Review: Na Man’gap – the Diary of 1636

Na Man’gap’s Diary of 1636, as George Kallander explains in his informative introduction, is the longest known private account of the second Manchu invasion of Korea. Na (1592 – 1642) was a senior scholar-official who was with the King and court inside Namhansanseong – he was in charge of military rations – throughout the siege […]

Book review: Christopher Lovins on King Chŏngjo

Thus far this year I’ve been focusing on literature in translation. As I wait for the next major wave of publications to hit the shops, I’ve turned my attention to non-fiction. And the first title I reached for was Christopher Lovins’s King Chŏngjo: An Enlightened Despot in Early Modern Korea, which came out in paperback […]

SOAS seminar – Small China concept in the T’aengniji by Yi Chung-hwan

The last SOAS seminar before Brexit… The Small China concept in the “T’aengniji” by Yi Chung-hwan (1690-1756?) Dr Nataliya Chesnokova (National Research University Higher School of Economics) 31 January 2020, 5:15 – 7:00 PM Paul Webley Wing (Senate House), Alumni Lecture Theatre, SOAS Free | Registration link on SOAS website Abstract The late Chosǒn period […]

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 […]

2019 Travel Diary #3: Anmyeondo

Having enjoyed the peace of Mallipo and Chollipo beaches and the rich rewards of Chollipo arboretum on previous visits to Taean-gun, for LKL’s third visit to the county it was time to explore the coastline elsewhere. This time, we were to venture into Anmyeondo, Korea’s 6th-largest island, where the attractions include a recreational forest and […]

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 […]