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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: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines North Korea’s dispatch of pilots, psychological operations, and tunneling specialists to aid the Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Growing American and South Korean involvement in Vietnam provided an opportunity for North Korea’s increasingly assertive military leaders to better understand their adversaries. Pyongyang’s secret deployment was facilitated by the “Partisan Generals,” who sought to fight the Americans in the sky, demoralize the South Koreans on the ground, and perfect the techniques of underground warfare. North Korea provided material assistance that was significant given its limited resources. Additionally, North Korea detained South Korean Prisoners of War captured by the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong. English, Korean, and Vietnamese language materials are used throughout this paper.
  • Topic: Cold War, Conflict, Vietnam War, Psychological Operations, Prisoners of War
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North 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: Jisung Yoo
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This study investigates the South Korean government’s role in the success of the Hallyu [Korean Wave] and the growing global interest in Korean popular culture by examining official news releases on Hallyu issued by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism from 2007 to 2017. The author argues that the domestic news releases had a supporting role for artists and cultural products in South Korea; they didn’t directly contribute to Korean industrial economic growth. In contrast, the international news releases tended to play a leading role in promoting Korea’s positive image; they contributed to Korea’s industrial economic growth by means of cultural diplomacy and soft power. Statistical analyses were conducted to determine whether a significant relationship exists between domestic news releases and industrial economic growth. To provide evidence of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism’s leading role in promoting artists and cultural products abroad, the author examined and qualitatively analyzed English, Chinese, and Japanese language news releases. The findings revealed that the number of releases had no significant relationship with increased annual economic growth, which seems to come from the power of Hallyu itself, not the government’s support. The qualitative analysis shows that international releases were used as a tool to achieve foreign policy goals and advance a positive national image. This study contributes to the growing literature on Hallyu by discussing the dual role of official news releases.
  • Topic: Government, Culture, Soft Power, popular culture, Cultural Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: South Korea, Korea, Global Focus
  • 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