History ‘faction’

According to the Hankyoreh, historical novels are all the rage at the moment in Korea. This doesn’t really surprise me all that much as historical novels seem to be pretty popular everywhere at the moment, although in Korea there always seems to be something more of an overtly political aspect to the popular fascination with […]

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… and then they came for Taekwondo

Another sign of Korea’s increasing sense of insecurity in the face of rapidly growing Chinese economic and political power, or another sign of China’s aggressive attitude toward Korean cultural heritage, designed to assert cultural hegemony and keep its ethnic minorities in check? This time the Chinese have apparently got their sights on Taekwondo: Concern is […]

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Two talks this week

A couple of very interesting talks coming up at short notice for anyone who happens to be around in LA or Seoul in the next couple of days (or perhaps both if you’re the jetsetting type). Tomorrow fellow frog blogger Pak Noja (Vladimir Tikhonov) will be giving a lecture at the Royal Asiatic Society Korea […]

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Sea Devils (revisited)

Professor Gari Ledyard of Columbia University has left a couple of extremely good posts on the Korean Studies Mailing List that deserve to be shared here. They also put a somewhat different perspective on the article I noted here about African mercenaries fighting alongside Ming troops during the Imjin Wars (1592-1598). His posts are in […]

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Remixing Tagore

This story in the Korea Times about Rabrindranath Tagore’s poem ‘The Lamp of the East’ caught my eye. In the South Korean nationalist imagination this poem has a remarkably important position as a sort of ‘external legitimator’ for Korean independence. But according to the KT, the version that appears in many of the nation’s high […]

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Hankyoreh opens up the world of Korean convicted war criminals

At the risk of attracting more trackbacks from the lovely people at Occidentalism, I thought I’d bring people’s attention to this really fascinating piece on Korean convicted war criminals translated from Hankyoreh 21. Here’s a sample: “I cannot deny that the prisoner camp conditions were deplorable,” said Lee. Food, medicine, and clothes were not properly […]

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Sell yourself

“Selling yourself” – one of those phrases we use in a somewhat metaphorical sense, but which nonetheless has a more literal meaning than we probably give it credit. In modern capitalist society, where pretty much anything can be commodified, we regularly sell our labour to others. To put this another way, we alienate part of […]

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Boston and the Bamboo Grove

I must admit that I’ve not felt at all keen on bringing up here the most recent Korea-related history controversy to hit the news. As many readers are probably already aware, many Korean-Americans and the majority of the South Korean media have been upset over the book So Far from the Bamboo Grove. I suppose […]

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New book on Paekche

News comes, via the Korean Studies mailing list, that Jonathan Best’s history of Paekche is now out. I wouldn’t normally use this blog to advertise a single book, but I’m personally quite excited about this one, since a book in English on an ancient Korean kingdom is a very rare thing*. I’m looking forward to […]

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