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Sun, December 4, 2022 | 11:37
Heating up winter on Korea's ondol floors
In the late 19th century, it wasn't uncommon for Seoul to be shrouded in smoke from the thousands and thousands of short chimneys that lined the streets. These chimneys were part of the ondol floor heating system. Horace Allen, an American missionary and later diplomat, spent two decades, from 1884 to 1904, in Korea and wrote several books about his experiences. He described ...
Baking bread in Joseon
The morning of March 27, 1884 was cold but invigorating. Naval surgeon George W. Woods, a crewmember of the American warship, the U.S.S. Juniata, and a guest of the American ambassador to Korea, had arrived in Seoul the previous night with a couple other officers from the ship. Woods woke up to the smell of pine smoke and the sound of a servant stoking the fire in the “ondol”...
King Gojong's 1893 ceremonial visit in honor of King Seonjo
On the beautiful autumn morning of Nov. 11, 1893, the foreign community in Seoul witnessed the royal family's ceremonial visit to a memorial site located in front of the American Legation (now the ambassador's residence).
Ghost hunting in Joseon
In 1894, a newspaper in the United States published an article about a ghost hunt in Jemulpo (modern Incheon) purportedly written by an American naval officer. It was “an adventure that befell him just before the declaration of war between China and Japan” on Aug. 1, 1894, and the tale ended with a tragedy.
Korea's early Halloween history
It is that time of year again when scary ghosts, zombies, vampires and witches compete with beautiful princesses, heroic characters of modern lore and cute whimsical creatures lifted from the pages of comic books for treats and praise - it is, of course, Halloween.
Public pipe smoking ban triggered clashes in Joseon
In the early 1890s, one British visitor to the Korean Peninsula declared that “the chief sources of expense to a [Korean] man lie in his clothes and his pipe.” Pipe smoking was an integral part of Korean society - enjoyed not only by men, but also women and even children. Tobacco soothed the troubled-spirit, aided in the treatment of diseases and injuries and was even figurat...
Keeping the peace in Joseon
In the late 19th century, keeping the peace in the Land of the Morning Calm was no easy matter as the police officers often found themselves the victims of physical assaults by enraged citizens angered by the constantly changing laws.
The emperor is crowned: Part 2
“The Kingdom of [Joseon] came to a quiet end October 12th, 1897. Not with the tramp of the invader, not with the shout of the traitor did this change take place; no boom of cannon resounded [through] these hills, neither did the lurid flame of the torch light up the streets of the Capital.” It was, according to the editors of The Korean Repository (a monthly English magazine ...
The emperor is crowned: Part 1
“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” is a line from one of William Shakespeare's plays that expresses how difficult it is to be a monarch. In the fall of 1897, King Gojong was faced with his own dilemma: his people did not want him as a king, but as an emperor.
Jungyangjeol, one of the luckiest days in the Korean calendar
Autumn is, arguably, the best time of the year to visit Korea. The oppressive heat of summer and the unbearable humidity of the rainy season are replaced with the crisp, cool temperatures of the mornings and the brilliance of the red and golden leaves on the forested mountains. Besides beautiful scenery, cool temperatures and delicious food and drink, autumn has Jungyangjeol ...