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Booklist: notable titles from 2020

Here is a list of titles published in 2020 that we’ve been tracking and even hoping to read: literature in translation, Korea-related fiction and poetry in English, plus notable non-fiction titles.

Sorted by date of publication, most recent first.

Homo Maskus (K-Poet 18)

From the listing at Interpark: The year that started with masks is ending with masks. How often have I left my mask behind and had to go back for it? Looking back, it’s all my fault. The past days of heedless living are observing my behavior closely today. (Poet’s Note) The poems of things that ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Holiday Home (K-Fiction 028)

As this is an Asia Publishers title, it’s pretty difficult to obtain outside of Korea. Text from the listing on the Kyobo website, fed through the Papago translation engine: Pyeon Hye-young’s short novel captures the touch of a catastrophe. It is the 28th K-fiction film. A Korean-English version of “Holiday Home” by Pyun Hye-young, a ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

A Boy Is Looking at the White Moon from a Classroom Under the Sea (K-Poet 17)

From the Interpark website: I feel that that I am writing poems seriously. For that, I am indebted to the late Seoung Chan-gyeong (1930-2013), who wrote poems more seriously than I. He was a disciple of beauty and also never stopped searching for the truth. I feel that I belong to a different world than ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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 ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Healing Historical Trauma in South Korean Film and Literature

From the publisher’s website: Through South Korean filmic and literary texts, this book explores affect and ethics in the healing of historical trauma, as alternatives to the measures of transitional justice in want of national unity. Historians and legal practitioners who deal with transitional justice agree that the relationship between historiography and justice seeking is ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Road to Multiculturalism in South Korea: Ideas, Discourse, and Institutional Change in a Homogenous Nation-State

From the publisher’s website: This book aims to capture the complicated development of Korea from monoethnic to multicultural society, challenging the narrative of “ethnonational continuity” in Korea through a discursive institutional approach. At a time when immigration is changing the face of South Korea and an increasingly diverse society becomes empirical fact, this doesn’t necessarily ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Understanding Hallyu: The Korean Wave Through Literature, Webtoon, and Mukbang

From the publisher’s website: This book sheds light on aspects of the Korean Wave and Korean media products that are less discussed—Korean literature, webtoon, and mukbang. It explores the making of these Korean popular cultural products and how they work and engage media recipients regardless of their different national, cultural, and geographical backgrounds. Drawing on ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Korean Food Television and the Korean Nation

From the publisher’s website: This book examines the historical development of Korean food TV and its articulation of Koreanness in the era of globalization. Jaehyeon Jeong defines the evolution of Korean food TV as an outcome of the conjuncture between the television industry’s structural changes, the shift in food’s landscape and cultural legitimacy, and various ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Korean Digital Diaspora: Transnational Social Movements and Diaspora Identity

From the publisher’s website: Through a critical examination of the Korean diaspora in transnational contexts as a case study, Korean Digital Diaspora: Transnational Social Movements and Diaspora Identity unmasks the process of how people of the diaspora have built social interactions and communication with others online, how they have orchestrated social movements, and finally, how they have ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Basic Korean: A Grammar and Workbook

From the publisher’s website: The revised second edition of Basic Korean: A Grammar and Workbook is an accessible reference grammar and workbook in one volume. The text can be used in conjunction with any primary textbook, both as a practice book to reinforce learning and as a reference guide to the basics of Korean grammar. This book is ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Yoo Youngkuk: Quintessence

From the publisher’s website: This is the first comprehensive monograph on master artist Yoo Youngkuk, one of Korea’s most popular modernists and considered a “magician of colors.” Yoo Youngkuk was born and raised in the remote hinterlands of Uljin, South Korea. In the 1930s, he left to study art in Japan and returned to Korea ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Seeing Like a Child: Inheriting the Korean War

An utterly original and illuminating work that meets at the crossroads of autobiography and ethnography to re-examine violence and memory through the eyes of a child. Seeing Like a Child is a deeply moving narrative that showcases an unexpected voice from an established researcher. Through an unwavering commitment to a child’s perspective, Clara Han explores how ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea

From the publisher’s website: South Korea (Republic of Korea) is the more successful of the two Koreas in both economic and political terms. Even the Asian economic crisis of 1997–1998, which hit badly, was weathered successfully, and when the next crisis came along in 2007, South Korea coped better than many other countries. This economic ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Branded Entertainment in Korea

From the publisher’s website: Branded Entertainment in Korea examines the varied texts and wider context of branded entertainment and related advertising and marketing communications practices in Korea. The book discusses the origins, development, current state, ethics, and regulations of branded entertainment in Korea, considering the impact and implications for communication users and regulators as well ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Study Abroad in Korea: Korean Language and Culture

From the publisher’s website: Study Abroad in Korea prepares students for study in Korean by providing the reader with key expressions and guidance on certain aspects of culture and language idiosyncratic to Korea, focusing on everyday scenarios. Key features include: Key expressions throughout the book, providing practical linguistic knowledge with jargon-free explanations. Exposes readers to contextualised, ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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, ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture

From the publisher’s website: This important book examines the history, process and significance of official portrait making during Korea’s Joseon dynasty (1392-1910)—the country’s last and longest-ruling Confucian dynasty. By highlighting significant pieces in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco’s collection, including draft portraits of Bunmu meritorious officials and the portrait of Song Siyeol (1607-1689), ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Routledge Handbook of Contemporary North Korea

From the publisher’s website: The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary North Korea presents a comprehensive picture of contemporary North Korea, placed in historical context and set against the overlapping fields of politics, economy, culture, society and foreign relations. Spanning a period of significant transition for North Korea, this volume provides accurate analysis and applications of both historical and ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Construction of Korean Culture in Korean Language Textbooks: Ideologies and Textbooks

From the publisher’s website: The book examines the themes of cultural values, collective identity, political ideologies, and Korean cultural traditions throughout Korean language textbooks from the last 120 years. Through this analysis, the author explores the colonial, neo-colonial, and postcolonial contexts that have influenced South Korea. This work demonstrates the significant impact of textbooks and ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

How to Live Korean

From the publisher’s website: How to Live Korean takes a deep-dive into Korean culture, unpacking what it means to be Korean in all its forms and uncovering the way the locals think, what they enjoy getting up to and who they do it with. Whether it’s Korean movie Parasite sweeping the Oscars, the explosion of ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Hope is Lonely

From the publisher’s website: Kim Seung-Hee is regarded in her native Korea as being radically different from any other Korean poet, male or female, in her choice of themes and poetic expression as this selection from two of her recent collections demonstrates. Her poetry is strongly female and feminist, deeply personal, at times surreal, always ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Imperial Romance: Fictions of Colonial Intimacy in Korea, 1905–1945

From the publisher’s website: In Imperial Romance, Su Yun Kim argues that the idea of colonial intimacy within the Japanese empire of the early twentieth century had a far broader and more popular influence on discourse makers, social leaders, and intellectuals than previously understood. Kim investigates representations of Korean-Japanese intimate and familial relationships—including romance, marriage, and ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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 ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Witnessing Gwangju: A Memoir

From the publisher’s website: Witnessing Gwangju describes the life-altering experience of young Peace Corps volunteer, Paul Courtright.  Courtright was in the countryside of South Korea in 1980 to help leprosy patients. On the way back home from his medical checkup, Courtright was caught in the middle of what became known by some as the Gwangju Massacre, ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Kim Jong-un’s Strategy for Survival: A Method to Madness

From the publisher’s website: In Kim Jong-un’s Strategy for Survival, David W. Shin contends that Kim Jong-un’s consolidation of power at home and the leveraging of Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, and Washington, and others abroad show that he is not a madman and, like the two earlier Kims, has consistently been underestimated. Shin presents an alternative framework ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

A Misunderstood Friendship: Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, and Sino-North Korean Relations, 1949-1976: Revised Edition

Revised and Corrected Zhihua Shen and Yafeng Xia Today, the People’s Republic of China is North Korea’s only ally on the world stage, a tightly knit relationship that goes back decades. Both countries portray their partnership as one of “brotherly affection” based on shared political ideals—an alliance “as tight as lips to teeth”—even though relations ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Loving

From the agent’s website: A gentle fable by the South Korean poet, which is like a balm for the reader.  The story is a simple one. A restless wanderer learns there is no place like home. This wanderer is a fish on a wind chime called Blue Goggle Eyes, and she is in love with ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Lonesome Jar

Translator’s note: “Lonesome Jar” is a collection of 20 short fables expressing wisdom about life. These beautiful editions of translations of Jeong Ho-seung’s “children’s stories for grown-ups” benefit from the illustrations from the Korean editions. Contents: Author’s Preface • 5 | A Hangari Jar • 13 | Lovebirds • 22 | Flood Tide and Ebb ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Juche – How to Live Well the North Korean Way

From the publisher’s website: ‘Game changing. Juche is to shape the cultural zeitgeist just as The Little Book of Hygge did.’ Fern Brady ‘A book to bring shame upon our depraved morals and our wilted-spinach governments.’ Ivo Graham How did North Korea become the top-rated destination on Tripadvisor? The answer is Juche … ‘In this ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Mysterious Pyongyang: Cosmetics, Beauty Culture and North Korea

From the publisher’s website: This book is written with the belief that the peaceful unification of Korean Peninsula will be upon us on the day that every woman in North Korea uses South Korean and global cosmetics. The authors focus on understanding the intentions behind the three leaders of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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] (Link to online store)

Korean Culture Dictionary: From Kimchi To K-Pop And K-Drama Clichés

From the publisher’s catalogue: Before reading this book, you probably had some moments of curiosity in your life where you questioned certain things about Korean culture. Why is there a Pepsi logo on the Korean flag? Why do Korean kids in my class only have like… three last names (Kim, Lee, Park)? If you are ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Beautiful and Useless

From the publisher’s website: In Beautiful and Useless, Kim Min Jeong exposes the often funny and contradictory rifts that appear in the language of everyday circumstance. She uses slang, puns, cultural referents, and ‘naughty, unwomanly” language in order to challenge readers to expand their ideas of not only what a poem is, but also how ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors

From the publisher’s website: What is life in North Korea really like? This fascinating book by celebrated journalists Daniel Tudor and James Pearson explores that very question. The authors interview experts and tap a broad variety of sources to provide a startling insider’s view of the secretive North Korean society, including: Members of Pyongyang’s ruling ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Koreas: The Birth of Two Nations Divided

From the publisher’s website: What history, pop culture, and diaspora can teach us about North and South Korea today. Korea is one of the last divided countries in the world. Twins born of the Cold War, one is vilified as an isolated, impoverished, time-warped state with an abysmal human rights record and a reclusive leader ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Nineteen

From the publisher’s website: At nineteen, the idea that you have your whole life ahead of you with endless possibilities can leave you terrifyingly stiff. Throwing mobility to the wind, you dull yourself with booze. The grownups around you are stunted by their own failures so they act out—with alcohol, too, sometimes with violence. What ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

South Korean Popular Culture and North Korea

From the publisher’s website: Over recent decades South Korea’s vibrant and distinctive populist culture has spread extensively throughout the world. This book explores how this “Korean wave” has also made an impact in North Korea. The book reveals that although South Korean media have to be consumed underground and unofficially in North Korea, they are widely watched ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Films of Bong Joon Ho

Publisher description: Bong Joon Ho won the Oscar® for Best Director for Parasite (2019), which also won Best Picture, the first foreign film to do so, and two other Academy Awards. Parasite was the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes. These achievements mark a new career peak for the director, who first achieved wide ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Parasite: A Graphic Novel in Storyboards

Discover the illustrations that inspired the historic, OSCAR(R)-winning film’s every shot in this graphic novel drawn by Director Bong Joon Ho himself. So metaphorical: With hundreds of mesmerizing illustrations, Parasite: A Graphic Novel in Storyboards is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of one of the best films in years and a brand-new way to experience a ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Feeling Never Stops (K-Poet 16)

Text from the listing on the Interpark website, fed through the Microsoft translation engine where necessary: ‘Informal Sadness’ That Doesn’t Make the Edge of Tears Joo-Chul Ahn’s New Poem Collection Feeling Never Stops The ‘K-Poet’ series introduces the essence of Korean poetry that you always want to read at your bedside. Korean poetry, which will ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Voices of the Korean Minority in Postwar Japan: Histories Against the Grain

From the publisher’s website: Shedding new light on how the histories of zainichi Koreans have been written, consumed, and discussed, this book addresses the roots of postwar debates concerning the wartime experiences of Koreans in Japan. Providing an overview of the complicated historiography, it explores the experiences of Koreans located at Ground Zero in Hiroshima and ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Love in Sa Pa (K-Fiction special)

A love that has no beginning and no end. The story of Sapa’s ‘Love Market’ where unrequited love meets. A very special romance with the literary prototype of writer Bang Hyun-seok, who loves the world and cares for people. Bang Hyun-seok’s 『At Sapa』 was published as a K-Fiction special edition. His new work, the story ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

HappyLand (K-Poet 15)

This title is listed only on the LTI Korea website. It is available from Kyobo bookstore, but probably nowhere outside of Korea. The following description is from the Korean on the Kyobo website, fed through Papago I met the sky alive, so I accomplished everything. Kim Hae-ja’s new collection of poems, “Happy Land”. “K-Poet” series ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Newcomers and Global Migration in Contemporary South Korea: Across National Boundaries

From the publisher’s website: Newcomers and Global Migration in Contemporary South Korea: Across National Boundaries examines the intersections of race, class, gender and inequalities in global migration in contemporary South Korea. The contributors explore South Korean migration policies and study diverse migrants living and working in South Korea as low-wage undocumented workers, refugees, Korean returnees, migrant ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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 ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

One Left

During the Pacific War, more than 200,000 Korean girls were forced into sexual servitude for Japanese soldiers. They lived in horrific conditions in “comfort stations” across Japanese-occupied territories. Barely 10 percent survived to return to Korea, where they lived as social outcasts. Since then, self-declared comfort women have come forward only to have their testimonies ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Yi Sang: Selected Works

Formally audacious and remarkably compelling, Yi Sang’s works were uniquely situated amid the literary experiments of world literature in the early twentieth century and the political upheaval of 1930s Japanese occupied Korea. While his life ended prematurely at the age of twenty-seven, Yi Sang’s work endures as one of the great revolutionary legacies of modern ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

K-Pop Confidential

From the publisher’s website: A Korean-American girl travels to Seoul in hopes of debuting in a girl group at the same K-pop company behind the most popular boy band on the planet, in this romantic coming-of-age novel perfect for K-pop fans everywhere! Candace Park knows a lot about playing a role. For most of her ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Some Are Always Hungry

From the publisher’s website: Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Some Are Always Hungry chronicles a family’s wartime survival, immigration, and heirloom trauma through the lens of food, or the lack thereof. Through the vehicle of recipe, butchery, and dinner table poems, the collection negotiates the myriad ways diasporic communities comfort and name themselves ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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 ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Aspiring to Enlightenment: Pure Land Buddhism in Silla Korea

From the publisher’s website: Centered on the practice of seeking rebirth in the Pure Land paradise Sukhāvatī, the Amitābha cult has been the dominant form of Buddhism in Korea since the middle of the Silla period (ca. 300–935). In Aspiring to Enlightenment, Richard McBride combines analyses of scriptural, exegetical, hagiographical, epigraphical, art historical, and literary materials to ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Ghost Flames: Life and Death in a Hidden War, Korea 1950-1953

From the publisher’s website: A powerful, character-driven narrative of the Korean War from the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who helped uncover some of its longest-held and darkest secrets. The war that broke out in Korea on a Sunday morning seventy years ago has come to be recognized as a critical turning point in modern history — ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Unexpected Vanilla

A sensual, surrealist collection by a young feminist poet, in an equally sensuous and sensitive queer translation. Lee Hyemi’s poetry is characterized by fluidity and wetness, with subjects moving about and soaking in each other through curious means. Unexpected Vanilla’s exchange of liquids often involves sex, but intercourse can be nonsexual: drinking tea or alcohol, going to ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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 ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Soul in Seoul: African American Popular Music and K-pop

From the publisher’s website: K-pop (Korean popular music) reigns as one of the most popular music genres in the world today, a phenomenon that appeals to listeners of all ages and nationalities. In Soul in Seoul: African American Popular Music and K-pop, Crystal S. Anderson examines the most important and often overlooked aspect of K-pop: the ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Forty Two Greens

From the publisher’s website: The poems in this book, by the way they speak to all parts of our minds, invite us to come alive and experience each movement, each emotion and action, and some statements therein, intuitively and aesthetically. This is about a Korean man’s everyday life in the milieu of contemporary America; his ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Democratization and Democracy in South Korea, 1960–Present

This book analyses democratization and democracy in South Korea since 1960. The book starts with an analysis of the distinctive characteristics of bureaucratic authoritarianism and how democratic transition had been possible after inconclusive and protracted “tug of war” between authoritarian regime and democratic opposition. It then goes on to explore what the opportunities and constraints ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Body and Ki in GiCheon – Practices of Self-Cultivation in Contemporary Korea

This is the first English language book that studies contemporary practices of self-cultivation in South Korea called ki suryŏn (氣修練 training related to ki – “life energy”), reinvented in modernity similarly to Indian yoga and Chinese qigong. I focus on GiCheon, one of the ki suryŏn practices. By Victoria Ten (Jeon Yeon Hwa) https://www.ergon-shop.de/titel/body-and-ki-in-gicheon-id-89162/ [Read More] (Link to online store)

Moms

From the publisher’s website: An outrageously funny book about middle-aged women that reexamines romance, lust, and gender norms. Translated from Korean by Janet Hong. Lee Soyeon, Myeong-ok, and Yeonjeong are all mothers in their mid-fifties. And they’ve had it. They can no longer bear the dead weight of their partners or the endless grind of ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Re-evolution: Selected Poems by Kim Chi-ha

From the publisher’s website: Kim Chi-ha is widely regarded as one of the greatest poets and thinkers in modern Korean history. Throughout the 1970s, as a symbol of the ‘resistance’ movement against the Park Chung-hee dictatorship, he was forced to live a life of fleeing, wandering, imprisonment and torture, leading up to a death sentence. ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Peace Corps Volunteers and the Making of Korean Studies in the United States

From the publisher’s website: From 1966 through 1981 the Peace Corps sent more than two thousand volunteers to South Korea, to teach English and provide healthcare. A small yet significant number of them returned to the United States and entered academia, forming the core of a second wave of Korean studies scholars. How did their ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Gender Politics at Home and Abroad: Protestant Modernity in Colonial-Era Korea

From the publisher’s website: Hyaeweol Choi examines the formation of modern gender relations in Korea from a transnational perspective. Diverging from a conventional understanding of ‘secularization’ as a defining feature of modernity, Choi argues that Protestant Christianity, introduced to Korea in the late nineteenth century, was crucial in shaping modern gender ideology, reforming domestic practices ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Imperatives of Care: Women and Medicine in Colonial Korea

From the publisher’s website: In late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Korea, public health priorities in maternal and infant welfare privileged the new nation’s reproductive health and women’s responsibility for care work to produce novel organization of services in hospitals and practices in the home. The first monograph on this topic, Imperatives of Care places women ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Almond

This story is, in short, about a monster meeting another monster. One of the monsters is me. Yunjae was born with a brain condition called Alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends—the two almond-shaped neurons located deep in his brain have seen to ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

If I Had Your Face

From the publisher’s website: A riveting debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossible standards of beauty, after-hours room salons catering to wealthy men, ruthless social hierarchies, and K-pop mania “Powerful and provocative … a novel about female strength, spirit, resilience—and the solace ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

An Chunggŭn: His Life and Thought in His Own Words

From the publisher’s website: In An Chunggŭn: His Life and Thought in his own Words, Jieun Han and Franklin Rausch provide a complete translation of all of An’s writings and excerpts from his trial and appeal. Though An is most famous for killing Itō Hirobumi, the contents of this volume show that there was much more ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Disaster Tourist

Yona has been stuck behind a desk for years working as a programming coordinator for Jungle, a travel company specialising in package holidays to destinations ravaged by disaster. When a senior colleague touches her inappropriately she tries to complain, and in an attempt to bury her allegations, the company make her an attractive proposition: a ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Popular Culture and the Transformation of Japan–Korea Relations

From the publisher’s website: This book presents essays exploring the ways in which popular culture reflects and engenders ongoing changes in Japan–Korea relations. Through a broad temporal coverage from the colonial period to the contemporary, the book’s chapters analyse the often contradictory roles that popular culture has played in either promoting or impeding nationalisms, regional ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Straight White Men / Untitled Feminist Show

“Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show is one of the more moving and imagina­tive works I have ever seen on the American stage…what makes it so transcendent is its delicious ability to alternate the pain of being different with a sense of humor about lives not lived among the status quo.” —Hilton Als, New Yorker ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

As I Walk Alone

No information available. Not currently listed on Amazon, Worldcat, Goodreads or the publisher’s website, but the volume appears to be available from Booktable.net [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Society for Studies in Matryoshka and Basting Pins (K-Poet 14)

The below text is from the Kyobo website, run through the Papago translation engine: About the world and us, the fantasy and the Allegory that opens up and continues. A new collection of poems by Yoo Hyung-jin, “The Society for Studies in Matryoshka and Basting Pins” “K-Poet” series introduces the essence of Korean poetry that ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Monastic Education in Korea: Teaching Monks about Buddhism in the Modern Age

From the publisher’s website: What do Buddhist monks learn about Buddhism? Which part of their enormous canonical and non-canonical literature do they choose to focus on as the required curriculum in their training, and what do they elect to leave out? The cultural depository of Buddhism includes some four thousand canonical texts, hundreds of other ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

A Companion to Korean Art

From the publisher’s website: The only college-level publication on Korean art history written in English Korean pop culture has become an international phenomenon in the past few years. The popularity of the nation’s exports—movies, K-pop, fashion, television shows, lifestyle and cosmetics products, to name a few—has never been greater in Western society. Despite this heightened ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

North Korean Graphic Novels: Seduction of the Innocent?

Graphic novels (kurimchaek) are a major art form in North Korea, produced by agents of the regime to set out its vision in a range of important areas. This book provides an analysis of North Korean graphic novels, discussing the ideals they promote and the tensions within those ideals, and examining the reception of graphic ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Koreatowns: Exploring the Economics, Politics, and Identities of Korean Spatial Formation

This collection defines Koreatowns as spatial configurations that concentrate elements of “Korea” demographically, economically, politically, and culturally. The contributors provide exploratory accounts and critical evaluations of Koreatowns in different countries throughout the world. Ranging from familiar settings such as Los Angeles and New York City, to more unfamiliar locales such as Singapore, Beijing, Mexico, U.S.-Mexico ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

You Arrived in the Season of Perennial Summer (K-Poet 13)

Details from LTI Korea website. The title is available from Kyobo and probably other Korean online stores: Times like this are no good. They’re too distant from the root cause. I think I was a weaver in a factory a hundred years ago. Maybe a handweaver for hire a thousand years ago. I’m now weaving ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Maya in Tokyo (K-Fiction 027)

As this is an Asia Publishers title, it’s pretty difficult to obtain outside of Korea. Text from the listing on the Kyobo website, fed through the Papago translation engine: Nothing. Just grow into Maya. In July 2020, Jang Ryu-jin’s “Maya in Tokyo” was published as the 27th installment of K-fiction. Jang Ryu-jin’s new short novel, ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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] (Link to online store)

Laughing North Koreans: The Culture of Comedy Films

Publisher description: This study analyzes North Korean comedy films from the late 1960s to present day. It examines the most iconic comedy films and comedians to show how North Koreans have enjoyed themselves and have established a culture of humor that challenges, subverts, and, at times, reinforces the dominant political ideology. The author argues that ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Bluebeard’s First Wife

From the publisher’s website: Disasters, accidents, and deaths abound in Bluebeard’s First Wife. A woman spends a night with her fiancé and his friends, and overhears a terrible secret that has bound them together since high school. A man grows increasingly agitated by the apartment noise made by a young family living upstairs and arouses ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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] (Link to online store)

Seven Years of Darkness

A young girl is found dead in Seryong Lake, a reservoir in a remote South Korean village. The police immediately begin their investigation. At the same time, three men – Yongje, the girl’s father, and two security guards at the nearby dam, each of whom has something to hide about the night of her death ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Korean Skilled Workers: Toward a Labor Aristocracy

From the publisher’s website: South Korea’s triumphant development has catapulted the country’s economy to the eleventh largest in the world. Large family-owned conglomerates, or chaebŏls, such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, have become globally preeminent manufacturing brands. Yet Korea’s highly disciplined, technologically competent skilled workers who built these brands have become known only for their ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Friend

Publisher description: Paek Nam-nyong’s Friend is a tale of marital intrigue, abuse, and divorce in North Korea. A woman in her thirties comes to a courthouse petitioning for a divorce. As the judge who hears her statement begins to investigate the case, the story unfolds into a broader consideration of love and marriage. The novel ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes

The long-awaited debut cookbook from a Michelin-star chef. Hooni Kim is a chef who cooks with jung sung, heart and devotion. My Korea embraces his gastronomic heritage. From simple rice cakes drenched in a spicy sauce to a 12-Hour Korean Ramyeon (ramen), Hooni uses his background in world-class French and Japanese kitchens to fine-tune techniques in classic ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Law of Lines

The Law of Lines follows the parallel stories of two young women whose lives are upended by sudden loss. When Se-oh, a recluse still living with her father, returns from an errand to find their house in flames, wrecked by a gas explosion, she is forced back into the world she had tried to escape. ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

What Is Korean Literature?

Professor Kwon and Professor Fulton outline the major developments, characteristics, genres, and figures of the Korean literary tradition for students encountering that tradition for the first time and also for those ready to critically engage with it. The volume includes examples, in English translation, of each of the genres and works by several of the ... [Read More]

The Silence of Bones

June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody YA historical mystery tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh. I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak; Ears, but I mustn’t hear; Eyes, but I mustn’t see. 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Tales of the Strange by a Korean Confucian Monk: Kŭmo sinhwa by Kim Sisŭp

One of the most important and celebrated works of premodern Korean prose fiction, Kŭmo sinhwa (New Tales of the Golden Turtle) is a collection of five tales of the strange artfully written in literary Chinese by Kim Sisŭp (1435–1493). Kim was a major intellectual and poet of the early Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1897), and this book ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Divorce in South Korea: Doing Gender and the Dynamics of Relationship Breakdown

From the publisher’s website: It may sound logical that individualistic attitudes boost divorce. This book argues otherwise. Conservative norms of specialized gender roles serve as the root cause of marital dissolution. Those expectations that prescribe what men should do and what women should do help break down marital relationships. Data from South Korea suggest that ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Korean Developmental State

From the publisher’s website: This book analyzes, from a historical comparative perspective, the Korean economic development model, the extent to which it has changed from its classical model, and what constitutes its changes and continuity. Unlike studies claims the dissolution of Korean developmentalism, the book holds that the Korean state maintains its characteristics of state-led ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

DMZ Colony

From the publisher’s website: Winner of the National Book Award Woven from poems, prose, photographs, and drawings, Don Mee Choi’s DMZ Colony is a tour de force of personal and political reckoning set over eight acts. Evincing the power of translation as a poetic device to navigate historical and linguistic borders, it explores Edward Said’s notion of “the intertwined ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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 ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

After the Korean War: An Intimate History

Following his prizewinning studies of the Vietnam War, renowned anthropologist Heonik Kwon presents this ground-breaking study of the Korean War’s enduring legacies seen through the realm of intimate human experience. Kwon boldly reclaims kinship as a vital category in historical and political enquiry and probes the grey zone between the modern and the traditional (and ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean Literature

From the publisher’s website: The Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean Literature provides a comprehensive overview of a Korean literary tradition, which is understood as a multifaceted nexus of practices, both homegrown and transnational. The handbook discusses the perspectives from which modern Korean literature has thus far been defined, analyzing which voices have been enunciated, underappreciated, or completely ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

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] (Link to online store)

Umma’s Table

Following his acclaimed English language debut Uncomfortably Happily, Yeon-sik Hong returns with a graphic novel that is as insightful as wrenching as it probes life with aging parents and how we support the people we love. A new father named Madang, moves to a quiet cottage in the countryside with his wife and young baby. ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Whale and Vapor

The poems in WHALE AND VAPOR emphasize exhaustion—physically, mentally, and as an existential condition. Kim Kyung Ju playfully turns toward the lyric in this work as a way to reconcile himself with the contemporary world by engaging in dialogue with his Korean literary ancestry. Masterfully translated by Jake Levine in close conversation with the author, ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

We, At the End of the World (K-Poet 12)

From the Kyobo bookstore website, fed through Papago Translate: Me and you holding hands in the end of the world. a new collection of poems by Yang An-da, “We, At the End of the World” “K-Poet” series introduces the essence of Korean poetry that you always want to read next to you. Over time, Korean ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Korean International Students and the Making of Racialized Transnational Elites

By examining privileged and highly skilled Asian migrants, such as international students who acquire legal permanent residency in the United States, this book registers and traces these transnational figures as racialized transnational elites and illuminates the intersectionality and reconfiguration of race, class, ethnicity, and nationality. Using in-depth interviews with Korean international students in New York ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Deep Work (K-Poet 11)

As this is a recent publication by Asia Publishers, it’s hard to find outside of Korea. The following description is from the Korean listing on the Kyobo website, fed through the Google translation engine: Remembering the sadness of that day that will never be forgotten Ahn Hyun-mi’s new poetry collection Deep Work The ‘K-Poet’ series ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Notes from the North

Notes from the North is horrific, powerful, and astute, full of passion and moral authority. Although weve heard about the brutal dictatorship of North Korea before, these poems surpass journalism and bring us the voices on the brink, with the compelling urgency of a diary of contemporary tyranny and the havoc it wreaks. This is a ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Songs for “Great Leaders”: Ideology and Creativity in North Korean Music and Dance

Publisher description: Famously reclusive and secretive, North Korea can be seen as a theatre that projects itself through music and performance. The first book-length account of North Korean music and dance in any language other than Korean, Songs for “Great Leaders” pulls back the curtain on this theatre for the first time. Renowned ethnomusicologist Keith Howard moves ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Samsung Rising: Inside the secretive company conquering Tech

From the publisher’s website: Based on years of reporting on Samsung for the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and Time from his base in South Korea, and his countless sources inside and outside the company, Geoffrey Cain offers the first deep look behind the curtains of the biggest company nobody knows. How has this happened? Forty years ago, Samsung was ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Korean Art from 1953: Collision, Innovation, Interaction

Publisher description: Starting with the armistice that divided the Korean Peninsula in 1953, this one-of-a-kind book spotlights the artistic movements and collectives that have flourished and evolved throughout Korean culture over the past seven decades – from the 1950s avant-garde through to the feminist scene in the 1970s, the birth of the Gwangju Biennale in ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Korean Families Yesterday and Today

From the publisher’s website: Korean families have changed significantly during the last few decades in their composition, structure, attitudes, and function. Delayed and forgone marriage, fertility decline, and rising divorce rates are just a few examples of changes that Korean families have experienced at a rapid pace, more dramatic than in many other contemporary societies. ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Kim Jiyoung is a girl born to a mother whose in-laws wanted a boy. Kim Jiyoung is a sister made to share a room while her brother gets one of his own. Kim Jiyoung is a female preyed upon by male teachers at school. Kim Jiyoung is a daughter whose father blames her when she ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Winter in Sokcho

Publisher description: It’s winter in Sokcho, a tourist town on the border between South and North Korea. The cold slows everything down. Bodies are red and raw, the fish turn venomous, beyond the beach guns point out from the North’s watchtowers. A young French Korean woman works as a receptionist in a tired guesthouse. One ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

b, Book, and Me

Best friends b and Rang are all each other have. Their parents are absent, their teachers avert their eyes when they walk by. Everyone else in town acts like they live in Seoul even though it’s painfully obvious they don’t. When Rang begins to be bullied horribly by the boys in baseball hats, b fends ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Black Room (K-Fiction 026)

As this is an Asia Publishers title, it’s pretty difficult to obtain outside of Korea. Text from the listing on the Kyobo website, fed through the Papago translation engine: 99 Years of Life, Unfinished Battle In January 2020, Jeong Ji-ah’s “Black Room” was published as the 26th installment of K-fiction. Jung Ji-ah was born in ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Only Child

A serial killer whose gruesome murders shook the world but who has steadfastly remained silent. Until now. A young, innocent looking stepdaughter from her husband’s previous marriage, who unexpectedly turns up at the door after the sudden death of her grandparents. Both are unsettling. Both are deeply troubled. And both seem to want something from ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Chaoxianzu Entrepreneurs in Korea: Searching for Citizenship in the Ethnic Homeland

From the publisher’s website: This book explores the nature of the state-citizen societal relationship in Korea during the transition to neoliberalism, through the lenses of class and nationalism. Examining the process by which a new class, Korean Chinese entrepreneurs, emerged from Korean Chinese enclaves in South Korea and quickly became a leading group within those ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Queer Korea

From the publisher’s website: Since the end of the nineteenth century, the Korean people have faced successive waves of foreign domination, authoritarian regimes, forced dispersal, and divided development. Throughout these turbulent times, “queer” Koreans were ignored, minimized, and erased in narratives of their modern nation, East Asia, and the wider world. This interdisciplinary volume challenges ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Untold Night and Day

A hypnotic, disorienting story of parallel lives unfolding over a day and a night in the sweltering heat of Seoul’s summer For two years, twenty-eight-year-old Kim Ayami has worked at Seoul’s only audio theatre for the blind. But now the theatre is shutting down and Ayami’s future is uncertain. Her last shift completed and the ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

A Representation of Nationhood in the Museum

From the publisher’s website: A Representation of Nationhood in the Museum examines how the National Museum of Korea, as a national repository of material culture and the state’s premier exhibition facility, has shaped and been shaped by Korean nationalism. Exploring the processes by which the museum has discovered and interpreted material culture, using concepts of ethnic ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Korea: A Very Short Introduction

From the publisher’s website: Having spent centuries in the shadows of its neighbours China and Japan, Korea is now the object of considerable interest for radically different reasons— the South as an economic success story and for its vibrant popular culture; the North as the home to one of the world’s most repressive regimes, at ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

Cold War Cosmopolitanism: Period Style in 1950s Korean Cinema

From the publisher’s website: South Korea in the 1950s was home to a burgeoning film culture, one of the many “Golden Age cinemas” that flourished in Asia during the postwar years. Cold War Cosmopolitanism offers a transnational cultural history of South Korean film style in this period, focusing on the works of Han Hyung-mo, director ... [Read More] (Link to online store)

The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir

From the publisher’s website: The Magical Language of Others is a powerful and aching love story in letters, from mother to daughter. After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji Koh’s parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned ... [Read More] (Link to online store)