[KS] Two items of News " East Rock Institute's program on Studies of Korea and Korean Diaspora" and" East Rock Institute and Harvard Korean Studies Program"

Hesung Koh hesung.koh at yale.edu
Mon Apr 17 00:34:41 EDT 2006

I am submitting " News from East Rock Institute" New Haven, CT.  and also" East Rock Institute and Harvard Korean Studies Program" 

Thank you Professor  Robert  Provine for your encouragement to send in these news. 


East Rock Institute’s program on Studies of Korea and Korean Diaspora 


East Rock Institute originally began in 1952 at Cambridge, Massachusetts under the name Korea Institute, Inc.  Korea Institute founded by the late Kwang Lim Koh( Ph.D. in Political Science and S.J.D. in International Law) then graduate student at Harvard Law School, and his wife, Hesung Chun Koh, to promote cultural understanding between Korea and United States.  Activities of Korea Institute were interrupted when its founder and key volunteer moved to Washington D.C. during the Chang Myon government to represent Korea in the Korean Embassy and at UN.  


Korea Institute was dissolved in early 1960’s but its programs were revived in 1966 in New Haven with the purchase of its office building by the Kohs near the Yale University campus. In 1985, East Rock Institute was formerly established as successor of the Korea Institute under the leadership of Hesung Chun Koh as its chair and president.(www.eastrockinstitute.org)

   It is one of the oldest non-profit organizations related to Korean studies and can boast of the following accomplishments:

  a.. Developed an award-winning teaching website on Korean traditional society and culture called INSTROK (Information system for Teaching and Research on Korea) with a partial grant from the Korea Foundation (see www.instrok.org)
  b.. Published a book in 2005, Koreans in the Windy City: 100 Years of Korean Americans in the Chicago Area, edited by Hyock Chun, Kwang Chung Kim, and Shin Kim. This collection of articles from scholars and community leaders with diverse backgrounds provides a view of the dynamics of Korean-American communities. 
  c.. For the past twenty years, ERI published a bi-annual journal, Korean and Korean American Studies Bulletin (1984 to date). 
  d.. Japanese translation of ERI’s diaspora journal series, Koreans in China, Japan, former USSR and the United States, by Prof. Chicako Kashiwazaki of Keio University into a single volume, Korean Diaspora is in press at Shinkansha in Tokyo. 
  e.. Exploring Korean Culture and History Through Film, Literature and the Arts”June 29-July 1. (Teach Korea corps movement in cooperation with ERI young professionals: NamMae) 
  f.. For other programs of ERI such as the seminars, forums, 27 annual conferences of Korean and Korean Americans, international conferences , young professionals retreat, internship programs for undergraduate and graduate students See www.eastrockinstitute.org. 
Submitted by Hesung Chun Koh, Chair and President of East Rock Institute, 251 Dwight Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Email: hesung.koh at yale.edu or eri3 at pantheon.yale.edu

East Rock Institute and Harvard Korean Studies


As one of Korea Institute’s first projects, Kwang Lim Koh visited then Acting Director of Harvard-Yenching Institute, Prof. Edwin O. Reischauer to urge the establishment of Korean Studies at Harvard. At the time, Reischauer personally felt the need to know more about Korea and the Korean language as he was turning his dissertation into a book, Inning's Diary. He needed to address many Korean place names and Buddhist temples in this book.  


With the help of President Koh, the first appointment ever for Korean studies at Harvard was made: Professor Doo Soo Suh, visiting Associate Professor of Korean Studies. Dr. Suh trained Edward Wagner, then graduate student, for three years so that the first professorship at Harvard on Korean studies became possible.


Reischauer subsequently granted four graduate fellowships to Korea Institute for the K.L. Koh's translation project of American books into Korean undertaken by Korean graduate students of Harvard and Columbia University.  Thus, this time, it was Koh that was supported by Reischauer to introduce American democracy to Korean universities.


The first few years of Edward Wagner’s Korean language class at Harvard had four or five students.  Each year, one of the Koh children signed up for this class. Edward Tongju (MD/Ph.D), Harold Hongju (current Dean of Yale Law School), Jean Koh Peters (Clinical professor at Yale Law School). 

Haru Matsukata (Mrs. Reischauer) also participated in  this program as an auditor. 


In 1961, during the Chang Myon government, Kwang Lim Koh (Ph.D. in political science and S.J.D. in international law) was appointed to Korean Embassy and to the UN as acting ambassador from ROK.


There is also a Korea connection to appointment of Prof. Reischauer as the US Ambassador to Japan. 


James Thomson,( later Director of Harvard Neeman Fellow, who served as a teaching assistant for the “Rice Paddy Course” of Fairbanks and Reischauer.) was then an aid to US Undersecretary of State, Chester Bowles.  It was Bowles who was to gather possible candidate’s names for US Ambassador to Japan.  Thomson, a good friend to Koh ,  learned about Reischauer’s trip to the Korean Embassy and arranged with Koh to stop at the State Department first so that Reischauer can meet Chester Bowles.  The meeting went well and this was when Reischauer was first asked to be the ambassador to Japan. Thus, Korea Institute and Harvard Korean Studies program had various ties during 1950s and early 1960s.


Edward Wagner joined the Korea Institute Board when he returned from Korea after studying under Professor Yi Byong-do. Wagner once  told Hesung Chun Koh how he liked the name Korea Institute and that he wished to use its name for Harvard’s Korean Studies Center.


TongA Ilbo once covered some of the above mentioned news under the title, “Korean Studies in the United States in 1950’s.” 


Submitted by Hesung Chun Koh, Chair and President of East Rock Institute

               Email: hesung.koh at yale.edu or eri3 at pantheon.yale.edu

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