in South Korea?” The reaction of another elderly woman showed a similar perspective. She regularly invited me to her house after the bimonthly gathering at the Center. Every time we talked, she wondered how and why returnee women could live separately from their children. She reflected: “No matter what bad things children do, they are my children, aren’t they?”   Middle-aged women on Sakhalin, who are not entitled to migrate to South Korea because of their (and their husbands’) ages, articulated the discourse of abandonment in slightly different ways. They criticize returnee women’s migration, but many of them also aspire to migrate. With this ambiguous set of feelings, middle-aged women attach a meaning to returnees’ decisions while they also imagine their causes. For example, while playing cards and having lunch, the women often said they wanted to move to South Korea. However, they also imagined that returnees had left Sakhalin because their relationship with their children had been in trouble: they were no longer needed by their children. The comment of the elderly returnee woman at the opening of this chapter also reflects the same imaginary: elderly women had migrated because they were not being taken cared of by their children on Sakhalin. In addition, women discussed returnees as persons to be pitied. They imagined that the elderly women who had abandoned children because of their greed would no longer have a space to live in their houses on Sakhalin and not be welcomed by family members even if they were to choose to come back. Hearing everyday talk around mother-child separation among older Sakhalin Korean women, I found that returnee women were viewed as both subjects and objects of abandonment.   I also observed that by engaging with the discourse of abandonment, returnee women criticized themselves, and to some extent embraced their “inhumane” actions. However, returnee women also confronted emotional struggles after migrating to South Korea. Regardless of their generation, returnee women told me it was hard to manage their situation of being away from their children for the first couple of years. Since they had extensive free time in South Korea, they often thought of their children. For example, one 83  elderly returnee woman in her late 70s spoke of the early days in South Korea, saying, “Whenever I saw the sunset, I felt a pain in my chest.” Another elderly woman, who had migrated to South Korea four months before, told me: “I want to see my four children. On the phone, my son always says, ‘Mama, I miss you.’” A middle-aged woman who had lived with her husband in the apartment complexes in South Korea for two years said, “Whenever I eat delicious food, I cannot enjoy it or swallow it easily. It reminds me of my son.” Such experience reminded her one again that she is a mother; as she commented, “I found myself to be a mother.”   Considering the contested discourse of abandonment and returnee women’s emotional striving, I suggest that Sakhalin Korean women, both on Sakhalin and in South Korea, imagine and experience the situation of being an older mother leaving offspring across a national border. In addition, while women evaluate the migration of mothers in different ways, the discourse of abandonment is more powerfully felt among returnee women than among stayee women because they are the targets of blame. In the next section, I briefly discuss the experiences of mothering among older Sakhalin Koreans in order to understand why they “problematize” migration of mothers in the context of return.   2.2.2. Contexts surrounding the critique of mother-child separation  The contested emotional discourse of mother-child separation among older Sakhalin Korean women cannot be fully explained by contemporary ideologies of motherhood in Russia and South Korea. In order to understand why mother-child separation is morally imperative for older Sakhalin Korean women, I study both their actual experiences of mothering, and the social contexts involved. The following sections do not investigate these women’s entire lives. Rather I select key symbolic features of their lived experiences of mothering, drawing upon their narratives about their youth, families, and households, in which generational differences are marked. In doing so, I aim to offer a nuanced understanding as to why the transnational migration of mothers is the subject of such a powerful moral critique among older Sakhalin Korean women (and men).   84  2.2.3. Elderly Sakhalin Korean women: Feeding is everything   When I asked elderly women about their past experiences of mothering and childrearing, most of the women gave short comments. They tended to explain: “It was hard because we had to feed, bathe, and clothe our children.” In order to understand their short explanation, I will consider the family lives of elderly Sakhalin Korean women, which include being mothered when they were children and their own mothering.  I suggest that social status is a significant factor affecting the family lives of elderly Sakhalin Korean women.93 Among my interviewees, it was common for women (the women here are interviewees’ mothers) on rural farms to participate in agricultural work, even if it was not stable wage work in Korea. Unlike the gentry (yangban), where women’s activities were restricted to the home, wives and mothers in tenant families in rural areas engaged in agricultural production as a key part of their household labor in Korea (An 2006: 210). Sakhalin Korean women’s narratives, which provided little reflection about their mothers, also suggest that everyday nurturing was not solely practiced by mothers. As An’s ethnographic material also suggests, mothers in poor households did not serve as educators of their children. As daughters-in-law, women were responsible for almost every household chore, in addition to agricultural labor outside the home. They had little time to care for and communicate with their children. Rather, in the households with several children, older siblings and extended kin, like cousins, took care of younger children (cf. Sorensen 1988). One can assume that elderly Sakhalin Korean women grew up in circumstances where certain elements of mothering was not practiced by mothers.  When elderly Sakhalin Korean women were younger, their lives could have been influenced by the social conditions of the Japanese imperial ideology of “wise mother, good wife” that powerfully shaping gender norms for empire- and nation- building and wartime mobilization during the 1930s and 1940s. However, this ideology was not instilled in all women in Korea. Unlike wartime Japan, where this ideology prevailed regardless of class, in                                                  93 There is relatively little ethnographic and historical work on everyday family life in rural Korea during the Japanese colonial period (especially the 1930s and 1940s). In this section, I refer to An’s (2006) and Sorensen’s (1988) studies. An’s study (2006) is one of the few of family lives among Korean women during colonial times that draws on women’s oral histories. Sorensen’s work (1988) in a rural village in Kangwŏn Province during the 1970s presents practices similar to those seen among elderly Sakhalin Koreans.  85  colonial Korea this gender ideology was limited to young girls who were able to receive public education (Choi 2009).94   Social class distinctively shaped the experiences of elderly Sakhalin Korean women. However, the elderly women’s ideas were forged by the dominant gender and kinship norms of the time; being a woman meant being a wife and a mother (of sons), and sacrificing oneself for kin members, including children, husbands, and husbands’ natal families. For example, most elderly women explain that marriage and having children were unquestionable duties, saying, “Because we had to,” or “Because everybody did.” Marriage, and becoming a wife and mother, were obligatory.  After they married, the women’s most significant responsibility was to make sure their children survived. Sakhalin Korean elders whom I met had an average of six to nine children.95 But the infant mortality rate was high. I heard from almost all elderly people that one or two of their children had died as infants or toddlers. For example, one elderly woman who gave birth on Sakhalin said to me: “I gave birth to a baby but it soon died, and again I had a baby but it died, again and again… It was strange and I had no idea why my babies frequently died. But one day, someone suggested I bury the babies’ bodies on the east side of the mountain. So I moved them. After that, I had another child and he did not die.” Her example shows that in order to protect their children from death and ensure their security, women resorted to alternative practices not available in hospitals.  During the Soviet period after the war, Sakhalin Korean women played a pivotal role in feeding and clothing children, which is similar to peasant Soviet women’s lives in rural areas (Denisova 2010:157). Aside from basic provisioning for children, the other concern for women was their children’s education. However, the experiences of elderly Sakhalin Korean women suggest that their mothering in this era was constrained due to limited resources. In Korea and China, having male children was part of mothers’ strategy within the conditions of an unequal gender power structure, which prevented women from taking on various roles                                                  94 Choi (2009) also argues that the ideology of “wise mother and good wife” is a modern construct of “convergence of Chosŏn Korea’s Confucian notion of womanly virtue, Japan’s gender ideology of ‘good wife and wise mother,’ and American Protestant missionary women’s ideology of domesticity in mission schools” (2009:3).  95 An (2006) argues that there was another gender ideology, “bear children and multiply” (J. umeyo fuyaseyo), during the 1930s before the war in Japan and in colonial Korea, which encouraged women’s fertility. At that time, Korean women gave birth to an average of six children, but An maintains that having multiple children was affected by the local patriarchal ideology in existence prior to colonial times (2006:191–205).  86  and positions of power. Mothers performed pragmatic motherhood as they identified their position as mothers of sons. If a son became a lineage successor through the inheritance of property, the mother of such a son, received respect and hyo (filial piety) from kin. Similar to Margery Wolf’s concept of the “uterine family” in China (1972), having children, and especially sons, served to establish a woman’s power and possible upward mobility and status in Korea (Cho Han 1988). In a similar way, the elderly Sakhalin Korean women I met tried to raise their children to obtain education and to acquire socially prestigious jobs — something important for children, as well as for the family. However, after Sakhalin was annexed to the Soviet Union in 1945, Koreans confronted limitations such as poor Russian language skills, insufficient social networks, and partial citizenship (chapter 5), all of which prevented women from performing such mothering well. Thus, elderly Sakhalin Korean women’s responsibility was limited to helping children succeed in school by feeding and clothing children until graduation. They were not physically present with their children all the time because they spent most of their time doing household chores and working in the gardens. I suggest that Sakhalin Korean women aspired to upward mobility through their children, but the actual support they could provide was limited. Rather, the Soviet state played a pragmatic role in children’s education.  The past experiences of mothering among elderly Sakhalin Korean women reflect that feeding children was considered a major responsibility and was the practice they consistently carried out within the transitional context where south Sakhalin was integrated into the Soviet Union. I also propose that feeding children was a crucial component of their womanhood because their other kin roles as daughters, daughters-in law, and sisters were relatively absent due to the family separation caused by migration. Considering their life trajectories, I argue that raising children was one of the women’s few possibilities, which in turn engenders moral confusion in the context of return. The next section turns to the mothering experiences of middle-aged Sakhalin Korean women.     87  2.2.4. Middle-aged women: “Women need children”   This section discusses what makes middle-aged Sakhalin Korean women’s experiences of mothering distinct from those of the older generation. But the women’s narratives include their reflections on changing family lives and perceptions of differences with diverse others. I suggest that the state’s intervention in the upbringing of children (vospitanie) and women’s mass labor mobilization were paramount factors that affected the experience of mothering among middle-aged Sakhalin Korean women, and made their experience of mothering different from those of their own mothers. Mothering practices were systematically shaped by the gender and family policies of the Soviet Union (and Eastern Europe) in the late socialist era when the state played the role of co-parenting with mothers, in a way replacing fathers, by offering diverse material incentives and institutional support (Ashwin 2000; Bloch 2003; Gal and Kligman 2000; Haney 2002; Rockhill 2010). The dominant gender ideology did little to draw men into family responsibility in the domestic sphere, so women played the primary caregiver role for their children, while also working outside the home. Utrata argues that the state policy in the late socialist period granted special rights and responsibilities to motherhood rather than to marriage (2015:29).   Middle-aged Sakhalin Korean women’s narratives about their family lives when they were young show that they viewed birth control, smaller family sizes, and having a job outside the home as making their family lives “civilized,” in contrast to the lives of their mothers. For example, they had an average of just two or three children  because, as one woman explained: “Having many children is not ‘civilized.’ Koreans had many children but Soviet people around us didn’t. So we realized that it’s a civilized way of living.” In addition, abortion was more accessible and enabled the women to practice birth control.96 Indeed, I often heard from middle-aged women that they had had more than one abortion, and many of them embraced the notion that medical abortion was a rational means by which to control family size. They also emphasized that the physical burdens on them had been reduced in comparison to their mothers’ generation. Unlike their mothers, farming was no longer their major economic activity because they worked for state enterprises.                                                  96 In the Soviet Union, abortion was legalized in 1920 to “liberate” women from the home. In 1936, it was criminalized to increase the birthrate, but this resulted in illegal abortion-related deaths. Abortion was legalized again in 1955, although the state encouraged women to give birth (Nakachi 2006a; Rivkin-Fish 2013:572–573).   88   These changes, however, did not mean that women’s domestic work was reduced. As many recollected, comparing their situation to their adult children, they spent considerable time doing household chores because of the shortage of domestic products. Also, this cohort of Sakhalin Korean women practiced more “kin work” than their mothers had done. One woman with three children talked about her experience. She worked in an office until midnight and was always tired. But she did not sleep much even during holidays because she felt she had to do something when her mother-in-law woke up early in the morning. In addition, as the number of Sakhalin Koreans increased after the war, the middle-aged women’s kinship responsibilities also multiplied with siblings, in-laws, cousins, nephews and nieces. Thus, the women engaged in various types of kin work (Di Leonardo 1987), predominantly the management of inter-household relations through visiting and engagement in rituals.  In middle-aged women’s narratives about their younger years, their specific ideas of mother-child ties were usually not articulated. Instead, at the time when they interacted with me, middle-aged Sakhalin Korean men and women expressed their thoughts that mother-children ties are inseparable. Since I was not married and had no children, almost all of the middle-aged women (and men) with whom I talked and emphasized, “You must have children. Women need children.” After hearing that I was thirty years old, many were also surprised and suggested: “If you already have a man [a dating partner], you should first have children.” They meant that for women in their late twenties and thirties, marriage was not essential, but the women have to have children because of biological limitations. When I asked why I should have children, many women reacted: “How can women live without children?”, and “As long as women have children, women can live.” One man also said: “Because women’s bodies want them to have a child.” These comments reflect the idea that mothers and children are inseparable from each other because children provide women their meaning in life and because women are “naturally” made to give birth.  In addition, Sakhalin Korean people commented on the mother-child bond as a defining feature that made them different from Others, especially South Koreans. For example, middle-aged Sakhalin Korean people were surprised to learn of the family practice in South Korea where children would live with the father (or father’s family) if a couple is divorced. Many Sakhalin Koreans frequently asked me: “How are children taken care of by 89  fathers in South Korea? Children need their mothers.” When they compared their gender and kinship to that of South Koreans, Sakhalin Korean people emphasized the idea that children can be separated from fathers but not from mothers.   However, these ideals that “women need children” and “children need women” do not reject or negate the relationship between fathers and children. For example, family naming systems and practices reflect how Sakhalin Koreans differentiate a mother-child bond from a father-child bond. I found that many middle-aged Sakhalin Korean women who maintained their surnames after marriage thought that children, including their children, belong to patrilineal kin. They considered such a practice to be a ‘Korean’ kinship practice, even though couples were legally able to have separate surnames (familiia in Russian) in Russia and, indeed, many Sakhalin Koreans did so, based on this system. The Sakhalin Koreans I met thought that children symbolically belong to a fathers’ lineage but also that mother and child are physically and practically inseparable.  To understand the emphasis on strong mother-child bonds in the kinship and gender norms of middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans, I draw on Utrata’s study of Russian mothering through the lens of single mothers (Utrata 2015:30–39). Drawing on interviews from “late Soviet single mothers” who experienced mothering during the late 1960s to the 1980s, Utrata shows how marriage was considered compulsory, and women’s decision to marry was related to social respect, housing provision, and career options. Becoming a mother was regarded as a “civic duty and the natural destiny of every woman” (2015:35). Some women also recollect that they married to become mothers. Utrata contextualizes the women’s lives within the late Soviet social conditions: (1) materially stabilized citizens’ lives; (2) state assistance for mothers; (3) high divorce rates due to men’s irresponsibility; (4) support from other family members; and (5) reinforcement of the dominant gender ideology that emphasized “natural” gender differences (and gender roles). In these socio-cultural contexts, late Soviet women married, divorced, and raised children. Utrata suggests that among those women, becoming a mother was considered “a fulfillment of feminine destiny” and “compensation for hardships” (2015:35). This analysis is helpful in understanding why middle-aged older Sakhalin Koreans reflected that women need children.    In this section, I have attempted to discuss why both generations of women (and men) problematize mothers’ migration. Despite varied experiences of and thoughts about 90  mothering in different social contexts, the idea of women’s civic duty to have children was not dramatically modified across two generations. Regardless of the number of children women have, their marital status, and status of employment in either factories or farming, the kinship and gender norm of having children as part of a woman’s “natural” life course did not differ greatly across the two generations. Thus, the ideas that “women need children” and “children need women”, which signify an inseparable tie between a mother and child, constitute a sense of motherhood.97   More importantly, I suggest that the transnational migration of mothers is of moral significance to older Sakhalin Koreans because the migration of older mothers is a new and experimental experience (Mattingly 2014). They consider that it is ‘normal’ that young people leave home, leaving behind parents. There was no previous knowledge of cases in which older mothers moved abroad and lived apart from their adult children and grandchildren. This is a radical transformation. Thus, elderly and middle-aged women express surprise, blame, and criticism of mothers’ “abandonment” of their offspring. I argue that women’s actual migration tends to be seen through a normative lens that a child and mother are inseparable, and to a sense of personhood is closely tied to being a mother. However, in the next section, I will show that not all women evaluate theirs and others’ return migration in a negative light.  2.2.5. The discourse of burden: Staying as a burden or leaving as a burden?  In South Korea, while many returnee women blamed themselves, they also explained to me their situation of living apart from their children on Sakhalin, saying,“If elderly people live with their children, it might give their children trouble (K. kosaeng).” This meant that living with older parents would be a burden for adult children. I found that older Sakhalin Korean women not only criticized themselves, but also reflected on their behaviors and tried to transform themselves through another moral discourse of burden. This section shows how older Sakhalin Korean women responded to the moral dilemmas of mother-child separation.                                                  97 The norm of the inseparable nature of the mother-child relationship is not the only source of women’s senses of motherhood. I suggest that it is one of numerous components that shape the women’s fluid sense of motherhood. 91  Considering the case of Tamara, I first discuss how the discourse of burden is affected by the socio-economic conditions of older Sakhalin Koreans and of their adult children. Tamara was one of the middle-aged women I met in South Korea. She was in her early 60s and had two adult children on Sakhalin. Her son was in his early 40s and lived with his daughter and his wife, a kindergarten teacher. He installed and maintained heating appliances in commercial buildings and apartments for a living, but in the summer he also worked in the northern region of Sakhalin Island, where oil and gas development had attracted many domestic and migrant workers. Tamara told me that it was hard for her son’s family to raise a small child. Tamara also had a daughter in her early 40s, who was a single mother living with a ten-year old daughter. In 2010, Tamara’s daughter gave birth to a baby, but as Tamara explained, her daughter did not marry the baby’s father and their relationship broke up. Since the daughter could not work outside the home or afford childcare, she had been faced with managing her livelihood without any source of income. Tamara said, “How can she live like that?” Tamara and her husband were both retirees and did not have the economic ability to provide their daughter with financial support.   Around 2008, when the return policy expanded and many middle-aged older Sakhalin Koreans started to migrate to South Korea, Tamara did not have a strong desire to move there. In her everyday life, she constantly felt anxiety over not providing any material assistance to her adult children, as well as a fear that she and her husband would become an economic burden on them. She gradually thought moving might help her and her adult children’s economic conditions: by renting her flat while she stayed in South Korea, they could gain a source of income (chapter 4). Her own and her adult children’s economic conditions at that moment were one factor encouraging her to consider migration.  Many older Sakhalin Koreans, who no longer have much access to any stable financial resources, find it difficult to survive on a meager pension, and find their children’s material support crucial. Indeed, whether they lived with children or not, the elderly Sakhalin Koreans in their 70s and 80s whom I met on Sakhalin all received financial support from their adult children, for example, assistance in paying rent and utilities. However, I found that the anxiety of becoming an economic and emotional burden was more strongly felt among middle-aged people. They were afraid of getting older in the economically uncertain conditions on Sakhalin, and they expressed a feeling of rejection about receiving 92  material assistance from adult children who frequently had small children. Middle-aged Sakhalin Koreans believed financial support should flow from older to younger generations. In this context, return migration, which offered a range of welfare assistance in South Korea, was attractive to them (chapter 4).   Material conditions in part affect their decision-making processes. However, I suggest that older Sakhalin Koreans’ comments about being a burden also assume an important discursive dimension. The discourse of burden serves to mitigate the moral discourse of abandonment, through which women make their migration understandable to themselves and others. For example, Tok-Sun, a returnee woman, had lived with her son and daughter-in-law for more than ten years before moving to South Korea in 2000. In her narrative about her decision-making process, she explained:  I felt uncomfortable because my daughter-in-law cooked breakfast for me every morning before she left home for work. So it was hard to live together… I then heard everybody would go to South Korea and my son asked me whether I would go or not. So I told my children that I would be back if I did not like the life in South Korea. Now, several years have already passed.  Like Tok-Sun, elderly returnee women who had lived in South Korea for several years provided a similar explanation. They expressed uneasiness over becoming a burden with statements like: “My children have to take me to the hospital.” “My children often visit me while I live alone in the house.” “They have to take care of me when I get sick.” From their accounts, I did not find any evidence that actual conflicts with adult children directly affected their decision to migrate. Rather, returnee women attached a meaning to disconnection from their children, voicing that their presence near their children might bring trouble.  On Sakhalin, I witnessed different reactions. The narratives of stayee women on Sakhalin contradicted such returnees’ explanations of why they had migrated to South Korea, which also meant that they had chosen to live apart from their adult children. The stayees insisted that it would be a burden on their adult children if older mothers lived in South Korea. For example, one elderly woman proclaimed: “Living separately from children makes them suffer! If those elders get seriously sick and cannot move, their children have to go to South Korea. But children cannot take holidays suddenly, and imagine how expensive 93  it is if all of the children visit South Korea.” Stayees consider that the migration of mothers creates a heavier economic and emotional burden for the children.   Those stayee women, however, do not think that living physically close to their adult children is the best way to live, either. I argue that elderly stayee women struggle to find a solid reason that makes sense of their decision to stay for their children. For example, Pong-Hŭi, an elderly stayee woman, usually expressed her sense of surprise about other women’s migration to South Korea. However, when many of her friends had left, she reflected on her decision to stay. She told me about her complicated emotions: “I think living near one’s children is better than migrating, but I often wonder whether this is really good.” I saw small potato seedlings in her living room and she was looking forward to planting them at her dacha. But one day, when I had dinner at her house, the potatoes had disappeared. She got a phone call from her son and was surprised to hear that her son’s family had planted them without notifying her. According to Pong-Hŭi, her son thought she enjoyed being with her friends in the Senior Center, therefore he had not let her know that they were going to the dacha. However, after talking with her son, her facial expression seemed sad and she repeatedly said: “Why didn’t they tell me anything? Since I cannot ask them to go to the dacha, they have to call me.” She also said, “Children never understand their parents’ mind (K. maŭm).” Pong-Hŭi often said that she feels so happy and thankful to have her son, who often visits and takes care of her, that she cannot imagine leaving her children behind on Sakhalin. However, she also cannot openly speak about her honest feeling of disappointment and her wishes because, she assumes, her behaviors would be an emotional burden to her son. Elderly stayees constantly wondered whether staying or leaving would be a greater burden to their children.  These examples show that like the discourse of abandonment, the moral discourse of burden is contested. On one hand, through articulating the moral discourse of burden, returnee women try to create a counter-meaning for their decision in its context, in which they feel they are being subjected to the moral blame of being “inhumane.” Some stayees also imagine that their migration would be helpful for socio-economic reasons. In this instance, an ideal model of a “good mother” is insignificant. I suggest that older Sakhalin Korean women produce an expectation of themselves not to become bad elderly parents. By considering another key moral discourse with regard to the mother-child dis/connection, the 94  following section continues to examine how older Sakhalin Koreans negotiate a sense of motherhood in a transnational space.  2.2.6. Completion of mothering?  When returnee women talked about their migration to South Korea, many of them emphasized the need to keep some physical distance from their adult children, both for their own well-being and for the well-being of their children. In addition, when they discussed the subject of detachment, the completion of a mother’s role was highlighted.  Older Sakhalin Korean returnees told me that they lived separately from their children on Sakhalin because they had finished their role and the duty of raising their adult children. For example, Hye-Ok, a returnee, recollected the past when she had left Sakhalin more than ten years earlier:   My children are living well in Russia with jobs and families. There is nothing to worry about. Even my grandchildren are no longer small and are all grown up. So I have nothing to do.  While they reproached their own migration as “inhumane,” returnee women also produced an interpretation that their role as mother is completed. Ki-Bok, the elderly returnee woman who compared her migration with ants, also explained to me, “I came here [South Korea] to rest in a quiet place, my homeland.” In this conversational context, the academic and career achievements of their children and grandchildren were often recalled with pride. For example, women’s refrains were about children: “Having a ‘red’ diploma,” “Finishing more than two institutes”, “Graduating from a university in Moscow,” “Doing big business,” and “Working as a head or director.” In addition, even when their children did not have such achievements, many of the returnee women reflected on how they had finished bringing up their children.  It is noteworthy that, being affected by returnee women, middle-aged stayee women on Sakhalin also express a wish to complete their mothering roles. Liuba lived with her husband, two adult daughters, and one grandson in a three-room flat. While her husband and the two daughters worked weekdays, she picked up her grandson from kindergarten and prepared supper every day for the family. Sveta lived with her husband, the first son, a 95  daughter-in-law, a fifteen-year-old granddaughter, and their second oldest son. Sveta stored rice and various side dishes at different times in order for each family member to have meals at different times. Return migration was always a topic of these two women’s everyday conversations. One day Liuba said with a sigh, “I’m so tired of caring for my grandson.” Sveta then reacted: “We all reared our children and they became adults, so we should go to South Korea. We want to rest there like other people who went to South Korea.” I found that the women’s actual transnational migration across state borders invoked a gendered social imagination and aspiration among the local stayee women on Sakhalin whereby mothers can detach themselves from their offspring, and can withdraw from caring for their adult children and grandchildren.  I suggest that by engaging in the discourses of burden and of completion of mothering, older Sakhalin Korean women imagine new possibilities for themselves. As I will discuss later, the age of elders and their adult children plays a significant role in producing the meaning of detachment. The discourse around the completion of mothering shows that women’s sense of motherhood and personhood is not fixed throughout their entire lives. It changes over time. As they emphasize their age and mature offspring, older Sakhalin Korean women proclaim that their own absence is not problematic.   I argue that the discourse of abandonment coexists with the discourses of burden and of the completion of mothering. As women circulate these three discourses, they are becoming moral subjects. However, among these discourses, the former (mothers leaving children) is more powerful, and the positive evaluations of mothers’ absence cannot mitigate it. I suggest that although detachment is explained in a positive light, returnee women find it difficult to disconnect completely from their children and they make an effort to return to a ‘normal’ way of life by connecting with children and engaging in kin work in transnational space.  2.3. Transnational connection  Within the transnational field where older Sakhalin Koreans discuss mother-child separation, returnees move on as they try to practice not only mothering, grandmothering, fathering, and parenting, but also a range of practices of “kin work” (Di Leonardo 1987) in the transnational setting. Di Leonardo offers the concept of kin work to join two analytical 96  concepts, household labor and domestic work. Kin work is a supple concept that can be used to analyze women’s family lives, such as women’s management of inter-household relations in preparing for ritual events, attending to phone calls, sending cards, and offering emotional and material support to kin members such as cousins, nephews, nieces, and their husbands’ relatives.98 Di Leonardo argues that unlike child-rearing and household chores, such kin work do not have any “correct” models or expert instructions. Thus, women engage in kin work for the well being of family members, but there are also situations where women are unable to practice it, which results in a sense of guilt. I find the concept of kin work to be useful because what returnees do on Sakhalin is not defined as mothering or fathering, but more as kin work. In the following sections, I present the kinds of kin work that returnees practice across state borders, and how they also strive to maintain ties with their children and grandchildren, as well as other diverse kin. I also examine how these processes entail unpredictability and emotional sentiments.   2.3.1. Technologies of connecting   Living in South Korea, older Sakhalin Korean returnees use various technologies to maintain their relationships with their adult children. For example, the telephone is a primary means for staying in contact with children. Returnees usually buy international telephone cards for 1,000 Korean won (about $10) at kiosks and these allow for two to three hours of conversation. Related to this, I found that returnees carry an address book bought in Sakhalin, in which telephone numbers of their relatives and friends, both in South Korea and on Sakhalin, are listed. When I stayed at Olga’s house in South Korea, her address book was full of names of not only her children but also her siblings, relatives, and friends in South Korea and on Sakhalin.   Since returnees’ children live all over Russia, before calling, Sakhalin Korean returnees always think about the time difference between South Korea and the locations in which their children live. They also try to call on weekends when children are off from                                                  98 Di Leonardo proposed the concept of kin work as she found that feminist theorizing about divisions of public labor and domestic households had reflected an understanding that perceived women’s practices as either self-oriented or other-oriented (altruist) in many industrialized societies. This dichotomy does not capture women’s agency and their complex lives incorporating family, gender, and work. She also argues that a household exists not only to link to larger social structures, but also to connect with other households. To analyze and understand women’s broader sense and range of work, di Leonardo offered the concept of “kin work.”  97  work. I observed a brief conversation that one elderly woman had when she talked with her adult children, saying, “Are all of you are ok? I have no problems.” The elderly women recounted that they only occasionally called their children since they were afraid that the children did not want to talk to them too often. Additionally, when adult children called their parents, the children hung up and the parents called back because the phone card fee in South Korea is cheaper than it is in Russia. I found that in the conversations between returnees and their adult children, Sakhalin Korean women did not talk about everything that had happened to them. For example, they tried to downplay their illnesses and physical conditions even when they felt sick. When Chŏng-Sun, a widow, one year after living in Incheon Welfare Center, discovered she had stomach cancer, she did not inform her family on Sakhalin of her health. She was shocked to know that she had developed cancer and needed to have surgery, yet she did not reveal her diagnosis to her siblings or two adult sons on Sakhalin. In fact, before I left for Sakhalin in 2011, I met Chŏng-Sun and she asked me not to tell her siblings about her cancer when I saw them. For Chŏng-Sun, not informing her family of her illness was her best choice as a sibling and mother to make sure her family did not worry.  In addition to the telephone, older Sakhalin Korean returnees use the Internet to keep in touch with adult children in Russia. Skype is most popular. When I visited Victor’s house in South Korea, he was talking with his son in Khabarovsk, and they were watching each other’s faces through a web camera. Another middle-aged woman also talked with her child in Moscow through Skype. In the apartment complexes which returnees are allocated, as is common in apartment buildings throughout South Korea, high speed internet connections are easily obtained via telephone companies. Furthermore, in Homeland Village, the municipal government offered the Sakhalin Korean elderly residents computer classes as early as 2000. Thus, many elderly residents told me that they were able to use computers and used these to talk with their children in Russia.  Sakhalin Korean returnees also try to maintain ties with their adult children not only through communication technology, but through other returnees. When they hear that their neighbors or their siblings will be travelling to Sakhalin for an emergency or for some special occasion, returnees ask them to meet their adult children and pass on gifts. Sakhalin Koreans’ social networks in South Korea play a new role in staying connected with their 98  adult children. Along with these means that enable them to maintain ties with adult children in Russia, parents’ direct visits provide the possibility for significant kin practices, and the (re)negotiation of relationships with adult children.   2.3.2. Cross-border kin work   In South Korea, Sakhalin Korean returnees constantly talk about two topics: when they will visit Sakhalin and what kinds of gifts they will take to Sakhalin. I found that for returnees, going to Sakhalin during the summer was an annual custom. In this context, one of the symbolic practices of parenting is gift giving. Returnees also engage in various types of kin work such as helping with family businesses, doing household chores, maintaining inter-household relations, caring for grandchildren, fixing up houses, and participating in family rituals.  Returnees whom I met had a strong sense that the parents cannot go back to Sakhalin without gifts. Since they considered that they were living in a “better” place (chapter 4), they tried to fulfill a sense of gift-giving obligation as a compensation for their absence. In addition, they felt the obligation of giving gifts because they were “visitors” who should give gifts to the “host.” However, choosing gifts is not understood as a matter of mere obligation. They actively practice “gift hunting” in South Korea. In his study of mothers’ shopping practice in north London, Daniel Miller (1998) give examples of how the ways in which mothers purchase products for children involves projecting their expectations of their children onto the gift objects (1998:39). Similarly, returnee women purchase clothes and luxury goods for their adult children and grandchildren. Rather than based on personal expectations of offspring, however, this process involves their imaginations. Returnee women pick up gifts as they imagine which size, color, and design would be best suited for their children. They often shared their shopping finds with me. For example, one day Chŏng-Sun opened her closet and showed me a sweater that she had bought in a market. She asked herself, “Is this too big? I remember he is big, but he might have lost weight.” She told me, “Russia and South Korea have different measurements, so I don’t really know if it fits him.” The most popular gifts are shirts and socks, since clothes are one of the most expensive consumer goods on Sakhalin. During their stay in South Korea, returnee women keep in 99  mind that they can find clothes for gifts in the course of everyday grocery shopping. I suggest that this practice can be seen as a symbolic connection with adult children.    In addition to gift-giving, Sakhalin Korean returnees return to Sakhalin and participate in rituals such as wedding ceremonies and birthday parties. What I found was that their return influenced the temporality of kinship gatherings on Sakhalin. For example, Vera, a stayee woman, told me about contemporary trends and shifts in the ritual seasons among Sakhalin Koreans. Vera had made a living selling Korean rice cakes on Sakhalin. She said, “In the past, we had such ceremonies in winter. We could not have ceremonies in summer because there were no refrigerators big enough to store foods for numerous guests and families. In summer, the food rotted.” She continued to explain current changes. She said, “Nowadays people order rice cakes for such occasions and parties in the summer because many returnees visit Sakhalin in the summer and fall. So I’m busy this season.” As Vera explained, many returnees attended parties and ceremonies in the summertime. Olga’s example shows the ways in which returnees engage in transnational family practices and also how their mobility transforms material practices on Sakhalin.  During her stay on Sakhalin for three months in the summer of 2010, Olga organized her grandson’s one-year birthday ritual (K. tol chanch’i).99 Although only in-law grandparents and Olga’s family participated in the ritual, she served all the dishes. Moreover, she helped to prepare for her brother-in-law’s 60th birthday party (K. hwan’gap) at his house. Her six siblings and each family member attended the party. From early that morning, Olga went to her sisters’ house and cooked with her two sisters (one of them was also a returnee). The table was full of dishes from noon to night as each family member visited at different times. Finally, Olga helped to work at her younger sister’s fish processing plant, which was located far from the city. Olga stayed in the dormitory located on the premises of the factory, and she served meals for workers, mostly temporary migrant workers from the republic of Buryatia.100 Like other workers, Olga’s room was inside an old                                                  99 Sakhalin Korean migrants generally stay on Sakhalin for no more than three months at a time because they receive a pension in South Korea, and if they spend more than three months outside Korea, the pension is not paid (chapter 4). The legal constraints on their mobility are discussed later.  100 In the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the majority of migrant workers were from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. But Sakhalin Koreans told me that people from Buryatia were temporarily hired in fish processing plants in coastal regions (in the southern part of Sakhalin). I visited another marine product processing plant owned by a Sakhalin Korean, in which Buryats worked. This shows the ethnic division of labor on Sakhalin.  100  boxcar, and she worked in the factory for one week. She told me she did not want to work but she did “because my sister needs help, I cannot refuse.” Olga engages in this work not to supplement her income; rather, all of the activities across households were part of social support practices, as well as part of fulfilling kin responsibility, which shaped everyday lives.   I also found that returnee women engaged in events like kimjang—preparation of kimchee for the winter on Sakhalin. Once Sakhalin Koreans make kimchee at the end of each fall, they eat this until the following spring when new crops of Chinese cabbage appear.101 From approximately October to November, many Sakhalin Koreans check the price of cabbage in the markets. Usually kimchee-making for the winter is done when the climate becomes colder. However, Sakhalin Korean returnees finished the process before they left Sakhalin. Women often talked about which cabbage—from China, from the local Sakhalin Koreans’ farms, or from the farms on Sakhalin that South Koreans own—would be cheaper and more delicious. They also exchanged information about which red chilli pepper powder –from mainland Russia, Central Asia, China, or South Korea—would be more tasty. While I lived with Olga and Tolya, they purchased 100 kilograms of cabbage. Olga and Tolya salted this in a bath-tub for one night.102 Then they made seasoning with garlic and red chilli pepper powder. The salted cabbages were seasoned one by one. Olga and Tolya wore rubber gloves (imported from South Korea) and prepared kimchee together in the kitchen all day long. After that, Olga put the new kimchee in the kimchee refrigerator, which was an imported product from South Korea. She prepared mild kimchee for her son and daughter’s families while leaving the spicier one for me. A few days later, Olga also helped prepare the kimjang in her sister’s (a returnee) apartment and the three of us prepared it together.   Yulia is another returnee woman who came back and did kin work on Sakhalin. On Sakhalin Yulia served as a sanitation worker in a rehabilitation facility for alcoholics, and migrated to South Korea with her husband. They had lived in South Korea for two years. In                                                  101 Older Sakhalin Koreans called Chinese cabbage paech’a and parch’ae, which are dialect expressions for standard paech’u in Korean. When one Sakhalin Korean man showed me his recipe note, paech’a was written in Korean. 102 Those who live in a ‘personal house’ make kimchee outside the house (outdoors) while Sakhalin Koreans living in an apartment use a bath-tub after cleaning it. The amount of cabbage is different depending on the number of family members. Although men help to purchase and take cabbage to the house, making kimchi is usually considered middle-aged women’s work. If they make kimchee for five or six family members, they need to buy 200 or 300 kilograms of Chinese cabbage.  101  the summer, since Yulia’s husband was asked to help with his friends’ work on Sakhalin, she also temporarily visited Sakhalin. They stayed at their flat where her divorced son had also lived. While living in South Korea, she was always thinking about how her son lived alone and when he would remarry. Yulia told me, “I came back here because I can’t leave men [her son and husband] alone in the house. Men cannot do anything.” Just after arriving at the flat on Sakhalin, she cleaned the whole house. She also cooked every day for her husband and son. When I visited the apartment, her husband had already left for South Korea again, but she stayed on Sakhalin for a couple more weeks to take care of her son.   I suggest that returnee women engage in family and household practices as active agents across state borders. Returnees connect with family members and friends through gift-giving, organizing and helping to arrange kinship rituals, and doing everyday household chores. While spending two to three months doing all the family chores and housework, time passes and their “visit” ends quickly. Then returnees go “back” to their apartments in South Korea. For example, after finishing with the kimjang, which was her last task before leaving Sakhalin, Olga settled herself on the couch and said, “It’s time to go back home to South Korea.” Returnees’ kinship practices show the ways in which they are trying to do their best within a given time frame as they work on connecting with families and on mothering activities. In addition, I suggest that their practices produce a new temporality in the transnational field.  2.3.3. Limits of connecting and disconnecting  Although returnees try to maintain attachments to their children and kinship across state borders, their intentions and plans are not always practiced successfully. I demonstrate three types of limitations whereby the connections of older Sakhalin Korean returnees with family members in Russia are constrained.   First, one primary constraining factor is the health condition of both the older parents and their adult children. The physical conditions of returnees can prevent them from being connected with their offspring in Russia. One of the most common factors is pain in the legs and weakened leg muscles that directly affect returnees’ decisions about whether or not to go to Russia. For example, one elderly woman told me, “There is nothing good in this situation. I cannot walk properly on Sakhalin. It will create troubles for my children.” In the case of 102  those who had an operation in South Korea, they tried to recuperate in South Korea without going to Sakhalin. I frequently heard from such returnees that they did not have the energy (both physically and emotionally) to travel to Sakhalin. For example, one elderly woman spoke about the news of her grandchild’s wedding. Her adult children had called and implored her to come to Sakhalin. She said to me, “Even if I said yes, I’m not sure I could go and I’m scared to go because I am not confident that my condition would be good at the moment.” She ultimately declined to take part in the wedding ceremony.  As Hyŏn-Gil’s (a 94-year-old man) example illustrates, physical conditions determine the limitations of connectedness. Born in Chŏlla-namdo, the southwestern province of South Korea, Hyŏn-Gil had migrated to Sakhalin when he was a teenager and also worked in Japan. After the war, he married and had a child but his wife passed away. He raised his son without remarrying, which was considered ‘not normal,’ both by himself and by many older Sakhalin Koreans. He was very quiet and always sat on a couch in the welfare center. Unlike other elderly men, many of whom complained about life in the welfare center where the majority of the residents were women, he participated in various programs and activities that the center offered and enjoyed his life in South Korea. As in my other initial meetings with elderly Sakhalin Korean returnees, I avoided asking about children, and this was also how I proceeded with Hyŏn-Gil. After meeting several times with him, I eventually asked which family members lived on Sakhalin. Tears suddenly filled his eyes, and he stopped talking. He then said to me: “I am too old and it is time to go [i.e., to die]. I can’t move freely when I go there [Sakhalin]. Maybe if I visit Sakhalin next time, that will be the last time before I die. If you have a chance to go to Sakhalin, you can visit my son’s house. And please tell him not to worry about me [he strongly emphasized and repeated this]. I have no problems and I am happy to live here.” He was hard of hearing and not able to talk by telephone, so he asked me to transmit his message. For Hyŏn-Gil, connecting with kin on Sakhalin was difficult and created uncertainty.  Second, returnees’ legal and social status constrains their connections with family members. Due to their status as welfare subjects in South K