RAS-KB: The Blog
Lecturer: Kathryn Weathersby
Once China entered the Korean War in October 1950 and saved the DPRK from extinction, the North Korean leadership had little say in how the war was run. The Chinese took over day-to-day management of the fighting and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had the final voice on all important decisions. As a result, when Stalin decided in January 1951 to prolong the war for two to three years to tie down American forces in Korea while the Soviets and East Europeans rearmed, the North Koreans were forced to acquiesce, even though it meant subjecting their country to complete destruction from US bombing. Dr. Weathersby’s presentation will be based on a paper she delivered at a conference at Korea University on 27 July to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.
The Business & Culture Club of RASKB will provide useful and practical opportunities for business people so that they can experience and improve their knowledge of Korean culture and history. The Business & Culture (B&C) club will hold monthly networking sessions to experience a variety of Korean traditional and cultural events such as expert-guided tours, exhibits and cultural performances.
The first meeting will be held at noon on Tuesday November 12, gathering in the Dunkin Donuts beside the main gate to Deoksu-gung. See here for full details.
1. Main activities
A. Business networking with others also interested in Korean culture and history
B. Expert-guided tour to historic sites
C. Participation in exhibits, cultural performances, traditional festivals, and experience activities
D. Exchange the convergence cases of business & culture, cultural events and CSR activities by multinational & Korean companies
E. Date & Time: 12 pm(noon), on the 2nd Tuesday of each month
F. Venue: Dunkin Dounts near Daehanmun gate of Deoksu palace
G. Participation Fee: Free for RASKB members (lunch and entrance fees are not included)
Click here to apply to join the Facebook Group for the Business & Culture Club.
Some pictures and brief videos from our recent excursion to Gilsang-sa and The Korea Furniture Museum. At about the two minute mark, an interview with Mr. Jang, the tour leader, will begin. He will discuss the the excursion and provide some details about the places we visited. Please visit www.raskb.com for more information about upcoming excusions and lectures.
Read more information about the topic here.
The name of the Korean scholar Han Hŭng-su (1909-?) is known to few. Until very recently, many biographical facts as well as the achievements of this capable and hard-working Korean scholar, who in different historical circumstances could have become a noted historian and the leading archaeologist of his nation, were lost in mist as he criss-crossed continents and countries, but everywhere he left traces - in Japan, occupied Korea, Austria, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and North Korea.
His life and work made a lasting impact on South and North Korean archeology as well as on the study of Korean history and literature in Czechoslovakia and the knowledge of Korean literature in German-speaking countries in Europe. Multi-talented scholar, polyglot speaking at least six languages and author of numerous books and articles published in Korean, German, Czech, Polish and English, he is now being slowly rediscovered.
Han Hung-su arrived in Vienna at the age of 27, and he had turned 39 when he was welcomed back to his home country. After two years in Vienna and one in Bern he earned his PhD at Fribourg (Switzerland). He was hired by the Museum of Ethnology in Vienna but soon started to commute between Vienna and Prague. From 1945 onwards his sole place of residence was Prague where he became a catalyst for the creation of Korean studies in Czechoslovakia. He authored, in German, a history of Korea which was published in Czech; he translated and edited hundreds of pages of Korean literature into German and Czech and vice versa; and he wrote numerous articles for the general public in support of the Korean independence and the emerging separate North Korean state, as well as academic papers on Korean and East Asian history and culture.
As Han Hŭng-su belonged to the numerous Korean intellectuals who supported North Korea, he returned to Pyongyang. During the subsequent four years he managed to become the highest ranking person in charge of all North Korean museums and historical sights. But just like many others who opted for the North his swift rise turned into a sudden fall when he was purged near the end of the Korean War. And despite all his former activities and his considerable bulk of publications, he ended up a “forgotten man”, not only in both Koreas but also in Central Europe.
Jaroslav Olša, jr. has served as Czech ambassador in Seoul since 2008. He graduated in Asian and African Studies from Charles University in Prague and has worked in the diplomatic service for almost two decades. He served as his country‘s ambassador to Zimbabwe (2000–2006). He has published on African art and history, most notably the book Dějiny Zimbabwe, Zambie a Malawi (History of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, 2008, with Otakar Hulec). One of these was published in Korean as 짐바브웨 현대미술전″ (2010). Most recently he prepared an exhibition and edited a book 1901 photographs of Seoul by Enrique Stanko Vráz and other early Czech travellers´ views of Korea – 1901년 체코인 브라즈의 서울 방문. 체코 여행기들의 서울 이야기 (2011, with Kang Hong Bin).
Lecture Video: Christianity, American Missionaries, and Korean Immigration to the United States, 1903 to 1915
Lecturer: Prof. Wayne Patterson
The first ship to bring Korean immigrants to Hawai'i, carrying 56 men, 21 women, and 25 children (102 people), arrived in Hawaii on January 13, 1903. Over the next few years, more than 7,000 Korean immigrants arrived in Hawai'i to meet growing labor needs. This presentation will examine the role of American Protestant missionaries and Christianity more generally as they impacted the process of Korean immigration to and settlement in the United States/Hawaii during the early part of the twentieth century. Spanning developments in both Korea and the United States, it looks specifically at seven issues: direct missionary support for emigration, indirect missionary support for emigration, missionary opposition to emigration, the linkage between Christianity and emigration, Christianity on the sugar plantations (the tonghoe), Christianity on the sugar plantations (Korean churches and pastors), and Christianity and factionalism. It suggests ways in which events in Korea contributed to shaping the development of the Korean community in America.
Wayne Patterson is professor of history at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. He received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and his graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including The Korean Frontier in America; Immigration to Hawaii, 1896-1910 (1988) and The Ilse: First-Generation Korean Immigrants in Hawaii, 1903-1973 (2000). His most recent book is In the Service of His Korean Majesty: William Nelson Lovatt, the Pusan Customs, and Sino-Korean Relations, 1876-1888 (2012). He has been a visiting professor of Korean history at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, etc. as well as at Ewha, Korea and Yonsei Universities in Korea. He is teaching in the 2013 Korean Studies Summer Program at Sogang University.
Just to remind you of our very popular Dong Gang River Rafting Tour this Saturday. Follow the link for more info.
Also a heads-up on two of our newest excursions on September 4 and September 15. Deadline to register is just around the corner, so hurry!
And last but not least, our very own trip to China for the Chuseok holidays! This is not the typical commercial trip you would get with a regular travel agency, and we have thought much to make a good trip to suit your leisurely time. Hence the steeper price range... But do take a look at our itinerary, and call Va Kang's Travels at 02-3274-0888 if you would like to know more about this trip.
As part of the 6th Seoul Open Week, Seoul Metropolitan is giving a free tour in English on 2013 Seoul Open Night, falling on Aug 31. Specifically for foreigners residing/visiting in Seoul. For more info, click "Program" in the following link
and apply to participate via this link
OK, that's about it - when Brother Anthony comes back he will give you a briefing of our activities in more detail. (A detailed briefing...??)
In the meanwhile, email us or give us a call for inquiries. For office hours and contact info, refer to our homepage at www.raskb.com
from the RASKB Office
Lecturer: Prof. Tatiana Gabroussenko (Korea University)
Among the most persistent mobilising campaigns of the last fifteen years in the DPRK’s mass media is the sǒn’gun, or “military first” concept, which implies the primacy of the military in all spheres of North Korean life. Sǒn’gun propaganda is promoted through a wide variety of media and narrative forms.
One of the central themes of sǒn’gun propaganda is glorification of yǒngye kunin, or “heroic/honourable veterans”. This term is usually applied to military personnel who have passed away or became handicapped following industrial accidents at their workplaces during military service. North Korean propaganda equates such cases with combat-related heroic acts and demands that civilians demonstrate similar 'self-sacrifice' in response to such stories. One of the more peculiar forms of this is the practice of proposing to an invalid “honourable veteran” and becoming his or her spouse-cum-nurse, often without ever seeing the future husband/wife before marriage.
Tonight’s lecture presents the specifics of the romantic narrative of yǒngye kunin in officially endorsed North Korean literature, art and cinematography and considers the correlation of this propaganda line with the observable social situation and national identity of the DPRK.
Tatiana Gabroussenko graduated from the Far Eastern State University (ex-USSR), where she majored in Korean history. She obtained her Ph.D. in East Asian Studies at the Australian National University. She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer in Korean Studies at University of New South Wales in Australia and an Assistant Professor in North Korean Studies at the Faculty of Korean Studies at Korea University, Korea. She is the author of a number of articles devoted to contemporary North Korean culture, literature and propaganda. Her most recent book, Soldiers on the Cultural Front: Developments in the Early History of North Korea Literature and Literary Policy, was published by University of Hawai’i Press in 2010. The book has been included in the Choice annual list of Outstanding Academic Titles in 2011.
Lecturer: Prof. David A. Mason
What is really "Korean" about Korean Buddhism? What are the distinctive characteristics of its traditional and modern forms, in artworks, beliefs and practices? And how might those features influence its current “globalization” efforts? What role might they play in international Buddhists’ opinion of, and desire to participate in and practice with, the major Korean Buddhist orders?
These are huge questions that could be discussed for years, but in today’s review-lecture Professor Mason will at least introduce some of their factors and parameters, and answers to them according to his own point of view developed over decades of involvement with and study of Korea’s own version of the grand global Buddhist traditions. Tangible factors like stone pagodas, mountain-spirit shrines, the new TempleStay program and temples perched high on slopes will be reviewed, along with doctrinal and organizational factors such as unification, harmonization, fortune-seeking, sites sacred to particular Bodhisattvas and the strong ideology of national defense.
He will show some photos of examples of what he is talking about, to the extent that time-constraints allow. There will be a brief time for questions from the audience about these very interesting issues.
David A. Mason is currently a Professor of Korean Cultural Tourism at Gyeongju University, and researcher on the religious characteristics of Korea's mountains. A native citizen of the United States, of Michigan, he has been living in South Korea for 29 years now, always following his passionate interest in visiting historic spiritual sites – particularly its Buddhist monasteries. He was involved in the creation of the TempleStay program in 2001-4, while working for the national Ministry of Culture and Tourism. He now serves as the Honorary Ambassador of the Baekdu-daegan Mountain Range, and is a frequent tour-guide.
He earned a Masters' Degree in the History of Korean Religions from Yonsei University, and has authored and edited nine books on Korean culture and tourism so-far. His popular website on sacred Korean mountains and mountain-spirits can be found at www.san-shin.org