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Emeritus Professor James H. Grayson

Professor of Korean Studies

BA (Rutgers), MA (Columbia), MDiv (Duke), PhD (Edinburgh)

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Current Research Projects

James 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 Supervision

Following 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

Korea: A Religious History - Revised Edition (RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), pp. xvi, 288.

Myths and Legends from Korea: An Annotated Compendium of Ancient and Modern Materials (Curzon Press, 2000), pp. xx + 454.

Han'guk chonggyo-sa, (Seoul, Minjok-Sa, 1995). Korean Translation of Korea: A Religious History, pp. 421.

Korea: A Religious History (Oxford University Press, 1989), pp.xii +329.

Segye chonggyo sajŏn [in Korean, A Dictionary of World Religions] (Sŏul, Chongno sŏjŏk, 1989) pp.ii +513.

Early Buddhism and Christianity in Korea: A Study in the Emplantation of Religion (Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1985). pp. x +164.

Chon Rosŭ, Han'gug-ŭi ch'ŏt sŏn'gyo'sa [in Korean, John Ross, Korea's First Missionary] (Taegu, Kyemyŏng University Press, 1982). pp.325.

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.

‘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.

‘The Emplantation of Christianity: An Anthropological Examination of the Korean Church’, Transformation, v. 26 (2009), no. 3, pp. 161-173.

‘Ch’udo yebae: A Case Study in the Early Emplantation of Protestant Christianity in Korea’, Journal of Asian Studies, v. 68 (2009), no. 2, pp. 413-434.

'The Kwallye samga of Korea: A Failed Attempt at Christian Accommodation to Confucian Culture' Asian Folklore Studies, v. 66 (2007), pp. 125-140.

'Basil Hall's Account of a Voyage of Discovery: The Value of a British Naval Officer's Account of Travels in the Seas of Eastern Asia in 1816', Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies, v. 7 (2007), no. 1, pp. 1-18.

'Yŏngguk haegun changgyo Bajil Hor-ŭi 1816 nyŏn tongasia hanghaegi' [Captain Basil Hall’s Diary of a Voyage to East Asia in 1816], Tonga munhwa yŏn’gu [Research on East Asian Culture] v. 56 (2006), pp. 109-130 (English summary, pp. 131-132). Korean translation.

'Jinja sampai hantai to junkyō' [Martyrdom and the Rejection of Shinto Shrine Worship], transl. by Ch’oe Kilsŏng, in Ch’oe Kilsŏng and Harada Tamaki, eds., Shokuminchi no Chōsen to Taiwan: reikishi, bunga jinruigaku teki kenkyū [Colonial Korea and Taiwan: Historical and Cultural Anthropological Research] (Tōkyō, Dainichi shobō, 2007), pp. 211-227.

'They First Saw a Mirror: A Korean Folktale as a Form of Social Criticism', v.16 (2006), 1-17, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Third Series.
Winner of the 2006 Barwiss Holliday Award of the Royal Asiatic Society.

'The Grieving Rite: A Protestant Response to Confucian Ancestral Rituals', in Robert E. Buswell, Jr, ed., Religions of Korea in Practice (Princeton UP, 2006). pp.434-448.

'Christianity in East Asia; China, Korea, Japan' (Korea and Japan sections) in Sheridan Gilley, Brian Stanley, eds., Cambridge History of Christianity, v. 8, World Christianities: 1815-1914 (Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2006).

'A Quarter-Millennium of Christianity in Korea' in Robert E. Buswell, Jr., and Timothy S. Lee, eds., Christianity in Korea (Honolulu, University of Hawai’i Press, 2006), pp. 7 - 25.

' ‘Shinto’ and Japanese Popular Religion: Case Studies of Multivariant Practice from Kyushu and Okinawa', v. 17 (2005), no. 3, 347-367, Japan Forum.

'Christian Impact on Twentieth Century Religious Movements in Korea', special issue on 'Korean Religion and Cultural Values', Korean and Korean American Studies Bulletin, v. 14 (2004), nos. 1/2, pp. 99-120.

'Digging Up Buddhism: Tales Affirming the Antiquity of Buddhism in the Samguk yusa' Acta Koreana v, 7 (2004), no. 2, pp.103-120.

'Rabbit Visits the Dragon Palace: A Korea-Adapted, Buddhist Tale from India', Fabula v. 45 (2004), nos. 1/2, pp. 69-90.

'Susa-no-o: A Culture Hero from Korea', Japan Forum v. 14 (2002), no. 3, pp. 465-487.

'Three Structural Patterns of Korean Foundation Myths', Acta Koreana v. 5 (2002),
no. 2, pp. 1-25.

'The Hŭngbu and Nŏlbu Tale Type: A Korean Double Contrastive Narrative Structure', Folklore, v.112 (2002), no.1, pp. 51-69.

'The Shintō Shrine Conflict and Protestant Martyrs in Korea, 1938-1945', Missiology: An International Review, v. 29 (2001), no. 3, pp. 287-305.

'Cultural Encounter: Korean Protestantism and Other Religious Traditions', International Bulletin of Missionary Research, v. 25, (2001), no. 2, pp 66-72.

'Is the Myth of Tangun Unique? A Study of the Foundation Myths of Korea and Japan', Papers of the British Association for Korean Studies , v. 7 (2000), pp. 19-30.

'The Legacy of John Ross; A Neglected Chapter in the History of Pan-East Asian Missions', International Bulletin of Missionary Research v. 23 (1999) no. 4 pp. 167 172.

'Foundation Myths, Sacred Sites and Ritual: The Case of the Myth of the Three Clan Ancestors of Chejudo Island' Korea Journal, v. 38 (1998) no. 4, pp. 300-330.

'"Sŏngha sindang": The Tutelary Shrine of T’aeha Village, Ullŭng Island, Korea', Asian Folklore Studies v. 57 (1998) pp. 275-291.

'The Myth of Tan’gun: A Dramatic Structure Analysis of a Korean Foundation Myth', Korea Journal , v. 37 (1997), no. 1, pp. 35-52.

'Female Mountain Spirits in Korea: A Neglected Tradition', Asian Folklore Studies, v.55, (1996), pp.119-134.

'Elements of Protestant Accommodation to Korean Religious Culture: A Personal Ethnographic Perspective' Missiology: An International Review, v.23, (1995), pp.43-59.

'Ideology, Religion, and the Roots of Nationalism: Two Case Studies of Revitalization in Late Koryŏ and Late Chosŏn Times' Religion v.24 (1994), pp. 235-251.

'Religion, Nationalism and State Policy: The Conflict Between Christianity and State Shinto in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945' Japan Christian Review v. 64 (1994), pp.111-123.

'The Accommodation of Korean Folk Religion to the Religious Forms of Buddhism: An Example of Reverse Syncretism' Asian Folklore Studies, v.51 (1992), pp.199-217.