A History of Korea

A History of Korea

From "Land of the Morning Calm" to States in Conflict
Jinwung Kim
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/05/2012
ISBN: 978-0-253-00078-1
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Contemporary North and South Korea are nations of radical contrasts: one a bellicose totalitarian state with a failing economy; the other a peaceful democracy with a strong economy. Yet their people share a common history that extends back more than 3,000 years. In this comprehensive new history of Korea from the prehistoric era to the present day, Jinwung Kim recounts the rich and fascinating story of the political, social, cultural, economic, and diplomatic developments in Korea’s long march to the present. He provides a detailed account of the origins of the Korean people and language and the founding of the first walled-town states, along with the advanced civilization that existed in the ancient land of "Unified Silla." Clarifying the often complex history of the Three Kingdoms Period, Kim chronicles the five-century long history of the Choson dynasty, which left a deep impression on Korean culture. From the beginning, China has loomed large in the history of Korea, from the earliest times when the tribes that would eventually make up the Korean nation roamed the vast plains of Manchuria and against whom Korea would soon define itself. Japan, too, has played an important role in Korean history, particularly in the 20th century; Kim tells this story as well, including the conflicts that led to the current divided state. The first detailed overview of Korean history in nearly a quarter century, this volume will enlighten a new generation of students eager to understand this contested region of Asia.

Author Bio

Jinwung Kim is Professor of History at Kyungpook National University in Taegu, South Korea. He has published widely on South Korean–U.S. relations, with a particular focus on South Korean perceptions of the United States.


“In this comprehensive new history of Korea from the prehistoric era to the present day, Jinwung Kim recounts the rich and fascinating story of the political, social, cultural, economic, and diplomatic developments in Korea’s long march to the present.”

“Using the latest sources, including recently declassified Communist documents, Jinwung Kim’s book holds promise of becoming the textbook of choice. Benefiting from his direct and intimate knowledge of the country, he writes with great clarity, providing rich and interesting descriptions of political, social, cultural, economic, and diplomatic developments throughout the history of Korea. ”
 — James I. Matray, California State University, Chico

“A History of Korea . . . is a clearly written, comprehensive, and impressively detailed work.”
 — Journal of Asian Studies

 — Choice

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Table of Contents

I. Dawn of the Korean Nation
1. The Prehistoric Age
2. The Origins of the Korean People
3. Old Chosŏn
4. Confederated Kingdoms
II. The Period of the Three Kingdoms (57 BCE — 676 CE)
5. The Growth of Koguryŏ
6. The Rise and Decline of Paekche
7. The Rise and Growth of Silla
8. The Rise and Fall of Kaya
9. Silla’s Unification
10. Political and Social Structure of the Three Kingdoms
11. Culture of the Three Kingdoms
12. The Three Kingdoms and Japan
13. “History War” with China
III. Parhae, Unified Silla, and the Later Three Kingdoms (676 — 936)
14. Parhae’s Rise and Growth
15. Government and Society of Unified Silla
16. Flourishing Culture of Unified Silla
17. The Later Three Kingdoms
IV. The First Half of the Koryŏ Period (918 —1170)
18. Forging a Centralized Government
19. Ruling Structure
20. Economic and Social Structure
21. Foreign Relations in the Early Koryŏ Period
22. Development of Aristocratic Culture
V. The Second Half of the Koryŏ Period (1170 – 1392)
23. Disturbing Koryŏ Society
24. Koryŏ and the Mongols
25. The Downfall of Koryŏ
VI. The First Half of the Chosŏn Period (1392 – 1650)
26. Establishment of a New Order
27. Reorganization of the Ruling Structure
28. Social Structure and Economic Life
29. Territorial Expansion and Foreign Relations
30. Culture in Early Chosŏn
31. The Growth of the Neo-Confucian Literati
32. The Struggle with the Japanese and Manchus
VII. The Second Half of the Chosŏn Period (1650 – 1910)
33. The Revival of the Dynasty
34. The Rehabilitation of Culture
35. The Dynasty in Disturbance
36. Culture in the 19th Century
37. Politics of the Taewŏn’gun
38. The Open Door Policy and the Reform Movement
39. The Tonghak Peasant War and the Kabo Reform
40. Japanese Aggression and the Downfall of Chosŏn
VIII. The Period of Japanese Colonial Rule (1910 – 1945)
41. Government by Bayonet and the March First Movement
42. Japan’s Shift to the “Cultural Policy” and Korean Nationalism
43. Japan’s Tightening Grip on Korea and Korean Nationalism
44. Japan’s Historical Distortions
45. Wartime Policy of the Allied Powers on Korea
IX. Liberation, Division, and War (1945 – 1953)
46. From Occupation to a Separate Government in South Korea
47. Economic and Social Problems in South Korea
48. North Korea after Liberation
49. The Two Koreas before the Korean War
50. The Korean War
X. The Period of Postwar Reconstruction (1953 – 1971)
51. The Establishment of Authoritarian Rule in South Korea
52. South Korean Economy and Society
53. South Korea’s Relations with the United States and Japan
54. The Rise of the Juche (Chuch’e) State in North Korea
55. The North Korean Economy
56. North Korea’s Foreign Relations
XI. Reversal of Fortune (1972 – 1992)
57. From Autocratic Rule to Democracy in South Korea
58. The Prospering South Korean Economy
59. Militaristic South Korean Society
60. South Korea’s Foreign Relations
61. The Totalitarian State in North Korea
62. The North Korean Economy
63. North Korea’s Foreign Relations
64. North-South Korean Relations
XII. Both Koreas in a New Phase (1993 – the Present)
65. South Korean Democracy in Full Bloom
66. South Korean Economy and Society
67. The Faltering Juche State in North Korea
68. North Korea’s WMD Program
69. North-South Korean Relations
70. Shaking the ROK-U.S. Alliance
71. South Korea’s Relations with Neighboring Countries
72. The Prospects for Reunification
Timeline of Korean History
Select Bibliography