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The Northern Region of Korea

history, identity, and culture

Sun Joo Kim is a professor of Korean history at Harvard University. She is the author of Marginality and Subversion in Korea: The Hong Kyongnae Rebellion of 1812. The other contributors are Mark E. Caprio, Donald N. Clark, Bruce Fulton, Jang Yoo-seung, Ju

Publication Year: 2010

Through the use of storytelling, linguistic analysis, and journal entries from turn-of-the-century missionaries and traveling Russians in addition to many varieties of unconventional primary sources, the contributors creatively explore unfamiliar terrain while examining the culture, identity, and regional distinctiveness of the northern region and its people.

Published by: University of Washington Press

Maps, Figures, and Tables

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

The inception of this project in 2003 under the working title “The Northern Region, Culture, and Identity in Korea” was much encouraged by my dearest colleague, Carter J. Eckert. Without his rather forceful “push,” I would not have dared to initiate this project, which I knew would take years to complete. I am most thankful for his steady support and faith in me. Professors Yi ...

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Editor’s Note

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pp. xiii

The Korean terms and names in the text are rendered in McCune-Reischauer Romanization, the Chinese terms and names in Pinyin, and the Japanese in the Hepburn system. Korean, Chinese, and Japanese names in the text, notes, and bibliography are given in Korean order (surname first, without comma), except for those authors who have published in English. The references to ...

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Introduction: Thinking Through Region

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pp. 3-17

Numerous men and women of prominence in modern Korea—Syngman Rhee, Kim Kyusik, Kim Ku, Yi Sŭnghun, Yi Kwangsu, Kim Tongin, Hwang Sunwŏn, Kim Sowŏl, Mo Yunsuk, No Ch’ŏnmyŏng, Kil Sŏnju, Ham Sŏkhŏn, Han Kyŏngjik, Mun Sŏnmyŏng, Kim Hwallan, Hwang Sindŏk, Kim Maria, Kim Okkil, Kim Chunhyŏp, Paek Nakchun, Chang Chunha, Yi Yŏnghŭi, Yi Tonghwi, ...

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1. Residence and Foreign Relations in the Peninsular Northeast During the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

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pp. 18-36

The Chosŏn government engaged in foreign relations with individuals living in Hamgyŏng Province into the late sixteenth century.1 Jurchens (K. Yŏjin, Yain) from several tribes, including the Odoli, Uryangkhad, and Hurhan Wudiha, concentrated in the peninsular northeast, particularly in Hoeryŏng and further to the north and east. Aware of the Ming China government’s ...

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2. Chosŏn-Qing Relations and the Society of P’yŏngan Province During the Late Chosŏn Period

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pp. 37-61

Envoys traveling between Chosŏn (1392–1910) and Qing (1644–1912) in the late Chosŏn period moved along a route between Seoul and Beijing that passed through P’yŏngan Province. The remaining seven provinces of the Chosŏn Dynasty did not participate in the tributary missions as actively as P’yŏngan did. The people of the southern provinces were largely excluded ...

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3. Regional Identities of Northern Literati: A Comparative Study of P’yŏngan and Hamgyŏng Provinces

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pp. 62-92

This chapter examines regional identities of literati from P’yŏngan and Hamgyŏng provinces in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The northern region was politically and culturally alienated during the Chosŏn Dynasty. Although the origins of such alienation are not clearly understood, political discrimination and social prejudice against residents of the northern region ...

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4. The Shadow of Anonymity: The Depiction of Northerners in Eighteenth-Century “Hearsay Accounts” (kimun)

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pp. 93-115

This chapter explores how intellectuals in eighteenth-century Korea perceived the people from the northern region of the Korean peninsula. To do this, I will analyze their biographical accounts. The northerners had continuously experienced social and political discrimination, especially in their pursuit of official careers. By the eighteenth century, such discrimination became ...

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5. P’yŏngan Dialect and Regional Identity in Chosŏn Korea

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pp. 116-138

The most characteristic aspect and distinguishing feature of the P’yŏngan dialect (P’yŏngan pangŏn) during the Chosŏn Dynasty and into the modern era is the fact that it failed to undergo the t (ㄷ )-palatalization (tigŭt kugaeŭmhwa) process experienced by almost all other Korean dialects. Thus, commonly cited examples are the Sino-Korean word for “train station,” Modern Standard ...

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6. Dialect, Orthography, and Regional Identity: P’yŏngan Christians, Korean Spelling Reform, and Orthographic Fundamentalism

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pp. 139-180

In an earlier publication, I attempted a detailed outline of the main tenets of the South Korean vernacular belief system, one key element of which can be summarized as follows: “When Korea finally reformed its government in the 1890s, han’gŭl,1 the indigenous script, was waiting to save the day, and Korean linguists, led by Chu Sigyŏng (1876–1914) and his students, championed its ...

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7. From Periphery to a Transnational Frontier: Popular Movements in the Northwestern Provinces, 1896–1904

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pp. 181-215

An Chunggŭn (1879–1910), a patriotic Korean youth, assassinated Itō Hirobumi (1841–1909) in 1909 and became an icon of Korean nationalism. He wrote in his memoir that he had killed Itō for “the peace of East Asia” (tong-yang p’yŏnghwa) because Itō had betrayed his promise to protect Korean independence after Japan waged war against Russia. Describing his dramatic ...

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8. Subversive Narratives: Hwang Sunwŏn’s P’yŏngan Stories

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pp. 216-233

The subversive nature of several of Hwang Sunwŏn’s (1915–2000) stories belies the conventional understanding of this major writer as a producer of pure literature and an author who was less engaged than his peers with contemporary social, political, and historical realities. By subversive I mean “tending to undermine or overturn established ideological or political structures.” ...

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9. The Missionary Presence in Northern Korea before WWII: Human Investment, Social Significance, and Historical Legacy

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pp. 234-253

The prevalence of Christianity in Korea, going back to the early twentieth century when the country was becoming known as a comparatively successful Christian mission field, is a much-discussed phenomenon. Today, Christianity has been established as a Korean religion, having adapted to the country’s spiritual environment. Although estimates vary, the percentage of Protestant ...

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10. The Northern Region of Korea as Portrayed in Russian Sources, 1860s–1913

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pp. 254-294

There is an old Korean proverb that goes “Namnam, pungnyŏ,” meaning literally “In the south—men, and in the north—women,” hence “Korean men are more handsome in the southern provinces while women are more beautiful in the north.” This particular proverb resonated in the South Korean popular imagination during the 2002 World Cup soccer championships hosted by ...

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11. Images of the North in Occupied Korea, 1905–1945

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pp. 295-326

Images that the Japanese created of Korea following Japan’s annexation of the peninsula from 1910 initially presented the territory as a single homogeneous region, rather than as a territory comprised of diverse regions. The Japanese government characterized residents as “Korean” with little consideration for regional uniqueness. This characterization followed a similar ...


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pp. 327-339


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pp. 340-377


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pp. 378-381


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pp. 382-397

E-ISBN-13: 9780295802176
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295990415

Publication Year: 2010