[KS] Re: Yuldo

John Frankl jmfrankl at fas.harvard.edu
Sat Feb 26 23:16:11 EST 2000


On Fri, 25 Feb 2000, John Frankl wrote:

> "Yuldo is the name of the utopian kingdom that appeared at the end of the
> The Tale of Hong Kildong (Hong Kildong chon). It was described as an
> island somewhere south of the  Korean peninsula. I thought that it would be
>      an appropriate name for a virtual space on Korean studies that
> includes a number of Korean and Japanes references in addition to the
> standard collection of links in Western languages." 
> Dear Professor Fouser,
> First let me thank you for putting together a great site. I plan to visit
> your island often. I also enjoy your KH column.
> Dear list members,
> The name Yuldo, however, does bring up some interesting questions for the
> entire list. I believe we all tend to read Hong Kildong chon from Hong's
> perspective. He is a soja and we empathize with his plight and search for
> equality. What we often miss is the whole Yuldo trip. We see it, see
> above, as some type of utopia to counter the oppressive Choson. But we
> often miss how Hong establishes this "utopia." Ultra-trickster Hong
> murders the existing king of Yuldo, and takes both his daughters as
> prizes. He also sets up a mini-Choson on the island; there is no talk of
> social reform, liberation of slaves, monogamy, etc. Although there is word
> of his going back to Choson to peform chesa as a filial son. Finally, the
> island's aboriginal inhabitants are depicted as near beasts, a literary
> "technique" echoing all the way into modern lit. 
> John Frankl


More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list