Emeritus Professor James H. Grayson
Professor of Korean Studies
Current Research ProjectsJames H. Grayson's research interests lie in two main areas, the diffusion of religion across cultural boundaries, and an analysis of the religious and intellectual conceptual framework of the Korean and East Asian peoples. His research is broadly anthropological in approach with an interest in both the ancient and recent periods of Korean history. He has done fieldwork in Korea, Japan and Okinawa.
Three major research projects completed in the last decade include a study of the development and history of ch’udo yebae, the Korean Protestant substitute ritual for the Confucian ancestral rite called chesa, a prime example of Christian cultural accommodation in the process of religious encounter. In subsequent field work, Prof. Grayson researched another Protestant ritual which developed in the 1930s as a substitute for the Confucian coming-of-age ritual, the kwallye or ‘capping’ ceremony. Most recently, he examined a Christian millenarian group, Sion-san cheguk [The Empire of Mount Zion], which arose in Korea in the midst of the Second World War with a proclamation of divine judgement against Japan.
Prof. Grayson is currently engaged in a project to examine the material culture of Korean Protestant funerary practices in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with a view to seeing to what extent it was influenced by Confucian practice and artistic motifs.
Research SupervisionFollowing his retirement, Prof. Grayson is no longer able to be a principle supervisor for a research degree. However, he is able to contribute to research supervision with other members of staff in SEAS. Areas of research supervision competence would include Korean and East Asian religions (including Christianity), anthropological studies of contemporary Korean society, Korean and East Asian folklore, and support for research into the background of studies involving modern and contemporary Korea history.
List of Major Publications
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
'Invading Mongols and the Preservation of Korean Traditions: The Monk Iryŏn and the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms' Folklore v. 128 (2017) no. 1, pp. 1-15.
‘Tan’gun and Chumong: The Politics of Korean Foundation Myths’, / Folklore/, v. 126 (2015), no. 3, pp. 253-265
‘An Undulating Trajectory: The History of Religious Traditions in Korea’, / The Irish Journal of Asian Studies, / v. 1 (2015), pp. 1-9
‘Korean Apocalyptic Visions and Biblical Imagery’, /Transformation: An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies/, v. 31 (2014), pp. 1-11
Montanism and the ‘Empire of Mount Sion’: Lessons from the Early Church and the Early Korean Church’, /Journal of Korean Religions/ v. 2 (2011), no. 2, pp. 83-110
‘Idolatry, Ideology, and Nationalism: A Korean Millenarian Sect and the State’, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch, v. 85 (2010, actually published in 2011), pp. 95–107.
‘The Empire of Mt. Sion: A Korean Millenarian Group Born in a Time of Crisis’, Transformation: An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies, v. 28 (2011), no. 3, pp. 161-171.
‘Exploring the Walled City of Taegu: Is It Too Late to Save a Unique Historical Area?’, Han’guk-hak nonchip (Taegu, Keimyung UP) v. 41 (2010), pp. 155-178.
‘Grieving Rites and Capping Ceremonies: Successful and Unsuccessful Attempts at Christian Accommodation to Korean Religious Culture’, in Martine Prost, et al, Mélanges offerts à Marc Orange et Alexandre Guillemoz, Cahiers d’études coréennes, v. 8 (2010), pp. 183- 196.