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Mon, July 4, 2022 | 15:35
Baseball in Joseon: Part 2
Phillip Gillett, an American missionary working with the YMCA, is often credited as being the first to introduce baseball to Korea in 1905. He helped popularize it and form a Korean baseball team - the Hwangseong YMCA Baseball Team. The following year, he helped arrange the first official Korean baseball match on Feb. 11, 1906. It would not be the last game.
Baseball in Joseon: Part 1
On a beautiful fall afternoon in late October 1894, baseball made its appearance in Seoul. It isn't clear if this was the first baseball game to be played in Korea, but it is the earliest account I could find and clearly predates the popular belief that baseball began in Korea in 1905.
The Royal English School's Sports Day
In her diary, on June 16, 1897, Elizabeth Greathouse duly noted that it was a cloudy day but it promised to be a good day for the Royal English School's annual athletic sports day. She wasn't quite sure what the students were going to do - some type of gymnastics, she guessed - but she looked forward to attending the event with two Korean ladies. They were due to arrive at 3 ...
The assassination attempt of Heungson Daewon'gun
On the morning of June 15, 1892, the residents of Seoul awoke to the booming of thunder. It was a very welcomed sound. One elderly American wrote in her diary, the sky had “every appearance of rain, we all hope it may come.” Indeed, many of the farmers were probably praying fervently knowing that a bountiful rain would help ensure a successful harvest, but others, before the ...
Secret journey to Daegu in 1875
Traveling alone through the Korean countryside in March 1875 was dangerous - especially if you were a foreigner. However, one young Japanese man from Tsushima Island, likely a student interpreter at Fusan (modern Busan) and possessed by the folly of youth and the mastery of the Korean language, was determined to explore Korea beyond the small Japanese enclave at Fusan.
The earliest students of Korea and 'things Korean'
In late 1884, there were only a handful of Westerners residing in Seoul. Some of these men were recognized later as experts on “things Korean.” Men like William George Aston, a British diplomat, who studied and learned Korean while in Japan in preparation for being assigned to Korea in 1884.
Born on the fifth day of the fifth moon
In the late 19th century, books written in English about Korean history were often more amusing than informative because they were filled with inaccuracies, folktales, myths and deliberate deceptions. Horace N. Allen, an early American missionary doctor and later the American representative to Korea, was fond of amusing foreign readers on the peninsula - as well as those abro...
Celebrating Dano in 1900
To the foreign visitor (and many younger Koreans), Dano is possibly one of the least-known Korean holidays. Even in the late 19th century, when it was well celebrated in Korea, it was rarely mentioned by Westerners in their letters home.
'Let there be light' for Joseon Court
In late November 1886, William McKay, a 23-year-old Scottish American, his wife Anna and their infant son Willie arrived in Jemulpo to help “enlighten” Joseon - at least the palace - with electricity. McKay was brought to the peninsula as an “electric light teacher” and his primary responsibility was to set up the power plant purchased by the Korean government from the Edison...
Dragons in the Palace
For many young foreign diplomats, Seoul in the late 1880s was a wild and exciting adventure. It was, of course, filled with political intrigue and assassinations; the main players were disgruntled court officials, members of the royal family and, reportedly, even the supernatural.
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