Lecture Videos with Blogs

RASKB 2012 Garden Party Pictures on Facebook

Pictures from the June 9th, 2012 RASKB Garden Party have just been posted to Facebook. All of the pictures were taken by RASKB member Henry Hwang. You can follow this link to find the pictures. If you have not already done so, please like the Facebook page and check out some of our other pictures and stories there.

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Royal Asiatic Society explores Korea’s hidden depths by Korea.net

Here is a nice write-up about the Royal Asiatic Society from Korea.net. There is a lot of great information about the history of the organization and many RAS members are quoted.

Please share this article with your friends so more people can learn about RAS and become members.

For over a century, the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch has gathered
various foreign residents of Korea -- missionaries, diplomats, Peace
Corps volunteers, and various other adventurers.

Today, the RASKB offers a variety of activities to its members and the general public,
including Korean Studies lectures, excursions within the city or to the
far reaches of the Korean Peninsula, and special interest groups in
photography and Korean literature.

“At heart, the RASKB is dedicated to sharing Korea's culture and history,”
says Jennifer Flinn, RASKB secretary. “We work to help bring greater
public knowledge of this country's amazing past and present so that more
people will learn about and enjoy all Korea has to offer.”

To continue reading, please click here.

American’s lifelong love of Korean music

A very intersting account of RAS member Alan Heyman's love of Korean music and how he came know it. Be sure to read the article fro the Korea Herald if you already haven't done so.


Join RAS on Facebook

I just wanted to let everyone know that there is an RASKB Facebook Group and an RASKB Facebook page. Both are updated regularly and there is a lot of good information. The Facebook group will give you a great way to interact with fellow members and the page will be updated with important news and pictures.

Please join both and be part of the discussion and the action. Here is the link and please tell other people as well:



RAS Lecture Video: Rewriting Korean History by Professor In-ho Lee

Rewriting Korean History by Professor In-ho Lee
Filmed by Korea.com

In this 2006 lecture, which looks at Korean history from the late nineteenth century to the present, Dr. In-ho Lee discusses the attempts by leftist historians to re-write Korean history from their point of view, one in which the U.S. is to blame for Korea's post-liberation trials. She places much blame for this on the anti-communist education of the Park Chung-hee government and its refusal to intellectually engage with communism, which she argues made a generation of young people susceptible to romanticized views of North Korea and communism.

Born and raised in Korea, Professor In-ho Lee received a B.A. in history from Wellesley, an A.M. in Soviet Union Regional Studies from Radcliffe, and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard. She taught history at Barnard, Columbia, and Rutgers before returning to Korea in 1972. She continued her teaching career at Korea University and then at Seoul National University, and laid the foundation for Russian and Soviet studies in Korea by launching the Korean Association for Russian Studies and founding the Russian Studies Institute at Seoul National University.

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Interested in Korean History During Late 19th Century? Check This Out!

RAS’s Robert Fouser just posted an excellent collection of letters by Yu Kil-jun to his teacher Edward Sylvester Morse on the RAS Facebook page. I really enjoyed reading all of the letters and wanted to bring them to the attention of everyone else not on Facebook.

While reading history, it is easy to forget that real people—people like us— actually lived through those events and fought for the changes that we now take for granted. These letters give the reader a personal glimpse into late nineteenth century Korea (Joseon) and the political and social changes taking place there.

Specifically, I found Yu Kil-jun’s letters after his return home in 1885 to be the most interesting. These letters included a list of reforms of the government as well as frank descriptions of the leadership and political environment.

Please check out the letters and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.



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RAS Lecture Video: What does China want with North Korea and what can be done about it?

If you missed the popular lecture on North Korea by Professor Andrei Lankov, you now have a chance to watch it. The lecture is posted as a video and audio only file.

Don’t forget to browse through the upcoming lectures and tours. You never know what you will learn or who you will meet at a Royal Asiatic Society event.

Audio only

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Upcoming excursions: Geumsan-sa temple and Shaman ritual for good fishing and safety at sea

Here is some information about two upcoming excursions: one to Geumsan-sa temple, and one to the sea off Incheon to witness a Shaman ritual for good fishing and safety at sea; note that the deadline for registration is today.

Geumsan-sa temple and its surroundings
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 8:00am to 7:30pm
Destination: Gimje, North Jeolla Province
Cost: W70,000 for members and W84,000 for nonmembers
Tour Leader: Brother Anthony

This excursion will take us to Geumsan-sa temple near Gimje, where there is a lot to see; then we will visit the last remaining maker of “onggi” pottery in a nearby village where Catholics hid and made onggi during the persecutions of the 19th century. An Si-seong is still young and his onggi are brilliant combinations of tradition and innovation. Finally, on the way back, we will visit the site of a destroyed temple, Mireuk-sa, which was the largest temple in the Baekje kingdom and the ruined pagoda of which is still the oldest and tallest pagoda surviving in Korea.

For more information about the locations we will be visiting and how to register, see here.

Tour to Shaman Ritual for Good Fishing and Safety at Sea
Date: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 7:30am to 6:30pm
Destination: Off the coast of Incheon
Cost: W55,000 for members, W66,000 for non-members
Tour Leader: Fred Jeremy Seligson and Sue Bae

On June 24th, RAS members will have the unique opportunity of seeing a Shaman ritual for good fishing and safety at sea performed annually by Madame Kim, Kum-hwa, one of Korea’s most famous shamans, who as been designated by the Korean government as a Human Cultural Treasure. Known for her especial charm and charisma, her performance of the rite is regarded as being the most traditionally authentic in the Hwanghae Province style, the province where she was born and where she came from during the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.

The tour will be conducted by FJ Seligson who is writing a book on Korean Dragon Dreams and another including Shaman Dreams, and Sue Bae who has helped lead this tour several times with the original leader Mr. Alan Heyman. Sue will be available to help translate questions for the shaman staff.

Tour members will be taken by bus from Seoul to Yonan Wharf in Incheon where they will board the boat and head out to sea for some hours where the rite will be held.

To take advantage of this unique opportunity, and to learn more about the Bae Yeonshin Gut (Rite for Good Fishing and Safety at Sea), see here.

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Lecture on the last independent American adviser to the Joseon Dynasty

Tomorrow night's RASKB lecture, by Mr. Kent Davy, is titled:
'Yankee Knight Errant at the Court of the Emperor Manque: William Franklin Sands and King Gojong in the "Korean Cockpit"'

For those interested in modern Korean history, the name William Franklin Sands may be familiar; he served in the U.S. embassy at the turn of the last century and then became the last independent American adviser to the Joseon Dynasty. In these positions, he was able to see, at first hand, the penultimate chapter of the Joseon Dynasty, and his observations form the basis of his fascinating book 'Undiplomatic Memories' (which is available in reprint from the RASKB).

This lecture will be based on previously unseen documentary materials in Sands' archived papers, including numerous personal letters and photographs and the draft of a manuscript about Korea, and promises to open a window on the close of the first chapter in US-Korean relations.

One interesting tidbit: Sands was eventually replaced by the Japanese-appointed American advisor Durham Stevens, who was assassinated by Korean activists in San Francisco in 1908.

The lecture will take place Tuesday, June 12, 2012 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Second floor Residents’ Lounge at the Somerset Palace, and is 5,000 won for non-members and free for members. More information about the lecture can be found here.

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Upcoming excursions to Pocheon and Gunsan

Here is some information about upcoming excursions to Pocheon and Gunsan; note that the deadline for registration is today.

Pocheon Makgeoli Excursion
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 8:30am to 7:00pm
Destination: Pocheon, Gyeonggi-do
Cost: 75,000 won for members and 88,000 won for non-members
Tour Leader: Jennifer Flinn

The city of Pocheon in rural northeastern Gyeonggi Province has long been famous for its mineral spring waters which lend a unique taste to the locally produced makgeolli (unrefined rice alcohol), tofu, and kimchi. This food and drink-oriented day excursion will take a leisurely stroll through some of Pocheon’s most famous spots, including a chance to sample its potent potables.

We will begin by visiting Baesangmyeon Brewery and Gallery Sansawon, a museum attached to the brewery grounds and dedicated to Korea’s brewing culture. Our visit will include a two-hour hands-on makgeolli brewing class where we will have the chance to make our own, and a chance to sample a wide variety of liquors and foods produced by the brewery.

After spending the morning at Sansawon, we’ll head to lunch in the Idong area and stop by the local Idong Brewery, one of the most famous in Korea. Following lunch, we'll move on to Cheonju Lake and Pocheon Art Valley, a unique cultural space created out of an abandoned stone quarry.

For more information on the tour and on how to register for it, see here.

Old Gunsan: Exploring the Remains of Colonial Korea
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 8:00am to 8:00pm
Destination(s): Gunsan, North Jeolla Province
Cost: 60,000 won for members and 72,000 won for nonmembers.
Tour Leader: Robert Koehler

Once a small fishing village on Korea’s West Sea coast, Gunsan developed into one of Korea’s most important ports after it was opened to international trade in 1899. During the colonial era, Japanese traders, merchants and farmers settled en masse in Gunsan and the nearby Honam Plain, Korea’s most fertile agricultural region, and the city became especially important as the port of exit for Korean rice exports to mainland Japan. The Japanese left an indelible imprint on the city, and while the Japanese left following Korea’s liberation from colonial rule in 1945, their presence can still be felt in the city’s exotic historic architecture.

In this tour, we will visit some of Gunsan’s historic colonial architecture and learn a bit about Japanese colonial rule in Korea. The sites we will visit include the spectacular Japanese Edo-style temple of Dongguksa, founded in 1913 and Korea’s sole remaining Japanese temple that still functions as a Buddhist temple; the grand old Hirotsu House, a palatial wooden Japanese mansion featured in Korean period films and studied by both Korean and Japanese architecture scholars; old Gunsan Customs House; the old Bank of Choson Gunsan Branch Building, built in 1923 and for a time one of the largest buildings outside of Seoul; the newly opened Gunsan Modern History Museum; the old Kumamoto Villa, the French-designed summer home once belonging to one of the colonial era’s largest Japanese landlords; and the site of the old Shimatani Plantation, where venerable Korean stone pagodas and lanterns and an imposing old storage house stand testament to the colonial plundering of Korea’s cultural heritage. For lunch, we will have Chinese food at Binhaewon, a 60-year-old eatery near Gunsan’s old waterfront. Time permitting, we will also drop by Lee Sun Dang, Korea’s oldest continuously operating bakery.

The latter two stops can be seen halfway down this recent blog post by our guide, while more photos of Gunsan's colonial era architecture can be seen here and here. For more information on the tour and on how to register for it, see here.

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Contact Us

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehak-ro 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

Office is normally open as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays:
                                   10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please call before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796

Email - royalasiatickorea@gmail.com

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