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Korean National Identity under Japanese Colonial Rule
Published by Routledge
Nationalism in Korea emerged within a relatively short space of time, and over the course of the twentieth century, during which Korea suffered colonial rule, civil war and division, nationalism has taken many forms. This book examines the emergence of the nation as the hegemonic form of collective identity during the colonial period. The analysis focuses on Yi Gwangsu (1892-1951), a pioneering novelist, newspaper editor, and leader of the nationalist movement, who was directly involved in many aspects of its emergence, and also focuses on the March First Movement of 1919, widely seen as one of the major turning points of modern Korean history. Yi Gwangsu was one of the few intellectuals who not only wrote for almost the entirety of the colonial period but who also was centrally involved in many institutions related to the production of identity. By focusing on Yi Gwangsu the book provides a different kind of historical narrative linking the various fragments of the nation, puts forward a new understanding of the March First Movement and its role in the emergence of the nation, and demonstrates how central to the emergence of the nation were the rise of the print industry, modern readership, and a capitalist market for print. This book shows how the March First Movement catalyzed the confluence of these factors, enabling the nation to emerge as the dominant form of collective identity.
Michael Shin is a Lecturer in Korean Studies at the University of Cambridge
Reviewer: Caleb Simmons
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