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The Massacres at Mt. Halla

In The Massacres at Mt. Halla, Hun Joon Kim presents a compelling story of state violence, human rights advocacy, and transitional justice in South Korea since 1947. The "Jeju 4.3 events" were a series of armed uprisings and counterinsurgency actions that occurred between 1947 and 1954 in the rugged landscape around Mt. Halla in Jeju Province, South Korea. The counterinsurgency strategy was extremely brutal, involving mass arrests and detentions, forced relocations, torture, indiscriminate killings, and many large-scale massacres of civilians. The conflict resulted in an estimated thirty thousand deaths, about 10 percent of the total population of Jeju Province in 1947. News of this enormous loss of life was carefully suppressed until the success of the 1987 June Democracy Movement. After concisely detailing the events of Jeju 4.3, Kim traces the grassroots advocacy campaign that ultimately resulted in the creation of a truth commission with a threefold mandate: to investigate what happened in Jeju, to identify the victims, and to restore the honor of those victims. Although an official report was issued in 2003, resulting in an official apology from President Roh Moo Hyun (the first presidential apology for the abuse of state power in South Korea's history), the commission's work continues to this day. It has long been believed that truth commissions are most likely to be established immediately after a democratic transition, as a result of a power game involving old and new elites. Kim tells a different story: he emphasizes the importance of sixty years of local activist work and the long history of truth's suppression.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction 1. The Jeju 4.3 Events Part I. The Establishment of a Truth Commission 2. Suppressed yet Stubborn Truths 3. From Oblivion to Social Attention 4. The Struggle of the Periphery Part II. The Process of the Jeju Commission 5. The Establishment of the Jeju Commission 6. The Jeju Commission, 2000-2003 7. The Impact of the Jeju Commission Conclusion

About the Author

Hun Joon Kim is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Australia. He is coeditor of Transitional Justice in the Asia Pacific.


"Overall, Kim's book works well as a case study of a little-researched butfascinating quest for justice, and will be of interest to both historians ofKorea's recent past and political scientists studying how truth commissionscan successfully be established even decades after the commission ofatrocities.The suggestions and implicationsthat Kim draws from his research are largely sensible, and provide the basisfor further research... I was left wantingto learn more about this aspect of Korea's modern history, which is surelyone sign of a successful text." -Andrew Wolman, Pacific Affairs Journal (December 2016) "Hun Joon Kim's well-researched and clearly written book-the first on the subject in English-will be welcomed by scholars in Korean studies. Those who are interested in transitional justice will also find The Massacres at Mt. Halla illuminating and relevant."-Gi-Wook Shin, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, coeditor of History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia: Divided Memories "The Massacres at Mt. Halla by Hun Joon Kim is a fascinating and important study of the Jeju 4.3 truth commission that examines its development and impact. Kim's analysis is informed by a careful historical examination of the events under investigation by the truth commission, as well as the truth commission process and its aftermath. This book is marked by rigorous archival research, judicious attention to the secondary sources, and a series of interviews with key players in the process. It also contains profound insights that should be of great interest to scholars of transitional justice and truth commissions."--Bronwyn Leebaw, University of California, Riverside, author of Judging State-Sponsored Violence, Imagining Political Change

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