Na Hye-sok (1896–1948) lived a pioneering life as an individual woman, artist, and writer during the turbulent period of Japanese colonial rule in Korea. A beneficiary of progressive education in Korea, Japan, and Europe, rarely available to average Koreans of her time, Na enjoyed high social visibility and reputation. She broke new ground in Western oil painting as the first Korean woman professional painter and also had an indelible impact on modern Korean literature and culture as a reform-minded writer and critic. Her life and creative activities, often iconoclastic and audacious, were rarely free of press attention and controversy because they challenged the conventional thinking and status quo of her own society. Her major work, ‘‘Kyonghui,’’ polemicizes some of the urgent and thorny issues of Korean society in the throes of modernization, focusing on gender and patriarchal relations, Confucian family and marriage institutions, and women’s identity and autonomy. Na’s most accomplished work of fiction, ‘‘Kyonghui’’ qualifies itself as the first full-blown, feminist short story in Korean literature, marked by its heroine’s successful completion of self-discovery and her difficult quest for meaning in life as a ‘‘new woman.’’ As such, the story represents one of the towering points in the intellectual annals of modern Korea as well as in modern Korean women’s writing traditions.
Na Hye-Sok, 61
Full text of Kyonghui’s story, translated by Yung-Hee Kim
Kim Takes Control: The ‘‘Great Purge’’ in North Korea, 1956–1960
Andrei N. Lankov, 87
The unsuccessful attempt to oust Kim Il Sung in 1956 triggered significant changes in North Korean politics and society. North Korea began to drift away from the Soviet patterns, slowly developing its own brand of ‘‘national Stalinism.’’ North Korean relations with the Soviet Union and China also underwent deep transformation. These changes met resistance, but all dissenters were wiped out during large-scale purges, reminiscent of Stalin’s ‘‘Great Purge’’ of 1937. This article, based on previously unknown material from Soviet archives, traces the history of this purge as well as the social, political, and cultural changes of the late 1950s.
Living with Rhetoric, Living against Rhetoric: Korean Families and the IMF Economic Crisis
Seung-kyung Kim and John Finch, 120
This article examines the impact of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) crisis on families in South Korea and the ways that the crisis brought competing ideologies (conservative vs. progressive) to the foreground. Based on fieldwork in South Korea during the financial crisis, we look at how individual families coped with economic insecurity and at the public discourse about family and gender generated by the crisis. The economic crisis caused widespread unemployment and even broader economic uncertainty that created hardships for many families. It also triggered a debate over gender roles and modernization as the country tried to determine the best strategy to cope with its effects. Finally, we look into the differential impact of the crisis on families in different social strata.
John B. Duncan, The Origins of the Choson Dynasty
reviewed by Yong-ho Ch’oe, 140
Hildi Kang, Under the Black Umbrella: Voices from Colonial Korea, 1910–1945
reviewed by Wayne Patterson, 148
Robert J. Myers, Korea in the Cross Currents: A Century of Struggle and the Crisis of Reunification
reviewed by James I. Matray, 150
H. K. Shin, Remembering Korea 1950: A Boy Soldier’s Story
reviewed by Yong-ho Ch’oe, 153
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., The Armed Forces of North Korea
reviewed by Guy Arrigoni, 155
Laura C. Nelson, Measured Excess: Status, Gender, and Consumer Nationalism in South Korea
reviewed by Elise Mellinger, 158