SOAS seminar: Socialist competition and class formation in DPRK, 1953-56

A seminar at SOAS tomorrow, just announced. Looks interesting. Socialist competition and class formation in North Korea’s post-Korean War recovery, 1953-1956 Dr Owen Miller (SOAS) Friday 6 December 2019, 5:15 – 7:00 pm Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Alumni Lecture Theatre Register on SOAS website Abstract How did North Korea manage to recover […]

Samuel Hawley’s Imjin War comes to YouTube

One of my most enjoyable reads so far this year has been Samuel Hawley’s Imjin War, originally published in 2005. At 664 pages long it might seem a bit intimidating, but in my view it could probably be twice as long and still be as gripping. But for those who like their history in nibble-sized […]

SOAS conference: Colonialism and its Reverberations

A good half-day conference coming at the beginning of February. Check the event’s Facebook page or the SOAS website for updates. Colonialism and its Reverberations: ‘Comfort Women’ and Historical Revisionism in Korea and Japan Professor Yonson Ahn (University of Frankfurt), Professor Vladimir Tikhonov (University of Oslo), Professor Chong Yeonghwan (Meiji Gakuin University) 3 February 2018, […]

Korea – The Antifragile Kingdom

Editor’s note: every now and then Matthew Jackson submits a cracking article from out of nowhere. Here’s one such article which, if I may paraphrase, wonders whether maybe han is healthy. I hope it’s not too long before the next one! The author and philosopher Nicholas Nassim Taleb (of ‘Black Swan’ fame) developed a concept […]

The world’s first newspaper?

“Why did no one inform me that this was being made?” said King Seonjo (r. 1567–1608) on 28 November 1577. Concerned “that information about the court could potentially be circulated to wider circles in the elite” the king exiled the people responsible for the news-sheet. Jieun Choi of Korea Exposé has the fascinating story. Kim […]

The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types

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 […]

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 […]