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  • Author: Christos G. Frentzos
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: After the United States, the Republic of Korea sent more troops to Vietnam than any other nation. Approximately 325,000 South Korean soldiers served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1973. Although the Korean military and economy benefited substantially from the conflict, the war also left some deep scars on the national psyche. While the government did not permit public criticism of the war in the 1960s and 1970s, South Koreans have now finally begun to confront their troubled Vietnam legacy. Often referred to as Korea’s “forgotten war,” the Vietnam Conflict has recently made its way into Korean popular culture through movies, novels and songs about the war. Increased freedom and democracy has created an environment where both the Korean government and the people have begun to openly discuss issues such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and alleged wartime atrocities committed by South Korean servicemen. This paper will analyze some of the more controversial aspects of Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War and examine how South Koreans themselves have addressed these issues both officially and within their popular culture during the last few decades.
  • Topic: War, History, Culture, Media, Conflict, Atrocities, Vietnam War, Veterans
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas Petri
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States Marine Corps’ 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, (ANGLICO) supported the U.S. Army and allied units in the Republic of Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. In the summer of 1966, ten officers and 75 enlisted Marines were assigned to the 2 nd Republic of Korea Marine Corps Brigade. This paper recounts my tour of duty as a tactical air controller with the brigade’s 1 st Battalion from 1966 to 1968. I rotated among the battalion’s three companies and reconnaissance platoon, directing air strikes, coordinating helicopter resupply and arranging medical evacuations. My responsibilities allowed me to work alongside the company commander and fire support coordinator; my rank enabled me to interact with the company’s noncommissioned officers and enlisted Marines. Together we fought the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in nameless rice paddies and jungle choked heights, forging a legend that would define the fighting spirit that has become synonymous with the reputation and respect earned by Korea’s magnificent Marines. Throughout my association with the Blue Dragon Brigade, I have always been impressed with the leadership, training and discipline infused at every level of command. Employing two incidents of mortal combat as a vehicle to demonstrate these attributes, I attempt to convey the admiration and respect I hold for my brother Marines from the Land of the Morning Calm.
  • Topic: History, Armed Forces, Conflict, Memoir, Vietnam War
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Michael MacArthur Bosack
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Command is the multinational headquarters that led the allied forces in the Korean War. The command’s Military Armistice Commission supervises the Armistice Agreement. While the United Nations Command and its activities are common knowledge in the Republic of Korea, the command’s long-standing organization and functions in Japan are less well known. This relationship began in 1950 and is codified in the 1954 United Nations-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. The command’s rear area headquarters, the aptly named United Nations Command-Rear Headquarters, has managed this relationship since 1957. After decades of few changes, the United Nations Command and its Sending States broadened traditional roles and missions from Japan beginning in the early 2000s. This led to expanded activities within the legal framework and security mandate governing the United Nations Command’s relationship with Japan, strengthening Japan’s ties with the command’s member states, and supporting the “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea. This paper examines the relationship between the United Nations Command and Japan, beginning with the institutions and interests underpinning the relationship. Next, it describes the Status of Forces Agreement and how the relationship functions. The paper concludes with a discussion of relevant policy issues, limitations to greater cooperation, and opportunities for expanded roles within the framework of the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Military Affairs, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United Nations, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Lim
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper conceptualizes the emerging détente within inter-Korean relations as evidence of tangible transformations within North Korea’s domestic and foreign policy, establishing how this phenomenon represents a unique and conclusive opportunity for peace and engagement. It contextualizes the inter-Korean and Singapore summits as foundations for the détente, before expanding upon the nature of the détente through the contrasting objectives of North and South Korea, and the transitional nature of domestic affairs in North Korea. The article establishes the bona fide nature of North Korea’s détente, as revealed by a direct connection between North Korea’s international diplomatic gestures vis-av-vis transitional domestic circumstances; involving incremental economic modernization and political liberalization under a shift in focus within Kim Jong-un’s Byungjin Line policy. This analysis departs from and orthodox Western interpretation of inter-Korean relations, providing a holistic analysis of inter-Korean affairs and North Korean domestic politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore
  • Author: J. Marshall Unger
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: On the basis of the comparative method, developed over more than two centuries of empirical study, the best results to date are that the presentday Korean and Japanese languages had a common source, called protoKorean-Japanese. Korean and Japanese are more similar to one another than either is to any of the languages spoken in adjacent parts of Asia. That is as far as pure linguistics takes us at present. Other scientific disciplines must be utilized to determine when and where proto-Korean-Japanese was spoken, when its speakers separated into pre-Korean and pre-Japanese groups, and when the descendants of those groups resumed contact on the Korean peninsula prior to the migration of most pre-Japanese speakers to Japan.
  • Topic: Migration, History, Linguistics, Language
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Jenna Gibson
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, Western publics have gradually caught on to the Kpop phenomenon; the Korean Wave has arrived on European and North American shores and shows no signs of receding. Heightened interest has corresponded with increased mainstream media coverage, both among news and entertainment outlets. This article analyzes mainstream media coverage of the Korean Wave from 2009 to 2019, including an examination of overall trends in K-pop framing over time. This analysis suggests that coverage of K-pop in Western media has proceeded through four distinct stages of development: 1) Introductory Stage, 2) Gangnam Style Stage, 3) Korean Wave Stage, and 4) Mainstreaming Stage. This article also examines how the changing portrayal of K-pop for general audiences has corresponded with a similar evolution in portrayals of South Korea and Korean society as a whole.
  • Topic: Media, News Analysis, Soft Power, Music, popular culture
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Hyeri Jung
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper unravels dynamic interactions between Korean popular culture and its fans in the United States, focusing on how cultural hybridity of the Korean Wave un/consciously facilitates soft power, and what sociocultural implications it might yield in global/international contexts. Employing various theoretical frameworks of globalization, critical/cultural media studies, hybridity, soft power, and fan studies, I take a qualitative methodological approach of what I call a reversed media ethnography: Examining the contraflow of Korean media culture on U.S. fans. I employ various qualitative and interpretive techniques including grounded theory to analyze the rich corpus of data I collected over a period of two years to examine the nature of transcultural media and fans of the Korean Wave in the United States. Overall, the findings of this paper suggest that the complex layers of hybridity embedded in Korean popular culture creates complicated webs of transculturality. The Korean Wave exemplifies strategically well-balanced cultural hybridity that arouses a certain feeling of affinity: Emotional proximity. Korean popular culture evokes continuous negotiations of identities and generates nonthreatening wholesome content that comfortably appeals to American fans with various ethnic, racial, social, and cultural backgrounds. The notion of uriness (we-ness in English), collective unity and solidarity, embedded in Korean popular culture and its fandom culture works as one of the multifaceted soft power in the eyes of American fans that leads to an alternative post-Western soft power. This study contends that it is not the so-called hybridized Korean popular culture per se that makes it transcultural, and global to some extent, but the often under-recognized vital agents in the global sphere: Legions of fans.
  • Topic: Culture, Soft Power, Ethnography, Music
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dal Yong Jin, Ju Oak Kim
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Korean unscripted format has recently reshaped media flows and practices on a global scale. This article, based upon a comparative analysis of Grandpas Over Flowers (tvN) and Better Late Than Never (NBC), explores how the Korean broadcasting industry has attracted Western broadcasting providers with its travel-based reality format, and how an American television network has produced its own version, negotiating the local specificity that the original series contained. Certainly, cultural differences in media production between the two societies are largely embedded in the localizing process. While Grandpas Over Flowers was dependent upon the long-standing friendship between veteran actors and their public images as fathers and grandfathers within society, Better Late Than Never employs veteran entertainers’ professional successes as the driving force for adventuring into exotic cultures in East Asia. This article claims that the Grandpas Over Flowers case evokes a new phase of the Korean Wave phenomenon, revealing a non-Western media player’s attempt at challenging the domination of United States and United Kingdom television formats in the global media industries.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Culture, Media, popular culture
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jieun Lee
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In the midst of a worldwide fascination with Hallyu, South Korea’s cultural products, the popularity of K-pop and K-drama has soared to unprecedented levels. In New York City, Korean American playwright Jason Kim’s Off-Broadway musical KPOP (2017) brought K-pop music and dance to the stage. In the Twin Cities, a Hmong American playwright May Lee-Yang set her play, The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity (2018), within her Hmong ethnic background, as a romantic satire and homage to K-drama. While both plays function superbly as theatrical entertainment, I argue that these works serve as critical investigations into the methods of creating and disseminating K-pop and K-drama. Both theater pieces bring up issues of racial, gender, sexual, national, and ethnic identities as they reimagine Hallyu in North America and assess its impact on Asian America.
  • Topic: Culture, Ethnicity, Identities, Music, popular culture, Theater
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Soojin Ahn
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: As social media platforms such as YouTube have become important access points for Korean popular music (K-pop), international fans have enjoyed recording and sharing their responses to K-pop music videos on social media. In particular, reaction videos have been the most convenient and popular way for many international fans to share their opinions on and reactions to K-pop songs with others. This study aims to investigate the unique characteristics of reaction videos to share K-pop fans’ cultural experiences through YouTube videos and discuss the potential use of such fans’ learner motivation and learning environment for Korean language education. Four YouTube reaction videos were investigated through thematic analysis and through a discourse analysis informed by interactional sociolinguistics. The findings show how the reaction video creators build a community with other fans by establishing familiarity through agreement, considering the audience, and exchanging information, not only about a specific song, but also about K-pop in general and Korean Wave genres. These creators also demonstrated multiliteracies by expressing their opinions and feelings through facial expressions, visuals, and dance. These creators make their reaction videos regularly, proving their long-term enthusiasm for K-pop and the Korean Wave. This research offers important implications for future Korean language education, which will embrace diverse groups of international learners who actively participate in K-pop fan activities online.
  • Topic: Culture, Social Media, Language, Music, YouTube
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, South Korea, Korea, United States of America