The Meaning of Historical Deaths as Seen through the Novella Sun-i amch’on and Mourning as Politics of Human Rights

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S/N Korean Humanities Vol.1 No.2 pp.61-76 ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)

Kim, Jong-Gon
Research Professor, Institute of the Humanities for Unification, Konkuk University

Received April 30 2015; Revised version received June 05 2015; Accepted July 15 2015


The aim of this article is to shed light on the meaning of historical deaths, nowadays being mummified, memorialized or even denied, and to discuss what kind of mourning is needed for such deaths. To this end, the novella Sun-i Samch’on is used as a text, to analyze the meaning of historical deaths as depicted in the story from the viewpoint of the responsibility and commitment of those living, and also to see what possibilities there are in healing those who are in pain because of a tragic history. The article then goes onto pointing out, through the novella, a problematic way of approaching historical deaths and their mourning. Mourning for certain deaths is still impossible even though certain amount of historical justice have been attained and truths about historical deaths revealed, thanks to democratization - an important landmark in Korean modern history. The reason behind this impossibility is ‘selective mourning’, and the article proposes, as a way to overcome this problem, mourning as politics of human rights.

Key Words : Historical death, Sun-i Samch’on, division trauma, humanities for unification, April 3rd Jeju Incident

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