To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred-Year Journey through China and Korea (Asia/Pacific/Perspectives)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
This compelling and engaging book takes readers on a unique journey through China and North and South Korea. Tessa Morris-Suzuki travels from Harbin in the north to Busan in the south, and on to the mysterious Diamond Mountains, which lie at the heart of the Korean Peninsula's crisis. As she follows in the footsteps of a remarkable writer, artist, and feminist who traced the route a century ago―in the year when Korea became a Japanese colony―her saga reveals an unseen face of China and the two Koreas: a world of monks, missionaries, and smugglers; of royal tombs and socialist mausoleums; a world where today's ideological confrontations are infused with myth and memory. Northeast Asia is poised at a moment of profound change as the rise of China is transforming the global order and tensions run high on the Korean Peninsula, the last Cold War divide. Probing the deep past of this region, To the Diamond Mountains offers a new and unexpected perspective on its present and future.
founding of Harbin, and no less unfortunately the railway engineers did not happen to notice it. Old Harbin was therefore built with lavish expenditure, the railway was pushed forward with ferocious rapidity, and it was not until some time had passed that the railway engineers discovered that the Sungari was a good many miles away from the budding city.30 The story may have been embroidered in the telling, but Harbin Station, which soon became a meeting place of nations, is indeed some distance
come to live and work in Northeast China for a few years, and tourists from Japan (some of them elderly people born in prewar Manchuria) arrive on Manchukuo nostalgia tours. The nostalgia has rather uncomfortable overtones. This tour group, I discover, comes from Hiroshima, so its members have more reasons than most to remember the disastrous results of Japan’s imperial ambitions. Their travels have taken them to see the grand prewar buildings that still line the waterfront in the port city of
immediate family have the misfortune to be sent to one.12 We will carry this knowledge around in our heads as we view the sights that the guides present to us, but it will not be spoken about. Knowing these things, should we be in the country at all? All modern nations use tourism to present a smiling face to the world. When Kemp visited Korea, the Japanese government was soon to embark on a careful and effective campaign, conducted via pamphlets, advertisements, photographs, and film, to
official audiences, and the royal women with their retinues of female attendants, went to pay their respects to the king. At sunset, the palace gates were barred and no one was allowed to leave or enter. But within the walls, lanterns flickered as the business of the state went on, for it was at night that the king consulted with his advisors, while the queen, in her quarters beyond the lotus pond pavilion, consulted with hers. By 1910, however, all this had vanished: not an echo of the swarming
ginseng tea. The only sign of Buddhism that I can see is the rosary of wooden beads that Mr. Han winds around his hands as he talks. But in this basement office a remarkable plan is unfolding, a plan for an act of historical reconstruction even bolder than the rebuilding of the Gyeongbok Palace. When Kemp visited Korea, there were more than thirty monasteries and nunneries in the Diamond Mountains, the oldest dating back to the sixth century CE. Some were little more than tiny wooden hermitages