우물 안 개구리

10/30/2007

Disparity Studies

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 5:57 am Print

In my discussion of the job market I said “I only saw two Korea positions, which seems about par for previous years: at some point, though, Korea positions should catch up with Japan ones.” Morgan Pitelka took exception, noting (correctly) that

Other than UCLA, which continues to have one of the most productive Korean studies programs outside of Korea, and perhaps Harvard and Columbia, how many grad schools are cranking out Korean studies PhDs? I also know of only a handful of liberal arts colleges with any substantial Korean studies, and rarely language. Very few regional/MA-granting universities have substantial Korean studies. Almost all have some Japanese studies. Also, as far as I know, few colleges or universities DON’T have access to study abroad in Japan. On the other hand, most colleges and universities don’t have study abroad options in Korea.

He’s absolutely right, of course: Korean studies doesn’t have the infrastructure Japanese studies does in the US1 and that means that — like the painfully slow growth of MidEast studies and Islamic history after 9/11 — it will take real time and effort to build. But that’s a symptom, I think, not the root of the issue. As I said, “Korean history is no less interesting than Japanese history, and the US is no less involved in Korean affairs than it is in Japanese affairs.”

Another commenter, “Overthinker” offered a cultural explanation:

There seem to be three fundamental reasons why Japanese Studies is “bigger” than Korean. One is that WW2 was more significant that the Korean War, and has given us longer-lasting imagery; household words like Pearl Harbour and Hiroshima that everyone knows about, whereas to most people the Korean War is basically Klinger in a dress. Second is the dominance of Japanese products in the marketplace: while LG and Samsung etc are strong players, they have not yet achieved the dominance of Toyota, Sony, and Nintendo. Third is the generally “cooler” images of Japan. Think of Korea, and most Americans would be hard-pressed to think beyond the aforementioned M*A*S*H and perhaps Kim Il Jung singing “I’m so ronery”. Mention Japan and people think of samurai and geisha and ninja, plus robots and giant rubber monsters stomping Tokyo on a regular basis. All these three factors would seem to indicate a greater interest in Japan at the BA level, which translates to bigger graduate programs, and more PhDs in the area. To become bigger, Korea needs to become more popular – more people at the undergrad level need to be curious about the place.

This is closer, I think: I definitely agree that Japan’s lead in economic and cultural production is a part of the puzzle. The relationship between pop culture images and student demand is not always straightforward, but it is true that there is more Japanalia in American culture than Koreania2 and more interest in the cultural roots of its economic success3 because that success was so striking in the 80s.

But, as I’ve said before, “there’s no question that a historian can’t complicate by talking about what led up to it” and I think the key to this puzzle is earlier. Much earlier: I think it starts in 1853.

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  1. or anywhere in the West, I think, but I’m just going to go with what I know []
  2. No, I don’t know that “Koreania” is a word: would “Koreanalia” be closer? []
  3. I just had a discussion with my World History students about Musashi’s Book of Five Rings…. []

10/21/2007

Thought Crime Arrests 1928-1944

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 5:07 pm Print

I spent a beautiful Saturday hanging with the old folks in 효창공원 near my place. This small park is full of interesting things including an anti-Communist memorial, the graves of various nationalist heroes, and includes the grave, museum and library for the man himself, Kim Koo (백범기념관). I spent my time in the park reading the first volume of 『해방 전후사 사료 연구』and thought I would share a chart from a chapter on late colonial historical materials by 이완범.

After listing some of the available materials and lamenting the general lack of good historical sources for the late colonial period (1937-1945), most of the chapter is dedicated to using statistics to look at the period, or more specifically, independence movements during the period.1

I’m sharing two of his tables, merged together below2 which contain statistics on arrests for thought crimes in colonial Korea from 1928-1944.

Thought Crime Arrests 1928-1944
Year
Cases
Persons
Ave. Persons Per Case
1928 227 1592 7.0
1929 253 1743 6.9
1930 397 4025 10.1
1931 436 3659 8.4
1932 345 4989 14.4
1933 213 2641 12.4
1934 183 2389 13.1
1935 172 1740 10.1
1936 167 2762 16.5
1937 134 1637 12.2
1938 145 1344 7 (9.3)
1939 95 1042 6.9 (11)
1940 103 1193 10.1 (11.6)
1941 232 861 8.4 (3.7)
1942 183 1142 14.4 (6.2)
1943 322 1002 12.4 (3.1)
First half 1944 132 337 13.1 (2.6)
Total 3,739 34,098  
Average 225.43 2,110.06 12.2 (9.4)

Note: The averages in 이완범’s chart for people per case seemed off from 1938-1944 and I can’t find any note of a change in his method of calculation or source for his numbers (anyone have a guess for where he is getting the numbers from?). Thus I have put my own quick calculation in parentheses for these years.

Cases Per Year Peopleperyear-1

Note: Though I’m sure there is a better way, in these charts I have simply doubled numbers from first half of 1944 for the 1944 entries.

Numbers can be so much fun and feel so meaty (especially when accompanied by colorful charts), but what can these numbers tell us by themselves?
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  1. It is unfortunate that, with the exception of the first chapter on materials related to wartime mobilization, everything in the first volume of such a general title focuses on independence movements. Volume two discusses mostly the postwar period, with materials related to education, political history, North Korean publications and US archival materials on the North Korean economic policies. []
  2. 『해방 전후사 사료 연구』p88 and p91. 이완범 takes the material from 朝鮮総督府警務局(編)『最近に於ける朝鮮治安状況』for materials up to 1939 and 近藤釖一(編)『太平洋戦争下終末期朝鮮の治政』 for the years therafter. The footnotes for the chart notes some discrepancies for the 1934 and 1945 numbers between the 1936 edition and his 1938 edition and an alternative lower case number of 74 for 1939 in a different source published in 1940, but it may not have been stats for the full year. []

10/5/2007

Asian History Carnival Coming October 10th

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 10:59 am Print

I just wanted to announce that we will be hosting an Asian History Carnival at the Frog in a Well: China weblog on October 10th. Read more about the Asian History Carnival and how you can nominate posts for inclusion here. The carnival will include excellent weblog postings on Asian History written since August 8th, along with some related online resources. You can also easily recommend nominations by tagging them on del.icio.us with the tag “ahcarnival” (http://del.icio.us/tag/ahcarnival/).

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