During the past twenty years or so, scholarship on modern Korea has largely concentrated on the period of Japanese colonial rule, exploring how the Koreans actively participated in the formation of their own “modernity” within the colonial crucible and, most recently, how they responded to the wartime imperial mobilization of the late 1930s and early 1940s. For the most part, such scholarship has confined itself to the colonial era itself, with perhaps a brief glance at the post-1945 world in a concluding chapter or epilogue. Some of the newer scholarship on modern Korea, however, including much coming out of South Korea itself, is turning its gaze to the periods after Japan's defeat, as two new Korean states on a divided peninsula first took shape and began to trace out separate but deeply intertwined paths. Theodore Hughes's book is a welcome and thoughtful study of some of the cultural aspects of...

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