RAS-KB: The Blog

RAS-KB Newsletter November 2012

Dear members and friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch

The weather is getting colder, winter is here! Before the end of the year, the RASKB is hoping you might be interested in one or other of our upcoming activities:

Tonight (Tuesday November 20) at 7:30pm Professor Hi-chun Park of Inha University will be talking about "Energy Policy in Korea with special attention to Nuclear Energy Policy" and it should be a most interesting lecture. Dr. Park has an outstanding record of work in this very important area of modern concern. He presided in 2001, 2003 and 2004 the Korea Resource Economics Association. He has been president of the Korean Petroleum Industry Development Forum and the Study Group on the Natural Gas Industry in Korea. And much more . . .

Next Tuesday (November 27) Roger Shepherd will be telling us about the three months he recently spent trecking across the Mountains of the Baekdu Daegan in North Korea, a follow-up to his exploration of the range in South Korea, about which he has already spoken to us and published a magnificent book.

On Tuesday December 11, to end the year's program, Jocelyn Clark will give us a lecture-concert of traditional Korean music, as she did last year, to great acclaim. She is a recognized exponent of the gayageum, as well as other forms of traditional music.

We are hoping to offer some excursions that are not too challenging in cold weather. This coming Saturday, November 24, Robert Fouser will lead a stroll along the Eastern Sections of the Seoul City Wall.

On Sunday, December 2, Ms. Sue Bae will lead a visit to 2 temples not very far from Seoul, Gakwon sa and Magok-sa, one modern and the other ancient. On Saturday December 8 she will lead a tour which she organizes every year, "Shopping Spree: a hodgepodge of culture, sightseeing and fun." It provides good chances to do some Christmas shopping.

Our Reading Group will meet on December 3, the Photography Group on December 5, and on December 19 we will enjoy another visit to one part of the National Museum of Korea. The National Museum visit tomorrow (November 21) will focus on the current magnificent exhibition of Goryeo Era celadon pottery, the largest ever held. It continues until December 16 and is well worth a visit. It is open until 9pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays and (big secret!) almost nobody knows that, so you can enjoy peace and quiet in empty galleries.

I will be sending out more news about our 2013 program soon, and you can always find full information in our home page

I hope that you will find something of interest among these events and look forward to seeing you there.

With my best wishes

Brother Anthony
President, RASKB

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Brother Anthony Translating For Korean Poet Ko Un in England

Read about RASKB president Brother Anthony during his trip to England with Korean poet Ko Un. Brother Anthony has translated many of Ko Un's writings and is now translating for him in England.

http://londonkoreanlinks.net/2012/10/25/ko-un-poet-in-the-city/

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November with the RASKB

November with the RASKB

Dear members and friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch,

The year is hurrying toward its close, the next few weekends will be the last chance to get outside of Seoul and enjoy the beauties of Korean nature in autumn. Our excursions might be the ideal way of doing this. Once winter comes, it is still important to keep fit and since Korea is rarely snow-bound, some of our winter hikes offer some healthy exercise with minimal risk. But we will also try to organize some indoor events for greater ease.

Here are our upcoming events, excursions, lectures, study groups . . . . I look forward to seeing many of you at them. Please note that the first lecture is delayed by a week, since the room is not available on the customary 2nd Tuesday.

Visit our home page from time to time, especially the Blog! We are trying to keep it updated and improved.

With my best wishes

Brother Anthony
President, RASKB

Excursions

Jiri-san and Namwon: A Journey into Korea's Scenic South Jeolla Province
Saturday, November 3 - Sunday, November 4, 2012
Leader: David Mason
The southern regions retain their autumn colors much later and this should be a splendid chance to enjoy natural beauty (with history, too) in balmy weather and with a truly expert leader!

Gilsang-sa Temple and the Korean Furniture Museum
Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 9:45am to 3:00pm
Leader: Mr. Song-Hyon Jang
The recently opened Furniture Museum has a unique collection housed in beautiful Korean buildings.

Old Incheon: A Walk through Korean History since 1876
Saturday, November 10, 2012 13:30-18:00
Leader: Dr. Robert J. Fouser
Delayed by a couple of weeks, this will be a highly instructive visit to an Incheon that most of us have never seen, with relics of the Japanese era, missionary buildings, and the Chinese quarter

KTX 1-day visit to Mokpo’s Japanese-era remains,
Date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 7:00am to 9:00pm
Leader: Robert Koehler
And going further afield, Mokpo also offers a considerable number of colonial-era buildings in fine condition that we can visit in a single day thanks to the speed of the KTX, with no risk of snarled traffic! And with the best guide one could hope to find!

Eastern Gyeongju Expedition
Saturday, November 17 - 8:00am to Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 8:00pm
Leader: Jennifer Flinn
Gyeongju has many sites that are often missed in standard tours. Jennifer lived here for a time, she will take us to some fascinating, less familiar locations. Usually the autumn colors linger here until late November, some years this weekend is the peak viewing time, it should be a spectacular weekend.

The eastern parts of Seoul City Wall
Saturday November 24
Leader: Robert Fouser
Walking along the wall, and tracing its course where it no longer exists, should give a different, deeper impression of Seoul's history.

Discovering Gakwon-sa temple, Magok-sa
Saturday December 1
Leader: Sue Bae
As winter starts, a short trip to visit a couple of fine temples, one new and one old.

Lectures

(NB date 1 week later than usual !) Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 7:30 pm
Energy Policy in Korea with special attention to Nuclear Energy Policy
Hi-chun Park
There is a need for a radical reform in the energy market policy in Korea. A per capita energy consumption of over 5 tonnes of oil equivalent is too high. There is a need for radical measures to reduce energy consumption and, in turn, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This presentation will discuss various issues of the Korean energy policy such as energy pricing and nuclear energy development.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 7:30 pm
Mountains of the Baekdu Daegan in North and South Korea
Roger Shepherd
In recent months, Roger has been able to spend 3 months trecking and photographing in the North Korean part of the Baekdu Daegan. In 2013 he will publish a book about it. He will be giving a presentation for RASKB about his experiences there and what this book will mean to Korea.

Study Groups

RAS Reading Club
To learn about Korea and develop cultural literacy through reading works of Korean literature (in English translation). The next meeting will be on Monday November 12, reading “Gray Snowman” by Choe Yun. (See map in “Library” in our home page). All RASKB members are welcome.
Contact: Bob Fouser kagoshimabob@gmail.com

RAS Photo Special Interest Group
We are organizing a monthly photography special interest group, the RAS Photo SIG, to help people improve their photographic skills. Meetings are usually held once a month in the Inje University building. The next meeting will be on Wednesday Nov. 7th. (See map in “Library” in our home page).
Contact: Tom Coyner tom@softlandingkorea.com

National Museum of Korea: RASKB lecture-visit
*** This month's visit will be a very special one. The Museum is currently holding the largest exhibition of Goryeo-era celadons ever held anywhere. Some extremely rare pieces have been brought from overseas to join the national treasures still preserved in Korea. Tonight a member of the staff will provide a guided visit just for RASKB members. Those wishing to attend should send an email with the subject “National Museum Tour” to royalasiatickorea@gmail.com. The visit is limited to 20 people, on a first come first served basis.

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RAS-KB Book Sale Update

Dear members and friends of the RASKB

Our book sale has been very popular, many orders have already been received and are being processed! Some people have asked about coming to the office and seeing the books. This is certainly a good idea, also because the shelves in the office contain many books about Korea from other publishers that do not figure in our lists, books that we can also sell at reduced rates. The sale lasts until November 10. If you missed the first mailing, see here.

Since our staff cannot always be in the office, it is better if those wishing to come call ahead to make sure someone will be there. The phone number is (02) 763-9483 and the address of our office is Room # 611, Korea Christian Building, 136-46 Yeonji-dong, Jongno-ku, Seoul If you come by subway: Dark Blue Line (#1 Line), station #129 (Jongno 5 ga). Take exit #2 and proceed 100 meters straight ahead to the Korea Christian Building.

Here's a bargain that was not mentioned before. We can offer complete sets of our journal 'Transactions' in 2 formats. Volumes 1-30 are available in a reprint, 6 hard-backed books each containing 5 volumes. Volumes 31-86 are available either as individual paper-covered volumes as published or they can be bound without the covers in a hard-backed binding to match volumes 1-30. Complete set 1: Vols 1-30 bound, the rest unbound as published: US$450.

Complete set 2: Vols 1-85 bound hard-back US$650. Postage is extra of course, and the binding is done on receipt of the order, so will take a few days.

I hope this may be of interest.

With my thanks and best wishes

Brother Anthony
President, RASKB

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Daehangno and Hyehwa-dong Tour Recap

Last Saturday I attended the RAS-KB tour to Daehangno and Hyehwa-dong led by Dr. Robert Fouser. The tour was a combination of exploring hanoks (traditional houses) and architecture as well as discussing current real estate laws and policies. Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour was learning about the future of traditional neighborhoods, government and corporate policies and redevelopment districts. Although our discussion was nothing short of enlightening, it was far too complicated and detailed to recap in any meaningful way here.

Aside from lively discussions, learning about the construction and maintenance of hanoks was a significant part of the tour. Throughout the excursion, Dr. Fouser showed participants which hanok exteriors were hand-build and which were machine-cut. We also learned about which pieces of wood are the most important in maintaining the structure of the hanok and how these houses are insulated.

Our group also discovered a few treasures during our excursion. Tucked away from the bustling areas and shopping streets we encountered earlier was the house of former Prime Minister Chang Myon. Although we were not able to enter the house due to ongoing renovation, we were still able to learn about the house’s different styles of architecture which includes both Japanese and Western styles. Its large and distinctive windows set it apart from other hanoks in Korea.

The tour concluded at another hidden gem, the house of Choi Sun-woo, a restored hanok maintained by the National Trust of Korea. The courtyard was simply amazing and is a must see for anyone seriously interested in seeing a wonderfully preserved hanok. Many members of the tour did not know about the house before attending the tour.

Pictures from this tour can be found on the RAS-KB Facebook page. Also, Dr. Fouser has recently started a blog about tours he has led. His blog can be found here.

 

By Patrick Wunderlich

RASKB October Program

Dear members and friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch

I hope you spent a happy Chuseok weekend? I was very glad to hear that nearly 40 of you attended Bob Fouser's guided walk through his beloved Seochon on Saturday. Next weekend's excursion to Andong has also proved to be very popular. Spending a night in a 'real' Korean house in rural Hahoe Village is in itself a special experience, and the entire program promises to be most rewarding. A large number attended the September lectures by Robert Provine and Kathryn Weathersby, it is a great encouragement to feel that you enjoy the lectures we provide.

In Korea there is a tradition that says the autumn is the best time for reading books. As you know, the RASKB has a considerable number of books for sale and we will soon be announcing a special autumn book sale to encourage you to build up a library of books about Korea.

We have begun work to redecorate and redesign our office, hoping that it will become a place you will enjoy visiting.

Please feel free to write to us with suggestions for our next year's activities, we hope to offer excursions to Japan, Mongolia and North-eastern China (including Baedu-san), and sometimes we will try to use trains to get away from Seoul for some of our trips in order to avoid the Saturday-morning gridlock.

I look forward to greeting many of you at one or other of the events listed below. The autumn is Korea's most beautiful season, I hope you will enjoy it to the full with us.

Brother Anthony
President, RASKB

Lectures (in the Residents' Lounge of Somerset Palace)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 7:30pm

Korea’s Responses to AIDS

Sister Miriam Cousins.

Sister Miriam will survey the situation regarding HIV/AIDS in Korea, both among Korean people and among foreigners. She has played a leading role in developing new forms of Christian ministry for PLWHA (people living with HIV/AIDS) and she will speak of her work in establishing shelters for people who have lost their jobs and been rejected by their families and communities because they have HIV/AIDS.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 7:30pm

Categorizing Migrants: the Making of Multicultural Society in South Korea

Daisy Y. Kim.

The Korean state and society have employed the language of multiculturalism to incorporate certain groups of migrants (migrant spouses), while excluding others (migrant workers) through deliberately constructed images and portrayals of migrants in the mass media as well as through politico-ideological apparatuses. By seeing how public and
private actors and institutions incorporate migrants in broader Korean society, this lecture explores ways of categorizing and labeling migrants and the consequences in the making of a multicultural society.

NB  In November, lectures will be held on Tuesday, November 20 and November 27

Excursions

Daehangno and Hyehwa-dong: An Architectural Walk

Saturday, October 6, 2012: 13:00-16:30

Leader: Dr. Robert J. Fouser

Gangneung (Kangnŭng), Province of Gangwon-Do (Kangwŏn-Do)

Saturday-Sunday, October 13-14, 2012

Leader: Mr. Peter Bartholomew

Discovering Hangeul and King Sejong in the Center of Seoul

Saturday, October 13, 2012 - 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Leader: Bob Fouser

Discovering Seoul’s Street Food

Wednesday, October 17

Leader: Jennifer Flinn

 
Seoraksan and Waterpia

Saturday-Sunday, October 20-21

Leader: Sue Bae

Fortress Wall of Bugaksan Hike

Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 9:00am to 12:00 noon

Leader: Ms. Won-Na Cha

Old Incheon: A Walk through Korean History since 1876

Saturday, October 27, 2012: 13:30-18:00

Leader: Dr. Robert J. Fouser

 
Jiri-san and Namwon: A Journey into Korea's Scenic South Jeolla Province

Saturday, November 3 - Sunday, November 4, 2012

Leader: David Mason

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Autumn Mountains with the RAS-KB

Dear members and friends of the RASKB

Autumn is the most beautiful season in Korea and in the coming weeks the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch is organizing 3 excursions offering a chance to enjoy Korea's autumn mountain scenery.

On Saturday, October 20 -- Sunday, October 21, our Honorary General Manager, Sue Bae, is leading her favourite overnight trip, to Seorak-san, where she gives participants the choice between hiking (a little course or a longer one) and spending hours bathing in a huge Spa. This is the top season for Seorak-san viewing and we need to know very soon if you are interested as hotel rooms will soon be unobtainable. See here for more information.

On Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 9:00am to 12:00pm, Ms. Won-Na Cha is offering a repeat of her much-appreciated Fortress Wall of Bugaksan Hike, a short hike inside Seoul, using public transport, for those with little time. See here for more information.

On Saturday, November 3 -- Sunday, November 4, David Mason will lead an excursion to Jiri-san and Namwon, in the south-west. Jiri Mountain is a majestic massif and the autumn foliage reaches its peak there later than in Seorak-san. David is famed for his deep knowledge of sacred mountains, of which Jiri-san is chief, and of temples which abound there. See here for more information.

If you are interested in joining any of these excursions, please email royalasiatickorea@gmail.com

I hope you all enjoy a very happy Chuseok

Brother Anthony
President, RASKB

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See a traditional court dance on October 3rd

A professor of Korean dance, (Ms.) Park Eun-young (who has spent most of her outstanding career researching classical court dance) is going to present a remarkable authentic reinactment of court ceremony, complete with dance. The exciting thing about this event is that it will not be held in a theatre, but rather in the exact location within the palace where it was originally performed.

Professor Park would especially like as many interested foreigners as possible to come to the performance. Seating is very limited-- only approximately 200 seats will be available within the palace courtyard and all other members of the audience will have to stand.

This performance is a court ceremony originally held in February 1829 at Changkyeonggung Palace. It was performed in honor of King Sunjo’s 40th birthday and to mark the 30th anniversary of his accession to the throne. The dance was created by his son, Crown Prince Hyomyeong (1809-1830).

On October 3, not only will the dance be performed but also the rituals, music and actual site of the original dance will be used in an “Evening of Decorum” in honor of Foundation Day.

Date: October 3, 2012 (It's Wednesday, and a holiday--Korean Foundation Day)
Time: 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Venue: Changgyeonggung (so, outdoors)
If you would like to attend this event (there is no charge)
please send an email to Suzanna Samstag at jiyunsmom@hotmail.com as soon as possible.

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Check Out Pictures From The Andong International Mask Dance & Hahoe Village

For more pictures from our trip to Andong, see our Facebook page. To learn more about the upcoming October 6-7 RAS trip to Andong, see here.

Upcoming tours with expert guides you can't find anywhere else

Dear Members and Friends of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch

I would like to stress how important the Leader is on our excursions. This month and next we are offering some very special trips with very special leaders. I think you will enjoy them. Please send an email to royalasiatickorea@gmail.com if you are interested in joining us on any of these excursions

Br Anthony
President, RASKB

Many of you will know Peter Bartholomew, our previous President. He has lived in Korea for some 45 years and he knows more about Joseon era buildings than almost anyone in the world. He is offering to lead two excursions in the coming weeks,
both of them among our most famous for the quality of their content. This coming Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 9:00am to 6:00pm he will be taking us to Suwon. Click here to see pictures from a previous trip to Suwon.

Of course, Suwon might not sound very exotic, but it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997. The Joseon period walls are unique in having been designed and built in just a few years in the 1790s under the leadership of one man, Dasan (Jeong Yan-Yong), one of Korea's greatest scholars. They protect a palace built to house the king on visits to his father's grave, but this was no ordinary father and no ordinary king, the story of Prince Sado's death in a rice-chest on the order of the previous king his father haunts the imagination. For more information, please click here.

Then on Saturday, October 13, 2012 - 8:00am to Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 8:00pm Peter Bartholomew will lead our annual overnight visit to Gangneung on the East coast. Largely untouched by the Korean War, Gangneung contains a considerable number of outstanding buildings from the Joseon era, including the complex of buildings known as Seongyo-jang, a complete aristocratic residence where the original family still resides, and where we will spend the night in (luxurious) Joseon style! Along the shores of Gyeong-po Lake there are several beautiful pavilions designed for relaxed enjoyment of the view over the water, where generations of scholars composed poems while drinking wine and listening to music. We might try to imitate them. For full information see here. Pictures from a previous RASKB trip to Gangneung and the East Sea can be found here.

We are also planning some shorter walking tours, for those who prefer brief, intense explorations. Robert Fouser is by now well-known for his love of Seoul's surviving older neighborhoods and he will be taking groups through several fascinating areas in the coming weeks:

On Saturday, September 29, 2012: 1:30-4:30. Prof. Fouser will lead a group through Seochon, the very special area to the West of Gyeongbok-gung, a truly human neighborhood where many simple people live, run shops, and where the residents are trying to maintain humane values against the pressures of consumerism. For more information, click here.

On Saturday, October 6, 2012: 13:00-16:30. he will walk us through Daehangno and Hyehwa-dong, viewing the buildings surviving from older days and evoking the past in this very vibrant area which once housed Seoul National University. Click here for more information.

Finally, on Saturday, October 27, 2012: 13:30-18:00 Dr. Fouser will take us on a stroll through Old Incheon: "A Walk through Korean History since 1876." Chemulpo was the old name for Incheon and it was the port through which many of the early missionaries, diplomats and merchants came to Korea. As we walk through the streets, we will view the many surviving buildings built by the American and British missionaries and businessmen, as well as the Japanese traders and bankers, and we will end our walk among the buildings of the Chinese neighborhood, where many restaurants invite us to linger. Additional information about the tour to Incheon can be found here. Pictures from our last trip to Incheon can be found here.

 

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Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehangno 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
왕립아세아학회한국지부
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

Office is open Tuesday through Friday. We are short staffed: please call or email before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796
Email - royalasiatickorea@gmail.com

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