Who will Xi Jinping be?

If you have been following the Olympics (which I mostly have not) you probably watched the closing ceremonies, and saw Japan’s Prime Minister Abe zip through a tube and appear dressed as Mario as Tokyo accepted the Olympic torch from Rio. There has been some commentary on this. It is somewhat odd to see Abe, […]

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Politics of Health / Medicine, post 1945

I’ve been thinking again about the broader issue of beginning to approach the South Korean post-colonial state and post-1945 medicine, recognizing the immense problems that this presents. Even leaving aside lengthy traditons of shamans and religious healers of varying persuasions, if we restrict medicine to two loose clusters–한의학 and biomedicine–then minimally this leaves us with […]

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“Prosthetic Memories”

Seungsook Moon at Japan Focus has an interesting historiographical essay about the contested life and legacy of Park Chung Hee, who led Korea through the 60s and 70s. The debate is particularly interesting because it parallels discourses which are ongoing in other post-dictatorial societies, including the debates about Stalin in Russia, Mao and Deng in […]

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The Marijuana Crisis of ’75

I’ve been dipping into an excellent book on the history of Korean popular music now and then (이혜숙 & 손우석 – 한국대중음악사) and came across a fascinating passage on Park Chung-hee’s use of drugs scares to suppress the emerging youth culture that he found threatening. Here’s an excerpt (my rough translation): After the defeat in […]

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Duelling histories? part 3

I thought I would revive this title once more and add another post to the series on recent historiographical clashes in South Korea since I recently came across another interesting example that actually fits rather nicely with some of the posts made here by Jiyul and Noja. I came across this report on a debate […]

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