The World’s First ‘Active’ Greenhouse

The greenhouse is an ancient invention, dating back 2,200 years. Modern ‘active’ greenhouses are distinguished from older ‘passive’ ones by the fact that they allow for the adjustment of air and soil temperature. Previously, the first such greenhouses were believed to have been built in Germany in 1619, using a stove to regulate air temperature, […]

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 […]

Nine Confucian academies listed at UNESCO

For visitors to Korea (such as myself) who like to try to get round all the UNESCO-listed world heritage sites, the list just got longer. On Saturday 6 July, the World Heritage Committee included nine Seowon, or Neo-Confucian Academies, in the list. The nine seowon are dotted around the central and southern parts of the […]

Brief review: Samuel Hawley — The Imjin War

Samuel Hawley: The Imjin War – Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Invasion of Korea and Attempt to Conquer China 2nd Edition, Conquistador Press 2014 Originally published by Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch, Seoul, 2005 How is it that a 664 page book only merits a brief review? Well, because as an historical book a proper review should only […]

SOAS seminar: The Re-Organization of the Rural Economy in Modern Korea

The first, and possibly only, seminar of the new term: Empire by Association: The Re-Organization of the Rural Economy in Modern Korea, 1870-1945 Dr Holly Stephens (University of Edinburgh) Friday 26 April 2019, 5:15 – 7:00pm SOAS Brunei Gallery Room B104 | Registration required via SOAS website Abstract The late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries were a […]

SOAS seminar: Remembering a dissident Confucian Monk

This is a seminar I’m particularly looking forward to, as I’ve been interested in the story of King Danjong since I came across the burial site of his placenta a few years ago. Remembering a dissident Confucian Monk: How Kim Sisŭp became Sŏlcham, and Sŏlcham the Boyi of Korea Dr Dennis Wuerthner (Ruhr-University Bochum) Friday […]

Eleanor Hyun on Korean Munbangdo Paintings (OCS members + guests)

A special lecture given by the BM’s Eleanor Hyun for the Oriental Ceramics Society: Picturing Possession: Korean Munbangdo Paintings A lecture by Dr. Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun, curator of Korean collections at the BM Tuesday 12th February: The annual Sonia Lightfoot Memorial Lecture 5:45 for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks sponsored by Woolley & Wallis Society […]

Carlo Rossetti’s photographs as social and historical narratives

Continuing this term’s series of seminars at SOAS: Carlo Rossetti’s photographs as social and historical narratives about Korea at the beginning of the 20th century Assistant Professor Giuseppina De Nicola (Sapienza University of Rome) 1 February 2019, 5:15 – 7:00 PM SOAS, Brunei Gallery Room: B104 | Online Registration required Abstract Italy first established its […]

Yi Han-eung remembered at BKS Seollal celebration

The British Korean Society gathered on the newly refurbished top floor of the South Korean embassy yesterday for a belated celebration of Seollal, courtesy of the Deputy Head of Mission, Minister Sun Nahmkook. Apart from the generous buffet, a splendid selection of innovative cocktails and the opportunity to socialise, the highlight of the evening was […]

Seminar: Yeoju and King Sejong the Great

Late notice of a seminar about the achievements of King Sejong, and about the city of Yeoju. Yeoju has a special association with Sejong – among other things he is buried there. The seminar will be conducted by the vice-mayor of Yeoju at the Korean Cultural Centre UK. Please RSVP under this Facebook post if […]

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 […]

Book Review: The Story of Hong Gildong

Anon (attr Heo Kyun): The Story of Hong Gildong Translated with an introduction and notes by Minsoo Kang Penguin, 2016, 100pp Penguin has done us a favour by bringing us this new translation of a classic Korean tale, along with a useful introduction and notes. Hong Gildong is often described as the Korean Robin Hood […]