London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Koryŏsa: The History of Koryŏ, the Annals of the Kings, 918–1095 [forthcoming]

Among all the Korean dynasties, the Koryŏ dynasty (918-1392) was the first to have contact with the Western world. It was from these interactions that the current appellation of “Korea” was derived from the Koryŏ name. The Koryŏsa, or the History of Koryŏ, is one of the most significant historical texts on the Koryŏ Dynasty of the Korean … [Read More]

The Three Kingdoms of Korea: Lost Civilizations [forthcoming]

Korea’s Three Kingdoms period is a genuine ‘lost civilization’, during which ancient realms vied for supremacy during the first millennium CE. Nobles from this period’s feuding states adopted and adapted Buddhism and Confucianism through interactions with early medieval Chinese dynasties. In the mid-seventh century, with the assistance of the mighty Chinese Tang empire, the aristocratic … [Read More]

A Crane Among Wolves

A devastating and pulse-pounding tale that will feel all-too-relevant in today’s world, based on a true story from Korean history. Hope is dangerous. Love is deadly. 1506, Joseon. The people suffer under the cruel reign of the tyrant King Yeonsan, powerless to stop him from commandeering their land for his recreational use, banning and burning … [Read More]

Boundless Winds of Empire: Rhetoric and Ritual in Early Chosŏn Diplomacy with Ming China

For more than two hundred years after its establishment in 1392, the Chosŏn dynasty of Korea enjoyed generally peaceful and stable relations with neighboring Ming China, which dwarfed it in size, population, and power. This remarkably long period of sustained peace was not an inevitable consequence of Chinese cultural and political ascendancy. In this book, … [Read More]

Human-Animal Relations and the Hunt in Korea and Northeast Asia

Studies the hunt, animals and how regional dynamics informed local cultural practices on the Korean peninsula Elucidates the significance of the peninsula in regional and Eurasian history through detailing and navigating animals and the hunt, themes scholarship has overlooked. Reframes the struggle between a kingship and a powerful bureaucracy competing for authority over an expanding … [Read More]

Ryu Sŏngnyong, Chancellor of Chosŏn Korea

This biography of Ryu Sŏngnyong presents a new view of his childhood and education, his career as a government official, and his scholarship during retirement. The narrative includes descriptions of the Imjin War between Hideyoshi’s Japan and Chosŏn Korea, and their negotiations with imperial China. With the Japanese invasion of Chosŏn, King Sŏnjo’s court was … [Read More]

The Letters of the Venerable Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop

An English version of the letters of Father Ga Gyeong-ja Choi Yang-eop (1821-1861), the seminarian colleague of the first Korean priest Sung Kim Dae-geon (1821-1846) and the second Korean priest. The Korean Church History Institute (Chairman: Bishop Son Hee-song, Director: Father Cho Han-geon) published the English version of the letters of Father Thomas Choi Yang-eop, … [Read More]

Historical Statistics of Korea

This book presents economic statistics of Korea in the past three centuries, focusing on the century following 1910. The data, typically time series rather than cross-sectional, are given in 22 chapters, which refer to population, wages, prices, education, health, national income and wealth, and technology, among others. Rather than simply putting together available data, the … [Read More]

The Red Palace

To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood… Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, … [Read More]

Record of the Seasonal Customs of Korea: Tongguk sesigi by Toae Hong Sŏk-mo

Record of the Seasonal Customs of Korea (Tongguk sesigi) is one of the most important primary sources for anyone interested in traditional Korean cultural and social practices. The manuscript was completed in 1849 by Toae Hong Sŏk-mo, a wealthy poet and scholar from an influential family. Toae, with his keen interest in the habits and customs … [Read More]

Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea

North Korea’s Kŭmgangsan is one of Asia’s most celebrated sacred mountain ranges, comparable in fame to Mount Tai in China and Mount Fuji in Japan. Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan marks a paradigm shift in the research about East Asian mountains by introducing an entirely new field: autographic rock graffiti. The book details how late Chosŏn (ca. 1600–1900 … [Read More]

The Encyclopedia of Daily Life: A Woman’s Guide to Living in Late-Chosŏn Korea

From the publisher’s website: This volume is a fully annotated translation of an early nineteenth-century encyclopedia, the Kyuhap ch’ongsŏ (The Encyclopedia of Daily Life). Written by Lady Yi (1759-1824) as a household management aid for her daughters and daughters-in-law, the work is a treasure trove of information on how women of higher status in the … [Read More]

The Letters of Saint Andrew Kim Dae-geon

Our translations of the 20 or so letters written by Saint Andrew Kim Dae-geon during the 4 years of travel and adventure prior to his death in 1846 have now been published by The Research Foundation of Korean Church History, marking the 200th anniversary of his birth on August 21, 1821. In addition to the … [Read More]

The Forest of Stolen Girls

Suspenseful and richly atmospheric, June Hur’s The Forest of Stolen Girls is a haunting historical mystery sure to keep readers guessing until the last page. 1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene. Years later, … [Read More]

Neo-Confucianism and Science in Korea: Humanity and Nature, 1706-1814

Historians of late premodern Korea have tended to regard it as a hermit kingdom, isolated from its neighbours and the wider world. In fact, as Ro argues in this book, Korean intellectuals were heavily influenced by both Chinese Neo-Confucianism and the European Enlightenment in the late 18th and 19th centuries. In the late Choson period … [Read More]