ISSN : 0023-3900
The purpose of this article is to review the historical processes of how the concept of philosophy was constructed in modern Korea and also how its representations were used; as well as the pattern of changes that the concept of philosophy brought about in the traditional knowledge system of modern Korea. Before philosophy was established as an academic concept, gyeokchi 格致(the investigation of things), gungni 窮理(the study of principles), and seongni 性理(human nature and natural law) were interchangeably used as words and concepts that were synonymous with philosophy. However, the absence of the word “philosophy” does not mean the absence of the concept of philosophy per se. Modern “philosophy” in Korea emerged as the result of multilayered interactions between the traditional worldviews and the modern ones, as well as the tension between universality and the particularities of the knowledge systems. These interactions are evidence for historical changes in the semantics of the concept. From Korea’s independence until the present day, Japanese colonialism influenced not only the domain of philosophy but also humanities as a whole.
The Joseon dynasty is recognized as being the most exemplary tributary state to the Ming dynasty of China. In particular, it is considered an ideal member of the tribute system, which is believed to have been established in its most orthodox form during the era of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). However, the historical facts demonstrate that Joseon Korea, though it fully observed the tributary rites, was an exceptional case. The evidence points to the fact that Ming China and most of its tributary states simply intended to maintain the status quo through the formation of superficial tributary relationships, while concealing any conflicts or opposing interests that may have existed. Thus,tributary relations were easily changeable and were based on the economic,cultural, and political benefits they represented. As the logic of the “tribute system” has emerged as a prominent topic of discussion, it has become necessary to take a cautious approach when it comes to regarding Joseon as a typical example of this system.
The present study sheds light on the structural aspect of disease and death in colonial Korea by examining the whole picture of the Spanish influenza, which was pandemic during 1918-1921, and exploring its socioeconomic effects. The Spanish influenza likewise emerged in colonial Korea through the process of presymptoms in spring, with the first epidemic characterized by high morbidity rates and low death rates, and the second epidemic characterized by low morbidity rates and high death rates. Consequently, nearly half of the population fell ill, over 200,000 from among them losing their lives. While the morbidity rate per ethnic group was similar for ethnic Koreans and Japanese or higher for the latter group, the fatality rates revealed salient disparities. Indeed, the structure of disease and death where the Japanese showed low death rates, which surfaced throughout the colonial period, emerged in this case, too. Regarding the pandemic of the influenza, the Government-General of Korea (GGK), the Japanese colonial ruling organ, devised measures through the police hygiene system but failed to be effective. As a result, not only did many inevitably lose their lives but also the socioeconomic effects were considerable, including a drastic rise in rice prices and the temporary closures of schools and offices. This led to discontent with the colonial ruling system and to the March 1 Independence Movement, as a result of which Japan’s colonial policy changed into one based on “culture” and “development.” In the process, demographic transitions such as a decrease in the death rates appeared during the 1920s.
There might have been two ways through which Korea could have maintained independence despite what seemed a fait accompli. First, it could have gotten military assistance by forging an alliance with either Russia or Japan. But setting up an alliance with one side would have created animosity with the other side, thus making a war between Russia and Japan inevitable and colonization of Korea the outcome. The Independence Club stressed the importance of protective neutral status in order for the Great Han Empire to sustain its national sovereignty. The club desired balanced relations between Russia and Japan, but ended up believing that Russia held the greater danger for Korea. Their support of Japan, the United States, and Britain subsequently led to the strengthening of Japanese influence and encouraged a pro-Japanese atmosphere among Koreans. In the process, Japan’s influence grew as it ended up taking a mediating role between the Korean government and the Independence Club, opening the way for the Japanese colonization of Korea.
This study explores the cultural and ideological factors that conditioned U.S. policy in Korea during the early period of U.S.-Korean relations (1882-1905) and Washington’s de facto pro-Japan policy. Key officials in Washington possessed negative perceptions of Korea that influenced their policymaking on an ideological level. These men perceived Korea to be a backward country averse to progress and generally believed that Japan should guide Korea to civilization. This article suggests that Washington’s perceptions of Korea were firmly rooted in a cultural discourse on Korea, which was shaped largely by dominant representations of Korea in popular texts of the period. Representations of Korea in newspaper articles and commercial texts were influenced by Americans’ early hostile encounters with the “hermit nation,” colored by ethnographic descriptions of Korea’s “backwardness,” and informed by racial stereotypes and the ideologies of imperialism prevalent in the West. It was also mediated by Japanese information channels. These texts generated a popular discourse on Korea that likely impacted Washington’s perceptions of Korea and conditioned its pro-Japan policy. They help to explain the perceptual rift that developed between policymakers in Washington and the American diplomatic community in Korea. In focusing on the nature and origins of the early American discourse on Korea, the purpose of this article is to contribute to scholarship on early U.S.-Korean relations by exploring how cultural facts may have conditioned U.S. foreign policy in Korea. It also aims to start a conversation about public awareness of Korea during the period and the importance of public opinion as a political force in the United States.
The aim of this study is to examine the relationships between social capital and health/well-being in Seoul, South Korea. The data was collected from June 2009 to September 2009. The full sample includes 811 respondents, from all 25 districts in Seoul. Social capital was measured by adopting a structural and cognitive dimension. Structural social capital was measured by network diversity, organization membership, political participation, and volunteer work;cognitive social capital was measured by trust. The results show that the cognitive dimension of social capital is positively associated with all three dependent variables. However, the results are varied in terms of the structural dimension of social capital. Specifically, organization membership and political participation did not affect any dependent variables. The study has provided evidence for the relationship between social capital and health/well-being,and is therefore expected to provide recommendations for future work that should be considered in South Korea.
This paper analyzes the pro-Japanese discourse represented in the play Kim Dong-han written by Kim Yeong-pal, who was a member of the Korean Artist Proletariat Federation (KAPF), a socialistic artists group. The historical figure Kim Dong-han (1893-1937) had been a prominent pro-Japanese and anticommunist political figure in colonial Manchuria, though he had spent years as a communist in the Soviet Union. An examination of the dialogue in the play reveals that the arguments for socialism and imperialism share nationalism as a common ground. In Act I, the playwright employs the discourse of nationalism to create a binary in which Joseon is conflated with Japan, while the anticolonial guerrillas represent Soviet Russia. Though first developed in the early twentieth century as part of intellectuals’ efforts to preserve Korean independence, within four decades, the concept of nationhood had been largely coopted by Imperial Japan. In Act II, the protagonist Kim Dong-han persuades the communist leader Bi-su with “civilizational” discourse. On the one side is the abundance represented by Kim Dong-han and Manchuria, which is aligned against the poverty embodied by Bi-su and communist Russia. Such rhetoric espousing greater civilization has commonly been used by empires as ethical and universal justifications for invasion. Japan also sought to place all nations of East Asia in this mold, thus assembling an imperial nationalism.
The purpose of this research is to advocate the establishment of slow cities by providing evidence that contrasts the lives of urban region residents to those of slow city residents. Methods such as factor analysis, correlation analysis, and t-testing were used to compare residents’ perceptions of the quality of life in a slow city and in an urban region. The results show that slow city residents are generally satisfied with the conditions of the local infrastructure, including public safety, regional environment, economic conditions, and participation in the community. However, their level of satisfaction was lower in comparison to the residents in the urban region with regards to educational opportunities, cultural activities, and health care. This finding suggests that more attention needs to be placed on these areas, while maintaining current ways of living and preserving traditional values. The residents of the slow city need to be informed of the conflicts that arise between preservation and development. Any improvements that will enhance their quality of life need to be made within specific boundaries. The research provides grounds to justify both the designation of slow cities and promote the slow city movement by strengthening residents’ understanding and support of the project.