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1 14KOREAN STUDIES, VOL. 22 the U.N. This approach may be somewhat narrow, as their rivalry was not so limited. An integral part of their "fight for legitimacy" included a Cold War quest for recognition by countries seen as 'automatic supporters' of their opponent . South Korea was remarkably active in wooing East European communist countries during the early 1970s, and North Korean policy toward Japan was similarly aimed at winning diplomatic recognition. (In the case of some West European countries, North Korea even managed to achieve this goal). Western Europe, the USA, Japan, China, and the USSR constituted an increasingly important front for both Seoul's and Pyongyang's diplomatic campaigns. However, Gills mentions this only briefly and almost always in passing. For example, he dedicates only one page (205) to the DPRK's extremely important and rather successful "diplomatic offensive" in Western Europe in the early 1970s. This inattention is only remedied (and rather abruptly at that) at the end of the book. The last chapter, dealing with the success of the ROK "Nordpolitik," focuses a fair bit of attention on relations between South Korea and (former) communist nations, but one cannot quite agree with Gills that "South Korea's breakthrough in Eastern Europe was more of an unexpected windfall than the result of particular effort" (223). His interpretation overlooks the subtle yet persistent efforts of South Korean diplomacy, which began seeking mutual rapprochement with Moscow and Beijing as early the 1970s. Another mild criticism of an otherwise very interesting and informative book is that Korean language materials are underrepresented in the bibliography . The books and articles referred to are almost exclusively in English, despite the fact that South Korean (and Japanese) scholarship on the topics presented are extensive and definitely worthy of attention. North Korean, Chinese, and Russian publications are also of great interest, especially considering that only a tiny fraction of the relevant materials from these countries have ever been translated into English. In all, Gills' book, theoretically sound and factually rich, is without a doubt an important contribution to studies of Korean (particularly North Korean) diplomatic history. It is recommended to both specialists on North Korea and Northeast Asia. Andrei N. Lankov Australian National University Asia's Orthographic Dilemma, by William C. Hannas. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1997. 339 pp., $45.00 cloth, $21.95 paper. Sinographies—writing systems employing Chinese characters—are perhaps one of the most conspicuous characteristics of the East Asian cultural sphere. Westerners knowing little or nothing about Confucianism or Buddhism are BOOK REVIEWS115 quickly able to recognize complicated combinations of strokes as Chinese characters. A huge mythology has grown around sinographies, both in the East and in the West. On the basis of this mythology, sinographies have been claimed to be equal or even superior to Western alphabetic systems of writing. Over the last century, advocates of writing reform in East Asia have time and again engaged in a seemingly futile struggle to overthrow the sinographic colossus and refute this mythology. The myths underpinning this struggle have been described in a handful of excellent works in English by authors such as John DeFrancis and J. Marshall Unger. Wm. C. Hannas's Asia's Orthographic Dilemma (AOD) is a monograph in the antisinographic tradition established by DeFrancis and Unger. When asked to write this review, I wondered what Hannas could say that had not already been said by his predecessors. Did the world really need another diatribe against sinography? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The mythology still lingers, even among those of my fellow linguists who ought to know better. Although I had found previous arguments against sinography sufficiently convincing, many are still unaware that such arguments exist at all. Thus I began reading with the belief that, even should Hannas simply repeat points already made by others, another voice raised against sinography was better than none. It turns out that Hannas, for better and for worse, goes beyond the work predecessors. The scope of this monograph is unprecedented. In contrast to earlier antisinographic literature, which focus on the writing systems of single languages, Hannas's book covers not only Chinese and Japanese, but also Korean and Vietnamese. AOD...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1529
Print ISSN
0145-840X
Pages
pp. 114-121
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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