Some of my English papers on Korea
Social Darwinism in Korea and its influence on Early Modern Korean Buddhism

Korean as Standard Language

The Fist-fighting monks: the aching wounds of Korea

Nationalism and Racism in East Asia (lesson handout)

On the Problem of International Status and Stage of Development of Taegaya

Social Darwinism in Korea and its Influence on Early Modern Korean Buddhism

The First Stages of Yi Tongin's career (1878-1880) - the forerunner of "dependent development"?

The experience of Importing and Translating a Semantic System: "Civilization", "West", and "Russia" in the English and Korean Editions of The Independent

The Controversies on Fascism in Colonial Korea in the Early 1930s (draft version)

Pyon Yongman (1889-1954) - Colonial Korea's Alternative Modernity (published in <The Review of Korean Studies>, 10-2, 2007)

Ham Seokheon (1901-1989) and Korean Nationalism (draft of my planned presentation for the XXII World Congress of Philosophy, Seoul, South Korea, August 2, 2008)
Hi. This page (currently under construction) is dedicated to the Korean Studies. On the right side, under the title "favorite links", you can access some of my works. Also some of my writings in Korean and English on ancient Korean history and Korean Buddhism can be viewed on the separate page. I am also preparing currently a small Russian page with some of my translations from Korean poetry and historical documents. And here you can view some Russian translations of Koryo Period Buddhist imjonggye ("death poems") - the poems Meditation School monks were to write immediately before dying. The word for word translations of the same poems are available here. For me, it is a good example of how one can train oneself to die without fear. And once you are able to think about death without fear, it helps to live without fear too, right?
My interests
My  interests include history of Korean Buddhism, general history of Korea's ideologies, and, currently, Social-Darwinism as general East Asian ideological phenomenon. Below you may view some of my translations from Japanese, Korean and Chinese Social Darwinist and Pan-Asianist writings of late 19 - early20th C. Collection is still small, but steadily grows!
Kaneko Yahei, "General Discourse on Asia" (1880).
Hirobe Kuwasi, "Letter to Yi Choyeon, Yi Yongsuk, and Kang Wl" (1880) - an invitation to join Japanese <Rise Asia Society> (Koakai).
Oku Gisei, "Letter to Kim Gisu" (1881) - one more invitation of the same kind.
Wang Tao, "On Sino-Japanese Cooperation" (1881) - encouragement to both countries to cooperate on equal footing and build a firm anti-Russian alliance
Hirobe Kuwasi, "Letter to Two Gentlemen Departing for China" (1881) - harsh criticism of the European international law standards as "arbitrary" and "disrespectful of Asian customs".
So Jaep'il (Philip Jaisohn), Tongnip Sinmun (The Independent)'s Editorial, 1896, May 1st: On the importance of clean water for "improving Korean race".
Yang Git'ak (1871-1938), Taehan Maeil Sinbo (The Korea Daily News)'s editorial: "Religious Belief and Self-Strengthening" (Sin'gyo Chagang), 1905, December 1st. Korean original and my English translation.
I am currently teching in the Oslo University, Norway. You can access some of my lesson handouts at UiO's home page

The homepage of my subject, East Asian Studies, is here.

Here you can find a brief introduction into Korean History
My wife, Baek Myong Jong (Marina), is a Korean violinist. Our recent family photo, made in St.-Petersburg, is available here.



General Korean Studies site:

Site by Prof. Huh Donghyun (KyungHee University): Korean Modern History. - an excellent site on Korean language and literature!

Site by Prof. Kim Taeshik
(Hongik University) -
Kaya History

<Samguk Sagi> online - translated into modern Korean and searchable.

Database of the photos of Korean historical figures.

Collection of documents and articles on Honam history, by Prof. Hong Yeonggi

Modern East Asian History site, by Prof. Yu Changgeun

600-year History of Seoul - a lengthy on-line collection of highly useful materials

Site of Prof. Seol Donghun, a unique specialist on the problem of migrant labour in South Korea

International Journal of Korean History (Korea University, Seoul; published in English) on line (ful-text papers)

On-line search engine for books/papers on Korean history (Korean Historical Connection)

Seoul Ch'ondogyo (Heavenly Way Sect) Headquarters: many Tonghak-related materials available

Searchable collection of original source materials on Korean Buddhist history, both colonial and post-colonial times (Buddhism-related articles from main newspapers, etc.)

Great on-line collection of Korean literature, classic and modern (both fiction and non-fiction), by Yi Wan'geun and Yi Hakchun.

The site on the tragic story of Chejudo Massacre (so-called "April 3rd Incident", 1948).

Genealogical portal site, with a collection of clan histories - "chokpo toseogwan".

Young Korean  Academy (Heungsadan) site, with lots of info on An Ch'angho (1878-1938)

The site of The Review of Korean Studies (English academic journal published by The Academy of Korean Studies twice a year since 1998)


1. Ask Asia (AS for teachers)
Yuri Khanon - the Canonic of today's Music (for more information, see the Wikipedia Article; unfortunately, so far in Russian only. And for the connoisseurs of Russian theater and art - also the Wikipedia article on Yuri's grandfather, the famed comical performer M.N.Savoyarov)
The corner of Yuri Khanon:
Here you can enjoy the articles by Russia's best
bona fide modern composer and Musician, Yuri Khanon (Khanin: photo; his recent portraits: 1,2) that I have translated into Korean and English (currently under construction).
Korean articles:
Why I Am Staying in Shadow.
Forces of Gravitation.
On the Double Benefits of Proper Upbringing.
English articles:
Newspaper Menu.
On the Musical Influence of the Dogs.
This outstanding piece should not be understood literally! It is an inspiring personal (highly personal!) view on the issue of musical creativity, which is expressed in rich
allegoric languages, not meant to insult or offend anybody!
Russian articles:
On the Women's Question (O zhenskom voprose).
What is music (Chto takoe muzyka?).
Series of Revelations (Seriya razoblacheniy): - unparalleled exercize in iconoclasm - something very rare in humanities and almost totally unknown among the proudly "professional" musicians. Do not recommend this piece to all the self-styled "patriots of Russian music"!
Records of the Surgeon (Zametki Khirurga): funny piece, which pioneers the studies in the connections between music and gastrology...
Records of a great composer (Zapiski velikogo kompositora).
The Echo of Eternity.
There are two "inner dialogues" on a topic more than traditional in Russia's thought and literature: a shivering (and UNthinking) reed vs. Power. The problem with the political Power in Russia - generally and in today's situation Khanon's text hints to - is that it tends to attain grotesque, pseudo-religious dimenisons, and creates a climate in which the Power-Holder is being almost worshipped in addition to being sincerely feared (and with good reasons). Khanon explains here (dialogue 1) the psychological motivations of the power holders and (ab)users, focusing upon their predilection for breaking the will of the losers in power games, and  parodies (dialogue 2)  the state of the mind of a person caught in the webs of official discourse and unable to develop even a modicum of capacities for critical thinking. The listeners should be reminded that, unlike the more liberal societies where the societal power is being dispersed throughout society to a degree, it is very much concentrated on the top levels of the System in Russia - and that makes the problematique of the "relationship to power" somewhat existential.
Sound file (in Russian) - the dialogue being recited by Khanon himself - can be accessed here.
"The Pirats of 21st Century"? Recently, Khanon personally experienced some peculiarities of the "power imbalance" situation mentioned above. A St-Petersburg choreographer, certain Ratmansky, asked him in 1998 to allow the Mariinsky Theater in St.-Petersburg to use a part of his "Middle Sympnony" (finalized in 1990, produced on a disc in 1992 in Great Britain) for staging a ballet, and after a long soul-searching Khanon finally accepted this request. The ballet, christened "Middle Duet", was first performed in 1998 at Mariinsky, and then has been constantly shown to the world audiences by Mariinsky and Bolshoi performers in all sorts of places, Seoul included. And then, guess how much did Khanon receive in royalties? If you thought that he has received anything at all, you were wrong - he received nothing, and at the time of this writing (December 2007) continues to demand - through his advocates - that Mariinsky concludes at last a formal contract with him. The lesson - if you collaborate with a cultural institution close to the authorities in "new Russia" and you think that your partners would duly take care about your legitimate interests too, you may be making a great mistake. Unless you are close to the Power yourself, you do not count that much for your "partners". And you have to stand up vocally for your interests from the very beginning - something the people like Khanon, interested in the process of creating music but not in selling it, often do not manage to do...
Today, the struggle against the institutionalized brutalization of South Korea's male populace through the obligatory service in extremely harsh and violent conscript army, for the recognition of the conscientious objectors (COs)' right to a non-military alternative service, and ultimately, for the abolition of conscription as such, is gradually becoming an important integral part of the country's progressive movement in general. Below are the links to some sites where the information on South Koreans' resistance to militarism is available (in most cases, the bulk of information is in Korean):

1. Support net for Mr. Oh T'aeyang, Korea's first-ever young Buddhist to refuse to take arms on the basis of his religious beliefs.
2.Korea's first anti-conscription campaign site.
3. Truth Commission of the Korean House for International Solidarity - investigates the atrocities committed by the South Korean troops during the Vietnam War.
4. General introduction to South Korea's first COs.
5. Webpage of the Alliance for Realization of the Right to Conscientious Objection and Improvement of the Alternative Civil Service (Yangsim-e ttareun Pyeongyeok Keobukweon Sirhyeon-gwa Taech'e Pongmuje-eui Kaeseon-eul wihan Yeondae Hweeui).
The corner of the friends and colleagues:
Here you can find academic and popular writings of my friends and colleagues from both Russia and Korea. This part of the webpage is being constantly updated!

1. Tatiana Simbirtseva (Moscow).a)
"Pro-Russian" Activities of P. G von Mollendorf (1848-1902) in Korea - a View from Russia. Full-text (Korean). The article skillfully challenges the part of the Korean nationalistic historical "master-narrative" concerned with the appraisal of the activities of one of the first Westerners to be employed by the rulers of the "Hermit Kingdom"...English text of this article that was published in 2001 in the <Transactions of Royal Asiatic Society, Korean Branch> (Vol. 76), is available here.  b) "Analysis of Russia-related content in South Korean middle and high school textbooks" Full-text (Korean). I do not personally agree with all the claims Tatiana makes in this article, but, alas, accuracy of Russia-related information in Korean literature often really leaves much to be desired. Then, Euro-centric identification of Western Europe/USA with "democracy" and "human rights" often found in these textbooks smells more of propaganda than of serious attempt to explain the tragedies of the capitalist modernity. By the way, here are the links to the two pictures from the South Korean world history textbooks that Tatiana consideres insulting - picture of a soldier cutting a nobleman's beard, which, as Tatiana maintains, does not give the full picture of Peter the Great's Westernizing reforms, and picture of Peter himself working as a carpenter in Holland.
2. Huh Donghyun (Kyunghee University, South Korea).
"Korean Courtiers' Observation Mission's Views on Meiji Japan and Projects of Modern State Building" Full-text (Korean). This deep, well-founded study shows how strongly Meiji Project influenced Korean modernization strategies - both century ago and in more recent past. My own English translation of Prof. Huh's text is to be found here.
My non-academic writings in Korean periodicals (social/cultural criticism).

Here are some links to my non-academic Korean writings available on the net:

(currently this section is
under  construction)

1 My writings - predominantly on Northern Europe, former Soviet Union, and world politics in general - in Korean progressive weekly, <Hangyoreh21>.
2 My writings from various periodicals collected by Hong Sehwa - Korean progressive author, well known for his advocacy of tolerance and social-democratic values.
3. My - rather superficial - outline of the early stage of the history of Korean emigration to Russia is available at the online human rights library of Korea's Human Rights Foundation.
4. My work on the history of monastic militias and, generally, the relationship of Korean Buddhism to the issue of military violence, is available as well, courtesy of Human Rights Foundation.
5. Some of my impressions on South Korea's human rights situation (2000, winter), also by courtesy of Human Rights Foundation.
6. My interview at Daum (S.Korea's major internet provider)'s site, in the speical issue of Daum's newsletter dealing with the question of migrant labour in South Korea.
7. My popular writings on modern Korean history may be found also in monthly <Inmul-gwa sasang> (<Peoples and Ideas>) where I serialized the sketches entitled "The Making of Korean Modernity" throughout 2002. Unfortunately, the web-site does not provide the full-text papers, only indexes and some abstracts.
My popular lectures (English, Korean):

"Wise mother, good wife" discourse and its dissenters in Japan and Korea (Korean text).