The Yellow Pacific: Multiple Modernities and East Asia

  • Author: Younghan Cho & Young-hun Cho
  • Publication Date: July / 2020
  • Publisher: SNU Press

Theorizing the East Asian experience of modernities as the ‘Yellow Pacific’

Inviting a new conversation emphasizing existential, material and sensible historicity from the perspective of ‘here and now’

This study is a work of theorizing the historical structure of feelings on the forming of East Asian modernities seen from a local (East Asian and Korean) perspective into the concept of the ‘Yellow Pacific’. The authors theorize the experience of East Asian modernity as the ‘Yellow Pacific’ and emphasize existential, material, and sensible historicity from the perspective of ‘here and now’. ‘Yellow’ goes beyond the meanings of belittling and discriminating in the theory of social evolution and refers to active and self-approving East Asians. ‘Pacific’ signifies that the U.S. is the major Other in this region, in the processes of modernization, Cold War and post-Cold War, globalization, and neo-liberalization in East Asia. ‘Yellow Pacific’ refers to the East Asian modernity and modern subjectivity formed in a relationship with the historically lived field rather than physical movement, in the double-bound relationship to the U.S., the external Other, and the internal Other.



Younghan Cho

Graduated from the Dept. of English Language and Literature at Yonsei University and received his Ph.D. with the dissertation “Emergence of Individuated Nationalism among Major League Baseball Fans in South Korea” in 2007 from North Carolina State University. He has worked as a researcher at NUS Asia Research Institute and now works as a professor in the Department of Korean Studies in the Graduate School of International and Area Studies at Hankook University of Foreign Studies. Major research interests include global sports, nationalism and East Asian popular culture in the age of globalization, and recent interests include the changes in neoliberalism in Korean society. Edited and authored books include Football in Asia (Routledge) and Modern Sports in Asia (Routledge), and a newly authored monograph Global Sports Fandom in South Korea (Palgrave) is upcoming.


Young-hun Cho

Graduated from the Department of Asian History at Seoul National University. After working as a visiting scholar at the Institute of History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (2003~2004) and as a visiting researcher at Harvard-Yenching (2004~2006), he received his Ph.D. from Seoul National University with “The Grand Canal and Merchants of Huizhou” in 2006. He has worked in the Department of History Education at Hongik University and now works as a professor in the Department of History Education at Korea University. Major research topics include the rise and fall of merchants near the Grand Canal in modern China, and recent interests include the controversy over capital city and the maritime history of East Asia. Authored books include The Grand Canal and Chinese Merchants: The growth of Huizhou’s merchants in the Huaiyang region, 1415-1784 (2012 Outstanding Academic Book selected by the National Academy of Sciences), History in Cities (co-authored), and The Ocean and Cultural Exchanges in East Asia (co-authored).