[KS] Chuch'e

Bruce Cumings bcumings at midway.uchicago.edu
Mon Feb 11 11:13:09 EST 2002

Dear Frank,

You are right, shutaisei is chuch'esong, and it has been a staple subject 
for Japanese intellecutals at least since the 1920s. Victor Koschmann's 
book Revolution and Subjectivity, which came out four or five years ago, 
deals with the post-1945 conception of shutaisei among Japanese 
intellectuals, and is quite good. He didn't seem to be aware, however, that 
shutai was also the ruling doctrine of North Korea.

I am quite sure that the Japanese usage rubbed off on Kim Il Sung and the 
North Korean ideologues at some point before 1955, but proving it would be 
just about impossible--since from the inception they would deny (and 
expunge) any one-to-one relationship between the two. At the same time, 
chuch'e was a follow-on to similar terms referring to self-reliance that 
were used in the late 1940s, like chajusong and several others that I 
discuss in my 1990 book (2nd volume of Origins of the Korean War). In 1955, 
the introduction of this term may have been meant to give a philosophical 
gloss to
these other terms, since chu'che's original coinage in the 19th 
century--again by the Japanese, who introduced most modern terminology to 
E. Asia--was used to translate Hegel's (difficult to translate) notion of 



At 10:03 AM 2/8/2002 +0100, you wrote:
>Dear list,
>I am currently writing an article on the political system of North Korea 
>for a German university textbook. Needless to say that in the course of 
>this work I have to deal with the term Chuch'e.
>As far as I remember having heard, a philosophical term called Shutaisei 
>(Chuch'esOng) has already been used by the Japanese in the 1920s, long 
>before Kim Il-sOng introduced Chuch'e in his speech to the propagandists 
>of the Nodongdang on December 28, 1955. Is that correct? And if yes, in 
>which context has it been used before?
>Thanks a lot for your help.
>Best regards,
>Ruediger Frank
>Ruediger FRANK
>Humboldt-University Berlin
>Korea Institute
>Fon: +49-30-55 99 878
>Fax: +49-30-2093-6666
>e-mail: ruediger.frank at rz.hu-berlin.de
>Web: http://www2.hu-berlin.de/korea
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