[KS] Uh Oh!
goodwin at nas.net
Tue Feb 9 09:51:16 EST 1999
Uh oh, now you seem to have mistaken me! I didn't take your analysis
personally at all.
Rather, as I said, I thought your interpretation moved the whole debate
ahead (at least it did for me). Nothing you said bothered me personally! And
I I didn't mean to strike an overly apologetic tone (or a self deprecating
tone either): more a self reflective one, combined with a dash of humorous
imagery. At one point, I felt a bit uneasy about the tone some of the
comments seemed to be taking, but that didn't last.
And of course I am pleased about the amount of conversation my query
I may be a bit awestruck, being able to tap into such high caliber of
discussion, and for a non-specialist with hopes of writing something
plausible in this area one day, it is a bit like trial by fire, but that's
good! No offence take whatsover!
Koen De Ceuster wrote:
> Dear Mike,
> Let me elaborate on my earlier posting, which you seem to have taken
> quite personal, but was not intended as such at all. I hope the
> following will make this clear.
> You wrote:
> > I just wanted to emphasize something I said to Jaqueline Pak some time
> > ago: my quoting Duus' work to frame my question was incautious. But
> > the question itself was not, as Mr. De Ceuster suggests, " determined
> > by the Korean term 'ch'inilp'a'". This is because it couldn't have
> > been; i.e. when I first framed my question, I hadn't the slightest
> > idea what the term meant.
> Quite right, but framing your question as you did, seems to echo the
> "ch'inilp'a" category. It is not because you do not read Korean, that
> there is no chance of "contamination". Your question must have arisen
> from somewhere. Ultimately, if you would trace back the trail which led
> you to your question, you'll probably find some Korean source.
> Rather than to be apologetic about your question, you should be quite
> pleased by the amount of discussion it caused. In fact, you unknowingly
> touched a very complex issue which begs to be dealt with. And as the
> discussion meanders, ever more fundamental questions are raised. You
> touched a raw nerve, and the agitation it caused calls for some
> The complexity of the collaboration issue is partly caused by the fact
> that this is a chapter in Korea's history that is not closed. This is a
> real life issue. As citizens, Koreans have to take sides in this
> -eminently political- debate. As outsiders (i.e. as we are not citizens
> of Korea, whether DPRK or ROK) we have to be careful not to confuse
> historiography with taking sides in a political debate.
> As a historian, I am highly interested in the development of this
> debate. As I indicated in my earlier posting, it is my impression that
> this is an issue which is apparently more linked to post-liberation
> political developments than to the colonial period reality.
> At the same time, there is a need to "get the record straight". Several
> approaches are possible, and here too, we -as outsiders- have to be
> circumspect. My own research on Yun Ch'i-ho has mainly looked at how Yun
> ended his life collaborating with the Japanese authorities. I am well
> aware that trying to understand how this individual ended up
> collaborating can be understood as condoning his collaboration. This
> was/is not the purpose of my research. In fact, the reason why -back
> then- I decided to take up this issue was the fact that two divergent
> appreciations of Yun Ch'i-ho co-existed. On the one hand he was hailed
> as a nationalist (for his late 19thC involvement in the Independence
> Club e.a.), on the other he was condemned as a traitor (for his open
> support of the Japanese war effort in the 1940s). Nobody then seemed
> interested in discovering how this apparent nationalist turned a
> Looking at the issue from such an angle makes one understand that the
> distinction between a "nationalist" and a "collaborator" was at times
> flimsy. Ideologically, they were sometimes hardly to be distinguished.
> So in the end, it all came down to taking sides, a choice that was
> highly personal and all too often irrational (meaning difficult to
> Still, collaboration is not just about ideology, but also about deeds.
> Korean scholarship on collaboration (and I refer explicitly to the
> publications of the mid80s, early 90s, the "Ch'inilp'a 99 in" and other
> "Ch'inilp'a" publications, which took their lead from Im Chong-guk's
> research) concentrated on facts: public statements and deeds. That is
> what was meant in earlier postings with "listings": enumerating
> speeches, membership of certain organisations, financial contributions
> to the war effort, ....
> This is important, but research should not stop there. And indeed it
> does not stop there. I was most pleased during my recent stay in Korea
> to find recent scholarship moving away from this "statistical" approach
> into more in-depth studies of colonial period reality. The debate has
> only just begon!
> Koen De Ceuster
> Centre for Korean Studies
> P.O. Box 9515
> 2300 RA Leiden
> The Netherlands
> Tel: -- 31 71 527 2603
> Fax: -- 31 71 527 2215
> DeCeuster at rullet.LeidenUniv.nl
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