A Canal Runs through It: Seoul’s Ara Waterway at Two

Memo #293

By Daniel Kane – danielkane [at] gmail.com

The Han is the river of the South Korean capital of Seoul, and for most of that city’s history it served as highway to the Yellow Sea, some twenty kilometers to the west. To be sure, it still does, but since 1953 and the Korean War armistice a significant chunk… Continue reading

Of Sea Squirts and FTAs

Memo #283

By   Hyung-Gu Lynn – hyunggu.lynn [at] ubc.ca

Ten years ago today, April 1, 2004, the Chile-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA) came into effect. This landmark agreement marked Chile’s first FTA with an Asian country, and South Korea’s first FTA altogether. But what do sea squirts (Korean meonggye/Spanish piure) have to tell us about FTAs?… Continue reading

The Paradox of Women Leaders in Asian Democracies

Memo #277

By   Timothy S. Rich – timothy.rich [at] wku.edu

Political life in Asian countries is often characterized as a man’s world, especially compared to its Western counterparts. Yet we have also seen increasing political leadership opportunities for women in the region. Since 2000 alone, women have been elected prime minister in Bangladesh and Thailand, and elected president… Continue reading

The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education

Memo #271

Featuring Julian Dierkes

Recently, Ee-Seul Yoon of the Faculty of Education at UBC in coordination with the Asia Pacific Memo sat down with Dr. Julian Dierkes, Associate Professor and Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research at UBC’s Institute for Asian Research, to pose a few questions about Professor Dierkes’ recently co-edited volume, Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification Of Supplementary Education, which was published in December 2013… Continue reading

To Be Queer and Christian: Organizing for Queer Youth in Korea

Memo #270

By Joseph Yi – joyichicago [at] yahoo.com & Daniel Payne – koreanrainbow [at] gmail.com

Joseph YiDaniel PayneSouth Korea has among the highest rates of suicide among developed (OECD) countries, peaking at 28.4 per 100,000 people in 2011.  Hidden among these tragedies are LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual… Continue reading

Hybridity is the New Norm: Korean Cinema in a Global Age

Memo #248

By Dal Yong Jin – yongjin23 [at] gmail.com

After a period of recession, the Korean film industry has experienced a revival in recent years with the market success of several hybrid films, successes that have served to boost the overall market share of domestic films in Korea. Prior to this, the domestic Korean film… Continue reading

Urban Beekeeping: a new buzz in Asian cities

We need bees, but bees are dying. This is a global problem, but some Asian cities are finding novel solutions in urban beekeeping.

The humble Apis Mellifera punches well above its tenth of a gram weight. Through transferring pollen, bees are essential to 80% of the food we consume. Furthermore, the economic input from bees is substantial, with pollinated crops accounting for $1 trillion of the yearly agricultural produce sold. Continue reading

Unsettled Remains: Tensions over Unrepatriated Bodies from the Asia-Pacific War

The “remains issue” (ikotsu mondai) refers to controversies surrounding the bodily remains of Korean and Chinese nationals who died during the Asia-Pacific War in Japan and whose bodies have not yet been repatriated. Most were conscripts: soldiers, military personnel and forced labourers. After the War, the remains of Chinese forced labourers were largely repatriated to the bereaved families, but it is estimated that as many as two thousand Korean bodies may still be stored at temples and buried across the country. Continue reading

Upcoming Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement – Lessons Learned from Korea

Memo #192 – Canada and Japan are set to begin negotiations to develop an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on November 26th, 2012. Canada hasn’t completed a preferential trade agreement with any of its Asia Pacific partners, and Japan has yet to finalize an EPA with a G8 country. As negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea have entered their seventh year and as regional competitors, like Australia, are forging new trade partnerships in Asia, Canada feels pressured to assert itself in the region. If Canada can learn from the stalled Korean negotiations, the Canada-Japan EPA can become the platform to accomplish such a task. Continue reading

Asia in the World (Video Interview with Dr. Yves Tiberghien)

Memo #186 (Video) – Europeans, particularly the French are terrified about the rise of China. This is the first book that presents China not as an ugly, totalitarian, and repressive state, but as a multifaceted player. China is fragmented and pluralistic and can offer a diverse portfolio to the world. It is a partner that can engage in social and collaborative processes like the G20. Continue reading