Lee Sam-dol gained a new name, Tobias Hubinette
, when Swedish parents adopted him in 1972. He
has become a rare expert in the field of Korean adoption and adoptee studies, and a vehement protestor of Korea¡¯s international adoption service.Now a lecturer in the Department of Oriental Languages at Stockholm University in Sweden, he received his Ph.D in Korea Studies last year writing on the Korean adoption issue.He is also an active member of the Korean adoptee community in Sweden. His
new book "Comforting an Orphaned Nation: Representations of International Adoption and Adopted Koreans in Korean Popular Culture¡¯¡¯ is not only a meaningful contribution to the burgeoning field of Korean adoption and adoptee studies, but also an insightful commentary based on in-depth research of the Korean adoption issue, which has rarely been academically discussed or analyzed.Significant is he
inexistence of any previous study regarding representation of adopted Koreans in Korean popular culture.Hubinette was born in Korea in 1971 and adopted to Sweden a year later.
Before adoption, he
was discovered on a train with a piece of paper.On the paper was written his
Korean name.He grew up in Sweden and graduated with a BA in Irish Studies at Uppsala University.He
had no particular interest in Korea until the summer of 1996 when he
visited Korea for the first time as an adult adoptee to take part in the semi-governmental World Ethnic Korean Festival.First, he
was surprised by the country¡¯s impressive economic development but soon he
was even more surprised by the fact that such an economically developed and democratized country continues international adoption.In order to find reasons for Korea¡¯s ceaseless international adoption, he
graduate school major to Korea Studies.
In the book he
reaches the conclusion that international adoption in Korea comes from an implicit connection between Western colonialism and Korean modernism.According to Hubinette
, the West could wear a mask of benevolence by adopting abandoned children and the Korean government could reduce social welfare expenses and make profits from the adoption business.
Comforting an Orphaned Nation :
Representations of International Adoption and Adopted Koreans in Korean Popular Culture (English Book)Tobias Hubinette; Jimoondang: 263 pp., 25,000 won
says that the frequent appearance of adopted Koreans in Korean media and popular culture come back as uncanny ghosts in a most unsettling way.