London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Justifying Violence on Korea’s Cold War Frontlines: The Life and Representations of Kim Tu-han [forthcoming]

The son of a nationalist martyr, Kim Tu-han (1918-1972) rose to prominence as a mobster in 1930s Seoul. As conditions shifted, he deployed his gang first as a construction corps supporting the Japanese war effort, then as a progressive force, and, most successfully, as an anti-communist vigilante group. After narrowly escaping the death sentence for … [Read More]

100°C: South Korea’s 1987 Democracy Movement [forthcoming]

What does it take for ordinary citizens to risk everything to protest living under a repressive government? What takes them beyond the brink, to the “boiling point”? In his graphic novel 100°C, celebrated webtoon and comics artist Choi Kyu-sok sheds a light on these questions by examining the lives of one family caught up in the great … [Read More]

Minor Salvage The Korean War and Korean American Life Writings [forthcoming]

The Korean War, often invoked in American culture as “the forgotten war,” was fought between 1950 and 1953 and ended with an infamous stalemate and the construction of the Korean Peninsula’s Demilitarized Zone. Millions of Korean civilians and refugees were left behind, some of whom would go onto live in the United States. Minor Salvage … [Read More]

Song of Arirang: The Story of a Korean Rebel Revolutionary in China [forthcoming]

From the publisher’s website: Song of Arirang tells the true story of Korean revolutionary Kim San (Jang Jirak), who left colonized Korea as a teenager to fight against Japanese imperialism and fought alongside Mao’s Red Army during the Chinese Revolution. First published in 1941, this remarkably intimate memoir (as told to the American journalist Nym … [Read More]

A Global History of Ginseng: Imperialism, Modernity and Orientalism

Sul’s history of the international ginseng trade reveals the cultural aspects of international capitalism and the impact of this single commodity on relations between East and West. Ginseng emerged as a major international commodity in the seventeenth century, when the East India Company began trading it westward. Europeans were drawn to the plant’s efficacy as … [Read More]

Spirit Power: Politics and Religion in Korea’s American Century

Spirit Power explores the manifestation of the American Century in Korean history with a focus on religious culture. It looks back on the encounter with American missionary power from the late nineteenth century, and the long political struggles against the country’s indigenous popular religious heritage during the colonial and postcolonial eras. The book brings an anthropology … [Read More]

Shrimp to Whale: South Korea from the Forgotten War to K-Pop

South Korea has the most remarkable of histories. Born from the ashes of colonialism, partition and a devastating war, back in the 1950s there were real doubts about its survival as an independent state. Yet South Korea did survive, and first became known globally for the export of cheap toys, shoes and clothing. Today, South … [Read More]

Gwangju Uprising: The Rebellion for Democracy in South Korea

The essential account of the South Korean 1980 pro-democracy rebellion On 18 May 1980, student activists gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to protest the martial law government of General Chun Doo-hwan. The security forces responded with unmitigated violence. Hundreds of students, activists and citizens were arrested, tortured and murdered. This fresh translation … [Read More]

Tigers Unchained: 100 Years of Korean Anarchism

From its introduction in the early-twentieth century during the National Liberation Movement to its influence on contemporary politics and culture, anarchism has had a deep, historical significance in Korea. Tigers Unchained explores that significance through lenses that are simultaneously political, cultural, historical, and aesthetic. This translation constitutes a major contribution to multiple fields, while providing new ways … [Read More]

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 … [Read More]

Race for Revival: How Cold War South Korea Shaped the American Evangelical Empire

In 1973, Billy Graham, “America’s Pastor,” held his largest ever “crusade.” But he was not, as one might expect, in the American heartland, but in South Korea. Why there? Race for Revival seeks not only to answer that question, but to retell the story of modern American evangelicalism through its relationship with South Korea. With the … [Read More]

Korea: A History

From the publisher’s website: The first English-language history of Korea that offers a balanced, comprehensive overview reflecting recent East Asian and Western scholarship While popular trends, cuisine, and long-standing political tension have made Korea familiar in some ways to a vast English-speaking world, those who follow K-Pop or North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have little … [Read More]

A Cultural History of Modern Korean Literature: The Birth of Oppa

A Cultural History of Modern Korean Literature: The Birth of Oppa examines the cultural and social impact of Japanese colonialism and modernity on the wider aspects of everyday life in Korea. Selected as an outstanding work in 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences in South Korea, is by any measure a remarkable work. Lee considers … [Read More]

A History of Protestantism in Korea

This book provides a comprehensive overview of Protestant Christianity in Korea. It outlines the development of Christianity in Korea before Protestantism, considers the introduction of Protestantism in the late nineteenth century and its widening and profound impact, and goes on to discuss the situation up to the present. Throughout the book emphasises the importance of … [Read More]

Beasts of a Little Land

It is 1917, and Korea is yet to be divided into north and south. With the threat of famine looming, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school in cosmopolitan Pyongyang, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. But the city’s … [Read More]