North Korean tale Ch’ŏngryongŭi poŭnn which was covered in this article is a representative folktale which was modified based on Juche Ideology. It is identical with Chinegaksi which is a representative folktale in the Korean penisula except for the ending part. The difference in the ending is whether the fortune given to the male protagonist is individual or collective in its nature. This difference seems to be due to modification with the influence of collective morality and Juche ideology of North Korea. To assess the literary value of the modified narrative, this article learned about the identity and value of this tale based on the pre-division era records. And by comparing how modern tales in South and North Korea from a similar period and status accept archetype of this tale, this article aimed to analyze the narrative value of this tale. North Korean tale Ch’ŏngryongŭi poŭnn will be regarded as an important material to understand the social culture of North Korea and an old story with the message of social integration in the future society of the unified Korean peninsula. This tale is a story about two different beings trusting each other and working toward a better future. In other words, it is a story about the value of “symbiosis” being realized in the dimension of “group.” Despite the modification intention behind this literature which is based on the North Korean view of history, this tale is an important literary work that shows what kind of life “we” as a group should pursue in a modern society filled with suspicion and fear.
My Own Fortune is a popular folktale which is widely observed and documented throughout the Korean Peninsula before the division. The tale continues to be told from generations to generations in South Korea. A resembling tale can be found in The Collection of Chosun Folktales under the title Father and the Three Daughters. This tale’s format very closely resembles that of My Own Fortune, hence making it a valuable material when comparing tales in South and North Korea. My Own Fortune and Father and the Three Daughters both begin with a very similar narrative. The father in both tales asks a question “On whose fortune do you live well?” wishing to confirm that his daughters love him and respect his authority as the leader of the family. The two stories begin to differ as his third and the youngest daughter in each story answers his question identically but with different intentions. From this point in the story the two tales diverge. My Own Fortune is a story of an independent woman standing alone from her parents and building her own success, whereas Father and the Three Daughters is about a very filial woman achieving her dream when her father eventually acknowledges her love of the Parent. North Korea’s Father and the Three Daughters focus on the value of family and offspring’s filial duty. In contrast, My Own Fortune depicts an independent woman. Despite the difference, the two tales follow same story format, as Father and the Three Daughters adopted the format of My Own Fortune, which is one of the traditional folk tale formats in Korea. North Korea regime probably did adopt the format of My Own Fortune for Father and the Three Daughters because inhabitants in the Korean Peninsula have long enjoyed the stories of the like of My Own Fortune. For the regime to utilize Father and the Three Daughters as means to reform people, the regime would probably have thought that adopting popular and widely accepted stories would be more beneficial. It is probable that Father and the Three Daughters is derived from My Own Fortune, the story generally enjoyed by Koreans before the division. Findings of common folktales culture in South and North Korea, despite the two nations` long separation, suggest that literary communication between the countries, based on common grounds, is possible. But for such communication to happen, understanding of both the common and the different must be preceded. Communication can be defined as the steps of admitting and attempting to understand the difference between the parties. It is because changeability of the relationship based on differences may be the most accurate solution to soften current relationship of two Koreas which is solidifying its exclusivity and hostility. The author wishes that his analysis of My Own Fortune and Father and the Three Daughters to be a humble work to contribute to such communication that embraces both the common and the different.
This research designs a program to improve the perspective of North Korean refugees using a literary therapy methodology, focusing on the fact that the experiences of defection and migration endured by North Korean refugees are similar to the hardships and the success of heroes in classical literature. Among Korean classics, there are folktales such as My Own Fortune, novels such as The Story of Hong Kiltong, and myths on founding of nations such as the Myth of Chumong, which all deal with oppression and limitations of the past location, and escape, migration and success, and such plots exist in all genres. In the process of the heroes reaching success, the oppression and limitations of their past locations act as inevitable deprivations that allow them to further mature, from which the protagonists gain astonishing abilities and develop into heroes. In light of such syntax of heroic narratives, the past experiences of North Korean refugees can very well become the basis for future success. However, for the refugees, their experiences of defection and migration are remembered only as hardships. They also tend to be pessimistic toward their lives. I consider such aspects to be central in the vicious cycle in which their inadaptability and their mental health affect each other negatively. In order to improve their perspective and help them gain more confidence in their lives, I hypothesize that a humanities-based approach can be an excellent methodology and attempt to detail such a program. The healing program for North Korean refugees using classical heroic narratives that this research proposes is a humanities-based one that induces the subjects to go beyond remembering their past only as series of hardships and to perceive it as a foundation for success. By using the power of narratives, which is the unit of human thought, memory of an arduous past can be relieved, and by applying the success stories of heroes to the refugees’ lives, the refugees can receive guidance in the concrete development of their lives. These are the main aspects of such program, which involve reading of classical literature and creative activities that articulate their lives.
This paper is an attempt to search for a meta-theoretical foundation to an integrated Korean studies. Without its own target and methodology, it will be difficult for Korean studies to be established as an independent academic discipline. In particular, the antagonism of the ‘Two Cultures,’ referring to the juxtaposition between humanities and the sciences, has been reproduced into a humanities-based ‘National studies’ (‘國學’) and a social science-based ‘Korean studies’ (‘韓國學’), and is acting as a factor preventing a more holistic perspective of Korean society. Such division originated from the modern academic disciplinary structure systemized at the end of the 19th century but was then deepened by the path dependency of the division system and the external dependency of the Korean academia. Under this context, this paper seeks to graft critical naturalism of Marx and Durkheim, who envisioned unified sciences at the end of the 19th century, before separation into modern academic disciplines took place, to the attempts to alleviate the ‘Two Cultures’ and thereby project an integrated Korean studies. Critical naturalism of the two thinkers – in particular, their relational social paradigm and theory of explanatory critique – proposes a third way that resolves the dichotomies between society and people, science and philosophy, nomothetic and idiographic methods, and facts and values, thus positioning itself as a paradigmatic basis for unified knowledge that overcomes the antagonism between hyper-naturalist positivism and anti-naturalist humanities. Moreover, the critical naturalism of the two provides the possibility of depth-explanatory human sciences that integrates the historicity and the scientificity of a divided society as well as abundant philosophy of science resources to promote a more complete Korean studies that encompasses both the South and the North.
This paper will examine Russia’s policy concerning Korea’s re-unification and Moscow’s likely responses to possible results of the unification process as a major and necessary element of peace-building in Northeast Asia. Since the middle of the 19th century Russia has had a keen interest in the situation on the Korean peninsula. History repeatedly proved that any aggravation of the situation on the peninsula caused serious concerns and made Russia to take additional steps to ensure her security. So both for security reasons and for smooth development of her Far Eastern region, Russia is vitally interested in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. Emergence of the re-unified Korea, however, is likely to create a new situation in the region and make Russia to re-evaluate her policy in Northeast Asia. It is generally accepted notion that Russia will benefit, first of all, from liquidation of a long-time hot spot right next to her Far Eastern region and from founding the re-unified Korea, which is supposedly will maintain relations of friendship, good-neighborhood and cooperation with Russia and other neighboring states. Meanwhile, at the moment, better relations between North and South Korea, along with providing Russia with more favorable conditions for development of trade and economic cooperation with both parts of Korea, would also open new opportunities for economic development of the Russian Far East and for linking Russia’s economy to globalization and integration processes in the Asia-Pacific region. So both on security and economic reasons Moscow is vitally interested in reconciliation between North and South Korea and eventual emergence of a peaceful and neutral Korea.