Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era

Imperatives of CultureImperatives of Culture: Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era, edited by Christopher P. Hanscom, Walter K. Lew, and Youngju Ryu, 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 and between Korean and Japanese thinkers of the colonial period, these texts shed light on relatively unexplored aspects of 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.

Imperatives of Culture is a landmark in bringing important Korean texts from the colonial period into the English-speaking world. Intellectuals and writers who were central to debates over Korean identity and culture—which in the 1930s and 1940s the Japanese were trying to eradicate—illumine with insight and often brilliance the dilemmas of an ancient nation captured by a curiously ‘late’ (or late-coming) twentieth-century imperialism. These essays also cast their reflection down to the present, as divided Korea enters its seventh decade. This book rewards multiple readings and will be most useful in the classroom.” —Bruce Cumings, Chair, Department of History, University of Chicago

Korean Classics Library: Historical Materials
May 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3821-8 / $45.00 (CLOTH)

First Volume in a New Series: Korean Classics Library

Salvation through DissentA popular teaching that combined elements of Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, folk beliefs, and Catholicism, Tonghak (Eastern Learning) is best known for its involvement in a rebellion that touched off the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and accelerated Japanese involvement in Korea. Through a careful reading of sources—including religious works and biographies many of which are translated and annotated here into English for the first time—Salvation through Dissent: Tonghak Heterodoxy and Early Modern Korea, by George L. Kallander, traces Tonghak’s rise amidst the debates over orthodoxy and heterodoxy in Choson Korea (1392–1910) and its impact on religious and political identity from 1860 to 1906. It argues that the teachings of founder Ch’oe Cheu (1824–1864) attracted a large following among rural Koreans by offering them spiritual and material promises to relieve conditions such as poverty and disease and provided consolation in a tense geo-political climate.

“In this refreshingly original study of Tonghak, Kallander dismantles some of the myths that have sprung up about Korea’s first indigenous organized religion. He situates Tonghak in its historical context, reading the earliest Tonghak texts the way they were meant to be read when they were first composed, rather than the way they have been interpreted by latter generations. Moreover, in a departure from much previous scholarship on Tonghak, he accurately analyzes Tonghak as more religious than political in origin. This work is a significant contribution to our understanding of both Korean religion and Korean history in the nineteenth century.” —Don Baker, University of British Columbia

Korean Classics Library: Philosophy and Religion
January 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3716-7 / $45.00 (CLOTH)