Editor's Introduction

Publishing the First Issue of S/N Korean Humanities

Kim, Sung-Min

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.1 No.1 pp.7-11

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Feature Articles

Thoughts on Reunification by a Historian of Praxis : Kang Man-Kil’s ‘Reunification Nationalism’ And ‘Theory of Equitable Reunification’

Park, Min-Cheol

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.1 No.1 pp.15-38

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Kang Man-Kil is the first historian to position overcoming of division and reunification of the Korean peninsula as the most important scholarly topic. The overall structure of his historiography is constructed of: first, gaining a penetrative historical perspective on the Age of National Division, and second, establishing a new historical framework that can overcome division. These two themes can be encapsulated into his term, ‘reunification nationalism’. ‘Reunification nationalism’ is the rightful guiding ideology for the Korean society, contributing to overcoming division and reunifying the nation. Kang’s reunification nationalism is meaningful in three ways: 1. It is an ‘alternative historiography’, in which the national united front movement based on negotiations between left and right wings since the colonial period is seen as the mainstream of national history. 2. It recognizes the entire Peninsula as one national unit and it is an ‘anti-divisionist historical perception’ that considers all Peninsula citizens to be agents of historical development. 3. All Peninsula citizens are seen to constitute one historical and cultural community, and it is meaningful as a ‘reunification theory’ based on peaceful, reciprocal and equitable methods. In sum, the above-mentioned three aspects of reunification nationalism form the basis of the details of Kang Man-Kil’s reunification nationalism, which is his ‘theory of equitable reunification’.

A Discussion on Paik Nak-Chung’s Division System Theory

Lee, Byung-Soo

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.1 No.1 pp.39-60

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Since the 1980s, Paik Nak-Chung’s division system theory has broadened the horizons of Korean humanities by constantly reflecting upon Korean social movements. Paik argues that divided Korea is not merely a part of the Cold War but of the capitalist world system in the sense that it is dominated by US imperialism in a more unilateral fashion than other divided countries such as East and West Germany wherein the contradiction between the two Camps was merely reproduced. In order to overcome the division system of Korea, he proposes strategies with concrete and practical directions and methods, such as transformative centrism, a citizen participation model of unification. These strategies are in turn associated with his unique philosophical scholarship on a double mission of adapting to and overcoming modernity and on oriental wisdom. However, he fails to provide a detailed analysis of the mutual hostility, mistrust, and fear of the people of South and North Korea. In order to dismantle the division system of Korea, there is a need to examine the characteristics and mechanisms of the people’s cognitive-practical barriers to reunification, and such are embodied in their values, emotions, and living cultures..

Thoughts of Song Du-Yul, a Unification Philosopher, on the Border of the South-North Division

Park, Young-Kyun

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.1 No.1 pp.61-81

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This thesis deals with Song Du-Yul’s unification philosophy, which is a philosophical inquiry into the division and unification of the Korean Peninsula. His unification philosophy basically starts off from thoughts on the ‘border’ of ‘South and North’, and then onto producing ‘the third something’. He believes the mutual antagonism of ‘South or North’ is premised on the totality of the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, based on the totality of the Peninsula, he proposes an ‘epistemological transition’ to ‘South and North’, and defines unification as a process of producing a ‘common denominator’ as the third something from this epistemological transition. To his end, he proposes a ‘innate and critical approach’ and a ‘hermeneutic circle’ as methods to understand the dissimilarities of the ‘the other’ in and of themselves, from the perspective of ‘philosophy of a borderer’, and goes on to discussing ‘coexistence of dissimilarities’ and ‘change as a process’. Also, in relation to the ‘border experience’, he asserts ‘reflexive nationalism’ and ‘subjective globalization’ as a move beyond the conflict between the South’s ‘globalization’ and the North’s ‘uniformism’, through which he is able to bring out the universal significance of creating a unified Korean Peninsula. Based on such analysis, this thesis focuses on Song Du-Yul’s unification philosophy, assesses its significance and the limitations, and proposes a new unification philosophy, based on ‘the otherness of the other’, consisting of ‘philosophy of the two’, ‘asymmetrical communication’ and ‘creation of commonalities through inter-Korea communication’.


North Korean Comedy of Manners : Day at the Amusement Park

Immanuel Kim

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.1 No.1 pp.85-106

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The comedy of manners is a theatrical genre that satirizes the manners and mores of pretentious characters from the upper class. Characters in Day at the Amusement Park disguise their true passion and desire with society’s unwritten rules of decorum and allow cultural practices to dictate their behavior more than having the political ideology control them. Being conscientious of how the public might view oneself and how one ought to behave in public dominate the rationality and attitude of the characters. The comedy is found not only in the misunderstandings and mistaken identities in the plot, but also in the characters’ strict observance of decorum and in the explosive revealing of their pent up desires. Comedy is one of the performative ways of revealing to the audience the blunders, internal paradoxes, and disillusionment of social and political life. The subject of social decorum and cultural practices in this film may help South Korean viewers look past the political barrier and appreciate the importance of humor and farce in the North Korean culture.

Traversing the Crossroads : Voice and Music of Song Myŏng-Hwa and The Artistic Troupe Kŭmgangsan kagŭktan In Japan’s North Korean Community

Jeong, Ae-Ran

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.1 No.1 pp.107-139

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Kŭmgangsan kagŭktan titles itself “Chosŏn troupe in Japan.” Founded in Tokyo (1955), the company is composed of 50 artists working on dance, song and music, referring specifically to the aesthetics of North Korea with which the troupe has developed a close relationship since its birth. The paper examines the vocal techniques practiced by a female singer of Kŭmgangsan kagŭktan in the frame of sound, song and rhythm while tracing various aspects of North Korean vocal techniques, the process of transmission and adaptations the company singer makes for the Japanese stage. I suggest, the singer trains herself not to reproduce a particular stylized form and/or method but open herself, traversing crossroads, following her own artistic path, so to speak, finding a negotiated voice involved in a process I describe as the aesthetics of differentiation.

Book Review

Ideology and Reality by Park Chi-Woo

Suh, Yu-Suk

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.1 No.1 pp.143-151

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The National Commonality Series(Written by the Institute of the Humanities for Unification at Konkuk University)

Park, Myung-Kyu

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.1 No.1 pp.153-157

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