Mountain worship and sanshin (mountain gods) legends are intrinsic to Korean culture. Central for narratives of anti-colonial struggle and contemporary policy of North Korea, Mt. Paektu also became a symbol of Korean national identity in South Korean popular culture. This paper engages two legends sited there, suggesting that their main protagonists represent contemporary sanshin. Firstly we consider the image of Kim Chŏng-suk of North Korea, and those narratives addressing her husband, Kim Il-sŏng’s guerrilla resistance in terrains surrounding Paektu. As a bodyguard of Kim Il-sŏng and a champion of revolutionary struggle, Kim Chŏng-suk transcends her human nature, and embodies female presence on Mt. Paektu. Secondly the paper investigates narrative from contemporary South Korean practice GiCheon (氣天 Kich’ŏn), intended for physical and moral cultivation of a person, reinvented in modernity on the basis of ancient East-Asian traditions. It recounts a mythic meeting of Bodhidharma with the Immortal Woman of Heaven (天仙女 Ch’ŏnsŏnyŏ) dwelling at Mt. Paektu. The Woman of Heaven overpowers Bodhidharma in battle, challenging patriarchal gender conceptions and contesting Chinese cultural superiority. Examined together, these two narratives demonstrate common cultural background. Ancient tradition, passed down from past to present, continuously accumulates and transforms, acquiring new forms in South and North Korean contexts.
The author’s questioning starts off from the series of suicides committed by Ssangyong Motors workers since 2009. She argues that “If the issue of suicide in Korean society is considered a problem of both Korean capitalism and social solidarity and morals, then we have to forge a social theory that is based on our reality.” (p.10) Based on such recognition, the author then identifies two tasks to be performed in her book. “First, I shall seek to manifest and rectify the structure and the error of the dichotomous interpretation that has been imposed on Marx and Durkheim. Second, by critically looking into the rational core shared by the social science methodologies of Marx and Durkheim and the theoretical and practical prospects built upon it, I shall search for a theory capable of effectively intervening into social suffering, i.e., the possibility of a naturalist social science.” (p.24; 106)
English is one of the major factors that impede the success of North Korean refugees’ adaptation to South Korea in terms of pursuing college education and getting a job. This article attempts to illustrate North Korean refugee college students’ hopes and anxieties about learning English through a reflective process. To examine comprehensive qualitative data about their perceptions toward English education, North Korean refugee college students were invited to English classes in private institutes in South Korea. After experiencing English classes for six months, in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty-four students ranging in age from twenty-one to forty-eight. Based on Gibbs’ reflective process framework that promotes meta-thinking about their own learning experience, the refugees’ reflections on English education were categorized into the following themes: education and meaning of life, importance of post-caring, determinants of motivation for class attendance, and ambivalent view on English education. Suggestions are made from the findings regarding North Korean refugee college students’ hopes and anxieties about education in Korea and future English programs.
Linguistic divergence between standard varieties of Korean has been much studied, however, it has largely concerned itself with fine-grained analyses of single points of divergence, for example vocabulary, and the language policy behind such divergence. In contrast, this paper examines general trends of language in use in the ROK and DPRK in a specific genre of writing. We first briefly review prior research on the linguistic divergence which the standard varieties of these countries have undergone to contextualize our argument that a digital humanities approach could provide new insights for the field. This includes taking advantage of internet mediated data collection and quantitative analyses applied to relatively large amounts of data. In order to demonstrate the potential of this approach more fully, we present a small-scale stylometric analysis of ROK and DPRK journalistic texts. This pilot study suggests that national origin determines the stylistic characteristics of these texts to a greater extent than the topic and allows us to tentatively propose general characterizing features of ROK and DPRK journalistic style. We conclude with a prospectus for the incorporation of such methods into the study of ROK/DPRK linguistic divergence.
This article aims to examine the history and era experienced by Korean residents in Japan through popular songs written in Korean which is their mother tongue but not their first language. In particular, the article focuses on how Korean residents in Japan who are members of the General Association of Korea Residents in Japan (Chongryon) and who were born in South Korea but who chose the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as their homeland and lives in Japan built their identities through national education through researching popular songs. Korean residents in Japan are an embodiment of the contradictions emanating from colonialism, cold war, and division. They have pursued their identity despite systematic discrimination in Japanese society as well as a sense of discrimination deeply engraved in the mindset of Japanese people through numerous challenges of possible divisions. This is why even today, Korean residents’ resistance towards the Japanese government’s oppression and suppression exists persistently as their history and culture. Pop songs made by Korean residents in Japan who were affiliated with Chongryon clearly reflects political circumstances that defined their sense of existence and livelihood. In the stage of the struggle for the right to education, and in the process of forming the definition of homeland and recognizing their hometown, and in a special education space called Chosŏnhakkyo (schools operated by the Chongryon), the struggle for postcolonialism and the struggle to overcome national division by singing such songs is a process that made Korean residents in Japan a member of Korean people.
his article analyzes the diplomatic aspects of Egyptian-North Korean relations, with a brief overview of the era of Gamal Abdel Nasser and with a focus on Anwar el-Sadat’s presidency. On the basis of Hungarian, U.S., and Romanian archival documents, it investigates why the post-1973 reorientation of Egyptian foreign policy toward a pro-American position did not lead to a breakdown of the Egyptian-North Korean partnership. The article describes such episodes as North Korea’s military contribution to the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Egyptian-North Korean cooperation in the Non-Aligned Movement, Kim Il Sung’s equivocal reactions to the Egyptian-Israeli peace process, and the militant Arab states’ dissatisfaction with Pyongyang’s unwillingness to condemn the “treacherous” Camp David Accords. It concludes that the main pillars of the Sadat-Kim Il Sung partnership were their simultaneous cooperation with China, their shared enmity for the USSR, and their fear of diplomatic isolation. Still, the North Korean leaders, anxious as they were to prevent an Egyptian-South Korean rapprochement, were more often compelled to adapt to Egypt’s diplomatic preferences than vice versa. The ambivalence, vacillation, prevarication, and opportunism that characterized Pyongyang’s interactions with Cairo belied the common image of North Korea as an iron-willed, militant state cooperating with other revolutionary regimes on the basis of equality, mutual trust, and anti-imperialist solidarity.
Based on the findings on similarities and differences in the Korean and Vietnamese cultural features, and the social surveys conducted as part of the project ”Compiling, Publishing and Disseminating the Handbook of Korean-Vietnamese Behavior” by South Korean Studies Center, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City (USSH-VNU-HCM) with the support of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) from September to October 2016,the paper covers the three points: First, analyzing similarities that create a special interaction effect between the two cultures. They are ones underlying the spectacular development of the Korea-Vietnam relations during the past time. Among them are similarities in the humanity and tolerance with a distinctive feature of “respect for affection”, playing the most important role;second, analyzing cultural collisions caused by distinctive features in the structures of the two countries’ traditional cultures. They include those of the South Korean culture namely strong hiarachy, high respect of routines, and self-esteem of mono-culture and those of the Vietnamese culture namely strongvillage democracy, low respect of formalities, resistance to imposed culture; and simultaneously analyzing the gaps in the modernity of the Vietnamese workers` culture compared to the requirements of modern production in Korean enterprises so as to point out that they are reasons for the increase of conflicts in Korean enterprises’ operation process in Vietnam; and third, suggesting, based on the analysis, some cultural solutions to increase harmony and reduce conflicts, supporting a sustainable development of the Korea-Vietnam cooperation in Korean enterprises in Vietnam.