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Monuments, Memory, and Identity

Constructing the Colonial Past in South Korea


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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Notes on Transliteration, Translation, and Photographs 9


9 Notes on Transliteration, Translation, and Photographs This study follows the McCune-Reischauer system for the romaniztion of Korean. Also, Korean names are presented according to the standard fashion of last name first, followed by the given name, which is usually made of two parts. I make exceptions to these conventions in cases where a different spelling is preferred by an individual, and in cases where a different spelling is the one that an individual or a place is better known by; for example, Park Chung Hee instead of Pak Chng-hi, Syngman Rhee instead of Yi Sng-man, and Seoul instead of Sul. For Japanese words I used Kenkyusha’s New Pocket Japanese-English Dic- tionary, rev. ed. (Tokyo: Kenkyusha, 1989). Japanese names and places are written as they commonly appear in Western literature, and the Pinyin romanization system is used for Chinese names and places. Unless stated otherwise, all translations of the Korean texts that appear at the sites and that are examined in this book, are mine. Finally, the photographs presented here were taken between 2002 and 2005, and they are all mine as well.

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