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Monuments, Memory, and Identity

Constructing the Colonial Past in South Korea

Series:

Guy Podoler

Between 1910 and 1945 Korea was subjected to Japanese colonial rule. Monuments, Memory, and Identity investigates ways how postcolonial South Korea commemorated this difficult past in light of changing political and social conditions, and against the background of the divided nation. By analyzing museums, memorial halls, parks and monuments, the author deciphers and maps the South Korean commemorative landscape. He analyzes the layouts of the country’s well-known «sites of memory» and explores the on-site plaques, exhibits, and photos as well as the booklets and publications. This book underpins the shifts and trends in recollecting this important historical period by addressing the following questions: How has postcolonial South Korea been constructing and reconstructing its colonial past? Why were certain narratives and images chosen at different times? What debates, controversies, and challenges were involved in this dynamic process? Furthermore, the author discusses the South Korean case within the broader context of the postcolonial discourse.

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Contents

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Acknowledgements ................................................................................... 7 Notes on Transliteration, Translation, and Photographs ........................... 9 Introduction............................................................................................. 11 Historical Memory and Tangible History ........................................... 13 Images of the Colonial Past ................................................................ 18 Chapter 1: Roots Constructed ................................................................. 23 Politics of Korea’s Foundation Myth .................................................. 24 Tangible Origins ................................................................................. 34 Constructing the Heroic Past .............................................................. 52 Conclusion: The Historical Crossroad of Change .............................. 66 Chapter 2: The Face of Colonialism ....................................................... 71 Life under Colonial Rule: Facing Colonial Modernity ....................... 72 The Brutal Occupier ........................................................................... 84 Stain of Collaboration ....................................................................... 102 Colonialism Made of Stone .............................................................. 117 Conclusion: Morality, Legitimacy, Continuity ................................. 124 Chapter 3: The Struggle ........................................................................ 129 A Nation Rises .................................................................................. 130 Active Physical Resistance ............................................................... 145 Moderate Struggle ............................................................................ 160 Conclusion: Valor and Legitimacy ................................................... 170 Chapter 4: The Structure of Patriotism ................................................. 175 Patriotism: The Emotional Linchpin of Nationalism ........................ 176 South Korean Language of Patriotism .............................................. 179 By Gun and Bombs ........................................................................... 189 Korea’s Joan of Arc .......................................................................... 207 Complicated Nationalism ................................................................. 213 Conclusion: Politics of Post-colonial Filial Piety ............................. 228 6 Conclusion: Tangible History in South Korea – Its Features and Politics ........................................................................ 235 Bibliography ......................................................................................... 251 Index ..................................................................................................... 267

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