Lecture Videos with Blogs

Homer Hulbert Biography

By Brother Anthony, president of the RAS Korea. More information about the early history of the RAS can be found here.

Probably the most admired by later generations of Koreans, for his support of Korean autonomy, Homer Bezaleel Hulbert was born on January 26, 1863 in New Haven, Vermont, graduated from Dartmouth College in 1884, then entered Union Theological College. While he was studying there, the Korean government announced plans to establish a school in Seoul teaching English and asked the American government to send teachers. As a result, Homer B. Hulbert arrived in Korea in 1886 with a few others to act as “professor” in the Royal English School, where the sons of high officials were to learn English. However, seeing no future in his role as teacher of a narrow-minded elite with no interest in English, he left Korea at the end of 1891.

Appenzeller encouraged Hulbert to return as a member of the Methodist mission. The Methodists had established the Trilingual Press in Seoul, at the time in question under the management of the Rev. Franklin Ohlinger. In the summer of 1893, Ohlinger left for Singapore and Hulbert was invited to replace him at the press. He felt that his knowledge of Hangul would enable the Press to produce the general educational materials the country urgently needed. So he returned to Korea in 1894 to take charge of what was already a major printing house and in the years that followed he worked hard to improve its equipment. Early in 1892, encouraged by George Heber Jones, the Ohlingers had begun to produce the monthly Korean Repository, and although it was not published for one year after their departure, it was published again from 1895-8, with Appenzeller and George Heber Jones as co-editors. Hulbert became its editorial manager by virtue of his position at the Press and began to contribute articles about aspects of Korean culture and life.

In 1897, the King decided that Korea needed to train teachers who would teach in the western-style schools that were to be established across the country. He asked Hulbert to serve as the Principal of the Royal Normal School and prepare the necessary textbooks. Hulbert therefore passed management of the Trilingual Press (and the Repository) to another Methodist missionary, D. A. Bunker, who had formerly taught at the English School and was now head of the English Department at Pai Chai. Soon after the Royal Normal School was founded, its name changed to the Imperial Normal School with the proclamation of the Daehan Empire in the autumn of 1897. Later it became known as the Imperial Middle School.

In 1901 Homer Hulbert founded The Korea Review, which was very similar in format and scope to the Korean Repository. However, the editorial policy of the Review was perhaps more strongly oriented by its editor’s vision than the Repository had been. His main ideas included the affirmation that Koreans were capable of the highest achievements but oppressed by ignorance; therefore widespread education conducted in Hangul was essential. The most controversial idea, one that he nourished almost to the end, was an idealistic view of Japan as a source and model of enlightenment and social progress, to which he opposed the Russian model of autocracy and stagnation.

Hulbert’s positive vision of Japan prior to 1905 and some other of his ideas, as well his relatively outspoken manner of writing, were strongly opposed by another of the founders of the RASKB, the American diplomat Dr. Horace N. Allen. Allen was increasingly convinced that Russian domination in Korea would be better than a Japanese takeover, and his conflict with Hulbert reached a peak during the Russo-Japanese War (February 1904 - September 1905), during which Hulbert continued to maintain an idealistically pro-Japanese position in the Review, only criticizing the negative activities and attitudes toward Korea of individual Japanese. Allen’s support for Russia displeased the State Department in Washington, who strongly supported Japan, and perhaps led to his being recalled in 1905.

Throughout the same period, Korean ministers acting without the King’s permission were signing a series of treaties with Japan, a process that would culminate in the notorious Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905, also known as the Eulsa Treaty, signed by just five ministers on November 17, 1905. This gave Japan complete responsibility for Korea’s foreign affairs, and placed all trade through Korean ports under Japanese supervision, in effect making Korea a protectorate of Japan.

It was not until the September 1905 issue of the Korea Review that Hulbert finally denounced plainly the Japanese plans for reducing Korea to a protectorate. Then, early in October, he left for the United States, secretly carrying a letter for the American President signed by the Emperor, asking the United States to prevent Japan from taking control of Korea. At the time, nobody in Korea knew of the conversations that had been held late in July 1905 between the Japanese prime-minister Katsura Taro and the United States Secretary of War William Howard Taft, during which the American encouraged the Japanese plans to take full control of Korea.

Hulbert arrived in Washington at almost exactly the same moment as the Korean foreign minister signed the Eulsa Treaty in Seoul, which the Japanese claimed was sufficient to ratify it. The pro-Japanese American government therefore refused to accept the Emperor’s letter, claiming that the ratification of the Treaty was a matter of fact, even though the Emperor himself had not signed it. After trying in vain to alert American public opinion through the press, which was also largely sympathetic to the Japanese, Hulbert returned to Korea in the summer of 1906. By the time he returned, all the foreign legations in Seoul had been reduced to the level of consulates.

When Hulbert returned to Korea in 1906, the Emperor immediately asked him to prepare to go as his ambassador to the nations due to attend the Second International Peace Conference to be held in The Hague in June 1907. His task was to contact the major powers, asking them to support the independence of Korea. His role was to be secret, behind the scenes, and in April 1907 the Emperor secretly appointed three Korean representatives. They were all unable to gain access to the conference and Hulbert left The Hague only a day or so before the Emperor was forced to abdicate on July 19, 1907. He was succeeded by his feeble fourth son, who became known as the Yunghui Emperor, or Sunjong. On July 24 1907 the new ruler signed over control of the country’s internal administration to Japan. On 22 August, 1910, the Empire of Daehan was annexed by Japan under the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty, a final formality.

Hulbert knew that he could never again live in Korea. He made a final visit to Seoul in the autumn of 1909. He was there when the Korean patriot An Jung-geun assassinated the former Japanese premier Ito Hirobumi in Harbin in October. A year before, in March 1908, Korean nationalist patriots had assassinated Durham White Stevens in San Francisco. Stevens had been an American diplomat stationed in Japan since 1873 then became a Japanese diplomat in 1883. In November 1904, Stevens was appointed as adviser to the Korean Foreign Office. He was intensely pro-Japanese and advocated the annexation. Previously, in July 1907, an attempt had been made by some Koreans to murder George Heber Jones for having praised the Japanese police for putting down a nationalistic demonstration. All these violent expressions of Korean resistance only served to drive the foreign community in Korea, whether missionaries or diplomats, towards stronger support for Japan, since they reinforced the feeling that Koreans were a violent, anarchic people incapable of governing themselves. Hulbert continued to support Korea's wish for independence in various ways throughout his life. In 1949 he finally returned to Korea, by train across Russia, and died a week after his arrival.

Books etc by Hulbert available online

Homer B. Hulbert, The Passing of Korea (1906) PDF download

Homer B. Hulbert, The History of Korea, Volume 1 (1905) PDF download

Homer B. Hulbert, The History of Korea, Volume 2 (1905) PDF download

Homer B. Hulbert (editor) The Korea Review, Volume 2 (1902) PDF of corrected text

Homer B. Hulbert (editor) The Korea Review, Volume 3 (1903)

Homer B. Hulbert (editor) The Korea Review, Volume 4 (1904)

Homer B. Hulbert (editor) The Korea Review, Volume 5 (1905)

Hulbert, Homer B. Korean Vocal Music. The Korean Repository, Vol. III (February,
1896), pp. 45-53.

Hulbert, H.B. The Geomancer. The Korean Repository, Vol.III (October,
1896), pp. 387-391.

Hulbert, H.B. Itu.
The Korean Repository, Vol.V (February, 1898), pp.47-54.

Hulbert, Homer B. Japan in Korea. Journal of Race Development, Vol.10, No.3
(January, 1920), pp. 270-277.

Happy Birthday, James Scarth Gale (February 19, 1863 – January 31, 1937)

By Brother Anthony, president Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch

The origional piece can be found here.

Born in Canada 150 years ago, James Gale was one of the founders of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch in 1900.

He first arrived in Korea in 1888, and studied Korean and Classical Chinese intensively. He and Mark Napier Trollope were two of the leading scholar-missionaries of the period, together with Homer Hulbert, who was forced to leave Korea in 1909.

Gale gave the very first paper presentation in the RASKB’s history and served as its President in 1915, Vice-President 1923-7.

Richard Rutt published an extremely detailed biography of Gale filling the first 88 pages of his edition of Gale’s History of the Korean People (published by and available from RASKB).

The following outline biography is based on that in the pages about the Gale Archive in the Library of the University of Toronto. See also the Wikipedia entry that I have revised.

1863 Born February 19th in the village of Alma, Wellington County, Ontario to John and Miami (née Bradt) Gale.

Why Scarth? Gale's uncle Alexander, when he was studying in Aberdeen before moving to Canada, met and fell for a young lady, Margaret Scarth. Then he moved to Canada and received no response to his letters to her. Ten years later, she wrote to explain that the aunt she was living with had intercepted his letters,and she had found them after the aunt died. Alexander wrote back inviting her to join him in Canada, which she did. They had a son, whom they called James Scarth Gale, using the mother's maiden name as a middle name, a common practice. The talented son died of tuberculosis a little before our James was born, so he received the dead boy's name in memory of him.

1886 Spent the summer in Paris, studying French. He spent some time visiting London on the way to France but did not much enjoy either country.

1888 Graduated from University College at the University of Toronto with a B.A. in arts. Registered at Knox College to study theology, but instead left for Korea as a missionary volunteer with the YMCA.

1891 Joined the U.S.A. Presbyterian Mission in Korea.

1892 Married Hattie (née Gibson) Heron, widow of his friend, Dr. J.W. Heron, who had died in 1890.

From 1892-1897 the Gales lived in Wonsan while Gale served as member of the “Board of Official Translators” of the Korean Bible. He worked with Henry G. Appenzeller, Horace G. Underwood, William B. Scranton, and William D. Reynolds.

1894 Published Korean Grammatical Forms (Seoul: Trilingual Press)

1895 Published a Korean translation prepared by his wife and himself of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress (Seoul: Trilingual Press) as 천로역정 天路歷程 with illustrations in archaic Sino-Korean style.

1897 Published Korean-English Dictionary (Yokohama: Kelby) and Korean Sketches (Chicago: Fleming H. Revell) . Spent one year in Washington, D.C. where he was ordained by the New Albany Presbytery.

1898 Returned to Korea.

1900 Mrs. Gale and her daughters went to Switzerland where they remained for six years.

1903 Travelled via the Trans-Siberian Railway to Switzerland where he spent six months. Wrote and published The Vanguard (New York: Fleming H. Revell) Received an honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity, from Howard University, Washington, D.C.

1906 Spent a year’s leave in Washington

1907 Returned to Korea with his family. Mrs. Gale became ill and died the following year.

1909 Published Korea in Transition (New York: Young People’s Missionary Movement of the United States and Canada)

1910 Married Ada Louise Sale, from England, who had grown up in Japan

1911 Birth of George James Marley Gale

1913 Published a. translation of tales by Im Bang and Yi Ryuk, Korean Folk Tales (London: J.M. Dent)

1917-1919 Edited (and wrote the contents of) the Korea Magazine, a monthly review, until just after the March 1 1919 Independence Movement, when it ceased to appear.

1918 Birth of Ada Alexandra Gale

1922 Published a translation of a work by Kim Man-Choong, The Cloud Dream of the Nine (London: Daniel O’Connor)

1924-6 Wrote his History of the Korean People, publishing it in installments in The Korea Mission Field.

1925 Published his Korean translation of the Bible prepared after rejecting the over-literal official versions.

1927 Retired from missionary work in Korea; went to live in Bath, England, his wife being British in origin.

1937 Died in Bath January 31st. Buried in Lansdown cemetery.


Published articles

Korean Coolie. The Korean Repository, Vol.III (December, 1896), pp. 475-481.

Trip Across Northern Korea. The Korean Repository, Vol.IV (March,1897), pp. 81-89



The Influence of China upon Korea. I:1-24. 1900.

Han-Yang (Seoul). II, part Il:1-43. 1902.

The Korean Alphabet.  IV, part I:12-61. 1912-13.

Selection and Divorce.  IV, part III:17-22. 1913.

The Pagoda of Seoul.  VI, part II:1-22. 1915.

The Diamond Mountains.  XIII:1-67. 1922.

A Shipwreck (Korean) in 1636 A.D. XV:3-22. 1924.

National Museum of Korea 2013 Schedule

Dear members of RAS Korea

The National Museum of Korea is continuing to offer us a special guided visit each month in 2013. Please send an email to royalasiatickorea@gmail.com to sign up for the monthly tour. The tours will start at 7:00 PM and we will meet in the lobby of the National Museum (line 4, Ichon Station). See here for directions.

February 13

History in Glass: 3000 Years of Glassware from the Mediterranean and West Asia

March 20

Re-arranged Buddhist Sculpture Galleries (Permanent Exhibition)

April 17

The Peranakan World--a special exhibition

May 15

Buddhist Guardian Paintings of Late Joseon Period

June 19

A Painters Life: Kang Sehwang and His Literati Culture

July 17

Scholar's Studio, Sarangbang

August 21

Paintings of Joseon

(Genre Painting/Portrait)

September 18

Asian Religious Icons through Western Eyes

October 16

Insense Burners of Goryeo Dynasty

November 20

Silla, A Brilliant Country of Gold (Permanent Exhibition)

December 18

Taoism in Korea: Deities and Immortals

February Newsletter

Dear members and friends of RAS Korea

It will soon be February and we hope it will soon be much warmer than it has been!

In February Korea marks the Lunar New Year, which this year falls on Sunday February 10. The RAS has traditionally offered a very special trip to beautiful Seoraksan, over on the East Coast, during this holiday. Koreans enjoy family gatherings and the rest of us find ourselves with free time and not much to do. Seoraksan offers fresh air, lovely scenery, warm accommodation and a magnificent spa / hot springs. Those who want to go walking will have plenty of time to do so, while others soak in hot baths. Why not join us, with your whole family? The hotel rooms are booked, the bus is ready. . . . By leaving Seoul early on the Sunday, February 10, the actual New Year's Day, we can be sure of quiet roads. By coming back on the Monday we can also be sure of reasonable traffic. Because with the holiday falling on a weekend, most people will take the Tuesday off as well! See: http://raskb.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=d6bd78bcc645d037366d2f5e...

Then on Saturday February 16 we are running an excursion to Cheorwon, to the north-east of Seoul. There we will visit historic remains witnessing to the tragedy of the Korean War and we hope that there will be large flocks of migratory birds in the fields, some of them very rare and hard to see. Our leader wiill be none other than Robert Koehler, author of the wonderful Seoul Selection guides "Seoul" and "Korea" He knows a lot about this area, it should be fascinating. See: http://raskb.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d6bd78bcc645d037366d2f5e4...

On Saturday February 23, we have planned a trip to visit the potteries at Icheon, not far from Seoul. By this time spring will be in the air, we will visit some famous pottery workshops and give participants a view of the pottery-making process as well as visiting stores with a wide range of work for sale. See: http://raskb.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d6bd78bcc645d037366d2f5e4...

Finally, on March 1 we traditionally organize a visit to Onyang and the nearby Independence Hall. Here we will see the shrine to Admiral Yi Sun-shin and the memorial museum to Korea's Independence Movement many of whose leaders came from this area.

Our lectures in February will be on Tuesday February 12, when Dong-jin Kim will talk about Homer B. Hulbert, and February 26 when Peter Bartholomew will tell us about Joseon dynasty architecture, explaining how and when so much of it has been destroyed, He has many wonderful photos of what once was there.

This year we will continue to offer members a once-a-month guided visit to a gallery in the National Museum of Korea. Please visit our home page http://raskb.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=d6bd78bcc645d037366d2f5e... e=e673079159 or send an email replying to this message for more details.

I hope to welcome many of you at one or other or all these events.

With my best wishes

Brother Anthony
President, RASKB

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Lecture Video: Two Differing Aesthetic Aspects of Korean Traditional Music

Lecturer: Professor Sheen Dae-Cheol (Academy of Korean Studies)

Korean Traditional Music can be broadly classified as either Jeongak or Minsogak. The first term means “right music” or classical music and it includes court and literati music. The second covers folk music. These two genres of music possess many musical characteristics and beauties in common. However, the basic musical aesthetic is quite different in each. The first category does not allow the expression of immoderate musical emotions when it is performed or sung, whereas the second expresses musical emotions very freely. Naturally, Jeongak and Minsogak can each boast of its own typical aesthetic style, calm beauty in the first, dynamic beauty in the second. Because of this aesthetic difference between Jeongak and Minsogak, all the beauties of curved lines, musical dots by percussions, vocalism or singing styles, Jangdan (rhythmic patterning) and other techniques characteristic of Korean traditional music produce very distinct flavors in the performance of each.

Korea is often called the ‘Land of Morning Calm’ yet it has also recently been publicized as ‘Dynamic Korea’. Tonight’s lecture operates using these two metaphors. Both images can be found in Korea’s traditional music, ‘calmness’ in Jeongak and ‘dynamics’ in Minsogak. In other words, drawn from Western aesthetic theory, it could be said that ‘Apollonian’ and ‘Dionysian’ characteristics can be found in Jeongak and Minsogak respectively. One of the easiest shortcuts to understanding, appreciating and enjoying Korean traditional music is to be able to recognize and feel these aesthetic differences between Jeongak and Minsogak.

Professor Sheen Dae-Cheol started his musical career as a choir boy. He graduated from the National Junior and Senior High School of Korean Traditional Music then received his BA and MA in Korean Traditional Music from Seoul National University. He holds a Ph.D. in Korean Traditional Music from the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS). He has served as a researcher of the Korea Culture and Arts Foundation and as Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Society for Ethnomusicology (APSE). After a time as Professor at Kangnung National University, he is currently a Professor of AKS Graduate School. He has been Director of the Center for Information on Korean Culture and Chair of Global Forum on Civilization & Peace for AKS and was an Executive Board Member of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM). He was one of the co-founders of the ICTM study group Music of East Asia, of which he was a board member and a program committee member. He is currently President of the Korean Musicological Society. He has published many books and articles, including the books Korean Traditional Music, Its Flavor and Tone Color, and Traditional Music of North Korea.

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Tour Recap: Experiencing Korean spirituality through Buddha, Buddhism and Seon

On January 19, 2013, members and friends of the RAS Korea met for a new excursion led by Mr. Jun Shin. During the five hours, participants visited many historical relics near Dongguk University including Supyogyo Stone Bridge, the statue of Samyeong (Buddhist monk during the Imjin War who organized monk soldiers) and Jeonggakwon temple.

Keeping with the theme of “Korean spirituality through Buddha, Buddhism and Seon, we visited the International Seon Center at Donnguk University and listened to a presentation by Glenn Mullin about mediation and Buddhism. The lecture lasted for just under two hours and included many interesting stories about, Buddhist philosophies and the Buddhist mindset for dealing with difficult and troubling times. Many participants enjoyed this time and had the opportunity to ask many questions.

After listening to Lama Glenn Mullin’s presentation, the group visited the Buddhist Museum of Dongguk University. The museum curator graciously showed us around the museum and gave a detailed explanation of the pieces. Usually the museum is closed on Saturday but the curator opened it for the RAS excursion. Everyone who attended the tour was very grateful for this kind gesture.

Overall the tour was interesting and informative while remaining fun and understandable to the general traveler. Thanks to Mr. Jun Shin and the RAS Korea who made the tour happen.
--Patrick Wunderlich

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RAS Lecture Video: South Korea's Overseas Development Assistance Experience

Presenter: Peter Beck, The Asia Foundation

South Korea has gone from being a debtor to a donor country in the span of less than two decades. After having one of the most leveraged economies in the 1990s, Seoul is vastly expanding its overseas development assistance (ODA). Despite a pledge by the government to triple ODA during the first five years of this decade, Seoul is still lagging behind its fellow OECD members. This talk will examine Korea's ODA experience and focus on the blossoming partnership between the Asia Foundation and the several Korean organizations.

Peter Beck is the Korea Representative for the Asia Foundation in Seoul. He is also a columnist for Joongang Ilbo and the only foreigner on the President's Advisory Council. Previously he was the Northeast Asia Director for the International Crisis Group and the Director of Research at the Korea Economic Institute of America. He has also held fellowships at the Council on Foreign Relations, the East-West Center and Stanford University. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and completed the Korean language program at Seoul National University. He conducted his graduate studies at U.C. San Diego.

This video was recorded by RAS Korea member Henry Hwang.

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RAS Korea January Newsletter

Dear members and friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch

I hope that you are all enjoying the start of a good new year, depite the cold and snow? On behalf of the Officers and Council I would like to express our gratitude for your constant support and encouragement during the past year. We will do our best to provide a rewarding program of activities during the coming months. My term of office as President expired yesterday, at the end of 2012, but the Council has asked me to serve for another 2 years so you will continue to receive these messages from me. I am always grateful for the enthusiasm of our Council members and office staff, without them our 'RAS Korea' could not exist.

I will try to compose a slightly more detailed annual report in the coming weeks and send it out when it is ready.

The start of the year is the moment when many of you will be invited to renew your membership for another year. It is no secret that our Society needs your contributions in order to operate. I do not think we could survive without an office and staff. Perhaps some of you who are in Korea for a longer period would like to consider becoming Life Members? That corresponds to 10 years of ordinary membership and represents a significant financial help. Talking of money, we have decided to ask non-members attending our lectures to pay KW 7,000. Several people have told us that KW 5,000 is too little. Of course, once a non-member becomes a member, the lectures are free!

This winter is proving to be exceptionally cold and snowy. I hope that you will not be discouraged by the weather from signing up for the excursions we have prepared for the coming 2 months. I feel sure that the snow will melt before long and often the sunshine in winter has a magical quality to it that transforms the winter landscapes.

Very soon the renovation of our office will be complete, making a visit a much more pleasant experience. Soon I will be writing to you about a planned book sale, and also about exciting new developments regarding our Library. We are also preparing new plans for the Reading Group, the Photograpy Group and the National Museum visits. More soon !

Again, I would like to invite you to send us suggestions for lectures, excursions, or other activities that you would enjoy. We are in need of volunteers to lead excursions as well as to help us with some administrative tasks, and we want you to feel that being a member of RAS Korea is something worthwhile and rewarding.

Finally, please note that the first lecture this year will be on the 3rd Tuesday, January 15, because the room is not available for the 2nd Tuesday. We are always most grateful to the management of Somerset Palace for allowing us to use their Residents' Lounge as they do.

Again, a very happy New Year to each of you. May 2013 be a year of new hope and of peace in Korea and across the world.

Most sincerely,

Brother Anthony
President, RAS Korea

Lectures for January 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 7:30pm
Letters From Joseon: 19th Century Korea through the Eyes of an American Ambassador's Wife
Lecturer: Robert Neff
This lecture will examine Korea - as seen through the eyes of Sally Sill, the wife of John M. B. Sill - the American Minister to Korea (1894–1897). Their stay in Seoul was during an extremely turbulent period of Korean history, and Robert has just published a fascinating book drawing on personal documents and correspondence between the Sills in Korea and their family in the United States. Copies of the book will be on sale at a special price!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 7:30pm
Calm and Dynamic: Two Differing Aesthetic Aspects of Korean Traditional Music
Lecturer: Professor Sheen Dae-Cheol (Academy of Korean Studies)
Korea's traditional music too often remains unfamiliar to people who have not learned to recognize its fundamental characteristics. Tonight's lecture, by someone who has spent his entire life immersed in Korean music, is designed to introduce us to some of the basic aesthetic features of traditional Korean music in as entertaining a manner as possible.

Upcoming Excursions

Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 9:00am to 1:30pm
In-Wang San Hike & Bugak Skyway Drive
Leader: Ms Sue Bae
A bus will be used for parts of this short excursion but so long as the paths are not too icy there will also be a chance to do some not-too-difficult walking, enjoying the crisp winter air and the lovely views of Seoul and nature combined.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 1:00pm to 6:00pm
Experiencing Korean spirituality through Buddha, Buddhism and Seon(Zen) etc
Leader: Mr. Jun (Y.K.) Shin etc
This new excursion, mainly conducted indoors, will visit the Int’l Seon (Zen) Center, Buddhist Museum and temple at Dongguk University, and relocated historical relics at Jangchungdan Park and Hotel Shilla. Expert guides from the University will help participants deepen their understanding of Buddhism, while a short walk around the neighborhood will provide physical exercise.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 8:30am to 7:30pm
Winter Break Excursion : Gwangneung & Sanjeong Lake
Leader: Ms Sue Bae
This excursion will take us to Gwangneung, the tomb of King Sejo and his queen, located near Seoul in a picturesque National Forest Reserve, and then on to the enchanting Sanjong Lake. After lunch, we have the option of going ice-skating or taking a hike around the lake, which takes about one hour. This has long been a favorite RASKB winter excursion.

Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
Fortress Wall of Bugaksan Hike
Leader: Ms. Won-Na Cha
Today’s hike is along the wall running behind Gyeongbok palace and the Blue House. The trail will start near Sukjeongmun (the North Gate) and trek to the peak of Bugak mountain; there we will enjoy the panoramic view over the capital, then we will walk down to Changuimun. The paths might be icy, please come with suitable footware.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 9:00am to 6:00pm
Sujong-sa, Hongyu-neung and Donggu-neung Tour
Leader: Ms Sue Bae
Today's tour will take us north along the banks of the Han River on a beautiful, scenic road. Our temple trek will take us on a path that passes under chestnut, elm and pine trees, while far below us the merging of the North Han and South Han Rivers forms a natural S curve. We will also be paying a visit to Hongyu-neung, the tomb site of the last two Joseon Dynasty kings. Finally we will visit the Dongu-neung (East Nine tombs). This includes the tomb of King Taejo, the first Joseon ruler.

Finally, our Special Lunar New Year Special:
Sunday, February 10, 2013 - 8:00am to Monday, February 11, 2013 - 8:30pm
Seorak-San National Park & Waterpia
Leader: Ms Sue Bae
In addition to the usual magnificent winter beauty of this scenic area, participants will have the option of enjoying the Cheoksan hot springs on the first night, and to extend the pleasure on the second day at the Seorak Waterpia, a large-scale hot-spring resort. For those who would rather enjoy hiking in the mountains, two options are proposed. This excursion combining relaxation and walking has long been a popular way of excaping fomr the cities during the Lunar New Year holiday. Traffic will not be a problem, we guarantee!

We are preparing additional excursions. Please see our home page for full details of all our activities. Or call our office (02) 763-9483

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RASKB Lecture: Has Korean Competition Reached Its Limit?

Chong-ae Lee (SBS-TV) delivered this lecture about the Korean education system and the Korean economy in March 2012. The video was recorded by RAS-KB member Henry Hwang.

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RAS-KB News and Updates

Dear members and friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch

Our final lecture for this year will be a special lecture-concert with 2 outstanding performers. It will be given this coming Tuesday, December 18, at 7:30 pm in Somerset Palace. The main performer will be Moon Hyun, one of Korea's paramount masters of classical art song. Moon is the current successor to Intangible Cultural Property No.41 (Gasa). There are three principal classical vocal genres in traditional Korean music, gagok, gasa, sijo which are termed jeongga, combined together). They developed in association with Korean classical poetry. These classical songs enjoyed the patronage of the gentry and aristocrats, the yangban, in traditional Korea. Tonight we will hear examples of each of these songs. Moon Hyun has also invited Park Kyung-min to perform for us on the Taegeum, the large traversal bamboo flute. She is currently a Daegum player with the National Orchestra of Korea.

Our excursions continue and on the last weekend of 2012, Prof. Robert Fouser will be leading a visit to Jeong-dong, the area behind Deoksu-gung where many of the early missionaries and diplomats lived. Full details will be in out home page very soon, and you can also find details of our other regular excursions there.

In 2013, the Lunar New Year falls on Sunday, February 10. There will be the traditional RASKB New Year's excursion to Seorak-san, leaving on the Sunday (so avoiding the traffic). Unless there is a last-minute blizzard, Seoraksan at that time is wonderfully beautiful, coated in snow and glistening in Korea's bright winter sunshine. Our Mount Seorak excursion is designed to offer exercise and relaxation. Those who wish can go hiking through the snow-covered landscapes; others can take the relaxed option and spend most of the time soaking in the multiple tubs of a very large, modern family spa. Because many Koreans also enjoy going to Mount Seorak for the New Year's break, places are limited and we ask you to sign up really early for this excursion. The return journey on Monday does not usually take too long, despite it being the last day of the holiday, so don't worry!

Our first lecture in 2013 will be held on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 7:30 pm in Somerset Palace (PLEASE NOTE THIS DATE IS THE 3rd TUESDAY in January). Robert Neff will be celebrating the publication of his latest book about the first foreigners to live in Korea: "Letters From Joseon: 19th Century Korea through the Eyes of an American Ambassador's Wife." This lecture will examine Korea - as seen through the eyes of Sally Sill, the wife of John M. B. Sill - the American Minister to Korea (1894–1897). Their stay in Seoul was during an extremely turbulent period of Korean history, a span of time that encompassed the Sino-Japanese War, the Gabo Reforms, the murder of the Korean queen, and King Gojong's subsequent refuge in the Russian legation. It will be illustrated by many historic photos.

I hope you can join us to enjoy some of these lectures and excursions, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy Christmas / End of the Year, and also a very good 2013.

Brother Anthony
President, RASKB

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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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