The Royal Asiatic Society Korea (RAS Korea) is the world’s oldest Korean studies organization, designed to introduce people to the beauty of this land in all its many aspects. It is also arguably the most active international cultural and social organization in Korea.

Its activities are focused on a regular program of lectures and cultural excursions, as well as special interest groups and books, including the annual journal Transactions.

RAS Korea has several hundred active members in Korea and more lifetime and overseas members worldwide. The society, a nonprofit organization, provides both academic and social offerings for better understanding Korea, with priorities placed on accurate insights and pleasurable means of learning. Our members are from all walks of life, all nationalities, all ages, all professions. Anyone with a sense of adventure and a bit of intellectual curiosity is welcome.

Membership is affordable and the community is welcoming!

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RAS Korea was born in June 1900 as a branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. RAS Korea has been meeting and growing ever since, only ceasing to function during the Pacific War (1941-5) and the Korean War (1950-53).

Read more about the early years of the RAS Korea, or the RAS Korea’s first century:
‘The Early Years of RAS Korea: 1900 – 1920’ written by Brother Anthony of Taizé
‘The First One Hundred Years of RAS Korea: 1900 – 2000 written by Horace G. Underwood, Litt D.
‘The Founding of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea’ from the official records


The Emblem of RAS Korea

The emblem of RAS Korea expresses its purpose through Chinese characters: 槿  (top right),   (bottom right),   (top left),   (bottom left), pronounced Kŭn Yŏk Ch’ŏng A (Geun Yeok Cheong A). The first two characters mean “the hibiscus region,” referring to Korea, while the other two are “scholarly education.” We might say, then, “Promote Scholarly Studies of Korea.”



  • Steven L. Shields, President (email:
  • Suzanne Crowder Han, Vice-President
  • Hank Morris, Treasurer
  • Yonjoo Hong, Secretary