A recently released documentary, "The Big Picture", portrays the moment of a cross-cultural dialogue between the Japanese and Koreans regarding the comfort women issue. Through approaching the documentary from a Deleuzian perspective, I contend that such moment of connection through sympathy may induce both Koreans and the Japanese to perceive circumstantial vulnerability comfort women faced as a shared threat. For Deleuze, sympathy has synchronic and diachronic dimensions. Diachronic sympathy is to sympathize with the counterpart’s passion in relation to the sympathized’s diachronic being. It is collective but personal and reflective but contingent. In contrast, synchronic sympathy is to sympathize with the circumstance of the counterpart. It is a partially reactive sentiment to an imagined circumstantial vulnerability. Through sympathy, both Koreans and the Japanese may share a similarly imagined vulnerability, which may alter their perceptive on the comfort women issue. They may not be strongly motivated to support comfort women but may still hope to prevent the vulnerability comfort women faced out of various imagined sentiments such as self-preservation, the protection for the loved ones, and disgust. In short, sympathy creates solidarity against the shared vulnerability. Thus, although this form of solidarity may not resolve the comfort woman issue, it may still motivate both Koreans and the Japanese to perceive comfort woman as the victims of gender discrimination. This shared perspective may subsequently help both of them to collective resist gender discrimination in the future.
Chung Jae Lee, The University of Chicago, USA
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory
This paper is part of the FilmAsia2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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