This paper examines the ways in which Koreans wrote about Vietnam in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From viewing Vietnam as an object of curiosity during the Lê Dynasty or as an inferior tributary state during the Tây Sơn period, Koreans began to talk about Vietnam differently as the nineteenth century progressed. As the French gradually conquered and colonized Vietnam, and as Koreans sensed that their land was in danger of a similar fate, Korean government officials and intellectuals made repeated reference to Vietnam in their writings. Vietnam came to symbolize the fate that Korea faced if the right actions were not taken, and the image of Vietnam was thus conjured up by various peoples as they sought to promote their ideas. In the end, the image of Vietnam came to play an important role in the Korean efforts to find a path through the difficult years of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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