[KS] Korean Ghost Stories (belated follow-up)

Stefan Ewing sa_ewing at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 30 20:47:49 EDT 2005

Dear KS List Subscribers:

Well, this is a very belated follow-up, but Javier Cha suggested to Jina Kim 
back in August that she should perhaps look at the Neo-Confucian view of the 
supernatural world.

An accessible approach to this topic might be the recent movie _Blood Rain_ 
(_Hyo^ru^i Nu_/_Hyeorui Nu_), a whodunnit thriller set in early 19th-century 
Choso^n.  In it, the lead character--an investigator sent from the mainland 
to investigate a series of deaths on a small island--must confront the fears 
of the island's inhabitants, that the deaths were being caused by a vengeful 

One scene involves a brief discussion between the investigator and the 
island's mudang (shaman) on the possible role that the supernatural might 
have played in the deaths, the investigator's rationalist  neo-Confucian 
worldview at odds with the mudang's spiritualist point of view.

I would not recommend renting the movie solely for learning more about this 
one topic--it's a side issue--but the movie is a fascinating period piece 
and a heart-thumping suspense movie which stands on its own merit.  Be 
forewarned, though, that some of the scenes are rather gruesome.

A review of the film may be found here: 

Stefan Ewing

>From: Javier Cha <javiercha at gmail.com>
>Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>To: Korean Studies Discussion List <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>Subject: Re: [KS] Korean Ghost Stories
>Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 23:45:02 -0700
>I'm not too familiar with the actual ghost stories, but it might help
>to look up the Neo-Confucian view of kwishin/guishen. A good starting
>point for this would be Wing-tsit Chan's _A Source Book in Chinese
>Philosophy_ (the chapter on Chang Tsai) and Chan's translation of the
>_Beixi ziyi_, entitled _Neo-Confucian Terms Explained_ (look under
>"positive and negative cosmic forces"). Chances are the influence of
>Confucian view of ghosts on folk tales is minimal but it might help to
>know how the elites thought about ghosts.

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