Korean Studies, vol. 34 (2010)


The Democratic State Engulfing Civil Society: The Ironies of Korean Democracy
Jang Jip Choi, 1

This article examines the state and civil society in South Korea in the context of democracy. Studies on the Korean state have been relatively abundant, but most were written before Korea’s democratization or during the early period of democratic transition and most focus on the role of the state in leading industrialization and managing the economy. Insufficient attention has been paid to describing the characteristic features of the post-transitional Korean state and to defining the attributes of civil society in the democratized Korean polity. This essay in particular addresses the political transition from authoritarianism to democracy and the economic shift from export-oriented industrialization to neoliberalism-inspired globalization.

Nationalism and Ethnic Identity in the Sino-Korean Border Region of Yanbian, 1945–1950
Adam Cathcart, 25

This article chronicles the evolution of ethnic politics in the Yanbian region, focusing on the Chinese Korean communist leader Chu Tŏk-hae during the Chinese civil war and the early Korean War. Chu’s advocacy of Chinese nationality for ethnic Koreans is juxtaposed with his cooperation with North Korea, conflict over North Korean refugees, and examinations of the Yanbian region’s role between the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The “Resist America and Aid Korea” movement provides the most dramatic example of how Chu and ethnic Koreans in Yanbian expressed a uniquely tinged Chinese nationalism while continuing to lend support to North Korea. The article thereby aims to contribute to the regional history of Northeast Asia, add texture to debates on Chinese and Korean nationalism in that region, and reveal new aspects of Chinese Korean agency in the earliest years of Chinese Communist Party control.

Silla Buddhism and the Hwarang
Richard D. McBride II, 54

A close relationship existed between Buddhism, Buddhist monks, and the hwarang organization during the Silla period. The hwarang were most closely associated with the cult of Maitreya, the future Buddha. Several sūtras associated with the Maitreya cult encourage the performance of the assembly of the eight prohibitions, at which the hwarang-like sylph boys (sŏllang) danced during the Koryŏ period. Buddhist monks often but not always served as spiritual mentors or attendants to particular hwarang. Both Buddhist monks and hwarang also made excursions to famous mountains, the best example being the Diamond Mountains. Because Buddhists established permanent monasteries on the mountain, the center of hwarang excursions moved north to the coastal site of Kŭmnan. Buddhist monks and hwarang may have sought encounters with supernatural beings in their excursions to secure worldly success for the Silla kingdom through the protection of the gods and buddhas.

The Visual Embodiment of Women in the Korea Mission Field
Hyaeweol Choi, 90

This article explores the role of missionary photography in enhancing our understanding of Christian mission history. It specifically focuses on the visual embodiment of women whose lives and stories have largely been overlooked in the history of Korean Christianity. Tracing the early pictorial images of women in relation to missionary writings, the article demonstrates the ways in which photographs—either in natural or staged settings—were taken, circulated, and appropriated for the purposes of missionary goals. In doing so, the article argues that missionary photography is an expedient analytical tool to plumb the dynamic interactions between the missionaries and the missionized and to demonstrate the interplay between material culture and human desire.

Images of Monasticism: The Temple Stay Program and the Re-branding of Korean Buddhist Temples
Uri Kaplan, 127

The temple stay program is a new and prominent Korean tourist attraction in which visitors are invited to many of the major Buddhist monasteries throughout the country to stay for a couple of days and experience the traditional monastic lifestyle. This article will contextualize the temple stay within the history of the Korean heritage industry and inquire into the ways in which the national government and the Buddhist establishment are involved in branding it. It will demonstrate the process in which various new intangible cultural contents are introduced into the monasteries via this program and consequently argue that it involves an important identity transformation of Korean temples, from mainly being spiritual centers of a specific religion to becoming inclusive displays of Korean national heritage. In addition, it will reflect upon the significance of such trends, which add a brand new social function for the Buddhist monasteries of Korea.


Sarah Soh, The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan
reviewed by Mire Koikari, 147

Scott Snyder, China’s Rise and the Two Koreas: Politics, Economics, Security
reviewed by Daniel C. Kane, 149

Jae Ho Chung, Between Ally and Partner: Korea-China Relations and the United States
reviewed by Adam Cathcart, 153

Mark Caprio, Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945
reviewed by Brandon Palmer, 157

Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland, Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform
reviewed by Jacob Reidhead, 159

Contributors, 165