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Integration Processes in the Circulation of Knowledge

Cases from Korea

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Edited By Marion Eggert and Florian Pölking

Korea, geographically situated at cultural crossroads, has a long history of creative engagement with knowledge from outside sources. This volume discusses processes of knowledge integration – of interpretive adaptation, dissection, selection and re-assemblage, of reduction and amplification, as well as of blending with existing cognitive structures – in pre-modern and early modern times. The articles assembled deal with a wide range of sources (including material objects as carriers of knowledge) and with diverse fields of knowledge, spanning the realms of philosophy, religion, literature, military and technical knowledge, and political thought. Together, they richly illustrate the transformative powers inherent in re-configurations of knowledge.
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Gunhild Stierand-Kim - On War, the Waenom, and Waterwheels: Memory, Stereotypes, and Knowledge of Japan and the Japanese in Kim In-gyŏm’s Ilttong changyuga, an 18th century kasa travelogue

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Gunhild Stierand-Kim

On War, the Waenom, and Waterwheels: Memory, Stereotypes, and Knowledge of Japan and the Japanese in Kim In-gyŏm’s Ilttong changyuga, an 18th Century kasa Travelogue

Abstract This paper discusses the overlapping of “memory,” “stereotype,” and “knowledge” in Ilttong changyuga, a Korean language kasa on the author Kim In-gyŏm’s journey to Japan as a secretary of the Korean embassy in 1763/64, based on the text’s references to the Imjin war, depictions of Japanese people, and accounts on two Japanese waterwheels.

1 Introduction

What could Koreans of the Chosŏn 朝鮮 period (1392–1910) possibly know about their neighbour Japan? Concerning written sources on Japan from the Chosŏn period, it is well known that there was a great variety of texts on Japan (at least potentially) available to those fluent in Classical Chinese (hanmun 漢文), such as the Haedong chegukki 海東諸國紀 by Sin Suk-chu 申叔舟 (1417–1475), the numerous travel diaries and other accounts of the Chosŏn embassies (Chosŏn t’ongsinsa 朝鮮通信使, jp. Chōsen tsūshinshi) compiled in the Haehaeng ch’ongjae 海行摠載, or works by scholars such as Yi Tŏng-mu 李德懋 (1741–1793) who are commonly ascribed to the so-called sirhak 實學 (“practical learning”) group—to name just a few. In contrast, texts on Japan that included also people from outside the hanmun-reading literacy elite1 into their readership were extremely rare. ← 71 | 72 →

The major pre-modern work that did so, and thus one of the scarce opportunities to read...

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