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Organised to coincide with the London Book Fair, this exhibition at the KCC is curated by the Korean Publishers Association: The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types Exhibition Dates: 07 April 2014 – 14 June 2014 Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK The World’s Oldest Wooden and Metal Printing Technologies – Korea’s Printing Culture presented […]

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The Ghosts of Jeju to screen at SOAS

by Philip Gowman 3 October 2013
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Those who are eager to watch Jiseul (and here’s hoping it will be getting a London screening soon) will want to watch this documentary to fill in some of the background. It also provides context to the protests about the Gangjeong naval base. The Ghosts of Jeju Dir: Regis Tremblay, 2013, 80 mins Brunei Gallery, […]

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Crime and Punishment in Chosŏn Korea

by Philip Gowman 24 September 2013
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Three years ago SOAS held a conference entitled Historians, clerks and accountants: Methodological issues in the use of sources on Chosŏn History. One of the more interesting elements of that day was a consideration of court records of criminal trials and a discussion of Joseon dynasty autopsy techniques. The speaker, Kim Ho, returns this Friday […]

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Korean Naval Firepower Part 2 – Koryo and Columbus

by Matthew Jackson 9 September 2013
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Choi Mu-seon was not the inventor of heavy artillery, although he made many innovative variations of the concept. Why did other countries not simply take their cannons and heavy firearms with them on board their ships? The problem with a wooden ship is, if its displacement is sufficiently small, the recoil of a heavy weapon […]

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Photos of King Taejo’s tomb in Kaesong

by Philip Gowman 21 July 2013
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The Rodong Sinmun has some nice pictures and a brief article on the tomb of Wang Kon, founder of the Koryo dynasty as King Taejo. The tomb is one of the Historic Monuments and Sites of Kaesong recently entered into the UNESCO list of world heritage. Update: links to the full set of Rodong Sinmun’s […]

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1956 – The birth of the hallyu?

by Philip Gowman 16 June 2013
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Not really. But there’s a nice story in the Korea Herald about what is believed to be the first ever single released by a Korean artist in the U S of A: Ok Doo-ok’s East of Make Believe – a 1956 English-language remake of Korean singer Hyeon In’s Gohyangmanri, which roughly translates as “Miles Away […]

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Bought for £10 from a Parisian cheese merchant, Lady Hyegyong’s Uigwe is now digitised

by Philip Gowman 9 June 2013
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The Joseon court knew how to document things. And one of those court records, recently digitised and put online by the British Library, shows they also knew how to celebrate. The Uigwe – The Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty – were included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2006. In its […]

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March For The Beloved – in memory of Gwangju

by Philip Gowman 18 May 2013
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On the anniversary of the 18 May 1980 uprising in Gwangju, here is song which became its unofficial anthem. It was written in 1982 by Kim Jong-ryul for his friends, a couple who were murdered in the uprising. The title is 임을 위한 행진곡 or “March for the beloved”, sometimes translated as “March for the […]

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Kim Sung Ok: A Literature of and for the Self – Steve Capener at SOAS

by Philip Gowman 13 May 2013
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On his way to a conference on Alternative Modernisms in Cardiff, Steve Capener gives a talk on one of my favourite authors. Kim Sung Ok: A Literature of and for the Self Steve Capener (Assistant Professor, Seoul Women’s University) 14 May 2013, 5:15 – 7:00 PM Russell Square Room 4421 Abstract After he took power […]

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Kim Young-ha: Black Flower – an imaginative re-telling of a fascinating byway of Korean history

by Philip Gowman 13 March 2013
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Kim Young-ha: Black Flower Originally published in Korean in 2003 This edition Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012, 305pp, Translated by Charles La Shure Black Flower tells the fascinating story of a thousand or so Korean emigrants who sailed from Jemulpo (now Incheon) in 1905 in search of jobs in Mexico, and ended up founding a short-lived […]

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Happy 150th Birthday, James Scarth Gale

by Philip Gowman 19 February 2013
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James Scarth Gale – missionary, translator, and one of the founders of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch – was born 150 years ago on 19 February 1863. His birthday has been marked by an upgraded Wikipedia page, a special page with photos on Brother Anthony’s site, and a memorial service at Yeondong Church (which […]

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SOAS Seminar: The Korean Police Prepare for War, 1946-1950

by Philip Gowman 21 January 2013
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The second SOAS seminar of the spring term: Martyrs and Murderers: The Korean Police Prepare for War, 1946-1950 Konrad Lawson (Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow, European University Institute) Date: 25 January 2013 Time: 5:15 – 7:00 PM Venue: Russell Square, College Buildings, Room G50 Speaker Biography Konrad Lawson is a Max Weber postdoctoral fellow at the […]

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SOAS Seminar: Korean Cannibalism

by Philip Gowman 17 January 2013
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SOAS kicks off its Spring term of evening seminars with an unusual subject: Korean Cannibalism: Production of Transgression in a Climate of Social Ills Dr Se-Woong Koo (Center for Korean Studies) École des Hautes Études Date: 18 January 2013 Time: 5:15 – 7:00 PM Venue: Russell Square, College Buildings, Room G50 Abstract The Chosǒn Dynasty […]

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Jiseul – a film to watch out for in 2013

by Philip Gowman 3 January 2013
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It won awards at Busan where it premiered in the 2012 festival, and it will be showing at Sundance and Rotterdam: Jiseul (지슬) – a sombre film about the 1948 Jeju Uprising, written and directed by Jeju resident O Muel (오멸). It might not be an easy film to watch, but it’s an important part […]

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2012 Travel Diary #22: The Burial Grounds of the Royal Joseon Placentas, and why underfloor heating is not always good for you

by Philip Gowman 3 December 2012
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1 April 2012. Yes, it’s 1 April, and no, this article is not an April Fool’s joke. Sunday in Sancheong town, and the National Assembly election campaign is in full swing. All along the main street, the ppongtchak trucks are parked nose to tail, probably about eight of them. All of them blare out loud […]

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Book review: So Far from the Bamboo Grove

by Philip Gowman 30 November 2012
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Yoko Kawashima Watkins: So Far from the Bamboo Grove Harper Collins, 1986 Reprinted with letter from the author, 2008 183pp This time last year, Wikileaks revealed that when Mitt Romney, then Governor of Massachussetts, visited Korea in December 2006, one of the topics raised by the Korean Acting Foreign Minister Cho Jung-pyo was this short […]

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Jerome De Wit at SOAS: Motivations for Writing during the Korean War

by Philip Gowman 28 November 2012
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The final free seminar before the Christmas break is as follows: The War Within: Motivations for Writing during the Korean War Jerome De Wit (Leiden University) Date: 7 December 2012 Time: 5:15 PM Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G50 Abstract The first few months of the Korean War (1950-1953) saw dramatic shifts in the […]

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