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Memory, Counternarrative, and the Body Politic in Post–Imjin War Chosŏn Korea

Memory, Counternarrative, and the Body Politic in Post–Imjin War Chosŏn Korea From the late Chosŏn Dynasty to the present day in both North and South Korea, General Im Kyŏngŏp (1594–1646) has been honored for his loyal service against the Manchus in the early seventeenth century. A close reading of official accounts, literati essays, legal cases, and historical fiction reveals, however, that Im was a deserter and a suspected traitor at the time of his death. Yet by the late eighteenth century, the Chosŏn state had promoted Im, presented him as an ideal subject, and honored his loyalty through state-sanctioned commemoration. Today, the memory of Im remains largely positive; twenty-first century Koreans predominantly know him as a Chosŏn hero or as the object of shamanic supplication. This article suggests that Im’s posthumous rehabilitation attests to the growing power of a reading public and the influence of popular culture on political discourse in an early modern public sphere. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Korean Studies Duke University Press

Memory, Counternarrative, and the Body Politic in Post–Imjin War Chosŏn Korea

Journal of Korean Studies , Volume 19 (1) – Mar 14, 2014

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Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
ISSN
0731-1613
eISSN
2158-1665
DOI
10.1353/jks.2014.0009
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

From the late Chosŏn Dynasty to the present day in both North and South Korea, General Im Kyŏngŏp (1594–1646) has been honored for his loyal service against the Manchus in the early seventeenth century. A close reading of official accounts, literati essays, legal cases, and historical fiction reveals, however, that Im was a deserter and a suspected traitor at the time of his death. Yet by the late eighteenth century, the Chosŏn state had promoted Im, presented him as an ideal subject, and honored his loyalty through state-sanctioned commemoration. Today, the memory of Im remains largely positive; twenty-first century Koreans predominantly know him as a Chosŏn hero or as the object of shamanic supplication. This article suggests that Im’s posthumous rehabilitation attests to the growing power of a reading public and the influence of popular culture on political discourse in an early modern public sphere.

Journal

Journal of Korean StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Mar 14, 2014

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