Lecture Videos with Blogs

Gilsang-sa Temple Pictures and Interview with Mr. Jang

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.

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Lecture Video: Han Hŭng su: a multi talented but forgotten Korean scholar in Europe

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).

Lecture Video: Christianity, American Missionaries, and Korean Immigration to the United States, 1903 to 1915

Lecturer: Prof. Wayne Patterson

The first ship to bring Korean immigrants to Hawai'i, carrying 56 men, 21 women, and 25 children (102 people), arrived in Hawaii on January 13, 1903. Over the next few years, more than 7,000 Korean immigrants arrived in Hawai'i to meet growing labor needs. This presentation will examine the role of American Protestant missionaries and Christianity more generally as they impacted the process of Korean immigration to and settlement in the United States/Hawaii during the early part of the twentieth century. Spanning developments in both Korea and the United States, it looks specifically at seven issues: direct missionary support for emigration, indirect missionary support for emigration, missionary opposition to emigration, the linkage between Christianity and emigration, Christianity on the sugar plantations (the tonghoe), Christianity on the sugar plantations (Korean churches and pastors), and Christianity and factionalism. It suggests ways in which events in Korea contributed to shaping the development of the Korean community in America.

Wayne Patterson is professor of history at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. He received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and his graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including The Korean Frontier in America; Immigration to Hawaii, 1896-1910 (1988) and The Ilse: First-Generation Korean Immigrants in Hawaii, 1903-1973 (2000). His most recent book is In the Service of His Korean Majesty: William Nelson Lovatt, the Pusan Customs, and Sino-Korean Relations, 1876-1888 (2012). He has been a visiting professor of Korean history at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, etc. as well as at Ewha, Korea and Yonsei Universities in Korea. He is teaching in the 2013 Korean Studies Summer Program at Sogang University.

Reading Club Directions and Map

Directions for the Jongno District Office (종로구청)'s "작은도서관 삼봉서랑" the location for the RAS-KB Reading Club
1. Go out exit 2 of Gwanghwamun station, walk straight and make the first right before the American Embassy.
2. Walk straight, past the little rotary.
3. On your left, you will see the Jongro District office. Right before it there will be the parking lot entrance/exit.
4. Go into the parking lot and walk to the back of the main, building and you will see the entrance as pictured below.
Visit the RAS Reading Club Facebook group here and learn about the next meeting time and book.


RAS Korea Social Media Links

Here is a list of RAS Korea social media sites. Please follow us on each and let others know about us online.

RAS Facebook Page

RAS Facebook Group

RAS Facebook Reading Group

RAS Blog

RAS Twitter

RAS YouTube (lecture videos)

RAS Newsletter Signup Sheet


Upcoming Tours and Excursions

Dear all,

Just to remind you of our very popular Dong Gang River Rafting Tour this Saturday. Follow the link for more info.

Also a heads-up on two of our newest excursions on September 4 and September 15. Deadline to register is just around the corner, so hurry!

And last but not least, our very own trip to China for the Chuseok holidays! This is not the typical commercial trip you would get with a regular travel agency, and we have thought much to make a good trip to suit your leisurely time. Hence the steeper price range... But do take a look at our itinerary, and call Va Kang's Travels at 02-3274-0888 if you would like to know more about this trip.

As part of the 6th Seoul Open Week, Seoul Metropolitan is giving a free tour in English on 2013 Seoul Open Night, falling on Aug 31. Specifically for foreigners residing/visiting in Seoul. For more info, click "Program" in the following link

and apply to participate via this link

OK, that's about it - when Brother Anthony comes back he will give you a briefing of our activities in more detail. (A detailed briefing...??)
In the meanwhile, email us or give us a call for inquiries. For office hours and contact info, refer to our homepage at www.raskb.com


from the RASKB Office

Lecture Video: Yǒngye Kunin and North Korean National Identity

Lecturer: Prof. Tatiana Gabroussenko (Korea University)

Among the most persistent mobilising campaigns of the last fifteen years in the DPRK’s mass media is the sǒn’gun, or “military first” concept, which implies the primacy of the military in all spheres of North Korean life. Sǒn’gun propaganda is promoted through a wide variety of media and narrative forms.

One of the central themes of sǒn’gun propaganda is glorification of yǒngye kunin, or “heroic/honourable veterans”. This term is usually applied to military personnel who have passed away or became handicapped following industrial accidents at their workplaces during military service. North Korean propaganda equates such cases with combat-related heroic acts and demands that civilians demonstrate similar 'self-sacrifice' in response to such stories. One of the more peculiar forms of this is the practice of proposing to an invalid “honourable veteran” and becoming his or her spouse-cum-nurse, often without ever seeing the future husband/wife before marriage.
Tonight’s lecture presents the specifics of the romantic narrative of yǒngye kunin in officially endorsed North Korean literature, art and cinematography and considers the correlation of this propaganda line with the observable social situation and national identity of the DPRK.

Tatiana Gabroussenko graduated from the Far Eastern State University (ex-USSR), where she majored in Korean history. She obtained her Ph.D. in East Asian Studies at the Australian National University. She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer in Korean Studies at University of New South Wales in Australia and an Assistant Professor in North Korean Studies at the Faculty of Korean Studies at Korea University, Korea. She is the author of a number of articles devoted to contemporary North Korean culture, literature and propaganda. Her most recent book, Soldiers on the Cultural Front: Developments in the Early History of North Korea Literature and Literary Policy, was published by University of Hawai’i Press in 2010. The book has been included in the Choice annual list of Outstanding Academic Titles in 2011.

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Lecture Video: The Distinctive Characteristics of Korean Buddhism

Lecturer: Prof. David A. Mason

What is really "Korean" about Korean Buddhism? What are the distinctive characteristics of its traditional and modern forms, in artworks, beliefs and practices? And how might those features influence its current “globalization” efforts? What role might they play in international Buddhists’ opinion of, and desire to participate in and practice with, the major Korean Buddhist orders?

These are huge questions that could be discussed for years, but in today’s review-lecture Professor Mason will at least introduce some of their factors and parameters, and answers to them according to his own point of view developed over decades of involvement with and study of Korea’s own version of the grand global Buddhist traditions. Tangible factors like stone pagodas, mountain-spirit shrines, the new TempleStay program and temples perched high on slopes will be reviewed, along with doctrinal and organizational factors such as unification, harmonization, fortune-seeking, sites sacred to particular Bodhisattvas and the strong ideology of national defense.

He will show some photos of examples of what he is talking about, to the extent that time-constraints allow. There will be a brief time for questions from the audience about these very interesting issues.

David A. Mason is currently a Professor of Korean Cultural Tourism at Gyeongju University, and researcher on the religious characteristics of Korea's mountains. A native citizen of the United States, of Michigan, he has been living in South Korea for 29 years now, always following his passionate interest in visiting historic spiritual sites – particularly its Buddhist monasteries. He was involved in the creation of the TempleStay program in 2001-4, while working for the national Ministry of Culture and Tourism. He now serves as the Honorary Ambassador of the Baekdu-daegan Mountain Range, and is a frequent tour-guide.

He earned a Masters' Degree in the History of Korean Religions from Yonsei University, and has authored and edited nine books on Korean culture and tourism so-far. His popular website on sacred Korean mountains and mountain-spirits can be found at www.san-shin.org

Lecture Video: Scholars of the World Discuss Korea's Future

Emanuel Pastreich discusses Korea's future during this RAS lecture.


RAS Korea Overseas Trips

Dear members and friends of RAS Korea

I am writing about 2 up-coming overseas excursions being planned by RAS Korea. We hope that many of you will be interested in joining one or both of them. I hope you will all have a good summer. In order to simplify the pricing indications, we are saying that participation in these excursions is limited to RAS members only and asking non-members to pay a year's RAS subscription on registering (the rates and payment method are indicated in our home page).

Brother Anthony (President, RASKB)


As already announced, we are planning a short, concentrated visit to Osaka and Nara in Japan, led by Prof. Robert Fouser, focusing on places that are related to Korea or reveal clear Korean influence. It should be a very interesting study-tour. The dates are August 24-26, 2013, the full program is described in the RAS home page. The total cost covering flights and accommodation will be KW 700,000 (shared room) / KW 840,000 (single room). This must be paid into the
bank account of the travel agent arranging the visit, not the RAS account. In addition, each participant will be asked to bring enough Japanese money to cover estimated daily expenses of around 5 to 7,000
JPYen (around 60,000 - 80,000W) covering:

Two meals: 2,500 yen

Admissions: 1,000 yen

Transportation: 1,000 yen

Incidentals: 1,000 yen

If you would like to come on this excursion but have not yet registered, please quickly send an email to the RAS. Please indicate in the email if you wish to occupy a single room; otherwise we will assume you are prepared to share. Please include your name as it is printed in your passport. Then your deposit of KW100,000 must be paid to the travel agent by July 24 and the remaining sum must be sent to them by August 7. If you cancel your reservation before July 24, you will not incur any penalty


In previous years we have often organized a trip to China coinciding with the Korean Chuseok holiday week. We are offering two China excursions this year, too, both of them visiting Beijing but the second option includes an additional one-night stop in Xian on the way back.

The dates for the Beijing-only trip are from Saturday, September 14 until Tuesday, September 17; the Beijing + Xian excursion will also leave Seoul on Saturday, September 14 and return to Seoul on Thursday, September 19 (Chuseok Day).

The itinerary of both options will include all the most famous sites in and around Beijing: the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall, the Ming tombs, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace in Beijing.

In Xian, we would visit the Tae-an Tower, the First Emperor's tomb, the terracotta warriors etc Xian. The last day in Beijing in both options will be left free so that people can go shopping or visit other sites and explore freely. The price includes a meal of Beijing duck and a circus performance as well as all entrance fees etc.

The price for the shorter Beijing-only trip is KW950,000 (Twin beds shared room) or KW1,200,000 (Single room). The cost for the Beijing + Xian option is KW1,400,000 (Twin beds, shared room) or KW1,720,000 (Single room). In addition, in either case, you will need a visa, which the travel agent will obtain for you: they will need your Passport, your Alien`s card if you are not a Korean national (which must have over 6 months validity remaining at the time of travel), 1 passport-size picture,  the fee will be KW60,000  (* for US passport-holders it is KW210,000 ). Processing the visa will take 4 working days.

We need to know rather quickly if you are interested in going. Please first send an email to the RAS office indicating the option that you are interested in. Please include your name as it is printed in your passport. We will be placing full details in our home page in the coming days.

Each of these options can only be offered if 10 people sign up for them. If not enough people have signed up and paid the deposit by the end of July, the trip would have to be cancelled. Full details of the
payment dates will be included in the home page announcement (in a few


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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 normally open as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays:
                                   10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please call before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796

Email - royalasiatickorea@gmail.com

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