Myth and History in Korean Foundation Mythology

Charles La Shure (Seoul National University)

National foundation myths in Korea served an important religious function when they were first told—and in some cases they continue to serve this function today. At the same time, though, they also appeal to history and set their events within identifiable historical contexts, thus blurring the boundary between myth and history. While modern scholars may consider this boundary inviolable, the tellers of these myths held a more flexible view. This paper will examine the relationship between myth and history in Korean national foundation myths and discuss the important role they have played (and continue to play) in Korean culture and society.

Part of 01-11 National Politics, History, and Folklore, Thursday, November 02, 8:30 am–10:00 am