Nonkilling Korea Edited By Glenn D. Paige Book Report

Excerpt from Book Report :

Nonkilling Korea

Edited by Glenn D. Paige and Chung-Si Ahn, Nonkilling Korea is a collection of scholarly essays and material delivered at the Asia Center/Seoul National University and the Center for Global Nonkilling in Seoul during August 18-19, 2010. The material is written primarily about Korean values and culture, with the purpose of creating a shift in the discourse used to discuss modern Korean history. Whereas most Korean historiography focuses on war, and the political and militaristic aspects of 20th century conflicts surrounding Korea, the authors that contribute to Nonkilling Korea try to reframe history to include spiritual values and ethics. The book does not limit itself to a discussion of Korean history or culture per se, either. The editors cull material from sources that address other nations and cultures in relation to both South and North Korea, including the United States, China, Japan, and Russia. Nonkilling Korea includes an Introduction by Glenn D. Paige, and a Conclusion by both editors, Paige and Ahn. Individual essays that follow include, "Spiritual and Practical Assets of Korean Nonviolence" by Jang-seok Kang; "Nonkilling in North Korean Culture" by Glenn D. Paige; "From Nonkilling to Beloved Community" by Michael N. Nagler and Stephanie N. Van Hook; "Possibilities of a Peaceful Nonkilling China" by Dahua Tang; "Nonkilling in Japanese Culture" by Mitsuo Okamoto and Tamayo Okamoto; "Evolution of the Idea of Nonkilling in Russian Culture" by Tatiana Yakushkina; and "Nonkilling in Russian Culture" by William V. Smirnov.

One of the central premises of Nonkilling Korea, and of all the essays included in the tome, is that killing is not the natural state of being of any human being or human culture. By gathering evidence from multiple cultures,...
...Paige comes from a perspective that nonviolence can be a core component of any political strategy, and should be considered a more valid framework from which to conduct international relations. Therefore, Nonkilling Korea is not a re-writing of history so much as it is a proposition for future policy change. The authors ask readers to envision a Korea that does not cultivate violence: "a Korea in which no Koreans kill other Koreans, no foreigners kill Koreans, and no Koreans are sent abroad to kill foreigners," (Paige and Ahn 15).

The Introduction to Nonkilling Korea begins with the assertion that violence has been brought onto the Korean peninsula from external sources such as Japan, America, Russia, and China. Prior to the modern era, Koreans have contended with invasions and incursions on the part of Mongols, Manchus, Han Chinese, and others. The Korean peninsula is currently divided because of the military interventions of the main modern entities: Japan, China, Russia, and the United States. Therefore, the authors expose the nonviolent ethical and religious traditions within these different cultures in order to propose a new vision for foreign relations and political policy. The bellicose policies of these nations converged during the Korean War. The authors try to distinguish the foreign policies and military strategies of these nations with the actual cultures that they harbor: which are essentially peaceable according to the authors.

In "Spiritual and Practical Assets of Korean Nonviolence," Jang-seok Kang claims that the history books tend only to focus on the violent aspects of Korean history, while ignoring the very real and important nonviolent cultural and religious trends throughout Korean history. The same can be said for other…

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