Brian Myers is one of the more cogent public commentators on things North Korean. His equation of the race theories of the DPRK with those of Hirohito’s Japan is particularly damning, and his trashing of the juche ideology as basic nonsense that no North Koreans believe (and that therefore neither should we) are all grounded in years of research, time in the field (in this case South Korea), prodigious peer-reviewed publication, and of course linguistic fluency. I still love his work on Han Sorya, the North Korean writer, and I hope his interest in current events — and his administrative responsibilities in Pusan — do not detain him from returning to further examine cultural life in the DPRK and how it is evolving, or has evolved, since the 1950s.
On a related topic, Chuck Kraus at the Foreign Devil blog adds some historically-informed comparison of the Clinton mission with the 1968 U.S. “apology” to release the Pueblo hostages. Since the blog author spent a couple of months awash in Pueblo documents and co-edited a valuable collection on the topic, this entry is particularly interesting.
Has anyone been writing extensively about the Chinese media response to the Clinton visit? This would appear to be a worthy topic, but Danwei and others appear not to have tackled it yet.
Yesterday I drove through the American free territories (that is to say, states) of Washington and Montana. Washington is sterling under full moonlight, but Montana in particular has an occasionally uncanny similarity to North Korean terrain along the border. (This is a problem of spending too much time in northeast Asia; when one finally explores “the homeland,” it is practically a sociological experiment; one brings “the foreign” to the great within.) More on this, and the striking Korean War Memorial in Missoula, in a subsequent post.