Editor's Introduction

The March First Movement Centennial in Integrated Korean Studies

Kim, Sung-Min

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.7-12

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Feature Articles

Moral Development and the March First Movement

Hope Elizabeth May

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.15-46

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This paper offers a discussion of the March First Movement of 1919 (MFM) through the lens of moral development. Central to the discussion is the moral development of the most well-known personality associated with the MFM, Yu Kwan-sun (1902-1920). After discussing Yu’s own moral development, I connect this discussion to another important but less well-known figure associated with the MFM, Lee Sŭnghun (1864-1930). As a chief organizer of the MFM, Lee Sŭnghun made it possible for Yu Kwan-sun to both display and further develop her virtues and moral energies during the MFM. A discussion of Lee Sŭnghun also enables us to appreciate the thread of moral energy that was spinning prior the MFM, and which blossomed into the MFM in large part due to his efforts. I close by briefly discussing another participant in the MFM, Louise Yim (Im Yŏngsin) (1899-1977). Like Yu Kwan-sun, Yim was imprisoned and tortured for her participation in the MFM. Unlike Yu, however, Yim survived and dedicated her adult life to the independence of her country and the education of its citizens. A deeper consideration of the individuals involved in the MFM can connect us in the present to their virtues and moral energies. To know these individuals is to be inspired and moved by them. Thus the stories of the individual participants in the MFM remain an important resource for international ethics.

Historical Meaning of the March First Movement and the Korean National Representatives

Kang Seong Eun

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.47-56

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The independence movement during the Japanese Military Rule during 1910s was definitively not occlusive. Movements toward Korean independence continued both within and outside the peninsula during this period, and the energy of resistance was continually accumulating. Because of capabilities for autonomy, the March First Movement could respond more efficiently to international context after the end of World War I. Compared to the May Fourth Movement of China or the Rice Riots of Japan, the March First Movement was peculiar in that it was a relatively large-scale, pan-Korean independence movement. The experience of the March First Movement for the Korean people served as the fundamental matrix of subsequent independence movements and as part and parcel of their ethno-national, historical memory, was transported through liberation from Japan’s colonial rule down to today’s unification movement. Analysis of the specific plans for independence movements and the actual activities of the Korean national representatives vis-à-vis records of examination from the police, prosecution, and each level of the judicial court as well as pilot studies demonstrates that at the outset, the plans for the movement did not envisage pan-Korean demonstrations or coalition with students. The limitations of the independence movements by the national representatives were in fact overcome by the actual conduct of the masses that began at T’apgol Park on March 1, 1919.

Development of Korean Communities in Northern Jiāndǎo in the 1910s and the March First Movement: Centered on the March Thirteenth Independence Demonstrations in the Lóngjǐng Region

Li Yongzhi

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.57-80

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The peninsula-wide March First Movement in 1919 demonstrated the cohesiveness of the Korean people and served as the opening chapter to a new history; the entire peninsula was flooded with protests for independence, and shocked by their intensity, the Japanese colonial government engaged in indiscriminate suppression. The March First Movement propelled demonstrations to be held as well in Northern Jiāndǎo (“Puk-kando”), situated north of the Tumen River.Thousands of demonstrators gathered on March 13 in Lóngjǐng to read the Declaration of Independence as part of the demonstration. Although dozens of people were injured due to the suppression by the Chinese armed forces (seventeen were killed), numerous demonstrations (currently known are fifty-eight) took place throughout Northern Jiāndǎo. A frontier region, Northern Jiāndǎo was a unique cultural space wherein Koreans who crossed into this borderland formed their own communities; with active ethno-nationalist education and religious propaganda, the region served as a nexus of ethno-national and anti-Japanese consciousness. In addition, due to the frequent exchanges between the Korean peninsula and the Maritime Province, Lóngjǐng in particular served as the cradle of ethno-national independence movements.

The Conflict between Progressive and Reactionary Literature on the March First People’s Uprising

Sŏk Kŭmch’ŏl

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.81-100

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After the March First People’s Uprising, writers that included progressive patriots, independence activists and the broader masses created progressive literature that reflected the heights of the Korean people’s patriotic fervor and the national anti-Japanese struggle. In contrast, bourgeois writers went down the path of becoming reactionaries as their disappointment, sense of failure, weariness and despair led them to a literary world that was at once both empty and degenerate. Unlike the progressive works that flow with our people’s strong will and invincible spirit that refused to surrender in the face of guns and knives and gave them the strong resolve to achieve independence for their country, these corrupted literary works were reactionary in the sense that they emphasized feelings of depression, despair and pessimism in their portrayal of human beings faced with misfortune. These works, which reflect historical fact but are in sharp contrast to the Chuch’e ideological direction, portrayal of art and characters, and description of life in both content and convention, show how sharp and complicated the confrontation between progressive and reactionary literature was in our country’s modern literary world in the time leading up to and following the March First People’s Uprising.


Courting the “Traitor to the Arab Cause”: Egyptian-North Korean Relations in the Sadat Era, 1970-1981

Balázs Szalontai

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.103-136

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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.

Beyond Learning English: North Korean Refugee College Students’ Reflective Process on English Education

Shin Sunghee, Kim Booyuel

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.137-154

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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.

Book Review

Han Suk-jung, Manjumodŏn: 60Nyŏndae Han’guk Kaebal Ch’ejeŭi Kiwŏn, [Manchuria-Modern: The Origin of South Korean Developmental Regime in the 1960s]. Seoul: Munhakkwajisŏngsa, 2016. 518 pages. ISBN: 9788932028521.

Jo Changho

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.157-163

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Yang Yoon Sun, From Domestic Women to Sensitive Young Men: Translating the Individual in Early Colonial Korea. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017. 187 pages. ISBN: 9780674976979.

Michael Buckalew

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.5 No.1 pp.165-175

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