|Office Address:||〒010-8502 秋田市手形園1-1|
(Jul 1, 1995)
Manabe Yuko began working as an adjunct researcher in Kokugakuin University's Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics this past April, and she is currently assisting in the publication of this Newsletter.
Manabe trained as a sociologist of religion with a field of specialization in Korean Studies. While studying at the Nara University of Education, Manabe became interested in the so-called "textbook problem," namely, the protest of Asian countries to the way Japanese colonial rule was treated in the history textbooks used within Japanese schools. This interest led her to an interest in Korea, and she began studying the Korean language on her own.
From her second and third years in college, around the time she decided on a major in sociology, she became involved in on-site surveys of Korean shamanism, and in 1986 she received her B.A. with a thesis entitled "Kankoku shakai to fuzoku: kindaika to fuzoku no hen'yo".
Manabe entered graduate school at the Department of Area Studies, University of Tsukuba, studying the methodology of folklore studies and cultural anthropology. During that period, she spent one year (1987-88) as an exchange student at Kyonghee Unviversity in Seoul, engaging in a survey of the function of shamanism in the communal unity of villages and composed of former residents of the Hwanghae-do area of North Korea, and who became refugees at the time of the Korean War (1950-1953). These villages are scattered along Korea's west coast. This resulted in her 1989 thesis for the M.I.A. (Master of International Affairs) degree, entitled, "Kokaido shikkyomin-shakai ni okeru Kankoku fuzoku no imi".
Following this, Manabe reentered the course in Social Sciences Research at Tsukuba, spending two years as a visiting lecturer at Keimyong University in the Korean city of Taegu, where she taught Studies in Japanese Religion, while also composing a thesis for her Master's degree in sociology (1992), "Aspects of de-modernized new religions." Her thesis focused on the relationship of youth culture and new religions (especially the Japanese new religion "Science of Happiness").
At present, Manabe is writing her Ph.D. thesis on the subject of "sacrificial death" in Korean political movements, while participating in a project of joint research on Chinese and Korean folklore which began last year. Her Ph.D. thesis attempts to achieve a "religious sociology of political dynamics" by analyzing the dynamism of the political movement from the perspective of its relationship to the religious ethos seen in shamanism. Manabe states that her choice of theme and perspective have been substantially influenced by Choi Kil-song's work Han no jinruigaku which she translated into Japanese (published by Hirakawa Shuppansha).