Colloquium on Invention of Han’gŭl

Han'gŭl expert Chung KwangThe much-admired Korean alphabet, Han’gŭl, was devised in the fifteenth century. The historical background of that achievement will be the subject of a Center for Korean Studies colloquium presentation by Kwang Chung, professor emeritus of Korea University, on Thursday, December 3, 2015.

According to Professor Chung, the people living north of China long tried to compete with the culture of Chinese characters before the invention of Han’gŭl. Their continuous effort to make phonograms ultimately resulted in Han’gŭl. More specifically, the change in the standard language due to a change of Chinese dynasties resulted in a need to teach new Chinese words, and this probably led to the creation of these new characters.

When the Yuan dynasty of the Mongols set up its capital at Beijing, a new Chinese language began to spread. As this language became the official language of the Yuan empire, the pronunciation of Chinese characters became significantly different in Korea and China. King Sejong wanted to adapt the pronunciation in Korea to fit the pronunciation from China, Chung explains. The phonetic symbols devised to carry out this purpose came to be used to write the Korean language and have become the present Han’gŭl.

Professor Chung’s presentation will take place in the Center for Korean Studies conference room from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Center for Korean Studies is located at 1881 East-West Road on the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa campus. Center events are free and open to all. Presentation of this colloquium is supported by the Doo Wook and Helen Nahm Choy Fund. For further information, including information on access for the handicapped, telephone (808) 956-7041.

Moon Family Postdoctoral Fellowship in Korean Studies (2016-2017)

Kim program logoThe James Joo-Jin Kim Program at the University of Pennsylvania is accepting applications for the Moon Family Postdoctoral Fellowship in Korean Studies for the 2016-2017 academic year. The postdoctoral program is open to scholars from all fields whose research relates to Korea.

The fellowship covers up to a twelve-month period between August 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017, and carries a stipend of $50,000. Health insurance (including medical, dental, vision, and life) will be paid for by the Kim Program. The postdoctoral fellow will be provided an office and access to libraries and resources at Penn.

The fellow will be required to remain in residence; teach one course for undergraduates in the spring semester of 2017; give a public presentation for Korean Studies Colloquium; and mentor Kim Program undergraduate fellows.

To be eligible, applicants must have received their Ph.D. degree within five years of the postdoctoral appointment year (in 2011 or later). The applicant must have fully completed all requirements for the Ph.D. degree (dissertation deposited) by July 1, 2016.

Applications should include a letter of application; curriculum vitae; application form (download here); statement of research interests and experience in a separate document; and two letters of recommendation mailed or e-mailed directly from referees to David Dettmann at, or to the address below.

Applications must be received by Friday, January 8, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. Applications (except for letters of recommendation, which should be sent directly from the referee) should be submitted in one, complete PDF via e-mail to, or via mail to the address below.

James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies
Williams Hall, Suite 642
255 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Further inquiries should be directed to David Dettmann, Acting Associate Director for Administration, at or telephone (215) 573-4203.

Oxford-Wolfson Min Sunshik Graduate Scholarship

Wolfson College logoWolfson College and the International Communication Foundation are offering a fully funded graduate scholarship at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom from the beginning of the academic year 2016-2017 for a student undertaking a D.Phil. course in Korean literature.

Applicants proposing to work on premodern Korean literature are strongly encouraged to apply. Particularly desired are scholars who intend to pursue careers dedicated to relating Korean literature to world literature through the translation and interpretation of classical Korean literature. The successful applicant will also be expected to participate in activities of the Life-Writing Research Cluster at Wolfson College working on biography, autobiography, memories, and other media that focus on the life and works of writers (

Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates who are applying for entry to the Faculty of Oriental Studies to begin D.Phil. research in the field of Korean literature in October 2016. The scholarship is only tenable at Wolfson College, is open to any nationality, and is awarded on the basis of academic merit and potential.

The scholarship is fully funded for Home/EU and Overseas candidates: tuition fees, college fees, and a living stipend to the equivalent of the UK Research Council rate (£14,057 for 2015-16). The successful applicant will become a member of Wolfson College.

Applicants, whether internal or external, should apply to the University under the standard procedures for graduate degrees for 2016-17. The University’s application procedures are described at

Applications should normally be made on line ( The final deadline for applications is January 22, 2016.

Korean Films at 2015 Hawaii International Film Festival

still from The ThroneTen recent Korean films are on the schedule of the Hawaii International Film Festival’s 2015 fall program, running from November 12 to November 22 and screening at various local theaters. The Festival, celebrating its thirty-fifth anniversary this year, will feature some 181 films from forty-one countries, many of them U.S. or world premieres.

The Festival will open with the Hawaii premiere of the 2015 South Korean feature
The Throne (사도), directed by Lee Joon-ik. The film is a retelling of the story of the eighteenth-century King Yŏngjo and the death of his crown prince, Sado. It shows at 8:00 p.m. November 12 at Dole Cannery Theater A.

still of Chunhyang in swingAnother highlight of the Festival is the exhibition of Im Kwon Taek’s award-winning 2000 version of Chunhyang (춘향뎐). This familiar Korean legend has been rendered on film many times, but Im chose to present the tale through the medium of pansori, a traditional form of storytelling in song. This showing is sponsored by the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC), which has played a critical role in promoting Asian cinema. It is part of the celebration of the organization’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Chunhyang will be screened Thursday, November 19, at 4:00 p.m. in the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

The remaining Korean films on the Festival program and their exhibition dates are:

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Evolving Chinese Policy toward the Korean Peninsula

Quansheng ZhaoThe East-West Center Research Program will present a discussion of Chinese policy toward the two Koreas by Professor Quansheng Zhao of American University on Thursday,
November 12, 2015, at 12:00 noon in Burns Hall 3012.

Zhao, who is currently a POSCO visiting fellow at the East-West Center, will discuss three approaches that can be identified in Beijing’s view toward conflict in the Korean peninsula:

  • A history-embedded approach: Chinese foreign policy has traditionally been influenced by historical legacies, not only over the past couple of centuries, but also in the more recent experience in the Cold War.
  • A national-interest driven approach: China has gradually shifted to emphasize economic modernization since Deng Xiaoping’s open and reform policy. Foreign policy priority has shifted to national interests instead of ideology.
  • A co-management approach: Entering the twenty-first century, China’s foreign policy has to correspond with its increasing status in global politics. The U.S. factor has become even more prominent in China’s strategic calculation toward the Korean peninsula. This requires Beijing to adopt a co-management policy with Washington, as well as other regional players. The Six Party Talks in the recent decade has presented a vivid example of co-management, where both Beijing and Washington exercise leadership roles ensuring the stability of the Korea peninsula.

The presentation will also offer the author’s assessment of Beijing’s Korea policy, with records of both successes and failures, and its future directions.

Quansheng Zhao is professor of international relations and chair of the Asian Studies Program Research Council at American University in Washington, D.C. A specialist in international relations and comparative politics focusing on East Asia, Zhao is the author of Interpreting Chinese Foreign Policy (Oxford University Press) and Japanese Policymaking (Oxford University Press/Praeger). His most recent edited books are: Managing the China Challenge: Perspectives from the Globe (2009) and Japanese Foreign Policy and Sino-Japanese Relations (2015). From 1993 to 2009, he was a research associate at the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research of Harvard University, and from 1999 to 2008, he was division director of comparative and regional studies at American University. Zhao received his B.A. from Peking University and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

9th Korea-America Student Conference

9th Korean American Student Conference posterThe Center for Korean Studies is offering financial support for a University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa student to participate in the 9th Korea-America Student Conference, which will be held in South Korea from July 25 to August 15, 2016.

The Korea-America Student Conference is a student-led academic and cultural exchange program intended to build closer ties between young leaders in both countries. Each year, delegations of students are competitively selected from the United States and the Republic of Korea to spend three weeks together studying and analyzing Korea-U.S. relations while visiting three diverse regions in the host country.

Jeju Island

Jeju Island

The 9th KASC will travel to Jeju, Busan, and Seoul. The thirty-four students selected to represent the United States and Korea (seventeen from each country) will engage in academic, cultural, and professional exchanges, including participating in lectures, seminars, networking events, cultural activities, and community service. They will discuss, analyze, and co-create solutions to four pressing bilateral and global topics throughout the month and will present their joint solutions to a panel of experts and the general public at the conclusion of the conference.

view of Busan


The conference organizers are seeking to assemble a diverse delegation. Students in all majors are welcome to apply. No prior experience with Korea or Korean is necessary. Both undergraduate and graduate students attending school in the United States may participate. Successful applicants will possess good conflict-resolution skills, open-mindedness and flexibility, patience, consideration for others, willingness to exchange opinions in a respectful manner, and the ability to actively participate in all program activities and in group settings.

View of Seoul


The application deadline for priority consideration is November 9, 2015, and the regular deadline is December 1, 2015. Applicants who apply by the priority deadline and are accepted will have a reduced participation fee of $1,995, early notification about their acceptance to the conference, and priority consideration for roundtable topics. The regular deadline participation fee is $2,150. The on-line application to participate in the conference can be found at Note that there is a $20 application fee.

The fee covers all conference expenses, including domestic transportation between sites, transportation within each site, lodging, food, networking activities, cultural activities, and other conference events. Delegates are responsible for their transportation to the first site of the conference and back from the last site of the conference.

The Center for Korean Studies will provide up to $3,000 to support a Mānoa student selected to attend the conference. Applicants must be classified undergraduate or graduate students at the time of application and during the conference and must demonstrate high academic achievement and promise. Applicants must provide proof of acceptance to participate in KASC.

To apply for the CKS scholarship, (1) submit a copy of the full KASC application to the Center for Korean Studies a week after the application is due at KASC and (2) ask recommenders to send copies of their letters to the Center by December 8, 2015.

For more information about CKS support for conference attendance, contact Merclyn Labuguen, Center for Korean Studies, University of Hawai‘i, telephone (808) 956-7041; fax (808) 956-2213; e-mail:

For more information about the conference, see the KASC Web site: Questions may be directed to Kianna MacKenzie (, American recruitment chair (American delegates), or Emilie Kim, (, Korean recruitment chair (Korean delegates). You can also contact the KASC program manager, Minjun Chen, via e-mail ( or by phone at (202) 289-9088.

The conference is organized and managed by International Student Conferences, a non-profit organization incorporated in Washington, D.C. It facilitates two academic and cultural exchange programs organized by university students: The Korea-America Student Conference and the Japan-America Student Conference. ISC’s mission is to promote peace by furthering mutual understanding, friendship, and trust through international student interchange.

Harvard-Yenching Library Travel Grants for 2015-2016

photo: Harvard-Yenching LibraryThe Harvard-Yenching Library Travel Grants Program is intended to assist scholars from outside the Boston metropolitan area in their use of the Harvard-Yenching Library’s collections for research. For the 2015-2016 academic year, there will be nineteen grants of $600 each: five in Korean studies, seven in Chinese studies, and seven in Japanese studies. The grants are awarded on a merit basis to faculty members and to graduate students engaged in dissertation research. Priority consideration is given to those at institutions where there are no or few library resources in the East Asian languages and no major East Asian library collections are available nearby. Awards must be used by June 30, 2016.

Applications for a travel grant, including a letter, a brief description of the research topic, and an estimated budget, should be addressed: James K.M. Cheng, Librarian, Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard University, 2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. Fax: (617) 496-6008. E-mail: The deadline for receiving applications is December 22, 2015.

UH Student is Winner of Overseas Korean Broadcasting Award

overseas Korean broadcasting award winner Seola KimUniversity of Hawaii at Mānoa graduate student Seola Kim is the Grand Prize winner in the 2015 Overseas Korean Broadcasting Award competition. Kim was cited for the program “Gugak Gallery,” which she hosts on Radio Seoul Hawaii in Honolulu. Kim is a Ph.D. student in composition in the UH Mānoa Music Department. She is an accomplished player of the Korean traditional instrument ajeng and is a former vice-chief ajeng player of the Korean National Gugak Orchestra. Her program “Gugak Gallery” is the only overseas Korean radio program that specializes in Korean traditional music, or gugak, and introduces listeners in Hawaii to a variety of modern and classical Korean traditional music. “Gugak Gallery” is broadcast on Radio Seoul Hawaii at 1540 AM every Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

overseas Korean broadcasting award winner Seola Kim in Radio Seoul Hawaii studio

Seola Kim, far right, at work in the Radio Seoul Hawaii studio.

Korean Traditional Music and Dance L.A.

Korean music program posterJi Yun-Ja will lead a group of more than a dozen musicians and dancers in a performance of Korean traditional music and dance at Orvis Auditorium Wednesday, November 4, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. Ms. Ji, president of the Korean American Traditional Music Association in Los Angeles, is noted for “her beautiful talent of playing Korea’s most treasured musical instrument–the Kayagum.” She was designated as foreign honorary successor of Traditional Intangible Cultural Asset by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2014.

The performance is co-sponsored by the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Music Department and Center for Korean Studies. Tickets are $12 general admission and $8 for students, seniors, and UH faculty and staff. Admission is free for UH Mānoa music majors. Purchase tickets at the door only by cash or check.

The program will include:

  • Taegum solo (bamboo flute), performed by Lee Byung-Sang
  • Folk Dance – Sanjo dance, performed by Chang Hwa Sook
  • Folk Song – Minyo Hapchang – Im yeasun, performed by Lee Kyong-Ja and Shu Won-Suk
  • Folk Dance – Dosalpuri, performed by Lee Young-Nam
  • Pansori – Sarang-ga, performed by Lee Kyong-Ja and Shu Won-Suk
  • Folk Dance – Jaeng gang Choom (쟁강춤) dance, performed by Juli Kim
  • Kayagum Sanjo and Byungchang, performed by Ji Yun-Ja
  • Folk Dance – Fan Dance, performed by Suh Won Sook, Lee Kyong Ja, and Yoon Sook Young
  • Folk music improvisation – Shi Nawi, performed by Lee Byung Sang, Ji yun Ja, Seola Kim, and Juli Kim
  • Folk Dance – Changgo Chum (Drum Dance), performed by Lee Young-Nam
  • Samulnori, performed by Yoon Sook Young and ensemble

Orvis Auditorium at is located at 2411 Dole Street on the UH Mānoa campus. For further information, telephone (808) 95-MUSIC.

2016 AKS Fellowship Program for Korean Studies

view of Academy of Korean StudiesThe Academy of Korean Studies Fellowship Program for Korean Studies provides international scholars and doctoral candidates opportunities to carry on their research, including dissertation research. Foreign scholars in the humanities and social sciences (including those who have Korean nationality with permanent residence status in a foreign country) who are currently engaged in Korea-related teaching and research are eligible to apply.

Three categories of fellowships are offered (1) Senior Researcher Fellowship for those at the associate professor level or above and Ph.D. holders with seven or more years of research experience; (2) Junior Researcher Fellowships for those at the assistant professor level or below and Ph.D. holders with fewer than seven years of research experience; and (3) Pre-doctoral Fellowships for doctoral candidates who have completed all academic requirements except the dissertation at an institution outside Korea.

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