Discovering Korean at the Start of the Twentieth Century
ISBN: 978-89710-579-40 // ISBN: 9788971057940
Publication date: 2013
Publisher: The Academy of Korean Studies
Number of Pages: 431
Country of Origin: Korea
Compiled by the Academy of Korean Studies, this book contains articles written by some of the earliest members of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch (RASKB) for its Transactions from 1900, including Homer Hulbert, James S. Gale and Horace G. Underwood. Homer Hulbert, an American missionary and journalist, came to Korea after graduating from Dartmouth College and Union Theological Seminary and devoted all his life to the promotion of Korean culture and the protection of Korean sovereignty and independence. In a writing titled “Korean Survivals”, he asserted that Korea had maintained unique cultural identity despite a strong cultural influence from China. He compared it with the cultural influence Britain had from the European Continent, and concluded: (1) The influence of Chinese language upon Korean was almost the same at that of English from Romance languages; (2) Unlike Britain where native religious traditions were wiped out after the arrival of Christian faith, Korea continued to maintain its traditional religions even after the introduction of Confucianism from ancient China; (3) The continuous influence of Chinese upon Korean clothing can be compared with the overwhelming influence of the dresses Paris, France, upon the rest of Europe during the medieval times. He concluded that Korea maintained its cultural independence from China just like Britain did from the European Continent. Interestingly, these early missionaries such as George H. Jones and Mark Trollope wrote articles, “The Spirit Worship of the Koreans,” “Introduction to the Study of Buddhism in Corea,” and “Kang Hwa” containing detailed, positive views on Korean shamanism and Buddhism. The book also provides readers with a wealth of information on various cultural aspects of Korea in the early 20th century observed by foreign intellectuals such as Buddhist images, ginseng farming, marriage, traditional medicine, stone pagoda, hunting, and gold mining.