Ajinomoto, an artificial food ingredient, was a symbolic commodity of modernity in colonial Korea, which created an image of new and exotic taste and built an empire of taste all over East Asia and the west coast of America. Ajinomotos marketing strategy emphasized taste, economy, and science. While appropriating traditional authority, they also connected the modernization of dietary life with the consumption of Ajinomoto.Ajinomoto transformed not only the taste of food and the palates of people but also peoples attitudes toward food. This can be seen as the invention and maximization of desire for modern tastes. This invented taste and desire functioned as the deep structure of the artificial food ingredient market competition during Koreas modernization period.Miwon, a Korean chemical food company, recreated and dominated this market, which shrunk after the 1950s, by using the marketing strategy of alluding to Ajinomoto. Mipung, the next comer, adopted a strategy of direct imitation and borrowing of colonial memories and technology-oriented advertisement in order to re-divide and obtain market share. However, Miwon succeeded in staying in first place in the market by reconstructing their image as a national company pitted against a pro-Japanese company.This study illustrates how the dualism and complexity of colonial modernity functioned in the embodied world of taste. The successful strategy of drawing upon colonial memories while maintaining a certain distance shows the complex relations between modernity, colonialism and nationalism.
This paper explores the notions of Korean, American, and global identities as shared among Koreans by examining coffee drinking practices and the meanings associated with them. Based on field studies including participant observation, in-depth interviews, and literature analysis, the research shows that coffee drinking is a useful window for viewing the diverse dimensions of contemporary Korean society, and produces and represents various identities of Koreans in the global world. As shown in the case of the Starbucks espresso chain, which is the main focus of this research, the expansion of multinational business as part of the globalization process and the global business’ interaction with indigenous cultures clearly show us the “universalization of particularism” and “particularization of universalism,” respectively, in the border-crossing of food cultures. Furthermore, Korean consumption of Starbucks coffee is not only a simple or passive adoption of American consumption products but an active process of selecting and creating their own modes of consumption, and participating in constructing a “global modernity” that transcends the borders between cultures. But the “globality” that is put together and constructed in an American way, as is the case with Starbucks, is already quite familiar and powerful for many Koreans.
This paper examines the position and meaning of Chinese food and restaurants in Korean society. Chinese restaurants opened in Korea from around the late 19th century and the early 20th century to provide mostly male Chinese-Koreans with very simple food. Chinese foods had been cooked, sold, and consumed exclusively by Chinese-Koreans until the 1940s. In the 1950s and 1960s, though the cooking and selling of Chinese food were dominated by the Chinese, the food became a representative food for eating out for Koreans. By the 1970s, Koreans were the overwhelming majority of customers in Chinese restaurants, and Chinese cuisine became established as a part of Korean food culture. Chinese food was still almost the only item for eating out and the only foreign food, which common Korean people could easily access. They consumed exoticness and convenience through Chinese food. As Korean society became more modernized and globalized, the Koreans demands for food became more varied. In order to satisfy those demands, not only have the restaurants become diversified, serving various ethnic foods, but Chinese restaurants themselves have also been diverged into various styles. In those new styles of Chinese restaurants, people consume modernity, exoticness, and authenticity.
Joseon society witnessed the continuous production of portraits with excellent artistic value. During this era of portrait paintings, the baechae, a technique of painting colors from the back of the canvas, was employed to paint the portraits. This technique is effective in pre- venting colors from becoming spotted and blotted when painting from the front. This technique can also prevent colors from fading and can effectively render skin colors. Joseon portrait artists placed an emphasis on the truthfulness(jinsilseong) in describing the object. As the concept of chosang (portrait) implied the painting of not only the appearance of the sit- tersmost of them were scholar-officialsbut the sitters mind and spirit, it was interchangeable with the concept of transmitting the spirit (jeonsin). Furthermore, Joseon portrait paintings were so realistic as to outspokenly reveal even the weak points that the sitters did not want displayed, such as spots or pockmarks and vitiligo.
The title gongsin, or meritorious subjects, was bestowed by the king to those who performed distinguished services for their state. The king usually ordered the painting of the gongsin portraits, and these paintings were a great honor not only for the subjects themselves but also for their families and descendants. The earliest record of gongsin in Korea dates to 940 when King Taejo of the Goryeo dynasty ordered the construction of a shrine to honor the subjects who had participated in the founding of the new dynasty. However, none of these portraits remain today. In the Joseon dynasty, as many as 28 titles were granted to commend meritorious subjects. This was accompanied by a massive boom in portrait painting. The gongsin portraits from the Joseon dynasty share several characteristics: they are all full-length seated portraits; the sitters wear an official robe (dallyeong), a black silk hat (osamo) and an embroidered insignia on the breast of the official robe indicating their official rank; they wear leather shoes and their feet are placed on a footstool. From the nineteenth century, scholar-officials also had their portraits painted gongsin style, and this style was quite popular up until the end of the dynasty.
Portrait painting during the Joseon dynasty was developed in the context of Confucian social practice and was based on political enlightenment and ritualistic significance. However, because Joseon scholars emphasized introspection (naeseong) and self-cultivation (jonyang) as a preliminary phase of such social practice, their portraits were more than just pictures; many aspects of the portraits were fundamentally significant to the process of self-cultivation. For this reason, the portraits of Joseon scholars were not just externally very minimalist, modest, and strictly formalized, in keeping with Confucianism. Internally, they were also extremely simple, pure, and elegant. The portraits were considered a visual medium for the process of self-reflection. Instead of externally diverse portraits, through the process of self-inscription (jachan), Joseon scholars could include their own detailed thoughts about their portraits in the paintings themselves. This can be confirmed by reading the inscriptions. If the visual “image of figure” in the portraits of Joseon scholars was a representation of the person by the artist, the “image of mind,” which was what the scholars wanted to portray, was represented by their self-inscriptions. Therefore, without understanding these self-inscriptions, it is difficult to understanding the meanings and images of the scholars’ minds and self-reflection that they wanted to portray in these portraits clearly and in detail.
This paper concerns Hyegang’s theory of sin-gi (literally, spiritual gi) in his book, Sin-gitong (The Comprehension of Sin-gi). Sin-gi was created to support chucheuk (investigating and inferring). Hyegang could not deduce the human mental/spiritual faculty from mere material gi. He needed to insert the human spiritual part into it. This seems to have made Hyegang add sin (spiritual) to gi. As a result, Hyegang found chucheuk as the human spiritual/mental faculty and divorced it from material gi; then he allotted it to sin. This is the beginning of sin-gi. However, Hyegang extended the concept of sin-gi to the cosmological level and thereby caused a problem. The concept of sin was created for supporting the human mental/spiritual faculty, but it was not enough to explain the universe. Therefore Hyegang tried to solve this problem using unhwagi (circulating and changing gi) in his book, Gihak.
The issue of China’s Northeast Project (NEP) is minor when juxtaposed against other important problems in Northeast Asia. However, this issue is more than a simple matter of historical interpretation. The NEP dispute between Korea and China involves many factors, including that of national sovereignty and the balance of power in Northeast Asia. Many Korean scholars insist that the NEP was just an effort to promote “historical hegemony” in a systematic and organized manner by the Chinese government. They believe that China is distorting the history of Goguryeo (Koguryo) in order to secure preemptive rights in the region in preparation for the collapse of North Korea. But, in order for this analysis to be justified, a comprehensive study should be undertaken to determine the role and intent of the Chinese central government regarding the NEP, and China’s policy towards Northeast Asia and the Korean peninsula. Through this analysis, we found sensitive differences between the historical distortions and the political and territorial intent of the NEP. Though the political implications of the NEP have been amplified beyond objective facts, it is hard to deny that China has begun adjusting to the existing realities in the Korean peninsula through the NEP. Therefore, if the two countries do not enter into a conflict, they will be able to seek a rational solution to the issues that have arisen and an amicable relationship can be developed between them. First of all, it is necessary to establish a scholarly basis for a foreign policy that separates historical sovereignty from territorial sovereignty. Another solution is to spread and deepen the Korean-Chinese historical discourse. If handled well, the relationship will develop in a positive way. If the relationship is handled poorly, there will be unpleasant political and strategic ramifications.
This paper focuses on mid-Joseon period poetry critics, including Heo Gyun (1569-1618), Yi Su-gwang (1563-1628) and Sin Heum (1566-1628), and their reflexive attitude, which was aimed at thoroughly reexamining the then-popular Tang style poems. These critics in the early seventeenth century were serious about not only criticizing poets and poems of the day but also finding an alternative, ideal style of poetry. Their criticism of Late-Tang style (mandangpung) poems, which were characterized as weak in style, naturally led them to focus on High-Tang style (seongdangpung) poems in their search. At the same time, they also tried to identify the positive elements in Song style poetry, including the Jiangxi and Sarim styles, which were nearly ruled out by poets in those days. The significance of those criticisms can be recognized in literary history on the grounds that the foundation of Tang-Song poetry arguments in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century had already been formed in the critical discussions of the early seventeenth century.