Peruse the early history section of any South Korean bookstore today, and you will quickly notice a significant number of freshly printed paperbacks with evocatively designed covers advertizing claims therein of either newly revealed, or better argued, truths of Koreans’ ancient past. This is the phenomenon of Korean pseudohistory of early northern East Asia. Born of popular historical revisionism that was initially authored in response to the Japanese takeover of Korea, it reemerged in the 1970s and has continued to thrive down to the current day, situated at the intersection of national revitilization, new religion and geopolitical rivalry. It constitutes both a fascinating sociological phenomenon in its own right, but a major obstruction to professional scholarship.

Andrew Logie is assistant professor of Korean Studies at the University of Helsinki. His research interests include ethnic history, state formation discourses, and popular and pseudo history pertaining to northern East Asia. A graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, he completed his doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki with a postdoctoral period spent at Leiden University. He is currently researching the intersectionality of Korean new religions and pseudohistory. He is separately developing the project “Strange Korean Parallels” that aims to situate Korean history in global and comparative contexts. He is also interested in the history of popular Korean 20th century music, and has an obsession with the voice and songs of Kim Chŏngho.

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