Korean Studies, vol. 27 (2003)


Prince Misahun: Silla’s Hostage to Wa from the Late Fourth Century, p. 1
Chizuko T. Allen

Three of the oldest extant chronicles of Korea and Japan, the Samguk sagi, the Samguk yusa, and the Nihon shoki, recount the story of the Silla prince Misahun’s escape from extended captivity in Wa. Regarding Wa as the early Yamato confederacy based in western Japan, this article clarifies the chronology and characteristics of the Misahun incident in reference to the series of related events described by the inscription on the Koguryo king Kwanggaet’o’s stele. Between 391 and 399, Silla succumbed to Wa’s military attacks and sent Misahun to Wa as a means of appeasement. Silla, however, soon chose to return to Koguryo’s sphere of influence to ward off further Wa assaults. After Koguryo annihilated the Wa forces, Silla managed to retrieve the prince from Wa with a clever scheme. Unlike Paekche’s reciprocal relationship with Wa, Silla’s relationship with Wa was unilateral, based on the latter’s incessant demands.

The Vision-Quest Motif in Narrative Literature on the Buddhist Traditions of Silla, p. 16
Richard D. McBride II

Iryon’s Samguk yusa preserves several accounts of Buddhist monks of the ancient Korean state of Silla encountering supernatural beings in what may be termed vision quests. Information of this kind has hitherto been understood by scholars as evidence of the persistence of ancient Korean shamanism. As context, this article problematizes the idea of shamanism and its relationship to Tantric Buddhism and provides evidence for the vision-quest motif in Sino-Indian Buddhist literature. It focuses on examples of this motif in the Samguk yusa to suggest that connections between ancient Korea, China, and India are closer than previously believed. The motif does not demonstrate the rapprochement between indigenous shamanism and Buddhism so much as attest to an ancient approach to religious experience.

Koryo as an Independent Realm: The Emperor’s Clothes, p. 48
Remco E. Breuker

This article examines the status of the mid-Koryo polity as an independent realm. Often ideological extremes are contrasted with one another, and one or the other is seen as representing Koryo’s defining quality, but this article argues the necessity of examining Koryo from a pluralist point of view. Koryo’s pluralist ideology is reflected in the way it looked at itself and its neighbors and in its policies. In order to clarify middle Koryo’s status as an independent realm, issues closely connected to Koryo identity, such as the clothes of the ruler, state rituals, foreign policies, and ruling ideologies, are scrutinized.

Once Again on Lenition in Middle Korean, p. 85
Alexander Vovin

The present article attempts a revision of the traditional lenition theory for the Middle Korean language by presenting internal and typological evidence in favor of interpreting non-leniting Middle Korean consonants as originating from original *nC (sometimes possibly *lC) clusters and providing further support for the fact that leniting consonants were just plain voiceless obstruents.

Unheard Voices: The Life of the Nobi in O Hwi-mun’s Swaemirok, p. 108
Kichung Kim

Many things are known about the nobi and the nobi system in premodern Korea, such as their demographic data and their social and legal status during the Choson dynasty (1392–1910). But we know little about the private and personal side of their lives, what their day-to-day life was like as individuals or families, the personal and social relationships among the nobi, and nothing at all of their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The sole purpose of this study is to cast a little light on the human face of the men and women who were nobi.


Charles K. Armstrong, The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950, p. 138
Reviewed by Kristine Dennehy

Young Back Choi, Yesook Merrill, Yung Y. Yang, and Semoon Chang, ed., Perspectives on Korean Unification and Economic Integration, p. 140
Reviewed by Changzoo Song

Selig S. Harrison, Korean Endgame: A Strategy for Reunification and U.S. Disengagement, p. 142
Reviewed by Young Whan Kihl

Chongho Kim, Korean Shamanism: The Cultural Paradox, p. 144
Reviewed by Laurel Kendall

Juergen Kleiner, Korea, A Century of Change, p. 146
Reviewed by Daniel C. Kane

Peter H. Lee, editor, A History of Korean Literature, p. 150
Reviewed by Michael J. Pettid

Chung-Shin Park, Protestantism and Politics in Korea, p. 153
Reviewed by Timothy S. Lee

James V. Young, Eye on Korea: An Insider Account of Korean-American Relations, p. 157
Reviewed by James I. Matray

Ji-Yeon Yuh, Beyond the Shadow of Camptown: Korean Military Brides in America, p. 160
Reviewed by Brandon Palmer

Xiaoming Zhang, Red Wings over the Yalu: China, the Soviet Union, and the Air War in Korea, p. 161
Reviewed by Andrei N. Lankov