Some readings on Korea

Submitted by Spartacus on February 18, 2011

Political prisoners/human rights


  • Kim Chi Ha: Cry of the People and Other Poems (From Autumn Press, 2113 Isshiki, Hayama, Kanagawa-ken, Japan, 1974). All Kim's best poems, plus some 1972 conversations with a Japanese writers' delegation which visited him in a sanatorium. Kim's poems are just incredible.
  • -------: "Groundless Rumour" and other poems (Index on Censorship 11/1 [Spring 19731, pp. 39-52).
  • Matsui Yayori: Why I Oppose Kisaeng Tours: Exposing Economic and Sexual Aggression Against South Korean Women (Femintern Press, 1975, translated Lorna Sharnoff). ROK govt's hand in white slave trade ("Kisaeng").
  • Japanese Women Speak Out (Tokyo, 1975; parts 3 and 4). Contains articles on Korean women in Japan, south Korean women exploited by Japanese capitalism, and a denunciation of 'kisaeng.' From PARC, PO Box 5250, Tokyo Int'l, Japan.
  • David Valence: "Opposition in South Korea" (New Left Review No. 77, [Jan/Feb. 19731 pp. 77 - 89). Explains the process by which Park Chung Hee and the KCIA consolidated control after 1971. Describes student and labor movements at that time, resulting in the 'National State of Emergency' declared in December 1971.
  • The PRP State Conspiracy (Ashiya, Japan, May 1975). Analysis plus collection of press cuttings documenting the arrest of the 'People's Revolutionary Party' in 1974, and the false spy charges laid against them. Eight have since been executed. Cry of the People C'ee, PO Box 37, Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan.
  • William J. Butler: Report of the Commission to South Korea for Amnesty International (London, A.I., 1974). Butler was sent to Korea in 1974 to investigate charges of torture used against political prisoners. He interviewed several antigovernment politicians, and produced a total condemnation of the Park regime's policies. From A.I. , 55 Theobalds Road, London WC 1., England.
  • Save the Soh Brothers (Tokyo, Sept. 1972). The Soh brothers, Koreans resident in Japan, were arrested by the KCIA in 1971 on spy charges. Soh Sung was tortured beyond recognition. Both still in jail. A few copies left, will send for postage.
  • Korea Newsletter Published by the Korean resistance. Very valuable source of first-hand information on oppression under Park Chung Hee and the KCIA. From 33-6-8 Kanda Ogawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Monthly, ask for subscription rates.
  • Korea Link C'tee for the Support of Human Rights in South Korea. Bi-monthly, put out by activists in the US 944 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102. $5/yr.
  • Cry of the People Newsletter. Occasional, from Cry of the People C'ee, c/o Naniwa Kyokai, 3-20 Koraibashi, Higashi-ku, Osaka.
  • AMPO A mine of information on current conditions in south Korea, wellresearched and well-written. See especially Vol. 7, No. 2. From PO Box 5250, Tokyo Intl, Japan.
  • Ronin Also vital reading, though it ceased publication last year and merged with AMPO. More cultural material than AMPO. Back copies from us.
  • Asian Eye Photographic quarterly which often contains pictures from south Korea. Text is Japanese, but the pictures speak for themselves. Write us, and we'll pass it on.
  • Korean Bulletin Monthly quick with the news on repression in the south, only glowing reports of the north. Good chronologies. PO Box 1952, SF, CA -94101 $2 per year.
  • Matchbox Latest issue has information on Korean political prisoners. Put out by Amnesty International- USA, Room 309, 2112 Broadway, N.Y., N.Y., 10023.

    Other important reading material


  • Frank Baldwin ed.: Without Parallel, The American-Korean Relationship Since 1945 (Pantheon, 1974, $3.95). Well-researched, radical essays on American policy since 1945, the Korean Civil War, capitalism in South Korea, the plight of the south Korean countryside, and the destruction of democracy since 1948. Must reading.
  • Jon Halliday: Three Articles on the Korean Revolution, 1945-53 (from AREAS, 22 Chepston Crescent, London W.1 1) Korea's role in US military eff ort to counter Russian expansion; the resistance to American rule in the south and American repression of the revolutionary movement. Halliday goes overboard for Kim 11 Song, ignoring the devastation and horror unleashed by the north in 1950.
  • Jon Halliday and Gavan McCormack: Japanese Imperialism Today (Penguin, 1973, 60p) Really freaked out the liberal establishment when it appeared. A Penetrating study of the new 'Co-Prosperity Sphere' and Japan-US designs in Asia. Chapter 5: "The Tokyo-Seoul -Taipei Nexus."
  • D. Gordon White: "Report from Korea: The DPRK Through the Eyes of a Visiting Sinologist" (China Quarterly No. 63 [Sept. '75] pp. 515-22). "A more fully mobilized society I have yet to see, one which makes China seem casual by contrast."
  • Han Sung joo: The Failure of Democracy in South Korea (Univ. of Cal. Press, 1974). Not seen, but good on events which created Park Chung Hee fascism.
  • Gregory Henderson: Korea, The Politics of the Vortex (Harvard Univ. Press, 1968). A study of Korea's political culture, examines authoritarian tendencies which created regimes like Park Chung Hee's.
  • Vincent S.R. Brandt: A Korean Village (Harvard Univ. Press, 1971). Not seen. Probably good agrarian background. Fieldwork studies of rural Korea are rare.
  • Cornelius Osgood: The Koreans and Their Culture (Tuttle, 1951, $1.95). Anthropological study with an interesting chapter on village society; also some history.
  • Mark H. Scher: "U.S. Policy in Korea 1945-1948: A Neo-Colonial Model Takes Shape" (Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 17-27) Academic research into US's 1945 invasion and installation of puppet regime. Important background reading. From CCAS, 604 Mission Street, Room 1001, SF, CA 94105.
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