From email@example.com Sat Feb 8 01:00:07 2003
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 18:15:21 -1000
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@list.msu.edu>
From: Vincent K Pollard <pollard@HAWAII.EDU>
Subject: Antimilitarism & Anti-Americanism in South Korea, 1945-2003
Professor Jae-Bong LEE of the Department of Political Science and
Diplomacy at Wonkwang University gave an hour-long lecture exploring
Anti-militarism and Anti-Americanism in South Korea, 1945-2003.
The event took place at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa on 28 January 2003. Lee’s talk was sponsored by the UHM Department of Ethnic Studies and cosponsored by the UH Department of English and the Center for Korean Studies. http://www.hawaii.edu/korea/archive/archive.htm#jan03 is the URL to a PSA on Lee’s lecture. (Scroll down after arriving at that web page.
The brief summary below is based only on my notes, and does not have the benefit of the text of Lee’s lecture or of a tape or video recording.
In Lee’s conceptualization, one may distinguish between four types of anti-Americanism, namely, the policy-specific, intellectual, ideological, and revolutionary variants.
Focusing mainly on the past forty years, Lee traced the increasing breadth of policy-specific anti-Americianism, including among Koreans who feel a sense of gratefulness to the United States.
Lee illustrated several phases of the uneven but measurable spread of anti-Americanism in South Korea.
For example, he starkly contrasted the low level of protest in the
early 1960s when
daily murders of Korean prostitutes by
U.S. soldiers were common and where the only outcry was by
and relatives begging for funeral expenses with the socially broad
protests against the killing of the two school girls by a U.S. Army
vehicle last summer.
To the extent that unification of the two Koreas appears within grasp, Lee observed, the U.S. Army will increasingly be perceived as an obstacle to that reunification of North and South Korea, even though they are technically still at war.
Jay Lee completed his M.A. at Texas Tech in 1990. He then
earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of
Hawai’i at Manoa in 1994. Scholars interested in the theoretical
and empirical underpinnings o Lee’s presentation might take a
look at his doctoral dissertation.
Available on the Web from UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertations,
Cultural Representation of Anti-Americanism: The Negative Images of
the United States in South Korean Literature and Arts, 1945-1994,
AAT 9519457. For those interested in the scholarship of
anti-Americanism, an abstract of Jae-Bong Lee’s earlier, related
work follows below:
This study describes the developmental process of anti-Americanism
along with changing perceptions of the United States, analyzing
Koreans’ attitudes and behavior as well as American policy and
actions. Differing from common notions, anti-Americanism was not newly
born in the 1980s and it was manifested not only through violent
political behavior but also through cultural activities, particularly
literary and artistic works. Anti-Americanism has functioned as a cry
for recovering injured national pride and infringed sovereignty caused
by unequal Korean-American relations. Koreans were humiliated by
American arrogance, including intervention and dominance, but their
resentment and anger could not be freely expressed due to harsh
political repression and poor socioeconomic conditions. In the 1940s,
Koreans were frustrated and angered by the delay of national
independence and the consolidation of national. Frustrations and anger
developed to ’national liberation struggles’ against the
American occupation, which were expressed in ’tendentious
literature.’ In the 1950s, national pride was wounded by
American servicemen’s contempt of and crimes against Koreans,
which were portrayed in ’military camptown novels.’ In the
1960s, sovereignty was seriously infringed by excessive
U.S. intervention in Korean affairs. It led to the rise of
nationalism, and Americans were asked to leave Korea in ’engage
literature.’ In the 1970s, the United States was viewed as an
obstacle to South Korean democratization. Under the repressive Yusin
system, some writers and artists began to denounce American
imperialism and neocolonialism through ’resistance
literature’ and ’open-stage drama (madangguk).’ In
the 1980s, U.S. complicity in the Kwangju massacre and
Washington’s support for the military dictatorship triggered
violent anti-Americanism. Restrained resentment (han) and intolerable
anger that had smoldered for decades were exploded through the
influence of national economic growth and advanced international
standing of South Korea. The United States was defined as an enemy,
being no longer an ally, in ’minjung literature and arts.’
From the late 1980s, the unification movement has developed. The
United States is portrayed as a barrier to Korean unification in
’unification literature.’ Therefore, anti-Americanism,
consolidated by the rise of renewed nationalism or compatriotism in
the 1990s, is unlikely to disappear as long as Korean unification is
Among others, Lee’s dissertation committee included Michael Haas (chair), Glenn Paige, and the late Marshal Pihl.
After his recent presentation, Dr. Lee then led a discussion lasting almost as long as his lecture.