Imperatives of Culture
Publication Year: 2013
“Here, finally, for the first time in English we have in one volume the signature voices of many of Korea’s pioneering modernists of the colonial era in their own words and in all their stunning diversity and complexity. Together with the excellent introductions that accompany the original essays, these translations are a gift to all seeking to understand Korea in the larger context of twentieth-century modernity.” —Carter J. Eckert, Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
This volume contains translations—many appearing for the first time in the English language—of major literary, critical, and historical essays from the colonial period (1910–1945) in Korea. Considered representative of the debates among Korean and between Korean and Japanese intellectuals of the colonial period, these texts shed light on relatively unexplored aspects of colonial intellectual life and take part in current conversations around the nature of the colonial experience and its effects on post-liberation Korean society and culture.
The essays, each preceded by a scholarly introduction giving necessary historical and biographical context, represent a diverse spectrum of ideological positions and showcase the complexity of intellectual life and scholarship in colonial Korea. They allow new perspectives on an important period in Korean history, a period that continues to inform political, social, and cultural life in crucial ways across East Asia. The translations also provide an important counterpoint to the imperial archive from the perspective of the colonized and take part in the ongoing reevaluation of the colonial period and “colonial modernity” in both Western and East Asian scholarship.
Imperatives of Culture is intended in part for the increasing number of undergraduate and graduate students in Korean studies as well as for those engaged in the study of East Asia as a whole and a general, educated audience with interests in modern Korea and East Asia. The essays have been carefully selected and introduced in ways that open up avenues for comparison with analyses of colonial literature and history in other national contexts.
Christopher P. Hanscom is an assistant professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. Walter K. Lew is the author of Treadwinds: Poems and Intermedia Texts and a study on the work of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Youngju Ryu is an assistant professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan.
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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Title page, copyright Page
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Foreword by John Duncan
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It is hard to find the words to express my delight that this important an-thology is finally going to press. Some years back, Christopher Hanscom, then a PhD student in Korean literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, approached me with an idea about a project that would have our graduate students translate a number of essays by major Korean thinkers ...
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We would like to extend our gratitude first to John Duncan, who has been a tireless supporter of this project from its inception. The many hours that he put into this volume are representative of both his consistent encour-agement of young scholars and his ongoing efforts to build the field of Ko-rean studies. Robert Buswell and Jennifer Jung-Kim were also instrumen-...
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The colonial era (1910–1945) was a difficult time in Korean history. As national sovereignty was lost the imperative to clarify cultural identity be-came ever more important. The translations collected in this volume span a wide range of topics, disciplines, and ideological positions, a diversity that reflects the thought and expression characteristic of the period. These ...
Chapter 1 Yi Kwangsu Introduction and Translation by Ellie Choi
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Yi Kwangsu (1892–1950), arguably Korea’s most prominent colonial intel-lectual, was a figure whose life was inextricably linked to the changing tides of international politics as they played out in East Asia.1 He is triply famous, first for penning Heartless (Mujŏng, 1917), remembered as Korea’s first modern novel; second for being one of the student drafters of the ...
Chapter 2 Sin Paegu Introduction and Translation by Jiyeon Kim
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...“Urging the Vanguard of Social Movements to Come Forward” was pub-lished in the first and second issues of the magazine New Life (Sin saeng-hwal ). New Life was one of several leftist journals launched in the early 1920s, when, in the aftermath of the March First Movement, the Japanese colonial government established its “cultural policy” (munhwa chŏng ch’i; ...
Chapter 3 Mun Ilp’yong Introduction by Sophia Kim, Translation by Hijoo Son
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Mun Ilp’yŏng (1888–1939), pen name Hoam, was a historian, teacher, journalist, and one of the few male writers to address women’s issues for a primarily male intellectual readership during the colonial era. His writ-ings on women are thus of great interest, and yet they remain overshad-owed by Mun’s important contributions on other subjects. In many ways, ...
Chapter 4 Ch’oe Namson Introduction and Translation by Nayoung Aimee Kwon
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Along with Yi Kwangsu (1892–1950) and Hong Myŏnghŭi (1888–1968), Ch’oe Namsŏn (pen name Yuktang, 1890–1957) is considered one of the three “geniuses” of colonial Chosŏn.1 Yet, unlike Yi or Hong, Ch’oe re-ceived little attention by scholars in Korea for decades after the colonial period, despite having been one of the most prolific and prominent intel-...
Chapter 5 Chong Inbo Introduction and Translation by Seung-Ah Lee
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Chŏng Inbo (1893–1950?) was born in Seoul and was known by the pen name Tamwŏn, athough he often went by his artistic pen name, Widang. In 1910, when Chŏng was seven, Korea was annexed by Japan. That same year, he began to study under Yi Kŏnbang (1861–1939), a renowned Confucian scholar who specialized in Wang Yangming learning. Chŏng then visited ...
Chapter 6 Paek Namun Introduction and Translation by Charles R. Kim
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Paek Namun was born on February 11, 1894, in Koch’ang County, North Chŏlla Province.1 He began his formal education at the Suwŏn School of Agriculture and Forestry (Suwŏn Nongnim Hakkyo).2 After graduating in 1915, he taught for a time at the Kanghwa Public Normal School (Kanghwa Kongnip Pot’ong Hakkyo) before resigning in 1918 to resume his studies. ...
Chapter 7 Kang Kyongae Introduction and Translation by Sonja M. Kim
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Introduction: Crossing Borders—Manchuria, Class, and Gender in the Unlike other well-known women writers of her time, Kang Kyŏngae (1906–1944) came from a humble socio-economic background. Born April 20, 1906, in Songhwa, Hwanghae Province, she was the daughter of a farm laborer who died while Kang was three. Two years later, her mother ...
Chapter 8 Kim Kirim Introduction by Mickey Hong and Walter K. Lew, Translation by Walter K. Lew
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Poet, critic, and literary theorist Kim Kirim (1908–?; given name Kim Inson; pen names G. W., P’yŏnsŏkch’on) played a major role in the di-rections taken by modern Korean poetry from the 1930s onward. These included developments away from what Kim saw as the previous de-cade’s vague sentimentalism and self-absorption and toward new con-...
Chapter 9 Ch’oe Chaeso Introduction and Translation by Christopher P. Hanscom
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Ch’oe Chaesŏ (1908–1964),1 a well-known and prolific literary critic, grad-uated from Keijō Imperial University (now Seoul National University) with a degree in English literature in 1931, the same year that he began publishing literary criticism.2 Ch’oe completed graduate school at Keijō Imperial University in 1933, was appointed a lecturer there, and contin-...
Chapter 10 Kim Namch’on Introduction and Translation by Youngju Ryu
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Born Kim Hyosik in South P’yŏngan Province, Kim Namch’ŏn (1911–1955?) was a literary critic and fiction writer best known for his active involvement in the KAPF (Korea Artista Proleta Federacio; Chosŏn P’ŭrollet’aria Yesul Tongmaeng). In the span of some twenty years be-tween his first published essay on the bolshevization of cinema (1930) and ...
Chapter 11 Kim Tongni Introduction and Translation by Chiyoung Kim
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Kim Tongni (1913–1995), the author of “The True Meaning of Pure Lit-erature” and “A Personal Opinion on Writing Literature,” is among the best known of Korean fiction writers. With such widely read works as “The Shaman Painting” (Munyŏdo, 1936), “Legend of Yellow Earth” (Hwangt’ogi, 1939), and “Post-Horse Curse” (Yŏngma, 1948), he created ...
Chapter 12 Son Chint’ae Introduction and Translation by Mickey Hong
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The preface to his seminal work, Introduction to the History of the Korean Nation (Chosŏn minjoksa kaeron, 1948), is Son Chint’ae’s manifesto for a new Korean history free from what he repeatedly criticizes as the mon-archism (wangsil chuŭi ) and aristocentrism (kwijok chuŭi ) of previous historiography. A pioneer of Korean folklore history, Son Chint’ae (pen ...
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Ellie Choi, an assistant professor in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University, is an intellectual historian of modern Korea during the Japanese empire. Her dissertation (PhD, Harvard University, 2009), “Space and National Identity: Yi Kwangsu’s Vision of Korea during the Japanese Empire,” ...
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Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Korean Classics Library: Historical Materials