History Korean History Russia Russia & Korea

Newly Released Soviet Report Details Atrocities in North Korea

Something tells me the Putinjugend Nashi web site isn’t going to feature, by popular demand, this newly released 1945 report by a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel who drove through Hwanghae and North and South Pyongyan provinces just after the war’s end. The officer’s detailed, 13-page report on the behavior of Russian soldiers in North Korea makes …

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Books & Films Korean History Uncategorized

Don Kirk’s Korea Betrayed is changing the way I think about Kim Dae Jung

And unless you already believe that DJ was a closet commie, Korea Betrayed might change the way you think, too. Kirk, whose research of his subject is extensive, describes in detail how in his early life, DJ flirted with a number of leftist political organizations and unions, some of which were also linked to North …

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Korean History

Video: Taegu in 1972

I’m struck by two things as I watch this. First, one of South Korea’s poorer cities was completely transformed 30 years later, when I spent 18 months there. There nothing in this video I recognize. Second, it’s strikingly reminiscent of a North Korean provincial town today, right down to the traffic policewoman. The main differences …

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Human Rights Korean History

The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights Holds a Discussion of its Archives

On August 26, the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) held a discussion about its Archives of North Korean human rights violations. The three-hour event took place at the Korean Bar Association, located near the Seocho subway station in southern Seoul. NKDB has catalogued thousands of incidents from thousands of individuals, and is …

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Korean History

Color Footage of Seoul, 1938

According to the YouTube caption, this video was taken by Swedish diplomat Thor Wiestlandt in 1938. The caption also diagnoses Wiestlandt with “orientalism,” whatever the f**k that means … probably some hippie sociologist’s P.C. tag for what others might more sensibly explain as interest and curiosity in a foreign culture that your average 1938-model Swede …

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Korean History

35 Years Ago Today

Park Chung Hee was either exceptionally tough, exceptionally cold, or both of these. Of course, Korean culture was even less solicitous of sentimentalism then than now. And maybe this was Park’s idea of defiance and courage under fire. Either way, even after an assassin’s bullet had mortally wounded his wife, you can clearly hear Park …

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Human Rights Korean History

KCNA Trips Over the Truth on Human Rights

Writing in the Asia Times, Professor Sung Yoon Lee describes reading KCNA in the original Korean and finding, among the hackneyed sloganeering, that the writers “inadvertently rang with uncommon common sense, not to mention striking validity:” A staple of the KCNA diet, such oft-stated claims [about Japanese abuses during colonial times] are indeed valid historical …

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Anti-Americanism Appeasement Korean History Korean Society U.S. & Korea WMD

MUST READ: NYT on Korean Nationalism, North and South

Here. Today, even though it has a highly advanced economy — more than 80 percent of South Koreans have broadband Internet access at home, the highest rate in the world — the country has a nearly provincial relationship to its local heroes, like Ban Ki-moon, the foreign minister who will be the next U.N. secretary …

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