Identity of East Asian

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What's the identity of East Asia? Is it possible to extract the notion of the East Asian identity? From Mongolia through China, Manchuria, Taiwan, Korea, to Japan, this concept could be a an euclidean geometrical notion. The geometrical area has been parallelled with time and space. As time went by, the East Asian societies had undertaken the same process of Asian civilization. Finally, East Asian countries have the homogeneity under the circle of Chinese civilization. They might share the value of East Asia, it's virtue, cultural gene, ethics and historical experience. They developed the thought of Heaven, order of Providence, Rationalism and Asian value. I could say the shapes of East Asian nations are a fractal form which is same as a whole but different as an each. It is one of the imagined community produced by some reason. The discourse of East Asia corresponds to the Japanese Orientalism originated in Japan and Sino-centricism originated in China. East Asia discourse was issued by South Korean intellectuals late in the 20th century. According to the discourse, China, Korea and Japan are the main three cores of the category. Even though the notion of East Asia had been released by some theorists and used at many universities throughout the world, the meaning and the concept were reinvented in South Korea. Why have they re-conceptualized the existing terminology? The reason comes from the historical circumstances of North-South Korea. On the one hand, as one of the model students of new-liberalism, South Korea can not help confronting the chaotic situation of the new phase as a world system. On the other hand, both Koreans have to cope with the task of accomplishing a real nation-state and unification. It's not easy. They need a new vision of East Asia. That is the origin of the East Asia discourse. It could be a paradigm of the oncoming new era of this region. What will happen in the future if we can't avoid misconceptions like "Orientalism"? For instance, there is a notorious misunderstanding against the East Asian Tribes. "Yellow peril" was the term invented by Europeans to control Japanese rising imperialism. They believed that "yellow clans" would destroy the European civilization, so all the Westerners must prepare for the future. Alas, there is another mistake of the European understanding toward the Orient, that is to say, Orientalism elaborated and defined by Edward Said. The dichotomy of the Orient and the Occident was a big mistake of the recognition. If I use the theory of Foucault, 'knowledge is power'. Orientalist's knowledge of oriental societies leads directly to control the Orient. That misconception was managed by the geopolitical purpose western imperialism. It is a shameful fallacy of humankind. This 21st century is the era of the glocalizing world, multi-culturalism, cultural diversity, freedom of the people and peace of the planet. We'd rather have the perspective of post-colonialism, de-nationalization and real East Asian subjectivity, but not an exclusivism. A new era of hope and light for the world is just around the corner!


Keywords: Identity, Homogeneity, Heterogeneity, Orientalism, Sino-centricism, New-liberalism, Anti-Orientalism, Multi-culturalism, Cultural diversity, Post-colonialism, Denationalization
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , ,


Prof. Seung Hwan Kim

Professor, The Department of Korean Ecucation, Chungbuk University
Cheongju, Chungbuk, South Korea

Born : 30, Sep, 1954 in South KOREA /
B.S. Chung Buk Univ., Feb., 1980. /
M.A. Seoul National Univ., Aug., 1983. /
Ph.D. Seoul National Univ., Feb., 1990. Department of the Korean language and Literature /
Assistant Professor Chung Buk National Univ., 1988 - 1992 /
Associate Professor Chung Buk National Univ., 1992 - 1997 /
Professor Chung Buk Univ., 1997 - now /
Visiting Professor Napoli Univ. Oriental Institute, Italy. Jun,1992 -Aug, 1992./
Visiting Professor Warszawa Univ. Feb.1995 - Feb.1996 /
Chief of the People's Artist Federation in Cheong Ju. 1993- /
Visiting Professor Duke University Asia and Africa Department 2001.7- 2002.8. Teaching /


Publications /

.A Study on Modern Korean Literature during 1945 - 1948., 1991. IL JI SA) /
A Critic on the literary emotion of divide between South Korea and North Korea

Ref: H08P0023