search close
Sat, November 27, 2021 | 16:58
Postcards Home from Korea
For many Americans, the holiday season has begun. Millions of people - despite the pandemic - will travel throughout the United States to celebrate the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas with their families and friends. Considering this is the 400th article of this series and the start of the holiday season, I thought it would be nice to look at postcards sent by American...
Empress Myeongseong's funeral procession: Part 2
The funeral procession made its way through the city and out the East Gate where it slowly but steadily made its final push to the tomb site. As mentioned yesterday, the foreign representatives did not accompany the funeral procession so their accounts to their respective governments lacked any description of the procession's progress through the city and instead enclosed cli...
Empress Myeongseong's funeral procession: Part 1
In the fall of 1897, daily sacrifices were made at Deoksu Palace, officials - in mourning dress - were familiar sights in the streets, and the songs of the laborers were heard day and night as they constructed the items needed for the imperial funeral of Empress Myeongseong (Queen Min), who had been assassinated in her palace just a little over two years earlier.
110 years of discomfort, danger on Korea's buses
Everywhere you look in Korea, there are buses. In 2018, there were about 47,500 buses and they carried 5.97 billion total passengers in 2019. These figures are truly impressive, but not overly surprising, considering how Korea's bus system is very modern and convenient, relatively comfortable (there is even free Wi-Fi) and inexpensive. For many, buses are an indispensable par...
Perfect and poor teeth in Joseon
When Harmon V.S. Peake, an American missionary, visited Fusan (modern Busan) in 1891, he seemingly took great pleasure in describing in his diary what he perceived as the backwardness of his Korean hosts but grudgingly described one young Korean lady as having “sparkling dark eyes, smiling, cherry lips and perfect teeth.”
Thai shipwreck surviors met with kindness
One morning in early November 1880, the residents of Yeondo - a small island off the coast of Gunsan - were surprised to discover a large number of foreigners struggling ashore from a sinking ship. They were the survivors of the Kim Yuen Tae (or Kim Yuen Tye) - a 329-ton Siamese (Thai) barque.
Ghostly encounters in Korea's schools of the 1990s
In the early 1990s, ghost stories involving schools were very popular in Korea. It isn't clear how these stories spread so quickly and so widely - the internet was still relatively new - but undoubtedly they were gleaned from newspapers, magazines, radio programs and even TV (although there weren't many channels to choose from back then).
Haunted Jongno
Jongno is a very popular and vibrant area in downtown Seoul. In fact, Timeout magazine recently named one part of it the third “coolest neighbourhood” in the world and described it as “historic, eccentric and very unpretentious.” However, up until the mid-1990s, it had a much seedier atmosphere - especially at night - and was reputed to be haunted.
[Joseon Images] The haunting of Gyeonghui Palace
Visiting a Korean palace in the early morning or late afternoon - when there are few, if any, visitors - is a haunting experience. With an active imagination, whispers from the past - carried by subtle breezes - can almost be heard and shadows seemingly move as you pass by open doorways and gates. It isn't surprising that many of the palaces are haunted not only by violent hi...
Joseon in mourning: Where the dead receive more consideration than the living
Korea was once described as “a land where the dead seem to receive more careful consideration than the living and where they occupy the most pleasing of all sites and surroundings.” This description may have been true, for the most part, especially when the deceased were affluent men, but for the poor and those without family, it was a land of ignoble endings.