1960-1993

On the anniversary of the 18 May 1980 uprising in Gwangju, here is song which became its unofficial anthem. It was written in 1982 by Kim Jong-ryul for his friends, a couple who were murdered in the uprising. The title is 임을 위한 행진곡 or “March for the beloved”, sometimes translated as “March for the […]

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Kim Sung Ok: A Literature of and for the Self – Steve Capener at SOAS

by Philip Gowman 13 May 2013
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On his way to a conference on Alternative Modernisms in Cardiff, Steve Capener gives a talk on one of my favourite authors. Kim Sung Ok: A Literature of and for the Self Steve Capener (Assistant Professor, Seoul Women’s University) 14 May 2013, 5:15 – 7:00 PM Russell Square Room 4421 Abstract After he took power […]

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Book review: Yi Mun-yol — Our Twisted Hero

by Philip Gowman 19 October 2012
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Yi Mun-yol: Our Twisted Hero Originally published 1987 Translated by Kevin O’Rourke Available on Kindle (Minumsa, 2012) or hard copy (Hyperion Books, 2001) Moving to the provinces from a school in Seoul in which the social hierarchy was one he had lived with all his life, our twelve-year-old hero Han Pyongt’ae is faced with a […]

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SOAS public workshop: State Capitalism and Development in East Asia

by Philip Gowman 11 October 2012
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A free all-day seminar sponsored by the Centre of Korean Studies at SOAS: State Capitalism and Development in East Asia Speakers Jeong Seongjin (Gyeongsang National University) Lee Jeong-koo (GNU) Gareth Dale (Brunel University) Jamie Allinson (University of Westminster) Owen Miller (SOAS, University of London) Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 10am-5pm Room B111, First Floor, Brunei Gallery, […]

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2012 Travel Diary 9: Yun Isang — Victim of the Cold War

by Philip Gowman 29 May 2012
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26 March 2012. For most big Korean cultural events there’s a glossy brochure with a welcome message from various officials and dignitaries. And for the most important events you might expect a welcome message from the Minister of Culture. It is a measure of the sensitivity of the Tongyeong International Music Festival’s association with Yun […]

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Guilt, Nostalgia, and Victimhood: Korea in the Japanese Theatrical Imagination

by Philip Gowman 25 November 2011
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Looks like a very interesting talk at the Japan Foundation on 1 December. Of course, it has to clash with something equally as compelling: a rare screening of Kim Ki-young’s Insect Woman at the KCC. The Japan Foundation hosts: Guilt, Nostalgia, and Victimhood: Korea in the Japanese Theatrical Imagination Speaker: Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei (UCLA) How […]

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Mark Morris on Lee Man-hee and the flowering of Korean film in the 1960s

by Shouvik Datta 21 November 2011
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Everybody in Britain has heard of Samsung computers or Hyundai cars. However, another aspect of South Korea today is its successful export of films, music and TV dramas to neighbouring countries, known as ‘Korean Wave’ or ‘Hallyu’. In order to get a Western perspective on Korean cinema, I visited the Korean Cultural Centre in London […]

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A mixed review for Lee Man-hee, the classic film director for LKFF 2011

by Philip Gowman 20 November 2011
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Most years, the London Korean Film Festival aims to include some classic films, usually from the 1960s, within its schedule. This is a valuable feature for UK cinemagoers, some of whom may be of the impression that Korean film started with Shiri. This year Lee Man-hee was featured, with two films: A Day Off and […]

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Journey to Korea—working for the common good: at Greencoat Place

by Philip Gowman 19 November 2011
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Matthew Jackson will be well-known to many LKL readers for his many articles on Korea’s heritage. Please support his talk at Greencoat Place near Victoria on 22 November: Journey to Korea — working for the common good Through screening short films, Matthew Jackson will highlight remarkable changes in South Korea since the Korean War (1950 […]

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Recalling Korea Past: An Oral History of the 1950s to the 1980s

by Philip Gowman 19 November 2011
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At the BAKS Korean War study day at Asia House in November last year one of the valuable sessions was provided by veterans from the war providing contemporary eye-witness recollections. So this year, BAKS have extended this idea to cover personal experiences from the post-war period. Highly recommended. Open to all. British Association for Korean […]

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Book Review: Hwang Sok-yong – The Old Garden

by Philip Gowman 6 April 2011
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Hwang Sok-yong: The Old Garden / The Ancient Garden Originally published in 2000 English translation by Jay Oh, Seven Stories Press 2009 / Picador 2010. “More has been expected of Hwang Sok-yong than almost any other Korean writer of the past quarter century,” says Bruce Fulton [1]. Having read The Guest (2002), and having watched […]

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1970s: the missing decade in Korean film?

by Philip Gowman 2 April 2011
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Newcomers to Korean film can sometimes get the impression that Korean cinema started with Shiri. Indeed, one contributor to the recent Korean Film Blogathon claimed “Korea’s cinema was virtually non-existing until the new millennium”. Not a sentiment with which I strongly agree. While the last decade has certainly seen more than its fair share of […]

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Mark Clifford: Troubled Tiger

by Philip Gowman 5 July 2006
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(M.E. Sharpe, 1998) Chronicles the modern history of Korea from the 1960s to the mid-90s, focusing on the drive for economic growth and the control exerted by the Blue House over the direction of the economy. Clifford gives us a politically balanced view, emphasising the successes of Park Chung-hee, but not shrinking from laying bare […]

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