The Disciplinary Power of Ethnicity
This chapter explores issues of ethnicity, status, and citizenship in Japan's textile factories. Beginning in 1920, a number of mills began to employ increasingly large numbers of Korean and Okinawan women and girls. Partly this move was tied to wage-cutting strategies involved in the process of rationalization and as such reflected the globalization of Japan's capitalist system. But it also signaled company strategies for preempting labor conflict associated with the better organized and more demanding workers who traditionally came from Japan's countryside. This chapter offers a more detailed analysis of how ethnicity functioned in the construction of various “womanhoods” (Japanese and colonial) in the textile industry, and how the taxonomies of race, class, and gender produced through colonial policy and ideology were vital to such constructions. It examines companies, such as Kishiwada Cotton Spinning, that employed large numbers of Korean or Okinawan workers.
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