The understanding of Yun Dong-ju in three east Asian countries

Jinhee Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study analyzes how three countries of East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) understands Yun Dong-ju (1917-1945) and recognizes his historical significance, as well as suggests the future directions in interpreting his works. In Japan, Yun is understood as a poet singing innocent sentiment, ethical existence, and universal love for all mankind. The emphasis on future values and the refusal to read his poetry located in a particular time and space, however, denies the historicity of the three nations. For ethnic Koreans in China, Yun is an originator of historical text within which their ethnicity vitally exists. This perspective also leads to overlooking historical and geopolitical characteristics of Yun's poetry. In South Korea, Yun is placed at the center of nationalism with a postcolonial view; however, there has been a recent movement to comprehend Yun without associating political ideologies. Each nation's reading of Yun seems to eliminate or simplify multilayered traits of East Asian history and culture embedded in his poetry. This lack of historical awareness impedes the future generation's introspection of the past when recalling and regenerating Yun. Therefore, the text of Yun Dong-ju that lives in the past, present, and future of East Asian history, requires us to read it responsibly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-225
Number of pages25
JournalKorea Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012


  • East Asia
  • Ethnic Koreans in China
  • Imperialism
  • Japanese colonial era
  • Korean poet
  • Yun Dong-ju


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