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Kim lays bare the festering problems plaguing the Korean economy through numerous data charts and graphs. Reforming the financial sector and making the rigid labor market more flexible are also needed to get the Korean economic structure back on track. Neoliberalism Versus Productive Welfare, an incisive analysis of the Korean economy fraught with problems stemming from neoliberalism.

The sudden influx of books on neoliberalism is a reminder of its relentless negative impact on not only Korea but also the entire world. Schools Tell Stories As the Harry Potter series demonstrated masterfully, schools are a crucial treasure trove of creativity for writers. Schools, in fact, play the role of a map through which readers can better understand and navigate the broader society. A number of books whose themes center prominently upon real and fictional schools have recently been published in Korea.

An anonymous message gets posted on an Internet homepage of a private elementary school, revealing a student who has secured admission through irregular means. Several characters offer their own interpretations on what really happened concerning the student who allegedly fell into the trap of corruption, which is a striking storytelling technique. As such, Ha depicts different perspectives in a way that discloses the secrets children hold and touches on truths as well as lies.

Welcome to Our Ark by Koo Byungmo is a sci-fi youth novel set in the future when humans struggle with fallout from the devastating impact of a giant meteorite. The clash between the massive rock and the Earth spawns new diseases and climate change. The story concerns a high school in Ark City whose brave teenage students fight against opponents to destroy the failed system. Diet School by Kim Hye-jung revolves around a specialized camp dedicated to helping children fight obesity. This young adult novel brings to life characters who willingly sign on to the program, only to realize they are obsessed with their own body image.

The author realistically and comically portrays characters confronting the unjust practices of the school while they plot their escape. Also notable is that Kim avoids ending the novel with a trite conclusion about the importance of inner beauty. Noxon City, a symbol of prestige and the upper class, is the virtual venue and NMV hits only children whose time and space is tightly controlled and manipulated.

What is the cure for the disease? The fantasy story, though not set in a school, offers critical insight into school-related issues and urban civilization. Oh Seung-min Hankyoreh Publishing Co. Jung Ji-hye Munhakdongne Publishing Corp. The Adaptation of the Korean Historical Drama Offering escape from the present by projecting fiction onto the past, contemporary costume dramas continue to intrique audienced.

Characteristics and Development The historical drama genre is a dramatic reinterpretation of historical events or the lives of historical figures. Most enjoy great popularity because while the events are based on historical facts, the stories are told from a modern perspective that ref lects pressing issues today. Such public interest in historical dramas can be traced to the fact that the fewer prospects people have in the future and the harder life is in the present, the greater the desire is to look back to the past.

The historical drama as a genre takes full advantage of this aspect of history. The historical drama invites viewers to engage with characters from the past but offers a for ward-looking perspective. This was not always the case, however. In the infancy of the genre in the s, historical dramas were used by the government to promote national solidarity. In the s, however, historical drama turned towards unofficial records of intrigue and romance within the royal palace for subject material.

It was not until the mids that the historical drama became more like a dialogue between the past and the present. This was also the period when historical dramas began to have stories focusing on the everyday lives of ordinary people. This change in subject material to stories that reimagined the daily lives of everyday people coincided with how historical research in academia was changing at the time. Historical dramas underwent a massive change in the s. So-called faction became the most popular style of drama as writers began to fictionalize historical material. The historical drama in the form of faction has continued to evolve, embracing an open-ended point of view of history as opposed to the rigid, didactic style of storytelling that was de rigueur for the genre in the past.

The Days of Sungkyunkwan Confucian Students 2 vols. The Immortal Yi Sun-shin 8 vols. Kim Tak-hwan, Goldenbough Publishing Co. As faction becomes the norm for historical dramas, the importance of historical accuracy becomes less of an issue with its viewers. Korean historical dramas have thus expanded beyond the bare bones of fact to accommodate flights of fancy. Adaptations and Evolution The change in Korean historical drama, from propaganda and historical fact to the imagined, is closely related to the change in Korean historical fiction.

The same kinds of variations of the genre, from straightforward historical novels sticking close to the facts, to popular historical novels based on alternative histories, are to be found in Korean historical dramas. Korean historical fiction as a genre underwent a massive change as the appetite for stories with a strong fictional element increased over traditional historical novels. Special Section of historical fiction gained popularity and were made into television dramas. Dong Eui Bo Gam, about the life of Heo Jun, author of the seminal encyclopedia of Korean medicine, the Dongeuibogam, played a major role in shifting the focus of Korean historical dramas away from the political.

It was serialized in the magazine Ilyo Geongang but was left unfinished when its author passed away. Adaptations of historical dramas have also changed. In the past adaptations mostly stayed faithful to the source materials, but now bold changes are being made to central motifs and plot structures. Song of the Sword, winner of the Dong-in Literary.

Award, offered a detailed portrait of Yi Sun-shin both as a military genius crucial to the survival of Korea and as a human being struggling with individual and social expectations. The Immortal Yi Sun-shin is an epic novel that reinvents Yi Sun-shin as a man of flesh and bone who adapted to the circumstances history threw his way rather than as the unrealistically idealized hero usually depicted in history.

These examples show how historical fiction using the romance and detective genres has played an important part in the evolution of the Korean historical drama. The novel The Days of Sungkyunkwan Confucian Students is a lighthearted account of a young woman who disguises herself as her younger brother and takes the national exam to study at Sungkyunkwan, the royal university. The novel The Deep-rooted Tree deals with the mysterious deaths of scholars from the Hall of Worthies at the time the 28 letters of the Korean alphabet were created. Its adaptation sticks to this basic plot of solving serial murders of scholars at the royal palace right before King Sejong is set to introduce the new alphabet.

Unlike the original, however, the television adaptation added material related to the childhoods of the king and the slave Kang Chae-yoon, in order to build up the relationship between them. Korean historical drama as a genre has continuously evolved since the early s with the adaptation of popular novels as source material. Popular historical fiction has played a major part in the transformation of Korean historical drama from propaganda to faction. From Didactic Tool to Literary Entertainment Children love reading about the past but history books are often dry and uninspired.

A new trend that puts storytelling above facts is keeping children and their parents satisfied. Korean History Letters 5 vols. Young Korean readers are further discouraged by the countless dates and terms they have to memorize at school. The easiest way to convince parents to buy these pricey sets is to emphasize their educational value. Baik Dae-seoung Prunsoop Publishing Co. Korean history is taught for one year in the fifth grade, in a social studies class. Four thousand years of history must be crammed into this small window, posing a considerable challenge for elementary school teachers.

Their task is further complicated by a sharp ideological divide in Korean society, where the writing of history textbooks is often a polemic issue. Writers of history textbooks try to avoid clashing over warring points of view, so the text is usually as neutral as possible. Facts are stripped down to the bare bones, which unfortunately is not the most exciting way to tell a story or engage and excite readers.

Keeping this in mind, it is all the more remarkable that Korean History Letters by Park Eun-bong manages to condense the entirety of Korean history into five books and still be successful. The series is written in the form of letters, making the text much more accessible than the neutral voice usually adopted by textbook writers. In History Letters from Mom, Park once again uses the letter form to great effect. Park has the perspective that everyone deserves to know facts that are often downplayed or omitted from history textbooks; it is easy to see why the series became a bestseller.

While addressing the reader directly, he manages to treat issues of contention with sensitivity. As a whole the series overcomes many of the limitations of elementary school history textbooks without sacrificing information or accessibility. It is precisely this hybrid nature of the genre that makes historical fiction an attractive yet challenging genre for writers. Writing stories set in the past is, in a way, as open to possibility as writing about the future. Letters from Chojeong-ni by Bae Yu-an is about the creation of the Korean alphabet Hangeul, but instead of giving a central role to King Sejong, the creator of Hangeul, it employs a young fictional protagonist named Jang-un.

The result is that historical fiction becomes that much more accessible to the reader, thanks to this child protagonist. By combining the story of Jang-un with the creation of the Korean alphabet, this book was the first to prove that historical fiction could work without a historical protagonist. This book is about the religious persecution of Korean Catholics from the late 18th to 19th century, but historical events are never mentioned by name. Readers are introduced to the history of Catholicism in Korea through the protagonist Jang-.

The reader experiences history along with Jang-i. Recent publications in the genre take this approach even further. The only direct historical reference in the book is when the year-old protagonist briefly meets Jeon Bong-jun, the leader of the Donghak Peasant Revolution. Even then only a few clues identify him as Jeon Bong-jun, recognizable only by readers already familiar with the history of Donghak.

And the letter he painstakingly deciphers one Chinese character at a time reveals that Jeon is in grave danger. In the past this kind of story would have been narrated by Jeon or another member of the revolution, making for a straightforward but not very entertaining read, but this book appeals to young readers by combining history with adventure and intrigue. On the other side of the spectrum are books like the young adult publication Bookworm by Ahn So-young. This nonfiction title depicts real figures and events. What is interesting is how Ahn applies a literary approach to nonfiction, describing the lives of these historical figures in detail, sometimes framing events for dramatic impact rather than in their actual chronological order.

They were so poor they sometimes lacked food, but spared no expense to procure the books they wanted. Another thing the friends had in common was that they were excluded from the powerful elite in Joseon because of their lack of family connections or rank. Ahn is credited with pioneering a new genre in her treatment of these historical figures and their lives. Her latest YA book, The Three Friends of the Year of Gapsin is a narrative about the Gapsin Coup of told from the point of view of progressive coup leaders Kim Okgyun, Hong Young-sik, and Park Young-hyo, whose attempt to overthrow the ruling monarchy and bring in reform was thwarted in a matter of just three days.

Children are the ones who would benefit from reading history and historical fiction in forms that stimulate their imagination and allow them to engage with history as if it were literature. In conclusion, history is a form of fairy tale for young readers. Of course history should not be confused with oral literary forms such as folklore, legend, and myth. However, it must be noted that while the adult reader is more concerned with historical fact, the young reader accepts historical fact as if it were a story.

The Samguk Yusa Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms , for instance, is a work of history yet can be read for its entertainment value that is very much in the style of fairy tales. For young children, whose concept of time differs from adults, even events from the Korean War that took place in the midth century are remote enough to feel like ancient tales.

This is the most fascinating place to be when the child is starting to learn history. Historical dramas are so popular that whenever Koreans picture a famous historical figure, the first face that comes to mind is that of the actor who played that person on television. By empathizing with the difficulties faced by people of the past, people find the key to unlocking their own struggles.

Historical novels are as educational as they are entertaining. Readers who are not satisfied with what can be gained through textbooks alone learn how to analyze history from their own perspective. The other charm of historical novels is that they offer up not just simple historical facts but enable readers to enjoy the language, customs, and rich cultural details of other times. Particularly in this era of one-source multi-use media, the form of storytelling that holds the widest popular appeal is the historical novel. It has taken center stage in this era of infotainment—the compelling combination of information and entertainment.

Likewise, in the Korean TV drama industry, historical novels are becoming a very important source of story ideas. Prior to the s as well, there were many historical novels in Korea. But if they were ordinarily shelved as popular fiction, the current batch of historical novels is blurring the lines between popular and literary fiction. Based on the life story of Yi Sun-shin , Song of the Sword was recognized for its simultaneous popular appeal and literary value.

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Black Flower tells the story of the first Korean emigrants to Mexico, who were sold to Henequen agave cactus plantations a hundred years ago. Black Flower showed that historical novels do not just stop at being old stories. Kim Young-ha cast off the antiquated speaking style associated with historical dramas and vividly depicted historical figures by reinterpreting them through a modern frame. Novels can create synergy with TV dramas, even when they are not directly related to each other, simply by virtue of sharing the same central characters. It was a rare case in the Korean publishing world of a successful television show making a novel successful, rather than the other way around.

When a historical novel is widely loved by the public, it increases the numbers of writers who specialize solely in writing historical novels. One such success story is Lee Jungmyung. Through such works as The Deep-rooted Tree and The Painter of Wind, Lee succeeded at grafting the strengths of the historical novel with the strengths of the mystery novel.

The Painter of Wind was based on modern speculation over whether the famous Korean genre painter, Shin Yun-bok, was a woman. Also, The Deep-rooted Tree, was made into a television show that became wildly popular. By grafting onto mass media, Korean historical novels are successfully reinventing themselves. The Deep-rooted Tree 2 vols. There are many reasons why Koreans are crazy about Yi Sunshin. He was not only an extraordinary naval commander but a charming person as well. The courage he showed in defeating hordes of Japanese invaders with a ridiculously small fleet when the country was on the verge of being lost gave immense hope to the Korean people.

This is because the novel describes the figure most beloved by Koreans in vivid detail, as if he were alive today. With the loss of his beloved third son in battle, bereaved of his mother during the war, stripped of his official post, and slandered and thrown in jail despite winning the war—Yi Sun-shin quietly endured a level of suffering that no person should endure, all while defeating hundreds of ships with a mere dozen of his own and becoming a victor who would go down in history.

King Jeong-jo, the visionary reformer. Lim Geok-jeong, leader of a peasant rebellion. Hwang Jini, the famous gisaeng. Jeong Yak-yong, the great philosopher. These are the great figures Koreans encounter most often in historical novels. Black Flower features none of the historical figures most known to Koreans. In the Russo-Japanese War was in full roar. Korean migrant laborers boarded the British ship, S. Ilford, bound for Mexico. The suffering those 1, migrant laborers endured in that foreign land is known by many through the news and movies. But Black Flower goes beyond the usual humdrum adventure story.

It sheds light on the many desires felt by priests and shamans, aristocrats and royalty, and court eunuchs and other figures that had not yet been completely modernized. They endured cruel labor exploitation on the Henequen plantations, but each came to live different lives. They each took their own path, whether that was participating in the Mexican Revolution or founding a new anarchist state known as New Korea. But that is not always the case. Though there was no official guarantee that women could enter society, there were always cracks that could be taken advantage of.

Mishil was an extraordinary heroine who had royalty and noblemen alike wrapped around her finger. She had both feminine charm and political charisma, and skillfully manipulated the social hierarchy of the Silla dynasty even while surpassing its limitations.


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Most female protagonists of existing historical novels are figures like Hwang Jini, Queen Inhyeon, and Nongae, who are already given a great deal of attention in textbooks. But Mishil won readers over because of her novelty. She has been reinterpreted by modern readers as an image of a woman who is much more refined than modern women. Author Kim Byul-ah describes the Mishil she created as follows: He, King Sejong the Great, is one of the historical figures most respected by Koreans.

Not only did he invent Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, he also worked hard to improve the welfare of the common people and to develop a variety of scientific equipment, including a sundial and water clock. But most Koreans only learn about this king from test answer sheets. Through the format of the mystery novel, King Sejong the Great is explored beyond that of the model king that we have always known. Lee offers the following interesting definition for historical novels: It is a great and entertaining wrong answer, of course. There can only be one right answer, but hundreds of wrong answers.

So are those hundreds of wrong answers useless? Historians Shed New Light on the Past While history contains facts, the stories based on those facts can be as rich and varied as the events themselves.


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  5. It is performed by a sorikkun, a singer who sings and tells a story, and a gosu, a drummer who keeps rhythm. The longest piece of pansori can last for six to seven hours. The singer not only sings and tells a story while playing the roles of different characters but also acts as a commentator. Pansori is a storytelling where the Korean oral tradition lives on.

    The fact that one person can lead a story for six to seven hours that makes people cry, laugh, applaud, and cheer shows the power of a story better than anything else. Koreans are experienced in the power of a story told through pansori. Professional storytellers were active until the midth century in Korea, and usually told interesting old tales at places like provincial markets and received money for it.

    Though they were reading an existing text, they attempted to modify the content to make it more interesting. Unbound by the printed text, they created vivid stories of their own. With such a tradition of pansori and storytellers, the interest in narrative and storytelling has been rapidly growing in Korea.

    Storytelling is often emphasized when a cultural relic is developed, a museum is opened, or an exhibition is held. Many local governments try to create a brand based on their historical figures, tourist sites, local products, and relics through storytelling. Reading History with Literature,. The reason for the recent emphasis on storytelling in Korea is that storytelling is widely recognized as a core element in cultural content and the tourism industry. By having a special story related to the place. Interest in storytelling is not limited to industries in Korea.

    The author points out that there is no such thing as percent fact. Historical documents referring to the recorded facts from the past and history are based on research, however, historical documents based on percent fact do not exist. History is a story about the things that have already taken place. A historian uses his imagination to add a plot to the documents from the past and make a story.

    It is therefore meaningless to ask whether history is fact or fiction. Kim Gi-bong focuses on popular historical dramas and films in Korea. Historical dramas push into the gap between historical facts and use imagination to overturn the context. This is the storytelling of history. Historical dramas present fictional content that are different from historical facts but sometimes they are considered as more persuasive and acceptable. Is such fictional content dangerous. No, argues Kim Gi-bong.

    It is storytelling that makes the meaning of life more colorful and rich. The author dreams about a universe of stories where many stories harmonize. In the field of Korean history, there is also Lee Dukil, a writer who has attracted much attention and popularity in historical nonfiction. After receiving a PhD in history, Lee left academia and wrote history books for the general public. He shows particular strength in focusing on one person and his era and deals with complex topics in an accessible style.

    In Song Siyeol and His Country, which became very popular when it was published in , Lee reinterpreted Song Si-yeol , respected as one of the best Confucian scholars during the Joseon dynasty, as one who rejected change and was intent on protecting the interests of his faction. Furthermore, he argued that Joseon began to wane as the faction led by Song Si-yeol continued to stay in power. His argument was again met with strong counterargument.

    Lee tends to make arguments that are different from the mainstream theories of Korean historical circles. This is sometimes why many readers feel a certain catharsis when reading his books. In other words, he is an issue maker in the field of history. In Western history, books by Professor Jou Kyung-chul have commanded attention. In particular, his book The Age of Maritime Expansion has been highly praised.

    This book covers the process between the 15th and the 18th centuries when various regions of the world interacted via sea routes and created a global network. It attempts to describe the real meaning of world history where the whole world joined together in one great flow.

    In this ambitious book, Jou argues that modern history was not led unilaterally by countries from Western Europe but rather formed by the participation of world civilizations. Unfortunately, the process was mostly violent and oppressive, and this resulted in the globalization of violence. However, the book is valuable in that it makes us think about the possibility of a different type of globalization. Among them, Reading History with Literature, Reading Literature with History attempts to newly understand various literary works of the East and the West from a historical point of view.

    For example, it sees the fables of Aesop from the perspective of slaves who formed one part of Greek society. In Treasure Island, it explores the phenomenon of overseas expansion during the modern imperialistic era and the relationship between the state and pirates. Meanwhile, Nahm Gyung-tai, widely known as a translator of nonfiction, wrote Playground of History: This series consists of five volumes: Though the volumes cover diverse topics and periods, they are described in a familiar, easygoing tone. The author has also published History: Everything One Has to Know, in which he emphasizes the points where Eastern and Western civilizations have met and interacted.

    It is a masterpiece written by a writer who has neither studied history nor holds a degree in the field. This was only possible because he has been translating books in a variety of areas for over 20 years. Though there are many writers of nonfiction in Korea, most of them focus on Korean history.

    Though this is because Korean readers are mainly interested in Korean history, this limited scope is a problem that the Korean publishing market has to overcome in the future. Another problem is that historians who write nonfiction for the general public are very rare. Seen from this point of view, historical nonfiction in Korea is a genre that requires much exploration and development in the future.

    West, East, Korea 5 vols. Breaking the stereotype that classical literature is difficult and inaccessible, this bestselling scholar brings out the subtle nuances and rhythms of Korean with uncommon precision. Professor Jung Min of Hanyang University is an exceptional scholar known for his individualism. The virtue of his writing can be summed up as a tense cohabitation; what that means is that his writing embodies the spirit of the golden mean, simultaneously encompassing fields of study that are in opposition and give rise to contradiction.

    There are few successful cases of presenting in-depth academic research to a general readership. It is difficult to write a book that meets the various demands of academia as well as the general public, as satisfying either of them is tough enough. Jung, however, has managed with ease to satisfy both. Not only is Jung extraordinarily talented at translating traditional Korean poetry into modern Korean and offering interpretations for the contemporary reader, but he is also exceptional at producing prose suited to the modern taste.

    Although there are writers who are successful at both poetry and prose, they are far and few between.

    Verse and prose are undoubtedly two distinct universes, but Jung is able to travel between them freely. When he translates poetry, the rhythm comes alive, and when he interprets prose, the spirit of the prose reaches the reader like the bamboo rod of a Buddhist priest signalling the beginning and end of meditation. Dasan Jeong Yak-yong and Yeonam Park Ji-won—two leading figures of the Renaissance period of 18th century Joseon—were very different in many ways.

    One of them strove for political power while the other continuously escaped the temptation of power; one remained in Korea, while the other studied overseas and became cosmopolitan; one showed great talent in the traditional writing style while the other was a visionary who tried to reform the prevailing style of writing.

    These two figures embodied the spirit of the times. Mastering both historical figures and their works is no small feat, but Jung has achieved this while receiving high praise from academics and general readers alike. I get the impression that your scholarship focuses on merging together two seemingly clashing fields of study. You study Korean literature in Chinese hanmunhak , but you also show great interest in international events and trends of the 18th century. Could you explain the unique identity and universality of hanmunhak? Although Northeast Asia is commonly grouped together as belonging to the Chinese hanja cultural sphere, each country has a distinct Chinese writing.

    In particular, old Japanese literature differs so much from our grammar system that it is not possible for Koreans to understand everything. In other words, it would take considerable effort to become familiar with it. The difference is especially notable in poetry, where it is easy to notice the conventions of expression or the differences of sentiment. The scholar Jeong Mong-ju was once sent as an envoy to Japan, where he had to stay through the winter until the spring due to bad weather conditions.

    One day he heard the rain splatter off the roof and captured it in verse. That was his unique way of expressing the sound of oncoming spring. Jeong heard that sound only because he was in Japan with its unique architecture of planked roofs. In other words, he was able to conceive of the splattering sound, which represents his relief that he can now return home, thanks to the unique housing culture of Japan. As you can see, China, Japan, and Korea differ in culture and therefore, in literature. At the same time, our 18th century literature in Chinese was also closely influenced by the international context.

    It was a revolutionary turning point when the entire world was entering the information age. Like Dasan, my first step is to determine the table of contents. Then I write daily, publishing it on my website or in the media. I undertake not one but several projects at once. I, of course, conduct plenty of research and gather sufficient material beforehand. To tell you the truth, I am able to continue my research and writing largely thanks to something Dasan said.

    He remarked that he found new things to write about as he did research. For example, while he was writing The Mind of Governing the People, which was intended as a manual for governors, he ended up gathering a lot of material on trials. Dasan later used this research to write On Juridprudence.

    A group of silhak practical learning scholars played an important role in shifting the paradigm of compiling knowledge. I believe this is a point on which your research differs from the previous scholarship on silhak. That way, we can demonstrate how thick and multi-layered the stratum of silhak was. I have decided to focus my research on the methods of knowledge compilation—less on the topics covered and more on the process.

    Previous scholarship on silhak tended to ignore these works, as they covered topics that fell outside of the net of modernization. What I found interesting was that the manual style of these books and the compilation and editing process were all quite similar. Especially noteworthy is Dasan who efficiently tackled multiple projects all at once. I was determined to publish my findings on this. Every book of yours enters the bestseller list as soon as it comes out. I wonder if you have been applying the methodology of 18th century silhak scholars.

    You translate and annotate traditional Korean poetry and prose. The two seem so different in temperament that I am amazed you work with both forms. Was there a reason for this? I loved poetry so much that I was sure I would also write my dissertation on poetry. But my advisor suggested that I work on something different, recommending Kim Yun-shik, a leader of the Enlightenment movement, as a possible topic.

    While I was researching the topic, I encountered the syntax of the Giho School of Confucian studies and learned that their scholarship can be traced back to Yeonam Park Ji-won. He has written on many occasions about the effort he puts into precise writing to convey meaning, while bringing out the subtle nuances and rhythm of the Korean language.

    There is nothing superfluous in his writing. That is also true of his translations of traditional poetry and prose, which are both elegant and easy to understand. His outstanding writing has helped shatter the stereotype of classical literature, which is often seen as difficult and inaccessible. It is also the reason that he is popular among the picky readers of humanities books.

    I wanted to hear his thoughts on syntax. Are there things that you always bear in mind when you are writing? Since I study syntax in my research, I am extra sensitive in my writing. I strive for concise writing that communicates effectively. I also place great importance on explaining difficult topics in an easy-to-understand way. Lately, I have been reminded once again of the power of saying more with less. If you remove conjunctions and unnecessary particles, the pace of the text really picks up. Rather, I try to leave the sentence open-ended so that readers can judge for themselves.

    To conclude, could you share your future plans? Lately, I have been very excited by the prospect of beholding the bare Dasan, fully exposed. I am going to publish articles and write a new book based on my new findings, and then I am going to go full speed ahead on my research on Yeonam. In my research I have found Dasan to be a kind teacher who guides his disciples to the answer and Yeonam to be a teacher who confuses and bewilders his students.

    In fact, I have heard graduate students admit that they are lost and scared after reading the latter. It is my wish to provide a proper introduction to Yeonam to make him accessible to the modern reader. In August Professor Jung will take a sabbatical and leave for the Harvard-Yenching Institute, where he will continue his research on the root causes of the intellectual revolution that shook 18th century Joseon.

    He professed that he has often felt the need for more hands-on research in the field, for he personally found out that many of the documents that he had previously believed to have been lost during the revolutionary period had in fact been preserved. A miner does not shy away from a mine just because it appears to be dangerous.

    Nothing makes an author happier than the anticipation of his readers, and Jung is the rare scholar in the humanities who commands such a following. I plan to return from Dasan to Yeonam, though I am having a hard time letting go of Dasan. A year after Dasan was exiled to Gangjin, he opened a small sodang in the guest room of an inn. A few children of local minor officials enlisted in the school. Some had the basics; others knew nothing and had to be taught from scratch. At first they were all a bit indifferent, but Dasan gradually made them aware of the humanity in their hearts and taught them hanmun.

    He assigned homework every day and had them give presentations, and one emerged from the ordinary group, like the point of an awl poking through a sack. He understood instinctively what Dasan said. He was simple, humble, and perspicacious. Each boy saluted the master after class on his way home. Second, I lack flexibility and inner freedom. Can someone like me be a scholar? First, some boys learn easily.


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    They read something once and they can recite it. Their problem is too much self belief; they think they can do anything, but they only half learn the lesson and fail to make the material their own. Second, some boys write readily. They understand immediately the purpose of the question and the scope of the problem. They keep leaping ahead and lack sincerity and depth.

    Third, some boys understand quickly. They understand all right but lack penetration and lucidity. They learn in general terms only and what they learn is. The awl quickly makes a hole but the hole is soon blocked again. Look at rainy season water in the paddy fields: The farmer opens a trench with his spade and no one can block the great flow. If you apply yourself diligently, the rough becomes smooth and eventually attains a sparkling luster. How do you make the hole? How do you make what is blocked flow?

    How do you bring out a polish? How do you work hard? By deciding in your heart to pursue diligence. Can you do this? You can stick it on the wall; it will help your concentration. This heavenly teacher from Seoul changed his life forever by the simple expedient of telling him he could do it. A Very Dim Prospect Dasan was not an easy teacher. He could be boundlessly kind, but he could also be exceedingly prickly.

    When he scolded the boys and went after them, it was as if every feeling had failed. Hwang Sang got married in His attitude toward study changed radically perhaps because he got caught up in honeymoon sweetness. When he put up his topknot, he became very concerned with his looks. His former diligence gradually dissipated. Dasan could endure no more: He lifted his brush. Your sense of reality has disappeared; you are a real cause of concern to me.

    I prized you greatly, but sadness and regret have filled my heart for a long time. If you are going to set yourself straight, you and your wife must sleep separately. A cold wind swept the page. Having prized you so, was this as much as you were capable of in human terms? Even at this late stage you must make a firm resolution: The letter demanded that bride and groom use separate rooms. The master remonstrated in the most severe terms: The next day a chastened Hwang Sang appeared in front of the master and got down on his knees. The master turned aside at an angle, giving no indication that his anger had abated.

    I will not neglect my studies again. Were you content with such miniscule learning? Hwang Sang bowed even deeper. Forgive me this once. Did I not always tell you so? You need to be separated from your wife, to concentrate on your studies only. If you compose a poem send it down to me.

    Have reading and writing assignments every day and complete them. Dasan had recently been to the temple to meet Hyejang. Rain bound him there for several days, during which time he came to an understanding with the monks. It was the height of the hot season. In the 12th month of , Hwang Sang had had a touching appeal from Dasan to come and see him, but Hwang Sang had put it off for more than seven years. Hwang Sang made preparations to come to Seoul. Dasan was 75; Hwang Sang was More than 34 years had passed since the touslehaired youth first saw the master.

    Hwang Sang walked for 10 days in bitter weather. It was the middle of the second month. No one paid any attention to the shabby traveler. The anniversary was still several days away and the house was very quiet. Eventually a servant came out. Who can this be?

    The two men had spent the winter of together in Goseong Temple. They had accompanied Hyejang on a tour of Daedun Temple. Two men in the full vigor of youth. Thirty one years ago. The rough skin of his hands when they were grasped spoke eloquently of that life. Do you realize how my father has waited for you?

    [_list: Books from Korea] Vol Winter by LTI Korea Library - Issuu

    He had to be supported in a sitting position to greet his pupil. Overcome with regret, Hwang Sang burst into tears. Throughout the trip Hwang Sang had wondered what he would say at this moment. In the event words dried up; he could think of nothing to say. Instead he made an awkward formal bow. I thought about you all the time. That night master and pupil talked for a long time in low voices. The master followed the conversation for a long time and then lost it. The wick gave that sound when the oil is gone and is burning its last flame.

    Hwang Sang blew the lamp out. For Dasan, the meeting with the pupil he longed to see perhaps had a traumatic emotional effect. His condition deteriorated rapidly the next day. Even consciousness came and went. His condition was critical. He was so utterly weak, as if a breath of wind could sweep him away. The brothers considered the situation and decided to call off the scheduled feast.

    Many messages of congratulation and gifts had already arrived. Father would be pleased. His breathing was labored. The master made an effort to speak. Take it and get your strength back. Without being asked, Hwang Sang took the chamber pot from the room and cleaned it. He thought of the days in the sodang in Gangjin when he did this too.

    It is so nice to see you. When did you first start writing fiction? If literature was a concrete, accessible entity, then I had things to say. Several years after I graduated from college, I returned to school and studied creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. Back then I wanted to be a poet. Your debut work was Romantic Love and Society. I thought you were a born novelist. I still believe that poets are born with the poetic gift.

    They possess something that I lack. Something happened in during my first year at the Seoul Institute that drove a wedge between poetry and me. My professor, the poet Kim Hye-soon, assigned the class to keep an observation journal over the summer break. We were supposed to observe situations that could be used in poems and describe them in prose.

    She is definitely a great teacher who discovered your talent as a novelist for you. I studied novel writing under the novelist Park Ki-dong. I guess I received more praise for the fiction I submitted than I had for my poems. Until then, my world was one in which there was no distinction or need to distinguish between suffering and pain.

    I puzzled for a long time over the question: In grad school I did some research on the sexual experiences of unmarried women in their 20s. My story was a kind of experiment combining social science case studies with literature. Even though it was published 10 years ago, I still meet women in their 20s who express their shock at reading it.

    I am intrigued that there are still people who find it radical. Since it means that the reality faced by 20something women has hardly changed, I hope that ceases to be the case. The footnotes in the story create the impression that the narrator is making objective observations from outside the text. Perhaps because I had only studied social sciences up until then, I thought an author should have an objective point of view.

    I could not understand why an author had to have empathy for her characters. Now I know that even a camera, even exclusion carries feelings. When I reread Romantic Love and Society, my reaction is complex for a number of reasons. I sense the ambitious enthusiasm of a fledgling writer. That is to say, maybe I would not be able to write that kind of story now. My thinking continues to become more complicated and I have grown more cautious.

    Your first work of fiction Romantic Love and Society comprises stories of women. No, I noticed it only after I finished. It probably means that my attention at the time was directed that way without my realizing it. The reason your novels come across as argumentative is that choice itself becomes a question aimed at the reader. My characters seem to make the most realistic choices possible for them. Of course, I could have given them a chance to reflect on themselves and repent. If they had chosen the good, it would have been morally right but it would have shut out certain possibilities. Maybe they are finding fault with not their wrong choices but their lack of a fight?

    Why do my characters have to fight that fight? Then should it be the task of the readers? Novels do not enlighten; they merely show. My Sweet Seoul was your first novel. I wanted to write about people whom I knew best, characters who for some reason had been overlooked in literature. I think I re-reflected on my own desire only after my finished product came out. My view on it has since changed, and now I think some characters were robbed of the chance to tell their own hidden stories, as my stories back then showcased women.

    I was too inattentive to the anonymous minor characters. I can sense in that story the plea to see this person. When I started off, I believed that writing fiction was to discover the stories that floated around the world. After I finished it, it felt like something that had been hardened and embedded in my heart for a long time was softened. I might describe it as a healing kind of writing.

    I hope writing will always make me reflect on myself. Faced with a choice, ordinary people tend to try as hard as possible to downplay it as trivial rather than fatal or decisive. Many people relate to the character Eunsu. They think her story resembles theirs, but Eunsu is actually not a universal character.

    In reality hardly anyone has a boyfriend who is seven years younger and very few single women can afford their own place, making it easy for their boyfriend to come over and spend the night. My Sweet Seoul also started the chick lit boom.

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    Chick lit always ends with the triumph of a female character; she undergoes a great deal of trouble but in the end she achieves success in both love and career. In that sense, My Sweet Seoul might be anti-chick lit. The story I wanted to tell did not lie within or outside established institutions. Rather, it was about the character—a kind of coming-of-age story that begins with the character at the starting line and ends with her still there.

    It is important for me as a writer to grow old and feel the changes as an ordinary person. I always want to write about what intrigues and interests me the most at the moment. I heard that What You Never Know is in the process of being translated. Do you have any reservations about the translation? Of course I am not completely without reservations. But fundamentally, I regard the translator as a second author. It is important to have a creative translation that respects the original work.

    The novel involves diverse events against the backdrop of the kidnapping of a young child still in elementary school. It was a subject that I had researched and wanted to write about for a long time. The initial spark came from my interest in Chinese residents in Korea hwagyo. What does a child signify in Korean society? Now that I am a mother, my thinking on my novel about a child has become more complex. If I rewrote it now, it would definitely be more heartbreaking.

    There would be more bloodshed and a more violent end. Though it is not possible to understand each other completely, something weaves you together. Of course this might not apply only to families bound by blood. The concept of family is expanding steadily and therefore not fixed. I am very interested in the relationship between individuals, which has been changing along with changes in family relationships.

    You have a new work coming out soon.

    Rainbow Readers

    It can be summarized in the question: It might be a love story that subtly escapes the fixed patterns of a typical love story. I write a love story set in Seoul, and de Botton tells the story of married couples in London on the theme of love. That is quite interesting. Lastly, do you have anything you want to say to your readers abroad? I am grateful for their interest in Korean literature. I just hope that it is read more widely. Even though there are many works of Korean literature of a universal nature, it is not easy to publish them abroad.

    The body was discovered on the last Sunday in May. It was the time of day choir members, cloaked in pigeon-gray sack-like gowns, sit in rows in the back yard of the church under the glare of the sun and practice hymns they would sing during second service; the time of day men and women, who met for the first time the previous night, have another round of hot, awkward sex, ignoring throbbing temples caused by their hangovers; the time of day egocentric husbands and fathers, wearing their neighborhood soccer league uniforms, run across middle school playfields, the muscles of their thighs and calves tensing and relaxing.

    It was a typical day in early summer, with mostly sunny and clear skies above the Korean peninsula. Feathery clouds drifted by and a gentle wind was blowing from the northeast. The temperature in the greater Seoul area was At ten in the morning on a Sunday, people sleep in and the religious pray and lovers whisper their mutual adoration and some kick around a soccer ball. When the police arrived at the scene, the boy and his two friends, all in the sixth grade, were in a very excited state.

    The boys, who lived in a nearby apartment complex from which they could see Y Bridge, often hung out under the bridge. But these guys said it was just a garbage bag somebody must have dumped. They said it was nothing. But I kept thinking it was weird. His family owned a small set of eight-power binoculars. It took him a little over fifteen minutes on his bike to return. Seogwipo is the perfect base from which to explore the many natural attractions Jeju has to offer, from waterfalls and cliff side vistas to orange farms and diving areas.

    Situated in the center of Seogwipo City, J Raum offers immaculate, spacious suites on their large grounds. Just a short walk from Cheonjiyeon Waterfall, the hotel also houses a coffee bar and a restaurant, where guests can enjoy a meal just steps from their rooms. With only 23 rooms available, this is a stay that gets booked up fast.

    Click here for the latest prices. And not only does every room include a shower and a bath practically unheard of in Korea , but they also offer complementary breakfast in their on-site restaurant. This massive hostel is about as central as you can get in Seogwipo, located in the downtown hub just a few minutes from a number of different restaurants. And for those early mornings, the hostel even has its own very long coffee bar. The mix of private rooms and dorm beds allows for the needs of all types of travelers, while keeping costs low for everyone.

    Formerly its own village, Jungmun is a quiet area several kilometers from Seogwipo. If your idea of visiting Jeju Island consists mostly of beaches and leisurely walks, Jungmun is the area for you. One of the highest-rated hotels in Jeju, the Kensington has all the opulence one would expect from a 5-star hotel, infinity pool included.

    Within walking distance of the hotel are a botanical garden and the teddy bear museum. Have I mentioned yet that Jeju is a very popular honeymoon destination? It may actually be the number one destination, especially for young couples looking for a nice stay without a high price tag. For that reason, many couple stay in spaces like The Born: Better book quickly, love birds! Pensions are uniquely Korean places and they have nothing to do with the money you receive after retirement. Undeniably the transportation hub of the island, Jeju City is home to Jeju Airport, the main ferry terminal, and the bus terminal.

    There are convenience stores, noraebang karaoke bars , and traditional Korean food restaurants at every corner. But more importantly, Jeju City has international restaurants and an abundance of bus stops. The Regent is one of those rare beauties that manages to wow guests by providing a top-notch staff, comfortable rooms, and a luxurious atmosphere without coming off as too good to be true.

    Guests can also take advantage of the seasonal outdoor swimming pool, and the free parking and daily breakfast that come with each room. The slightly less-than-luxury accommodation in Jeju is not to be overlooked, and is often fully booked. Koreans know a good deal when they see one, and this, my friends, is a great deal. Seoul is famous for their inexpensive accommodation, but Jeju puts up a strong fight. The top-ranked guesthouse is in downtown Jeju, and offers clean rooms and a modest breakfast every morning. Considering that it takes over an hour to drive and two hours to ride the bus bus to Udo Ferry Terminal, if you follow my sample itinerary below, I highly advise that you stay near Udo island your first night on Jeju.

    With just 6 guest rooms in the entire place, the odds are good that yours will be poolside. This list could seriously go on for hours if I listed out everything that locals do for fun. Surprisingly, I also found the points of interest in Jeju to be more accessible than those in Seoul or Busan. Most everything was available in Korean, English and Chinese, and many more people were able to speak English than I expected.

    Looks can be deceiving. This is one of the most unexpected sites to exist in Korea: Fell free to look and touch, lewd jokes optional. Note that you must be 20 or older to enter the park. The views from the top are unforgettable, and you have 5 different paths you can use to reach the top, each of a different difficulty level. Note that it is not safe to Hike Hallasan in the rain and that you should bring extra layers no matter the weather when you start. With peak orange season from November to February, orange picking is a winter activity on Jeju that most everyone participates in, local or tourist.

    However, most Korean pick their oranges as slowly as possible in order to maximize photo opportunities, and I find it hard to blame them. This is definitely a cave. The more claustrophobic folks in the bunch will enjoy the lovely greenery above ground, especially in springtime when the grass is dotted with flowers. The walk down is worth it in nice weather, but can be a bit treacherous in rain or snow. There are a few shops just along the parking lot selling souvenirs, oranges, and Jeju chocolates, as well. Look for the coffee shop with free wifi if you need a break.

    Jeongbang is a gnarly sight no matter the weather, but Cheonjiyeong is a worthy stopover only if you have the time, though it looks like some gnarly white water rafting could take place here. This is a stunning viewpoint from which to see the ocean and some of the many mini islands surrounding Jeju-do. Lost of people come to trek the trails and pause every few minutes to soak it all in, but the lazy among us tend to stand at the lookout oint and try to figure out what each rock formation looks most like. Think of it as cloud-watching, but for ancient volcanic rocks.

    Seriously, though, this place is gorgeous. Easily less than 5 minutes from the parking lot, the cliffs are deep grey rectangular and square formations which jut out into the ocean as if slowly formed by the stacking of blocks. Is this in Korea or the Highlands of Ireland? The immensity of the green and the brightly colored flowers that greet you in the spring could very well distract you from ever climbing to the top of Seongsan. Available in the area is the hike to the viewpoint, and horseback riding and boating for a bit extra.

    The draws over here are a defined walking trail along the cliffs and a beach side restaurant, though the most gorgeous scenes are in the spring, when the hills are in full bloom with bright yellow canola flowers. Watch out for selfie sticks, and try not to buy too many trinkets. This massive aquarium has not only penguins and sea lions, but whale sharks. The entrance is pretty steep, but I promise that the photos are worth it.

    Jeju is famous not only for its women divers, but also for its scuba diving. And the best part? Children of all ages are able to experience the beauty of the ocean, without the need to swim in it. Check out the submarine company here. Despite the fact that Jeju has become famous for their black pork, Udo is actually named for a cow. The shape of a cow, actually, which is what people thought it resembled when they first decided to name things.

    Bear with me here. Imagine you could ride around on a scooter on Udo with a cup of their famous peanut ice cream and a beach waiting for you to spend the afternoon on it. Built to resemble a castle, this massive museum is actually the second-largest chocolate museum in the world, behind the one in Cologne, Germany. Its exterior is covered in Jeju-esque volcanic rock, while the inside smells as if it were coated in chocolate. There are exhibits on chocolate history and chocolate making, as well as a cafe and a sales area where you can buy boxes of the sweet stuff.

    Note that the Jeju chocolate museum closes an hour early in winter and an hour late in summer. Everybody here is naked. Separated by gender, but naked. It takes some getting used to. This hot springs, glorified swimming pools in many ways, are divided by both temperature and healing properties. The small museum is attached to a massive cafe serving up a variety of teas from their farm, plus coffee and desserts. In the Innis Free store a hundred meters away is the beauty products section of the grounds, along with another massive cafe.

    The best part for mos people will be the tea plantation itself, however, which is situated accorss the street from the museum and simply laden with photo-ops. However, I freely offer food recommendations, and Jeju is full of good ones. The must-try foods on Jeju are: