Korean Studies, vol. 29 (2005)


Yayoi Wave, Kofun Wave, and Timing: The Formation of the Japanese People and Japanese Language, p. 1
Wontack Hong

A sudden change in climate, such as the commencement of a Little Ice Age, may have prompted the southern peninsular rice farmers to cross the Korea Strait ca. 300 B.C.E. in search of warmer and moister land. This may answer the timing of the “Yayoi Wave.” Evidence confirms the seminal role played by peninsular peoples in the formation of Middle and Late Tomb culture and the inadequacy of the “evolutionary” thesis, restoring our attention to the “event” thesis. Around 300–400 C.E., a drought may well have forced the Paekche farmers around the Han River basin to search for a new territory. This may answer the timing of the “Kofun Wave.”

The Korean Courtiers’ Observation Mission’s Views on Meiji Japan and Projects of Modern State Building, p. 30
Donghyun Huh
Translated by Vladimir Tikhonov

This article is a study of the first large-scale observation mission sent abroad by the Korean government in modern times—the so-called Korean Courtiers’ Observation Mission dispatched by King Kojong to Japan in 1881. While a minority of the Mission members perceived Japan as a model for building a modern nation-state in Korea, the more conservative majority was interested only in limited technical borrowing along the lines of the “Eastern Morality and Western Skills” reasoning that was popular in China at that time. Unlike the famous Iwakura Mission (1871), the Korean Mission did not produce any widely published account of its experience that could be used for the popularization of reformist ideas. Handwritten accounts of the mission were kept in the royal library, available only to the king and his closest associates. The accounts were used as blueprints for modernization during the Kabo reform drive (1894–95). Thus, it can be concluded that the Korean Mission’s experiences eventually were utilized for the sake of promoting Westernizing reforms.

Cho Ki-ch’on: The Person Behind the Myths, p. 55
Tatiana Gaboussenko

The article questions the traditional perceptions and revisionist reinterpretations of Cho Ki-ch’on, a Soviet Korean poet and literary official who played a special role in early North Korean history. The article analyzes the figure of Cho in the historical context of the epoch, adds some previously unknown data, and reflects on Cho Ki-ch’on’s legacy and impact on the North Korean literary world. The argument is largely based on information from new primary sources (Cho’s personal dossier, his letters, private papers, interviews with the poet’s friends and relatives) and an analysis of the original texts of his works.

Uncovering Ch’onggyech’on: The Ruins of Modernization and Everyday Life, p. 95
Hisup Shin

By November 2004, Seoul’s Ch’onggyech’on reclamation project had advanced into its final stage of construction and landscaping. A remarkable feat of advanced urbanization in which the natural environment and commercialism coexist, the project offers a felicitous, symbolic conclusion to the tumultuous, often dehumanizing paths of the nation’s modernization that left behind trails of devastation and misery. This curative view of the project is informed by a sustained effort of nationalist historiography to promote a potential for cultural creativity and social progress in the formation of modern Korea’s selfidentity. This essay argues, however, that such an approach fails to take into account a sense of ambivalence lodged in the restoration project, which reflects the contentious site of the everyday in which Ch’onggyech’on’s drastic change is translated into job loss, business relocation, and changing opportunities. This article draws attention to varying images of rubbish or rubbish salvaging that are often inextricably linked to different phases of the area’s modernization. These images bear out the material or practical realities of modernization devoid of a tendency of nationalist historiography for “self-inflated” story-telling. Such an unassuming observation of the region’s changing façade brings to light the challenging aspect of the everyday in coping with adverse circumstances of modernization. Attention is given to different types of “rubbish discourse” set in Ch’onggyech’on and its immediate localities. Using these discursive types as loops of meaning to interweave, the article offers an interdisciplinary insight into the tension between modernization and everyday life.

Changing Labor Processes of Women’s Work: The Haenyo of Jeju Island, p. 114
Gwi-Sook Gwon

This article delves into the subject of women and work as applied to the female divers (haenyo) of Jeju Island in Korea. It supports the development theory critiques about women and confirms Boserup’s seminal study. Remarkably, the Jeju haenyo have been economically productive in the Confucian culture of Korea, but their labor processes have been conditioned by economic as well as non-economic factors. The article analyzes the effects of gender in the rise and fall of this women’s working group. Even though the Jeju haenyo have had a relatively higher economic status in the family and community from the colonial period onward, the organization of their production has been closely interrelated with the gendered cultural context. Likewise, the decline of the haenyo’s diving is associated with the further development of capitalism and the reordered gender division of labor.

Apologizing in Korean: Cross-cultural Analysis in Classroom Settings, p. 137
Andrew Sangpil Byon

This paper investigates the sociopragmatic features of American learners of Korean-as-a-foreign language (KFL) in the Korean speech act of apology. As an interlanguage pragmatic study that deals with cultures that are distant to English, such as Korean, this study considers cross-cultural and pedagogical implications. The data were collected from a Discourse Completion Task (DCT), then analyzed descriptively, and Korean apology formulae were identified. In general, the most popular apology formulae the three groups use are similar. The deviations of the KFL learners are found mainly in the frequency rather than in the types of the semantic formulae. The findings of this study indicate that Koreans reflect much stronger power-sensitivity than KFL learners, and the distance variable seems to take precedence over the power variables in America. On the whole, the apology formulae usage of Korean native speakers supports the stereotypical description of Koreans as being more collectivistic, hierarchical, and formalistic in comparison with Americans. Furthermore, the results that the semantic formulae usage patterns of the KFL learners are, in general, consistent with those of the American English native speakers indicate the traces of L1 transfer effects.


Christopher I. Beckwith, Koguryo, the Language of Japan’s Continental Relatives, p. 167
Reviewed by Thomas Pellard

Victor D. Cha and David C. Kang, Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies, p. 170
Reviewed by Leon V. Sigal

William Stueck, The Korean War in World History, p. 172
Reviewed by Lester H. Brune