Sixth Asian Studies Conference Japan
    Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23
    Ichigaya Campus of Sophia University


last update 2002/03/09

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Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181

Session 32
Japanese Experience of Modern Korean and Chinese Intellectuals
Organizer: Vladimir Tikhonov, Oslo University
Chair: Huh Donghyun, KyungHee University

The session is going to be devoted to the first experiences of early modern Korean and Chinese intellectuals in modernizing Meiji Japan. The main focus of the papers is on the little-explored topic of the first "modern experiences" of the Koreans and Chinese in Japan of the 1880s. The presenters try to find out what was understood by the Korean and Chinese guests of Meiji Japan as the essence of "modernity" and what were the main features of their own projects of appropriation and localization of Japanese "modernity discourse". Special attention will be given to the unusually strong influence of the developing Pan-Asiatic ideology of Japan of 1880s on the contemporary Korean and Chinese "quest for state's wealth and strength".

1) Huh Donghyun, KyungHee University. "Features of Modernity in the Japanese Experience of the Korean Courtiers' Observation Mission"

As a Korean counterpart of Japan's Iwakura Mission, Courtiers' Observation Mission to Japan (so called Gentlemen Observation Mission) was to study methodically the features of modernization taking place in Meiji Japan. The twelve courtiers above the junior third rank, including O Yun-jung (1848-1896) and Pak Chong-yangÅi1841-1905), stayed in Japan for about three and half months from May 7 to August 26 and collected data and information on the organization and functions of modern governmental machinery, e. g., seven Ministries, service academies, shipyards, armouries, the maritime customs service, and the mint. Five attendants of the mission, including Yu Kil-chun (1856-1914) and Yun Ch'i-ho (1864-1946), stayed behind to study in modern Japanese schools. The objective of the present study is to shed light on what was the "modernity" experienced by the Mission in Japan, and how the "Japanese modernity" experienced by the Mission members was afterwards projected on Korea's own modernization process. Consequently, first I will try to observe what were the main differences between the western "universal modernity" and the salient features of the Meiji "modernization project". Then, I will try to classify the influences exerted by the "Japanized" Meiji "modernity" onto the worldviews and ways of thinking of the Mission members, into two main types. And finally, I will try to understand some special features of the "Koreanized modernity" by highlighting the differences in foreign experiences of the Korean Mission and Iwakura Mission.

2) Vladimir Tikhonov, Oslo University. "Korea's First Encounters with Pan-Asianism Ideology in the 1880s."

Pan-Asianism was initially an attempt on the part of a fraction of Meiji elite to redefine the Western imperialistic scheme of "civilizing" the non-Western world in Japan's favour by claiming the unity of "Asia" with new "civilizing" subject, Japan, standing in the centre. While promoting essentially the same "modernization"-oriented values (skewed, of course, to the idea of "strong army, rich state", favoured by Meiji elite) as rival Western schemes, Pan-Asianist project underlined the opposition to the Western colonial depredations and vague endorsement of "our Asian legacy". The emphasis on "Asian centrism/nativism" made the Pan-Asianist claims appear rather attractive to the middle-of-the-way (moderately conservative) statist elements inside the Korea's fledgling modernizing elite, who were keen to fend off both much feared Western colonialist designs and "heterodox" Western religion and ideology. But, especially on the early stage of the development of Korea's modernization movement, Japan's rapidly developing Pan-Asianism appealed strongly also to the more radical Korean groups, still largely ignorant of non-East Asian modernity projects and aspiring to secure Japan's aid in the struggle against domestic conservative rivals. The present paper will focus on the first contacts between Japan's Koakai ("Rise Asia Society") and such pioneers of modernization in Korea as Buddhist monk Lee Dongin, aborted 1884s coup mastermind Kim Okkyun, moderate reformer Kim Hongjip and famed poet Kang Wi. The author will try to show what concrete features of Koakai's geopolitical and strategic designs attracted positive attention of its Korean contacts, how differed early Korean and Chinese reaction to the Koakai schemes, and what were the strongest influences of the Pan-Asianist worldview on the Weltanschauung of Korea's early modernizing elite. Finally, the author will attempt to make the comparisons with Korea's later (1900s) responses to the Japanese Pan-Asianist claims.

3) Kim Kiseung, Sunch'eonhyang University. "Cho Soang's Modernity Consciousness Formed through Japanese Experience"

Cho Soang is Korea's representative modern thinker who systematized the guiding principle of Korea's modern national movement in the form of "Samgyunju_i" - "Three Equalities". He drafted Korean Provisional Government's National Foundation Principles, and was active there as foreign minister. He is representative of the Korean nationalistic intellectuals of early 20th C. Still, his ideas on modernity were mainly formed during his 8 year-long (1904-1912) stay in Japan. In a way, 8 years of Japanese experience were youthful Cho Soang the process of understanding the modernity. Cho Soang wrote diary daily when he stayed in Japan. The diary is included into his <Collected Works> under the title of Tongyu Ryakch'o. The present author already has researched on Cho's study in Japan and the process of formation of his ideas, using the diary as the source. The present paper will, on the basis of that primary source analysis, shed light on how the "modernity" looked like to Cho during his days in Japan. Thus, through the research focused on one instance, a type of modernity consciousness of the Korean intellectuals of 20th century will be elucidated on.

Discussant: Akizuki Nozomi, Meiji Gakuin University


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