Kim Hak-Ch’ŏl (1916-2001) was the “last squad commander” of the Korean Volunteer Army as well as being the main intellect within the community of ethnic Koreans in China (Chosŏnchok) and a master in the world of Korean-Chinese literature. He lived one half of his life as a hero and the other half as a ‘traitor”, so research into his work could not help but go through tumultuous times. After liberation, some critics became interested in Kim’s novels that dealt with the life and experience as a member of the Korean Volunteer Army, however, after he moved to North Korea thus rendering his works inaccessible, research on his work could not take place. However, his writing activities when in Beijing and Yanbian garnered attention from critics and he was noted for his uniqueness. But as a result of the Anti-Rightist Movement in 1957, he ended up living a hellish life for the next 24 years. Research on his work was revived only after reforms were introduced and the writer started to gain attention also in South Korea and Japan. In this article, we will review existing research that had been performed on his life and literature in Korea, Japan and China, and propose some areas that need to be researched further in the future.
Hŏ Nam-ki (1918∼88) is one of the most significant poets of the twentieth-century Korean-Japanese literature. Born in Kup’o, South Kyŏngsang Province, Hŏ Nam-ki crossed the Korea Strait and landed in Japan in 1939. After welcoming liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule at the Tachikawa Airfield’s repair factory in Tokyo, the poet composed “Hands” in 1946 to express the happiness of liberation and “Children, This Is Our School” in 1948. He also portrayed his unwavering spirit as a poet in “Dagger.” In 1959, Hŏ became the visiting chairman of the Union of Korean Writers and Artists in Japan, an organization established during the same year. In 1975, he visited P’yŏngyang for the first time. In works such as Toward the Motherland (1962), “Stories Etched in Stones” (1966), “Naktong River” (1978), and Revering the Sky of My Homeland (1980), the poet portrayed the hopes and lives of the Koreans living in Japan, and sang of his beloved motherland. In addition to poetry, Hŏ also wrote plays and film scripts. To educate his Japanese friends on Korean culture, he translated classical Korean literature such as “The Tale of Ch’unhyang” into Japanese and engaged in activities that were meant to encourage friendly relations between Korea and Japan. Until his death at the age of seventy, Hŏ Nam-ki remained a prolific writer, leaving behind him more than thirty opuses.
The Wanpaoshan Incident that took place in 1931 and the tragic Anti-Chinese Riots that ensued in Korea had great repercussions in the three countries of East Asia. Writers in Korea, China and Japan fictionalized these events concurrently or a few years after the incident. In the other of publication, the novelette Manpozan (October 1931) by Ito Einesuke, a Japanese writer, the novel Wanpaoshan (March 1933) by Li Huiying of China, the novelette “Farmer” (July 1939) by Yi T’ae-Chun of Korea, novella Rice Plant (1941) by An Su-Kil of Korea and the novel Reclamation (1943) by Chang Hyŏk-Chu of Korea were major examples. This article, using four novels – Ito Einosuke’s Manpozan, Li Huiying’s Wanpaoshan, Yi T’ae-Chun’s “Farmer”, and An Su-Kil’s Rice Plant – as main texts, analyzed the ways in which writers from Korea, Japan and China fictionalized the Wanpaoshan Incident. The four novels dealing with the Wanpaoshan Incident were all written from different perspectives and thus the emphases were different as well. The writers responded differently, and we will show how the writer’s national identity, ideology, and the existence of experience and its depth were articulated in the fictionalization process of a literary work.
The end of the Korean War did not bring about the end of Korea’s division. The theme of division runs through many South Korean literary works of the twentieth century. This so-called “division literature” can be characterized by its focus on the psychological pain of separation, and the (im)possibility of unification. The personal tragedies of separated families, of dashed hopes and dreams due to history’s vicissitudes, all these aspects appear in Korea’s modern literature and have their root in the Korean War. South Korean author Yi Munyŏl has been personally affected by the Korean War, and his trauma can be found in many of his writings. In “An Appointment with His Brother” (Auwa-ŭi mannam), published in 1995, he tries to find a means through literature to reach common ground with the other side (North Korea) for a possible future unification. He chose the Chinese city of Yanji as the setting for his story, a place where the majority of its population are ethnic Koreans who from 1992 onwards, have had connections with both North and South Korea. The city and its inhabitants serve as a liminal space where Yi Munyŏl can explore possibilities for reconciliation and to give shape to an imagined Korean unification
This article examines the current status of North Korean teaching method according to the changes in the content deployment in textbooks which were published after Kim Jong-un assumed power. The author examined changes in the content deployment of first-year textbooks for elementary, middle and high schools which were published after Kim Jong-un took power and analyzed how such changes affected the teaching method. For this, the article reviewed periodical publications on North Korean education which were published around 2012 to examine the evaluation of the teacher`s group which is directly affected the supplementation of the teaching method. The study focused on the changes in content deployment in textbooks as such changes require assessment on whether they require direct changes to the teaching method. The outcome of the study can be summarized as the following. Firstly, changes in the content deployment methods of textbooks are made in various forms and approaches. Secondly, the way of describing contents has deviated from historical narrative. The change of the teaching method is inevitable as the content deployment methods are transformed to enhance readability and to shift focus from knowledge transfer to activity-oriented manner. Moreover, British English education curriculum, teaching materials, teaching aids, and English the teaching method that came from outside helped to solve the thirst for new teaching method. However, it is not an easy task to change the teaching method for the vast majority of North Korean teachers who have not been exposed to the ‘global education development trend.’
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.
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)