Life Outside the Gates of Yongsan Garrison

Saturday, March 23, 2019 -
3:00pm to 5:30pm
Samgakji, Seoul
W20,000 for members; W25,000 for non-members
Tour Leader: 
Dr. Daniel Oh

Life Outside the Gates of Yongsan Garrison 

Date & Time:      Saturday, March 23, 2019, 3:00 pm 
Venue:                Samgakji area, west of the in northern downtown Seoul
Meeting Point:   Exit 9 of Samgakji Station, aboveground
                           (Line #6 or Line #4; Line #6 being closer to Exit 9)
Cost:                   W20,000 for RASKB members; W25,000 for non-members
                                          (cost of optional dinner/drinks not included)
Tour Leader:      Daniel Oh, Ph.D.

Today, Samgakji area is an unassuming yet sizable intersection at the center of Yongsan-gu. Urban morphologically, this intersection sits along the main axis of Seoul that connects Gyeongbok Palace with the rest of Korean Peninsula. Such significance of the junction is not reinforced with urban density or architecture due to an active military base called Yongsan Garrison.

According to historical records, Samgakji area was a low-lying area prone to flooding but offered flat grounds for foreign military. Situated just outside the city wall of Seoul and strategically located with a close proximity to Han River, Yongsan Garrison has offered an ideal location for Chinese, Japanese and American militaries. This long history of military occupation provided a steady source of jobs, income and, of course, vice. And these attracted people and businesses which had a profound impact on the urban form and urban development of Yongsan-gu and the City of Seoul.

However, due to dramatic urban transformations that Seoul went through since the early 1980s, the surrounding area of Yongsan Garrison has been altered beyond recognition. Samgakji area is the only neighborhood that still retains a few blocks of buildings and alleys from the 1900s thanks to Korea’s Urban Redevelopment Policy which prevents selling or buying of properties once an area is designated as an Urban Redevelopment District.

Based on real stories and information shared by three individuals through Yongsan Legacy Project, this walking tour is designed to help each participant reconstructing an urban collage of their own. The three people, an MP for USFK, a girl of mixed race and a Korean painter, lived in this neighborhood in the late 1950’s. This is the pivotal period in the history of Yongsan Garrison and Samgakji area since the US military has just established Yongsan Garrison as the USFK HQ. As Americans moved into Yongsan Garrison, buildings from the Japanese Colonial Period had to accommodate the influx of new people from different walks of life chasing dreams of their own.

This walking tour will cover the vicinity of Samgakji junction with exploring the back alleys and a handful of identified buildings built in different eras. This tour includes stops at a local convenient store, a local photo studio and ending in a local jujeom (drinking place) frequented by Korean painters. The tour will last about 2 hours and will be accompanied by photographs and voice recordings via your smart phone. Prior to the walking tour, it is highly recommended to visit Yongsan Gallery located in Camp Kim which opens Monday through Friday, 10am to 4:30pm.

Daniel Oh is a Professor in the Department of Architecture of Korea University. He studied at UC Berkeley and Harvard and previously worked in Hong Kong, London and New York, before coming to Korea in 2010. He is co-founder of Yongsan Legacy, a digital archiving project to collect memories of the rapidly disappearing Yongsan Garrison.


By Thursday, March 21, 2019, please register your RSVP for the "Samgakji Walking Tour," Saturday, March 23, 2019, by simply clicking here.
                         Please register one RSVP at a time.
☞Payment to be remitted to the following account:
         SHINHAN BANK ACCOUNT # 100-026-383501 (RAS-KB)


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 -

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