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168The Journal ofKorean Studies A second notable element of this book is its consideration of the transnational cultural currents of East Asian civilization, as opposed to local cultural phenomena. The Korean embassies, as a symbol of the history of peaceful diplomatic and cultural relations between Korea and Japan, were disregarded for a while because ofthe Meiji government's anti-Chosön policies . Indeed, beginning in the second halfofthe nineteenth century, the long history of cultural transmission from the continent and the peninsula to the archipelago came to an end and, conversely, modern culture from Japan landed in Korea and China. In the larger picture, exchange among the three countries is rarely that of one-way transmission and reception. In the arts of a specific period or of a specific region, it is uncertain what is indigenous and what is alien. Rather, there are only fusions arising from the interaction between domestic elements and foreign ones. Korea's role as a mediator or pivot between China and Japan is not negligible and, in this sense, the Korean embassies and the artistic exchange that ensued may give us a new view of the history ofEast Asian painting. In conclusion, through this thorough monograph, Jungmann opens paths to a new understanding ofartistic exchange among Korea, Japan, and China. Most Japanese and Western scholars have emphasized the importance ofChinese influence, overlooking the Korean contribution. Korean scholars have mentioned the role of Korea but have not traced the process more closely. It remains unnoticed how promptly Japanese nanga painters transformed the Southern style into their own tradition. Painters as Envoys, therefore, makes a significant contribution to the field and lays the groundwork for further investigation ofthis subject. Reviewed by Insoo Cho Korean National University of Arts, Seoul Living Dangerously in Korea: The Western Experience, 1900- ' 1950 by Donald N. Clark. Norwalk, CT: EastBridge, 2003. 455 pp. $29.95 (paper) Upon learning that a prominent historian, Donald N. Clark, has published a book recounting the experience of Westerners in Korea in the first half of the twentieth century, readers of this journal might respond: That's nice, but so what? After all, with so much about Korean history and culture yet to be examined, why devote precious energies to tracing the lives of relatively few Western residents? The answer is as simple as it is surprising: anyone who studies and cares about Korea will find in this remarkable book much more than what appears on the surface. It is an inspired work ofhistory, with Book Reviews169 extended microlevel details of personal experiences set within the macrolevel context ofmajor events, the significance ofwhich is skillfully analyzed. In fact, the book is a hybrid—part popular history and part academic study, an effective assignment for undergraduate Korean history courses as well as a revelatory work of scholarship. It is, ultimately, a gripping and accessible account, a "great read." The scholarly contributions of Living Dangerously in Korea are multilayered . First, the book offers a series of fascinating human-interest stories set in Korea, of both Koreans and Westerners. Second, it is a tale of extraordinary encounters, and by extension, of the Korean response, for the first time, to a radically different civilization, with wide-ranging implications for longer-term patterns extending to both the pre-twentieth-century and postKorean War eras. Third, it is an account of Western, not Japanese, influence on Korean society. Hence, it encourages a reconsideration ofmodernity, which in other colonial settings was substantially about a process of Westernization that in Korea was supposedly filtered through Japan. Fourth, the book contributes to answering one ofthe central questions ofmodern Korean history: how did Christianity so spectacularly succeed? Finally, Living Dangerously in Korea provides wonderful insights about life in Korea in the early twentieth century, richly documented with both primary and secondary sources.1 That most ofthese achievements were not explicitly stated as goals accentuates the subtle effect ofthe masterful prose. The reader, immersed in the narrative, can be forgiven for losing track ofthe aggregate significance. The reader will also likely come away with the sense that the book is about Protestant missionaries, since most ofthe four hundred pages (or so it seems) are devoted to following them...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1665
Print ISSN
0731-1613
Pages
pp. 168-175
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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