Andreas Schirmer (ed.):
Koreans in Central Europe. To Yu-ho, Han Hŭng-su, and Others
[= Koreans and Central Europeans: Informal Contacts up to 1950, ed. by Andreas Schirmer; 2; zugl. Wiener Beiträge zur Koreaforschung | Viennese Contributions to Korean Studies; 5]
2018, ISBN 978-3-7069-0980-8, 332 Seiten, brosch.
€ [A] 34,00 / € [D] 33,10
E-Book: ISBN 978-3-7069-2007-9
€ [A] 26,00 / € [D] 25,80
Koreans in Central Europe: To Yu-ho, Han Hŭng-su, and Others is a multi-perspective compendium of evidence about two Korean archaeologists who spent formative but also troubled years in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. Decades before a Korean diaspora in Europe began to take shape, these two embodied unique facets of what can be called a Korean colonial modernity outside of the Japanese empire. Han Hŭng-su stayed on for three more years after the end of World War II, publicly heralding Korea’s liberation and regained independence, enthusing over the advent of communism in the North, and managing to record an impressive array of achievements. Vienna was most defining for them as scholars of history and ethnology, although To Yu-ho had started in Frankfurt, while Han Hŭng-su finished his PhD in Switzerland and ended up a resident of Prague. Back home — after assiduous efforts to gain a foothold in Europe — both opted for the North out of firm conviction for the communist cause, and this resulted in a rivalry. Ultimately, a very typical fate befell them both: purged in the North, shunned in the South, and practically forgotten in East and West alike. A side story to the main focus is provided by chapters on Alice Hyun and Wellington Chung, two figures with a tangential relation to Han Hŭng-su that developed into a strong but in the end fatal Czechoslovak connection. Carefully researched, spotlighting numerous previously neglected or undiscovered sources, and richly illustrated, this volume is devoted to the examination of testimonies, writings and “traces” of very distinctive individuals. Special attention is given to how they negotiated European representations of East Asia — challenges to their Korean nationalist, yet nuanced, stances of self-assertion.