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.
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.
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.
The Chosŏnwangjosillok (Annals of Chosŏn Dynasty; Sillok) not only contains the history of our ancestors, but also covers a broad spectrum of different fields, ranging from diplomatic relations with neighboring countries and economic issues such as taxation and land, to natural sciences such as astronomy and meteorology. The value of the Sillok as a historical record is already well recognized even outside of Korea. Unfortunately, the Sillok was written in hanmun, thus translation is inevitable. This thesis is indeed about the translation process of the Sillok, explaining, using concrete examples, various principles and careful considerations that need to be adhered to during translation. The first principle in translating the Sillok is keeping to the original as much as possible. However, there are some problems inherent within the Sillok. There are many parts that only experts of that field can understand, such as science or music. Furthermore, the fact that, due to conflict between different political factions, revised annals exist also has to be taken into consideration. The next principle is that the Sillok must be translated using pure Korean and standard Korean language rules. Rather than mechanically transliterating the texts by simply adding Korean postpositional particles to hancha and hanmun-style expressions, the translator must be able to maintain characteristics of the original text, at the same time allowing people of the modern era to read and understand it. But one must also remain vigilant to make sure that the translation does not excessively modernize the text, thereby diluting the meaning of historical sentences. Translation is a process of rendering a text in a language different from the original. In order to be able to translate accurately, the translator has to have sufficient understanding of the original language. The major difference between Korean hanmun and Chinese hanmun is that the former contains idu. Although hanmun originally came from China, it changed according to Korean circumstances,leading to the development of Korean-style hanmun. It adapted to Korean culture but could also easily combine with Chinese hanmun. In regard to the use of idu, hancha words that are unique to Korean hanmun are particularly important. These characteristics are all reflected in the Sillok. Therefore, how to properly translate Korean-style hanmun sentences is very important in the translation process. This thesis explains these characteristics using concrete examples like names of places and people. Various methodologies are required in translating a national heritage such as the Chosŏnwangjosillok to befit the modern era while maintaining its uniqueness. The most important thing is not to damage the original. The paper looks into various considerations that must be made in order to render a good translation, in order to contribute to future attempts to translate the Sillok.
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.