History

Paul Fischer: A Kim Jong-il Production Penguin / Viking 2015, 353pp Steven Chung: Split Screen Korea – Shin Sang-ok and Postwar Cinema University of Minnesota Press 2014, 262pp The story of actress Choi Eun-hee and Shin Sang-ok combines elements of both romance and thriller as well as representing important phases in the history of film […]

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Book review: Kim Namcheon – Scenes from the Enlightenment

by Philip Gowman 11 December 2015
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Kim Namcheon — Scenes from the Enlightenment Translated by Charles La Shure Dalkey Archive, 2014, 254pp orignally published as 대하, Inmunsa 1939. A brief review, because this is a book I never finished. The blurb on the back of the book sums the contents up well: An account of seemingly trivial events – a wedding […]

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Book Review: Cho Chongnae — How in Heaven’s Name

by Philip Gowman 4 December 2015
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Cho Chongnae: How in Heaven’s Name Translated by Bruce and Ju-chan Fulton Merwin Asia, 2012, 141 pages. Originally published as 오 하느님 (O God) and renamed 사람의 탈 (Human Mask) How in Heaven’s Name is an appropriate title for the mind-boggling story of how a group of Korean country lads came to be fighting in […]

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Conference news: Conceptions of ‘Life’ and ‘Nature’ in Classical Discourses

by Philip Gowman 8 October 2015
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SOAS’s Centre of Korean Studies is presenting a one-day conference tomorrow. The event is free and open to the public – no booking is required. Conceptions of ‘Life’ and ‘Nature’ in Classical Discourses 9 October 2015, 10:00 am – 5:30 pm Venue: 21/22 Russell Square Room: T101 and T102 Programme Presentations in Korean will be […]

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In Korea, historical grievances last down the generations

by Philip Gowman 25 September 2015
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Today’s Korea Times article, Man fined for obstructing ancestral rite, is nicely timed to ensure good behaviour over the Chuseok period. But the ancestral rite Mr Kim disrupted was not any old rite. This is a family grievance that goes back to 1453 and the reign of King Sejo: The court said Kim got into […]

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Film Review: Korean Undertaker and Not One of the Forgotten

by Philip Gowman 27 July 2015
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For about four years Bona Shin of Theatre for All has been getting to know some of the British veterans from Korean War, particularly those based in the Virginia Water area; and as she got to know them she decided to collect some of their memories and preserve them in documentary form. The resulting two […]

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Korea Post honours the Glosters

by Philip Gowman 5 July 2015
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Lt Col James Power Carne of the Gloucestershire Regiment appears on a new Korean postage stamp, part of a set of ten issued to mark the 65th anniversary of the start of the war. The BBC regional website for Gloucestershire has the full story.

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Press preview: Two Korean War documentaries

by Philip Gowman 21 June 2015
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For a while now Theatre for All have been working with British Korean War veterans, gathering their memories. Some of the fruits of their labours will be revealed this Thursday, the 65th anniversary of the start of the war, in a press preview in Kingston. You can register for the screenings at Eventbrite. Premiere screenings: […]

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Comfort Women: Listening To Their Voices — free screenings and discussion in Sheffield

by Philip Gowman 13 June 2015
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A series of documentary screenings and discussions on the subject of Comfort Women, spread over Friday evening and Saturday. Director Byun Young-joo will be present to discuss her work – the first two documentaries of her 낮은 목소리 trilogy will be screening. Director Kim Dong-won will also be present. Korean Cinema Stories: Comfort Women — […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 3: Park Soo-keun, King Sejong’s tomb and the journey to Gangneung

by Philip Gowman 31 May 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, Sunday 31 May. Most of the morning I’m faffing around with my bags, working out what I can leave at the hotel in Seoul so that I can travel slightly lighter on the bus down South. For the first time I’ve brought an SLR to Korea with me to get some slightly better […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 2: The Drawing hand | Seooreung | Tea Museum | Makgeolli at Kim Sakkat

by Philip Gowman 30 May 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, 30 May. Two hours sleep on the plane, and only another two on my first night in Seoul, means that I’m groggy on Saturday morning. A quick session in the hotel gym doesn’t do much to remedy that. Coffee with The Drawing Hand My brain is gently kick-started by a coffee in the hotel lobby, […]

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Royal Asiatic Society lecture: Humour and Eighteenth-Century Korean Art

by Philip Gowman 8 April 2015
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It’s not often that the one-time parent organisation the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch (est 1900) puts on an event that is anything to do with Korea. But the upcoming talk at the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (est 1823) looks well worth the wait. Humour and Eighteenth-Century Korean Art RAS STUDENT […]

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Ghosts of Jeju to get another London screening

by Philip Gowman 6 April 2015
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Eighteen months ago there was a screening of this documentary about the 4:3 incident also known as the Jeju Massacre. There’s now an opportunity to see it again at a deli in Deptford on 27 April as part of the Free Film Festival. Free event. No ticket required, but capacity is only 40 so get […]

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Pak Chiwon’s Jehol Diary: An amiable bore abroad

by Philip Gowman 30 March 2015
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Pak Chiwon: The Jehol Diary Translated with notes by Yang Hi Choe-Wall Global Oriental 2010, 208pp The Jehol Diary is a contemporary account of one of the regular journeys from Joseon Korea to Qing China bearing tribute to the emperor. The journey described in this diary took place in 1780, and was ordered by King Jeongjo […]

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Global Oriental title on Joseon dynasty wins American Library Association award

by Philip Gowman 21 February 2015
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Congratulations to Brill / Global Oriental books, whose Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea was in Choice Magazine’s list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014. The book, edited by Cambridge University’s Michael Shin, is a collection of features on various aspects of life in the Joseon Dynasty: Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea shows how the momentous […]

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Looking back at 2014: Culture, sport and tourism

by Philip Gowman 15 February 2015
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In the first of four articles looking back over 2014, we recall some of the culture, sports and heritage stories that made the news. Arts Dansaekhwa emerged as flavour of the year. Following the MMCA exhibition in 2013 and Joan Kee’s book, Kukje Gallery had a monochrome retrospective, and dansaekhwa artists were included in MMCA […]

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Theatre on video: a screening of Oh Tae-seok’s The Life Cord

by Philip Gowman 31 January 2015
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Oh Tae-seok’s plays are always worth watching, and coming up this month is a screening of a live performance by the National Drama Company of Korea. The play covers a troubled period of Joseon dynasty history: the struggles for the throne in the years following the death of King Sejong. The story of the deposed […]

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