10papers in this issue.
Beginning in the mid-1930s, and later as a member of the Axis Powers, imperial Japan allied with Nazi Germany and historians have extensively examined how the two countries viewed each other and what material and ideological conditions underpinned their alliance. However, researchers have paid little attention to colonial Korea’s intersection with the fascist moment because Korea did not exist as an independent entity until Japan’s defeat in World War II. This article explores how the public discourse of colonial Korea engaged with the politics of fascism, the varying influence of Adolf Hitler, and Japan’s relationship with Nazi Germany. This essay investigates how different agents in colonial Korea, including the Japanese authorities, Korean leaders, and various print media, adopted, undercut, or opposed Japanese fascism by focusing on their shifting perspectives on totalitarian rule and the geopolitical situations in Europe and Asia. Because experiencing the discrepancy between the rhetoric of inclusive assimilation and its actual practice, Korean leftists, pro-Japanese intellectuals, and nationalist students appropriated fascist ideology regardless of their divergent political goals. These Korean elites tried to bridge that divide by embracing the fascist will to power, a move that led some to seek domination and elevate their status within the imperial structure and others to defy it.
This study sets out to review South Korea’s ethical consumerism, whose main landscape can be characterized as embedded hybridity at the nexus of consumer justice movements and social economies. By emphasizing the analytical utility of institutional complementarity between consumer movements and social economies in contentious politics, this study pursues its expeditionary verification of the historical evolution of Korean ethical consumerism as a logical consequence of the anti-capitalist civic engagements against unjust and commercialized market systems. Taking Hansalim as a classic case of the Korean ethical cooperative enriches our understanding of the hybrid portfolio embedded in ethical consumerism. The Hansalim case addresses an interesting observation that the vaguer the status between consumers and citizens, the more positive embedded hybridity turns out to be. Accordingly, the politics of embedded hybridity relates to the magnitude of the grey zones, rather than a clear rift between black and white.
Though often taken as an objective science, medicine is more than a systematic study of the human body, evaluated through scientific methods and experiments; descriptions of various symptoms, illnesses, and cures are linked inextricably to socio-cultural factors. The widely circulated Gyuhap chongseo 閨閤叢書 (Encyclopedia of Women’s Daily Life, 1809), by Lady Yi (1759– 1824), outlines various symptoms and remedies based on experience. It also tends toward supernatural cures, often engaging in rituals and performance. Lady Yi’s work captures medical accounts of heterogeneous spaces containing both experiential and spiritual dimensions. This study illuminates how Lady Yi’s work empowered women as primary caretakers of the household, and how women’s intermediate position in the Confucian patriarchy enabled them to formulate in-between knowledge—a synthetic and comprehensive approach to various situations in the domestic sphere. To unravel what women observed, recorded, and treated in terms of health and medicine, this article investigates pervasive individual prescriptions covering a wide range of medical conditions and conceptualizes aspects of divine knowledge that incorporate performative, written, and oral cultures.
This article presents a critical overview on how musical elements of The Rose of Sharon (Mugunghwa dongsan) were aligned with its political messages for building the Korean nation-state during the post-colonial period. The film was first presented to the public at the March First Movement memorial event for the newly established state in the southern part of Korea, the Republic of Korea. Recommended by the United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK), the film was used as a nation-building publicity film providing a blueprint for the ideal Korean community: ethnic Koreans living in Hawai‘i. Musical elements of the film were indicative of two prominent features for the Korean nation-state: transnational Korean community sharing the same culture and a pro-American society appreciating Western/American culture. The former was presented through ethnic Koreans’ appreciation of Korea’s traditional song and dance, while the latter was exemplified by their performance of hymns, operatic song, and hula. The musical elements in The Rose of Sharon were in line with music-related cultural policies of the nascent ROK government established under American hegemony.
The popular 2020 Korean Drama Itaewon Class features the Guinean-Korean character Kim Toni. It is the first major international K-Drama series to include among its main characters a member of what Hyein Amber Kim describes as the “Collective Dark”; that is, a person on the bottom level of Kim’s three-tiered description of Korean racial hierarchy. Through an examination of Toni and of the presentation of foreigners in Itaewon Class, this article explores how the drama presents notions of Koreanness and foreignness. The show attempts to promote a more open definition of Koreanness by suggesting that people who are not racially Korean should be accepted as Korean provided they have Korean heritage. However, while it endorses a wider understanding of Koreanness, it nonetheless presents an insular attitude towards foreigners and foreignness, demonstrating little understanding of cultural difference outside of Korea and essentializing all foreigners as basically the same and culturally American. Even the foreign aspects of Toni, despite his ostensible identity as a Guinean-Korean, are conceived of as American. Fundamentally, Itaewon Class is a Korea-centric drama which displays little understanding or acceptance of outsiders.
Goguryeo’s orientation toward the Han period appears in its material culture during its Gungnae capital period, when the royal palace was located in the center of the royal fortress and a tomb-garden system was maintained. In addition, during the Han period the Goguryeo state’s foundation myth was formulated using Confucian thinking and given expression in a gui-shaped stone monument. Such trends continued even after the fall of the Han dynasty. This was because the Han dynasty had prospered as a unified empire, a sharp contrast to the conflict and chaos that characterized subsequent Chinese dynasties. However, such an orientation toward the Han weakened from the end of the Gungnae capital period to the Pyeongyang capital period. The domestic situation in Goguryeo made it increasingly difficult to maintain this orientation. Therefore, the central authority of Goguryeo prepared a new model following Goguryeo’s traditional foundation and the trends of China of the time. No special fortresses were placed on the outskirts of the royal palace, the tomb gardens weakened, while pillar-shaped stone monuments now recorded the state’s foundation myth based only on the traditional notion of the god of Heaven.
Choi Hyung Sup’s Gaebaldosangguk-ui gwahak gisul gaebal jeollyak (Development Strategies for Science and Technology in Developing Countries) trilogy is a seminal work covering science and technology policy studies in Korea, though it is not often evaluated as such, instead usually being treated as a history. This paper will describe the background and intended meaning of his publication through an examination of the Choi Hyung Sup Archives at Jeonbuk National University and a review of the English-language version of Development Strategies. Based on Korean history of the 1960s and 1970s, Choi’s text reflects his experiences at KIST. Writing for an international audience, Choi does not mention any of the significant policy changes that occurred in the 1980s (when the work was published in English), such as the reorganization of Korea’s government-funded research institutes and the establishment of a national R&D program. I also examine how Choi’s ideas are distinct from those of contemporaneous non-Korean scholars who also wrote on the area. Finally, I discuss the present value of the framework Choi articulated in these volumes by tracing how the work is currently utilized in Korea’s official development assistance efforts.
This study examines how Korean universities seek global hegemony among international students. Through in-depth interviews with twenty Thai students studying at Korean universities, this study finds that the universities establish hegemony with two elements: material resources and US influence. Firstly, Thai students are motivated to study in Korea due to the financial support offered by the Korean government, universities, and corporations. Similar to how the US attracted international students through the Fulbright scholarship after World War II, since its emergence as an economic powerhouse in Asia, Korea has drawn international students for its higher education through the GKS scholarship. Secondly, Thai students acknowledge the authority of Korean universities in terms of classes taught in English and the intellectual capital originally produced in the US. Korean universities deliver the knowledge, produced in the US and accumulated in Korea to Thai students, using the language of the US. Thus, Thai international students in Korea are transnational middleman intellectuals oscillating not only between Korea and Thailand, but between those countries and the US. If the US acts as an empire exerting significant influence over the global education system, Korea acts as a sub-empire within the sweep of US hegemony.