Record of the Seasonal Customs of Korea: Tongguk sesigi by Toae Hong Sŏk-mo

Record of the Seasonal Customs of Korea (Tongguk sesigi) is one of the most important primary sources for anyone interested in traditional Korean cultural and social practices. The manuscript was completed in 1849 by Toae Hong Sŏk-mo, a wealthy poet and scholar from an influential family. Toae, with his keen interest in the habits and customs […]

Historical Statistics of Korea

This book presents economic statistics of Korea in the past three centuries, focusing on the century following 1910. The data, typically time series rather than cross-sectional, are given in 22 chapters, which refer to population, wages, prices, education, health, national income and wealth, and technology, among others. Rather than simply putting together available data, the […]

Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea

From the publisher’s website: North Korea’s Kŭmgangsan is one of Asia’s most celebrated sacred mountain ranges, comparable in fame to Mount Tai in China and Mount Fuji in Japan. Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan marks a paradigm shift in the research about East Asian mountains by introducing an entirely new field: autographic rock graffiti. The book details how […]

The Encyclopedia of Daily Life: A Woman’s Guide to Living in Late-Chosŏn Korea

From the publisher’s website: This volume is a fully annotated translation of an early nineteenth-century encyclopedia, the Kyuhap ch’ongsŏ (The Encyclopedia of Daily Life). Written by Lady Yi (1759-1824) as a household management aid for her daughters and daughters-in-law, the work is a treasure trove of information on how women of higher status in the […]

Neo-Confucianism and Science in Korea: Humanity and Nature, 1706-1814

From the publisher’s website: Historians of late premodern Korea have tended to regard it as a hermit kingdom, isolated from its neighbours and the wider world. In fact, as Ro argues in this book, Korean intellectuals were heavily influenced by both Chinese Neo-Confucianism and the European Enlightenment in the late 18th and 19th centuries. In […]

Empire and Righteous Nation: 600 Years of China-Korea Relations

From the publisher’s website: From an award-winning historian, a concise overview of the deep and longstanding ties between China and the Koreas, providing an essential foundation for understanding East Asian geopolitics today. In a concise, trenchant overview, Odd Arne Westad explores the cultural and political relationship between China and the Koreas over the past 600 […]

Turning toward Edification: Foreigners in Chosŏn Korea

From the publisher’s website: Turning toward Edification discusses foreigners in Korea from before the founding of Chosŏn in 1392 until the mid-nineteenth century. Although it has been common to describe Chosŏn Korea as a monocultural and homogeneous state, Adam Bohnet reveals the considerable presence of foreigners and people of foreign ancestry in Chosŏn Korea as well […]

The Power of the Brush: Epistolary Practices in Chosŏn Korea

From the publisher’s website: The invention of an easily learned Korean alphabet in the mid-fifteenth century sparked an “epistolary revolution” in the following century as letter writing became an indispensable daily practice for elite men and women alike. The amount of correspondence increased exponentially as new epistolary networks were built among scholars and within families, […]

The Borderlands of China and Korea: Historical Changes in the Contact Zones of East Asia

From the publisher’s website: This volume utilizes the concept of contact zones to reconceptualize the time and space around East Asian borders as meeting zones where multiple races, nations, and cultures interacted through the processes of exchange, coexistence, and acculturation. Focusing especially on the borderlands of China and Korea, the contributors document the shifts and […]

The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea: The Chonon (Testament) by Chong Chedu (Hagok)

From the publisher’s website: Translated, edited, and introduced by Edward Y. J. Chung, The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea: The Chonŏn (Testament) by Chŏng Chedu (Hagok), is the first study in a Western language of Chŏng Chedu (Hagok, 1649–1736) and Korean Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism. Hagok was an eminent philosopher who established the unorthodox Yangming school […]

The Korean Vernacular Story: Telling Tales of Contemporary Choson in Sinographic Writing

As the political, economic, and cultural center of Choson Korea, eighteenth-century Seoul epitomized a society in flux: It was a bustling, worldly metropolis into which things and people from all over the country flowed. In this book, Si Nae Park examines how the culture of Choson Seoul gave rise to a new vernacular narrative form […]

The Diary of 1636: The Second Manchu Invasion of Korea

Publisher description: Early in the seventeenth century, Northeast Asian politics hung in a delicate balance among the Chosŏn dynasty in Korea, the Ming in China, and the Manchu. When a Chosŏn faction realigned Korea with the Ming, the Manchu attacked in 1627 and again a decade later, shattering the Chosŏn-Ming alliance and forcing Korea to […]

China, Korea and Japan at War, 1592–1598: Eyewitness Accounts

From the publisher’s website: The East Asian War of 1592 to 1598 was the only extended war before modern times to involve Japan, Korea, and China. It devastated huge swathes of Korea and led to large population movements across borders. This book draws on surviving letters and diaries to recount the personal experiences of five […]

Agriculture and Korean Economic History: Concise Farming Talk (Nongsa chiksŏl)

From the publisher’s website: This book is an economic history of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910). The Chosŏn dynasty is not only known for managing the northeastern regions of Asia for 500 years as the exemplars of Confucianism, their kingdom was also one of the greatest so-called “agricultural states under Heaven.” The Chosŏn dynasty has been […]

A Korean Scholar’s Rude Awakening in Qing China: Pak Chega’s Discourse on Northern Learning

From the publisher’s website: Two years after Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was published in 1776, Pak Chega’s (1750–1805) Discourse on Northern Learning appeared on the opposite corner of the globe. Both books presented notions of wealth and the economy for critical review: the former caused a stir across Europe, the latter influenced only a modest group of Chosŏn […]

King Chŏngjo, an Enlightened Despot in Early Modern Korea

Publisher description: The first detailed analysis in English of monarchy and governance in Korea during King Chŏngjo’s reign. Were the countries of Europe the only ones that were “early modern”? Was Asia’s early modernity cut short by colonialism? Scholars examining early modern Eurasia have not yet fully explored the relationships between absolute rule and political […]