Korean Studies, vol. 38 (2014)


Celestial Observations Recorded in the Samguk Sagi During the Unified Silla Period, AD 668–935
F. Richard Stephenson, 1

This article investigates in detail the accuracy and reliability of the astronomical records in the Samguk sagi during the period of Silla rule throughout the Korean peninsula. In the cases of eclipses and lunar and planetary phenomena, the individual records are compared with the results of modern retrospective computation. Comparison with the various reports in the annals of Chinese dynastic histories is also undertaken.

When Poets Become Sorcerers: The Cases of Virgil and Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn
Maurizio Riotto, 29

This article aims to demonstrate how great literati and poets (in this case, Virgil and Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn) may recover their former status of seers/shamans after losing their sacredness in complex societies. In ancient societies, poets represented the historical memory of an ethnic group. As they were able to evoke images of gods, warriors, and spirits, they actually were considered as priests or shamans, at once representatives and defenders of the tribe. As they were considered “sacred,” they lived apart from ordinary people and they were, at once, respected and feared. After the birth of centralized states, poets’ sacred functions decayed and only occasionally were literati put at the service of nationalistic propaganda. However, in case of political or social crises, ancient poets were again given magic attributes and they were entrusted with the task of keeping and defending the traditional cultural patterns of the group/state to which they belonged.

Parasitic Infection Patterns Correlated with Urban–Rural Recycling of Night Soil in Korea and Other East Asian Countries: The Archaeological and Historical Evidence
Myeung Ju Kim, Ho Chul Ki, Shiduck Kim, Jong-Yil Chai, Min Seo, Chang Seok Oh, Dong Hoon Shin, 51

Recent studies on parasite eggs uncovered at archaeological sites have yielded an abundance of scientific evidence that enhances the understanding of historical infection patterns in Korea and East Asia in general. Rescue archaeology conducted in Hansŏng, the capital area of the Chosŏn dynasty in Seoul Metropolitan City, has been especially revelatory of the serious extent to which the inhabitants were infected with soil-transmitted parasites. Chosŏn historical documents have prompted reinterpretations of our paleoparasitological results, affording a vivid glimpse of the Hansŏng inhabitants’ sanitary status. We speculate that parasitism among the Chosŏn people was significantly influenced by the economic interdependence between major cities and nearby farmlands, whose relationship was common in seventeenth–nineteenth-century East Asia. Since the night soil produced in a major city was recycled by farmers as fertilizer for vegetables, soil-transmitted parasitism must have been prevalent among the city-dwellers of the Chosŏn period. A high level of infection was a kind of unavoidable by-product of the night soil recycling process, which otherwise was very efficacious for the sustainable management of a pre-industrialized city in Korea.

The Way of the Camera and the Camera of the Way: The Spiritual Nomadism of Jang Sun-woo
Hyangsoon Yi, 75

This article examines the spiritual quest of Jang Sun-woo, one of the leaders of New Korean Cinema, as it is reflected in his films. Jang’s soul-searching journey, which began with his Nietzschean rebellion as a precocious teenager, led him to various religious traditions and intellectual movements, but it eventually came to an end with his embrace of Theravada Buddhism. Focusing on Seoul Jesus, A Petal, and Passage to Buddha, I analyze the relationship between Jang’s spiritual path and cinematic style. His works are known for addressing pressing sociopolitical issues and controversial psychosexual subjects, but throughout his twenty years of film-making, Jang’s ultimate concern as an artist has always been the freedom of the individual. Jang’s ceaseless search for new subjects and forms in his films parallels his personal journey for spiritual insights.

Formation and Evolution of the Knowledge Regime and the Development Process in Korea
Juan Felipe López Aymes, 91

This article analyzes the development of the knowledge regime in South Korea according to the evolution of its political economy since 1960. I adopt the concept of a knowledge regime used by John Campbell and Ove Pedersen (2011) and investigate whether its characteristics are bound to the political economy of Korea and whether the evolution of such a political economy affects the knowledge regime meaningfully. The article contributes to the study of Korea by analyzing the structure and governance of the knowledge regime and its evolution, with some emphasis on the so-called think tanks for economic policy.

Book Reviews

Hwansoo Ilmee Kim, Empire of the Dharma: Korean and Japanese Buddhism, 1877–1912
reviewed by Richard D. McBride II, 124

George Kallander, Salvation through Dissent: Tonghak Heterodoxy and Early Modern Korea
reviewed by Carl Young, 127

Sung-Deuk Oak, The Making of Korean Christianity: Protestant Encounters with Korean Religion, 1876–1915
reviewed by Timothy S. Lee, 129

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Cuisine, Colonialism and Cold War: Food in Twentieth-Century Korea
reviewed by Benjamin Joinau, 133

Brandon Palmer, Fighting for the Enemy: Koreans in Japan’s War, 1937–1945
reviewed by Evan T. Daniel, 138

John P. DiMoia, Reconstructing Bodies: Biomedicine, Health, and Nation-Building in South Korea since 1945
reviewed by Don Baker, 140

Charles K. Armstrong, The Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950–1992
reviewed by Young-hae Chi, 143

Sonia Ryang, Reading North Korea: An Ethnological Inquiry
reviewed by Young Mi Lee, 144

Jongryn Mo, Barry R. Weingast, Korean Political and Economic Development: Crisis, Security, and Institutional Rebalancing
reviewed by Dennis McNamara, 147

Choong Soon Kim, Voices of Foreign Brides: The Roots and Development of Multiculturalism in Korea
reviewed by Robert F. Delaney, 149

Elise Prébin, Meeting Once More: The Korean Side of Transnational Adoption
reviewed by Yoonjung Kang, 152

Inha Jung, Architecture and Urbanism in Modern Korea
reviewed by Kloe S. Kang, 155

Joan Kee, Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method
reviewed by Jungsil Jenny Lee, 157

Contributors, 161