Lecture Videos with Blogs

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

RAS Lecture Video: Korean Japanese Relations from 1392 to 1592

Pirate raids prompted the Choson Korea government to encourage trade by other Japanese in the early fifteenth century, and Japanese soon were sending dozens of trade missions each year. The Choson government gradually established detailed regulations for managing that trade, even dividing Japanese traders into a hierarchy. From the 1460s, those regulations and the hierarchy became tools by which Japanese traded through imposter identities, that is, people that did not exist or people who did not know that their identities were being used. Why did the Choson government not always stop imposter trade and what importance did imposter trade have in the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592?

Kenneth R. Robinson is currently a Special Visiting Scholar at the Northeast Asian History Foundation. His research focuses on Korean-Japanese relations in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and on Korean maps of Choson Korea and Japan from those same centuries.

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RAS Korea: Extra News

Dear members and friends,

We are going to organize a special visit to Japan (Osaka & Nara) in late August (Saturday 24 - Monday 26 August), led by Professor Robert Fouser, who lived in Kyoto for many years. There are just 16 places available on the flight, they will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. To reserve your place, please send an email as soon as possible to the RAS office. As you will see from the description in our home page, our travel agent is still searching for the best accommodation, so that the exact cost is not yet available. It will soon be settled. This will be an intensive culture- and history-centered visit, related to the early Korean influences on this part of Japan. We will visit sites in Nara and Osaka that reflect the early influence of Korea's Three Kingdoms period culture on Japan during the Asuka (538-710) and Nara (710-794) periods. This excursion comes at the end of the vacation period, just before university courses resume, I hope that many of you will want to join it.

On this coming Tuesday, June 18, at 7:30pm, the Czech Ambassador, Jaroslav Olša, jr. is giving us a special lecture on a fascinating but almost unknown figure, the Korean historian Han Hŭng-su, who lived and worked in Austria, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia for some 12 years in the 1930s and 40s before returning to North Korea after Liberation.

There will also be a lecture on Tuesday June 25 at 7:30pm, by Professor Wayne Patterson, about eraly Korean immigration to Hawai'i.

Our RAS Birthday Book Sale will run for another week. Members will receive a 20% discount, non-members a 10% discount, on the 600 books listed in our new online Book Store (please order by email to our office). There are some really rare books in stock. I would encourage those who have time to visit our office and browse the shelves.

I hope that you all enjoy a relaxing summer.

Brother Anthony

President, RAS Korea


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Contact Us

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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