Legacies of the Korean War: Transforming Ancestral Rituals in South Korea

  • Heonik KwonEmail author


The radical bipolarization between the left and the right during the global Cold War was manifested in places such as postcolonial Korea in terms of civil strife and war, in which achieving national unity became equivalent to excising one or the other side from the body politic. In this context, the political history of right and left is not to be considered separately from the history of the human lives and social institutions torn apart by it. Focusing on a village in Jeju and a few other communities in South Korea, this essay explores how the people of these communities today strive to reconcile with their turbulent past and come to terms with the complications in interpersonal and communal relations caused by the war.


Ideological confrontation Mass deaths Korean War Jeju Kinship Ancestor ritual Cold War Postcolonial Korea Body politic Interpersonal and communal relations Communal reconciliation 



The research for this article received generous support from the Academy for Korean Studies (AKS-2016-LAB-2250005).


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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