RAS-KB: The Blog
Roger Shepherd discusses his travels throughout the Baekdu Daegan during this RAS Korea lecture.
Her Majesty’s Ambassador Scott Wightman's lecture to the Royal Asiatic Society Korea.
Some highlights from our recent excursion to Cheorwon. Special thanks to David Gemeinhardt who made the video.
A video showing some highlights from our 2014 Lunar New Year excursion to Seorak-san. The video clips were taken by David Gemeinhardt.
Read the newsletter text below or click here to view the formated version if you didn't receive it in your email.
Dear Members and Friends of RAS Korea
A very happy New Year to you all! I hope that 2014 will be a year of peace, although the news is hardly reassuring, whether it be the recent events in North Korea, the provocative attitudes of the Japanese leadership, or the deep divisions and conflicts constantly manifested in South Korean society. But we in the RAS will continue to seek a deeper understanding of and affection for Korea during the coming year, in whatever ways we can.
Our program of lectures remains the most popular of our activities. They will continue, with lectures on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays in January because of the upcoming Lunar New Year at the end of the month.
One challenge facing us is the reduced interest in our excursions. Of course, the winter cold makes travel less appealing and for the first weeks of the year we will offer very few excursions. In recent months, members have naturally expressed disappointment when, after signing up for a tour, they have been notified just a day or two before the excursion is scheduled that it has been cancelled for lack of participants. We cannot usually afford to run tours at a loss, of course, and hiring a bus costs quite a lot. The only solution we can find is to insist that our members should register for an excursion rather earlier than they have been doing. We have decided that the Tuesday afternoon before a weekend bus-excursion will be the deadline for reaching the minimum number (we usually need a minimum of 8 paid-up registrations to pay for the bus). I would like to encourage those of you interested in a particular excursion to actively recruit some friends to accompany you. This does not apply to walking visits within Seoul, of course, where no bus is required and there is no minimum number.
Our other activities will continue, notably the Reading Group and the Business & Culture Club, with the monthly visits to the National Museum resuming in March. A Colloquium for people engaged professionally in Korean Studies using English has been launched under the auspices of the RAS. We also very much hope that a regular viewing and discussion of Korean movies can begin soon. What else might we do? An art-gallery group visiting interesting exhibitions? A tea group?
You will see that we list only a small number of Sponsors. We would be most grateful if more companies and organizations were willing to support our activities. Perhaps some of you reading this letter might see a possibility of sponsorship, which can take many forms? We are more than willing to discuss details with any potential donor / sponsor.
The most important source of income is membership dues, of course, and it is a great help if you can introduce the RAS to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to join us. To help this, we have decided that any member can invite a friend who is not a member to one lecture without their having to pay; equally, if a friend (or even two) accompanies a member on an excursion once, that friend would pay the member’s price. We would ask you not to invite the same persons more than once, of course! We hope they will decide to become members.
I worry that the administration of memberships might have been neglected during 2012, after Sue Bae retired and before Hong Yonjoo replaced her. If any of you feel that our office did not acknowledge receipt of a payment or act upon it in 2012, especially, please contact our Manager so that she can verify our records and take appropriate action.
Our Office holds a considerable stock of books about Korea for sale, which are listed in our home page. You are always welcome to come and browse when the Manager is there (usually during the day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday).
I have gone on too long. Please write to us with your suggestions or complaints, so that we can provide a better service as we begin our 115th year (1900 having been our first!). I want to express particular thanks to our Council and to Ms. Yonjoo Hong for all the support they provide in so many ways.
Happy New Year!
President, RAS Korea.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014 (nb, 1st Tuesday of the month!), Roger Shepherd: The Baekdu Daegan as One Mountain System (he will also sign copies of his book)
Tuesday, January 21, 2014, Hank Morris: Korea in the Asian Crisis of '97-'98: the 'IMF Crisis in Korea
Tuesday, February 11, 2014, Her Majesty’s Ambassador Scott Wightman: A day in the life of the British Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
Saturday Jan 25 Gwangneung & Sanjeong Lake
Friday, January 31- Saturday, February 1 Special Lunar New Year Adventure in Seoraksan
Business & Culture Club
The next Business & Culture Club meeting will be held on Jan. 14 (and every 2nd Tuesday). Please join the Facebook group or see our home page “Groups” for full details.
Jan. 14 (Tue) at noon
Meeting place: Cafeteria at the B1 of Woori Bank Head Office (12:00~12:20)
Activity: Visit of Woori Bank Museum (12:25~13:10)
Monday, January 6, 7pm. We will be reading "Winter That Year" by Yi Munyol in the library of Jong-no district office just behind the American Embassy. Click to apply to join the Facebook Group for the Reading Club, from where you can download the text of the work.
For full details of all upcoming events see the RAS web page http://www.raskb.com/ or join our Facebook groups.
Lecturer: Kathryn Weathersby
Once China entered the Korean War in October 1950 and saved the DPRK from extinction, the North Korean leadership had little say in how the war was run. The Chinese took over day-to-day management of the fighting and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had the final voice on all important decisions. As a result, when Stalin decided in January 1951 to prolong the war for two to three years to tie down American forces in Korea while the Soviets and East Europeans rearmed, the North Koreans were forced to acquiesce, even though it meant subjecting their country to complete destruction from US bombing. Dr. Weathersby’s presentation will be based on a paper she delivered at a conference at Korea University on 27 July to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.
The Business & Culture Club of RASKB will provide useful and practical opportunities for business people so that they can experience and improve their knowledge of Korean culture and history. The Business & Culture (B&C) club will hold monthly networking sessions to experience a variety of Korean traditional and cultural events such as expert-guided tours, exhibits and cultural performances.
The first meeting will be held at noon on Tuesday November 12, gathering in the Dunkin Donuts beside the main gate to Deoksu-gung. See here for full details.
1. Main activities
A. Business networking with others also interested in Korean culture and history
B. Expert-guided tour to historic sites
C. Participation in exhibits, cultural performances, traditional festivals, and experience activities
D. Exchange the convergence cases of business & culture, cultural events and CSR activities by multinational & Korean companies
E. Date & Time: 12 pm(noon), on the 2nd Tuesday of each month
F. Venue: Dunkin Dounts near Daehanmun gate of Deoksu palace
G. Participation Fee: Free for RASKB members (lunch and entrance fees are not included)
Click here to apply to join the Facebook Group for the Business & Culture Club.
Some pictures and brief videos from our recent excursion to Gilsang-sa and The Korea Furniture Museum. At about the two minute mark, an interview with Mr. Jang, the tour leader, will begin. He will discuss the the excursion and provide some details about the places we visited. Please visit www.raskb.com for more information about upcoming excusions and lectures.
Read more information about the topic here.
The name of the Korean scholar Han Hŭng-su (1909-?) is known to few. Until very recently, many biographical facts as well as the achievements of this capable and hard-working Korean scholar, who in different historical circumstances could have become a noted historian and the leading archaeologist of his nation, were lost in mist as he criss-crossed continents and countries, but everywhere he left traces - in Japan, occupied Korea, Austria, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and North Korea.
His life and work made a lasting impact on South and North Korean archeology as well as on the study of Korean history and literature in Czechoslovakia and the knowledge of Korean literature in German-speaking countries in Europe. Multi-talented scholar, polyglot speaking at least six languages and author of numerous books and articles published in Korean, German, Czech, Polish and English, he is now being slowly rediscovered.
Han Hung-su arrived in Vienna at the age of 27, and he had turned 39 when he was welcomed back to his home country. After two years in Vienna and one in Bern he earned his PhD at Fribourg (Switzerland). He was hired by the Museum of Ethnology in Vienna but soon started to commute between Vienna and Prague. From 1945 onwards his sole place of residence was Prague where he became a catalyst for the creation of Korean studies in Czechoslovakia. He authored, in German, a history of Korea which was published in Czech; he translated and edited hundreds of pages of Korean literature into German and Czech and vice versa; and he wrote numerous articles for the general public in support of the Korean independence and the emerging separate North Korean state, as well as academic papers on Korean and East Asian history and culture.
As Han Hŭng-su belonged to the numerous Korean intellectuals who supported North Korea, he returned to Pyongyang. During the subsequent four years he managed to become the highest ranking person in charge of all North Korean museums and historical sights. But just like many others who opted for the North his swift rise turned into a sudden fall when he was purged near the end of the Korean War. And despite all his former activities and his considerable bulk of publications, he ended up a “forgotten man”, not only in both Koreas but also in Central Europe.
Jaroslav Olša, jr. has served as Czech ambassador in Seoul since 2008. He graduated in Asian and African Studies from Charles University in Prague and has worked in the diplomatic service for almost two decades. He served as his country‘s ambassador to Zimbabwe (2000–2006). He has published on African art and history, most notably the book Dějiny Zimbabwe, Zambie a Malawi (History of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, 2008, with Otakar Hulec). One of these was published in Korean as 짐바브웨 현대미술전″ (2010). Most recently he prepared an exhibition and edited a book 1901 photographs of Seoul by Enrique Stanko Vráz and other early Czech travellers´ views of Korea – 1901년 체코인 브라즈의 서울 방문. 체코 여행기들의 서울 이야기 (2011, with Kang Hong Bin).