London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Invented Traditions in North and South Korea

Almost forty years after the publication of Hobsbawm and Ranger’s The Invention of Tradition, the subject of invented traditions—cultural and historical practices that claim a continuity with a distant past but which are in fact of relatively recent origin—is still relevant, important, and highly contentious. Invented Traditions in North and South Korea examines the ways in which compressed modernity, … [Read More]

Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea

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 late Chosŏn (ca. 1600–1900 … [Read More]

A Korean Odyssey: Island Hopping in Choppy Waters

From the publisher’s website: Michael Gibb embarks on an eccentric odyssey around the wind-swept islands off the coast of South Korea in search of life beyond K-pop, high-tech gadgetry and nuclear missile tests. With well over three thousand islands to choose from, there was no shortage of destinations, all connected by the indomitable ferries that ply … [Read More]

Seeds of Control: Japan’s Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea

Japanese colonial rule in Korea (1905-1945) ushered in natural resource management programs that profoundly altered access to and ownership of the peninsula’s extensive mountains and forests. Under the banner of “forest love,” the colonial government set out to restructure the rhythms and routines of agrarian life, targeting everything from home heating to food preparation. Timber … [Read More]

Seoul, Korea’s Global City: A New Urbanism for Upward Mobility

This book explores the new urbanism in Seoul from the perspective of global political economy, focusing on the contexts in which the city has witnessed the transformation of its population structure, such as the rise of the global urban middle class and the city’s increased nodal function in commodity chains. Source: publisher’s website [Read More]

The Cultural Politics of Urban Development in South Korea: Art, Memory and Urban Boosterism in Gwangju

From the publisher’s website: This book analyses the cultural politics of urban development in Gwangju, South Korea, and illustrates the implementation of state-led arts-based urban boosterism efforts in the context of political trauma and the desire for economic growth. The book explores urban development that is complicated by the recent history of democratic uprising in … [Read More]

North Korea Journal

From the publisher’s website: A glimpse of life inside the world’s most secretive country, as told by Britain’s best-loved travel writer. In May 2018, former Monty Python stalwart and intrepid globetrotter Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal, where the … [Read More]

The Devil’s Playground: Inside America’s Defense of the Deadly Korean DMZ

From the publisher’s website: The Devil’s Playground is a timely account of what it is like to serve along perhaps the most dangerous and sensitive strip of land in the world. In recent months two bullet-riddled attempted escapes from North to South brought worldwide headlines. And with Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un exchanging threats, the world hopes … [Read More]

Entrepreneurial Seoulite: Culture and Subjectivity in Hongdae, Seoul

From the publisher’s website: Entrepreneurial Seoulite might be read as a memoir on Hongdae based on the author’s observations as a member of South Korea’s Generation X. During the 1990’s, Hongdae became widely known as a cool place associated with discourses on alternative music, independent labels, and club culture. Today, Hongdae is well known for its … [Read More]

A Place to Live: A New Translation of Yi Chung-hwan’s T’aengniji, the Korean Classic for Choosing Settlements

From the publisher’s website: A Place to Live brings together in a single volume an introduction to Yi Chung-hwan’s (1690–1756) T’aengniji (Treatise on Choosing Settlement)—one of the most widely read and influential of the Korean classics—and an annotated translation of the text, including the author’s postscript. Yi composed the T’aengniji in the 1750s, a time when, despite King Yŏngjo’s (r. … [Read More]

Pop City: Korean Popular Culture and the Selling of Place

From the publisher’s website: Pop City examines the use of Korean television dramas and K-pop music to promote urban and rural places in South Korea. Building on the phenomenon of Korean pop culture, Youjeong Oh argues that pop culture–featured place selling mediates two separate domains: political decentralization and the globalization of Korean popular culture. By analyzing the … [Read More]

See You Again in Pyongyang: A Journey into Kim Jong Un’s North Korea

From ballistic missile tests to stranger-than-fiction stories of purges and assassinations, news from North Korea never fails to dominate the global headlines. But what is life there actually like? In See You Again in Pyongyang, Jeppesen culls from his experiences living, traveling, and studying in North Korea to create a multi-faceted portrait of the country … [Read More]

Seoul: Memory, Reinvention, and the Korean Wave

From the publisher’s website: Seoul is a colossus both in its physical presence and the demand it places on any intellectual effort to understand it. How did it come to be? How can a city this immense work? Underlying its spectacle and incongruities is a city that might be described as ill at ease with … [Read More]

Hyecho’s Journey: The World of Buddhism

In the year 721, a young Buddhist monk named Hyecho set out from the kingdom of Silla, on the Korean peninsula, on what would become one of the most extraordinary journeys in history. Sailing first to China, Hyecho continued to what is today Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, before taking the Silk … [Read More]

Globalizing Seoul: The City’s Cultural and Urban Change

In the decades following the 1997 Asian economic crisis, South Korea sought segyehwa (globalization). Evidence of this is no more evident than in the country’s capital, Seoul, where urban development has been central to making the city a global hub and not just the centre of the national economy. However, recent development projects differ from those of … [Read More]

Classical Writings of Korean Women

This work is a collection of essays travelogues written by women during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The work ranges from a eulogy for a broken needle to a travelogue describing various trips to scenic spots on the Korean peninsula, including to the Keum-Gang Mountains. Now available in English, this collection gives us a sampler of … [Read More]