Historical

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, […]

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Korea – The Antifragile Kingdom

by Matthew Jackson 10 July 2017
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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 […]

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The world’s first newspaper?

by Philip Gowman 18 April 2017
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“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 […]

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Historical feature: Sejong of Korea – The Philosopher King

by Matthew Jackson 6 March 2017
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“There will be no end to the troubles of the state or indeed of humanity until philosophers become kings or until those we now call kings really and truly become philosophers.” This is one of the most famous quotations from Plato. It is taken from his work The Republic, which in attempting to set out […]

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The World’s First Referendum – and its aftermath

by Matthew Jackson 8 August 2016
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Korea is a country of hidden wonders. These wonders, which have remained hidden in some cases for centuries, are continually being unearthed. Many have something to teach us about the world we live in today. The Sillok – royal annals that documented every day of the Joseon dynasty for the five centuries it governed Korea […]

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UK-Korea Relations – A Talk by Thomas Harris KBE

by Matthew Jackson 2 July 2014
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The talk on UK-Korea relations by Sir Thomas Harris KBE CMG, held at Gresham College on Friday 27th of June, was both a stimulating and ultimately uplifting account of the diplomatic and economic interactions between the two countries before and after the Korean War. Amongst his various international posts as a businessman and diplomat, Sir […]

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The Art of Printing: Korea’s Evolving Printing Types

by Events Editor 5 April 2014
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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 […]

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Raindrops over Joseon – Sejong’s Cheugugi

by Matthew Jackson 22 October 2011
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King Sejong is most famous for the creation of the Korean alphabet, Hangul, which remains in use today. His whole career as king was underpinned by the philosophy that a king must serve his people, and this philosophy gave rise to many advances in science and culture that benefited the people of Korea. One less […]

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Is there a doctor in the peninsula? – Heo Jun and the Donguibogam medical textbook

by Matthew Jackson 26 August 2011
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Known as one of the greatest books in the history of Eastern medicine, the Donguibogam was composed by Heo Jun, a court physician in the early 17th century, and is today included as part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Despite the huge advances in medicine since that time, it is still referred to by doctors […]

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Rediscovering the Lost Kingdom of Baekje

by Matthew Jackson 3 August 2011
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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) […]

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

by Matthew Jackson 20 July 2011
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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 […]

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The Life and Teachings of Master Wonhyo

by Matthew Jackson 13 June 2011
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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 […]

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Korean Rockets Part 2 – Hwacha, the Mobile Multiple Rocket Launcher

by Matthew Jackson 30 April 2011
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The power of the 15th century singijeon rocket was taken to a new level by the Hwacha launcher, a radical device which could fire 100 singijeon rockets in a single volley. Here is a reconstructed version. In 1492, it played an integral role in repelling an invasion from the North. Its full potential was demonstrated […]

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Korean Rockets Part 1 – the Singijeon

by Matthew Jackson 29 April 2011
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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 […]

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Korea in the mid-fifties – historic slides

by Events Editor 25 March 2011
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Two upcoming opportunities to see historic photographs of the Korean peninsula in the 1950s. First, courtesy of the Anglo Korean Society, photos of South Korea at the KCC. Details below. Watch this space for photos of North Korea at SOAS in May. KOREA IN THE MID-FIFTIES – HISTORIC SLIDES A talk and slide show by […]

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Three Korean traditions named world treasures

by Philip Gowman 21 November 2010
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Three Korean traditions named world treasures: gagok (lyrical songs), daemokjang (wooden architectural craftsmanship) and maesanyang (falcon hunting). That UNESCO list keeps getting longer! http://bit.ly/9Ia99y # Keywords: UNESCO Heritage: Daemokjang | Falconry | Gagok Other tags: UNESCO

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BAKS Symposium: ‘Reflections on War and Peace: Sixty Years after the Korean War’

by Events Editor 23 October 2010
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The British Association for Korean Studies announce their 2010 symposium at Asia House: ‘Reflections on War and Peace: Sixty Years after the Korean War’ Asia House, London Saturday 20 November 2010 10:00 Opening Ceremony: Emeritus Prof. James H. Grayson, President of BAKS HE Dr Choo Kyu-Hoo, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, ’60 Years […]

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