The Northern Region of Korea

History, Identity, and Culture

Edited by Sun Joo Kim

  • Published: August 2015
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; History
  • Bibliographic information: 415 pp., 3 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Distributed for: Center for Korea Studies, University of Washington
  • Series: Center For Korea Studies Publications
  • Contents

The residents of the three northern provinces of Korea have long had cultural and linguistic characteristics that have marked them as distinct from their brethren in the central area near the capital and in the southern provinces. The making and legitimating of centralized Korean nation-states over the centuries, however, have marginalized the northern region and its distinct subjectivities.

Contributors to this book address the problem of amnesia regarding this distinct subjectivity of the northern region of Korea in contemporary, historical, and cultural discourses, which have largely been dominated by grand paradigms, such as modernization theory, the positivist perspective, and Marxism. Through the use of storytelling, linguistic analysis, and journal entries from turn-of-the-century missionaries and traveling Russians in addition to many varieties of unconventional primary sources, the authors creatively explore unfamiliar terrain while examining the culture, identity, and regional distinctiveness of the northern region and its people. They investigate how the northern part of the Korean peninsula developed and changed historically from the early Choson to the colonial period and come to a consensus regarding the importance of regionalism as a vital factor in historical transformation, especially in regard to Korea's tumultuous modern era.
Sun Joo Kim is a professor of Korean history at Harvard University. She is the author of Marginality and Subversion in Korea. The other contributors are Mark E. Caprio, Donald N. Clark, Bruce Fulton, Jang Yoo-seung, Jung Min, German Kim, Ross King, Kwon Naehyun, Yumi Moon, Paek Doo-Hyeon, and Kenneth R. Robinson.
Maps, Figures, and Tables
Editor's Note
Introduction: Thinking Through Region Sun Joo Kim

1. Residence and Foreign Relation in the Peninsular Northeast During the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries / Kenneth R. Robinson
2. Choson-Qing Relations and the Society of P'yongan Province During the Late Choson Period / Kwon Naehyun
3. Regional Identities of Northern Literati: A Comparative Study of P'yongan and Hamgyong Provinces / Jan Yoo-Seung
4. The Shadow of Anonymity: The Depiction of Northerners in Eighteenth-Century "Hearsay Accounts" (kimun) / Jung Min
5. P'yongan Dialect and Regional Identity in Choson Korea / Paek Doo-Hyeon
6. Dialect, Orthography, and Regional Identity: P'yongan Christians, Korean Spelling Reform, and Orthographic Fundamentalism / Ross King
7. From Periphery to a Transnational Frontier: Popular Movements in the Northwestern Provinces, 1896-1904 / Yumi Moon
8. Subversive Narratives: Hwang Sunwon's P'yongan Stories / Bruce Fulton
9. The Missionary Presence in Northern Korea before WWII: Human Investment, Social Significance, and Historical Legacy / Donald N. Clark
10. The Northern Region of Korea as Portrayed in Russian Sources, 1860s-1913 / German King and Ross King
11. Images of the North in Occupied Korea, 1905-1945 / Mark E. Caprio

Maps, Figures, and Tables

Korea at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
2.1 Road Used by Choson Envoys to Visit the Qing
11.1 Birth Rates
11.2 Literacy Rates

2.1 Illustration of Choson Envoy to Qing
5.1 Dialect and Regional Identity
9.1 Missionary Compound in P'yongyang

2.1 Qing Embassies to Choson
2.2 Choson Embassy's Sojourn in Days by Region
2.3 Cultivated Land and Land Tax Revenues by Province in 1807 -
2.4 Silver Presented to Qing Envoys and Interpreters in the Late Eighteenth Century by Province, in Yang
2.5 Central and Provincial Government Silver Loans to Choson Embassies, in Yang
2.6 Shenyang P'alp'o Trade Privileges by Province, in Number of P'alp'o Granted
2.7 Products Traded at the Chunggang Market, by Province
5.1 Editions of the Iryun haengsilto
5.2 Word Comparison Among Three Editions
5.3 Comparison Between the Yongyong and Haeyong Editions
5.4 Editions of the Nogoltae
5.5 Editions of the Yombul pogwonmun
5.6 Word Comparison Between the Tonghwa Temple and Yongmun Temple Editions
5.7 Editions of the Kyongminp'yon
6.1 Contemporary Standard Korea and P'yongan Dialects
9.1 Korean Christian Mission Statistics (as of June 30) 1908

"Sheds light on many aspects of Korean history and culture that have long been ignored. . . . opens doors to further scholarship not only on northern Korean but also on other regions . . . a path-breaking addition to the field of Korean studies."
-Sean C. Kim, The Journal of Asian Studies, May 2012

""The book is a very welcome addition to the literature about the past of the north of Korea... both as an introduction to the historical northern part of Korea as well as an outstanding example of how regional history can be researched and written."
-Felix Siegmund, New Asia Books, September 18 2013

"In our days of jargon-laden publications, the lucidity of the arguments made and the understandable language of all the texts in the volume is noteworthy. One can only congratulate the contributors and the editors for their remarkable success in creating a very informative and approachable book"
-Felix Siegmund, The Newsletter: International Institute for Asian Studies