Philip Gowman

James B. Lewis: Frontier Contact Between Chosŏn Korea and Tokugawa Japan Routledge, 2003, 340pp What a relief to return to some non-fiction. And although at LKL we are wholly unqualified to review academic works, we don’t mind saying why we it is that we like a particular book. Frontier Contact paints a fascinating picture of […]

{ 0 comments }

On reading Han Kang’s White Book by the pool

by Philip Gowman 17 November 2017
Thumbnail image for On reading Han Kang’s White Book by the pool

In general, I tend not to read much literary fiction. If I’m reading stuff which is unrelated to Korea, it’s likely to be either non-fiction or easy reading – a detective story or something reasonably lightweight. When it comes to korea-related reading, until relatively recently the balance has again been in favour of non-fiction. But […]

Read the full article →

Review: Eun Me Ahn’s Let Me Change Your Name

by Philip Gowman 16 November 2017
Thumbnail image for Review: Eun Me Ahn’s Let Me Change Your Name

Often when I go along to an event which I suspect will be good, I try to manage my expectations downwards. If I succeed in persuading myself that the thing may be quite mediocre then at worst I won’t be disappointed and at best I will be delighted when the event surpasses expectation. With Eun […]

Read the full article →

A few links relating to Trump’s visit

by Philip Gowman 14 November 2017
Thumbnail image for A few links relating to Trump’s visit

A few links relating to President Trump’s visit to Seoul before they are too out of date: His hosts used an official dinner to score two foreign policy points over the Japanese: One of the guests was former comfort woman Lee Yong-soo and the Japanese were said not to have appreciated it when Trump embraced […]

Read the full article →

Book review: Han Yujoo – The Impossible Fairy Tale

by Philip Gowman 13 November 2017
Thumbnail image for Book review: Han Yujoo – The Impossible Fairy Tale

Han Yujoo: The Impossible Fairy Tale translated by Janet Hong Graywolf Press, MN, USA 192pp / Tilted Axis Press, UK 352pp / 2017 Originally published as 불가능한 동화 (pub 문학과지성사, 2013) Sometimes, I like having my brain stretched when reading a book: something to get stuck into, to make me think. But there are limits. I […]

Read the full article →

Pachinko featured in New York Times

by Philip Gowman 12 November 2017
Thumbnail image for Pachinko featured in New York Times

There’s a nice feature on Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko in last weekend’s New York Times. I enjoyed the book myself though never got around to writing a review. It’s a very different work from her first novel, Free Food for Millionaires, which I described as a combination of Sex and the City and Wall Street, and […]

Read the full article →

Festival film review: Becoming who I was

by Philip Gowman 8 November 2017
Thumbnail image for Festival film review: Becoming who I was

Nine years ago Moon Chang-yong and Jeon Jin were in Ladakh, Kashmir – a mountainous region 100 miles or so northeast of where the Dalai Lama lives, and less than 50 miles from Tibet’s westernmost extremity. They were filming a documentary about practitioners of traditional medicine in the various regions of Asia. Their subject was […]

Read the full article →

Gig review: Park Jiha at King’s Place

by Philip Gowman 2 November 2017
Thumbnail image for Gig review: Park Jiha at King’s Place

Park Jiha brought the 2017 K-music festival to a close at King’s Place on 25 October with a mellow set of pieces taken from her album Communion which was deservedly shortlisted for the 2016 Korea Music Awards in both the Best Crossover Album and Best Jazz & Crossover Performance categories. Park is a versatile player, […]

Read the full article →

November events 2017

by Philip Gowman 1 November 2017
Thumbnail image for November events 2017

After a ridiculously hectic October, the pace this month is a bit more manageable (at least, once we get past the first week and a bit). Film The London Korean Film Festival closes in London on 8 November before touring to Sheffield, Manchester. Nottingham, Glasgow and Belfast. Ellie Kyungran Heo’s Plantarians and Did You Eat Rice? […]

Read the full article →

The Yongsan tragedy featured in two LKFF documentaries

by Philip Gowman 30 October 2017
Thumbnail image for The Yongsan tragedy featured in two LKFF documentaries

Those of you who have read and love Han Kang’s Human Acts will know that is is inspired not only by the Gwangju uprising but also the Yongsan tragedy. Hwang Jung-eun’s One Hundred Shadows is even more directly inspired by the same tragedy. It was a news event that was little reported in the Western […]

Read the full article →

Exhibition visit: Soon-Hak Kwon — everynothing, at Union Gallery

by Philip Gowman 29 October 2017
Thumbnail image for Exhibition visit: Soon-Hak Kwon — everynothing, at Union Gallery

The Union Gallery in Teesdale Street is going through a refit at the moment: as well as the exhibition space on the ground floor, a new showroom space is being developed in the basement. Soon-Hak Kwon, a Union regular, specialises in documenting the history of a gallery space by creating ultra-high resolution life-size images of […]

Read the full article →

Festival film review: The Mimic

by Philip Gowman 28 October 2017
Thumbnail image for Festival film review: The Mimic

I don’t quite know how you go about reviewing a film like The Mimic. As I watched its early sections, enjoying the ride reasonably enough, I nevertheless thought back to some of the Whispering Corridors series (and sadly the weakest of them, Blood Pledge) in which plot is subservient to gratuitous scares. Probably if you […]

Read the full article →

Exhibition visit: Oh Man-chul ceramic paintings, at Han Collection

by Philip Gowman 15 October 2017
Thumbnail image for Exhibition visit: Oh Man-chul ceramic paintings, at Han Collection

I was sorry to have missed the opening of the current exhibition by Oh Man-chul at Han Collection. I made up for it by spending some time at the gallery a couple of days later. Park Jinsu kindly provided a photo of Master Oh’s opening performance, a painting on a 2 metre square canvas executed […]

Read the full article →

Kingston Korean Festival 2017: the photos

by Philip Gowman 14 October 2017
Thumbnail image for Kingston Korean Festival 2017: the photos

Here is a collection of photos from the Korean Festival held in Kingston’s ancient market place on Saturday 16 September 2017. 16,706 people attended the festival and 526 people enjoyed the audience participation programmes on the day! LKL, unfortunately, wasn’t one of them, and these photos are taken with permission from the organisers’ Facebook page […]

Read the full article →

Film review: Memoir of a Murderer

by Philip Gowman 12 October 2017
Thumbnail image for Film review: Memoir of a Murderer

Memoir of a Murderer asks us to step inside the mind of someone who is losing his memory, a sufferer of Alzheimer’s disease. The movie opens with a scene focusing on the face of a gaunt and aged-looking Sol Kyung-gu as single dad Kim Byung-soo. As we watch, his face begins to twitch. At first […]

Read the full article →

Gig review: Kim Hyelim + Alice Zawadzki

by Philip Gowman 11 October 2017
Thumbnail image for Gig review: Kim Hyelim + Alice Zawadzki

I have to confess: I was a little nervous as I set off for Dalston on a dark Monday evening. If I had a minor gripe with the opening gig of the K-music festival at the Union Chapel, billed as a collaboration between East and West, it was that there was not enough collaboration: Kathryn […]

Read the full article →

Gig review: Jeon Jeduk and Park Juwon at Pizza Express

by Philip Gowman 10 October 2017
Thumbnail image for Gig review: Jeon Jeduk and Park Juwon at Pizza Express

What can one say about a pair of such flawless musicians? Jeon Jeduk, blind since birth, has been compared with Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder; Park Juwon… I’m not sure who he’s been compared with, but as I listened to his set I was reminded of the stunning album Passion Grace and Fire by guitarists […]

Read the full article →