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Tue, December 7, 2021 | 15:02
Coming to the rescue in 1884: Part 2
On Dec. 5 and 6, 1884, Seoul was a sea of chaos. As Captain Ferdinand H. Morsel and his two companions, Captain Fritz W. Schultz and Ernst Laporte, made their way warily through the streets they were alarmed at how violent the “Land of the Morning Calm” had become.
Customs officers taking on a coup in 1884: Part 1
At around five in the morning on Dec. 4, 1884, Capt. Ferdinand H. Morsel (a 39-year-old German national working for the Korean Customs at Jemulpo [modern Incheon] as a boat officer) noticed a detachment of Japanese soldiers and “many Japanese civilians, under arms, left for Seoul.”
Empress Myeongseong's Funeral procession: Part 3
On Nov. 22, 1897, Empress Myeongseong was finally laid to rest in her tomb just outside of Seoul. The Independent - a newspaper published in Seoul - declared that the funeral was a “remarkable event [that] will never be forgotten by those who took part in it in any capacity.” It added, “We are glad the great function passed off without any hitch and that the weather was so fa...
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).