* In the March 2022 issue of Compassion, we began publishing excerpts from the English version of An Arduous Journey to Peace - A Memoir (working title) written by Han. S. Park and scheduled to be published by the end of the year.Professor Park taught peace to thousands of young people for 45 years, mainly at the University of Georgia Department of International Relations and the Institute for International Affairs (GLOBIS), and has worked in various fields to see such peace realized. Professor Park's memoir, An Arduous Journey to Peace, provides a look back on Korea’s modern history, from the Japanese colonial period to the present time in 2022.Additionally, this book examines the long unresolved conflict on the Korean Peninsula and with the United States, explores basic political concepts, such as human rights, democracy, and socialism, and evaluates the United States, South Korea, and North Korea on that basis. The memoir provides important historical perspectives and an in-depth examination of current issues. * In this article, 'North Korea' is denoted as 'Joseon'. To recover from the longing for peace which afflicted me since childhood, I have to present Joseon as accurately as possible. I thought that would be the first step toward finding the path to peace and reunification between the two Koreas. A photo of Korean-American scholars who first visited 'Joseon' in July 1981 with Kim Il-sung University professors © Han. S. Park However, neither in Korea nor in the United States could I find a way to understand Joseon clearly. It was impossible to approach the reality of Joseon with the American social sciences, so dominated by behaviorialism, and it was very difficult to understand Joseon fairly in the climate of public opinion where all kinds of prejudice, labeling Joseon part of an “axis of evil,” are endlessly propagated. After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that I had no choice but to go to Joseon and observe the reality there by myself. I had no intention of visiting Joseon and writing a travel essay. I wanted to study Joseon academically and write academic articles that accurately reveal the reality of Joseon. It was not easy to visit because the United States and Joseon do not have diplomatic relations. When I was unsure how to proceed, I received the opportunity to visit Joseon from a completely unexpected place. In 1981, Joseon opened its doors and started a project to invite foreign scholars. At the invitation of Chairman Huh Jeong-suk of the Joseon Overseas Compatriots Relief Association(JOCRA), Korean scholars working in the United States were able to visit North Korea in July 1981, and I was lucky to be part of the trip. There were six scholars: Koh Byeong-cheol (the University of Illinois), Gil Young-hwan (Iowa State University), Kim Jong-ik (West Michigan University), Sung-cheol Yang (Kentucky University), Chae-jin Lee (California State University), and me (Georgia State University). I still vividly remember the moment I set foot on the land of Joseon, which I had longed for for a long time. There were people just like us living there! Just like us they invited the neighbors over to celebrate if their children did well in school; just like us they held wedding parties at home; and just like us the young men and women enjoyed themselves at night by the Daedong riverside! Living in Korea and the US for decades, I had been immersed in the demonization of Joseon people. I had been taught that Joseon people were completely different from us. They were literally demonized. The moment I witnessed people’s daily lives in Joseon, I could clearly sense the delusions that had brainwashed me crumbling. JOCRA welcomed our group with great respect. Our group was provided with a Mercedes-Benz. Bruce Cummings, who visited Joseon at the same time as us, by a different route, was given a Volvo. When I asked Huh Jung-sook why, the response was:“Korean people are particularly special, so we have to treat them differently from other peoples.”Heo’s answer was completely opposite to the one I had encountered in South Korea. I went to Seoul after finishing my visit to Joseon, and stayed at the Plaza Hotel located in front of City Hall. When I asked if I could have a room with a view of the city, the hotel receptionist answered as follows:“We leave the rooms with a city view for our foreign guests. Why don’t you just use this room?” I can’t forget the time I had at the Pothonggang Hotel in Joseon. The restaurant at the hotel took food order 24 hours in advance. When I asked what the menu was, he told me to order “anything.” I got playful and asked: “Do you serve raw fish?” The answer came right away, “Of course we do!” The next day, on my plate at the table was a large carp, in one piece, that they must have caught in the Daedong River. It was still opening and closing its mouth. I was surprised. Are they trying to make fun of me? I wondered. It turned out that they had filleted the carp very carefully and then covered it again with its skin. I was surprised once again. I have never enjoyed a raw fish dish like that in any restaurant in the world. I was so amazed the whole time as I ate the freshest, softest carp. After my visit to Joseon, I had an opportunity to give a lecture at the Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces when I came to Seoul. Minister of Unification, Hong Seong-cheol, arranged that lecture. After telling the audience of over 300 people the interesting things I had seen and felt in Joseon, I made a suggestion, “Let’s not try to see only bad things but to see also good things in Joseon, and create a culture of mutual admiration.” One of the audience immediately raised his hand and shot a question, “Are you sure there is anything good about Joseon? Tell me just one thing, if you can!” “Why not?” I answered right away, “You can catch fish in the Daedong River and eat it on the spot. Would that be possible from the polluted Han River?” Joseon also gave me the impression that it was a “country of slogans.” If you walk through the streets of Joseon, you easily come across slogans such as “Nothing to envy,” “Paradise on earth,” “Single Hearted Unity,” and “A match for a hundred.” The interesting thing is, I also noticed a lot of slogans hanging all over the place in Seoul when I was there. Why is that? I still mull this question over in my mind. The book A Journey to North Korea: Personal Perceptions published in the United States by six scholars who visited North Korea in 1983 © Han. S. Park After visiting Joseon, my party and I returned to the United States. We published A Journey to North Korea: Personal Perceptions in 1983. This book was translated into Korean and published in 1986 under the title 『조선기행』(Joseon Travelogue). The book was a collection of the papers that each of us wrote based on our experience of visiting Joseon. Instead of writing a travelogue, I wrote a paper on the subject of the Juche idea that I had always been interested in. To tell the truth, I had expected the 1981 visit to Joseon as an academic tour. However, we followed the itinerary arranged by our host, the JOCRA. In Joseon, this “arrangement(按排)” refers to the visit schedule prepared by the hosting organization. I was unable to meet with the scholars I had personally wanted to meet. What comforted me during that tightly arranged schedule was my first visit to Kim Il-sung University. I was able to have some academic conversations with the professors there, with whom I also had the chance to take a commemorative photo. I had a close look at the books in the University library, one location I had particularly wanted to see. What surprised me was that I was unable to find a copy of Marx’s Capital, and that there were fewer books related to the Juche idea than I expected. At the time, it more than 30 years since Joseon had been founded in 1948. If Joseon’s intellectuals no longer read Marx’s main work, this indicated we needed to radically change the way we understood socialism in Joseon. I realized that the historical context unique to Joseon, which is not captured by the socialist idealtypus previously mentioned, must have been decisively important in shaping “Joseon-style” socialism. The fact that there were not many books on the Juche idea at the Kim Il-sung University library in 1981 also gave me an inkling. The Library was overflowing with “Laborious Work” (Kim Il-sung’s sayings) that could be used as primary source for learning Juche ideology, but it was not easy to find books that systematically analyzed and studied Juche idea using such materials. The fact that there were not many such studies on the Juche idea did not mean that the reality of Juche was absent, however. Joseon was already a country of Juche. In other words, the ideology that governed Joseon society as a whole was the Juche idea. Joseon politics was operated as “Juche politics” with independence as the main element. Joseon’s economy was operated as a “Juche economy” with self-reliance as the main element. There is also “Juche architecture” that is typified in the Okryu-gwan restaurant or the People’s Grand Study House. Juche architecture is characterized by a tiled roof and Western interior design and functions. There is also “Juche music” performed with a vision of foreign and traditional instrument; “Juche hairstyle” limited to a few types; and “Juche dance” that mainly moves the upper body with little to no movement of the lower body. In 1981, the research of the Juche idea was still in its infancy, because it did not meet the requirements for political ideologies or religious beliefs. In my view, there must be a systematic theory on the justice of distribution in order to meet the requirements for political ideologies, and a systematic theory on the afterlife in order to meet the requirements for religious beliefs. The Juche ideology had neither of them. As I witnessed the great gap between where the theoretical study of the Juche idea was situated and the reality of self-reliance that “Juche” (literally meaning “main subject” or "principal agent”) represented, I predicted that Juche studies would continuously increase in Joseon in the future to close the gap. a poster propagating the 'Juche ideology' that was seen all over the city of Pyongyang in 1981 Back in the United States, I still wanted to research Juche ideology. I thought that understanding Joseon accurately would only be possible by conceptually grasping the ideology that governed their society. At that time, the foremost researcher of the Juche idea of whom I was aware was Hwang Jang-yeop, the director of the Juche Idea Research Institute. I wanted to communicate with him, but there simply was no way to contact him directly from the United States. One day, after repeatedly wracking my brain for solutions to this challenge, I thought of China. Having been born in Manchuria, I had some friends living in China. My relatives were in Manchuria. Perhaps I could deliver a letter to Joseon through my friends in China? Since China and Joseon had established diplomatic ties, wouldn’t it be possible to send and receive correspondence with Joseon through my acquaintances in China? I wrote a letter and sent it to a friend in China. My friend put my letter in a new envelope and sent it to Hwang Jang-yeop. After all that work, I waited with great anticipation, but no reply came. I wrote another letter and sent it. Still, there was no reply. Time flew by as I continued writing echo-less letters. 1987 was a notable year for me for two reasons. One was that the Juche Academy of Sciences was established under the Juche Idea Research Institute in Joseon, and the other was that the North Korean nuclear crisis began. After hearing the news of the establishment of the Juche Academy of Sciences, I concluded that the systematic study of the Juche idea in the North had finally begun. But, my interest rapidly turned from the study of the Juche ideology to the prevention of war on the Korean Peninsula. I attentively monitored the atmosphere in which the North Korean nuclear crisis was developing. The whole thing reminded me of the nightmare of the Korean War that I experienced as a child. I became impatient. My desire to return to Joseon intensified. In 1990, the long-awaited news finally arrived. The Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (KAPPC) issued me an invitation to Joseon. KAPPC is a non-governmental organization established in Joseon to deal with countries that do not have diplomatic relations with them, such as Korea, the United States, and Japan. From that time, I began visiting Joseon frequently. Between 1990 and 2015, I visited Joseon twice a year. I met with high-ranking officials in the KAPPC, mainly discussing ways to prevent war. One of the fruits of that effort was the birth of “Track II” diplomacy. I invited opinion leaders from Joseon, the United States, and Korea to the University of Georgia where I was working to discuss ways to settle peace on the Korean Peninsula and to create a consultative body dedicated to policy recommendation. By visiting the Juche Academy of Sciences and participating in or observing their study of the Juche ideology, I deepened my research on the subject.