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The use “chunghung”

Posted By jiyulkim On 3/1/2006 @ 5:22 pm In Nationalism,Politics | 1 Comment

Does anyone have any thought or evidence on whether the use of chunghung (restoration/renovation/rejuvenation) during the Park Chung Hee years was generic or deliberate in an historicized way?

I refer specifically to the evocation of the term in the slogan “minjok chunghung” (national restoration) and the use in “munye chunghung (culture and art renovation) 5 year plan.”

I am wondering if it is possible to consider whether the use of the term chunghung was purposefully designed to evoke its deep Chinese/Confucian connection. Mary Wright’s book on the T’ung Chih Restoration (The Last Stand of Chinese Conservatism) provides a good chapter on the term’s significance in Chinese dynastic history. Andre Schmid’s Korea Between Empires has two mentions of the use of chunghung to refer to Kojong’s efforts with the Taehan jeguk (Kojong chunghung?). Bruce Cumings mentioned in a manuscript review that minjok chunghung was a term that has colonial origins (although by who and in what source I am not sure).

In an earlier brief discussion on the Korean Studies Discussion List on the term “yusin,” Prof. Ledyard talked about the Chinese/Confucian roots of that term and speculated that Park Chung Hee was very possibly aware and deliberately used the term with that connection in mind. Vladimir Tikhonov in the same discussion speculated that Park’s educational advisor Park Chong-hong would have known that historical significance and would have been in a position to advise PCH and that the evocation of the term/concept embedded in Chinese imperial ideology was “hardly accidental.”

I wonder if we can make a similar inference about chunghung. Better yet, does anyone have any evidence that can take us beyond speculation.

Jiyul Kim


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