[KS] Fw: Collaboration

Pak, Jacqueline jypak at ipo.net
Sat Feb 6 17:52:07 EST 1999

I think Koen meant to send this to the list.
I referred to it thinking that it was sent to everybody.


> From: Koen De Ceuster <deceuster at RULLET.LEIDENUNIV.NL>
> To: Pak; Jacqueline <jypak at ipo.net>
> Subject: Re: Collaboration  
> Date: Friday, February 05, 1999 5:48 AM
>  Dear List,
> Some might have expected an earlier response, but I have only just come
back from a three-month research stay in Korea and 
> have been ploughing through pile upon pile of letters and other email
messages. As I only quickly glanced at the 
> recent spate of collaboration emails, I shal give an equally quick
response in the hope of adding a more substantive message 
> later on.
> Maybe Taehwan Han's message is an interesting starter for my contribution
to this discussion. 
> He indicated the clear break between pre- and post-liberation history in
regard to the collaboration-issue. What I have come to 
> understand after having dealt with this issue for quite some time now, is
that there are basically two sides to the debate. On the 
> one hand you have the post-liberation political issue of branding some
people collaborators and other nationalists. What is 
> clear,  however, is that this labeling is in essence more related to the
post-liberation political debate/strife, than it is to any form 
> of collaboration as such (hence the remarkable fact that some
collaborators indeed end up being hailed as nationalists).
> This is also Cuming's weakness when he deals with the collaboration
issue. Taking his lead from post-liberation sources, he 
> echoes the political debate of the 45-48 period rather than accurately
depicting the historical facts of collaboration.
> But this brings me to the second side of the debate, which is far more
thorny and difficult to deal with, namely the public 
> activities of a number of Koreans in support of the Japanese Occupation.
The first and main problem in dealing with the issue 
> of collaboration (and this question has been raised already), is the
problem of defining collaboration. When I look back upon 
> Mr. Goodwin's initial question, I see a major problem looming. Did he not
ask information on pro-Japanese collaborators 
> covering the period from the late 19th century until 1945. Lumping all
Koreans who had some sympathy/affinity with Japan at 
> the end of the 19th Century together with 1940s Koreans who spoke out in
support of the Japanese war effort seems to take 
> its lead from the collaboration publications of the late 1980s - early
1990s. In other words, the question as it was asked clearly 
> seems to be determined by the Korean term of "ch'inilp'a" which is not in
itself a negative term, but has been used randomly 
> -but  deliberatly at the same time- to label all late 19thC attempts at
modernisation as tainted by collaborationist motives.
> My analysis of these publications is that they attempted to discredit the
post-liberation South-Korean regime by undermining its 
> claim to ancestry in the nationalist movement. Hence, we're back to my
first remark, that this entire question of collaboration is 
> a highly political issue more relevant to the late 1980s early 1990s
political context than to the colonial period itself. (If needed, 
> I'll elaborate on this in a later posting)
> The problem not only rests with Korean terminology, but also English
terminology is too coarse to deal with this issue.
> In conclusion I would like to add that in order to deal with the issue of
collaboration -regardless of how you define this term- a 
> thorough grasp of the history of the colonial period is imperative.It
seems to me that Korean historiography is finally moving 
> away from listing names and adding quotes (which was basically what
"collaboration studies" amounted to) to more 
> comprehensive studies of the colonial period. Only such comprehensive
studies will allow us to comprehend to some extent the 
> activities of individuals during the different stages of the colonial
> Koen De Ceuster
> Centre for Korean Studies
> P.O. Box 9515
> 2300 RA Leiden
> The Netherlands
> Tel: -- 31 71 527 2603
> Fax: -- 31 71 527 2215
> DeCeuster at rullet.LeidenUniv.nl
> Koen De Ceuster
> Centre for Korean Studies
> P.O. Box 9515
> 2300 RA Leiden
> The Netherlands
> Tel: -- 31 71 527 2603
> Fax: -- 31 71 527 2215
> DeCeuster at rullet.LeidenUniv.nl


More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list