Gayageum Concert Features Works by UH Composition Students

Yi JiyoungGayageum virtuoso Ji-young Yi will present a concert of world-premiere performances of works by University of Hawai’i at Mānoa composition students on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. in Orvis Auditorium at 2411 Dole Street on the Mānoa campus.

Prof. Yi, a distinguished faculty member at Seoul National University and one of Korea’s most-recognized traditional performers, is a featured guest-performer-in-residence at the UH Music Department this semester and has worked intensively with students on these works that have been composed especially for her.

The concert will include compositions by Yoomee Baek, Thomas Goedecke, Lim Jae Hyun, Chris Molina, Tyler Ono, and Ulung Tanoto.

Tickets are $12 general admission and $8 for seniors and UH faculty/staff/students; UHM music majors free. For further information, telephone the UH Music Department at 808-95-MUSIC.

North Korea’s Vinalon City

C. Harrison KimThe history of the synthetic fiber vinalon will be the subject of a lecture by Prof. C. Harrison Kim of the University of Missouri on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, in the UH Manoa Department of History seminar room, Sakamaki Hall A201. Kim’s talk–titled “North Korea’s Vinalon City: Industrialism as Socialist Everyday Life”–will begin at 12:30 p.m.

In the early 1960s, vinalon became North Korea’s national fiber, a product that symbolized the independence and ingenuity of its state socialism, from the raw materials needed to make it (coal and limestone) to the person who invented it (the Japanese colonial-era chemist Ri Sŭnggi). The Vinalon Factory near Hamhŭng City—a factory originally built by a Japanese chemical company and a city rebuilt by East Germany—also became a national emblem. Vinalon City was a transnational object par excellence, but it was immutably localized as everyday narrative for the ordinary North Korean people, replete with its labor heroes who achieved superhuman levels of productivity. The everyday dimension is precisely where the ideological workings of state power are hidden. The history of vinalon reveals a characteristic of ideology of work—the subsumption of life by labor—a characteristic that is certainly not limited to North Korea.

A graduate of Columbia University, Harrison Kim is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Missouri. His research interests include everyday life, industrial work, socialism, and the modern city in the context of Korea and, in particular, North Korea. Kim’s book, Furnace is Breathing: Work as Life in Postwar North Korea, forthcoming from Columbia University Press, is about industrial work as a defining ideological activity in North Korea’s socialism after the Korean War and about the workers who lived during the demanding times of postwar reconstruction.

A reception for students and faculty will follow the talk. For more information, contact the Department of History at (808) 956-8486.

Boston University Seeks Lecturer in Korean Language

The Boston University Department of World Languages & Literatures invites applications for a renewable, full-time lecturer position in Korean, beginning July 1, 2017. Responsibilities include teaching at all levels of language in BU’s Korean program, participating in curriculum development, and other program activities.

Minimum requirements include an M.A. in Korean, second-language acquisition, applied linguistics, Korean linguistics, or a relevant field; native or near-native command of Korean and English; demonstrated excellence in college-level Korean language teaching in North America; commitment to a proficiency-based communicative curriculum; leadership and administrative ability; and familiarity with relevant instructional technology.

To apply, submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and three confidential letters of recommendation to Applications submitted through a Web site other than AcademicJobsOnline will not be considered.

If electronic submission is not possible, send materials by postal mail to Korean Lecturer Search, Department of World Languages & Literatures, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 602, Boston, MA 02215. Additional materials will be requested subsequently from top candidates. Preference will be given to applications received by February 28, 2017.

Send inquiries to Jungsoo Kim at

Korean Culture Day 2017

Korean Culture Day promoThe students of the UH Manoa Korean Language Flagship Center will stage their annual Korean Culture Day program at the Center for Korean Studies Friday, February 10, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The free program–open to all–offers opportunities to play traditional Korean games such as chegich’agi, a foot-shuttlecock game, and konggi, Korean jacks; try on traditional costume, or hanbok; and try a turn at brush calligraphy in Korean. Samples of Korean food will also be available.

The Korean Language Flagship Center, part of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, is a concentrated program to produce graduates with advanced language skills. Other sponsors of Korean Culture Day include the Hanwoori Club, the Francis A. and Betty Ann Keala Fund in Arts and Sciences, Palama Supermarket, Fabric Mart, Aloha Drycleaners, Ohana Pacific Bank, Kukui Food Inc., Tony Moly, and the Hawaii Christian Church.

For more information about Korean Culture Day 2017, contact Professor Mary S. Kim ( of the Department of East Asian Languages. For photos of last year’s Culture Day festivities, follow this link.

Confucian Traditions and Western-Style Learning in Early Modern Korean Education

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Department of History will present a lecture titled “Strange Bedfellows? Confucian Traditions, Western-Style Learning, and the Evolution of Early Modern Korean Education, 1895‒1910” by Professor Leighanne Yuh of Korea University on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. The talk will take place in the History Department Seminar Room, Sakamaki Hall A201, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

A comparison of textbooks from 1895 and 1906 shows a shift from a state-centered narrative and a focus on the recruitment of “men of talent” to a focus on patriotism and civil duty for the preservation of national independence. Existing scholarship, Yuh says, has interpreted the textbooks and corresponding education programs only in ways that promote nationalist agendas adhering to a linear model of progress and following a trajectory beginning with the Confucian tradition and arriving at Western enlightenment values.

Yuh’s study shows that the Confucian framework still operated as a bulwark and discursive system to help state officials and intellectuals absorb “Western” ideas, but also reveals how these patterns of integration played out in the realm of education.

The categorizations of “Confucianism” and “Western learning” fit neatly into the slogan “Eastern Ways, Western Machines,” which was popular at the time in Korea, China, and Japan. Yuh’s investigation problematizes the stark division between Western and Confucian systems and explores the amalgamation of different influences.

Yuh concludes that from a broadly defined Confucian framework there emerged a particular form of civil morality that allowed intellectuals and government bureaucrats to discuss nationalism, citizenship, the public sphere, and other issues thought to be germane to a modern nation-state. Through the transformation of educational institutions, the discourses themselves evolved from those exclusively devoted to the production of competent bureaucrats to those that spoke to the broader public and engaged with this new civil morality.

Leighanne Yuh is an assistant professor in the Department of Korean History at Korea University and associate editor of The International Journal of Korean History, published by the Center for Korean Studies at Korea University. She received her Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from the University of California Los Angeles in 2008 after completing her dissertation titled, “Education and the Struggle for Power in Korea, 1876‒1910.” Yuh earned her B.A. in Japanese history and economics from Wellesley College and an M.A. in Korean History from Columbia University.

A reception for students and faculty will follow the talk. For more information, contact the Department of History at (808) 956-8486.