To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred-Year Journey through China and Korea (Asia/Pacific/Perspectives)
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.
cliffs and soaring, impossible rock forms. As I read, I began to glimpse millennia of history, within which the life of the DPRK (and also of South Korea in its present form) will someday be no more than a transitory moment; and I was reminded of the three-volume history of the Soviet Union that still sits in my bookcase, displaying—with absurd but defiant pathos—chapter headings such as “Important Dates in the History of the USSR from Ancient Times to the Seventeenth Century.” To journey
these alleyways, but (as she had in Harbin) lamented the steady spread of architectural modernity across the face of the city: “It is sad,” she wrote of Pyongyang, “to see every place being disfigured by European-looking erections of the ugliest and most aggressive type.”2 Kemp’s ambivalence toward the Western presence in Northeast Asia is mirrored in her ambivalence toward the Japanese presence on the Asian continent. As the child of a socially conscious industrial revolution pioneer, she
the Korean, and treat him as a vanquished foe.9 The Sound of Silence The Pyongyang landscape that entranced Kemp when she visited Moranbong can be seen in even greater splendor from the landmark to which every foreign visitor is taken today: the Tower of the Juche Idea. Kija, with his foreign and colonial associations, has fallen out of fashion and his tomb has been destroyed, for Juche Thought is above all else profoundly nationalistic. From the summit of the soaring, white tower, surmounted
they wait for a nibble on their line; within our carriage, lions rip the leg off a dying antelope in the South African wildlife documentary that loops repeatedly across the video screens suspended above our heads. Dragon Head Mountain Busan has a fine new metro with a high-tech automatic ticket vending system that taxes the skills not just of aliens like me but also of elderly local citizens, who mutter, curse, and enter into a lengthy debate amongst themselves as the machine defiantly spits
Asia Center, 1991. Park, Chris C. Sacred Worlds: An Introduction to Geography and Religion. London: Routledge, 1994. Pratt, J. B. The Pilgrimage of Buddhism and a Buddhist Pilgrimage. New York: Macmillan, 1928. Pratt, Keith. Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea. London: Reaktion Books, 2007. Robinson, Jane. Wayward Women: A Guide to Women Travelers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. Springer, Chris. Pyongyang: The Hidden History of the North Korean Capital. Budapest: Entente, 2003.