London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

A Global History of Ginseng: Imperialism, Modernity and Orientalism [forthcoming]

Sul’s history of the international ginseng trade reveals the cultural aspects of international capitalism and the impact of this single commodity on relations between East and West. Ginseng emerged as a major international commodity in the seventeenth century, when the East India Company began trading it westward. Europeans were drawn to the plant’s efficacy as … [Read More]

The Borders of Chinese Architecture

An internationally acclaimed expert explains why Chinese-style architecture has remained so consistent for two thousand years, no matter where it is built. For the last two millennia, an overwhelming number of Chinese buildings have been elevated on platforms, supported by pillars, and covered by ceramic-tile roofs. Less obvious features, like the brackets connecting the pillars … [Read More]

Seeds of Control: Japan’s Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea

Japanese colonial rule in Korea (1905-1945) ushered in natural resource management programs that profoundly altered access to and ownership of the peninsula’s extensive mountains and forests. Under the banner of “forest love,” the colonial government set out to restructure the rhythms and routines of agrarian life, targeting everything from home heating to food preparation. Timber … [Read More]

‘Difficult Heritage’ in Nation Building: South Korea and Post-Conflict Japanese Colonial Occupation Architecture

From the publisher’s website: This book explores South Korean responses to the architecture of the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea and the ways that architecture illustrates the relationship between difficult heritage and the formation of national identity. Detailing the specific case of Seoul, Hyun Kyung Lee investigates how buildings are selectively destroyed, preserved, or reconstructed … [Read More]

Korean Gardens: Tradition, Symbolism and Resilience

From the publisher’s website: Korean Gardens: Tradition, Symbolism and Resilience – The Western Gardeners’ Guide to the Essence of Korean Traditional Gardens Korean gardens strive to be in harmony with nature and to encourage the quiet contemplation of the natural world. They are intentionally humble in their conception and very different from Japanese and Chinese … [Read More]

Seoul: Memory, Reinvention, and the Korean Wave

From the publisher’s website: Seoul is a colossus both in its physical presence and the demand it places on any intellectual effort to understand it. How did it come to be? How can a city this immense work? Underlying its spectacle and incongruities is a city that might be described as ill at ease with … [Read More]

Pine Trees In Korea: Aesthetics and Symbolism

From the publisher’s website: The Pine Tree as an Iconic Symbol of Korea’s Natural Landscape Lush pine forests can be found throughout the Korean peninsula as the pine tree has successfully adapted to its natural environment over thousands of years. The evergreen pine forests have a different ambience and beauty from one region to another, … [Read More]

P’ungsu: A Study of Geomancy in Korea

From the publisher’s website: The first scholarly book to address Korean geomancy through an interdisciplinary lens. This book is a milestone in the history of academic research on the development and role of geomancy (fengshui in Chinese and p’ungsu in Korean) in Korean culture and society. As the first interdisciplinary work of its kind, it … [Read More]

Environment, Politics, and Ideology in North Korea: Landscape as Political Project

From the publisher’s website: Environmental and developmental matters have long proved key to North Korea’s “revolutionary” industrial and economic strategies. They have equally been important to Pyongyang’s diplomatic and geo-political efforts both during the Warsaw Pact period and in our contemporary era following the collapse of its supportive and collaborative partners. However, while environmental issues … [Read More]

Architecture and Urbanism in Modern Korea

Although modernization in Korea started more than a century later than in the West, it has worked as a prominent ideology throughout the past century—in particular it has brought radical changes in Korean architecture and cities. Traditional structures and ways of life have been thoroughly uprooted in modernity’s continuous negation of the past. This book … [Read More]

Deconstruction/Construction: The Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project in Seoul

From the publisher’s website: The restoration of the Cheonggyecheon River that runs through Seoul, Korea, in a mere twenty-nine months—transitioning from an outmoded highway into a multipurpose performative infrastructure piece of unprecedented size—merits recognition as a seminal project in contemporary urban design. This remarkable achievement recovers the biological and social ecology of the city and … [Read More]

Aesthetic Constructions of Korean Nationalism: Spectacle, Politics and History

While most studies on Korean nationalism centre on textual analysis, Aesthetic Constructions of Korean Nationalism offers a different approach. It looks at expositions, museums and the urban built environment at particular moments in both colonial and postcolonial eras and analyses their discursive relations in the construction of Korean nationalism. By linking concepts of visual spectacle, urban space … [Read More]

City as Art: 100 Notable Works of Architecture in Seoul

The city of Seoul boasts a long history as a prized territory on the peninsula since the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE-AD 688) and as the national capital for over 600 years of Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897). History is bound to leave behind architecture, and Seoul is home to myriad buildings, from those constructed in ancient … [Read More]

Korean Traditional Landscape Architecture

From the publisher’s website: Korean traditional landscape architecture is among the most treasured cultural developments made over the thousands of years of Korean culture. This book illustrates the history and cultural background of Korean traditional landscape architecture, showing the characteristics of each type of Korean landscape architecture: royal palaces, residential areas, walled towns, retreat gardens, … [Read More]

Contemporary Korean Architecture: Megacity Network

Seoul – one of the most densely populated urban areas on the planet. The tremendous pressure this megacity exacts on architecture in terms of spatial intensification, verticalization and amplification, challenges architectural stereotypes and promotes innovation. Megacity Network presents 32 projects by 16 representative Korean architects from the last ten years. Being more like mixtures and hybrids of … [Read More]

Buddhist Architecture of Korea

From the publisher’s website: The easiest way to learn about Korea’s Buddhist culture is to visit the temples where the traditional practice of asceticism is still carried on today. People no longer live in other examples of traditional architecture, such as palaces and Confucian schools and academies; but in temples the monks and nuns eat, … [Read More]