Rediscovering the Lost Kingdom of Baekje

History, according to the saying, is written by the victors. The unification of the three kingdoms of Korea under Silla in 668 AD solved the problem of constant war in the peninsula, but created a significant problem for modern day historians, in that very little of the culture and heritage of Baekje (BC 18~AD 660) […]

The Changdeokgung’s Injeong Hall – Welcome to the Rock Show!

When I visited Changdeok Palace in Seoul, my attention was naturally focussed mainly on the buildings themselves. One of these buildings is the Injeong Hall (Injeongjeon), which was used for important celebrations and ceremonies. The unassuming forecourt one walks through to enter the hall was been designed with great care, but for the unsuspecting observer […]

The Life and Teachings of Master Wonhyo

The life of Master Wonhyo (617-686 A.D.) is a typical Korean paradox. He was a scholar who composed over 100 works on Buddhist philosophy, whose influence in scholarship and teaching was felt in China and other surrounding countries. He is acknowledged today as the foremost figure in the history of Korean Buddhism. And yet, many […]

Korean Rockets Part 1 – the Singijeon

As stated previously (in Korean Naval Firepower Part 1), there is evidence to suggest that gunpowder was in use in Korea during the Three Kingdoms period (57~668 AD). If, as some scholars believe, saltpeter firearms were invented in Korea in the 7th century, this would place the invention 100 years before it is believed to […]

Obama lauds South Korean education

Most people who have had contact with South Korean culture, especially in a teaching context, know that Koreans take education seriously. I asked a Korean friend for chapter and verse on this, and she told me the following. Elementary schools start at 8:30 and finish between 12:30 (first grade) and 2:30 (sixth grade). Pupils usually […]

Korean? Got a degree? Want to make a quick buck?

Project management company based in Bond street seeks Korean to check the language used on a client’s videophone menus. Estimated time is one day’s work, at £20 / hour. “After translating the interactive menu of our client’s videophone, we now need someone to go through every screen and check all options and submenus to flag […]

No longer the underdog?

While Kim Yu-na’s victory – now celebrated across every media – still hung in the balance, an unusual article about Korea appeared in the Financial Times. It was distinguishable from most articles about Korea in that a) it did not primarily concern the situation in the North and b) it was pretty much unreservedly upbeat. […]