Decolonizing Sadaejuui in Korean History Through Speculative Letter from the Future

Hi sweetheart,

I’m so sorry I couldn’t be at your graduation ceremony today, but I can’t tell you how proud I am to have my niece accepted to Seoul National University. Congratulations to you and all of your friends, Class of 2050. I have pre-recorded this message for you before I left for the oil-cleanup in Antarctica, but I hope you can appreciate my effort to connect with you while I’m off saving the marine life!

As a social innovator and an activist, I’ve spent my career uncovering why the socio-political hegemony is designed as it is. The biggest changes in our modern history all started when Korea became independent from Japan in 1944. Before the Hiroshima bomb forced Japan to surrender, we fought for our freedom as a community and liberated with no external interference. At that time, our country was left in the debris of Western influences that Japan has brought to us. Because of our strong communal spirit, we were able to rebuild our nation relatively quickly. It took us decades to find political peace between the North and South after our unification.

Then it took us even longer to divert from Sadaejuui, a conditioned toadyism for stronger power, specifically for the West at the time. It was tightly weaved into our architecture, education, language, food, trade, entertainment, etc. However, after over a century of policy reforms, we are now renowned as one of the most successful cases of preserving our culture. We were able to achieve this global recognition by simultaneously respecting our interdependence with our fellow nations and sustaining our pre-colonial heritage. Without the efforts of anthropologists, historians, and designers, we wouldn’t have come this far.

Now my recording will start sharing my 3D-scanned object with you. I hope your smart glasses and haptic gloves are working. If not, I have attached pictures with this message.

I hope this album showed you the subtle traditional practices in our lives even with technological alterations. Can you imagine Hanbok barely being worn, no one making Kimchi in their homes, or being educated in English instead of Hangul? The cultural framework we’re living in right now can be attributed to the infinite collaborative efforts of your previous generations. We’re still actively remaining critical in light of Sadaejuui, colonialism, and imperialism, which you get to learn about instead of living through them.

My tip to you darling is to always take a step back and question the direction of progress. After witnessing the 2020 pandemic and anti-racism movements, I’ve learned to constantly stand up for inclusive practices and empower the voiceless, even when faced with separatism, protectionism, and anxiety. Also, keep documenting daily inspirations as your grandfather and I did, because it will bring you so much joy to look back on those details and feel the gratitude of collective cultural celebration. You have done so well at your young age and I’m confident that you will continue to grow to build a more resilient, autonomous, and pluriversal world. As you go forward, remember that collective, inclusive progress is the only true progress.

Congratulations again! I miss you so much, and I hope to see you soon.

Love, your aunt Becky.

One thought on “Decolonizing Sadaejuui in Korean History Through Speculative Letter from the Future”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *