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An Ever-contested Poem: The Classic of Poetry's 'Hanyi' and the Sino-Korean History Debate

A talk by JAE-HOON SHIM (Fulbright Visiting Scholar)

Thursday, April 15, 2010
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
11377 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Since 2003, the so-called “history war” over the ancient kingdom of Koguryŏ (37 BCE, trad.-668 CE), located in Manchuria and northern Korea, has been one of the hottest issues between China and Korea. The dispute seems to have fueled a new nationalistic or Sinocentric historiography of ancient Manchuria. A ninth-century BCE poem “Hanyi” in the Classic of Poetry (Shijing) has also caused a far longer “history war.” Whereas Chinese scholars have generally understood the Han in the poem as a Zhou feudal state ruled by a Ji-surnamed scion of the Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BCE), most Korean scholars have linked the polity with Old Choson (n.d.-108 BCE), the earliest known state in Korean history. However, comparing the “Hanyi” with several bronze inscriptions with similar contents, this research seeks to re-read the “Hanyi” from a perspective that transcends the dichotomy of Chinese history versus Korean history. 


Jae-hoon Shim (Ph.D., East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago, 1998) is Associate Professor of Chinese History at Dankook University. He is currently a Fulbright Scholar at UCLA. Among Professor Shim's publications are (in English): "The Dilemma of Choson in Traditional Chinese Texts," Journal of Asian History 40/1 (2006), pp. 31-48 and "The Political Geography of Shanxi on the Eve of the Zhou Conquest of Shang: An Alternative Interpretation of the Establishment of Jin," T'oung Pao 88.1-3 (2002): 1-26. 

(310) 825-8683

Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies, Center for Chinese Studies

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