ISSN : 0023-3900
This paper reviews the various phenomena arising from the rapid diffu-sion of the Internet in Korean society since the late 1990s, with the viewthat Korean Internet culture has some aspects that can be seen as reli-gious. Here, I approach the religious nature of Korean Internet culturein two dimensions. Firstly, I regard Koreans enthusiasm for cyberspaceitself as a religious phenomenon. For background on this, I argue thatmodern Koreans experiencing excessive anxiety due to the stress ofcomplex risks seek relief by connecting to cyberspace as an alternativeform of reality.Secondly, I examine what might be regarded as religious phenome-na among the events taking place in Korean cyberspace today. For this,I focus on some notable features of Korean cyberspace. Of special noteis the spread of the myth that one can become a different person andenjoy a better life through online consumption, and the formation of anew consumer culture of impulse shopping. I also examine how themyth of another reality in cyberspace generates inner power throughtwo dimensions of online rituals. I believe that analyzing the religiouscharacter of Korean Internet culture, along three axesits background,myth, and ritualswill enable us to reflect on its present state.
This paper will examine the dieting that takes place in Korean soci-ety today from the perspective of myth and ritual of beauty in con-temporary society. The beauty myth prevalent in contemporary soci-ety is in fact not a new one; it is just a variation of the old storythat has long relegated women to passivity and obedience. Focusingon the fundamental ideas of beauty myth, this paper will first exam-ine the story of the bear-woman, which appears in the Dangunmyth. Next, it will describe how this logic of bodily transformation isreconstructed in Korea today. Finally, this paper will explore howtransformation of the body results in encouraging women to be pas-sive and dependent on others.
This paper offers an analysis of the excessive education fever in Koreafrom the perspective of religious studies. Based on reviews of previousdiscussions of this phenomenon, centered mainly around sociology andeducation since the 1980s, the paper first points to what these previousdiscussions lacked. It then examines the religious nature of Confucianeducation during the Joseon dynasty, and explores why Koreans inter-est in education has been dubbed an excessive fever by looking atsome examples. The paper concludes that Korean education fever is aproduct of parents sacrifices for their children, and that this sacrificialattitude is heavily influenced by the traditional Confucian theory ofsalvation. By doing so, this paper tries to demonstrate that a religiousstudies approach to the issue can contribute new understanding of theexcessive zeal for education in Korea.
The aim of this paper is to examine the problems with the Joseon gov-ernments fiscal policy that led to the peasant rebellions of the nine-teenth century. The paper reveals the following problems in its fiscalpolicy. Local governments did not fulfill the quota of persons allocatedto each district in compiling the hojeok, thus rendering the householdgrading system inefficient in achieving its stated aim of equitable taxa-tion. Moreover, the lack of flexibility in the administration of house-holds imposed a further burden on the peasantry. This lack of flexibili-ty was also clear in the land tax system, which imposed a heavy bur-den on the peasantry due to the policy of collecting a fixed amountwithout regard to annual harvest variations. A further issue in poorharvest years was the uniform reduction of land tax instead of a morecareful assessment of each parcel of land. As a consequence, even peas-ants with no harvest at all due to land damage were forced to pay aland tax. The landlord exploited this situation to transfer the burden ofthe land tax to the tenant peasants. These problems in implementingtaxation policies constituted an important cause of the peasant rebel-lions in the nineteenth century.
This article examines the status of kinship groups claiming to be ofBaekje descent during the reign of the Japanese Emperor Kanmu(b.737, r.781-806). Being a maternal descendant of the Baekje royalhouse himself, Kanmu extended some unprecedented favours to variousimmigrant clans. However, the bestowed rewards and privileges variedgreatly depending on the individual family. In an attempt to providean explanation for this difference in treatment, the role of the immi-grant clans, or members thereof, is first discussed in terms of Kanmusphilosophical beliefs, his bureaucracy, and his Hinder Palace. Then, thedifference in status between the immigrant kinship groups is analyzed,and a possible explanation for the difference in treatment is suggested.
The return migration of Korean Brazilians has been closely related tothe economic transformation of Korean community in Brazil and thehistory of Korean immigration into Brazil since 1963. Most Koreansdecided to stay in Sao Paulo, where they could seek out profitable busi-nesses and build a strong ethnic community in the city. Since the late 1980s, the economic situations of Koreans in Brazilhave slowly deteriorated. Many successful Koreans who accumulatedsufficient wealth abandoned Brazil to look for economic opportunitieselsewhere. Some non-affluent Koreans who failed to adjust to Braziliansociety also did not find bright futures in Brazil. Some Korean immi-grants in Brazil decided to return to their homeland, the economy ofwhich has grown much faster than Brazils since the 1980s. The early Korean immigrants who migrated as family units main-tained strong ethnic consciousness. Thus, they were able to adapt toKorean society relatively easily when they returned to Korea. YoungKorean Brazilians who completed basic Korean education in Koreabefore moving to Brazil also did not encounter any difficulty in main-taining their Korean identity while living in Brazil thanks to the flexibil-ity of Brazilian ethnic relations. However, second-generation KoreanBrazilians did not develop clear ethnic identities in Brazil and had towork hard to be integrated into Korean society.
In his novel, The Martyred,Richard E. Kim, a Korean-American novel-ist, raises fascinating questions with regard to politics and truth: (1) Isit possible to uphold Christian truth in the contemporary condition?And, (2) is it desirable to reveal the ugly truth to the masses regardlessof its possible impact upon our political community? While the firstquestion is concerned with religious, transcendental truth, the secondtakes issue with factual truth. These two questions are intertwined insuch a complex and intricate way in the novel that it is difficult tounravel the two in a compelling way. This essay analyzes the relation-ship between politics and truth in terms of these two issues that havebeen addressed throughout the novel.
This study intends to analyze the evolution of USAMGIKs rice policy. Italso examines the influence of rice on Korean politics and reviews theU.S. military occupation policy in Korea. This paper stresses thatUSAMGIKs rice policy underwent trials and errors and ended in failure.Because former Japanese food controls had broken down, the Amer-ican military government inaugurated a new rice policy, establishing afree market in rice in October 1945. Unfortunately, the attempted estab-lishment of the free market led to complete disaster. The shortage ofrice was evident throughout the country. The American military govern-ment had not only rescinded the free market, but had ordered ricerationing. The disastrous shortage of rice in South Korea caused Soviet-U.S. relations on the Korean peninsula to deteriorate. The worseningfood situation forced the American military government to revive theold Japanese rice collection system in January 1946. Because of its over-whelming importance in Korean life and the bad practices involved inits collection, rice exerted a great influence on South Korean domesticpolitics. In sum, one of the greatest failures of U.S. military occupationpolicy in Korea had to do with rice policy.