Korean Studies, vol. 26, no. 2 (2002)


Buddhism and Polity in Early Sixth-Century Paekche
Jonathan W. Best, 165

Using written and material evidence to criticize the Samguk sagi’s relatively static depiction of the Paekche political structure and court culture, this article examines the importance of Buddhism in the early sixth-century political and cultural transformation of the kingdom, which passes virtually unnoticed in the Samguk sagi. Prior to the end of the fifth century, court life in Paekche was similar in notable respects to that of contemporary Koguryo, which, in turn, was partly influenced by earlier Chinese forms. At this early time, Buddhism was acknowledged by Paekche’s kings but neither held a prominent place in the court nor played a significant role in policies of state. This changed after the loss of the Han River valley to Koguryo in 475. Paekche’s early sixth-century kings Muryong and Song evidently recognized that if the dynasty was to survive, a fundamental restructuring of the kingdom had to occur. The court intensified diplomatic and cultural ties to China. The ardently Buddhist Liang emperor Wu Di evidently inspired Paekche to enhance its patronage of Buddhism and to use it to centralize and strengthen royal authority.

Representation of the Ruler in Buddhist Inscriptions of Early Koryo
Sem Vermeersch, 216

This article traces the legacy of Buddhist kingship in the early Koryo period. T’aejo (r. 918–943), the founder of the Koryo dynasty (918–1392), was keen to follow in the footsteps of Silla kings and use Buddhist symbols of power. He also set great store on attracting eminent monks, granting them special favors and titles, and overseeing the construction of stelae inscriptions to commemorate them. These inscriptions also feature the king prominently and illuminate his relation to Buddhism. Although the king is not explicitly identified as a Buddhist ruler, the Buddhist dharma features as an integral element of kingship. In this universe, the worldly authority, personified by the king, always coexists with and depends on a spiritual counterpart, personified by the royal or state preceptor. One effect of this was that the authority of a ruler was never complete without a preceptor to validate and correct the royal power. Thus a great deal of ritual power was invested in these preceptors.

Taoism and East Asian Literary Theories: Chuang Tzu’s Theory of Selflessness and the Poetics of Self-effacement
Eun-kyung Shin, 251

This article examines several East Asian literary theories that emphasize self-effacement, self-abandonment, and self-surrender and explores Chuang Tzu’s ideas of self-forgetting or selflessness as part of the philosophical background of the theories. Examples are drawn from the works of Ssu-K’ung T’u, Yi Kyu-bo, Yi I, Yi Sang-jong, Zeami, Matsuo Basho, and Wang Fu-chih.

Western Attitudes toward the Korean Language: An Overview of Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Mission Literature
David J. Silva, 270

Descriptions of Korea’s linguistic situation written by Westerners during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries not only reveal native and foreign attitudes toward the Korean language but also provide insight into language-focused evangelization tactics embraced by Christian missionaries. Upon their arrival in Korea during the 1800s, Westerners encountered a long-standing system of diglossia: socio-historical relations between China and Korea gave rise to the use of various Korean “lects” in which the degree of Chinese elements differed. Moreover, the nation’s indigenous writing system, han’gûl, was widely regarded by Koreans as culturally subordinate to Chinese script, an attitude that garnered much attention from Western observers. These sorts of language attitudes were further reinforced by Westerners’ deterministic interpretations of Korea’s linguistic situation; believing the Korean language to be linguistically defective, many Westerners concluded that the Korean people suffered from corresponding deficiencies of intellect, education, and morality. In a campaign to “educate” the Korean populace, Christian missionaries worked to raise the status of the native language and orthography as part of what would prove to be a highly effective evangelization strategy.

Korean History Studies in Japan: The 2001 Shigaku Zasshi Review of Historiography
Inoue Naoki, Yamauchi Tamihiro, and Kawa Kaoru
Translated by James Lewis and Kenneth R. Robinson, 287


Nathan Hesselink, ed. Contemporary Directions: Korean Folk Music Engaging the Twentieth Century
reviewed by Myosin Kim, 306

Yi In-Hwa, Everlasting Empire
reviewed by Michael J. Pettid, 309

Andre Schmid, Korea between Empires, 1895–1919
reviewed by Peter Duus, 311

David R. McCann and Barry S. Strauss, ed., War and Democracy: A Comparative Study of the Korean War and the Peloponnesian War
reviewed by Donald W. Boose, Jr., 314

Michael Slater, Hills of Sacrifice: The 5th RCT in Korea
reviewed by Donald W. Boose, Jr., 316

Louis Baldovi, ed., A Foxhole View: Personal Accounts of Hawaii’s Korean War Veterans
reviewed by Henry G. Gole, 318

Edward A. Olsen, Toward Normalizing U.S.-Korea Relations: In Due Course?
reviewed by James I. Matray, 320

Jenny Ryun Foster, Frank Stewart, and Heinz Insu Fenkl, ed.
Century of the Tiger: One Hundred Years of Korean Culture in America 1903–2003
reviewed by Wayne Patterson, 323