SOAS University of London

Centre of Korean Studies


Culture, Power and Politics in Treaty-Port Japan

Culture, Power and Politics in Treaty-Port Japan, 1854-1899
Hoare, J.E.
Renaissance Books, 2018

Compared with their counterparts in China, the Japanese treaty ports cast a small shadow. They were far fewer – only four really mattered – and lasted for just under fifty years, while the Chinese ports made their centenary. Yet the Japanese ports were important. The thriving modern cities of Yokohama and Kobe had their origins as treaty ports. Nagasaki, a major centre of foreign trade since at least the sixteenth century, may not have owed so much to its treaty-port status, but it was a factor in its modern development.



Korean Art from the 19th century to the Present

Korean Art from the 19th Century to the Present
Horlyck, Charlotte
Reaktion, 2017

From artists’ first encounters with oil paintings in the late nineteenth century to the varied and vibrant creative outputs of the 2000s, the book covers a critical and, from a cultural perspective, revolutionary period, signified by the breakdown of earlier artistic conventions and the rise of new art forms. Within this historical trajectory, Charlotte Horlyck explores artists’ interpretations of new and traditional art forms ranging from oil and ink paintings to video art, multi-media installations, ready-mades and performance, and their questions about the role of art and the artist’s position within society. This book will appeal equally to general and specialist readers wanting to explore this rich and fascinating epoch in Korea’s cultural history.

Speed up your Korean: Strategies to Avoid Common Errors (Speed Up Your Language Skills)

Speed up your Korean:
Strategies to Avoid Common Errors (Speed Up Your Language Skills)
Brown, Lucien; Yeon, Jaehoon
Routledge, 2016

Word order, honorifics, terms of addresses and idiomatic expressions are just some of the areas that cause confusion for students of Korean. Learning how to avoid the common errors that arise repeatedly in these areas is an essential step in successful language learning.

Speed Up Your Korean is a unique and innovative resource that identifies and explains these errors, enabling students to learn from their mistakes while enhancing their understanding of the Korean language.

SamulNori: Korean Percussion for a Contemporary World

Korean Percussion for a Contemporary World
Howard, Keith
Ashgate, 2015

SamulNori is a percussion quartet which has given rise to a genre, of the same name, that is arguably Korea’s most successful ’traditional’ music of recent times. Today, there are dozens of amateur and professional samulnori groups. There is a canon of samulnori pieces, closely associated with the first founding quartet but played by all, and many creative evolutions on the basic themes, made by the rapidly growing number of virtuosic percussionists. And the genre is the focus of an abundance of workshops, festivals and contests. Samulnori is taught in primary and middle schools; it is part of Korea’s national education curriculum. It has dedicated institutes, and there are a number of workbooks devoted to helping wannabe ’samulnorians’. It is a familiar part of Korean performance culture, at home and abroad, in concerts but also in films and theatre productions. SamulNori uses four instruments: kkwaenggwari and ching small and large gongs, and changgo and puk drums. These are the instruments of local percussion bands and itinerant troupes that trace back many centuries, but samulnori is a recent development of these older traditions: it was first performed in February 1978. This volume explores this vibrant percussion genre, charting its origins and development, the formation of the canon of pieces, teaching and learning strategies, new evolutions and current questions relating to maintaining, developing, and sustaining samulnori in the future.

Korean Musical Instruments: A Practical Guide (Second edition)

Korean Musical Instruments:
A Practical Guide (Second edition)
Howard, Keith
Minsokwon, 2015

A guide to Korean instruments, focussing on seven key string, percussion and wind instruments: kayagum, komun'go, haegum, changgo, p'iri, taegum, tanso. Each instrument is discussed historically and in its regional context. Different versions of each, and related instruments are described. Playing methods and techniques are given, coupled to photographs and other illustrations, then notations are introduced, building to sets of exercises and pieces given in both Korean mensural and staff notations. Two additional chapters give an historical overview, a broad consideration of different notation systems used in Korea, and an organological account of all traditional Korean instruments. Rewritten, expanded, newly illustrated edition of book originally published in 1988.

Under the Ancestors' Eyes

Under the Ancestors' Eyes
Kinship, Status, and Locality in Premodern Korea
Deuchler, Martina
Harvard University Asia Center, 2015

Under the Ancestors’ Eyes presents a new approach to Korean social history by focusing on the origin and development of the indigenous descent group. Martina Deuchler maintains that the surprising continuity of the descent-group model gave the ruling elite cohesion and stability and enabled it to retain power from the early Silla (fifth century) to the late nineteenth century. This argument, underpinned by a fresh interpretation of the late-fourteenth-century Koryŏ-Chosŏn transition, illuminates the role of Neo-Confucianism as an ideological and political device through which the elite regained and maintained dominance during the Chosŏn period. Neo-Confucianism as espoused in Korea did not level the social hierarchy but instead tended to sustain the status system. In the late Chosŏn, it also provided ritual models for the lineage-building with which local elites sustained their preeminence vis-à-vis an intrusive state. Though Neo-Confucianism has often been blamed for the rigidity of late Chosŏn society, it was actually the enduring native kinship ideology that preserved the strict social-status system. By utilizing historical and social anthropological methodology and analyzing a wealth of diverse materials, Deuchler highlights Korea’s distinctive elevation of the social over the political.

Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea

Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea
Third Edition
Hoare, James E. 
Rowman & Littlefield, 2015

The Korean Peninsula lies at the strategic heart of East Asia, between China, Russia, and Japan, and has been influenced in different ways and at different times by all three of them. Across the Pacific lies the United States, which has also had a major influence on the peninsula since the first encounters in the mid-nineteenth century. Faced by such powerful neighbors, the Koreans have had to struggle hard to maintain their political and cultural identity. The result has been to create a fiercely independent people. If they have from time to time been divided, the pressures towards unification have always proved strong.

This third edition of Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea covers its history through a chronology, an introductory essay, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 500 cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about the Republic of Korea.


The Handbook of Korean Linguistics
The Handbook of Korean Linguistics

Editors: Brown, Lucien; Yeon, Jaehoon
Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

The Handbook of Korean Linguistics presents state–of–the–art overviews of linguistic research into the Korean language. The volume is divided into six sections: The Sounds of Korean, Korean Morphology and Syntax, the Syntax–Semantics Interface, Discourse and Pragmatics, Language Acquisition, and Varieties of Korean. The editors have brought together contributions from a wide range of international authors, allowing for a variety of theoretical viewpoints as well as coverage of topics such as proto–Korean, present–day language policies in North and South Korea, social aspects of Korean as a heritage language, honorifics, and an in–depth study of syntactic phenomena of the language.

The first authoritative reference work of its kind in the field, this Handbook is certain to become a key resource for researchers, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates studying Korean linguistics or linguistic typology.            


Opera, Exoticism and Visual Culture
Opera, Exoticism and Visual Culture

Editors: Lee, Hyunseon; Segal, Naomi 
Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2015

As a uniquely hybrid form of artistic output, straddling music and theatre and high and popular culture, opera offers vast research possibilities not only in the field of music studies but also in the fields of media and cultural studies. Using the exotic legacy of the fin-de-siècle as its primary lens, this volume explores the shifting relationships between the multimedia genre of opera and the rapidly changing world of visual cultures. It also examines the changing aesthetics of opera in composition and performance and historical (dis)continuity, including the postcolonial era. The book comprises eleven interdisciplinary essays by scholars from eight countries, researching in music, theatre, literature, film and media studies, as well as a special contribution by opera director Sir Jonathan Miller. The book begins with an examination of operatic exoticism in various cultural contexts, such as French, Latin American and Arabic culture. The next sections focus on the most beloved figures in opera performance – Salome, Madame Butterfly and Aida – and performances of these operas through history. Further interpretations of the operas in film and new media are then considered. In the final section, Sir Jonathan Miller reflects on the ‘afterlife’ of opera.


Death, Mourning, and the Afterlife in Korea
Death, Mourning, and the Afterlife in Korea: Ancient to Contemporary Times

Editors: Horlyck, Charlotte; Pettid, Michael J.
University Of Hawai'i Press, 2014

Death and the activities and beliefs surrounding it can teach us much about the ideals and cultures of the living. While biologically death is an end to physical life, this break is not quite so apparent in its mental and spiritual aspects. Indeed, the influence of the dead over the living is sometimes much greater than before death. This volume takes a multidisciplinary approach in an effort to provide a fuller understanding of both historic and contemporary practices linked with death in Korea

Contributors from Korea and the West incorporate the approaches of archaeology, history, literature, religion, and anthropology in addressing a number of topics organized around issues of the body, disposal of remains, ancestor worship and rites, and the afterlife. The first two chapters explore the ways in which bodies of the dying and the dead were dealt with from the Greater Silla Kingdom (668–935) to the mid-twentieth century. Grave construction and goods, cemeteries, and memorial monuments in the Koryŏ (918–1392) and the twentieth century are then discussed, followed by a consideration of ancestral rites and worship, which have formed an inseparable part of Korean mortuary customs since premodern times. Chapters address the need to appease the dead both in shamanic and Confucians contexts. The final section of the book examines the treatment of the dead and how the state of death has been perceived. Ghost stories provide important insight into how death was interpreted by common people in the Koryŏ and Chosŏn (1392–1910) while nonconformist narratives of death such as the seventeenth-century romantic novel Kuunmong point to a clear conflict between Buddhist thought and practice and official Neo-Confucian doctrine. Keeping with unendorsed views on death, the final chapter explores how death and the afterlife were understood by early Korean Catholics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Key Papers on Korea: Essays Celebrating 25 Years of the Centre of Korean Studies
Key Papers on Korea: Essays Celebrating 25 Years of the Centre of Korean Studies, SOAS, University of London

Edited and Introduced by Jackson, Andrew David
Brill, 2014

Key Papers on Korea is a commemorative collection of papers celebrating 25 years of the Centre of Korean Studies (CKS), SOAS, University of London that have been written by senior academics and emerging scholars. The subjects covered in this collection reflect the different research interests and different strengths of the CKS and include historical perceptions of ancient kingdoms in Manchuria, North Korean propaganda literature, the problematic history of Sino-North Korean borderlands, the millenarian aspects of Won Buddhism, and the importance of the years 1910-11 in the development of Korean music. The collection is framed by two pieces on SOAS, which have been commissioned exclusively for this publication: an introduction that examines the 60-year history of Korean studies at SOAS, and a closing paper that sheds light on the rare collections of Korean art held at SOAS.