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Session 9: Picking Up the Pieces: The Political Economy of South Korean Economic Reform in the Wake of the Financial Crisis

Organizer and Chair: Joel Campbell, Miyazaki International College

Discussant: Glenn Baek, Center for Strategic and International Studies

South Korea has been the most amazing developmental story of the postwar era, then became a classic case of financial over-extension in the 1997–1998 financial crisis. Now, it is the exemplar of nations seeking to reform themselves in the wake of that crisis, yet the road has been extremely rocky. The papers in this panel will deal with varying aspects of Korea’s attempts to pick up the pieces. Campbell will open the session with a brief audience-interactive discussion to assess the reform record of the Kim Dae Jung administration. Kihl will consider the ways that Korea’s attempts to "globalize" its economy in the 1990s first led to the crisis, then forced it to drastically change its ways of doing business. Ostrom will compare Korean and Japanese efforts to reform faltering economic structures. Hong will consider the pace and impacts of financial reforms on Korea’s economic viability. Beck will take up the Korean economic actors that have proved most troublesome in the current economic structuring. Finally, Baek as discussant will analyze the papers in light of the themes put forward by Campbell.

Clashing Styles, Clashing Approaches: Korea’s Response to Globalization Challenges, 1995–2001

Young-Whan Kihl, Iowa State University

This paper traces the ways in which South Korea has responded to the globalization challenges since 1995, and carries the discussion forward to 2001. The globalization (saegyehwa) strategy was first enunciated by the Kim Young Sam Administration in 1995, while the Kim Dae Jung Administration has promoted its own version of globalization, along with a robust reform agenda, in order to overcome the challenges of the Asian financial crisis of 1997. The paper draws a contrast between the policy approaches to globalization of the two Kim administrations, and shows why the first came to grief, and the other has been more successful. It also takes a comparative look at the Korean case beside countries in other regions that have had to respond to globalization challenges, especially the shift to world production and financing, but also use of international standards and legal norms.

Wary Dance Partners: Japan and Korea Confront Changing Trade Patterns

Douglas R. Ostrom, George Washington University

Japan and South Korea are industrialized neighbors, yet they trade far less with each other than one would expect. The two economies share many interdependencies, in part because of their similar relationship to the North American economy. In some cases, as in motor vehicles, they are direct competitors, while in others they are suppliers of inputs to each other for goods that eventually become exports. As a consequence of this unusual pattern, some economic policies have unintended consequences. For example, an appreciation of the yen could reduce Korean exports because it renders more expensive Japanese inputs into Korean exports, which then by necessity become more costly as well.

Borrowing from the example of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Japan and South Korea have recently become more serious about some sort of bilateral liberalized trade area. Difficulties include the unusual trade pattern, the historical animosity between the two nations, the difficult economic conditions faced by both nations recently, and economic structures in the two nations that appear discriminatory toward foreign traders. The difficulties and promise of economically linking the two Koreas will fully occupy South Korean foreign economic policymakers, perhaps leaving the goal of a free trade agreement with Japan as a secondary priority.

Bursting of the Dam: Costs and Consequences of the Financial Restructuring of South Korea

Jeong Pyo Hong, KDI School of International Policy, Seoul

The financial meltdown of South Korea in late 1997 came as a great shock to both Koreans and foreign observers. However, the crisis had been brewing for a long time, due to the over-leveraged expansion of the chaebol conglomerates and the excessive use of short-term foreign funds. The swiftness of the collapse, combined with a political transition made possible changes in business norms that would have been impossible only a few years earlier. Korean business and government quickly accepted the need for new norms, but the reforms have been incomplete (both chaebol and banks operate in an unclear netherworld—and this will continue to create uncertainty about Korea’s future growth), and the costs of reform enormous (unemployment and bankruptcies remain at record levels). This paper considers the course of the reforms, their consequences so far, and the possible future impacts of such reforms. Finally, it seeks to create a comparative pre-theory explaining how nations react to economic, specifically financial, restructuring in the wake of a financial crisis. Comparative cases include Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil.

Renegotiating the Compact: Political Challenges to Korea’s Economic Restructuring

Peter M. Beck, Korea Economic Institute, Washington DC

Since late 1997, Korea has been in the midst of a major political and economic transition. While this transition is grand in scope, it shares features of economic restructuring and political conflict with previous transitions in the postwar era (1960–1962, 1972–1974, 1979–1981, and 1987–1989). While the degree of opposition to economic change has been more muted this time, it cannot be discounted. Labor strikes and political opposition in the National Assembly have derailed or softened key reforms, and delayed others. As reform has slowed, Kim Dae Jung has skillfully played the reunification card to maintain support for his administration, but it is questionable whether this will help him achieve his restructuring objectives. Korea’s recent experience has important implications for theories of democratization, as this post-1997 transition has been shaped by the Korean democratic "path" undertaken since 1987, as well as the competition for power among domestic actors and concurrent developments in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.


Session 30: The Ideological and Methodological Shift in Literary History and Its Impact in North and South Korea

Organizer, Chair, and Discussant: Chungmoo Choi, University of California, Irvine

Following the recent dramatic changes in Korea—the summit meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea, and the US’s partial lifting of the 50-year-old economic sanctions on North Korea (DPRK)—DPRK emerges as an important area of scholarly investigation. This is the first AAS panel in which literary historians from both North and South Korea will evaluate the ideological and methodological shift in the literary scene in both North and South Korea and its impact on each society. Not only are these four panelists leading literary historians in their respective countries, but they also are responsible for opening up the politically sensitive and even risky areas of literary history, and made certain kinds of literature available to the public.

Ryu Man will discuss the methodological innovation that reinstated KAPF (Korea Proleta Artista Federatio in Esperanto) literature as part of North Korea’s literary canon and its societal impact. Kim Yun-sik explores five sites where writers of both North and South Korea share common political agenda. Kim considers these sites as opportunities for narrowing ideological gaps and possible venues to open a dialogue among the people of this divided nation. Un Ch˘ng-s˘p rescues the poets, who had been labeled as bourgeois reactionary but depicted the devastated landscape as a symbol of oppressed people, as valued artists who professed socialist realism. Kim Jae-yong delineates the changing fate of two novelists, Yi Ki-y˘ng and Y˘m Sang-s˘p whose works had been banned but positively re-evaluated recently in the country that they abandoned.

On Distinguishing Literary Heritage from the Revolutionary Convention

Man Ryu, Korean Academy of Social Science, DPRK

Differentiating literary heritage and the convention of revolution enables the due evaluation of the literary works by certain KAPF writers. The literary heritage of DPRK includes anti-colonial revolutionary literature and the works by KAPF writers. However, only the anti-colonial revolutionary literature is considered to have made a significant contribution to socialist revolution. KAPF literature may constitute literary heritage but only as a predecessor. This differentiation allows re-evaluation of KAPF literature. Without such distinction, the evaluation of KAPF literature runs the risk of undermining the significance of anti-colonial revolutionary literature that depicts Koreans’ armed struggle in Manchuria. As such, literary historians in DPRK have avoided studying KAPF literature that played a critical role in the literary history of the colonial period.

Once the line between the two is drawn, systematic research on KAPF literature can follow. Since KAPF literature is simply a part of literary heritage, it does not challenge the authority/authenticity of revolutionary literature, and therefore does not pose any political problem or ideological burden. Recent studies on KAPF literature are the result of this differentiation.

Categories of Literary History for Unification, Semi-Unification, and Co-Existence

Yun-Sik Kim, Seoul National University, ROK

This paper considers several possibilities for literary history towards national unification beyond the experiences of national division. This presupposes the differences of experiences in North and South Korea. For instance, Yi Ki-y˘ng’s novel, Kaeby˘k (New World) deals with the experience of land reform in North Korea. To the South Korean readers who lack such an experience, the aesthetic effect of the novel remains abstract and indirect.

As a way of overcoming the sense of alienation that stems from the disparate experiences of the divided nation, I would like to explore five moments in which a shared emotive intensity toward building a modern independent nation-state is manifested. They are: (1) colonial reality in nationalist literature and literature produced by the KAPF writers; (2) the incommensurable categories of nation and class in the immediate post-independent space; (3) partisan literature in the North (The Second Battle Field) and the South (The T’aebaek Mt.); (4) the treatment of the Korean War in the North (The Taedong River) and in the South (A Shower); and (5) historical imagination in the North (The Tonghak Peasant War) in the South (Chang Kil-san).

Celebration of Nation Through the Love for the Land: Ch˘ng Chi-yong and Paek-s˘k

Ch˘ng-s˘p Un, Kim Il Sung University, DPRK

Since mid-1980s a new kind of literary history began to emerge in the Republic. The hitherto excluded literary works began to be included from the historical perspectives rather than focusing on the writer’s political positionality. Such evaluation methods deplete the rich literary heritage that leads to nihilism that bemoans the poverty of national literary heritage. One of the new ways of evaluation is to focus on the writers that expressed love for the land, as the works by Ch˘ng Chi-yong and Paek-s˘k exemplify.

Until the early 1930s, before he turned to Catholicism, Ch˘ng wrote many poems depicting Korea’s untainted rural landscape under Japanese colonial rule. In his best known poem "Longing," he expresses the displaced colonized intellectual’s longing for his homeland. "Cafe France" also represents the fate of a colonized intellectual and his love for the lost country.

Paek S˘k is also an important poet in the 1930s. He illustrates the communal lifestyle in the colony facing the imposition of capitalistic modernity. Through an almost obsessive attachment to the Korean landscape and the life in it, Paek expresses his unbound love for the country in his well-known poems such as "The Fox Running Village" and "The Bone Fire."

Research on Ch˘ng and Paek, who were deeply enamored with the colonized land, marks a significant turning point that will not only enrich modern Korea’s literary heritage but also help overcome the self-depricating nihilism.

Common Understanding of the Literary Heritage and Literary Unification

Jae-yong Kim, Wonkwang University, ROK

Since the national division, North and South Korea have evaluated literature differently according to their respective ideologies under the Cold War system. Each side excluded writers that may be sympathetic to the other. Recently each side began to re-assess its views of these writers. The recent recognition of Yi Ki-y˘ng in the South and Yom Sang-sop in the North signifies this change.

Yi Ki-y˘ng’s novels had been banned in the South until mid-1980s. During the Japanese colonial period, Yi joined KAPF and wrote socialist literature. In the post-independent period, he chose North Korea and produced literature that supports the socialist system. During the heyday of the Cold War, Yi’s writings were banned and his work was not properly evaluated. This was in stark contrast to the fact that he was one of the most respected writers in the North. In the post Cold War era, a group of South Korean critics began to assess Yi’s work and now it is considered impossible to discuss modern Korean literature without Yi Ki-y˘ng.

Likewise, North Korea had banned Y˘m Sang-s˘p’s work. He critiqued KAPF writers for their lack of praxis and he remained in the South after Korea gained independence. North Korean critics have long relegated Yom as a bourgeois writer. Recently North Korea reprinted Y˘m’s novella, "The Year before the Independence Movement" and began preliminary research on Y˘m’s work. My paper will consider the significance of a series of these changes.


Session 52: Revisiting South Korea’s Land Reform

Organizer, Chair, and Discussant: Gi-Wook Shin, University of California, Los Angeles

Most scholars working on Korean development agree that land reform was instrumental to economic take off in South Korea. It is said to remove a major obstacle to industrialization (i.e., regressive landlords), create a more equitable social structure, bring about social and political stability, enhance state autonomy, and create surplus labor, all crucial to capitalist development that took place in South Korea. Yet its roots, processes, and outcomes have not been sufficiently examined, especially in works in English.

This panel is proposed to present new findings on the South Korean land reform by Korean scholars (historian, economist, and economic historian). All three papers, Pang’s examination of ideological roots of land reform, Hong’s investigation of landlords’ responses to land redistribution, and Woo’s analysis of reform’s impact on agricultural productivity deal with issues that have not been adequately addressed in the current literature and thus will shed new light on our understanding of Korean land reform.

Pang is a leader of a new generation of Korean historians in today’s Korea with specialty in intellectual history, Hong is a leading economic historian with outstanding studies of Korean landlords, and Woo is an economist who is working on institutional aspects of economic development. And Gi-Wook Shin, sociologist who has worked on agrarian issues in modern Korea, can also contribute to the panel as chair and organizer.

Ideological Roots of the South Korean Land Reform

Kie-Chung Pang, Yonsei University

This paper traces ideological roots of land reform in South Korea. While much has been done to explain the processes and outcomes of South Korean land reform, its ideological roots have not received proper attention in the current literature. This is so despite the fact that land reform involved redistribution of private property (land) that goes against the principal of capitalism that South Korea, under the auspicies of the U.S., was establishing after 1945.

The paper will first examine Korea’s tradition in agrarian reform thought and discuss how it interacted with colonial-era agrarian policy of the Japanese. In particular, it will pay a close attention to "progressive nationalists" who advocated state intervention in the economy and cooperation among opposing classes. Then it will go on to show how such views of progressive nationalists influenced land reform in South Korea after 1945, with a focus on reform-minded bureaucrats in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Rhee government who were instrumental to enacting and executing land reform.

It will be argued that land reform was the product of compromise between these reform-minded bureaucrats and U.S. officials in the South. Issues of continuity and discontinuity in Korea’s agrarian reform thought from pre-colonial to colonial to post-colonial periods will also be discussed.

Land Reform and the Transformation of Korean Landlords

Sung Chan Hong, Yonsei University

This paper looks into landlords’ activities before, during, and after land reform in South Korea. While landlords’ resistance to land reform has been recorded, their position on and response to agrarian issues including land reform, it is argued, were far more complex and sophisticated than indicated so far. This is largely because Korean landlords were not cut from one cloth but consisted of diverse groups from pure landlords to half-landlords/half-capitalists to agricultural capitalists. Accordingly their responses to agrarian reform during and after colonial rule were not monolithic but diverse and complex.

For instance, some landlords simply lost out with land reform but many other landlords who were engaged in non-agricultural activities during the colonial period were able to transform themselves into industrial capitalists. It is therefore crucial to identify who were able to survive land redistribution, investigate how they were able to do so, and show their role in economic development in the years to follow.

This paper will build on my previous case studies of Korean landlords during colonial and postcolonial periods and will shed light not only on land reform but larger issues such as class mobility and capitalist development in South Korea.

Land Reform and Agricultural Development in South Korea

Dae-Hyung Woo, Yonsei University

There has been a great deal of discussion on the impact of land reform on Korean society, economy, and politics. In particular, there have been disputes over the question of whether land reform contributed to raising agricultural productivity or not. Some contend it did by removing the regressive landlord system but others argue it rather hindered agricultural development. This paper takes up this issue further by empirically examining changes in agricultural productivity after land reform in North Kyongsang province. County-level data will be analyzed using regression analysis.

It will be shown that land reform largely failed to raise agricultural productivity. This was primarily because the government failed to replace the role that landlords played in agriculture (providing crop information, credit, new technology etc.). Although land reform increased incentives for peasants and brought about rural stability, the government did not go far enough to establish proper institutions to take the leadership that many landlords took before reform. Thus the Rhee government largely failed to transfer potential benefits of land reform into economic development in the 1950s.


Session 73: State, Civil Society, and Intellectuals in Modern Korea

Organizer: Michael D. Shin, University of Chicago

Chair and Discussant: Chai Sik Chung, Boston University

This panel proposes to examine the relationship between nationalism and institutions such as civil society and the state in Korea through the works and activities of four major intellectuals and political figures. The objective is to elucidate how intellectuals and political figures commented on this relationship as well as how changes in civil society and the state, in turn, affected their thought and activities. The panel hopes to contribute to the growing body of literature on East Asian nationalism by grounding ideological issues within specific institutions and movements—and thus, within concrete relations of power.

This panel attempts treat figures representative of each major period in the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries. Chin-Oh Chu will undertake a reexamination of the thought and activities of Philip Jaisohn with a focus on the Independence Club. Michael D. Shin will examine the emergence of the "nation" as a category of discourse in the early 1920s through the works of novelist, journalist, and activist Yi Kwangsu and in the context of the role of P’yong’an province intellectuals in civil society. Albert L. Park will treat the theological views, social thought, and activities of Shin Heung-Woo, a figure little researched until recently, who was the leader of the YMCA’s rural movement in the late 1920s. Dongno Kim will examine the ways in which Syngman Rhee, president of the First Republic, manipulated nationalist ideology to consolidate power in the process of building the south Korean state in the late 1940s and 1950s. The panel also hopes to stimulate discussion by noting the various collaborations and rivalries that existed among these four figures.

Philip Jaisohn’s Conceptions of Korean Society and the Nation-State

Chin-Oh Chu, Sangmyung University

The objective of this paper is to reexamine the thought and activities of one of the best-known figures from the late 19th century, Philip Jaisohn (aka, So Chaep’il). The first naturalized Korean American citizen and a medical doctor, Jaisohn served as an advisor of the Privy Council of the Korean government from 1895 to 1898. He also managed a bilingual newspaper called the Independent, the first newspaper published in the vernacular han’gul. Through the newspaper, he tried to spread modern ideas and to assist the activities of the Independence Club. Through such activities, he was involved in the formative stages of Korean civil society and was able to observe and critique the efforts to build a modern nation-state during the Kabo Reforms and the early days of the Great Han Empire.

His main focus was to change Korea into a modern country gradually. But he felt that Korean society was not developed enough to establish a civil society as in modern countries like the U.S., which was his model for modern society, or even Japan. For him, establishing a nation-state was more important than developing civil society. Using the Independent and a variety of other primary materials, this paper will examine Jaisohn’s conception of the nation-state and Korean society within the context of his activities in the Independence Club. Such an examination will be necessary to understand his opposition to the creation of a representative legislative assembly and his support for charismatic leadership. This paper will also consider Jaisohn’s later career, specifically the brief memorandum that he sent to the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai in the 1920s. Time permitting, I also will try to compare and contrast his ideas with those of his Kaehwap’a colleagues, Yuri Ch’iho and Yu Kiljun.

Syngman Rhee’s Manipulation of Nationalist Ideology in the Process of State-Building

Dongno Kim, Yonsei University

As the recent increase in scholarly attention has shown, Syngman Rhee, the first president of the Republic of Korea, remains a controversial figure. Rhee started his political career with his struggles against Japanese imperialism. This struggle grounded his political ideology in nationalism that was manipulated in every aspect of his political behavior. The main concern of this paper is to investigate how Rhee utilized nationalist ideology in his political ascendance over other competitors in the post-liberation period and in the subsequent state-building process. This paper will make use of recently republished materials on Rhee, the post-liberation period, and the First Republic.

The effect of nationalist ideology on his political orientation was apparent in his efforts to legitimize the establishment of separate government in South on the basis of national reconstruction and in his view of the Korean war as a war of independence. Nationalism as he defined it was, however, somewhat distorted one, since he was mainly immersed in the distinction between "us" and "them" (that is, Korea’s independence from other countries) without making any serious effort to enhance internal solidarity of the "us" (that is, national unification). Such limitations in his thought were further solidified when he captured power and manipulated nationalist ideology to compensate for his lack of political legitimacy, eventually turning it into statism.

Visions of the Nation: The Theological and Political Thoughts of Shin Heung-Woo

Albert L. Park, University of Chicago

After the March 1st Movement in 1919, a number of Korean intellectuals proposed a gradual move towards independence and building a new and ideal Korean nation-state based on ideas popularized in the West, such as industrial capitalism and liberal democracy, while others proposed quickly overthrowing Japanese rule and forming a Korean state based on socialist and communist principals. Various Protestant Christian ministers came to believe that building a strong agrarian nation would be the main path of development that would produce the ideal society and citizen.

Among the Protestant leaders, Shin Heung-Woo (1883–1959) became one of the strongest advocates of developing Korea into an agricultural nation. Rejecting industrial capitalism and communist principals, Shin believed moving towards an agricultural model of development would be the only way to uplift the economic conditions of peasant farmers and also form a strong, interdependent community made up of ideal yeoman farmers bound by Christ’s ideas of love and community. Drawing his ideas and inspirations from the ‘Denmark’ model (a strong agrarian nation-state), Shin, as the leader of the Seoul YMCA, started a rural movement in 1926 and quickly pushed towards realizing his ideas by starting various programs, such as cooperative movements in villages and farming schools throughout the Korean peninsula. This paper will trace the life of Shin Heung-Woo from his participation in the YMCA rural movement to his involvement with the ‘Positive Faith Party,’ which was accused of being a fascist group. In particular, this paper outlines his pro-active theology of the ‘Social Gospel’ and his belief in building an agrarian state that would help to produce a strong, ideal and modern Korean nation. In many ways, by presenting and analyzing the ideas of Shin and the rural movement, this paper provides another look at the different paths taken towards modernity in colonial Korea.

Reconstruction and the Emergence of the "Nation": Yi Kwangsu in the Early 1920s

Michael D. Shin, University of Chicago

This paper will examine how the term "nation" (minjok) emerged as a category of discourse during the debates on the "reconstruction" (kaejo) of Korean society which followed the March 1st Movement in 1919. It should be noted that although the term "minjok" had appeared earlier, it did not become a common term of discourse until after 1919. While intellectuals of diverse positions were involved in these debates, I will focus on the works of the novelist and journalist Yi Kwangsu, who, as is well known, was one of the central and perhaps most controversial figures involved.

By focusing on Yi Kwangsu, I will attempt to delineate some of the connections between the social and philosophical contexts of the emergence of the term "nation." First, I will examine the rise of a group of P’yong’an province intellectuals who were a major force in the rapidly growing civil society. Specifically, it is necessary to understand the relationship between Yi Kwangsu and An Ch’angho, the founder of the Hungsadan, as well as the role of P’yong’an province intellectuals in the newspaper, the Tonga ilbo. Second, I will examine the influence of Japanese Neo-Kantianism on Yi Kwangsu’s thought. In the years before the March 1st Movement, Yi Kwangsu was studying in Tokyo where he was influenced by the ideas of Kuwaki Genyoku, a prominent Neo-Kantian. I will try to show how Yi Kwangsu’s interpretation of Kuwaki’s ideas enabled the reintroduction of Spirit into an idealist system of thought—a spirit that came to be represented by the term "nation." I hope that such work will enable new approaches to reading Yi Kwangsu’s controversial works on reconstruction from the early 1920s.


Session 94: Individual Papers: Korea

Organizer and Chair: Charles K. Armstrong, Columbia University

Prophecy and Peasant Rebellions in the Late Chosˇn Dynasty

Sun Joo Kim, Harvard University

This paper examines the ideological dimension of peasant rebellions during the late Chosˇn period, the Hong Kyˇngnae Rebellion of 1812 in particular. The heterodox ideology of dynastic change based on geomancy was critical in mobilizing the rebel leadership, enlisting mass support, and legitimizing peasant rebellions. Previous research tended to overlook this because any emphasis on the impact of folk belief in prophecy, which was presumed to be backward and irrational, would result in downgrading the progressive nature of the rebellion that scholars of the nationalistic perspective tried to champion. I will argue that no matter how archaic and unreasonable popular beliefs may have been, they could be transformed into a very subversive ideology. They could become an effective tool to bind believers together for collective action and provide legitimacy to their protest.

The Transformation of Emotion During a Divination

Antonetta L. Bruno, University La Sapienza, Rome

In this paper I intend to explore the complex network of emotions that are strategically manipulated during a divination by a Korean shaman. The aim is to highlight the emotions a client experiences, to demonstrate the transformation of these emotions, and to examine the strategy of manipulating emotions adopted by the diviner.

The reason for proposing a paper on divination (chom) in terms of emotion lies in the importance that emotional transformation has in divination. Despite the usual view of divination as a "technical" method to find out what the future holds in store, the analysis of the emotional aspect in chom as performed by shamans will demonstrate that such divination is closer to another event in which shamans (mudang) and their clients participate: the full-scale ritual (kut), one of the functions of which is emotional transformation. On behalf of the client, the diviner performs "emotional work," aimed at controlling the emotions of the client, by manipulating what the client feels and the way she experiences these feelings. In this way, the diviner devises a behavior strategy for the client, which she may adopt to face further emotions.

In the analysis of "emotional transformation," two aspects have been considered: language (verbal and non-verbal) and "contextualization." For the description of chom and its analysis, the model defined by the "ethnography of speaking" (Duranti, Hymes, Gumperz) has been followed.

Divine Intimacy: The Personalization of the Pantheon of Korean Shamans

Boudewijn Walraven, Leiden University

Rather than concentrating on ritual procedures or the general principles that are behind ritual, this paper deals with ritual as a culturally defined setting, used (and modified) by the participants to further individual aims and suit their personal inclinations. This approach brings to the foreground the actual reasons why rituals are conducted, underscores the plurality of meanings rituals have in practice, and facilitates an understanding of the persistence of "traditional" rituals in modern society.

As part of a larger project designed to examine the ways in which the rituals of Korean shamans become meaningful to the participants, the paper discusses the pantheon of some Hwanghae-do shamans. Within general categories of deities these shamans worship the spirits of persons with whom they have a special personal relationship, such as the spirits of deceased shamans (Songsu). Their intimate associations with these spirits find expression in the form of the rituals and in the communications of the shamans to their clients, and are highly relevant to an understanding of the inner world of the shamans and the perception of the clients of what is going on.

Various modalities of the personalization of the pantheon will be analyzed to demonstrate the diversity of meanings that may be hidden behind conventional ritual forms, showing some of the ways in which in the practice of Korean shamans "ritual action involves an inextricable interaction with its immediate world" (Catherine Bell).

Undercutting the Cinematic Reality: The Example of Sangsu Hong’s The Power of Kangwon Province

Jinhee Kim, University of Southern California

Recently emerging as one of the most acclaimed and prominent directors of the new generation, Director Sangsu Hong of South Korea has demonstrated an amplified measure of technical sophistication and philosophical maturity in his second feature film, The Power of Kangwon Province (Kangw˘ndo űi him), released in 1998. At home and abroad, particularly in the international cinema circuits, this film has been well received. For example, it was included in the Top Ten Movies of 1999 in the LA Weekly by the resident film critic Manohla Dargis for its "narrative elegance and wit."

More notable about The Power of Kangwon Province is the director’s intention to do away with realism, which is a popular and dominant form of the narrative conventions in his homeland. In The Power of Kangwon Province, natural time supersedes the narrative time. Close-ups are replaced by the bird’s eye view. Scenes and images are juxtaposed only to make them fragmentary and enigmatic. No omniscient voice can be found that the viewer can identify. Hong utilizes these formal devices to undercut the mimetic thrust and replace it with a post-structuralist impetus. To Hong, the failing romance between a married college instructor and his female student is not as significant as the way in which the story is narrated.

Shifting the film’s focus to its structure from content brings forth ambiguity. In many cases, ambiguity pushes the audience away; but in The Power of Kangwon Province, it promotes an active engagement of the viewer. By refusing to impose "preferred meaning" or the authorial voice on the viewer, Hong leaves the area of interpretation wide open to the interplay between the film and the viewer. Such a strategy creates ample room for the viewer’s active imagination and interpretation. Clearly behind Hong’s film-making is a notion that the reader is to be respected since the meaning of a text is constructed by both production and reception.

As Peter Brooks claims, narratives tell of desire and make use of desires as a step toward the meaning-making process. The texts we come across pique our desires to master narratives by constructing a consistent and plausible chain of events from a pool of fragmented information. In Hong’s case, the desire to tell a story falls into the category of offering a new cinematic language with which his Korean audiences are yet to be acquainted. In doing so, Hong challenges his audience to engage their intellect in a similar way that Bertolt Brecht had intrigued his audience through his theories of the Epic Theater. A trite love story, at first glance, The Power of Kangwon Province is poised as the harbinger of a new cinema in Korea, for its audacity to introduce a new way of engaging with text. With a film like The Power of Kangwon Province, a century-honored tradition of realism readily finds its worthy opponent. The challenge of this new rivalry will only enrich the ever-developing cinematic landscape in Korea.

"Making Activists" in the South Korean Progressive Women’s Movement

Rebecca N. Ruhlen, University of Washington

The social movement scene in South Korea has changed since democratization in the late 1980s. One of the most vital and successful movements in the 1990s was the progressive women’s movement, also called the feminist or women’s human rights movement. Particularly in the area of violence against women, the movement has succeeded in establishing counseling and shelter services, passing landmark legislation, and raising public awareness of the issue.

How have these important strides been accomplished? Put another way, what do we need to know about a social movement, and its constituent organizations, to understand their rapid growth and increasing visibility? This paper will argue that one key factor is an organization’s successful reproduction—the recruitment and training of member activists to do the work of the movement.

Previous scholarship takes for granted the category of "activist" without probing the realities behind assuming or assigning that identity. Fieldwork in two key women’s organizations in Seoul in 1998, however, encountered a wide range of reasons people (mostly but not all women) involved themselves with this movement. Surprisingly, a great many, though they paid membership dues and did regular volunteer work, declined to call themselves activists or feminists. In fact, the organizations’ own training programs were explicitly premised on the assumption that people came to the organization lacking not only the skills to do their volunteer jobs but also the radical consciousness to understand and participate in the movement. This paper will explore the implications of this situation, with the goal of refining our understanding of activism and, more broadly, individual political identity.


Session 115: Women, Subjectivity, and the Political-Economy of Gender in Colonial and Post-Colonial Korea

Organizer: Jun Yoo, University of Chicago

Chair: Namhee Lee, University of Utah

Discussant: Nancy Abelmann, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This panel examines Korean women’s history within the larger processes of Korea’s colonial and postcolonial history, including Korea’s entry into modernity as a dependent colony and its post-colonial formation as a "NIC." Panelists address how the geopolitics of colonialism, Korean nationalism, cold war security issues, "strategic" industrialization, and state authoritarianism restructured not only economic and political institutions, but also social relations and identities. The papers will examine how race, sex, and gender disciplined and positioned bodies in conjunction with capital, spawning new identities, new contexts for resistance, and relationships.

This panel understands that becoming "gendered" is a laborious process that takes place in and through relations and practices of power. These papers examine the role of prostitutes, women laborers, and female student activists in colonial and post-colonial Korea and highlight how their positionalities were influenced by the practices and relations of power and the realignments in the political economy

Women’s Movements and Women Workers’ Subjectivity in South Korea

Seung-Kyung Kim, University of Maryland, College Park

Korean women’s movements have been fraught with tension, antagonism, competition, and cooperation revolving around the issues of gender, class and nation, and analyzing the currents within women’s movements reveals the vexed position of women workers. This paper examines the complex relationship between women workers and women’s movements in contemporary South Korea in order to understand how the subjectivity of women workers has been understood within the cultural, political, and economic struggles that have shaped the country. The importance of women workers’ issues within the larger concerns of women’s movements has shifted according to specific historical moments: Women workers have been seen as labor martyrs in the 1970s, as symbolic figures of sweeping gender identity politics of the 1980s, and as marginal members of the wider women’s movements of the 1990s. In this paper, I will examine the inter-relationship among women’s movements, women workers’ movements and women workers and analyze how the subjectivity of women workers informs the national debates about class, gender, and nationalism.

Women’s Identity and Culture Under Social Militarization in South Korea

Insook Kwon, Harvard University

This paper seeks to examine the complex gendered process of social militarization in South Korea. Despite the divergent post-colonial paths of the two separate Koreas, the peninsula remains one of the most fortified regions in the world. I argue that this stalemated conflict, unchanged since the signing of a fragile armistice agreement in 1953, has helped inform and construct a postwar subjectivity centered around militarization. It is apparent that this process of socialization not only reformulated the notions of citizenship, nationhood, and gender, but also supported violence as a means of resolving conflicts in the name of political and economic security. Based on my interviews with twenty-six former student activists who participated in the student movement in the early 1980s, I examine the pro-democracy student movement under the repressive dictatorships of Park Chung-hee and his military successors. I pay particular attention to women activists who were subjugated by a hegemonic and deeply militarized national defense policy. The violent forms of struggle in male-dominated spaces, hierarchies and representations created a gendered sub-culture that privileged masculinity as well as sustained the gendered division of labor. Further, I explore the contradictory nature of these progressive activists who, on the one hand actively opposed militarization; on the other hand, they perpetuated gendered hierarchies and representations within their organizations. In conclusion, this paper will demonstrate the impact of this social militarization on the student movement during their struggles in the 1980s and their involvement in politics in contemporary Korea today.

"You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman": The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea

Jun Yoo, University of Chicago

This paper will examine contests in the colonial period public debate about the position of Korean women. The issue of "remaking" Korean women for a modern society raises several important questions: First, what new status and social role did the colonial state and intellectuals envision for Korean women? To what extent did they adapt Western ideals to suit the conditions of Korean life? Second, what role would education play in this "recreation?" Third, in what capacity would women contribute to the creation of a modern industrial workforce? It was no coincidence that the contradictions of domesticity, in particular, the ideology of "hyongmo yancho" (wise mother good wife) became manifest as forces of industrialization and urbanization compelled many women to work in mills and factories. A significant increase in out-migration of women from rural areas to the cities not only threatened to erode traditional family bonds, but also blurred the boundaries between public and private, and masculine and feminine, both at work and home. The "woman question" could no longer be easily relegated to the "inner room" as new social, political, and economic boundaries and hierarchies were being redrawn. In order to analyze these debates, this paper will examine the competing discourses and strategies deployed by the state and intellectuals. A second task is to analyze how knowledge of "difference" was produced, legitimated, and disseminated. Finally, I address the impact of these proliferating discourses and practices on the daily lives of Korean women. In other words, what was their understanding of the "woman question" and role in society? In short, this paper seeks to provide a preliminary survey of public opinions on the woman’s question in colonial Korea and its reception by Korean women.

Camptown Women and the Gendering of South Korean Nationalism

Ji-Yeon Yuh, Northwestern University

The women who work in South Korea’s camptowns are ostracized and held in deep contempt by most South Koreans. The pariah status of these women is generally seen as due to their link to prostitution and fraternizing with foreign men. This paper argues that the women’s pariah status is in fact intimately connected to South Korean nationalism as it developed in the shadow of American hegemony in the latter half of the 20th century. Their ostracism is in defense of a masculinist pride that is central to both conservative and leftist South Korean nationalism. The existence of camptown women is primarily due to the military relationship between South Korea and the United States. The dominant discourse surrounding this relationship casts the United States as a benevolent benefactor and powerful friend. Although dissenting voices have been raised since 1945, it was only after the 1980 Kwangju massacre that this discourse was strongly challenged. To see camptown women as something more than "filthy prostitutes consorting with foreigners" would require an examination of militarized prostitution. This would lead to an examination of the Korea-U.S. relationship that would force into the open uncomfortable issues about the American presence in South Korea. The pariah status of camptown women is thus a mechanism for retaining the image of America as a powerful friend and ally and the national self-image as a sovereign nation in a respected alliance with the United States. They are a symbol of shame, but the shame is construed as individual. As events such as the Nogunri massacre come to light, however, growing resentment against the United States is turning these women into a symbol of national shame. The South Korean nation is taken to task for failing to protect its citizens, and the emblem of this failure is the existence of camptown women. Thus for both conservative nationalists and leftist nationalists, camptown women are used in the construction of a national self-image, one to project a strong, sovereign identity and maintain the status quo, the other to advocate major change in favor of what they see as true sovereignty. In both cases, the Korean nation is constructed as a masculine one, and the camptown women themselves are reduced to little more than symbols.


Session 137: Koreans under Japanese Rule: Confrontation Without Borders

Organizer: Mark Caprio, Rikkyo University

Chair: Alexis Dudden, Connecticut College

Discussant: Michael Robinson, Indiana University

Conflict between Koreans and the Japanese authorities during the 1910–1945 colonial period was not limited to the Korean Peninsula or to confrontations between the Japanese government and Korean nationalist and leftist organizations. It also took place wherever Koreans lived overseas and in the community and workplace, as well as the broader political arena. This panel will address this diversity and variety through examining the confrontation over various geographical locations. Wayne Patterson’s paper concentrates its attention on the nationalist movement formed in Hawaii following Japan’s establishment of Korea as a protectorate from 1905. His paper focuses on Japan’s initial concern over the movement’s activities and the sympathy it might draw from outside governments. Igor Saveliev’s paper considers the plight of Koreans living in the Russian Far East (RFE) concentrating attention on the conflict between two Korean groups, the nationalist Kungminhoe and the pro-Japanese Il’ chinhoe. It also addresses the Russian response to Japan’s demands for help in controlling these Korean groups in the RFE. W. Donald Smith’s paper considers Koreans working in the coal mines of Japan. Here he looks at the discrepancy between the attempts to "Japanize" the miners on the one hand, while distancing them from the Japanese miners on the other. Mark Caprio’s paper examines the concept of "liberation" as applied to the Korean "new women." Both Japanese and Korean defined this liberation to be the foundation for the liberation of the Korean people; the content of which engaged the colonized and colonizer in conflict.

Futei Senjin: Japan and "Rebellious Koreans" in Hawaii, 1905–1925

Wayne Patterson, Harvard University

When Japan established the Protectorate over Korea in 1905, the 7,000 Koreans who had emigrated to Hawaii began what was to be a forty-year movement for Korea’s independence from Japanese colonial rule. Japan kept a close watch over the activities of this nationalist movement because it had the potential for terrorism against Japanese interests and also because it had the potential to garner the sympathy of the government of the United States. These two potentialities mirrored to a certain extent the cultural nationalist and the radical nationalist approaches found inside Korea at that time. These two also provided the impetus in part for the splintering of the nationalist movement in Hawaii for two decades, as Hawaii’s Koreans actively opposed Japan, the Japanese Consulate-General in Honolulu spied on the Koreans to assess the strength of the movement. This effort increased markedly after the outbreak of the March First Movement in 1919 (Korean: Samil Undong; Japanese: Sannichi Undo). But by the end of the Taisho period, the Japanese had become convinced that it had little to fear from Hawaii because of the factional divisions between the Kungminhoe and the Dongjohoe. The United States also came to a similar conclusion, and as a result refused to recognize a Korean government in exile. While in this sense, the nationalist movement, of which Hawaii’s Koreans played a major part, was a failure, it did serve to energize the nationalist sentiments of Koreans against the Japanese.

Fighting Diaspora: Korean Immigrants and Guerrillas in Early Twentieth-Century Russia

Igor Saveliev, Niigata University

This paper attempts to shed light on the history of rebellious Koreans in the Russian Far East (RFE), least covered by the Western scholarship. Shortly after Japan established protectorate over Korea in 1905, detachments of righteous armies (uibyong) shifted to the RFE, where numerous Korean communities had existed since the 1860s, and continued attacking Japanese troops in Korea from the Russian territory. An inflow of rebellious Koreans into the RFE as well as efforts of Japanese Consulate-General in Vladivostok to stop their activities split Korean communities into the anti-Japanese majority and pro-Japanese minority. Unable to stop the activities of rebellious Koreans in the RFE by itself, the Japanese government put pressure on the Russian Foreign Ministry to crack down on Korean guerrillas. Since April 1908, St. Petersburg demanded local authorities of the RFE to expel guerrilla leaders far from the Korean border, but not early as in 1911, Yi Pom-yun and other uibyong leaders were banished to Irkutsk. Moreover, after the outbreak of the First World War, Russia especially interested in preserving status-quo with Japan stopped activities of the Korean ethnic organizations, prohibited publishing of Korean-language newspapers, arrested or deported leaders of anti-Japanese movement to Manchuria, but not extradited them to the Japanese Residency-General in Korea.

The Contest for Control of Korean Work and Life in Prewar Japan

W. Donald Smith, University of Illinois

This paper focuses on the contest between Japanese corporations and Korean workers for the control of Korean life and work in Japan. In seeking to mold Koreans into loyal and diligent workers, companies went beyond close supervision of job performance, attempting to "improve" many aspects of Korean culture. The first Japanese coal mine to hire a large group of Korean workers, in 1894, made a show of respecting a few aspects of Korean culture but otherwise required assimilation to Japanese ways. Despite its "Japanization" campaign, the mine was careful to keep Koreans strictly separated from Japanese workers, lest they join forces against management. The mine abandoned its experiment with Korean labor, however, after Koreans angered by heavy-handed management practices staged an armed uprising and fled into the mountains. Many of the Japanese companies that employed Koreans after they began to arrive in large numbers during World War I followed the same pattern, often with the same result: Korean resistance, demonstrated through labor disputes and violent clashes. Employers were remarkably successful, however, in keeping Korean and Japanese workers divided. Some employers tried to co-opt Japanese-speaking Koreans, especially during World War II, with considerable success (and divisive results for the postwar Korean community). Both employers and government officials also put considerable effort into "improving" Korean clothing, food and manners. Attempts to remake Koreans into kimono-wearing, garlic-hating Japanese were a dismal failure, however, succeeding only in making gendered cultural norms potent symbols of nationalist resistance.

The "New Korean Woman": Japanese and Korean Images of Liberation

Mark Caprio, Rikkyo University

This paper will consider various images presented in colonial Korea of the liberated Korean woman as put forth in newspapers, journals, and other media during the 1920s. One of the interesting developments resulting from the Japanese subjugation of the Korean peninsula was its occurrence in tandem with the liberation movement of the Korean woman. Japanese intellectuals of the 1880s often criticized Korean treatment of its women, an issue that the Korean reformer regularly included in demands made to the Korean government. Following annexation, this "semi-liberated" woman played a pivotal role in the demonstrations for independence in 1919 as well as the ensuing cultural nationalist movement of the early 1920s. She emerged into Korean society to face both encouragement and arrest by the Japanese, and praise and criticism from the Korean. This complex situation produced a crisscross of metaphors regarding the images drawn by Koreans and Japanese of this woman. Both Japanese and Korean saw the hitherto enslaved Korean women as an embodiment of the "dark" Chos˛n period. The two peoples saw her liberation in her enculturation. The former imagined this enculturation as an essential ingredient of the "culture policy" he was attempting to disseminate to the Korean people; the latter saw the "new Korean women" as symbolic of the "new Korea" he envisioned being forged following Korea’s liberation from colonial rule. Both Korean and Japanese placed this enculturated woman, though, at the foundation of their respective new societies through her role in the home—as educator of children.


Session 157: Realism in Korean Cinema

Organizer: Hyangsoon Yi, University of Georgia

Chair: Mark Peterson, Brigham Young University

Discussants: Tim Engles, Eastern Illinois University; Mark Peterson, Brigham Young University

In recent Korean film criticism, the term "realism" often appears in reference to the works produced between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s which attempt to "mirror" the grim social realities of an economically prospering and yet politically oppressive country. In view of the centrality of these films in the emergence of the so-called Korean New Wave, this panel examines the definition of "realism" in Korean cinema from various angles. Some of the important issues to be discussed in the panel include: the thematic and formal characteristics of "realistic" films; the distinction between the "realistic" and "melodramatic" in the context of Korean cinema; the historical origin and development of "realistic" films in Korea; comparison and contrast between the literary and cinematic usage of the term "realism"; and limitations of the idea of mimesis and various challenges to "realism" as an aesthetic mode.

Three papers in this panel approach the above issues from historical, psychoanalytic, and stylistic points of view. Hyangjin Lee attempts to historicize the conventions of realism in Korean cinema by juxtaposing earlier and contemporary works that subscribe to cinematic "realism." Kyung Hyun Kim’s paper addresses the complex relationship between gender and power as a site where Korea’s social reality figures most saliently. Hyangsoon Yi’s discussion focuses on defining the borders of "realism" in contemporary Korean cinema in terms of visual language.

The "Realistic" Tradition in Contemporary Korean Cinema: Resistance or Reworking?

Hyangjin Lee, University of Sheffield

One of the salient features of Korean cinema is its strong commitment to social commentary. From the beginning of Korean cinema under Japanese colonial rule (1910–45), the social reality of the alienated masses has occupied Korean filmmakers’ creative imagination. The oppressive colonial and post-colonial history of the divided country still tends to be the prime concern for many contemporary directors. They seek to communicate the communality of suffering among Koreans, along with the complexity and multiplicity of the causes of their pain. This tendency demonstrates the "realistic" tradition in modern Korean art.

The proposed paper concerns contemporary Korean filmmakers’ reworking of and/or resistance to the stereotyped representation of the nation’s recent traumatic history, such as the Korean War and its aftermath, the 1980 Kwangju Uprising, or the harsh anti-labor policy of Park’s military regime. The discussion will center on five films: Pak Kwangsu’s A Single Spark (1996), Chang Sonu’s A Petal (1996), Yi Kwangmo’s Spring in My Hometown (1998), Kang Chegyu’s Shwiri (1999), and Yi Changdong’s Peppermint Candy (2000). These young directors strive to introduce various experimental forms to the audience in order to articulate social commentaries. Their creative endeavors, however, do not necessarily mean a total denial of the ‘melodramatic’ conventions in characterization and thematization. My discussion will focus on the tension between their attempts to ‘resist’ on the one hand and to ‘rework’ on the other the legacies of ‘realism’ in Korean cinema. In examining the above works, therefore, the earlier ‘realistic’ films from the 1960s and 1970s will serve as a general backdrop.

The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema: Reading Gender in Mandala (1981) and Whale Hunting (Korae Sanyang, 1984)

Kyung Hyun Kim, University of California, Irvine

The film, Whale Hunting (Korae sanyang,1984, Pae Ch’ang-ho dir.), Korea’s biggest box-office hit of the 1980s, begins with a dream-like sequence where Pyong-t’ae, the main protagonist, becomes an object of public humiliation. Clothed only in a scanty undergarment, he is lined up among muscular bodybuilders where his unattractive, bantam body is made conspicuous. He is loudly booed and jeered off stage. This dream symptomatically recasts not only the fear and anxiety of Pyong-t’ae, an idealistic college student, who pledges to find a "whale," a phallic metaphor, after failing to attract the attention of a female classmate he fancies, but also the nation’s trauma that provokes its colonized and emasculated status. Such aimless and anxious male characters are ubiquitous in the Korean films produced in the early 1980s. Both physically handicapped and psychologically traumatized, many of these characters emblematized the period’s frustration where the protest against both the military government and authoritarian fathers was disallowed. In this paper, I analyze the two representative films from the early 1980s, Im Kwon-Taek’s Mandala and Whale Hunting, paying close attention the representation of gender in popular cinema as a crucible for the distillation of these transformative social and cultural relations. In this essay, I hope to demonstrate that the issues of male bonding, sexual crisis, and oedipal anxiety all interarticulate a frame of relations that is inseparable from power and system of dominance.

The Real, Anti-Real, and Transcendental in Four Korean Buddhist Films

Hyangsoon Yi, University of Georgia

This paper concerns the problematic of "realism" in Korean cinema as manifested in four contemporary films on Buddhism: Mandala (Im Kwon-taek,1981); Aje, Aje, Bara Aje (Im Kwon-taek,1989); Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left For the East? (Bae Yong-kyun, 1989), and Hwaomkyong (Chang Sun-woo, 1993). Following the Mahayana tradition, Korean Buddhism historically stresses the bodhisattva’s ideal of social engagement as the path to enlightenment. The community-oriented doctrine of Korean Son Buddhism ties in well with the preoccupation of many Korean artists in the 1980s with their country’s depressing socio-political realities. However, films on religion tend to delve into the inner world of an individual aspiring for transcendental experience. This tension between the socio-political and mythopoetic impulses underlies these four Buddhist films.

My paper focuses on the three filmmakers’ different approaches to the interplay between the public and private realities. Im adopts spatially marked binaries in character and setting, his camera subscribing to the traditional notion of verisimilitude. Chang, however, drastically departs from the phenomenal world, freely incorporating the fantastic into the real. In this sense, his visual language in Hwaomkyong can be described as anti-realistic. Bae’s film narrative, while solidly anchored in the conventional time-space paradigm, strives for the poetic latent in the mundane by using nature as a mediator between the social and psychological realities. A comparison of these different cinematic styles will help to understand how realism is defined, practiced, and challenged in contemporary Korean cinema as a form of ideology and as an aesthetic mode.


Session 178: Religious Beliefs in Kory˘ Funerary Practices

Organizer: Charlotte Horlyck, SOAS, University of London

Chair: Hugh H. W. Kang, University of Hawaii

Discussant: Tonino Puggioni, Seoul National University

This panel aims to analyze various aspects of Kory˘ mortuary rites, with a particular focus on religious beliefs and the ways in which they have shaped Kory˘ funerals.

To date, funerary practices of the Kory˘ kingdom (918–1392 A.D.) have not yet received serious scholarly attention, either in Korea or elsewhere. There are several reasons for this. Kory˘ mortuary rites are not described in any depth across extant historical sources. In addition, until recently Kory˘ burial sites have not been excavated in large numbers, leaving little contextual material to compare with literary sources. Furthermore, while it has been assumed that a mixture of different beliefs governed Kory˘ mortuary customs, this has still to be substantiated through their in-depth examination.

The panel seeks to encourage multidisciplinary research and discussion, and includes speakers from three related academic areas, namely history, art history and archaeology. Focusing on epitaphs, Yannick Bruneton analyses the links between geomancy and Kory˘ funeral rites. Also dealing with literary sources, Sem Vermeersch discusses the importance of Buddhist elements in Kory˘ burial practices. Seinosuke Ide also examines the Buddhist influence on mortuary rites, drawing attention to art historical material, including paintings. By contrast, Charlotte Horlyck analyzes Kory˘ archaeological burial material, discussing the extent to which, from an archaeological viewpoint, it is possible to identify the religious beliefs dominating royal and aristocratic funerals.

Aspects of Geomancy in Relation to Kory˘ Funerary Practices

Yannick Bruneton, University of Paris

This paper discusses geomancy in connection with funerary practices and eschatological beliefs of the Kory˘ period. Official histories and epigraphic material dealing with these issues only relate to the aristocracy. However, I will argue that epitaphs on eminent monks (kos˘ng) allow us to reconstruct the different stages in the ritual procedures surrounding "state funerals" (kukchang).

The analysis of these literary sources focus on the terminology used in references which may be linked to geomantic practices. These reveal that in twenty percent of examples, people sought the help of geomancers in choosing a burial site. In contrast, there are significant cases where officials forbade their families to use Buddhist and geomantic practices in connection with their own funerals. In sum, the examples examined in the paper suggest a strong association between Buddhist practices and divination, and a widespread conception of fate integrating divination with karmic retribution.

Funerary Practices in the Kory˘ Period: The Buddhist Legacy

Sem Vermeersch, SOAS, University of London

It is well known that Buddhist practices and beliefs concerning death and the afterlife exerted great influence on all levels of Kory˘ society. On this subject, Ho Hung-sik has argued that virtually the whole process—from the last rites for the dying to the memorial service—took place in Buddhist temples. Yet, other belief systems also left their mark. The practice of having the dying person spend his last days outside the house (in a temple or temporary accommodation), and the custom of exposing the corpse to the elements are associated with indigenous Korean traditions. Confucian and Chinese influence can also be seen in Kory˘ burials and mourning rites.

The principal aim of this paper is to re-assess the importance of Buddhist elements in Kory˘ funerary practices. No attempt has yet been made at a balanced overview of the available literary evidence. I will present the results of a comprehensive review of the data according to three types of sources. First, I will look at what epitaphs and stelae for eminent monks reveal about the way monks were cremated or buried. The second source type also includes epitaphs, in this instance those of high officials and aristocrats, which also contain primary evidence about funerary practices. Finally, the results of my research into these primary sources will be contrasted with secondary evidence found in historiographic sources, containing official policy statements on this subject.

In Life as in Death? Analysing the Material Remains of Koryo Burials

Charlotte Horlyck, SOAS, University of London

Literary sources and archaeological material indicate that Kory˘ mortuary rites were shaped by an association of different belief systems, ranging from Buddhism to Confucianism, Taoism and indigenous Korean beliefs. The question remains, however, as to the nature of the particular roles played by these beliefs within the parameters of Kory˘ funeral practices.

Investigation into the small number of historical sources mentioning burial customs, has allowed some insight into the religious and social concerns governing Kory˘ mortuary rites. However, few of these records yield detailed information as to how burials were actually performed. This paper argues that archaeological material can, in a significant sense, provide further information on the subject. Material remains suggest that members belonging to different social strata did not conduct funerals in identical ways. For example, while Buddhism seems to have had a relatively strong influence on funerals performed for high-ranking members of society, burials for lowest-ranking people often followed indigenous Korean beliefs.

Identifying the ways in which religious systems shaped mortuary rites of the Kory˘ upper classes, this paper will focus mainly on archaeological burial material, but will also consider written sources. As such, burial constructions, funerary gifts and grave locations will be examined, concentrating on royal and aristocratic funerals.

Beliefs in Afterlife as Represented in Buddhist Paintings of the Late Kory˘ Period

Ide Seinosuke, Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties

During the late Kory˘ period, belief in the afterlife was characterized by the cult of Amitabha’s Pure Land Paradise, based on the doctrine of Avatamsaka. Devotees believed that after death one could enter not only Amitabha’s Pure Land Paradise and receive the Buddha-nature from Amitabha, but that rebirth as a Buddha could allow one to travel around Vairocana’s Paradise, saving other beings. According to this belief, rather than wishing for Amitahba’s welcoming descent from Paradise, or the mercy of Amitabha, the devotees would rely upon their own initiatives. They would regard their religious practices as being modeled after the Bodhisattva’s conduct and vows. These advocated not only the achievement of self-completion but also the salvation of others.

Arguing that such practices mirror attitudes towards death and the afterlife, the emphasis on the salvation of others may be linked to Confucian ancestral worship, where special importance is placed upon the salvation of the spirits of ancestors. With this in view, my paper focuses on Buddhist paintings of the late Koryo period, examining how a belief in the afterlife was represented pictorially. Considerable attention will be paid to concrete examples of links between Buddhist and Confucian practices as seen within the context of mortuary rites.


Session 197: Life in Crisis: North Korean Refugees in China

Organizer: Byung-Ho Chung, Hanyang University, Korea

Chair: Ramsay Liem, Boston College

Discussant: Hyong Gyu Rhew, Reed College, Ramsay Liem, Boston College

To escape from the devastating recent famine in their country, a large number of North Korean people have been crossing the Sino-Korean border. Due to Chinese government’s refusal to recognize them as refugees, these people face the constant danger of deportation and harsh punishments. This panel consists of three papers by South Korean anthropologists who carried out a collaborative research project on these North Korean refugees in the Sino-Korean border areas of China in the summer and winter of 1999. Byung-Ho Chung’s paper focuses on the life and problems of refugee children. It documents the varied survival tactics of these young adventurers. While laying a stress on the complex problems they face, it also brings their undaunted aspirations for a better life to our attention. Soo Hyun Jang’s paper examines the dilemmas that the marginal status of the refugees as illegal border-crossers has brought about. By illustrating serious misunderstandings and conflicts between these helpless outsiders and local people regarding, for example, the proper value of refugee worker’s labor, it reveals the ways some prejudices and stereotypes against refugee people are produced. Soon Young Pak assesses the growth status of fifty-five North Korean refugee children she measured during two field trips to the border areas. A comparison of refugee children’s height and weight to both NCHS reference curve and South Korean means reveals that refugee children are remarkably short for their age and there exists a large gap between their height and that of South Korean children.

Living Dangerously in Two Worlds: The Risks and Strategies of North Korean Refugee Children in China

Byung-Ho Chung, Hanyang University, Korea

The prolonged famine and the collapse of the socio-economic system in North Korea have driven tens of thousands of people to cross the Sino-Korean border since the winter of 1996. In North Korea, the isolationist communist state, the very act of crossing the border is considered to be an ultimate violation of the law and the punishment is severe. The fear of forced return dominates all North Korean refugees in China at all times. However, among them, many independent wandering children often become habitual border-crossers to feed their family voluntarily or to rescue themselves from forced return. Under extreme hardship and fear, they have developed transnational (or cross-cultural) strategies and tactics for survival in two different worlds. They are to cope with the sharp differences of material conditions and, at the same time, they have to control the input and output of the contrasting cultural information (including Hongkong and Hollywood movies) of two societies accordingly. Their childhood in this marginal condition is at serious risk. However, as early independent subjects, they are becoming active agents for change by experiencing and mediating the two different worlds.

Living as Illegal Border-Crossers: The Dilemmas of North Korean Refugees in China

Soo Hyun Jang, Pusan University of Foreign Studies

This paper looks at the lives of North Korean refugees in the northeastern Sino-Korean border areas of China and examines how their marginal status as illegal border-crossers has distorted their relationship with local people. North Korea’s recent famine forced many people to cross the Sino-Korean border for survival. Not officially recognized as refugees by Chinese government, they live a very precarious life. They face the constant danger of being arrested and deported to North Korea to undergo harsh punishments. Local helpers are also under severe pressure, as they are heavily fined if caught hiding refugees. These circumstances generate high anxiety among refugees and distort their relationship with local people. Adult males earn their living by doing simple manual work requiring no skills. Due to their illegal status, they are usually underpaid or not paid at all. The great majority of refugee women get married, either voluntarily or enforced, to Chinese men. They often fall a victim to domestic violence and other maltreatments. This forces them to run away and seek other opportunities. Refugee children’s survival tactic is to beg for money from South Korean tourists and businessmen. Some of them are protected in secret shelters run by religious organizations. Not all of them can endure the spartan way of living imposed in such shelters. The status as illegal border-crossers, in short, makes North Korean refugees confront complex dilemmas and, in the process, produces distrust between refugees and local people.

The Growth Status of North Korean Refugee Children in China

Sunyoung Pak, Seoul National University

This is a report of the growth status of fifty-five North Korean refugee children, 3–18 years old, residing in the Sino-North Korean border area. They were studied during the two visits made from July 26–August 5, 1999 and from January 21–28, 2000. Their growth status was assessed by comparing refugee children’s height and weight to both NCHS reference curve and South Korean means. The raw data on weights and heights were converted into two anthropometric indices (Z-scores of weight-for-age and height-for-age) relative to NCHS reference values. Most of the children have Z-scores of below -2 for height (mean HAZ: -2.63) and between -2 and -1 for weight (mean WAZ: -1.81). The percentage of the children who are retarded in height (% < -2 HAZ: 70.9) is much higher than that of those retarded in weight (% < -2 WAZ: 27.3). These children are obviously more stunted than underweight. The heights and weights of the North Korean refugee children are compared to the mean figures of the South Korean children of 1997, as reported by the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science. The subjected North Korean refugee children are 3.6cm to 24.2cm shorter and weigh 0.1kg to 18.9kg less than their South Korean age and sex peer. The difference in height has a tendency to increase in adolescence.


Session 211: New Approaches to Sixteenth-Century Chos˘n History

Organizer: Eugene Y. Park, University of California, Irvine

Chair and Discussant: Martina Deuchler, University of London

Among the periods of the Chos˘n dynasty, the sixteenth century has received relatively scant attention from historians. The period between the 1519 literati purge and the imjin invasions of the 1590s in particular has proven largely unpopular, aside from the wealth of studies on the Neo-Confucian Four-Seven debates. On the one hand, this paucity of scholarship reveals a perceived lack of the historical glamour evident in the preceding and subsequent periods, and on the other is a reflection on the traditional disdain of the era between 1519 and 1567 as morally and politically benighted. This panel seeks to redress this imbalance somewhat by presenting recent scholarship in the social and political history of the period.

Eugene Y. Park examines the military examinations in the sixteenth century, placing the major changes in the administration of the examinations in the context of political and social changes during the period. The paper by Milan Hejtmanek provides a fresh perspective on the social history of the northern regions by examining governmental attempts to populate them through the forced and massive relocation of southerners. Doo-Hee Chung will conclude the presentations with a paper on the turbulent legacy of Cho Kwang-jo and the irony of Cho’s canonization as a heroic martyr, even as his political agenda was continually thwarted at the hands of the very political elite who claimed to revere him. The chair and discussant, Martina Deuchler, has worked extensively on the social history of this period and will comment on the papers.

Military Examinations in the Sixteenth Century: Political Upheaval, Social Changes, and Security Crisis

Eugene Y. Park, University of California, Irvine

In sixteenth-century Korea, employment prospect for military examination graduates deteriorated. As central bureaucracy remained fixed in size despite the rapid population increase, patronage politics dominated by royal in-laws and their allies favored those with right connections. Influential statesmen used the military examinations to reward their political allies, protÚgÚs, and cronies who in turn helped to insure the stability of their regime. A fierce competition for office made the military examination degree more appealing to the yangban candidates who continued to find the military examinations easier to pass than the civil examinations.

From the mid-century, mounting Jurchen and Japanese military threat also spurred the government to holder larger-scale, yet abbreviated, military examinations more frequently, as the earlier system of universal military service had largely broken down. The court even on the eve of Imjin War (1592–98) saw a greater military threat coming from the north, and existing restrictions against the s˘ja and nobi from taking the military examinations were eased to facilitate dispatching new recruits en masse to the north.

Nonetheless, the yangban continued to monopolize the military examinations that were shaped by, and in turn helped to fuel, political upheaval and facilitated social changes. The military examination system remained the primary instrument for military official (muban) recruitment despite the problems of lowered institutional prestige and graduates’ overall caliber. Regardless of their capabilities, such military examination graduates of late sixteenth-century Korea were destined to cope with traditional East Asia’s last multinational conflict—the Imjin War.

Reluctant Pioneers: Forced Relocation to the North in Sixteenth-Century Korea

Milan Hejtmanek, University of Pennsylvania

The unsettled northern frontier loomed large in Chos˘n court policy during the sixteenth century. The twin threats of Jurchen incursions and domestic insurrection prompted repeated attempts to settle the north with an obedient citizenry of yeoman, tax-paying farmers. When other inducements failed, Koreans from the southern regions were forcibly relocated, especially to the regions of the far north in Hamgy˘ng Province. The net of state was cast widely: criminals, political exiles, and other ne’er-do-wells of all social classes were choice targets, but if the situation demanded entire families of innocents might be ordered to move as well. On occasion, the numbers moved totaled in the thousands, as in 1526 when 2,697 southerners were moved to northern P’y˘ngan Province in the aftermath of an epidemic that had devastated the local population. In practice, relocation policy proved largely a failure. Many of those relocated to the icy northern regions and quickly fled, thereby prompting central government recriminations against hapless officials. Moreover, the harsh conditions proved difficult for those southerners who remained in their places of exile, particularly members of the yangban class, whose slaves quickly deserted them.

This paper examines the nature of state relocation policy in the sixteenth century using court records, genealogies, and personal narratives. It focuses on the issues of how policy toward relocation was formulated, how it had changed from that of the previous century, how those sent north were chosen, where groups were relocated, and how they fared.

Martyred Sage or Reckless Reformer? The Debate Over Cho Kwang-jo’s Canonization in Sixteenth-Century Korea

Doo-Hee Chung, Sogang University, Korea

The Chos˘n scholar-official Cho Kwang-jo (1482–1519) is widely deemed the single-most influential political figure of the sixteenth century. His fervent espousal of Neo-Confucian policies culminated in an attempt to reform radically the state examination system to ensure the selection of those he deemed morally worthy. The resulting 1519 Recommendation Examination proved more an adjustment to the system than a replacement, but even this modest measure aroused stiff opposition. Cho was subsequently purged and executed for what his opponents viewed as a betrayal of the established moral order, and the Recommendation Examination was abolished.

Soon after Cho’s death, his supporters began aggressively seeking Cho’s restoration and canonization as a Neo-Confucian martyr, and a hostile confrontation between his advocates and opponents ensured that lasted for five decades. His supporters emphasized his extraordinary devotion to Neo-Confucian ideals, whereas the critics likened him to Wang An-shih of Sung China for his purported betrayal of orthodox teachings. In the end, Cho was canonized as a martyr for the Neo-Confucian cause, and he would be esteemed for the remainder of the dynasty.

Nonetheless, no fundamental examination system reform could be initiated. In retrospect, Cho’s reform program was the last and indeed, the sole example of a reform generated within the ruling status group that sought to change basic dynastic institutions. This paper examines Cho’s effort and its aftermath and seeks to elucidate the remarkably conservative nature of the Chos˘n ruling structure and the tension between Neo-Confucian ideology vs. institutional reform.