The purpose of this paper is to review major achievements in historical studies of Koryŏ-Mongol relationship in the 13-14th centuries made by Korean researchers so far, and explore the proper way the researchers should take in the future. The trend of historical studies on Koryŏ-Mongol relationship in Korea can be divided into three following periodical categories: (1) The period during 1960s-80s when the emphasis on nationalistic historical consciousness was rampant in the overall Korean history academic world, (2) the period from the late 1980s to 1990s when criticism on the bias embedded in the nationalistic interpretation of history was raised, and the effort to understand the history of Koryŏ-Mongol (Yüan) relationship in structural perspective was made, and (3) the period since 2000 when the researchers tried to explain Koryŏ-Mongol (Yüan) relationship in the most objective way by actively adopting the results of researches on Mongol history made both in Korea and in overseas. Among those categories, as “the effort to understand the relationship in structural perspective” was made to eliminate the subjective elements in the nationalistic perspective, the first two categories can be defined as “rise and fall of the nationalistic perspective,” and the third period can be defined as “the appearance of the approaches in world historical perspective” which tried to understand the nature of the relationship in the world order centered around the Mongol Empire in the 13-14th centuries. This paper examined the overall trends in historical studies made on Koryŏ-Mongol (Yüan) relationship inside Korea since the 1960s, and categorized them into two groups: studies which employed a structural perspective, and those whose notion were based upon global historical orders. Also added are a few comments on recent studies made since 2000 in the conclusion.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Koryŏ people witnessed numerous “new” visits to the Korean peninsula. Central or West Asian traders, who were experiencing troubles in their business with their Chinese and Mongol counterparts, began to come to Koryŏ for a variety of reasons. They came to secure commodities that could be sellable to various Asian regions, to bide time to evade imperial debt collections and horde assets required for foreign expeditions in the future, or even acquire necessary items ahead of their long-range journeys on a ship full of Mongol slaves headed for West Asian markets. In the process, Koryŏ inadvertently became part of the global trade network, and even representatives from India and Iran knocked upon doors of the Koryŏ court. Witnessing all these new visits, the Koryŏ government became interested in devising a foreign trade policy of its own, and those efforts proceeded on two fronts: Creating a human network that would facilitate the kings’ and the government’s future endeavors to generate profits in their upcoming foreign investments, and Establishing a production mechanism to create export items with finer qualities and competitiveness. Kings like Ch’ung’ryŏl, Ch’ungsŏn, Ch’ungsuk, and Ch’ung’hye all promoted the Koryŏ people’s dealing with the outer world.
Mongol’s intervention in the succession process of the throne of the nearby states was actually an act of officially “installing” kings and lords in those perimeter states. It was performed as a formality within East Asian international relations, but was also based upon Mongol traditions. This paper has shown that Mongol intervention in the succession of the Koryŏ throne was one of those examples. How it changed the dynamics inside Koryŏ is observed in this article. As the relationship with the Mongol emperor as well as the imperial family became more and more important to the Koryŏ king’s royal authority and the succession of the Koryŏ throne which would only be completed by the aforementioned “installation” process, traditional blood ties within the Koryŏ family becomes less and less crucial. The Koryŏ T’eja figure used to obtain the throne and ensure the stability of its own royal authority based on traditional blood ties, but in this period the T’eja seat itself lost its prior political and meaning, and the kešig system replaced its functions. These changes also affected the Koryŏ king’s royal authority, and the existing Koryŏ hierarchy based on blood relations was severely distorted. The political center (of Koryŏ) itself was shattered, and then created was a structure where the king was unable to control other power subjects. The king was no longer at the top of that hierarchy. The emperor was. In sum, in order to adequately observe this time period, we need to consider that the relationship formed between Koryŏ and the empire was a result of Mongol’s own relationship-forming method. We should be aware that Mongol Empire’s blatant intervention in the Koryŏ throne succession process was neither impulsive nor random, but only occurred as a systemically determined decision. What should be noted is that this caused the literal “relativization” of the Koryŏ royal authority, which directly affected the status of the Koryŏ king and his vassals, meaning of concepts and systems concerning the Koryŏ throne itself, and the relationship between political powers, in an irrevocable fashion.
This article examines the status of the Koryŏ king in the 10-14th centuries, in terms of the Korea-China relations, through a number of diplomatic systems and elements such as investiture titles, investiture documents, king’s clothing, seals, the tributary ceremony, etc. Through this, I tried to explain that Korea-China relations as well as international principles have changed from an aristocratic order to a bureaucratic order, and for the Koryŏ kings the critical point was when they were ordered to serve not only as Koryŏ kings but also as ministers of the branch secretariat in a Yüan provincial government. The changes that ensued can be felt in many other areas. In the early Koryŏ periods, diplomatic contacts were made between China’s emperor and the Koryŏ king, and Koryŏ king was invested, according to an aristocratic order. Yet during the Yüan imperial period, Koryŏ kings began to assume actual imperial posts, which added a layer upon their existing title of nobility. Koryŏ kings came to exchange diplomatic documents not only with the Yüan emperor, but also with imperial offices. And the following Koryŏ-Ming relations show the existing aristocratic order that had served as a defining factor for the Koryŏ king has disappeared, with only the bureaucratic system left to define the Koryŏ king in a new way. Ming emperor treated the Koryŏ and Chosŏn kings just as if they were part of the Ming order and realm. These changes are also reflective of the one which was going on inside China. The aristocratic order that had been the controlling hierarchy since the ancient times, changed gradually to a bureaucratic order. Such trend reached its height at the end of the 14th century, which was the early years of Ming.
This article deals with one of Yun Heunggil’s (b. 1942) novels, The House of Twilight (1970). The purpose of this article is to depict the child narrator’s process of initiation during the Korean War (1950-1953) in relation with two particular places in Jeongeup, a city in North Jeolla Province. Accompanied by a child named Gyeongju, the child narrator pays visits to an iron foundry and Gyeongju’s tavern house. Against the backdrop of these two spatial settings, the narrator interacts for the first time with the traumatic social impact of the War. He is introduced to the reality of death by Gyeongju’s recollection of her family’s trauma and through initiation into her sadistic games. Further analyzed in the article, these places, along with their ambivalent connotations, anticipate the narrator’s maturation.
We explore how Korean media describe male and female politicians in high-profile elections. In western societies, there are competing views regarding media coverage of male and female politicians. The conventional view is that biased media coverage subjects women to gender stereotypes regarding the traits candidates exhibit and the issues on which women are competent to legislate. Yet, recent research contends that gendered differences are becoming less pronounced, and some studies even demonstrate that female politicians get more media coverage in areas that are stereotypically seen as masculine issues. The 2012 presidential election and multiple recent Seoul mayoral elections offer a unique opportunity to explore media coverage of male and female Korean politicians. Using a novel dataset of media coverage from the top five Korean newspapers, spanning four high-profile elections, we evaluate the presence of gendered media bias in Korean mayoral and presidential elections. Our original data analysis uncovers an interesting finding that female candidates consistently receive more coverage than their male competitors on stereotypically masculine traits and issue areas such as politics, economics, and international issues. This research represents one of the first attempts to examine the gendered nature of media coverage in Korea.
Chooyang, Han Gyeongjik was one of the most outstanding pastors in the history of the Korean Protestant Church. He was a famously known clergyman not only as a founder of the renowned “Youngrak Presbyterian Church,” but also as an organizer for building up modern “Republic of Korea” by participating in the U.S. military Government (Sep. 1945-Aug. 1948), right after the “Independence” from Japanese colonialism, and the 1st to 3rd Administrations of the Republic of Korea (Aug. 1948-Oct. 1972). From time to time, his argumentation, the so-called “New nation under the Christian belief,” raised hot controversial debates on the relationship between politics and religion. However, his main ideas for building up a new nation gave much influence to seek an appropriate political ethics in the “newly- born country.” The writer discusses the ideas of Chooyang, concerning the “building a new nation” through his address, sermons, books, and interviews at first. How were his ideas on the political practice reflected in the living political world? What was a limitation of his ideological suggestions in a real political formation? In what scope and extent, was his assertion adopted? Through these discussions, we could come to have a more concrete understanding on the “Establishment of a Christian Nation for Modern Korea.”
World literature is a historical concept that can only be established and practiced through translation into the native language. Translations in East Asia are accompanied with intentional misreading or unintentional misunderstandings. World literature as imagined in Korea, China, and Japan is neither singular nor politically equal. Problematizing the spirit of the age and imagination of translations in East Asia in the first half of the 20th century provides new perspectives that the methodologies of comparative literature or translation studies cannot capture. Translations of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and “The Last Lesson” by Alphonse Daudet are a great example for demonstrating how contemporary European literature is incorrectly interpreted and reproduced in East Asia’s historical context. On the other hand, the difference of viewpoints between The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck and Moment in Peking by Yutang Lin is produced through translations by the ideological transformation of China as the other and East Asian self-representation. Translation is a cultural praxis and effect that actualizes “East Asian World Literature” and brings it to historical movements.