Lecture Video: Korean Book Treasures In Kazakhstan Legends And Truth

 

Kazakhstan holds a significant collection of books in Korean and legends about the origin and value of this collection abound. It is clear that one of the most valuable items in the collection of the Kazakh National Library is a 19th Century edition of the 50 volume encyclopedia Dongguk Munhon Bigo (동국문헌비고 [東國文獻備考]). However, the question of how these books came to be in the Library of Kazakhstan remains uncertain. Little is known about how the collection was assembled in the Far East, how it was brought to Kzyl-Orda, and how it came to be in Almaty.

No doubt, the books came to be in Kazakhstan in connection with the deportation of Koreans from the Soviet Far East in 1937 and the relocation of the Korean Pedagogical Institute from Vladivostok to Kzyl-Orda. It is likely that the books arrived along with the Institute’s deported students and teachers. In 1938 the Korean Pedagogical Institute in Kzyl-Orda and the Korean Pedagogical College in Kazalinsk (Kzyl-Orda oblast’), which was moved from Nikol’sk-Ussuriisk, began teaching in the Russian language. Korean educational establishments, as well as educational institutions of other national minorities (Germans, Poles, Tatars etc.), were eliminated and the names of those institutions were changed. Thus, there was no longer a need for Korean books in Kzyl-Orda. Is it just a rumor that the Director of the former Korean Institute was ordered to burn the books to heat the building in the cold winter of 1939?

Based on his examination of documents, oral histories, book stamps, imprints, bookplates and title page inscriptions, Professor Kim will present his conclusions about the history of the Korean book treasures housed in his native country of Kazakhstan.

German Kim received his Ph.D. and Doctor habilitatus from the Kazakh National University. He is Director of the International Center of Korean Studies and Professor of World History in the KazNU, as well as Visiting Professor of the Institute for Social Science at Konguk University. His numerous books and articles, originally published in Russian and subsequently translated into Kazakh, English, Korean, German and Japanese, include several books that are particularly noteworthy on the history of Korean Immigration and the Korean Diasporas. In recognition of his academic, educational, and social efforts, Professor Kim has been awarded numerous Kazakh and Korean medals, prizes, and awards, including the Korean Compatriots award of KBS World for 2014 in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 

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