Festival Film review: Spirit’s Homecoming

With the signing of the Comfort Women “deal” between Japan and South Korea in December 2015 – a deal signed without consulting the victims themselves – the issue of the wartime sex slaves once again came to the fore. While the inter-governmental negotiators were reaching the final stages of their deal-making, Cho Jung-rae’s long-term project […]

Book review: Hwang Sun-won — Lost Souls

Hwang Sun-won: Lost Souls Translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton Columbia University Press 2010, 354pp Having quite enjoyed two of Hwang Sun-won’s fuller-length stories – Trees on a Slope and Descendants of Cain – though without necessarily being enamoured of the characters of the stories they inhabited, I was looking forward to tackling Lost Souls, […]

Comfort Women: Listening To Their Voices — free screenings and discussion in Sheffield

A series of documentary screenings and discussions on the subject of Comfort Women, spread over Friday evening and Saturday. Director Byun Young-joo will be present to discuss her work – the first two documentaries of her 낮은 목소리 trilogy will be screening. Director Kim Dong-won will also be present. Korean Cinema Stories: Comfort Women — […]

Edinburgh Fringe visit: two Korean monodramas and one Korean American

Korean acts coming to the Fringe have often majored on the non-verbal: percussion, taekwondo, comedy, physical theatre, music and dance. Last year, with Othello – Two Men, we discovered that more traditional theatre, heavy on text, can work well despite the language barrier – provided surtitles are visible. This year the Korean contingent was bolder […]

Kim Young-ha: Black Flower – an imaginative re-telling of a fascinating byway of Korean history

Kim Young-ha: Black Flower Originally published in Korean as 검은 꽃 in 2003 This edition Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012, 305pp, Translated by Charles La Shure Black Flower tells the fascinating story of a thousand or so Korean emigrants who sailed from Jemulpo (now Incheon) in 1905 in search of jobs in Mexico, and ended up […]

Happy 150th Birthday, James Scarth Gale

James Scarth Gale – missionary, translator, and one of the founders of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch – was born 150 years ago on 19 February 1863. His birthday has been marked by an upgraded Wikipedia page, a special page with photos on Brother Anthony’s site, and a memorial service at Yeondong Church (which […]

2012 Travel Diary #22: The Burial Grounds of the Royal Joseon Placentas, and why underfloor heating is not always good for you

Sancheong Town, Gyeongsangnam-do, Sunday 1 April 2012. Yes, it’s 1 April, and no, this article is not an April Fool’s joke. Sunday in Sancheong town, and the National Assembly election campaign is in full swing. All along the main street, the ppongtchak trucks are parked nose to tail, probably about eight of them. All of […]

2012 Travel Diary #19: Beopgyesa Temple and those Japanese feng-shui stakes

Beopgyesa Temple (법게사) is the highest in Sancheong County and at least the third-highest in Korea. The good people of Sancheong believe that Beopgyesa is the highest temple in South Korea, a claim which is supported by Beopgyesa’s entry on the Cultural Heritage Administration website, where the following text is to be found: “It is […]

Gumok, a new musical at the Chelsea Theatre

News of an interesting new musical getting an outing for one day only later this month in Chelsea, featuring the stories of the Korean Comfort Women: Gumok Date: 30th June, 2012 Place: Chelsea Theatre (SW10 0DR) Time: 5pm and 8pm Price: Pay what you like (min. £1) Project Team Gumok presents a new musical “Gumok” […]