The Politics of Suicide and Martyrdom in Korea
- PUBLISHED: February 2019
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / Korea, Politics
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 390 Pages, 6 x 9 in
- SERIES: Center For Korea Studies Publications
- ISBN: 9780295745640
Suicide and martyrdom are closely intertwined with Korean social and political processes. In this first book-length study of the evolving ideals of honorable death and martyrdom from the Chosŏn Dynasty (1392–1910) to contemporary South Korea, interdisciplinary essays explore the changing ways in which Korean historical agents have considered what constitutes a sociopolitically meaningful death and how the surviving community should remember such events.
Among the topics covered are the implications of women’s chaste suicides and men’s righteous killings in the evolving Confucian-influenced social order of the latter half of the Chosŏn Dynasty; changing nation-centered constructions of sacrifice and martyrdom put forth by influential intellectual figures in mid-twentieth-century South Korea, which were informed by the politics of postcolonial transition and Cold War ideology; and the decisive role of martyrdom in South Korea’s interlinked democracy and labor movements, including Chun Tae-il’s self-immolation in 1970, the loss of hundreds of lives during the Kwangju Uprising of 1980, and the escalation of protest suicides in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Authors & Contributors
Charles R. Kim is Korea Foundation Associate Professor of Korean Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Jungwon Kim is King Sejong Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. Hwasook Nam is an independent scholar who previously served as the James B. Palais Endowed Associate Professor at the University of Washington. Serk-Bae Suh is associate professor of Korean studies at the University of California, Irvine. The other contributors are Jung-hwan Cheon, Ho Kim, Sun-Chul Kim, Yerim Kim, George Kallander, Franklin Rausch, Youngju Ryu, and Young Chae Seo.