Bio

Yee Rem Kim finished her undergraduate degree at Yonsei's Underwood International College in Seoul, South Korea. She hopes to pursue her further education in the field of modern Korean history, specifically legacies of Japanese colonialism and its implications on post-liberation Korea, culminating into the Korean War. She hopes that her experience as the Korea Foundation Junior Scholar will sharpen her research interests for her future studies. Through her research on North Korea at the Wilson Center, Yee Rem wishes to bridge the history of the Korean Peninsula with its current situation to realistically imagine reunification of two Koreas today. Having grown up as a Korean in the post-Soviet Ukraine, she is fluent in Korean and Russian and would like to incorporate various sources in different languages into her research. Yee Rem is also very passionate about soccer, basketball, and dancing. She loves dogs, especially her little Chihuahua, Taco.

Project Summary

In times like these when North Korea seems more eager than ever to normalize relations with the international community, the task of understanding and perceiving North Korea without preconceived prejudices becomes crucial. Among the North Korean population, this research focuses on the North Korean soldiers – a unique group that is usually understudied as a historical agent tucked into the broader field of military history. The aim of this research is to deconstruct the image of the North Korean soldiers by looking at their writings from the time of the Korean War, which has been conveniently effective in solidifying the perception of the enemy in the post-war years. Often associated with rigid military parades and synchronized marching, North Korean soldiers today are lumped together with their dictator and the nuclear program. This research brings back the voices of the North Korean soldiers during the Korean War and attempts to shatter the fixed, constructed image of the soldiers of the impossible state in present day, in the hopes of contributing to the peace process on the Korean peninsula. By examining these rare and valuable sources found at the National Archives and Records Administration, this research tries to answer the question: “How did the North Korean soldiers view their southern counterparts and what kind of future of Korea did they fight for?”