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Open Thread #278

Korea was colder than Greenland?  Thank God it isn’t now….but I am tired of the snow.  Have a great weekend.

  • Keith

    First bro!

    I’m glad that the cold spell is abating a little bit. We had an early start to the winter, I’m hoping for an early spring. I hate the winter.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    I first posted this late last week in the earlier SOme Links thread, but it deserves more notice than it probably got there.

    Jeff Hodges is much too modest to do so himself, so I’m posting the link to the recently released digital version of his newly published story :The Bottomless Bottle of Beer”:

    http://issuu.com/yuko344340/do

    I personally din’t care for the illustrator’s take on things, but Jeff’s story is very well written, clever and a treasure trove of literary allusions. Give it a read!

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Sprewer, you posted a dead link to Doc Hodges book.  Please try again.

  • http://www.gofundme.com/1k98a8 Jakgani

    http://issuu.com/lindall/docs/bottomless_bottle_of_beer

    because you need to create an account to view it…..

  • CactusMcHarris

     Abate, hell, it’s -18C or so tonight, the coldest of the year. I’ve had to move the beer into the fridge for fear of explosive opening.

  • CactusMcHarris

     Sp,

    Just so you don’t think some anonymous joe is giving you the bum steer, he’s writing. ‘Error 404, Abandon Ship’ in encountered.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    AJ:

    Fixed (I think, at least it worked for me)

    Jakgani:

    No, you don’t

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    Snowed here again on the mountain last night.  Just a dusting though

  • Keith

    Really, where are you? on the Kamchatka peninsula or something? It’s +3c in Seoul right now and it’ll only get down to -7c tonight according to the forecast. It’s positively balmy compared to the gruesome cold we’ve had since November. It’s not the coldest winter I’ve experienced in Korea, but it seems to have lasted forever, I can’t wait for the spring. When the cold spell truly breaks I’ll be jumping on the train with my bike and heading to Paldang Lake for some cycling fun. The cycle paths out there are fantastic.

  • cactusmcharris

     Kamloops, BC – lots of colder places, so I’m thankful we’re on the edge of the Canadian desert. I remember mornings in January in Korea where it was so cold it felt like someone was twisting your cheeks with pliers.

  • ig5959292ee

    cool

  • Jang
  • Jieun K

    “Jeff’s story is very well written, clever and a treasure trove of literary allusions. Give it a read!”

    That’s a nice blurb.

    Congratulations on your publication, Mr. Hodges.

  • http://www.globalasianculture.com Liz

    Does anyone know when the Joseon period was redesignated as the period between 1392 to 1897, rather than 1910 (year of annexation)? 

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    Yeah, when Korean nationalist historians decided to take the pretensions of the Cheguk Empire (sic), which was proclaimed in October 1897, seriously.  Technically, the dynastic monarchy then ended as such and was succeeded by the empire ; thus Gojong himself could be said to be the originator of the change when he proclaimed himself Emperor.

  • Jang

    ‘Banshee’ get in at the beginning since it’s the first season and episode on Cinemax.  Like some movies I think it’s best to just watch without knowing anything about them so I’ll suggest the same but also give the putz’s a link for those who need to know before watching…http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/01/11/six-things-to-know-about-cinemaxs-banchee-2/

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    From my knowledge, it was following the Treaty of Shimonoseki (下關條約, 하관조약) following the First Sino-Japanese War. Under the terms of that treaty, the Qing had to recognize the full independence of Chosun. The “King” (王, 왕) was considered subordinate to the “Emperor” (皇帝, 황제). With full independence, Chosun renamed itself the “Korean Empire” (大韓帝國, 대한제국) and call its monarchs “Emperor” (皇帝, 황제) in 1897. 

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    It wasn’t nationalist historians, but nationalists at the time. 

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    The leading such nationalist being Gojong himself.  Sorry you apparently missed the (import of the) “seriously” at the beginning of my second sentence.  Although my first sentence was a bit tongue in cheek, in fact, though, the historiography would show that it was only when the “revisionist” rehabilitation of Gojong as a modernizer got underway that the technical fact of the distinction between the dynasty and the empire began to take on any notable discursive significance.

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    I do agree that there was some revisions, but I think there were certain distinctions. Emperor Gojong, for instance, restarted the Confucian rites reserved for the Emperor at Won’gudan. I guess you would not call this “discursive,”correct?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    The revision of which I was speaking was that concerning the reputation of Gojong – from the inept representative of the aristocratic class that was responsible for the demise of Korea (i.e., an interpretation that gathered force during the colonial period and flowered during the years of the Republic after the Korean War) to nationalist modernizer (i.e. as part of the interpretative claims of more recent incarnations of domestic nationalists and adherents of the notion of “colonial modernity”.  How Gojong’s recourse to Koreanized versions of Chinese the traditional symbols/rituals of Confucian emperorship played into the nationalist modernizer theme is an interesting question.  I guess the best analogy is that of Gojong’s obvious model – the Meiji Emperor.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Gojong was not in charge.  It was his f***-up wife and her relatives.   Korean people just fed up with Minbi and rather wished Japanese would take over.   They had enough of Korean caste system which keeps the country in the dark.  Some Koreans saw the western technologies – electricity, railway, hospital and education system of Japan- and wanted them for Korea.  And, antiquated caste system was stopping the progress.   
    Minbi, the defacto dictator,  ran to and fro like a mad chicken but her brothers and cousins were solidly pro-Japan.  They knew what needed to be done.  Finally, the Monkeys took over Korea and she was killed.  And, Korean Empire was no more.   “When a chick crow, the country is no more”.  A lesson to keep in mind.  This may have the French Revolution in Korea done through foreign intervention.   And, it was good thing seeing how long it took for China to get rid of its monarchy.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Don’t call me names.  I hate the Japanese as much as any Korean.  But, one must be honest.  Without Japanese occupation, Korea would have gone through what China has gone through.  Weak monarchy, rise of Communism and slow opening up.   Seeing NK, I assume Korea would have  been through much worse things than China.   The birth of SK and its progress is a miracle.   God’s providence.  God loves Korean people.

  • Robert Neff

    I don’t know Liz.  The only place that I can quickly see that this has been changed is on Wikipedia.  I guess, technically, they are correct but I still consider the Joseon period to be up to the annexation although, to be honest, I always felt 1905 was the end of Korea’s independence.

  • Robert Neff

    Thanks Koreandumbdumb.  Don’t agree with you but….your comment does bring up a good point.  Queen Min’s reputation and role in Korean history seems to ebb and flow depending on the age of the writer.  Most of the stuff about here was negative until the 1990s when suddenly she became almost like a Korean martyr.  Brushed away were her indiscretions and she was touted as a great reformer – an obstacle to Japan.  I prefer to look at her as a person rather than a symbol – one with faults, ambitions and love. 

  • wangkon936

    I don’t see Sperwer calling you names in this thread, if that is in fact who you are referring to.

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    Admittedly, my knowledge of Korean history may be limited, so I would like to hear constructive feedback. I will, however, comment on one of the things said. Korean nationalism’s rejection of “things Chinese” is I think a somewhat later development (sometime during the Japanese occupation). You have plenty of Korean nationalists early on that had no problem with recourse to “Koreanized versions of Chinese traditional symbols/rituals.” For instance, look at the Korean flag, the Taegukgi, which was established as the national flag at this time. For other examples, Ahn Junggeun wrote a poem in Hanmun (look up 장부가) shortly before assassinating Ito Hirobumi. I also have up on my blog a translation of a poem by Hwang Hyeon, a Korean nationalist who committed suicide in response to the Annexation Treaty. He had no problems with making allusions to Chinese works, such as The Records of the Three Kingdoms (삼국지) and The Strategies of the Warring States (전국책) while invoking Yi Sunshin and Turtle Ships in his poems about Korean nationalism.

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    I didn’t realize that there was such a revision. I always thought that Queen Min was viewed highly. For what reasons did Korean historians before 1990s view her negatively? 

  • Koreandumbdumb

    It coincides with Chinese money coming into the country affecting everything – journalism, historian, educators, businessmen and politicians, etc.   No matter how you look at it, anti-Japanese movement is pro-Chinese(pro-NK) movement.   Koreans are in denial but Commies(=pro-NK and pro-Chinks) are everywhere.  

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    Now, I have to pretend modesty . . . but thanks for the recommendation, Sperwer.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    Thanks, Jieun.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • Cm
  • http://www.gofundme.com/1k98a8 Jakgani

    Sunday 13th January:

    Korea (Seoul) 25 °F / -3.89 °C
    Arizona 39 °F / 3.89 °C 
    Iceland 32 °F /  0 °C
    Greenland 5 °F / -15 °C
    Beijing  27 °F / -2.78 °C
    Moscow 10 °F / -12.22 °C
    Toronto 50 °F / 10 °C
    Sydney 70 °F / 22 °C

    We might be warmer than Greenland at the moment – but still colder than Iceland and Arizona.

    Korea and Sydney changed the most since last week…

    Sunday 06th January:

    Korea (Seoul) 5 °F / -15 °C
    Sydney 107.6 °F / 42 °C

  • Jieun K

    Anyone interested to know how governments (in this case, the U.S. government) operate to cover up national-level failures at the expense of the general public (or taxpayers), watch this conversation featuring Matt Taibbi and Neil Barofsky, Former TARP Special Inspector General.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Hmmm…. the Russians, Chinese, and French have a much more favorable opinion of America than Canadians, who are at best indifferent.  

    I’ve noticed the Canuckistanis have been sour since ’93, which is the last time they hoisted Lord Stanley’s cup.  Coincidence?  I think not.  We should just rename it America’s Cup.

  • http://www.globalasianculture.com Liz

    Kuiwon, 

    This really is a transition era. Everything was in flux, and one of the changes that took place was the creation of a Korean, national subject aligned with Western discursive ideas of states and republics that didn’t really exist in Asia before then.

    Joseon era Koreans didn’t regards themselves as nationals as they do now.

    Even the concept of minjok (nation, ethnos, folk, or race) didn’t come into wide circulation until around 1905, when the term began to quickly replace ‘Baekseong’ and ‘Inmin’ with increasing rapidity, and heavily mirrored Japanese concepts of the ‘minzoku’ likely derived from popular Social Darwinist concepts of race around that time.

    I’m also guessing the Korean race or the Japanese race concept didn’t really exist in pre-modern times. Caste or class was more important, and the use of Hanmun proves that it was a marker of what class you belonged to, and whether you could communicate with your cultural neighbors.

    But this research, for me at least, is still a work in progress.

  • Inkevitch

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-21011657

    Saw UN chief criticizes North Korea over human rights and thought maybe Ban Ki <Moon gew a set of testicles. Unfortunately I was mistaken but at least somebody is making some noise.

  • Inkevitch

    That came out weirdly.
    ..and thought maybe Ban Ki Moon grew a set of testicles. Unfortunately I was mistaken.But at least somebody is making some noise.

  • Jang

    Jackie Chan said in a Chinese TV interview that “The USA is the most corrupt country in the world” and criticized Chinese people who say anything bad about China in front of foreigners, the only way is to praise China.  What about the pollution in Beijing, China Mr. Jackie? See video, Beijing Pollution ‘Worst on Record’- http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/01/201311363634198312.html

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ Kuiwon

    Liz,

    From my knowledge, it is true that there was no concept of the national self in pre-modern Korea. Like you said, words such as Minjok were Japanese imports. However, there were — it seems to me — similar, parallel concepts in pre-modern Korea, such as the Hwa-I Distinction (華夷, 화이), which a good number of Koreans knowingly used to distinguish themselves from the rest of the “Barbaric World.” After the fall of the Ming, many Koreans thought themselves to be the remnants of Chinese civilization and used the term “Sohwa” (小華, 소화) to refer to Korea and the term “Ho” (胡, 호) meaning “barbarian” to refer to the Chinese. In my family clan’s Jokbo, my kinsmen used the Era Name (年號, 연호) of the last Ming Emperor to date their writings.

    As for the use of Hanmun, I don’t think it was as much of a class distinction toward the later part of the Chosun dynasty. There were some in the Pyeongmin class were better off than some in the Yangban class; and there were writings in Hanmun by even  Cheonmin.

  • Jieun K

    It’s sad news but I think it deserves attention from all of us here. A young brilliant man named Aaron Swartz committed suicide presumably due to legal troubles he faced in the course of trying to do good for the people. I think this poignant comment captures the current reality of the once-great nation in human history:

    “The true institutional failure witnessed in this sad case is a Federal Justice Department that would allow the rogues gallery of swindlers and money launderers who brought down the global economy to walk free while continually harassing a person whose alleged crime was performed in the public interest and whose alleged victims dropped their own civil cases. It’s an illustration of how seriously messed up this country’s official priorities are.”

    RIP, Aaron Swartz

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    This really is a transition era. Everything was in flux, and one of the changes that took place was the creation of a Korean, national subject aligned with Western discursive ideas of states and republics that didn’t really exist in Asia before then.
    Joseon era Koreans didn’t regards themselves as nationals as they do now.
    Even the concept of minjok (nation, ethnos, folk, or race) didn’t come into wide circulation until around 1905, when the term began to quickly replace ‘Baekseong’ and ‘Inmin’ with increasing rapidity, and heavily mirrored Japanese concepts of the ‘minzoku’ likely derived from popular Social Darwinist concepts of race around that time.

    This is (mostly) true, and important, but in a way also trivial, because it’s more or less just formalistically definitional:  People were not national subjects/citizens until they began (and/or were trained) to think of themselves as such.  What’s much more important was in precisely what ways they were conceived and started to behave as inhabitants of modern nation-states.  That may have involved Social Darwinist complications (Vladimir Tikhonov has a useful book on how some koreans themselves deployed social darwinism in the construction of the Korean national imaginary); but it’s reaching to claim that the construction of modern communitarian imaginaries necessarily or even historically always involved social darwinism (e.g., consider the liberationist ideology of pre-colonial Cuba).  Pace Benedict Anderson (who as a marxist would argue for their fundamental and possibly dispositive role), more or less purely “material” elements, e.g., new technologies of transportation and communication, also played a large part in the creation of “modern” imagined communities.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com/ Sperwer

    However, there were — it seems to me — similar, parallel concepts in pre-modern Korea, such as the Hwa-I Distinction (華夷, 화이), which a good number of Koreans knowingly used to distinguish themselves from the rest of the “Barbaric World.” After the fall of the Ming, many Koreans thought themselves to be the remnants of Chinese civilization and used the term “Sohwa” (小華, 소화) to refer to Korea and the term “Ho” (胡, 호) meaning “barbarian” to refer to the Chinese 

    I think this is mostly correct, insofar as the evidence indicates that as early as the mid-Koryo there was some contemporary self-recognition of a unique “korean” identity even within the big tent of Sinitic/Confucian culture, with its roots not in the sort of Confucian doctrinal differences between “korean” and “chinese” confucianists, but in regionally distinctive things like topography, flora, fauna and the human folkways intertwined therewith.  This sort of self-conscious realization, though, seems to have been limited to an exceedingly small number of local confucian literati.  See Remco Breuker’s Establishing a pluralist society in medieval Korea (918-1170): History, ideology and identity in the Koryŏ dynasty. Leiden/Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. 500 pp.  This sort of self-awareness undoubtedly grew over time – both in numerically and in the scope of the perception of “koreaness”, and t also likely got a big boost during the imjin Wars.  But imo it is not until pretty late in the 19th century that a relatively widespread notion of “korean” collective identity became a reality.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Chosun Yangbans loved to be identified as subjects of Ming dynasty.  I think Yi Sunge, the founder of Chosun, spoke fluent Chinese and it may be a hidden secret that original Yangban class might have been the Chinese. Yi is a popular last name in China.   Very stupid people.   When Ming fell, they brought emperors grave to Korea and mourn the death of Ming.  They loved Mings.  So much so that they refused to accept anything from Chung dynasty.   Talk about misplaced emotion.   Loving the Chinese(foreigners) more than Koreans,.   Maybe there was no concept as Koreans.  Chosun may have been all China.  Mings.  Refusing to accept any progress in Chung dynasty.  This even made Korea more backward than China in early 20th century, getting nothing from western technological advances.   Korea was as backward as Africa when the Japanese took over.   

  • Jang

    Why do Koreans think the U.S. government gives a hoot or has power over Koreans and its businesses? ‘Korean Union Appeals for White House Help’ http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2965490&cloc=joongangdaily|home|newslist1 It doesn’t care about American citizens as much as American corporations and animals so it’s fair to say Koreans are less than animals in the view of the U.S. government.

  • Cloudfive

    Ridiculous. These petitions are for AMERICANS about issues affecting AMERICANS, what part of this don’t they understand? The first commenter on the article has it exactly right.

  • Jeffrey Rasmussen

    Robert!  I’d love to get in touch with you somehow.  My great-grandfather was the “Frenchman” that was the owner of the Hotel du Palais, and later the Astor House in Seoul between 1899 and 1910.  I know you’ve written some about early Western hotels in Seoul, and I’d love to share the information that I have.  Please shoot me a line at jrasmussen (at) gmail.com.  Thanks! 

  • Robert Neff

    Mr. Rasmussen -

    I would love to get in touch with you.  I have sent you an email and hope to hear from you soon.  Astor Hotel – that is one that is not very well known….I think I have only one or two images of it.

  • rowan
  • Jang

    Haven’t those responsible for the alleged cheating within the Hackers education group gone to jail yet?  http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2948423&cloc=joongangdaily