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In Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison, the chapters offer a reflection on the state of the field of Taiwan and Korea Studies. For the editors, the volume’s purpose was to identify not just their similarities, but also a reflection on their differences. Both have national identities formed in a colonial period. The surrender of Japan in 1945 ignited the light of independence for Korea, but this would be ideologically split within five years. For Taiwan, that end forced it into a born-again form of nationalism with the arrival of the Chinese Nationalists.

Taiwan and South Korea’s economic development illustrate a progressive transition and key to understanding this is the relationship between ‘modernization’ and ‘democracy’. By looking at Korea and Taiwan, the chapters in the volume broaden an understanding of the interconnectivity of the region.
Authors: Dafydd Fell and Sojin Lim

Abstract

This chapter compares two area studies teaching programs: Taiwan Studies at SOAS, University of London; and Korean Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). In both cases, humanities, linguistics and social sciences have been well integrated into their programs. The SOAS Taiwan program has largely had a social sciences and humanities focus, with languages receiving less attention. In contrast, the UCLan Korean program began with language components and later expanded to include social sciences modules. The SOAS Taiwan Studies program initially concentrated on postgraduate teaching before, but later on it began to offer more undergraduate classes. The UCLan Korean Studies program has the largest BA program in the UK, and began to offer its MA program in North Korean Studies recently. The SOAS Taiwan Studies program has operated for over two decades in the UK already, while UCLan Korean Studies began about seven years ago. Both teaching programs are well integrated with their research center and institute - the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS and the International Institute of Korean Studies at UCLan. This chapter also discusses some challenges they face, such as securing external funding and scholarship opportunities. In order to achieve enhanced teaching and research environments for both students and academics, both universities will need to develop strong engagement with relevant funders and innovative strategies.

In: Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison
In: Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison
Author: Michael J. Seth

Abstract

The years of Japanese colonial rule, 1910–1945, saw the emergence of a powerful popular Korean nationalism. This sense of national identity both competed with and was shaped by other transnational identities: with the Japanese Empire, with East Asia, with the “civilized and enlightened” global order centered in the West, and with the international proletariat movement. These various forms of identities were part of a colonial cosmopolitanism that characterized the new urban middle class and the intellectuals of this period. The various trans-national identities often contested with each and contributed to the ideological divisions that emerged in the nationalist movement and had a major impact on the development of Korea after liberation in 1945. This article looks at the various ways Koreans in the colonial period identified with communities beyond Korea.

In: Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison
Author: Young-Im Lee

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the first female presidents of South Korea and Taiwan, Park Geun-hye and Tsai Ing-wen, focusing on each one’s biographical background, term as party chairperson, presidential bid, and election results. While acknowledging that candidates’ gender is not the most decisive factor for the voters, this analysis shows that gender was relevant to how each woman received her party’s nomination and framed her campaign. Neither Park nor Tsai identifies herself as a feminist even though they were both trailblazers in the male-dominated field of politics. Both candidates still used the “positive” gender stereotypes about women to curry support when their parties were suffering from declining popularity. For better or worse, the fact that they were women opened up a window of opportunity for them to rise through the ranks in their party when there seemed to be no viable alternatives. They earned credibility and legitimacy by successfully turning things around as their respective party’s chair. The fact that both were subject to misogynistic comments and that their campaigns even attempted to use the “first woman” frame to appeal to voters shows that their gender was not invisible.

In: Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison

Abstract

Dramatic geopolitical developments such as the Chinese Civil War, World War II, and The Korean War, along with the status inside of the United Nations (UN) created the grounds for the diplomatic position of Taiwan and South Korea in Twentieth century global politics that persists unto the present. Years later, economic development and democratization would also be important factors in the elaboration of these countries’ foreign policies, as well as the maintenance or expansion of their international space, and their responses to the challenges posed by their powerful neighbors who claim those territories. This chapter discusses some elements that played essential roles, first from 1949 until 1971 when both Koreans and Taiwanese were fighting for their place inside the UN, and later from 1972 to the present, when the Sino-American rapprochement changed the balance of power in the region.

In: Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison
Author: Evan Dawley

Abstract

This essay addresses Taiwan’s history during the five decades of Japanese colonial rule. Most scholarly studies of Taiwan, particularly those published in English, have explored other eras, principally the post-1945 period and the centuries of Qing rule (1684–1895), and the significance of these fifty years had long been under-emphasized. In more recent times there has been greater attention to the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, although most of these works have been primarily concerned with the practices and effects of Japanese imperialism. The present work builds upon existing scholarship to advance two primary arguments. First, the interactions between the peoples of Taiwan and the machinery and discourses of Japanese colonialism fundamentally altered both the face of Taiwan and the consciousness of many of its residents. Second, these changes, especially the creation of Taiwanese identities, were the foundation for the establishment of Taiwan as an autonomous socio-political entity after 1945. On the basis of these arguments, it presents Taiwan and the Taiwanese as the central subjects and actors in both national and non-national historical narratives.

In: Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison

Abstract

This chapter focuses on two new religious movements (NRMs): Tzu-Chi and the Unification Church within Taiwan and South Korea. The chapter documents their beginnings and explores their involvement within welfare provision. It is argued that NRMs are part of the very fabric of modernisation theory and in the absence of state-led welfare, it often falls to grassroots-level organisations to provide aid. In societies marked by economic imbalance between the rich and the poor, it is at the grassroots level that more organisations, charities, and foundations tend to form. Since religion is deeply rooted in many communities in the countries under discussion, it therefore makes sense that faith-based NGOs would be established and begin work in those communities. The link between notions of welfare and religious practice is well-documented. Religious groups play a key role in determining how well a country’s welfare system has developed. Their reach includes education, medical care, and other social services. This is instead frequently centred on informal provision at the community level rooted in strong cultural-religious values. With the analysing of two NRMs this chapter bring into the light the links between religion and welfare. It argues that both Tzu-Chi and the UC were founded during a period of rapid economic growth, but also in a time of great welfare need.

In: Assessing the Landscape of Taiwan and Korean Studies in Comparison
Author: Kil Joo Ban

Abstract

Which is needed more: sovereignty or security? The autonomy–security trade-off model sees this as a trade-off between a client and a patron. A client surrenders some measure of autonomy to a patron and, in turn, receives security. This paper explores whether the underlying logic is applicable to quasi-alliances between a state and a multinational regime, such as the United Nations Command (UNC). South Korea has maintained a quasi-alliance with the UNC since the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. The level of trade-off between South Korea and the UNC, however, has been changing over time, particularly while being affected by the power growth of South Korea, a client, and the preference changes of the US, the most important actor of the UNC, a patron. This paper attempts to explain why South Korea is much more enthusiastic in seeking full sovereignty and more autonomy in the 2018–2019 détente era.

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies
Author: Lan Wei

Abstract

Over the past two decades, Chinese rural architecture has experienced dramatic changes through the Building the Chinese Socialist New Village movement. Thousands of new houses, particularly in the model of the New Village, have risen abruptly out of the ground. These Western-style new houses with a garden (huayuan yangfang), which often appear in the media as typical family houses in Western society, largely represent the image of the good life of the state and the peasant in contemporary China. In this article, I focus on how the family house is produced and consumed in Baikou New Village in south China. By presenting the materiality of the dwelling space, this paper probes the intertwined processes of the materialisation of the blueprint of the good life and how the new houses influence family life (especially intergenerational relationships) in post-socialist Baikou New Village.

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies