A Nation of One: A Critical Analysis of the Rise of the Notion of Ethnocultural Oneness in Twentieth-Century Korea

Josiah Gabriel Hunt


This essay has been written to critically explore the societal idealization of oneness held among the Korean people. Particular emphasis is paid to scholarly works published between the years 2010 and 2016. The central finding procured by reviewing works meeting this study’s inclusion criteria suggests that the notion of ethnocultural oneness is a modern myth structured along the political ideologies of the state. As such, attention is duly afforded to the historic origins of oneness and how this perception emerged in the twentieth century as a response to the period of Japanese colonization (1910-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), and the years (1960-1988) in which Korea experienced rapid industrial development. It is assumed that the knowledge generated from this study may be used to (a) extend critical discourse on Korea’s cultural history, (b) provide an alternative view on the formation of Korea’s national identity, and (c) illuminate taken for granted perceptions that have been propagated among the people of Korea in the twentieth century as means to promote a sense of togetherness.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18415/ijmmu.v4i4.76


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