Mikhail Nikolaevich Pak passed away yesterday

17 04 2009

The eminent Russian historian of Korea, Mikhail Nikolaevich Pak, passed away yesterday, April 16, 2009.  Born on June 21, 1918, his death marks the end of an epoch in the study of Korean history in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

M. N. Pak wrote his Candidate’s dissertation in History (the equivalent of the Ph.D. degree) at Moscow M. V. Lomonosov State University in 1947 and his Doktor dissertation (a more advanced degree) at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. in 1960.  Entitled "Ocherki iz politicheskoi istorii Korei vo vtoroi polovine XIX veka" [Studies on the Political History of Korea during the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century], his Candidate’s dissertation focused on some of the major problems in the political history of Korea during the second half of the nineteenth century including the "opening" of Korea to both Japan and the West and the role of Korea in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95.

His Doctorate dissertation was entitled "Kim Busik: Samkuk Sagi" [Samguk sagi by Kim Pu-sik].  Published in 1959 (prior to his receipt of his doktor ist. nauk degree), it consists of an introduction, the edited text of the Samguk sagi, and Pak’s annotated translation of this Koryo (Goryeo) period historical compilation.  The published dissertation includes a facsimile reproduction of books 1-12 of the original fifty books (in Korean) that were housed as of the late 1950s in the Leningrad branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R.

M. N. Pak was a prolific author.  The Library of Congress online catalog lists eleven of his monographs and edited volumes that were published between 1951 and 2006, and there most likely are additional titles that are held only by other libraries.

Furthermore, M. N. Pak was also the supervisor of at least twelve Candidate’s dissertations by such Russian scholars in Korean Studies as Konstantin Valerianovich Asmolov, Roza Shotaevna Dzharylgasinova, Aleksei Akekseevich Proshin, Riu Khakku, Tatiana Mikhailovna Simbirtseva, Aleksandr Valer’evich Solovev, Vladimir Mikhailovich Tikhonov, Aleksandr Andreevich Timonin, IUrii Vasil’evich Vanin, and Sergei Vladimirovich Volkov.

Finally, the following information [slightly edited for this posting] about M. N. Pak’s life and very distinguished career is taken from his "personal page" as posted by the International Center for Korean Studies at the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University.  It appears at http://www.iaas.msu.ru/sp_e/pakmn_e.html:

Professor Mikhail N. Pak:

Full Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the Head of the Euro-Asian Research Division, Professor at the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Professor at Moscow State University, Director of the International Center for Korean Studies.

Fields of Interest: examination of socio-economic and political trends of historical development during various periods of Korean history, Oriental historiography.

A life-time work was devoted to the translation of and research on the Samguk Sagi (Historical Records of Three Kingdoms).

For almost half a century, a teacher of general and special courses on Korean history at Moscow State University.

Visiting fellow (1978) at Soka University (Japan); 1982 awarded an Honor Certificate of the Fulbright Foundation; during the 1980-90s participated in numerous international conferences in the Republic of Korea and the DPRK, Japan, China, the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and other countries; in 1990 was elected the Vice-President of the International Society for Korean Studies, since 1997 served as an Advisor for that Society.

In 1991 was elected as the first President of the United Association of Koreans in the Soviet Union. Subsequently he served as an Advisor for the Moscow Association of Russian Koreans and the Russian Association of Koreans.

Author of 250 publications on various aspects of the history of Korea.

Additional information in such biographical Dictionaries as: Marquis· "Who is Who in the World" (USA – ed. 14 and 15), and "2000 Outstanding People of the 20th Century" (International Biographical Center, Cambridge) and awarded Diploma and Medals.

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