Korean Studies, vol. 36 (2012)


Mapping Japan in Chosŏn Korea: Images in the Government Report Haedong chegukki
Kenneth R. Robinson, 1

The Chosŏn Korea government compiled a handbook on relations with Japanese and Ryukyuan contacts in the early 1470s. This report, titled Haedong chegukki and extant today as a printing from 1512, included several maps of Japan prepared by the Chosŏn government. Historians of cartography and foreign relations commonly refer to these images as Japanese Gyōki-style maps of Japan based upon the design of the Japanese islands and provinces. However, Korean mapmakers compiled these maps to be read and for state use, thus placing Japan as a foreign country and inscribing into the images discourses of interaction that would be legible to government officials.

The Race and Racism Discourses in Modern Korea, 1890s–1910s
Vladimir Tikhonov, 31

This article deals with the introduction of racial and racist discourses to Korea in the 1890s–1910s. The new, race-based taxonomic system overlapped with the pre-existing models of the worldwide civilizational hierarchy. Thus, the “barbarians” of the Confucian, China-centred world order evolved into the “savages,” “aborigines,” or “inferior races” essential for the new weltanschauung. Europeans, previously classified as “barbarians,” were reclassified as preeminently civilized “White race,” while at the same time being often regarded as an existential threat, both to Koreans and other “Yellow”—and generally all the non-White—people. On the other hand, the Japanese, previously seen as a troublesome, alien, and at best semicivilized neighbor, were reclassified as “fellow members of the Yellow race.” This classificatory change had huge socio-political and cultural implications, since it appeared to legitimize both modern borrowings from and often even political and military collaboration with East Asia’s new imperialist hegemon.

Politicization of Ethnicity: Ethnic Discrimination Risk Management of the Korean Diaspora in Russia
Oleg Pakhomov, 58

This article shows that the process of ethnicity formation is a continual search by the Korean diaspora in Russia for ways to reduce the risks of social exclusion (discrimination) and to win trust from the host society. Previous studies on the Korean diaspora examine different interaction strategies of social integration of Korean immigrants into the host society. The interaction approach reduces social complexity to individual motivations, and these individual motivations combine to influence ethnicity of all Koreans in the diaspora even though individual motivations may have different economic, religious, moral, artistic, or political backgrounds. Yet the interaction paradigm fails to explain how ethnicity functions beyond interactions (negotiations) and how it applies to the Korean diaspora in Russia. It would be more productive to approach the Korean diaspora as a problem of social complexity. In this sense, the history of the Korean diaspora in Russia demonstrates that construction of ethnic boundary is a matter of social risk management. Generally speaking, the Russian Korean diaspora reflected the politicization of ethnic boundaries in the Soviet Union and post-soviet Russia. It means that relations between the Russian state and society and the Russian Korean diaspora change from conflict to cooperation and back, depending on trend of political power.

The Downfall of a Model Citizen? Family Background in North Korean Graphic Novels
Martin Petersen, 83

This article examines what recent North Korean graphic novels published by the Kumsong Youth Publishing House tell readers about the issues of good and problematic family backgrounds. Focusing on the meaning of family background in the construction of graphic novel heroes, antagonists, and those in between, I explore the motivations and intentions of characters and plots, as well as the larger question of the social function of the graphic novel medium in North Korea. These problems are addressed through close readings of The True Identity of Pear Blossom (2004) and Guard the Cradle (2008–2009), with additional reference to other graphic novels from the Kumsong Youth Publishing House that deal with the family background theme.

Flow and Irony: Locating Literary Modernity in Hahn Moo-Sook’s Retrospective Gazes
Chan E. Park, 123

Before the twentieth century, the female presence in Korean literature was largely a construct of patriarchal imagination, with women held up merely as exemplars for all others to emulate. The twentieth century brought wider exposure to Western culture, and Korean feminists began laying a foundation for woman’s social engagement and equality. Hahn Moo-Sook was born during the early waves of the feminist literary movement and lived to write through tumultuous times of war, division, and political upheavals. This essay discusses Hahn’s literary world in terms of her egalitarian vision of history as witnessed by underprivileged class and gender; her early vision of modernity wavering between the world of the novel and of the romantic tale in And So Flows History; and the flowering of her modernist style in several of her later works.


Pak Chiwŏn, The Jehol Diary: Yŏrha ilgi of Pak Chiwŏn (1737–1805)
reviewed by Daniel C. Kane, 145

Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Borderline Japan: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era
reviewed by Youngmi Lim, 149

Theodore Hughes, Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea: Freedom’s Frontier
reviewed by Kelly Y. Jeong, 153

Esther Kim Lee, Seven Contemporary Plays: From the Korean Diaspora in the Americas
reviewed by Heui-Yung Park, 155

Chang Jae Lee, Traces of Life: Seen through Korean Eyes, 1945–1992
reviewed by Jung Joon Lee, 158

Contributors, 165