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RASKB Activities in August and September, 2012

Dear members and friends of RASKB,

I hope you are enjoying a restful summer? Here in Seoul the heatwave seems set to continue. The RAS does not organize lectures in August, since many are away from Seoul if not Korea. Please note that our first lecture in September (by Prof. Robert Provine on early recordings of Korean music) will be held on Wednesday September 12, and not on Tuesday Sept. 11 as previously announced. The room is not available on the Tuesday. Prof. Province has just retired as Professor in the School of Music at the University of Maryland. Traditional Korean music is one of his major areas of interest.

Our other September lecture will be:

The Decision, or War in Korea: Revelations from the Russian Archives
Lecturer: Kathryn Weathersby.
Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 7:30pm
Dr. Weathersby was the first Western historian to examine Soviet documents on Korea, and she will describe what Russian archives reveal about when and why Kim Il Sung, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong decided to use military force to bring all of Korea under communist control.

The few summer tours that we organize are mostly designed to take you to cooler places with the whole family. See below for the detailed program.

For fuller details, please consult our home page.
I look forward to seeing you all in September.
With all my best wishes,

Brother Anthony
President, RASKB

Our forthcoming excursions:

Danyang, Gosu Caves and Chungju Lake
Sunday, August 5
Leader: Sue Bae

Seoul Museum of History and the Agricultural Museum
Saturday, August 18
Leader: F. Jeremy Seligson

Dong-gang river rafting
Sunday, August 26
Leader: Sue Bae

Cheongpyeong Lake
Saturday, September 1,
Leader: Sue Bae

South Jeolla Province: Land of tea and exile
Saturday-Sunday September 8-9
Leader: Brother Anthony

Saturday, September 15
Leader: Tobias Lehmann

Daehang-no walking tour
Saturday, September 22
Leader; Robert Fouser

Suwon walking tour
Sunday, September 23
Leader: Peter Bartholomew

Seochon walking tour
Saturday September 29
Leader: Bob Fouser

Andong & Hahoe Village
Saturday-Sunday, October 6-7
Leader: Jennifer Flinn

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RASKB 2012 Garden Party Pictures on Facebook

Pictures from the June 9th, 2012 RASKB Garden Party have just been posted to Facebook. All of the pictures were taken by RASKB member Henry Hwang. You can follow this link to find the pictures. If you have not already done so, please like the Facebook page and check out some of our other pictures and stories there.

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Royal Asiatic Society explores Korea’s hidden depths by Korea.net

Here is a nice write-up about the Royal Asiatic Society from Korea.net. There is a lot of great information about the history of the organization and many RAS members are quoted.

Please share this article with your friends so more people can learn about RAS and become members.

For over a century, the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch has gathered
various foreign residents of Korea -- missionaries, diplomats, Peace
Corps volunteers, and various other adventurers.

Today, the RASKB offers a variety of activities to its members and the general public,
including Korean Studies lectures, excursions within the city or to the
far reaches of the Korean Peninsula, and special interest groups in
photography and Korean literature.

“At heart, the RASKB is dedicated to sharing Korea's culture and history,”
says Jennifer Flinn, RASKB secretary. “We work to help bring greater
public knowledge of this country's amazing past and present so that more
people will learn about and enjoy all Korea has to offer.”

To continue reading, please click here.

American’s lifelong love of Korean music

A very intersting account of RAS member Alan Heyman's love of Korean music and how he came know it. Be sure to read the article fro the Korea Herald if you already haven't done so.


Join RAS on Facebook

I just wanted to let everyone know that there is an RASKB Facebook Group and an RASKB Facebook page. Both are updated regularly and there is a lot of good information. The Facebook group will give you a great way to interact with fellow members and the page will be updated with important news and pictures.

Please join both and be part of the discussion and the action. Here is the link and please tell other people as well:



RAS Lecture Video: Rewriting Korean History by Professor In-ho Lee

Rewriting Korean History by Professor In-ho Lee
Filmed by Korea.com

In this 2006 lecture, which looks at Korean history from the late nineteenth century to the present, Dr. In-ho Lee discusses the attempts by leftist historians to re-write Korean history from their point of view, one in which the U.S. is to blame for Korea's post-liberation trials. She places much blame for this on the anti-communist education of the Park Chung-hee government and its refusal to intellectually engage with communism, which she argues made a generation of young people susceptible to romanticized views of North Korea and communism.

Born and raised in Korea, Professor In-ho Lee received a B.A. in history from Wellesley, an A.M. in Soviet Union Regional Studies from Radcliffe, and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard. She taught history at Barnard, Columbia, and Rutgers before returning to Korea in 1972. She continued her teaching career at Korea University and then at Seoul National University, and laid the foundation for Russian and Soviet studies in Korea by launching the Korean Association for Russian Studies and founding the Russian Studies Institute at Seoul National University.

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Interested in Korean History During Late 19th Century? Check This Out!

RAS’s Robert Fouser just posted an excellent collection of letters by Yu Kil-jun to his teacher Edward Sylvester Morse on the RAS Facebook page. I really enjoyed reading all of the letters and wanted to bring them to the attention of everyone else not on Facebook.

While reading history, it is easy to forget that real people—people like us— actually lived through those events and fought for the changes that we now take for granted. These letters give the reader a personal glimpse into late nineteenth century Korea (Joseon) and the political and social changes taking place there.

Specifically, I found Yu Kil-jun’s letters after his return home in 1885 to be the most interesting. These letters included a list of reforms of the government as well as frank descriptions of the leadership and political environment.

Please check out the letters and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.



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RAS Lecture Video: What does China want with North Korea and what can be done about it?

If you missed the popular lecture on North Korea by Professor Andrei Lankov, you now have a chance to watch it. The lecture is posted as a video and audio only file.

Don’t forget to browse through the upcoming lectures and tours. You never know what you will learn or who you will meet at a Royal Asiatic Society event.

Audio only

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Upcoming excursions: Geumsan-sa temple and Shaman ritual for good fishing and safety at sea

Here is some information about two upcoming excursions: one to Geumsan-sa temple, and one to the sea off Incheon to witness a Shaman ritual for good fishing and safety at sea; note that the deadline for registration is today.

Geumsan-sa temple and its surroundings
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 8:00am to 7:30pm
Destination: Gimje, North Jeolla Province
Cost: W70,000 for members and W84,000 for nonmembers
Tour Leader: Brother Anthony

This excursion will take us to Geumsan-sa temple near Gimje, where there is a lot to see; then we will visit the last remaining maker of “onggi” pottery in a nearby village where Catholics hid and made onggi during the persecutions of the 19th century. An Si-seong is still young and his onggi are brilliant combinations of tradition and innovation. Finally, on the way back, we will visit the site of a destroyed temple, Mireuk-sa, which was the largest temple in the Baekje kingdom and the ruined pagoda of which is still the oldest and tallest pagoda surviving in Korea.

For more information about the locations we will be visiting and how to register, see here.

Tour to Shaman Ritual for Good Fishing and Safety at Sea
Date: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 7:30am to 6:30pm
Destination: Off the coast of Incheon
Cost: W55,000 for members, W66,000 for non-members
Tour Leader: Fred Jeremy Seligson and Sue Bae

On June 24th, RAS members will have the unique opportunity of seeing a Shaman ritual for good fishing and safety at sea performed annually by Madame Kim, Kum-hwa, one of Korea’s most famous shamans, who as been designated by the Korean government as a Human Cultural Treasure. Known for her especial charm and charisma, her performance of the rite is regarded as being the most traditionally authentic in the Hwanghae Province style, the province where she was born and where she came from during the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.

The tour will be conducted by FJ Seligson who is writing a book on Korean Dragon Dreams and another including Shaman Dreams, and Sue Bae who has helped lead this tour several times with the original leader Mr. Alan Heyman. Sue will be available to help translate questions for the shaman staff.

Tour members will be taken by bus from Seoul to Yonan Wharf in Incheon where they will board the boat and head out to sea for some hours where the rite will be held.

To take advantage of this unique opportunity, and to learn more about the Bae Yeonshin Gut (Rite for Good Fishing and Safety at Sea), see here.

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Lecture on the last independent American adviser to the Joseon Dynasty

Tomorrow night's RASKB lecture, by Mr. Kent Davy, is titled:
'Yankee Knight Errant at the Court of the Emperor Manque: William Franklin Sands and King Gojong in the "Korean Cockpit"'

For those interested in modern Korean history, the name William Franklin Sands may be familiar; he served in the U.S. embassy at the turn of the last century and then became the last independent American adviser to the Joseon Dynasty. In these positions, he was able to see, at first hand, the penultimate chapter of the Joseon Dynasty, and his observations form the basis of his fascinating book 'Undiplomatic Memories' (which is available in reprint from the RASKB).

This lecture will be based on previously unseen documentary materials in Sands' archived papers, including numerous personal letters and photographs and the draft of a manuscript about Korea, and promises to open a window on the close of the first chapter in US-Korean relations.

One interesting tidbit: Sands was eventually replaced by the Japanese-appointed American advisor Durham Stevens, who was assassinated by Korean activists in San Francisco in 1908.

The lecture will take place Tuesday, June 12, 2012 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Second floor Residents’ Lounge at the Somerset Palace, and is 5,000 won for non-members and free for members. More information about the lecture can be found here.

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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 open Monday through Friday from 10 to 5 but we are short staffed and there are meetings elsewhere often: please call or email before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796
Email - royalasiatickorea@gmail.com

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