RAS-KB: The Blog

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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Upcoming excursions to Pocheon and Gunsan

Here is some information about upcoming excursions to Pocheon and Gunsan; note that the deadline for registration is today.

Pocheon Makgeoli Excursion
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 8:30am to 7:00pm
Destination: Pocheon, Gyeonggi-do
Cost: 75,000 won for members and 88,000 won for non-members
Tour Leader: Jennifer Flinn

The city of Pocheon in rural northeastern Gyeonggi Province has long been famous for its mineral spring waters which lend a unique taste to the locally produced makgeolli (unrefined rice alcohol), tofu, and kimchi. This food and drink-oriented day excursion will take a leisurely stroll through some of Pocheon’s most famous spots, including a chance to sample its potent potables.

We will begin by visiting Baesangmyeon Brewery and Gallery Sansawon, a museum attached to the brewery grounds and dedicated to Korea’s brewing culture. Our visit will include a two-hour hands-on makgeolli brewing class where we will have the chance to make our own, and a chance to sample a wide variety of liquors and foods produced by the brewery.

After spending the morning at Sansawon, we’ll head to lunch in the Idong area and stop by the local Idong Brewery, one of the most famous in Korea. Following lunch, we'll move on to Cheonju Lake and Pocheon Art Valley, a unique cultural space created out of an abandoned stone quarry.

For more information on the tour and on how to register for it, see here.

Old Gunsan: Exploring the Remains of Colonial Korea
Date: Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 8:00am to 8:00pm
Destination(s): Gunsan, North Jeolla Province
Cost: 60,000 won for members and 72,000 won for nonmembers.
Tour Leader: Robert Koehler

Once a small fishing village on Korea’s West Sea coast, Gunsan developed into one of Korea’s most important ports after it was opened to international trade in 1899. During the colonial era, Japanese traders, merchants and farmers settled en masse in Gunsan and the nearby Honam Plain, Korea’s most fertile agricultural region, and the city became especially important as the port of exit for Korean rice exports to mainland Japan. The Japanese left an indelible imprint on the city, and while the Japanese left following Korea’s liberation from colonial rule in 1945, their presence can still be felt in the city’s exotic historic architecture.

In this tour, we will visit some of Gunsan’s historic colonial architecture and learn a bit about Japanese colonial rule in Korea. The sites we will visit include the spectacular Japanese Edo-style temple of Dongguksa, founded in 1913 and Korea’s sole remaining Japanese temple that still functions as a Buddhist temple; the grand old Hirotsu House, a palatial wooden Japanese mansion featured in Korean period films and studied by both Korean and Japanese architecture scholars; old Gunsan Customs House; the old Bank of Choson Gunsan Branch Building, built in 1923 and for a time one of the largest buildings outside of Seoul; the newly opened Gunsan Modern History Museum; the old Kumamoto Villa, the French-designed summer home once belonging to one of the colonial era’s largest Japanese landlords; and the site of the old Shimatani Plantation, where venerable Korean stone pagodas and lanterns and an imposing old storage house stand testament to the colonial plundering of Korea’s cultural heritage. For lunch, we will have Chinese food at Binhaewon, a 60-year-old eatery near Gunsan’s old waterfront. Time permitting, we will also drop by Lee Sun Dang, Korea’s oldest continuously operating bakery.

The latter two stops can be seen halfway down this recent blog post by our guide, while more photos of Gunsan's colonial era architecture can be seen here and here. For more information on the tour and on how to register for it, see here.

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Lecture on Zen (Seon) Meditation tonight

Tonight's lecture is titled "Zen (Seon) Meditation and its Benefits," and will be given by Dae Bong Sunim. It will be held in the Second floor Residents’ Lounge at the Somerset Palace at 7:30pm and costs 5,000 won for non-members (but is free for members, of course).

What is the direction or purpose of Zen (Seon) Meditation and what are basic techniques? Also what are the five joys of meditation of which Buddha spoke? The talk will focus on the roots of Korean Buddhism and Seon meditation, the basic techniques taught by Korean Seon and its application to our modern life.

You can read more about Dae Bong Sunim's interesting background here.

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Rewriting Korean History

Professor In-ho Lee

2006.11.14

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.

Dr. Lee became Korea's first female ambassador when she was appointed to the post of Korean Ambassador to Finland in 1996. She served in this position for two years before taking on the key assignment of Korean Ambassador to Russia. Following her service in Russia in 2000, she became President of the Korea Foundation.

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How to Find & Download Transactions Online

Royal Asiatic Society Transactions Online

The complete volumes can be found in the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch E-book Archive. Here are the instructions for finding and downloading the volumes:

Go to the RASKB home page and select E-book Archive on the right side of the page.

When you reach the E-book Archive page, select "View Installation Guide" on the right corner.


Next, select "Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society" on the left hand side.

A list of complete transactions will be shown. You can browse through the indexes and download the full transaction as either a Word or PDF document.

Also, some of the articles have been posted to this blog. You can view the posted articles, arranged by date, in the transactions category on the right hand side.

Second Post

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Trying Out Wordpress Blog Module

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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
왕립아세아학회한국지부
[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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