Review: Kim Yideum – Blood Sisters

Kim Yideum: Blood Sisters Translated by Jiyoon Lee Deep Vellum, 2019, 202pp Originally published as 블러드 시스터즈 by Munhakdongne, 2011 I seem to be on a roll with translated fiction this year. Two disappointments (Marilyn and Me and Kim Jiyoung), but now seven that are highly recommendable. I picked this novel off the reading pile […]

Screening: The Marines Who Never Returned CANCELLED

This screening is now cancelled as the KCC has closed, in common with many cultural venues, as a result of the health situation. The KCC’s first season of in-house screenings this year commemorates the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. The Marines Who Never Returned Director: Lee Man-hee (1963, 110 mins) Cast: […]

Book review: Marilyn and Me

Ji-min Lee: Marilyn and Me Translated by Chi-young Kim HarperCollins / 4th Estate 2019, 176pp Originally published as 나와마릴린, 2009 “Where did all the beautiful and hopeful young women go?” That was the thought that occurred to author Ji-Min Lee, looking back at the grim post-war years, and looking at a couple of photographs from […]

SOAS seminar – Small China concept in the T’aengniji by Yi Chung-hwan

The last SOAS seminar before Brexit… The Small China concept in the “T’aengniji” by Yi Chung-hwan (1690-1756?) Dr Nataliya Chesnokova (National Research University Higher School of Economics) 31 January 2020, 5:15 – 7:00 PM Paul Webley Wing (Senate House), Alumni Lecture Theatre, SOAS Free | Registration link on SOAS website Abstract The late Chosǒn period […]

Brief book review: Suni Samchon

Hyun Ki-young: Suni Samchon Translated by Lee Jung-hi Asia Publishers Bilingual Edition, 2012, 186pp Jeju Island, in Korean literature of the late 70s and 80s, is not the honeymoon destination of more recent years. It was a place of poverty, of bitter memories – a place to escape from rather than a destination to visit […]

SOAS seminar: Socialist competition and class formation in DPRK, 1953-56

A seminar at SOAS tomorrow, just announced. Looks interesting. Socialist competition and class formation in North Korea’s post-Korean War recovery, 1953-1956 Dr Owen Miller (SOAS) Friday 6 December 2019, 5:15 – 7:00 pm Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Alumni Lecture Theatre Register on SOAS website Abstract How did North Korea manage to recover […]

The World’s First ‘Active’ Greenhouse

The greenhouse is an ancient invention, dating back 2,200 years. Modern ‘active’ greenhouses are distinguished from older ‘passive’ ones by the fact that they allow for the adjustment of air and soil temperature. Previously, the first such greenhouses were believed to have been built in Germany in 1619, using a stove to regulate air temperature, […]

Film Review: Love, Lies (Park Heung-sik, 2016)

An historic album made by a hitherto unknown Korean popular music singer from the colonial period is literally unearthed in a modern-day construction site. Miraculously, although the LP is damaged, audio engineers can restore the sound to something like the original, for broadcast on a golden oldies radio show. But who is the singer, and […]

Screening: Returning, After Seventy Years

Wednesday 29 October 2019, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm SOAS | Russell Square | College Buildings Room: 4429 Register online here Synopsis In September 1950 the Daily Worker journalist Alan Winnington released his pamphlet “I Saw The Truth in Korea” which documented atrocities in Daejeon during the Korean War presided over by the South Korean […]

Samuel Hawley’s Imjin War comes to YouTube

One of my most enjoyable reads so far this year has been Samuel Hawley’s Imjin War, originally published in 2005. At 664 pages long it might seem a bit intimidating, but in my view it could probably be twice as long and still be as gripping. But for those who like their history in nibble-sized […]

Nine Confucian academies listed at UNESCO

For visitors to Korea (such as myself) who like to try to get round all the UNESCO-listed world heritage sites, the list just got longer. On Saturday 6 July, the World Heritage Committee included nine Seowon, or Neo-Confucian Academies, in the list. The nine seowon are dotted around the central and southern parts of the […]

Screening: Daily Bread + 50 Years of Silence

On UN International Eliminate Sexual Violence in Conflict Day, SOAS Korean Social and Environmental Justice Society will have a special film event celebrating Jan Ruff O’Herne, a survivor of Japanese military sexual slavery, and human rights campaigner. Jan was inspired in 1991 by the Korean grandmothers to tell her story – and to tell her […]

Former UK Home Secretary to unveil statue commemorating Vietnamese victims

In an article on Politics Home, former UK Home Secretary Jack Straw writes about South Korea’s need to investigate rape and other atrocities inflicted by South Korean soldiers upon women during the Vietnam War. Despite Korea’s history of Japanese military sexual slavery, successive South Korean governments have refused to investigate their own military’s crimes against […]