Sungyun Lim
Associate Professor • Honors Program Director
Modern Korea / Japan

Hellems 248


Professor Lim focuses on women, family, and legal history of modern East Asia. 

Professor Lim offers a wide variety of courses on the hsitory of Japan and Korea. Some of the courses she offers inlcude: "Introdution to Japanese History," "Modern Japanese History," "Introduction to Korean History" and "Women in East Asian History."

Professor Lim received her B.A. and M.A. at Seoul National University (Korea) and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first book, Rules of the House: Family Law and Domestic Disputes in Colonial Korea (University of California Press, 2019) examines the role and legacy of Japanese colonial laws on the formation of small patriarchal family in Korea. Through in-depth examination of colonial civil case records of domestic disputes, she shows how women actively participated in the the colonial court system to claim and protect their rights over family property management, inheritance, and adoption against male lineage interest. Professor Lim is the receipient of a Japan Foundation Fellowship and multiple Korean Foundation Fellowships. In 2012-2013, she was the Korea Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Center for Korean Studies. 

Professor Lim is currently working on two new research projects, continuing her exploration of the complex impact of Japanese colonial law on Korean women and family. The first one is on the history of property rights over burial sites and forestry in modern Korea, which highlights the murky clash of traditional land rights and the modern colonial land ownership. The second project is on the history of domestic adoption in Korea, focusing on how the highly restrictive adoption regime inherited from the colonial period continued to shape adoption practices in postcolonial South Korea.

Professor Lim is accepting both M.A. and Ph.D. students.