CKS Anthropologist Christopher Bae Featured in KBS Documentary

Image: Chris Bae in KBS documentaryCenter for Korean Studies faculty member Christopher J. Bae of the UH Mānoa Department of Anthropology appears prominently in a new Korean Broadcasting System documentary that aired in Korea September 11 and 12.

The documentary, titled The Korean Eve, deals with the seven-thousand-year archaeological history of the Korean peninsula. Bae and his students, filmed in Hawai’i, are featured in the first ten minutes of the second episode of the documentary. Both episodes can be viewed on on the KBS Korea On Demand Web site at the links below:

image: Chris Bae and studentsBae is nearing the last year of a five-year international multidisciplinary project titled “The Earliest Peopling of the Korean Peninsula: Current Multidisciplinary Perspectives.” The project, funded by a $1.1 million grant from the Academy of Korean Studies, aims to develop an active long-term research program to bring about a more comprehensive understanding of East Asian human evolution during prehistory.

Hawaii and our campus also appeared in the first 10 minutes of FIRST link of the website and I can see Joohyun, Chris Bae’s wife, appeared in the first link of the website. I am very glad to see our faculty and their family play the major role in this very exciting documentary. Another example of excellence of our CKS faculty!

I found that the content of the documentary is so interesting–where are we (and Asians in general) from. Enjoy the film and have a nice weekend.

Colloquium: The Politics of “Arirang”

photo: Byong Won LeeThe Center for Korean Studies fall 2014 colloquium series will open Thursday, September 18, with an exploration of some of the political aspects of Korea’s most famous folksong, “Arirang.” Byong Won Lee, professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, will deliver a presentation titled “The Politics of ‘Arirang': Tripartite Political Dynamics of the Korean Folksong in South Korea, North Korea, and China.” The colloquium begins at 4:00 p.m. in the Center for Korean Studies conference room.

“Arirang” originated in the central region of Korea in the mid-1920s as a new folksong (sin-minyo) and has evolved into the iconic song for Koreans everywhere. In 2011, the Chinese government designated “Arirang” as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of the ethnic Koreans in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of China.

Nationalistic South Koreans were suspicious of the Chinese move as another of the ongoing Chinese efforts to appropriate Korean heritage, including asserting ownership of some historical events. The South Korean government has been actively promoting the song internationally as the national musical icon with considerable exaggeration of its historical origin. This effort resulted in the registration of “Arirang” as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanities in 2012.

By contrast, “Arirang” was rarely mentioned in North Korea until the early 1980s. The insertion of the song title in the “Arirang Mass Games” in North Korean is an effort to tone down the strong ideological embossment and project a utopian Korea under socialism through the unification of the peninsula on North Korean terms.

Professor Lee’s presentation will examine the tripartite political dynamics of “Arirang”: (1) as a musical icon through its nation-branding efforts in the Republic of Korea, (2) as a soft image-making medium and ideological disguise in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and (3) as a political embracing of minorities by the People’s Republic of China.

Center for Korean Studies colloquia are free and open to the public. The Center is located at 1881 East-West Road on the UH Mānoa campus. Paid parking ($6.00) is available in the parking lot mauka of the CKS building and elsewhere on campus. For further information, including arrangements for access for the handicapped, telephone the Center at (808) 956-7041.

Call for Papers: Space in Korean Cinema

journal cover imageThe Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema is planning a special issue on space in Korean cinema based on the UC-Berkeley Korean Film Workshop held in June 2014. The journal editors are seeking one or two additional papers that fit the theme of the special issue. The deadline for manuscript submissions is November 1, 2014. The special issue is expected to be published in the first half of 2015.

Possible topics of papers include, but are not limited to: New dynamics of urban and rural landscape; co-production of cinematic and urban space; imagery of neoliberal city and places; territory, periphery, border-crossing and dwelling; fringe cinema and fringe places; spatial contour of multi-ethnic, multi-racial Korea; spatial imagery and imaginary of Korean blockbuster/genre films; ludic space of Korea’s computer games; and spatial dynamics of colonial representation.

Essays should be 6,000-8,000 words. Include an abstract of 150-200 words and a list of three to six keywords. Also include a separate, short biography in the third person. Do not put identifying information in your essay, but include your full name, affiliation, postal address, telephone number, and e-mail address on the cover page of the manuscript. Text, including notes, should be in Times New Roman, 12 point. Everything must be double-spaced. Quotations must be in English. The first mention of a film should include its original title, director’s name, and year of release. In all subsequent references, the title should be translated into English, unless known by the original title in all markets. Use explanatory endnotes, not footnotes. Use MLA style for references and works cited.

All submissions should be sent to the editors (Dr. Hye Seung Chung and Dr. David Scott Diffrient) as e-mail attachments in Microsoft Word format to as well as to the special issue editor, Dr. Jinsoo An (

For more information about the journal, see

Assistant Professor of Asian Studies (Modern Korean Literature) at Penn State

image: PSU logoThe Pennsylvania State University invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor position, with a joint appointment in Asian Studies and Comparative Literature. Areas of specialization are open but preferably include a comparative approach; specialties may include, but are not limited to, any field in modern Korean literature, film and new media studies; East-West, intra-Asian, or global literary comparisons; postcolonial studies; or gender studies. Teaching responsibilities include introductory, advanced, and graduate courses on literature and culture in the Asian Studies and Comparative Literature curriculum. Starting date: August 2015 preferred.

Requirements: Ph.D. in East Asian Studies or Comparative Literature, or related field; native or near-native ability in Korean and English; appropriate teaching experience; relevant research achievements or evidence of relevant research promise. Screening of applications will begin November 3, 2014, although all applications will be considered until the search is concluded.

To apply, upload letter of application, curriculum vitae, and names of three references at

For more information about the Penn State Asian studies and comparative literature programs, visit and

For information about safety at Penn State, and to review the Annual Security Report, which contains information about crime statistics and other safety and security matters, go to, which will also provide detail on how to request a hard copy of the Annual Security Report.

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to minorities, women, veterans, disabled individuals, and other protected groups.

A Night of Korean Art Songs

photo: Kim Hyeon-SimSoprano Hyeon-Sim Kim will present a recital of Korean art songs September 6, 2014, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in Orvis Auditorium, 2411 Dole Street on the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa campus. Chung Haing Lee, piano, and Seola Kim, janggu and haegeum, will accompany Kim in a program of songs chosen to fit the themes of homeland, seasons, love, and nature, ranging in style from Korean traditional to romantic Western melodic songs.

Hyeon-Sim Kim is an alumna of Seoul National University (bachelor of music and master of music in voice) and the Manhattan School of Music in New York (master’s degree in vocal performance). She is guest professor of voice in the Music Department of Kyung Hee University in Seoul. She has lectured at Seoul National University, Korea National University of Arts, Kun-Kuk University, and Sejong University in Seoul.

Kim has performed eleven solo recitals in New York, Nashville, Seoul, and Pusan and has appeared in numerous operas, including La Boheme (Mimi), L’Elisir d’amore (Adina), Carmen (Micaella), and Ryu Gwan Soon (Ryu Gwan Soon). She has recorded two albums: Come Again! Sweet Love and The Grace of God.

Kim’s recital is presented by the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, Music Department and Center for Korean Studies, The United Korean Association of Hawaii, and Seoul National University Alumni Association. Tickets are $10 general admission and $6 students, seniors (65+), and faculty (ID Required). For more information about the program, see the UH Music Department Web site.