Volume 1, 1901


Homer B. Hulbert A.M., F.R.G.S., Editor.


Printed at The Methodist Publishing House, Seoul.



VOL I (1901)


No. 1 (January)


The Spirit of The Bell—Poem                                 1

The New Century                                                                 3

Seoul                                                                       6

Chemulpo                                                              11

Mok-P’o                                                                                46

Odds and Ends

A Curious Cup                                                                  17

Off his Guard..                                                                 18

The Growing Buddha                                          18

Small but Mighty                                                 19

Question and Answer                                              19

Editorial Comment                                                  22

News Calendar                                                        24

In Memoriam                                                          28

The History of Korea

Introductory Note                                                                 29

Ancient Korea                                                         33


No. 2 (February)

Opening Lines of Chang-Ja Poem                           49

Chang-Ja on The Wind- Poem                                 49

Korean Proverbs                                                                  50

The Korean Pronoun.                                              53

The New Century

P’Yung-Yang                                                           56 [Page 2]

Wun-San                                                                 59

Odds And Ends

Rip Van Winkle                                                   62

The First Bicycle                                                 65

Seat Of Intelligence                                             67

Tight Lacings                                                       67

Question and Answer                                              68

Editorial Comment                                                  69

The Korea Review Album                                                    69

News Calendar.                                                       71

The History of Korea

Ancient Korea                                                         77


No. 3 (March)

Xylographic Art In Korea                                                     97

Sul-Ch’ ong, Father Of Korean Literature

Geo. Heber Jones                                                                102

A Leaf From My Journal  S. F. Moore                   111

Odds And Ends.

Prophecy                                                             113

Mathematics vs. Chinese                                     114

The Story Did It                                                   115

Cinderella                                                            116

An Engineering Feat                                               116

Brains vs. Muscle.                                                 117

Editorial Comment                                                  117

News Calendar                                                        118

History Of Korea                                                                 125 [Page 3]


No. 4 (April)

A Vagary of Fortune Narro.                                    145

The Introduction of Chinese Into Korea   

Jas. S. Gale.                                                            155

Odds and Ends.

Exorcising Spirits                                               163

The Shogun                                                         154

Small Pox                                                            154

Question and Answer                                              164

The Korean Nobility                                               164

Origin of The Po-Sam                                             165

Editorial Comment                                                 166

News Calendar                                                        168

History of Korea.                                                                 177


No. 5 (May)

A Vagary of Fortune  Narro                                   193

The Tidal Wave in The Yellow Sea.           

F. H. Morsel.                                                           202

Odds And Ends.

Native Gold Mining                                             206

Pearls.                                       .                         207

A Korean Heroine                                  .            208

Nemesis          .                                                    208

Consanguineous Marriage                                  209

Cure For Leprosy                                               209

Snakes                                                                 209

Oppert                                                                210 [Page 4]

Question and Answer.                                             211

Editorial Comment                                                 212

News Calendar                                                      213

History of Korea                                                                221


No. 6 (June)

The Image of Gautama  Poem                

Archer Butler Hulbert                                              241

Baron Von Mollendorff                                         245

Home For Destitute Children

C. C. Vinton. M. D.                                                 252

Korean Etymology                                                 254

Odds And Ends.

Fishing Boats               .            .                        258

A Red Sea Path                                                                259

A Curious Asset.                                                  259

Question And Answer

Rev. F. S. Miller                                                     260

Editorial Comment                                                  261

News Calendar                .                                       263

History of Korea                                                                  273


No. 7 (July)

The Ni-T’u Jas. S. Gale.                                       289

A Conundrum in Court.                                          293

Korean and Efate                                                                297

W. Du Flon Hutchison                                            302

Odds And Ends.

Substitute For Vaccination                                                    303 [Page 5]

Could Not Bell The Cat                                           303

Question and Answer                                              304

Editorial Comment                                                 306

News Calendar                                                        308

History of Korea             ..                                                 317


No. 8 (August)

The Korea Branch of The R.A.S                            337

The Man In The Street.

Korean And Efate                                                               341

George C. Foulk                                                    344

Rice And The Ideograph..                                                    349

Odds And Ends.

Unwelcome Insects.                                            352

Death In The Pot                                                352

Question and Answer                                          353

Correspondence.                                                                 353

Editorial Comment                                                 354

News Calendar                                                        358

History of Korea                                                                 369


No. 9 (September)

The Seoul Water-Works                                          385

An Anglo-Korean Conversation                              387

Korean Proverbs                                                                  392

The Seoul-Fusan Railway                                                     397

Odds and Ends.

A Snake Story                                                    400

The Seventh Daughter                                         401 [Page 6]

Confidence Restored                                          402

When Thieves Fall Out                                                   402

Tricks of The Trade                                             402

Bones Wanted                                                                 403

Review                                                                  403

Editorial Comment                                                 404

News Calendar                                                        406

History of Korea                                                                  417


No. 10 (October)

A Notable Book on China                                                   433

Rear Admiral Schley in Korea                               440

The Price of Happiness                                         445

Odds and Ends.

Why Morning Calm?                                             454

Blue Tile                                                                456

A Rebellious Mountain                                          456

Question and Answer                                              457

Editorial Comment.                                                 457

News Calendar.                                                       460

History of Korea                                                                 465


No. 11 (November)

The Founding of The Korea Dynasty

Rev. C. T. Collyer                                                               483

The Queen of Quelpart                                           486

The Wizard of Ta-Bak San                                                   489

Review                                                                    493

Odds and Ends.

Horse Sense                 .                                       494 [Page 7]

Quid Pro Quo                                                    495

Caught In Her Own Trap                                     496

Editorial Comment                                                  497

News Calendar.                                                       499

History Of Korea                                                                513


No. 12 (December)

The Status of Woman in Korea.                             529

(To Be Continued)

The Marble Pagoda                                                 534

The Disturbance on Quelpart  E. Martel                 539

Odds and Ends.

A Prophetic Dream                                             543

The Stone Doctor                                                543

Oxen Could Not Draw Him.                                544

A Just Division                                                                 545

A Military Manoeuvre  .                                       546

Editorial Comment                                                  547

News Calendar                                                        549

History of Korea                                                                561



INDEX OF The Korea Review*



*Items in this index not otherwise signed are by the Editor.





A Conundrum in Court 293

A Curious Asset  259

A Curious Cup  17

A Just Division   545

A Korean Heroine 208

A Leaf From My Journal  S. F. Moore  111

A Military Manoeuvre 546

An Anglo-Korean Conversation 387

An Engineering Feat 116

A Notable Book on China 433

A Prophetic Dream  543

A Rebellious Mountain 456

A Red Sea Path 259

A Snake Story 400

A Vagary of Fortune, Narro 145, 193

Baron Von Mollendorff 245

Blue Tile 456

Bones Wanted 403

Brains vs. Muscle 117

Caught In Her Own Trap 496

Chemulpo 11

Cinderella 116

Confidence Restored 402

Consanguineous Marriage 209

Correspondence  353

Could Not Bell The Cat 303

Cure For Leprosy 209

Death In The Pot 352

Editorial Comment 22, 69, 117, 166, 212, 261, 306, 354, 404, 457, 497, 547

Exorcising Spirits 163

Fishing Boats 258

George C. Foulk 344

History of Korea 33, 77, 125, 177, 221, 273, 317, 369, 417, 465, 513, 561

Home For Destitute Children C. C. Vinton. M. D. 252

Horse Sense 494

In Memoriam 28

Introductory Note 29

Korean and Efate            297, 341

Korean Etymology 254

Korean Proverbs 50, 392

Mathematics vs. Chinese 114

Mok-P’o 46

Native Gold Mining 206

Nemesis 208

News Calendar 24, 71, 118, 168, 213, 263, 308, 358, 406, 424, 460, 499, 549

Odds and Ends 17, 62, 113, 163, 206, 258, 303, 352, 400, 494, 543

Off his Guard 18

Opening Lines of Chang-Ja Poem 49

Oppert 210

Origin of the Po-Sam 165

Oxen Could Not Draw Him 544

Pearls 207

Prophecy 113

P’yung-Yang 56

Question and Answer 19, 68, 164, 211, 260, 304, 353, 457,

Quid Pro Quo 495

Rear Admiral Schley in Korea 440

Review 403, 493,

Rice And The Ideograph 349

Rip Van Winkle 62

Seat Of Intelligence 67

Seoul 6

Small but Mighty 19

Small Pox 154

Snakes 209

Substitute For Vaccination 303

Sul-Ch’ ong, Father of Korean Literature  Geo. Heber Jones 102

The Disturbance on Quelpart  E. Martel 539

The First Bicycle 65

The Founding of The Korea Dynasty Rev. C. T. Collyer 483

The Growing Buddha 18

The Image of Gautama (Poem) Archer Butler Hulbert 241

The Introduction of Chinese Into Korea Jas. S. Gale. 155

The Korea Review Album 69

The Korea Branch of The R.A.S 337

The Korean Nobility 164

The Korean Pronoun 53

The Marble Pagoda 534

The New Century            3, 56

The Ni-T’u Jas. S. Gale 289

The Price of Happiness 445

The Queen of Quelpart 486

The Seoul-Fusan Railway 397

The Seoul Water-Works 385

The Seventh Daughter 401

The Shogun 154

The Spirit of The Bell—Poem 1

The Status of Woman in Korea 529

The Stone Doctor 543

The Story Did It 115

The Tidal Wave in The Yellow Sea.            F. H. Morsel 202

The Wizard of Ta-Bak San 489

Tight Lacings 67

Tricks of The Trade 402

Unwelcome Insects 352

W. Du Flon Hutchison 302

When Thieves Fall Out 402

Why Morning Calm? 454

Wun-San 59

Xylographic Art In Korea  97






Volume 1, January 1901


[page 1]

The Spirit of the Bell.



The master-founder stands with angry brow

Before his bell across whose graven side

A fissure deep proclaims his labor naught.

For thrice the furnace blast has yielded up

Its glowing treasure to the mould, and thrice

The tortured metal, writhing as in pain,

Has burst the brazen casement of the bell.

And now like a dumb bullock of the lists,

That stands at bay while nimble toreadors

Fling out the crimson challenge, in his face.

And the hot, clamoring crowd with oaths demand.

The fatal stroke, so hangs the sullen bell

From his thwart beam, refusing still to lend

His voice to swell the song hymeneal,

To toll the requiem of the passing dead

Or bid the day good-night with curfew sad.

The master-founder said “If but an ounce

Of that rare metal which the Spirits hide

From mortal sight were mingled with the flux

It would a potion prove so powerful

To ease the throes of birth and in the place

Of disappointment bring fruition glad.”

 And lo a royal edict, at hand

Of couriers swift, speeds o’er the land like flame

Across the stubble drift of sun-dried plains.

“Let prayer be made to Spirits of the earth

That they may render up their treasure, lest

Our royal city like a Muslim mute

Shall have no tongue to voice her joy or pain.” [page 2]

The great sun reddened with the altar smoke;

The very clouds caught up their trailing skirts

And fled the reek of burning hecatombs;

But still the nether Spirits gave no sign.

Not so! A mother witch comes leading through

The city gate a dimpled babe and cries,

“If to the molten mass you add this child

‘Twill make a rare amalgam, aye so rare

That he who once has heard the Dell’s deep tone

Shall ever after hunger for it more

Than for the voice of mother, wife or child.”

Again the furnace fires leap aloft,

Again the broken fragments of the bell

Cast off their torpor at the touch of flame.

Unpitying are the hands that cast the child

Into that seething mass. Fit type of Hell!

Nay, type of human shame that innocence

Should thus be made to bear the heavy cross

For empty pageantry.  How could it be

That Justice should permit the flowing years

To wash away the memory of that shame?

Nor did she. Through that seeming metal coursed

The life blood of the child. Its fiber clothed

A human soul. Supernal alchemy!

And when the gathered crowd stood motionless

And mute to hear the birth note of the bell,

And the great tongue beam, hang by linked chain

Aloft, smote on his brazen breast, ‘twas no          

Bell cry that came forth of his cavern throat.

‘Twas “Emmi, Emmi, Emmi, Emmille”*

 “O Mother, woe is me, O Mother mine!”

 H. B. H.

*The bell being struck with a wooden beam rather that with an irom tongue gives the effect of a sonorous Em and doubtless the legend grew out of this fancied resemblance. [page 3]



The New Century.


As the World swings across the line that divides the Nineteenth Century from the Twentieth it finds all the civilized nations of the earth joined in a federation of amity and concord. There are no Hermit Kingdoms, no Forbidden Lands remaining. The law of human interdependence has worked out to its logical end, for, when Korea joined the federation, the medieval principle of national self-sufficiency received its final blow. There are portions of the earth, like Thibet, which are still difficult of access, but Thibet is only a dependency of China and her inaccessibility is due to physical rather than political causes. If the opening of Thibet had been of value it would have been done ere now. There is no autonomous government today that does not acknowledge the validity of the law of mutual interdependence.

It might be difficult to ascertain just when the ratification of international treaties began or what two nations set the good example but we know that Korea was the last to fall into line and save us the spectacle of a divided Twentieth Century world.

It was on Feb. 27th, 1876, that Korea made her first modern treaty. It was with Japan, but no exchange of Ministers occurred until three years later and it was not until well into the eighties that Korea began to stir under the impulse of her new relations.

The first use she made of the altered conditions was naturally a commercial one. The Korean people were quick to discover the value of foreign trade. They are not the first nation to prove that immemorial custom stands little chance in the face of better goods at cheaper prices. They decline, and rightly too, to change their ancient style of dress but they have readily changed the material of which their dress is [page 4] made. The heavy importation of piece goods, petroleum and friction matches has done very much to ameliorate the condition of the common people of Korea during the past two decades.

The opening of trade necessitated the establishment of a Customs Service. This was done under the auspices of the Chinese Customs and its efficiency and its value to Korea have always been among the most striking features of Korea’s progress

Another outcome of the change was the establishment of schools and hospitals, in a modest way at first, for the healing of the sick and for the study of foreign languages, sciences and arts. This work was begun in 1884 and has continued and enlarged until at the present time we find six government language schools under competent foreign direction. The impulse which this gave has resulted in the establishment of several private schools under purely native auspices. From the very first the Mission schools have been prominent in educational work. The common schools have felt the impetus and the whole system has been reorganized and new studies of a liberal nature have been introduced into the curriculum. Normal and graduate schools have been established and a University is contemplated. The educational interest has spread to the country and in the different provincial centers schools have been established on lines far in advance of those which formerly prevailed. Educational work is slow but its results are as sure as they are slow.

In the third place the opening of Korea naturally gave an impulse to agriculture. The higher prices of cereals that prevailed in Japan soon influenced the Korean market and the export of beans and rice has been very great. This has increased the amount of circulating medium and has raised the prices of all commodities. History shows us that frequently in the past the Korean rice crop has been so great that travelers paid nothing for food on the way, but these days are over. The natural law of supply and demand has come into play and the cost of living in Japan and Korea is gradually becoming equalized. The Korean people frequently exclaim against constantly rising prices forgetting that these are due to natural causes which show prosperity. The diffi- [page 5] culty lies in the fact that during the transition stage the prices of the necessities of life advance more rapidly than the daily wage of the workman. It is as true of Korea as of other lands that the working man has to bear the brunt of any change in economic conditions.

With the increased demand for agricultural products the “margin of cultivation” has been raised. Many schemes have been worked out for the reclaiming of waste lands and the irrigation of other fertile tracts for the purpose of growing the one great Asiatic staple, rice.          

In the mining field great activity has been manifested. Concessions have been granted to foreign syndicates to exploit the auriferous deposits of the country, with results that have fully justified the venture. These enterprises have brought large amounts of capital into the country, and better still have given employment to thousands of Koreans who thus are taking lessons in industry at the hands of the masters of industry, the English, Germans, Americans and Japanese.

During this period the teachers of Protestant Christianity have entered upon their work in Korea and have made phenomenal           progress in it. Not the least of their work has been to show that there is no stronger bulwark of patriotism and loyalty than practical adherence to the principles of Christianity.

This period has seen Korea lay aside, not her devotion to Chinese ideals, but her political subserviency to China. This in turn has paved the way to the establishment of the Empire of Ta Han which is Korea’s proper status in view of her ethnic, linguistic and geographical integrity. She holds a dignified and honorable place in the capitals of the Treaty Powers. In Washington she has purchased property and established a permanent domicile, as might have been expected, for the United States from the very first has shown the most “disinterested” interest in the welfare of Korea.

American enterprise has resulted in the building 6f a railroad between the capital and the port, which besides being an assured financial success is an object lesson of the utmost value to Korea. Other railroads north and south from Seoul will, at some not distant date, join Fusan with the great Siberian system and thus complete the most gigantic engineer- [page 6] ing feat that the world has ever seen. The roads north and south from Seoul have already been begun. In the material progress of Korea Japan has taken the leading part. This is a logical result of her deep interest in the opening of Korea, for Japan naturally looks to the peninsula for her food supply and for a market for her manufactured products. This reciprocity between the two helps Korea to share the benefits of Japan’s marvelous industrial metamorphosis and forms the strongest guarantee of the development of Korea’s resources. In like manner when railroad communication is established with Russia we may look for a more rapid development of the northern provinces, which will be of mutual benefit both to Russia and to Korea. The possibilities of the Yalu valley have not yet been even guessed.

Every country newly opened to foreign influences has to learn by experience and this makes inevitable a fluctuation in sentiment, now for and now against what the world calls progress. It is in better taste for the well-wishers of Korea to applaud and encourage her in her genuine successes than to cavil at the failures. And on the whole it must be granted that the substantial progress of Korea daring the past two decades has been enormous. That there is still much to do does not detract from the credit for what she has already accomplished. It is our purpose to do what we can in this REVIEW to cultivate mutual knowledge between Korea and the outside world, believing that in so doing the interests of this land can in some measure be advanced.



A detailed account of all the improvements that have been made in the city of Seoul during the past twenty years would far exceed the limits of our available space and we must content ourselves with a mere list of them. It has been said that you can judge of a country’s status by the addition of its roads. The country roads of Korea remain practically as they were but in the capital the improvement has been very great. As originally out, the road from the great gate of the Kyong-bok Palace to the East Gate, a distance of some two and a half miles, is one of the noblest that can be found in Eastern Asia. [page 7]

But it was encroached upon by booths and temporary shops to such an extent that two carts could hardly pass each other, at certain points. These booths have been all taken away and the main artery of the city cleansed. The streets leading from the South Gate, the Little West Gate and the New Gate to the center of the city have been widened to generous proportions. Legation Street has been greatly improved but is still so narrow that the heavy carts have made extensive repairs imperative. A new street has been cut through from the present Palace gate to the approach to the Kyong-bok Palace, another from the same point diagonally across to the Japanese Consulate, another from South Gate street to a point a little to the east of the Roman Catholic cathedral, another from the South Gate to the beginning of Legation street, and others of minor consequence. Outside the city roads have been built from the South Gate to Yong-san, from the New Gate to Ma-po and from the Little West Gate to A-o-ga. Outside the East Gate the road to the Queen’s Tomb has been greatly improved. But of all work that has been done upon the permanent thoroughfares of the suburbs the most memorable is the building of a magnificent road through the Peking Pass. In former days this was probably the worst spot on the road between the Capitals of Korea and China. It was in full sight of the city of Seoul and yet was quite impassable for carts. We can well remember the time when it was an act of cruelty to ride a horse through this rocky defile, but today it is a pleasure.

In the second place the drainage of the city demands notice. The building of new roads necessarily resulted in improvements in the arrangements for sewage, but besides that nearly the whole course of the great central drain of Seoul, the Cloaca Maxima of the city, has been cleaned out and neatly stoned up on the sides. Many of the lesser drains have likewise been improved.

In the matter of building, great and laudable activity has been shown. The first foreign building to be erected was the Japanese Legation which was completed in 1885. Since that time the Russian, English, French and Chinese governments have erected substantial foreign buildings, preeminent among which both for size and architectural beauty is the French [page 8] Legation. The Japanese Government has also erected a handsome Consulate building. The Cathedral is the most conspicuous edifice in the city and being constructed according to the severest canons of Gothic art is a noble and graceful pile. Among other public buildings in foreign style we have the Catholic church outside the wall, the Pa-ja school, the Methodist churches of Chong-dong and Sang-dong, the Club-house of the Cercle diplomatique, the I-wa School for girls, the Seoul Union Reading room, the Japanese Board of Trade, the First Japanese Bank, the Japanese School, the Government Middle School, the Methodist Publishing House, the Roman Catholic Orphanage and the Power House of the Seoul Electric Railway. When we come to the question of private dwelling houses and business properties we must draw the line. It will be sufficient to say that about twenty-five of such have been erected. These do not include Korean houses that have been made over into: foreign residences or foreign residences that have been built in Korean style. Of these there are upwards of sixty not counting those built by Japanese or Chinese. Of Chinese buildings there are a considerable number scattered about the city while of Japanese houses there are very many as may be expected with a Japanese population of two thousand or more. These are mostly confined: to the Japanese settlement, commonly called Chin-go-ga, although not a few are found in other parts, of the city, especially near the South Gate.

As for transport facilities all the ordinary Korean methods remain in use but in addition to these the jinrikisha has made its appearance and has found favor with all except the higher official classes among the Koreans. But especially worthy of mention is the Seoul Electric Railway which affords easy communication between the New Gate and the Queen’s Tomb three miles outside the East Gate, and between Chong-no, the center of the city, and the river town of Yong-san. This brilliant and successful venture has been not only a great convenience to the Koreans but it has been an object lesson of the utmost value. Its interest is enhanced by the fact that it was accomplished by a union of American and Korean enterprise. The Seoul-Chemulpo Railroad has secured equal favor with the Korean people. They thoroughly appreciate its value, as [page 9] is seen by the heavy passenger and freight traffic that the road enjoys. The great bridge across the Han River, an engineering feat of no small magnitude, is a constant reminder to the Korean of western skill in overcoming nature’s obstacles and a constant encouragement to go and do likewise.

If it were not our purpose to confine this sketch to things actually accomplished we should mention the progress that has been made toward laying out a public park about the site of the pagoda and the plans that have been completed for supplying the city with water by aqueduct from the Han River. But these and other contemplated improvements are achievements of the future and not of the past.

One of the earliest signs of progress was the establishment of a telegraph system throughout the country bringing the different provinces into closer contact with the capital and bringing Korea as a whole into closer contact with the outside world. Under efficient foreign management this department has proved an eminent success.

In 1885 a Government Hospital was established under foreign direction and the thousands of Koreans who take advantage of its gratuitous services attest its popularity and its genuine value.

In pursuance of her rights as a sovereign and independent Power Korea has sought and obtained admission to the Postal Union and letters bearing the Korean stamp are now sent to all parts of the worlds. When railroad communication is secured with the different provincial centers there seems to be no reason why, under its present efficient management, the Postal Bureau should not become a source of revenue to the government.

The increase of business and the need of increased facilities for financal transactions has called into being not only foreign banks but Korean men of enterprise have organized banks and have won the confidence and patronage of the people. Such things do their share in establishing confidence in native ability to carry out large financial enterprises.

The founding and successful operation of native newspapers has been a marked feature of the new regime. While such organs cannot be expected to enjoy the unlimited free- [page 10] dom of the west they have done much to give the people a taste for information beyond their own contracted spheres and have proved and are proving a potent educative force.

The radical reforms that have been introduced into the Korean army are worthy of the greatest praise. It has become a recognized principle here that if an army is worth having at all it is worth clothing, feeding and paying properly. Thus it has come about that instead of taking to soldiering as a last resort the Koreans are eager to enlist and many applications have to be rejected. Soldierly uniforms and efficient drill have transformed the army and made it a factor that cannot be ignored.      

The city of Seoul has a well-equipped police force in foreign uniform and this has had a perceptible effect upon the general public behavior. In fact it would be difficult to find a more orderly city in the Far East than Seoul. This may be because the Koreans are little accustomed to taking their pleasure out of doors in the evening by lamp and lantern light. By nine o’clock the streets are practically cleared of traffic.

We cannot omit mention of the newly acquired right of every man to a fair and public trial in a properly constituted court, and while the operation of this law is as yet partially theoretical the law itself stands as a goal toward which progress will be more or less rapid.

In the matter of coinage there has been great advance. Though the maximum of success remains to be achieved the new coinage is a century in advance of that which we were compelled to handle twelve or thirteen years ago. It is a part of the education of all eastern countries to learn that the only legitimate object in coining money is to provide the people with a circulating medium of stable and intrinsic value. Viewed in this light the new coinage though not perfect must be applauded as a step in advance.

Brief mention has been made of educational work in general but it demands more special notice. The conduct of educational affairs is a good gauge of a country’s policy. If so the radical changes introduced into the schools of the capital are the most hopeful sign of the times. In the first place, and chiefest of all in genuine value, is the introduction into almost all the text-books of what is called the mixed script. [page 11]

This indicates a determination on the part of the government to relegate the Chinese character to its proper place as a mere glossary or thesaurus of words to be used in accordance with the grammatical genius of the native Korean speech. In the second place the establishment of foreign language schools is of wide importance. Each Korean who learns a European language and comes in touch with European literature forms a distinct point of contact between his countrymen and the outside world of things and events and cannot fail to help toward a modification of the views and sentiments of the upper classes regarding the progress of the country. But educational advance is most striking in the changes in the curriculum of the common schools of the city. Ten years ago the science of mathematics was not dreamed of as a study for ordinary pupils. It is now a principal subject of study. Universal geography and history are recent innovations and the preparation and publication of text books of science and his- tory is being pushed with the greatest energy by the educational authorities.

The latest addition to the educational equipment is a school of surveying under competent foreign direction which will find a wide field of usefulness here.

Before closing this account it might be of interest to note the things which have been discontinued of late years. First of all come the national examinations which seem to have disappeared altogether and with them one of the most picturesque and interesting features of Korean life. We no longer hear the weird “Kiuchiru, Kiu-kiu Kiuchiru” which heralded the approach of a Korean official chair. We no longer see the signal fires on the mountains flash out their evening message of peace from the four corners of the land. We no longer have the pleasure of climbing the city wall after the evening bell has tolled and we find ourselves shut out of the gates. These and many another interesting and memorable feature of life in Korea have receded into the past not wholly without regret on the part of those whose fortune it has been to see Korea in her pristine simplicity.



Chemulpo at the threshold of the Twentieth Century presents a very interesting subject. Opened in the latter part of 1883 the port has grown in sixteen [page 12] years from a cluster of fishermen’s huts hidden behind a hill along the river, with an adjoining hamlet of military peasants supposed to look after the forts guarding the mouth of the Han river, into a thriving city of over 20,000 people of several nationalities. The growth of the city has been steady and almost phenomenal. Earlier years gave no hint of the extent to which the port would push itself territorially, its limits now being two miles away from the Custom House in the vicinity of which the port had its start. Trade has grown by leaps and bounds. Property has doubled in value several times over. Lines of communication have been opened up with the interior of Korea in all directions. And still the promise of growth and development for the port holds fair and strong.

Territorially the port has spread itself like the proverbial green bay tree. When the first treaty with a western nation was negotiated by Admiral Shufeldt on May 22nd 1882, a tent was erected for him on the hill-side at Chemulpo back of what is now the Commissioner’s residence and here in a solitude the Admiral struggled with his doubt as to whether it would not be better to locate the Settlement on the small island of Wul-mi (Roze) in the harbor rather than on the uninviting mainland. Had this been done the town would have spilled over into the sea long ago. But his better judgment placed it on the main land, and this has on the whole proved a very satisfactory choice. It is interesting to note, while on the subject of the treaties, that the limits of the port as originally provided for in the Japanese treaty extended to 100 li, which would have included Seoul as our suburbs! When the American treaty was signed at Chemulpo the place could boast of a small village called Man-suk-dong and the hereditary military hamlet of Ha-do, and that was all. The hills now covered with houses and residences were traversed by foot paths many of which have since been obliterated, and no hint existed of the great changes that were so soon to come to pass. The small and unpromising beginning has grown into the Japanese, Chinese, and General Foreign Settlements and the Korean city.

The Japanese Settlement is the best located of the three concessions, being the most central, and is the center of the [page 13] Japanese interests of the port. The Japanese population numbers about 4,500 and is under the jurisdiction of the Japanese Consul, H. Ijuin, Esq. Here are the offices of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha and the Osaka Shosen Kaisha, which run lines of steamers from Japan both to Korea and via Korea, to China. The First National Bank has a substantial granite building here for the transaction of its large banking business and here also are the 18th and 58th National Banks to Japan. There are now coastwise lines of small steamers running north to the capital of the Whang-ha Province, via river ports on the Han, lines north to Cheung-nam-p’o and Pyung-yang, and south to kun-san, and recently a line has been opened by which it is possible to reach Kong-ju the capital of Ch’ung-ch’ung Do in the south in twenty-four hours from here. This shows the line along which development is going. The Japanese merchants have a Board of Trade which attends to the mercantile interests of Japan and a Rice Exchange where large transactions take place. The Japanese merchants hold a prominent place in the import and export trade of the port and have large vested interests. Probably the most important enterprise, however, on which the Japanese are engaged in the port, is the management of the Seoul-Chemulpo Railroad which has its head office and shops here. This important undertaking is fraught with great promise for Korea. Under the efficient direction of the General Manager, T. Adachi, Esq., it has become an indispensable factor in the life of the port and our suburbs at Seoul.

The Chinese Settlement is at the Western end of the port and is under the jurisdiction of Chinese Consul, C. T. Tong, Esq. Here reside most at the 500 Chinese residents of the port. Chief among these is the firm of E. D. Steward, with an American name and a thoroughly progressive spirit. Without him it would be hard for most of us to get along. There are a great many Chinese gardeners living at the port who have small gardens in the adjacent fields. Most of these are Shantung farmers who come over in the spring, work their holdings, and return for the winter to their native land, thus causing a constant fluctuation in the number of Chinese residents at the port.

The general foreign community is constituted very much [page 14] the same as other ports in the Far East. We have the Customs staff, the Consuls, the merchants and the missionaries. The Concession is in the eastern end of the port and is well laid out with streets and drains and is under the jurisdiction of the Consuls of the Treaty Powers and representatives chosen from the land owners. These together constitute the Council. There is efficient police supervision and all the interests of the Settlement are well cared for. At the head of the business interests of the port are the three firms of Townsend and Co., E. Meyer, and Co., and Holme Ringer and Co, E. Meyer and Co. have charge of the interests of the German Mining Concession which has a large tract of mining territory in the western part of Korea, the business of which thus comes to Chemulpo. Holme Ringer and Co. are also agents of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation which has a branch office here. One of the greatest interests at the port is that of the American Mines. These are located in the northern part of Korea but the head office is here in charge of the Treasurer of the Company, D. W. Deshler, Esq. The Eastern Pioneer Company, which has a mining concession in Northern Korea, also maintains an office here. These immense interests, the American Mines, the German Mines, the English Mines, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, and the Seoul-Chemulpo Railroad all unite to place Chemulpo at the head of the business of all Korea.

But this is not all. A most interesting experiment is being inaugurated at Chemulpo at this time in the way of manufacturing. In previous years the Korean government launched forth on various manufacturing schemes, such as a glass factory, a match factory, and a paper mill. These were all located at Seoul and were not successful. The present venture at Chemulpo is in the line of cigarettes and a large factory has been erected on the foreshore at the eastern end of the town and will soon be in operation with private capital back of it and every prospect of success.

There are three Missions at work in Chemulpo,—the Roman Catholic with a fine church and a home for Sisters who work among the women and girls of the port and surrounding country; the Church of England Mission with a [page 15] hospital and a chapel in which services for the foreigners and Japanese are held; and the Methodist Episcopal Mission which has its headquarters at the farther end of the Korean city. Both the Roman Catholic and the Methodist Missions have a large work among the Koreans in the port and surrounding villages, and, the Church of England Mission is doing a most successful medical work in the same section.

Turning to the sights of the town we have already alluded to the First National Bank, which possesses one of the finest buildings in all Korea. Then we have our Town Hall, back of which is the. jail where we imprison our carts and jiggies, for we seldom have criminals to occupy it, the new Chemulpo Club House which is architecturally quite striking, the public gardens which of late years have been well laid out, the English Consulate and a number of handsome residences. There are three fine Consulates, two theaters, seven banks, a large number of bath houses, several temples, and not a saloon, strictly speaking, in the town. There are several hotels where travelers can find fairly comfortable quarters. During the hot Summer months the climate is fairly cool and refreshing and this is making the port a popular place in which to spend the Summer. Among the pioneers along this line is the American Minister, Hon. H. N. Allen whose villa at Allendale is one of the landmarks. Of late years Chemulpo has come into prominence as a place in which to hold summer gatherings and already the annual meetings of two missionary bodies have been held here.

From a trade standpoint Chemulpo enjoys the advantage of feeding several important centers. Of course the wealth of the land is centered at the capital and practically all the luxuries imported into Korea come through Chemulpo, and besides the heavy population of the capital and its environs the outlying towns of Su-wun, Ch’un-ch’ung, Ka-p’ung, Kwang-ha and others obtain their foreign goods by way of Chemulpo. But more important than these outlying towns are the cities of Song-do and Ha-ju, both of which are reached by small Japanese steamers in a few hours from Chemulpo. It is this large coastwise traffic branching out from Chemulpo that makes this port of importance.

G. H. J. [page 16]



The port of Mok-p’o was opened to foreign trade in 1897 and has from the very beginning justified the wisdom of that step. It must be borne in mind that the province of Chul-la of which Mok-p’o is the natural maritime outlet is called the garden of Korea because of the great importance of its agricultural produce and as the exports of Korea are almost exclusively agricultural it was to have been expected that Mok-p’o as an exporting center would prove a success. Its progress has been healthy and rapid. Like many of the open ports of Korea the anchorage is in the current of a river and the tides run strong but it is a land-locked harbor and one in which the frailest craft could outride the severest weather; In this matter of tides the harbors of Wun-san, Fu-san and Ma-sam-p’o have a decided advantage over those of the Western coast. The approach to Mok-p’o is particularly beautiful, the high hills rising close on either hand. It is marvelous to see how quickly the spirit of trade can transform the appearance of such a place as Mok-p’o. Two years ago nothing was to be seen from the anchorage but a mass of squalid Korean huts in the foreground and a bare rocky hill in the background. Today we find the Korean huts gone and in the immediate foreground stands the residence of the Commissioner of Customs on a commanding knoll near the water side. Behind it and on either hand the Japanese have bought up the land and erected their neat if unsubstantial dwellings. The marshy foreshore has been reclaimed and out of what seemed at first very untoward conditions a flourishing town has sprung up. The close proximity of the anchorage to the bund or sea-wall places Mok-p’o far ahead of Chemulpo in the matter of convenience of lightering the boats. As was expected, it has been found impossible for the large steamship lines to ignore this port and the Nippon Yusen Kaisha boats and the Osaka Shosen Kaisha boats touch here regularly. The things that Koreans import are used mostly by the common people, at least the piece goods and matches and yarns are used mostly by them so that the very dense population of this south-western province, though nominally poor, will absorb an ever increasing amount of foreign goods and Mok-p’o will grow in consequence. It would be no matter of surprise if this port should some day lead all the other ports in the amount of its trade. [page 17]

The most striking of the improvements made in Mok-p’o is the long sea-wall which has been put in at great cost and labor. The anchorage is so near this wall that it is said a pontoon landing stage is to be built, to which vessels can tie up. This will be far ahead of anything else in Korea in the line of landing facilities.

[We regret to say that sketches of the other ports did not arrive in time for insertion in this number, but they will be published in the next.]



Odds and Ends.


A Curious Cup.

In time past the Koreans were possessed of a knowledge of mechanical laws for which we generally fail to give them credit. Some days ago a Korean brought a bamboo drinking cup to sell. Through the bottom of it there was a hole. One could not see through the hole but by blowing through it was easily seen that the hole was genuine. The owner affirmed that the cup would not leak until filled to the very brim, but that at the instant the water reached the top it would all run out through the hole. As we were incredulous he put it to the test. The cup was filled half full but did not leak a drop. It was filled nearly to the brim but still it did not leak. But as soon as it reached the top the entire contents of the cup passed through the hole and ran to the ground. The Korean by-standers considered it almost supernatural and the owner averred that he had refused an offer of sixty yen for the curious thing. He was himself unaware of how the trick was done until we explained that the hole was a siphon in the thick side of the cup and that when the cup was full a column of water was formed in the downward part of the hole which was longer and therefore heavier than the upward column of water and consequently the water was all drawn off. Being asked what might be the use of such a cup he replied that it was made in the interests of moderation. With such a cup one must not fill it to the brim with wine but [page 18] would be compelled to abstemiousness. We replied that it would be a good thing if the hole went straight through.


Off His Guard. 

A celebrated teacher near Ha-ju, the capital of Whang-ha Province, was seated on his maru or inner verandah when his pupils entered the court-yard. Calling to them to stop there he propounded this question:

“Could any of you advance an argument that would make me come down from this maru to the court-yard?”

The pupil ordinarily accounted the brightest answered:

“I could set fire to the building and that would make you come down.” The teacher objected that this was an appeal to force rather than to reason. Another student there-upon answered:

“O Teacher there is no argument that could make you come down but if you were down here I could easily make you go back.”

The teacher was incredulous and said “Let us see,” and forthwith came down, whereupon the pupil turned to his fellows and said:

“See how easy it was to bring him down.”


The Growing Buddha.   

The monk Sin-don, whose corrupt practices did more than anything else to bring about the fall of the Ko-ryu dynasty in 1392, imagined at one time that his power was waning and in order to check this he determined to perform a “miracle.” At dead of night he dug a deep hole in the ground beside his door. At the bottom he placed a large jar of beans. He then poured in water till the jar was full and on top of all he placed a gilded Buddha so that the crown of its head was just about level with the surface of the ground. He covered it all with earth and smoothed it down so that nothing at all was visible. In the morning he met his gathered worshipers with a very serious face and announced that before evening a gilded Buddha would come up out of the ground beside his door. And sure enough the beans began to swell, and promptly on schedule time the gilded Buddha pushed his head through [page 19] the ground and the worshipers all went down on their faces before the monk. Sin-don knew beans.


Small but Mighty.

             So the story goes in Korea that Mr. Fox in his morning stroll met Mr. Tiger.

“I eat foxes,” says Mr. Tiger.

“Certainly,” says Mr. Fox “but first let me invite you to walk through this wood with me and when we reach the other side you are welcome to your breakfast.”

“Very well,” said Mr. Tiger, “but you must walk in front so that I can watch you.”

As they advanced, the wild boar, the deer and the bears leaped up and fled from before them. Mr. Fox looked over his shoulder and said jauntily:

“See you what all these do when they behold me coming?” The Tiger looked in amazement.

“I seek my breakfast elsewhere,” he grumbled.



Question and Answer.


In response to the offer of the Review to secure the answer to any question that might be propounded, the following questions have been sent in and answers have been secured. It may be seen from these how interesting and valuable this department of the magazine can be made if any of its patrons wish information on special topics. These questions were submitted to persons quite competent to answer them, but if any of our friends are aware of any other explanation than the one here given we should be pleased to hear from them.

(1) Question. Why does the Korean so frequently patch white clothes with red material?

Answer. This is never done except when the injury has been caused by fire. The proper explanation is that the Koreans consider it an omen of ill luck to burn the clothes and they believe the ill luck will be averted by patching with red. This as far as the Korean goes, but it would be interesting to know whether red is used because it is the color of fire and [page 20] on the principle that dog’s bite can be cured by the hair of the dog.” Or may it be that it goes back further still and forms the remnant of an ancient fire worship?

It is also said, but without good authority, that the red patch is a visible confession of clumsiness on the part of the owner, as if he would say “Behold the man who is so awkward as to allow his clothes to be burned.”

(2) Question. Why does the Korean always seize his ear when he burns his finger?

Answer. For the same reason that a Westerner might put his finger in his month under similar trying circumstances. Having wet the injured member the rapid evaporation cools it. So the Korean seizes the ear because it is partially detached from the body and therefore the coldest part and he believes he can relieve the pain by so doing. The only value this remedy seems to possess is that one always has it with him.

(3) Question. Why do the Koreans avoid stepping or sitting on the thresholds of their houses?

Answer. There seems to be a universal superstition against this. The Korean goes to some pains to teach his children to step over the threshold of the door and does not hesitate to punish them if they seem careless about it. They are not pleased to have us sit on their thresholds when calling, as we are tempted to do in order to avoid removing our shoes. Two explanations are given for this. The first is that the So-hak, the “Little Learning,” a book studied by all boys, lays it down as a rule of propriety that the door of a host’s house must never be touched by the feet of his guest; for the door being the means by which the owner finds entrance and exit is, through its usefulness alone, one of the most honorable parts of the house. How discourteous then would be to tread it under foot! There is another reason current, among the people. It is contained in the common saying that the man who steps on his own threshold steps on the throat of the Sung-ju or guardian deity of the house. The threshold is sacred to the Sung-ju, and to tread on it is as disrespectful an act as to tread on the demon’s neck, and will be followed by swift and sure retribution. The Koreans [page 21] say that the person who allows the threshold of his house to be sat upon will be visited by robbers that night.

(4) Question. What is the idea of hanging rags on trees and where did it originate?

Answer. This question introduces us to one of the most interesting phases of Korean shamanism, the Sung-whang-dang or altar to the tutelary gods of a neighborhood. Such altars may be found all over the land and near them trees decorated with rags. These are among the most important factors in the work of the shamans and to them the devotees are often sent. As this part of Korean life is grossly superstitious no rational explanation is to be expected. Of the rags, papers, and various objects of which the question makes inquiry there is a great variety. Sometimes it is a long piece of rag or even a piece of thread, or it may be a coin, or the collar of a coat, or a little rice, or a cluster of colored rags. These are part of the symbolism of shamanism and belong really to the same category as the fetishes which play so prominent a part in the whole system. They are symbolic of the desires of the petitioner at the altar. A man goes to a female shaman to have his fortune told and he learns that he will surely die that year. To ward off death and lengthen his life, an offering is made at the shrine of the tutelary god of the region and the collar of his coat is hung up as an indication of his desire and possibly as a substitutive, offering in his own behalf. The thread and the longer strips of rags are generally for children and are symbolic of a petition for long life. The coins indicate a petition for riches, the rice a petition for good crops. The colored rags generally stand for the petition of a bride, for the Koreans have a superstition that when a bride leaves her father’s house to go to the home of her husband the household gods all try to go with hen This would mean the speedy destruction of her father’s household, so at the first altar on the way she petitions them to come no further, but to remain at this altar and regard her offering as a substitute for herself.

Sometimes there will be found other offerings such as salt, cotton, silk and kindred objects. These have been offered by merchants dealing in those commodities for success in their trade. [page 22]

Where this custom originated I cannot say. I doubt if a conclusive answer, is possible. It is part, of the symbolism which is a feature of shamanism, in Korea. The principle underlying it came along with the cult itself from the ancestral home of the Koreans, wherever that may have been. Whether from the earliest times, the custom has been one and unchanged I cannot say, but a principle which gives reins to fancy as this does may have various manifestations in different ages.

G. H. J


Editorial Comment.


The publication of an English magazine in Korea calls for no apology. It was a matter of deep regret that the editors of the Korean Repository were compelled to suspend its publication, for it supplied, in excellent form, the material which the public most desired to receive. That no one was in haste to take up the work they laid down is not surprising for in the first place there is the difficulty of maintaining an equal degree of excellence and in the second place because the net proceeds of such an enterprise are entirely esoteric rather than material. Furthermore it must be acknowledged that to most people Korea is interesting solely as a political problem. Many causes combine to render her deeply interesting from this point of view; but it is manifestly not the province of such a magazine as this, published at the Capital of the Empire of which it treats, to enter the political arena. Such discussions to be of value require the possession of special knowledge which is rightly confined to the realm of diplomacy and to which the outsider cannot aspire without impertinence. In lands where government is administered by popular suffrage the freest discussion of such topics is not only admissible but necessary; but in a country like Korea where the public are not made aware of the causes and springs of political action such discussion is largely futile. This fact narrows the field of service of such a magazine to that portion of the reading public who are interested in the Korean people themselves, their history, custom, laws, arts, [page 23] sciences, religions, language, literature, folklore and ethnological relations. At the same time we shall attempt to keep a faithful record of events that transpire in the peninsula, whether they be political or otherwise.

When we remember that the beginning of authentic Korean history antedates, the advent of Christ and that almost nothing has been done to give this history to the English speaking world; and when we remember that Korea is a distinct and integral nation separated from all her neighbors by radical differences both of a temperamental and a linguistic character, we must agree that the exploitation of this wide field of research is worthy of attention. Something has been done already but vastly more remains to be done. Folklore has been investigated to some extent but those who have done the most would be the first to admit that only a beginning has been made. Theories have been advanced both in Korea and Japan as to the ethnic affinities of the Korean people and while exhaustive discussion of such themes belongs properly to the Korean Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society there are numberless collateral and supplementary lines of investigation which could find a medium of expression in such a magazine at that which is here contemplated.

No record in English of current events in Korea is being kept, to which the general public can have access. The daily press of China and Japan gives us occasional glimpses but they are fragmentary and often erroneous in spirit if not in letter. A plain record of these events is of value, if only for purposes of future reference.

There is also needed some central point about which we can gather and compare notes and exchange suggestions about Korean things in general. The KOREA REVIEW places itself at the service of all its patrons for this purpose and in order to facilitate such interchange of ideas it undertakes to play the part of a bureau of information in regard to things Korean and to secure, if possible, an answer to any question other than political, that any of its subscribers may propound. It would urge the importance of this portion of its work and invites its patrons to send in any question for which they may not have found a solution. This invitation is extended especially to our foreign subscribers. [page 24]

Any popular publication to be a live one must belong rather to its public than to its proprietors and the subscribers must take an owner’s interest if it is to succeed. Especially is this true of a periodical that is published not as a financial venture but as a mere medium of communication between those who are interested in Korea. This is not a plea for free copy. All contributed matter will be paid for at a uniform rate which though too small for adequate compensation will indicate the Review’s adherence to the principle of quid pro quo.


News Calendar.


In beginning this news calendar at the opening of the new century it is our purpose to give a straightforward and trustworthy statement of any event of importance that takes place in Korea or that affects Korea. A monthly periodical is not a newspaper and it can do no more than preserve a record of passing events in such a form as will be readily accessible for reference in time to come. To make this department of the Review a success we request the cooperation of our readers, trusting that any facts of interest that are not ordinarily accessible will be communicated to the Review for publication.

The well-known former Minister of Law, Han Kyu-jik who was imprisoned on the charge of having corresponded with Pak Yong-hyo, has been acquitted and released.

Yi Yong-t’a, the Judge of the Supreme Court, was appointed Minister to The United States on the 5th inst.

Min Yong-ch’an the Korean Commissioner to the Paris Exposition arrived in Chemulpo on the 7th inst.

M. Colin de Plancy has been appointed by the French Government full Minister to Korea.

Min Yong-ik who has resided many years in Hong Kong and Shanghai has been deprived of his position as adopted son of Min Seung-ho on the ground of his refusal to return to Korea [page 25] and perform the duties of that position and because of his failure to assume mourning after the demise of the Queen.

Min Chong-muk was dismissed from the position of Minister of the Household because, without the cognizance of the Court, he gave permission to Japanese Monks in Pon-wun Monastery, Seoul, to erect a Buddha in memory of the late Queen; but was recalled after a few days and made the Commissioner for the moving of the Queen’s Tomb.

The text of a treaty between the Belgian and Korean Governments has been drawn up, its tenor being practically the same as that of the other treaties. It is being negotiated on behalf of the Belgian Government by M. Leon Vincart who may shortly take up his residence in Seoul as the Belgian Representative.

It has been decided that the date of the removal of the Queen’s Tomb will be the 28th of the 9th Moon of 1901.

On Dec. 29th, 1900 Prof. Geo. Russell Frampton arrived in Seoul to assume the Head Mastership of the Government English School. Prof. Frampton is a graduate of St. John’s College London S. W. and comes to Korea from the Diocesan Home and Orphanage School of Hong Kong, in which he taught two years.      

On June 16th, 1900 at a meeting of foreign residents of Seoul the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society was founded and a constitution was adopted. J. H. Gubbins, C. M. G. was elected President of the Society and the Rev. J. S. Gale, Corresponding Secretary.

During the year 1901 the Postal Bureau issued 953,675 postage stamps of all denominations.

According to the official report of the recent census the population of Korea is as follows.

Seoul                .........                  196,898.

Kyung-geui Province                 669,798.

North Ch’ung-ch’ung                  275,882.

South Ch’ung-ch’ung Province...              422,601.

North Chul-la Province               386,132.

South Chul-la Province.              437,660.

North Kyung-sang Province        590,602. [page 26]

South Kyung-sang Province        .483,616.

Kang-wun Province                    276,736.

Whang-ha Province                     361,907.

North P’yung-yang Province       393,973.

South P’yung-yang Province       390,299.

North Ham-gyung Province         285,028.

South Ham-gyung Province         437,019,

This gives a total for the whole country of 5,608,351. but it is evident that this is not the total population of Korea. It may be that minors were not included in this count or that this represents only that portion of the population which pays taxes to the central government. We incline to the latter hypothesis.

On Jan. 3rd each of the foreign representatives in Seoul received a letter, written in Chinese and signed with a fictitious name, in which very threatening language was used. The matter was referred to the Foreign Office.

A preliminary investigation into the murder of Mr. Brand at the English mine at Eun-san took place at the Supreme Court on Jan. 14 in the presence of the Secretary of the British Legation, and a number of Koreans were remanded for trial.

The Chinese Minister in Seoul is about to return to China to take part in the peace negotiations pending between China and the allied Powers. The Secretary of Legation will act in his stead during his absence.

The total amount of customs import duties collected at the port of Fusan during the past twenty three years is $158,270.22 and the total amount of export duties is $158,649 50 and Tonnage dues $9,245.37. Total $326,165. 09.

Within the last few weeks all the Korean army officers have adopted the Russian Military uniform.

After a long period of neglect the city of Song-do, the capital of medieval Korea, is coming in for its share of attention, stone bridges are being repaired, the pavilion of the South Gate is being restored and one or two official Korean residences in foreign style are being erected. Besides this, new barracks are about to be built and two Roman Catholic [page 27] churches. But more important than all is the building of a new palace on the site of the one destroyed during the invasion of 1592. The dimensions of the building may be guessed from the fact that seventy-two thirty-two-foot girders have been ordered.

It is reported that the river off the north-east corner of the island of Kang-wha is the resort of many pirates who are exacting heavy toll from passing craft.

The preliminary surveys for the railroad north from Seoul have been completed as far as Song-do and it is probable that grading will begin in the spring. It is said that the contract for grading has already been given to a Chinese firm.

A few days before the beginning of the New Year Prof. Sidahara, a graduate of the Imperial University, Tokyo, and lately professor in the Middle School of that city, arrived in Seoul upon invitation of the Educational Department to teach in the newly founded Middle School. The faculty of this school consists of one American, one Japanese, two Koreans who speak English, two who speak Japanese and three others. This is the first government school to be housed in a commodious and excellently situated foreign building.

It is with great pleasure that we record the convalescence of Dr. O. R. Avison the physician in charge of the Government Hospital, from a severe attack of typhus fever. The foreign community, the Korean government and the common people most of all have narrowly escaped an irreparable loss. We wish him long life and success in the building of the large and thoroughly equipped hospital which the generosity of friends in America has made an assured fact.

A few nights ago robbers broke into the mint at Yong-san and stole upwards of $500, in nickels.

The Koreans are agitated over the rumor that the former leader of the Righteous Army, Yu Suk-in, is bringing a Chinese Army across the Yalu, bent on avenging the death of the Queen.

The Japanese Minister to Korea, Mr. Hayashi, has left Tokyo on his way to Korea.  



Victoria is dead.

Th’ immortal Soul

That tenanted imperial clay is gone.

The silver cord is loosed, the golden bowl

Is broken, and the grey World is alone.


[page 29]



Introductory Note.


Authentic Korean history may be said to begin with the year 57 B. C. in the Kingdom of Sil-la in southern Korea. Whatever antedates this period is traditional and legendary and must be given as such. And yet there is much reason for believing that these traditions were founded on facts. The traditions of Tan-gun and Ki-ja are so persistent and the country contains so many menu meats that corroborate them that we are forced to believe that these personages once existed.

From the year 57 B. C. the history of Korea is recorded in a clear and rational manner, free from any fundamental admixture of the mythical or supernatural element. To be sure the first genuine history was not compiled until 543 A. D. precisely 600 years after the founding of the kingdom of Sil-la but we are told that the groundwork of that history existed in government records and notes and that it was from these that the work was compiled. King Chin-heung commanded that a congress of scholars with the great Kim-ga Ch’il-bu at their head should take charge of this important work.

It was just half a century later in 599 that the first great history of Ko-gu-ryu was published in 100 volumes. It was the Yu-geui or “Record of Remembrance.”

Then again in 990 just seventy two years after the founding of Koryu and fifty-five after the fall of Sil-la it was found that in the turmoil and excitement incident to the founding of the new dynasty and the fall of the ancient southern state the matter of history had been neglected; so a commission was appointed by King Sang-jong and the records were carefully revised and put in order.

It was not until 1145 that the Sam-guk-sa or “Record of the Three Kingdoms” was compiled. This was the first at- [page 30] tempt to compile a connected history of the three ancient Kingdoms of Sil-la, Pak-je and Ko-gu-ryu. We are not told what Pak-je records existed but that there was ample material in, the Sil-la and Ko-gu-ryu history for the making of the Sam-guk-sa seems beyond dispute. So that when in 1484 the great scholar So Sa-ga compiled the Tong-guk T’ong-gam he had at his disposal material that had come down in unbroken line from the very beginning of Sil-la. But the Tong-guk T’ong-gam is by no means the only work based on those ancient records. The Tong-sa Whe-gang a book of great accuracy (according to the evidence of the author of the Tong-sa Kang-mok) was compiled in twenty-four volumes covering the same period that is covered by the Tong-guk T’ong-gam. The Tong-sa Po-yu, the Tong-sa Chan-yo and the Tong-sa Kang-mok are among the best known of the other ancient histories of Korea. Early in the present century four of these works were brought together and compared, and as a result the Tong-sa Kang-yo was compiled. The four histories that were made the basis of this work were (1) The Tong-guk T’ong-gam, (2) The Tong-sa Chan-yo. (3) The Tong-sa Whe-gang, (4) The Tong-sa Po-yu. This work, called the Tong-sa Kang-yo, shows evidence of careful research and critical comparison and the present writer is of the opinion that it must be more authoritative than any single one of the four works from which it was compiled. If not, critical study and the thorough sifting of historical material must be confessed to be of no value.

The present attempt to give Korean history to the English reading public is based upon this book, the Tong-sa Kang-yo, and in the main its statements are accepted as being the nearest to actual fact that we can now arrive, except by a critical comparison of the great histories, many of which are gone beyond recovery.

But besides this work many others have been consulted bearing upon ancient history. These will be cited in the text, though mention may well be made of that monument of research the Chinese work entitled the Mun-hon T’ong-go. There is perhaps no Korean work that gives so full an account of the ancient tribes and peoples that inhabited the peninsula two thousand years ago. [page 31]

So much for the ancient and medieval history of Korea which ended in 1392; but when we enter the field of modern history it is far more difficult. Of course the Yun-yu Keui-sul gives us much valuable material and the of special periods such as that of the Japanese Invasion of 1592 afford abundant data. But no complete history of modern Korea could be compiled from these alone, notably because they end before the beginning of the 19th Century. It requires the perusal and comparison of private manuscripts that never have been published and the sifting of an enormous mass of conflicting statements. The nearer we come to the middle of the nineteenth century the greater the difficulties become. The history of the past century is more difficult to obtain than that of all the preceding eighteen centuries.

The rise of the political parties in the middle of the sixteenth century and the violent antipathies thus aroused have laid all subsequent accounts open to the charge of partisanship and absolute authenticity can be claimed for nothing since that date.

The present writer does not claim to have examined all these private manuscripts but he has availed himself of the labors of a Korean scholar who has spent the major portion of his life in this one pursuit. By him this work has been carefully done and while it would be rash to say that individual prejudice and party fealty have not colored the book to some extent it will suffice to say that in no human probability could a scholar be found who would give us a wholly unprejudiced account. This much should be said, that he was an eye-witness of alt the main events that transpired during the opening of Korea to foreign intercourse and the writer has been able to verify his statements in such manner as to leave little doubt as to his general historic veracity.

             This history is divided into three parts. I. Ancient History, which covers the legendary period and the authentic history down to the beginning of the tenth century when the kingdom of Ko-ryu was founded. II. Medieval History embracing the whole course of the Koryu dynasty till its fall in 1392; and III. Modern History, which comprises the whole of the present dynasty down to the founding of the empire of Ta-Han in1897. [page 32]

The system of romanization used in this work is that which has been adopted by the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and while it is by no means perfect it comes as near to striking a mean between the cumbersomeness of a perfectly accurate system and the ambiguousness of an extremely simple system as can perhaps be devised at present.

We realize that the hyphenizing of proper names is a typographical infelicity but that we are forced to it for the sake of clearness. On the first page of Korean history we should not know whether Tangun is Tan-gun or Tang-un. These differences are so important that it leaves us no option but to separate the syllables.

It is likewise very unsatisfactory to disfigure a page of English with Chinese characters and therefore it has been found best to append to each monthly portion of this history an index of all proper names with their Chinese equivalents. As these characters are pronounced very differently in Korea, Japan and China the work would be worthless from a scientific standpoint without such an index, if only for purposes of comparison and verification.

The relation of events that cover a period of over two thousand years demands so much space that much interesting detail is perforce omitted though often it is the detail that gives us a clue to the spirit of the age. The fact that the three wise men of T’am-ra (Quelpart) found in their floating chests a colt, a calf, a pig, a dog and woman give is us a clearer notion of the status of woman in those days than all the other pagesof history. Whether the choice of material here made is wise the future must decide, but at least a beginning with have been made toward opening up Korean history to the English speaking world. [page 33]






Chapter I.

The Tan-gun....his antecedents....his origin...he becomes king.... he teaches the people. ... his capital.... he retires.... extent of his kingdom.... traditions... monuments.


In the primeval ages, so the story runs, there was a divine being named Whan-in, or Che-Sok, “Creator.” His son, Whan-ung, being affected by celestial ennui, obtained permission to descend to earth and found a mundane kingdom. Armed with this warrant, Whan-ung with three thousand spirit companions descended upon Ta-bak Mountain, now known as Myo-hyang San, in the province of P’yung-an, Korea. It was in the twenty-fifth year of the Emperor Yao of China, which corresponds to 2332 B. C.

He gathered his spirit friends beneath the shade of an ancient pak-tal tree and there proclaimed himself King of the Universe. He governed through his three vice-gerents, the “Wind General,” the “Rain Governor,” and the “Cloud Teacher,” but as he had not yet taken human shape, he found it difficult to assume control of a purely human kingdom. Searching for means of incarnation he found it in the following manner.

At early dawn, a tiger and a bear met upon a mountain side and held a colloquy.

“Would that we might become men” they said. Whan-ung overheard them and a voice came from out the void saying, “Here are twenty garlics and a piece of artemisia for [page 34] each of you. Eat them and retire from the light of the sun for thrice seven days and you will become men.”

They ate and retired into the recesses of a cave, but the tiger, by reason of the fierceness of his nature, could not endure the restraint and came forth before the allotted time; but the bear, with greater faith and patience, waited the thrice seven days and then stepped forth, a perfect woman.

The first wish of her heart was maternity, and she cried, “Give me a son.” Whan-ung, the Spirit King, passing on the wind, beheld her sitting there beside the stream. He circled round her, breathed upon her, and her cry was answered. She cradled her babe in moss beneath that same pak-tal tree and it was there that in after years the wild people of the country found him sitting and made him their king.

This was the Tan-gun, “The Lord of the Pak-tal Tree.” He also, but less widely, known as Wang-gum.. At that Korea and the territory immediately north was peopled by the “nine wild tribes” commonly called the Ku-i. Tradition names them respectively the Kyun, Pang, Whang, Pak, Chuk, Hyun, P’ung, Yang and U. These, we are told, were the aborigines, and were fond of drinking, dancing and singing. They dressed in a fabric of woven grass and their food was the natural fruits of the earth, such as nuts, roots, fruits and berries. In summer they lived beneath the trees and in winter they lived in a rudely covered hole in the ground. When the Tan-gun became their king he taught them the relation of king and subject, the rite of marriage, the art of cooking and the science of house building. He taught them to bind up the hair by tying a cloth about the head. He taught them to cut down trees and till fields.

The Tan-gun made P’yung-yang the capita! of his kingdom and there, tradition says, he reigned until the coming of Ki-ja, 1122 B. C. If any credence can be given this tradition it will be by supposing that the word Tan-gun refers to a line of native chieftains who may have antedated the coming of Ki-ja.

It is said that, upon the arrival of Ki-ja, the Tan-gun retired to Ku-wul San (in pure Korean A-sa-dal) in the present town of Mun-wha, Whang-ha Province, where he resumed his spirit form and disappeared forever from the earth. [page 35]

His wife was a woman of Pi-so-ap, whose location is unknown. As to the size of the Tan-gun’s kingdom, it is generally believed that it extended from the vicinity of the present town of Mun-gyung on the south to the Heuk-yong River on the north, and from the Japan Sea on the east to Yo-ha (now Sung-gyung) on the west.

As to the events of the Tan-gun’s reign even tradition tells us very little. We learn that in 2265 C. the Tan-gun first offered sacrifice at Hyul-gu on the island of Kang-wha. For this purpose he built an altar on Mari San which remains to this day. We read that when the great Ha-u-si (The Great Yu), who drained off the waters which covered the interior of China, called to his court at To-san all the vassal kings, the Tan-gun sent his son, Pu-ru, as an envoy. This was supposed to be in 2187 B.C. Another work affirms that when Ki-ja came to Korea Pu-ru fled northward and founded the kingdom of North Pu-yu, which at a later date moved to Ka-yup-wun, and became Eastern Pu-yu. These stories show such enormous discrepancies in dates that they are alike incredible, and yet it may be that the latter story has some basis in fact, at any rate it gives us our only clue to the founding of the Kingdom of Pu-yu.

Late in the Tan-gun dynasty there was a minister named P’ang-o who is said to have had as his special charge the making of roads and the care of drainage. One authority says that the Emperor of China ordered P’ang-o to cut a road between Ye-mak, an eastern tribe, and Cho-sun. From this we see that the word Cho-sun, according to some authorities, antedates the coming of Ki-ja.

The remains of the Tan-gun dynasty, while not numerous, are interesting. On the island of Kang-wha, on the top of Mari San, is a stone platform or altar known as the “Tan-gun’s Altar,” and, as before said, it is popularly believed to have been used by the Tan-gun four thousand years ago. It is called also the Ch’am-sang Altar. On Chun-dung San is a fortress called Sam-nang which is believed to have been built by the Tan-gun’s three sons. The town of Ch’un-ch’un, fifty miles east of Seoul, seems to have been an important place during this period. It was known as U-su-ju, or “Ox-hair Town,” and there is a curious confirmation of this tradition [page 36] in the fact that in the vicinity there is today a plot of ground called the U-du-bol, or “Ox-head Plain.” A stone tablet to P’ang-o is erected there. At Mun-wha there is a shrine to the Korean trinity, Whan-in, Whan-ung and Tan-gun. Though the Tan-gun resumed the spirit form, his grave is shown in Kang-dong and is 410 feet in circumference.


Chapter II.

Ki-ja.... striking character.... origin.... corrupt Chu.... story of Tal-geui.... Shang dynasty falls.... Ki-ja departs.... route.... destination.... allegiance to China.... condition of Korea.... Ki-ja’s companions.... reforms.... evidences of genius.... arguments against Korean theory.... details of history meager.... Cho-sun sides against China.... delimitation of Cho-sun.... peace with Tsin dynasty.... Wi-man finds asylum.... betrays Cho-sun.... Ki-jun’s flight.


Without doubt the most striking character in Korean history is the sage Ki-ja, not only because of his connection with its early history but because of the striking contrast between him and his whole environment. The singular wisdom which he displayed is vouched for not in the euphemistic language of a prejudiced historian but by what we can read between the lines, of which the historian was unconscious.

The Shang, or Yin, dynasty of China began 1766 B. C. Its twenty-fifth representative was the Emperor Wu-yi whose second son, Li, was the father of Ki-ja. His family name was Cha and his surname Su-yu, but he is also known by the name So-yu. The word Ki-ja is a title meaning “Lard of Ki,” which we may imagine to be the feudal domain of the family. The Emperor Chu, the “Nero of China” and the last of the dynasty, was the grandson of Emperor T’a-jung and a second cousin of Ki-ja, but the latter is usually spoken of as his uncle. Pi-gan, Mi-ja and Ki-ja formed the advisory board to this corrupt emperor.

All that Chinese histories have to say by way of censure against the hideous debaucheries of this emperor is repeated in the Korean histories; his infatuation with the beautiful concubine, Tal-geui; his compliance with her every whim; his [page 37] making a pond of wine in which he placed an island of meat and compelled nude men and women to walk about it, his torture of innocent men at her request by tying them to heated brazen pillars. All this is told in the Korean annals, but they go still deeper into the dark problem of Tal-geui’s character and profess to solve it. The legend, as given by Korean tradition, is as follows.

The concubine Tal-geui was wonderfully beautiful but surpassingly so when she smiled. At such times the person upon whom she smiled was fascinated as by a serpent and was forced to comply with whatever request she made Pondering upon this, Pi-gan decided that she must be a fox in human shape, for it is well known that if an animal tastes of water that has lain for twenty years in a human skull it will acquire the power to assume the human shape at will. He set inquiries on foot and soon discovered that she made a monthly visit to a certain mountain which she always ascended alone leaving her train of attendants at the foot. Armed detectives were put on her track and, following her unperceived, they saw her enter a cave near the summit of the mountain. She presently emerged, accompanied by a pack of foxes who leaped about her and fawned upon her in evident delight. When she left, the spies entered and put the foxes to the sword, cutting from each dead body the piece of white fur which is always found on the breast of the fox. When Tal-geui met the emperor some days later and saw him dressed in a sumptuous white fur robe she shuddered but did not as yet guess the truth. A month later, however, it became plain to her when she entered the mountain cave and beheld the festering remains of her kindred.

On her way home she planned her revenge. Adorning herself in all her finery, she entered the imperial presence and exerted her power of fascination to the utmost. When the net had been well woven about the royal dupe, she said.

“I hear that there are seven orifices in the heart of every good man, I fain would put it to the test.”

“But how can it be done?”

“I would that I might see the heart of Pi-gan;” and as she said it she smiled upon her lord. His soul revolted from the act and yet be had no power to refuse. Pi-gan was sum- [page 38] moned and the executioner stood ready with the knife, but at the moment when it was plunged into the victim’s breast he cried.

“You are no woman; you are a fox in disguise, and I charge you to resume your natural shape.”

Instantly her face began to change; hair sprang forth upon it, her nails grew long, and, bursting forth from her garments, she stood revealed in her true character―a white fox with nine tails. With one parting snarl at the assembled court, she leaped from the window and made good her escape.

But it was too late to save the dynasty. Pal, the son of Mun-wang, a feudal baron, at the head of an army, was already thundering at the gates, and in a few days, a new dynasty assumed the yellow and Pal, under the title Liu-wang, became its first emperor.

Pi-gan and Mi-ja had both perished and Ki-ja, the sole survivor of the great trio of statesmen, had saved his life only by feigning madness. He was now in prison, but Mu-wang came to his door and besought him to assume the office of Prime Minister. Loyalty to the fallen dynasty compelled him to refuse. He secured the Emperor’s consent to his plan of emigrating to Cho-sun or “Morning Freshness,” but before setting out he presented the Emperor with that great work, the Hong-bum or “Great Law, which had been found inscribed upon the back of the fabled tortoise which came up out of the waters of the Nak River in the days of Ha-u-si over a thousand years before, but which no one had been able to decipher till Ki-ja took it in hand. Then with his five thousand followers he passed eastward into the peninsula of Korea.

Whether he came to Korea by boat or by land cannot be certainly determined. It is improbable that he brought such a large company by water and yet one tradition says that he came first to Su-wun, which is somewhat south of Chemulpo. This would argue an approach by sea. The theory which has been broached that the Shantung promontory at one time joined the projection of Whang-ha Province on the Korean coast cannot be true, for the formation of the Yellow Sea must have been too far back in the past to help us to solve this question. It is said that from Su-wun he went northward to [page 39] the island Ch’ul-do. off Whang-ha Province, where today they point out a “Ki-ja Well.” From there he went to P’yung yang. His going to an island off Whang-ha Province argues against the theory of the connection between Korea and the Shantung promontory.

In whatever way he came, he finally settled at the town of P’yung-yang which had already been the capital of the Tan-gun dynasty. Seven cities claimed the honor of being Homer’s birth place and about as many claim, to be the burial spot of Ki-ja. The various authorities differ so widely as to the boundaries of his kingdom, the site of his capital and the place of his interment that some doubt is cast even upon the existence of this remarkable man;but the consensus of opinion points clearly to P’yung-yang as being the scene of his labors.

It should be noticed that from the very first Korea was an independent kingdom. It was certainly so in the days of the Tan-gun and it remained so when Ki-ja came, for it is distinctly seated that though the Emperor Mu-wang made him King of Cho-sun he neither demanded nor received his allegiance as vassal at that time. He even allowed Ki-ja to send envoys to worship at the tombs of the fallen dynasty. It is said that Ki-ja himself visited the site of the ancient Shang capital, but when he found it sown with barley he wept and composed an elegy on the occasion, after which he went and wore allegiance to the new Emperor. The work entitled Cho-so says that when Ki-ja saw the site of the farmer capital sown with barley he mounted a white cart drawn by a white horse and went to the new capital and swore allegiance to the Emperor; and it adds that in this he showed his weakness for he had sworn never to do so.

Ki-ja, we may believe, found Korea in a semi-barbarous condition. To this the reforms which he instituted give abundant evidence. He found at least a kingdom possessed of some degree of homogeneity, probably a uniform language and certainly ready communication between its parts. It is difficult to believe that the Tan-gun’s influence reached far beyond the Amnok River, wherever the nominal boundaries of his kingdom were. We are inclined to limit his actual power to the territory now included in the two province of P’yung-an and Whang-ha. [page 40]

We must now inquire of what material was Ki-ja’s company of five thousand men made up. We are told that he brought from China the two great works called the Si-jun and the So-jun, which by liberal interpretation mean the books on history and poetry. The books which bear these names were not written until centuries after Ki-ja’s time, but the Koreans mean by them the list of aphorisms or principles which later made up these books. It is probable, therefore, that this company included men who were able to teach and expound the principles thus introduced. Ki-ja also brought the sciences of manners (well named a science), music, medicine, sorcery and incantation. He brought also men capable of teaching one hundred of the useful trades, amongst which silk culture and weaving are the only two specifically named. When, therefore, we make allowance for a small military escort we find that five thousand men were few enough to undertake the carrying out of the greatest individual plan for colonization which history has ever seen brought to a successful issue.

These careful preparations on the part of the self-exiled Ki-ja admit of but one conclusion. They were made with direct reference to the people among whom he had elected to cast his lot. He was a genuine civilizer. His genius was of the highest order in that, in an age when the sword was the only arbiter, he hammered his into a pruning-hook and carved out with it a kingdom which stood almost a thousand years. He was the ideal colonizer, for he carried with him all the elements of successful colonization which, while sufficing for the reclamation of the semi-barbarous tribes of the peninsula, would still have left him self-sufficient in the event of their contumacy. His method was brilliant when compared with even the best attempts of modern times.

His penal code was short, and clearly indicated the failings of the people among whom he had cast his lot. Murder was to be punished with death inflicted in the same manner in which the crime had been committed. Brawling was punished by a fine to be paid in grain, Theft was punished by enslaving the offender, but he could regain his freedom by the payment of a heavy fine. There were five other laws which are not mentioned specifically. Many have surmised, and perhaps rightly, that they were of the nature of the o-hang or [page 41] “five precepts” which inculcate right relations between king and subject, parent and child, husband and wife, friend and friend, old and young. It is stated, apocryphally however, that to prevent quarreling Ki-ja compelled all males to wear a broad-brimmed hat made of clay pasted on a framework. If this hat was either doffed or broken the offender was severely punished. This is said to have effectually kept them at arms’ length.

Another evidence of Ki-ja’s genius is his immediate recognition of the fact that he must govern the Korean people by means of men selected from their own number. For this purpose he picked out a large number of men from the various districts and gave them special training in the duties of government and he soon had a working corps of officials and prefects without resorting to the dangerous expedient of filling all these positions from the company that came with him. He recognised that in order to gain any lasting influence with the people of Korea he and his followers must adapt themselves to the language of their adopted country rather than make the Koreans conform to their form of speech. We are told that he reduced the language of the people to writing and through this medium taught the people the arts and sciences which he had brought. If this is true, the method by which the writing was done and the style of the characters have entirely disappeared. Nothing remains to give evidence of such a written language. We are told that it took three years to teach it to the people.

The important matter of revenue received early attention. A novel method was adopted. All arable land was divided into squares and each square was subdivided into nine equal parts; eight squares about a central one. Whoever cultivated the eight surrounding squares must also cultivate the central one for the benefit of the government. The latter therefore received a ninth part of the produce of the land. Prosperity was seen on every side and the people called the Ta-dong River the Yellow River of Korea.

As a sign that his kingdom was founded in peace and as a constant reminder to his people he planted a long line of willows along the bank of the river opposite the city, so P’yung-yang is sometimes called The Willow Capital. [page 42]

It is contended by not a few that Ki-ja never came to Korea at all and they base their belief upon the following facts. When the Han Emperor Mu-je overcame northern Korea and divided it into four parts he called the people savages, which could not be if Ki-ja civilized them. The Chinese histories of the Tang dynasty affirm that Ki-ja’s kingdom was in Liao-tung. The histories of the Kin dynasty and the Yuan or Mongol dynasty say that Ki-ja had his capital at Kwang-nyung in Liao-tung, and there is a Ki-ja well there today and a shrine to him. There was a picture of him there but it was burned in the days of Emperor Se-jong of the Ming dynasty. A Korean work entitled Sok-mun Heun-t’ong-go says that Ki-ja’s capital was at Ham-pyung-no in Liao-tung. The Chinese work Il-t’ong-ji of the time of the Ming dynasty says that the scholars of Liao-tung compiled a work called Song-gyung-ji which treated of this question. That book said that Cho-sun included Sim-yang (Muk-den), Pong-ch’un-bu, Eui-ju and Kwang-nyung; so that half of Liao-tung belonged to Cho-sun. The work entitled Kang-mok says that his capital was at P’yung-yang and that the kingdom gradually broadened until the scholar O Si-un said or it that it stretched from the Liao River to the Han. This last is the commonly accepted theory and so far as Korean evidence goes there seems to be little room for doubt.

Ki-ja was fifty-three years old when he came to Korea and he reigned here forty years. His grave may be seen today at To-san near the city which was the scene of his labors. Some other places that claim the honor of containing Ki-ja’s tomb are Mong-hyun, Pak-sung and Sang-gu-hyun in northern China.

It was not till thirty-six generations later that Ki-ja received the posthumous title of T’a-jo Mun-sung Ta-wang.

The details of the history of K-ja’s dynasty are very meager and can be given here only in the most condensed form. *


*The following details of the Ki-ja dynasty are taken from a work recently compiled in P’yung-yang and claiming to be based on private family records of the descendants of Ki-ja. It is difficult to say whether any reliance can be placed upon it but as it is the only source of information obtainable it seems best to give it. The dates are of course all B. C. [page 43]


In 1083 Ki-ja died and was succeeded his son Song. Of his reign of twenty-five years we know little beyond the fact that he built an Ancestral Temple. His successor, Sun, was a man of such filial piety that when his father died he went mad. The next king, Iak, adopted for his officials the court garments of the Sang Kingdom in China. His son, Ch’un, who ascended the throne in 997 raised fifty-nine regiments of soldiers containing in all 7300 men. The flag of the army was blue. In 943 the reigning King, Cho, feeling the need of cavalry, appointed a special commission to attend to the breeding of horses, and with such success that in a few years horses were abundant. In 850 King Sak hung a drum in the palace gate and ordained that anyone having a grievance might strike the drum and obtain an audience. In 843 a law was promulgated by which the government undertook to support the hopelessly destitute. In 773 King forbade the practice of sorcery and incantation. In 748 naval matters received attention and a number of war vessels were launched. The first day of the fifth moon of 722 is memorable as marking the first solar eclipse that is recorded in Korean history. A great famine occurred in 710. King Kwul selected a number of men who could speak Chinese and who knew Chinese customs. These he dressed in Chinese clothes which were white and sent them across the Yellow Sea with a large fleet of boats loaded with fish, salt and copper. With these they purchased rice for the starving Koreans. At this time all official salaries were reduced one half. In 702 King Whe ordered the making; of fifteen kinds of musical instruments. He also executed a sorceress of An-ju who claimed to be the daughter of the Sea King and deceived many of the people. In 670 King Cho sent an envoy and made friends with the King of Che in China. He also revised the penal code and made the theft of a hundred million cash from the government or of a hundred and fifty millions from the people a capital crime. He ordered the construction of a building of 500 kan for an asylum for widows, orphans and aged people who were childless, In 634 one of the wild tribes of the north sent their chief, Kil-i-de-du, to swear allegiance to Cho-sun. In 659 there came to Korea from the Chu Kingdom in China a man by the name of Puk Il-jung, who brought with him a medi- [page 44] cine called myun-dan-bang which he claimed was the elixir of youth. By his arts he succeeded in gaining the ear of the king and for many years was virtually ruler of the country. At last a king came to the throne who had the wisdom and nerve to order his execution At this the whole land rejoiced. Banished men were recalled and prisoners were liberated. In 593 King Ch’am came to the throne at the age of five. His uncle acted as regent. But a powerful courtier Kong Son-gang secured the regent’s assassination and himself became virtual ruler. He imprisoned the king in a small pavilion and tried to make him abdicate, but in this was unsuccessful and himself met the assassin’s steel. In 560 the Ha tribe, inhabiting the northern Japanese island of I-so, sent their chief, Wha-ma-gyun-hu-ri, to swear allegiance to Cho-sun. In 505 the wild tribes to the north became restive and King Yu gathered 3000 troops and invaded their territory, taking 1000 heads and adding a wide strip of country to his realm. He put teachers in each of the magistracies to teach the people agriculture and sericulture. In 426, during the reign of King Cheung, occurred a formidable rebellion. U Yi-ch’ung of T’a-an (now Cha-san) arose and said “I am the Heaven Shaker.” With a powerful force he approached the capital and besieged it. The king was forced to flee by boat and take refuge at Hyul-gu (probably an island). But not long after this the loyal troops rallied about the king and the rebel was chased across the northern border. In 403 the king of Yun sent an envoy to Korea with greetings. This Yun kingdom had its capital at Chik-ye-sung where Peking now stands, and its territory was contiguous to Cho-sun on the west. But in spite of these friendly greetings the king of Yun sent an army in 380 and seized a district in western Cho-sun. They were soon driven back. Fifteen years later a Yun general, Chin-gan came with 20,000 troops and delimited the western border of Cho-sun but the Cho-sun general Wi Mun-un gathered 30,00a men and lying in ambush among the reeds beside the O-do River surprised the enemy and put them to flight. In 346 a wild chieftain of the north came and asked aid against Yun. It was granted to the extent of 10,000 troops. These with 1000 cavalry of the wild tribe attacked and took the border fortress of Sang-gok. Soon after, Yun sued for peace and it was granted. [page 45]

This ends the apocryphal account of the Ki-ja dynasty. Its contents are circumstantial enough to seem plausible yet we cannot but doubt the authenticity of any records which pretend to go back to such a remote period.

The Chou dynasty in China had long been on the decline and now, in 305 B. C. had reached . a point of extreme weakness. In view of this the governor of the tributary state of Liao-tung who had always passed under the title of Hu or “Marquis” dared to assume the title Wang or “King” and so to defy the power of China. Chosun threw herself into the balance in favor of her great patron and hastened to attack Liao-tung in the rear. But before this course had become inevitable a warning voice was raised and one of the councillors, Ye, who was gifted with more knowledge of the signs of the times than his fellows pointed out the inevitable overthrow of the Chou dynasty, and he advised that Cho-sun make her peace with the new “King” of the Yon kingdom of Liao-tung, rather than brave his anger by siding against him. The advice was followed and Cho-sun threw off the light reins of allegiance to China and ranged herself alongside the new kingdom. This we learn from the annals of the Wei dynasty of China. But apparently Chosun, stretching as it did to and beyond the Liao River, was too tempting a morsel the ambitious king of Yun to leave untasted. So he picked a quarrel with the king of Cho-sun and delimited his territory as far as the Yalu River, a stretch of 2,000 li, even to the town of Pan-han whose identity is now lost. He followed up this success by overcoming the wild tribes to the north and added 1,000 li more to his domains, securing it from attack, as he supposed, by building a wall from Choyang to Yang-P’yung.

             When Emperor Shih of the Tsin dynasty ascended the throne of China in 221 B. C. and soon after began that tremendous work the Great Wall of China, the fortieth descendant of Ki-ja was swaying the scepter of Cho-sun under the name Ki-bi, posthumous title Chong-t’ong Wang. As soon at: the news of this great undertaking reached the ears of this monarch he hauled down his colors and surrendered at discretion, sending an envoy to do obeisance for him.

King Ki-bi died and his son Ki-jun, the last of the dy- [page 46] nasty reigned in his stead. For some years all was quiet, but at last the scepter was wrested from the hands of the shortlived Tsin dynasty by the founder of the illustrious Han, and across the border from Cho-sun all was turmoil and confusion. Fugitives from the three states of Yun, Che and Cho were seeking asylum anywhere, and thousands were hurrying across the Yalu and craving the protection of Ki-jun. The only protection he could give them from the victorious Han was remoteness from the latter’s base of operations; so he allowed them to settle along the valley of the Yalu and its southern tributaries. This was in the twentieth year of his reign, 200 B. C.

Unfortunately for Cho-sun, the Han emperor made No-gwan, one of his generals, governor of Yun. This gentleman had ideas of His own, and finding such good material for an army among the half-wild people of his province he decided to go on an empire hunt on his own account.

The story of his desperate fight and final defeat at the hands of the Han forces, of his flight northward to the wild tribe of Hyung-no, is interesting; but we must turn from it to follow the fortunes of one of his lieutenants, a native of the Yun, named Wi-man. Retreating eastward alone and in disguise, according to some writers, or according to others with an escort of 1,000 men, he eluded His pursuers and at last crossed the P’a-su (the Yalu of today) and was received with open arms by his own kin who had already settled there. In the days of the Han dynasty the word P’a-su meant the Yalu River, but in the days of the Tang dynasty it meant the Ta-dong. Hence much confusion has arisen.

Wi-man threw himself upon the protection of Ki-jun who, little knowing the nature of the man he was harboring, good-naturedly consented and accompanied his welcome with the substantial gift of a hundred li square of land in the north. Wi-man, on his part, engaged to act as border guard and give timely warning of the approach of an enemy. He was already on good terms with the people of the Chin-bun tribe, and now he began to cultivate their friendship more assiduously than even In a short time he found himself at the head of a considerable following composed partly of Yun refugees and partly of Chin-bun adventurers. [page 47]

Being thus prepared and weighing all the chances, he concluded to stake his whole fortune on a single throw. Sending a swift messenger to the court of Ki-jun at P’yung-yang, he informed that peace loving monarch that an innumerable army was advancing from China in four divisions and would soon be at the doors of Chosun, and that he, Wi-man, must hasten to the capital with all his force to act as body-guard of the King. The ruse was successful and before Ki-jun and his court had awakened to the situation Wi-man was on them. An attempt was made to stop his advance when quite too late, but it held the traitor in check long enough for Ki-jun and his immediate court to load their treasure on boats; and as the triumphal army of Wi-man entered the gates of P’yung-yang the last representative of the dynasty of Ki-ja slipped quietly down the river, seeking for himself a more congenial home in the south. This occurred, so far as we can judge from conflicting documents, in the year 193 B. C.

 This was an event of utmost importance in the history of the peninsula. It opened up to the world the southern portion of Korea, where there were stored up forces that were destined to dominate the whole peninsula and impress upon it a distinctive stamp. But before following Ki-jun southward we must turn back and watch the outcome of Wi-man’s treachery.


Chapter III.

Wi-man.... establishes his kingdom.... extent.... power soon waned.... ambitious designs.... China aroused.... invasion of Korea.... U-gu tries to make peace.... siege of P’yung-yang.... it falls.... the land redistributed.... the four provinces.... the two provinces.


Having secured possession of Ki-jun’s kingdom, Wi-man set to work to establish himself firmly on the throne. He had had some experience in dealing with the wild tribes and now he exerted himself to the utmost in the task of securing the allegiance of as many of them as possible. He was literally surrounded by them, and this policy of friendliness was an [page 48] absolute necessity. He succeeded so well that ere long he had won over almost all the adjacent tribes whose chieftains frequented his court and were there treated with such liberality that more than once they found themselves accompanying embassies to the court of China.

It is said that when his kingdom was at its height it extended far into Liao-tung over all northern and eastern Korea and even across the Yellow Sea where it included Ch’ung-ju, China. Its southern boundary was the Han River.

So long as Wi-man lived he held the kingdom together with a strong hand, for he was possessed of that peculiar kind of power which enabled him to retain the respect and esteem of the surrounding tribes. He knew when to check them and when to loosen the reins. But he did not bequeath this power to his descendants. His grandson, U-gu, inherited all his ambition without any of his tact. He did not realise that it was the strong hand and quick wit of his grandfather that had held the kingdom together and he soon began to plan a still further independence from China. He collected about him all the refugees and all the malcontents, most of whom had much to gain and little to lose in any event. He then cut off all friendly intercourse with the Han court and also prevented the surrounding tribes from sending their little embassies across the border. The Emperor could not brook this insult, and sent an envoy, Sup-ha, to expostulate with the headstrong U-gu; but as the latter would not listen, the envoy went back across the Yalu and tried what he could do by sending one of the older chiefs to ask what the king meant by his conduct. U-gu was still stubborn and when the chief returned to Sup-ha empty-handed he was put to death. Sup-ha paid the penalty for this rash act, for not many days after he had been installed governor of Liao-tung the tribe he had injured fell upon him and killed him.

This was not done at the instigation of U-gu, but unfortunately it was all one to the Emperor. It was the “Eastern Barbarians” who, all alike, merited punishment. It was in 107 B. C. that the imperial edict went forth commanding all Chinese refugees in Korea to return at once, as U-gu was to be put down by the stern hand of war. [page 49]




[page 49]



February 1901


The Opening Lines of Chang-ja (4th Cent. B. C.)


There is a fish in the great north sea,

And his name is Kon.

His size is a bit unknown to me,

Tho’ he stretches a good ten thousand li,

Till his wings are grown;

And then he’s a bird of enormous sail,

With an endless back and a ten-mile tail,

And he covers the heavens with one great veil

When he flies off home.

Jas. S. Gale.


Chang-ja on the Wind.


When the great earth-clod heaves forth a sigh,

We say the wind is rising:

And when the wind gets up on high,

The funnels of the earth they cry,

In a way that’s most surprising,

And the hills and the trees are sore afraid. And the gaps in the hundred acre shade.

The names months and eyes and ears,

The pits and bogs and holes and meres

Are full of waves and whistling shafts,

And oxen calls, and whirling” draughts,

And whispers soft, and Markings stron,.

And snarlings loud, and shriekings long,

And voices low that call before.

And rumblings in the rear that roar;

So all the valves of earth gape wide,

And ruck from side to side.

Jas. S.Gale, [page 50]



Korean Proverbs


The reason why Korean speech abounds in proverbs, bonmots and epigrams is because the great majority of the people are debarred the privilege of literary culture. It is a way they have of spicing their talk to make it take the place of written books. One has but to watch the professional storyteller to see how fine an edge he gives to the narrative style. One thinks of the time when the hard wandered from castle to castle in Europe vending wares that were priceless. Some of the proverbs of Korea have already been put into English but the stock is practically inexhaustible. Whatever may be said for or against them at least they never lack point.

니불속 에서활개친다

“He swings his hands under his blanket.”

To swing the hands when walking is to put on airs, hut to do it only, under a blanket means that the man does not dare to do it in public. It describes a man who is overbearing at home but very meek in the presence of his superiors.

슈청즉 무어

“The water is so clear no fish can live in it.”

This is an hyperbola descriptive of a man who is such a stickler for etiquette that only the most absolute perfection in conduct pleases him, and consequently no one can live with him in comfort.

아는놈 동이닷

“As one would bind his friend.”

If one were called upon to bind his friend he would be sure not to draw the cords tight; so the proverb is descriptive of carelessness or excessive leniency.

항우도 됭됭이덩쿨에걸녓다

“Even King Hang-u got entangled in the tang-dangi vine.”

This means that even the strongest may come to grief for King Hang-u was a man of gigantic strength who claimed to be able to root up a mountain by main force. It makes its think of Gulliver and the Lilliputians binding him down. [page 51]

비위는 노락이회먹겟다

“He eats the thousand-legged worm raw.”

This is supposed to describe the man who listens to blame or abuse with perfect nonchalance.

암치뼉 다귀에불개야미덥뷔듯

“Like red ants running for a fish bone.”

A graphic way of describing a crowd intent upon seeing some passing show and shouldering each other in their eagerness.

업친되 덥친다

“He never falls down but someone has to fall over him.”

Or as we say “It never rains but it pours,” showing that misfortunes often come in pairs.

물고못 먹는범이다

“Like a tiger that bites but does not eat.”

This is equivalent to our saying “His bark is worse than his bite.”

우물에 서슉룅달난다

“He wants to draw warm water from the well.”

A very neat way of describing the man who is so eager to secure a certain end that he is unwilling to spend time necessary to its achievement.

나먹자 니슬코개주자니앗갑다

“He does not want to eat it himself and it is too good to give to the dog.”

A state of mind that is too common to us all to need explanation.

신션노 롬에독긔자로썩는다

“While the sage plays the axe handle rots.”

This refers to the Rip Van Winkle story given under Odds and Ends in this number of the REVIEW. It typified the man who lets trivial things interfere with the serious business of life.

가마귀 날아가자뵈떠러진다

“When the crow starts to fly the pear falls.”

As the two things happened simultaneously it looked if the crow had stolen the pear and then dropped it. This means an unjust accusation with appearances all against the victim. [page 52]

대쟝의 집이식칼이늘다

“There are no good knives in a blacksmith’s house.”

As the blacksmith makes and sells knives he keeps only old worn out ones for his own private use. So anyone is likely to be wanting in that which he most affects. He does not practice what he preaches.

꾀여진 파긔요업지른물이다

“A broken gourd will never again hold water.”

A broken vow can never be made good again.

하로개 지호랑이무서운줄모른다

“A one day old dog does not fear the fierce tiger.”

An effective way of describing inexperience.

것지도 못하고뛴다

“He wants to leap before he can walk.”

Showing the necessity of learning things in logical order and not trying to do the more difficult thing first.

개살구 즈레터졋다

“The wild apricot breaks itself.”

The wild apricot is hard but in order to make people believe it is as good as the cultivated kind it breaks itself to show that it is soft like the cultivated one. A good description of the man who ruins himself in trying to make people believe he is as wealthy as his rich neighbor.

법은멀 고주먹은갓갑다

“The law is far, the fist is near.”

A most suggestive description of that sentiment in man which under sufficient provocation makes him want to deal out justice irrespective of properly constituted tribunals. It is the watch word of lynch law.

동성아 자미술도싸야사먹는다

“I will not buy wine even from my own Aunt unless it is cheap.”

It is refreshing to find this much evidence that the Korean can look at a purely business proposition as such even though his own relative is at the other end of it.

먹기는 뵈지가먹고뛰기는파발이뛴다다

“The courier eats while the horse runs.”

This refers to the old time government postal relay system. The post riders vied with each other in “breaking [page 53] the record” between stations and the riders took the credit to themselves when really it belonged to the horses, so this describes the man who reaps the credit for another’s work.

선님이 죵만업수이넉인다

 “The poor old gentleman can despise no one but the slave.”

Which gives us an inside glimpse at Korean life, for the aged gentleman without money is the most pitiable object in Korea. He is too good to work, too proud to beg, too poor to live.

밋는나 무에곰이폐인다

“Dry rot in trusted wood.”

A forcible way of describing a betrayal of confidence.

주먹마 즌감투다

“A Kam-t’u struck with the fist.”

A kam-t’u is the horse-hair-net hat worn by gentlemen inside the ordinary hat. It is of course easily crushed and broken. When a man is utterly put to shame they say he is a Kam-t’u struck with the fist.

갓밧치 뢰일모레다

“The cobbler says ‘tomorrow or day after.”

Showing that there is at least one close bond of sympathy between the Korean and the Westerner. Koreans know as well as we that procrastination is the thief of time but with them he is a very well dressed gentlemanly thief and the wares he steals are not of great value.



The Korean Pronoun.


Bishop Caldwell the great comparative grammarian of the South Indian dialects says of the personal pronouns, “They evince more of the qualities of permanence than any other part of speech and are generally found to change but little in the lapse of ages.”

A careful study of the Korean pronoun brings to light certain interesting facts about the origin and development of the Korean language. The quotation given above is illustrated by a somewhat remarkable conjunction of facts in the [page 54] case of the Korean pronoun. I have, before now, indicated a line of argument by which the southern origin of the Korean people can be proved with a fair degree of satisfaction, but in this brief paper I wish to particularize the bearing of the Korean pronoun upon that argument. The proposition, in brief, is that although northern Korea originally belonged to tribes which had a northern origin the people of southern Korea who developed the earliest civilization which survived and who were the first to dominate the whole peninsula and impose their language upon the whole people, were distinctly of southern origin having entered Korea not by way of China but by way of the islands of the Pacific; and further-more that these early southern Koreans were a small branch of that great family which being driven from northern India by Aryan conquests passed to the east and south, the eastern branch finding a new point of departure in the Malay peninsula and radiating from that point in three directions (1) northward along the line of islands that lie off the coast of China; (2) eastward into Oceania, and (3) southeastward into Australasia.

The question here propounded is, what have the Korean personal pronouns to do in proving that the Korean language came thus from the south rather than, as is commonly believed, by way of Manchuria and northern Asia?

The Korean pronouns of the first and second person are built upon the same foundation—the letter n. The first person is na, the second is somewhere between no and nu, but tor convenience I use the second of these―nu.

The best representatives of the pre-Aryan stock of India are the Tamils, Telugus, Malayalams and Canarese of Southern India and it is to them we must look for the most primitive forms of these pronouns for they were the first to crystalize their language into written literature and they are also by far the most homogeneous mass of pre-Aryans in the world. The following is a tabulated list of the first and second personal pronouns of the most important of the South Indian non-Aryan dialects.

1st person 2nd person    1st person 2nd person

Tamil                nan        ni          Kota      ane        ni (infl.)

Telugu..........    ne         ni          Gond     anna      ni “

Canarese.......   na          nin Coorg           nan        nin [page 55]

Malayalam...    nyan      ni          Ku         ann        inn

Tulu                 yan        ninu Uraon         en         nin

Tuda                an         ni

Comparing this with the Korean na and nu we see that in the first person there is practical identity, and in the second person the 11 is present in both cases though the vowel is different.

Compare the Korean again with those tribes of central India that presumably came, into closer contact with the Aryan conquerors.

1st person 2nd person    1st person 2nd person

Gayeti                           nona      ime        Kuri      in          am

Rutluk                           nanne    ima        Kaikadi nanu      ninu

Naikude......     an          njwa      Savara gna        aman

Kolami                          an          niwa      Gabada nai-pa    no

Madi                nan        mima     Yerukala. na-nu  ninu

Here the similarity is still staking enough in the first person but in the second there is more variation, in many cases the n being replaced by m.

Now passing eastward into Burmah let us see how the pronouns compare with the Korean.

1st person 2nd person 1st person 2nd person Burman        na          Tetenge ne.

Mikir   ne          Khari-naga..       ni

Barma  nang     Karen                nah

Then going eastward into the Pacific we find

1st person 2nd person    1st person 2nd person

Malay  ana                     Polynesian ...     van

Papuan              nan        ninua Australian                           nga

Efate                             nigo

In other words, in every language which may have been an offshoot from the southern branch of the Turanian family which formerly occupied the whole of India we find n in the first personal pronoun. It is almost as pronounced in the distant dispersions of that people as in their original. It is always n. And in the second person the n is almost as persistent.

But let us turn now to the northern branches of the Turanian family which inhabit northern and western Asia today.

1st person 2nd person    1st person 2nd person


E. Turkish        men      sen       Ostiak.............. ma .......... nen

Turkoman         man                                 Somoiede .... man            tan [page 56]

Khivan              mam                               Mongol......... bi (from mi) tchi

W. Turkish .......... ben                 Manchu ........ bi “         si

Finnish              mina      se          Magyar                                                       te

Lappish             mon      ton        Calmuck .......                                             dzi

Votiak................. mon   ton

Here in every case we find the first person in m right up to the very borders of Korea. There seems to be absolutely no people of northern Asia who form the pronoun otherwise. And in the second person we find that nearly all these northern tribes have followed the lead of the Aryans in the use of t or s for the second person.

The oldest evidence that we have is the Behistun tablet which is indisputably Turanian or Scythian. Unfortunately the first personal pronoun does not there appear but the second is ni which would indicate that the form in n was the original Turanian one. If so it is not improbable that while the southern branch of that great family passed into India before the genesis of a distinctly Aryan stock, the northern branch did not pass northward till after a considerable admixture with the Aryans had taken place, for both the m of the first person and the t or s of the second person are striking features of the Indo-European languages.

We find then that between the Korean pronouns and those of the Southern Turanian dispersion there is practical identity while between the Korean and the North Asian peoples there are no marks of similarity whatever. There is no distinctively first personal pronoun in Japanese but the fact that the pronoun of the second person is Anata strengthens us in the belief that both Japanese and Korean are far off echoes of a southern tongue which at some period enormously remote dominated the primitive world.



The New Century.


P’yung Yang.

Laved on the west by the waters of the Yellow Sea, bounded on the north and south by the Yalu and Ta-dong Rivers respectively and cut off from the east by a magnificent range of mountains lies a land [page 57] of great natural beauty. Though not heavily wooded there are still groves of pine which increase in size and frequency as one goes north, while fringing most of the kills and mountains is a thin line of sentinel pines which are reminders of a time when northern Korea was one unbounded forest. It extends from Po-reup San in the south near Chin-nam-p’o northward into the mountain fastnesses where deer and leopard are rarely startled by the footsteps of men until in a fitting climax we reach the Ever White Mountains where legend places the miraculous birth of the first King of Korea.

This broad stretch of country is inhabited by a people whose sturdy characteristics augur well for the regeneration of a nation which has usually been denominated mediocre. They possess in a degree the usual characteristics of the Korean, among which are hospitality, an imagination that frequently ignores the limits of fact, love of family, an inadequate idea of the value of time, and a high sense of humor; and yet they possess enough of the positive virtues to make them the most rugged, industrious and promising type in Korea.

The commercial centers of this region are Chin-nam-p’o, P’yung-yang and Eui-ju. Until very lately Chin-nam-p’o had only a few straggling huts but now since the opening of the port to foreign commerce it is estimated to have a population of 15000 exclusive of the Japanese and the Chinese in the foreign concession. The only westerners there at present are the genial Commissioner of Customs, Mr. L. A. Hopkins and his wife. Reports show ever increasing quantities and values of exports and imports. An inspiring sight for Americans is “Old Glory” floating at the mastheads of a fleet of schooners lying at anchor in the harbor. These together with a beautiful little steamer form the registered transportation fleet of the O. C. M. Co., of which Capt. E. S. Barstow is the efficient superintendent.

The history of this region takes us back over 3000 years to times contemporaneous with King David, when Ki-ja came from China and made P’yong-yang his capital. But legend takes us back many a century before that and leads us into many a seductive by-way. The first outside influence of note was the massacre of the crew of the General Sherman in 1866. [page 58]

One of men on that boat had come for the special purpose of preaching the Gospel and many facts as to his sincerity and purpose have been brought out in conversation with one of the Korean participants in that unhappy affair. But the important epoch in this region began when the Japanese gained their victory over the Chinese on July 15, 1894. This victory of superior guns and methods inaugurated an era of new ideas, and since that time there has been a rapid development in the modernization of the district. The three great forces which are contributing to this internal as well as material uplift are; first agriculture, which, stimulated by the opening of the port and the outside demand for food stuffs, has helped to disseminate new ideas and to break up the exclusiveness of ages; second the granting of mining concessions, which has greatly aided in the work of waking up the Koreans to a true idea of the possibilities of their country; and third but not least, missionary enterprise, of which more presently.

From a well-nigh deserted and demolished city which war and pestilence left in 1895, P’yung-yang has gained in population and trade until now at the opening of the new Century it has a population of nearly 100,000 people whose earnestness and thrift are a guarantee of still greater commercial success. This commercial success is augmented by a constant stream of money brought in by the mining companies and paid out by thousands a month to their employees.

Of the two great mining companies that known as “The Wun-san Mines of Korea,” which includes “The Oriental Consolidated Mining Co.,” “The Jenessie Mining Co.” and “The Korean Mining and Development Co.” has been longest at work. Under the able direction of H. F. Meserve, General Manager, it has three mills in successful operation. They are situated at Chittabally, Kok-san-dong and Tabowie, the first being about three miles from the Un-san magistracy and the other about twenty-five miles distant. Some fifty Americans and British are in charge of the various departments of work and besides the hundreds of Koreans there are also a number of Japanese and Chinese employed. The good-will of these Americans and British toward missionary work is shown by the fact that they donate $250 annually to the hospital in P’yung-yang which is in charge of Dr. J. H. Wells. [page 59]

The British Mining concession in the hands of “The Eastern Pioneer Co.” is opening up work at its mines in Eun-san under the skillful management of Mr. Gustave Braecke, General Manager. Discoveries of coal and copper, in addition to the gold, promise big things for the future. A dozen foreigners and a large gang of Koreans and Japanese are at work.

These great industrial enterprises are exerting a great influence over the material welfare of this northern region. Money is plentiful and all lines of human effort feel the effect. All this would nave been lost had not these concessions been granted.

P’yung-yang is almost surrounded by outcroppings of coal and a few attempts at surface mining have been made. It is of little value for steaming but as a stove coal it is excellent. Lack of enterprise on the part of those who have the work in hand has prevented any large development of this industry. It could be laid down in Seoul at $10 a ton and show a handsome profit.

A considerable amount of timber is floated down the river but as yet the large local demand has absorbed it all. Logs that bring twenty dollars apiece in Seoul are sold here for two dollars and a half.

Of what has been accomplished as a result of missionary effort the printed reports, available to those who wish to see them show a most remarkable advance when we consider the period during which such efforts have been made. At the present moment the Presbyterian Church has adherents to the number of 11000 and the Methodist workers have about 2300 under their care. As to the number of Roman Catholics we have no figures at hand but as they have a number of foreign workers in these parts their following must be considerable.

Commercially, industrially and religiously, therefore, this section presents a picture which prompts an optimistic view. What agricultural, mining and missionary effort have already done for the material and spiritual benefit of these people is but a sign and a beginning of what is to be. The grappling, by the Western Powers, of the great Eastern Question will help to ensure the Koreans against any intolerable political conditions either from without or from within and [page 60] leaves her free to work out the great problems of human destiny unhindered and uncoerced.



Near the center of Korea’s 650 miles of eastern coast line and about half way between Fusan and Vladivostock lies Yung-hung Bay, or Broughton Bay, a superb natural harbor in the south western portion of which lies the Port Wun-san. The northern arm of the bay is known as Port Lazareff, coupled for so many years with Russia’s desire for an outlet on the Pacific. The whole inlet covers forty square miles, affording anchorage for a goodly portion of the world’s navies. It is sheltered on all sides by mountains and its mouth is well guarded by islands. It is easy of entrance, has an average depth of about nine fathoms with good holding ground and is free from ice in winter. Near the bay are five or six towns of some importance, the largest of which Wun-san with a population of about 15000.

The natural scenery and climate of Wun-san are unequalled by that of any other port in Korea and is surpassed by that of very few places anywhere. The beech, in some places bold and rocky, is however for the most part low and sandy, affording the best of sea bathing; Back of the beach are winding valleys formed by low mountain spurs among which are miles of winding paths where the horseman, pedestrian or bicyclist can enjoy a constant succession of ocean, mountain and valley scenery. The massive mountain chain which follows the contour of the coast here, approaches within twelve miles of the sea and its peaks are capped with snow for more than half the year.

Within two days’ journey from the port there are many spots of unquestioned grandeur and beauty about which many a legend has been woven. From this neighborhood the kings of Ancient Korea are said to have sprung and it is the original home of the founder of the present dynasty. The Monastery Suk-wang Sa, twenty miles away, was erected five hundred years ago by that King over the spot when he received the “Divine Message” to rule. Here he spent his early youth and many of the magnificent trees that grace the spot are said to have been planted by his hand. In a sacred building are preserved his robes of state. Nearby, at Yung-hung, are the tombs of his ancestor. [page 61]

The climate of Wunsan is fine and healthful. The heat of summer is tempered by sea breezes and the nights are always cool. Here Korea’s matchless autumn sky continues through the winter and the dryness of the atmosphere greatly modifies the cold. The mean annual temperature is 53.3o Fahr. The mean for the summer is 73o and for the winter 29o. Wun-san is slightly cooler than Chemulpo in summer and a trifle warmer in winter. The rainfall in Wun-san is forty-four inches, a little greater than 011 the west coast, the snow frequently attains a depth of three or four feet. Game of many kinds abounds, both in the shape of bird and beast.

Wunsan was opened to commerce with the Japanese in 1880 and to the trade of all nations in 1883. The course and value the home and foreign trade are given in the following tables, which are compiled from the Annual Returns and Decennial Reports published by the Customs.

Comparative Table.

Years                              1885-1889         1890-1894         1895-1899         1900...

Total Imports, Foreign..  3,438,968.....      3,711,628.....      6,934,850.....      1,440,527..

Total Imports, Native.    776,244.....         1,784,894.....      2,421,469.....      431,911..

Total Exports, Foreign..  571,837.....         1,024,652.....      2,105,684.....      814,183..

Total Exports, Native...  747,034.....         1,914,525.....      2,575,893.....      661,780..

Gold Exports                  2,685,326.....      2,987,399.....      4,927,733.....      1,425,570..

Total net Revenue          254,198,36..       309,259,74..       6OO,555.69..     138,104,99


As to imports, foreign piece goods advanced from 883,556 pieces between 18901894 to 2,775,057 in 1895-1899, while in the same time native piece goods dropped from 1,029,964 pieces to 92,649. Matches advanced from 44,381 gross to 254,016 gross. Kerosene oil from 668,260 gal. to 1,326,870 gal.

As to exports, beans advanced from 323,415 piculs between 1891-1894 to 556,313 between 1895-1899, nearly all other products showed a distinct falling off, excepting whale’s flesh, which advanced form $90,782 between 1895-1899 to $178,141 in 1900 alone.

The foreign trade is in the hands of the Japanese of whom there are 1600 and of the Chinese who number seventy. The native town has nearly doubled in population since the opening of the port. Of Westerners there are twenty-three adults and eleven children. The Customs staff were the first foreigners here. Of the original staff only one, Mr. J. Knott, now remains.

The first missionary in the place was Rev. M. C. Fenwick who arrived in 1891 followed in 1894 by W. B. McGill, M. D. [page 62]

He is the first medical missionary in Korea who can boast of an entirely self-supporting native practice. Probably no other itinerant either native or foreign has been so successful in the selling of scriptures and tracts. The work of the American Presbyterian Mission (North) which was begun in 1892 passed into the hands of the Canadian Presbyterian Mission in 1899 and the latter is represented by three families and a single lady worker. Work has been recently opened by the Methodist Mission (South) whose present representative came to Wun-san in 1892 as a missionary of the Canadian Colleges’ Mission. The district worked from this center comprises both the northern and southern portions of Ham-gyung Province but Kang-wun Province to the south as well. Mission work here has been subjected to many disadvantages, change and interruptions but in spite of this regular services are held at five or six points in and about the port with an average total attendance of about 200, more than half of whom are communicants. With the exception of the medical work above referred to and the opening of one or two day schools the work has been purely evangelistic.

The Roman Catholic Church is represented by one priest but of the scope and success of their work we have no definite information.

Among the few interesting events that have occurred here mention should be made of the great fire of 1891 and the landing of Japanese troops at the opening of the China Japan war in the summer of 1894.

Excellent steamship services have been established with Japan, China and Siberia. Telegraphic communication with Seoul and with the world at large was established in 1891 and during 1900 the line has been extended northward ninety-three miles to the port of Song-jin, which was opened to foreign trade in May 1899.



Odds and Ends.


Rip Van             Winkle.

Here is a tale that the ambitious ethnologist might use to prove that the Korean is own brother to the good old Dutch of New York, and the man who gibes at chess can use it for a text. [page 63]

Pak-suni the wood-chopper knocked the ashes out of his pipe, stood up and stretched, pulled his waist cord tight and deftly knotted it. It was high time he was off to get that load of brushwood or his Xantippe of a wife was like to clout him over the head with a pagaji. ‘Tis ever thus, he thinks, the man and master has to slave while lazy women folk stand about the neighborhood well and gossip.

Reaching backwards with prehensile toe he secures his straw sandal and shouldering his jigi saunters up the hill path humming that good old strain

“With shoe on foot and staff in hand,

I’m starting out to view the land.

By mountain, river, glen,

A thousand li will seem but ten.”

As he ascends the low scrub growth thickens till he enters a grove of pines every one of which is sacred because of that round mound over yonder with a flat stone table in front and a semicircular bank behind and half embracing it. To cut down one of these trees would be like cutting off one of the spines in the back of the great dragon that fills the supernatural foreground of the Korean’s mental view. So he trudged on over, the hills till he reached a secluded dell where no one could hear the ring of his axe. He had laid down his axe and deposited his ji-gi on the ground and was in the act of tightening his loin string again preparatory to work when at a distance he spied two old men seated on the ground beneath a great nent-ti tree playing chess. This was a curious place to be playing chess; he must go and see what it all meant. He approached the players with, a deprecatory cough for salutation but as they did not look up nor seem to be cognizant of his presence he sat down with his hands about his knees to watch the progress of the game. It had reached a very critical point and he did not wonder that the players studied long and carefully before putting finger to piece.

The bright sun was sifting down through leaves and the wind made a soothing murmur, and it was not long before the Pak-suni’s head fell forward on his breast and he fell into a deep sleep. How long he slept he did not know when one of the players throwing forward a knight said in a voice like that of a great bell: [page 64]


Pak-suni woke with a start. He saw the game had made some progress and one of the contestants had indeed put the other’s king in check. He watched a few moments longer and then dozed off again. Four times he was aroused by the challenging “Chang” of the players but at last he slept so soundly that the game went on to the end without his waking.

When at last he opened his eyes and looked about he felt cold and stiff and the sun was setting. He looked at his clothes and wondered whether those chess players were not after all only a pair of rascals who had bewitched him long enough to steal his good clothes and leave these rags in their place.

He got up with difficulty and tottered to the place where he had left his axe and ji-gi. Of the latter nothing remained, but on the ground he found an old rusty axe head without a handle.

Muttering imprecations against the two old imposters and trembling at thought of what his wife would say he made his way homeward. As he entered the once familiar street he seemed to be at a loss to find his bearings. Surely that house by the bridge had not been newly thatched in a single day. The dog which turned tail skulked through the hole in a door and then yapped back at him was not the right dog for that hole. A knot of neighbors was gathered about the door-way of the village hostelry but none of them seemed familiar. They turned and looked at him curiously.

“Whom are you looking for, old gentleman?” asked one, taking his pipe from between his teeth.

“I’m looking for—for—” and he named one of his neighbors.

“He’s been dead these fifteen years. His son lives here but he has gone up to Seoul with a load of bean cakes.” The bewildered man looked about the group of strange faces and then asked:

“Do any of you know Pak-suni the wood chopper?”

“Hush!” said one, “don’t say that name so loud,” and lowering his voice to a whisper, “When I was a boy my mother told me that he went out one day to gather wood and never came back. We believe that he tried to cut down [page 65] one of the pines up there by the grave and the devils got after him and carried him away.”

“I’m Pak-suni”

As if they had heard a word from the grave they leaped back and ran every way tumbling over each other and fighting for first place. The air was full of wooden shoes and curses. Old Pak-suni for he was also no longer young, burst out laughing at the ludicrous sight, which only intensified the horror of the situation for the fugitives. In a trice the street was cleared and the forlorn old man stood there alone. But presently down the muddy street came an old toothless woman carrying a bundle of washing on her head. As she passed the old man said, “Can you tell me where I can find Paksuni’s wife? She’s my―ahem—niece.” The woman turned and stared.

“I’m not your niece, what do you mean?” He stepped forward so that she could see him clearly.

‘‘Don’t you know me? I’m Pak-suni.” The aged crone let fall the bundle of clothes and springing forward seized her long neglectful lord by the remnant of his once luxuriant top-knot and hauled him down the street demanding with each step why he had run away and left her to slave all these years.

He enjoyed this. Here at least was one thing that, among all the changes, had not changed. He feared that he had been transported to some other world but this brought his feet down flat upon the earth. The neighbors lay awake that night listening with abated breath while she plied him alternately with her tongue and with a hong-duk-ka.

From that time on let those who will, believe that life went smoothly for this Korean Rip Van Winkle.



The First Bicycle          

Orientals are not so highly impressed by the products of western industry as we sometimes think they ought to be. If you say to the Korean, “Look at our submarine boat,” he yawns and answers “O yes, we had one here some three hundred years ago. It was an Ironclad in the shape of a tortoise and could go on the surface or below as well. We used it to drive back the Japanese reinforcements at the time of our little trouble with Hideyoshi.” You look blank and ask, “But why then did not you keep on and improve your boat and get all the good results [page 66] from your great invention?” He smiles and says, “You westerners look at these things differently from us. After the need for the craft had passed we simply threw it away. If occasion should again arise someone would make another, perhaps a better one. Now you westerners keep making these expensive things and using up your revenues in repairs and maintenance. That is like keeping a fan in your hand from the end of summer clear around to the beginning of next summer simply because you are going to need it then.” You try him again: “But just look at our wonderful bridges.” “O yes but they are only needed here in emergencies. Our ferrymen have to live you know. When we really need one we make it, as when the Chinese demanded that we bridge the Im-jin River some centuries ago to expedite the crossing of their army. At that time we built a suspension bridge a hundred and fifty yards lone in a few days but after it was done and we had reaped the benefit there was no use in paying out good money to keep the bridge up just for ordinary people. So we let it fall of its own weight.”

You make one more effort, “But there is the bicycle.” He actually laughs at your impressive tone and answers, “Shall I tell you why we gave up bicycles? Well it happened this way. It was in the days of Mencius, if I am not mistaken, that a man in China invented the bicycle. It was made o£ wood and it had two different sets of mechanisms. One was to use when you went somewhere and the other was to use when you came back. One day the inventor took off the “coining- back” attachment and took it indoors to readjust it in some way. Unfortunately his mother passed a moment later and seeing the bicycle leaning against the house she thought it would be a fine chance for a spin; so she mounted and started off, and that was the last that was ever heard of hen Naturally the absence of the “coming-back’’ attachment made it impossible to come-back. Knowing what you do, of our feeling toward our parents it is not necessary to indicate why we have never since then made use of that interesting machine.” It is to be hoped that this startling tale will leave you strength enough to wonder what became of the old lady and whether she may not still be going like the Wandering Jew. From what we know of the roads in China she ought to have reached [page 67] Kashgar by this time, unless she has had a puncture meanwhile, (ungenerous thought!)

We would put it out just as a suggestion to our globe-cycling mends that they keep their eyes open for her for there are without doubt papers in America that would gladly print the details―for instance whether she uses the free wheel or the bevel gear, and it may be that some of our ladies’ fashion papers would be glad to know whether she wears—but the subject of female apparel is quite too erudite for us.


Seat of Intelligence.       

The foreign teacher stood before his Korean class and proceeded to explain that the seat of intelligence is the brain. No sooner had he made this revolutionary proposition than half of his class jumping to their feet pressed their thumbs inward against their stomachs and exclaimed “No, here, here.” The teacher frowned but a moment later he smiled a far-away sort of smile and looking into their faces replied musingly, “Well—possibly—yes in isolated cases.”


Tight Lacing.

It is the part of wisdom to accept truth from whatever source it comes. We never knew why it was that ants have such small waists but our mental opacity was pierced by the following Korean ray of light.

An earth-worm in reckless mood determined to embark upon the stormy sea of matrimony, so he called in the ant to act as go-between and secure him the maiden of his choice, or rather her’s. The ant accepted the charge and picked out for him a young and blithesome centipede but failed to inform either party as to the genus of the other. After the preparations were well under way the ant was sitting one day with the prospective bride descanting upon the virtues of her chosen husband when the young centipede asked what form of insect her future lord might be. The ant replied that he was an earth-worm. The centipede drew back in horror. “What a great, long, slimy earth-worm? I never, never could have the patience to make pa-jis for such a long shanked fellow as he. Thereupon the ant went into a hopeless fit of laughter and had to run directly to Sir Earth-worm and relate the joke. He took it in high dudgeon. “And what or who is she that she should jibe at my shape?” “She is a centipede,” replied [page 68] the ant. “A centipede,” he roared, “what were you thinking of? Do you suppose I am willing to slave night and day to earn enough to keep a centipede in shoes?” Whereat the ant, oblivious of the domestic tragedy that was impending fell to laughing again so hard that she was afraid she would split her sides; so she seized a rope and wound it tightly about her. But when her paroxysm of laughter was over and she unwound the rope she found to her dismay that her waist was hopelessly constricted.



Question and Answer.


 (5) Question. I observed one day that when a high official alighted from his chair his servant offered his hand as a support but before doing so covered his hand with the skirt of his coat. Is there any caste significance in this and is it a common custom?

Answer. This is sometimes done by outside servants when assisting their masters but there is no binding law of etiquette to this effect. It is cannot be said to be common and yet it is not so uncommon as to excite comment or observation by Koreans themselves.

(6) Question. Is tobacco indigenous in Korea?

Answer. No. It was about three hundred years ago that the Japanese received it from the Spanish. The Japanese brought it to Korea shortly after and the Manchus who invaded Korea two centuries and a half ago obtained it from the Koreans. During all these wanderings it has retained its name nearly intact, being called ta-ba-go in Japan tam-p’a-kwe in China and simply tam-ba in Korea.

(7) Question. How many periodicals are published in the Korean language at the present time?

Answer. It is of value to record the fact that at the beginning of the century there are six publications in the Korean language. Two of them, the Whang-sung Sin-mun and the Che-guk Sin-mun, are published in Seoul tinder Korean [page 69] editorship, two of them, the Han-sung Sin-mun of Seoul and the Cho-sun Shin-po of Chemulpo are published by Japanese, and the remaining two, the Christian News of Seoul and the Sin-hak Wul-bo of Chemulpo are edited by Americans, The former is an eight page weekly edited by Rev. H. G. Underwood, D. D., and the latter is a forty page monthly magazine edited by Rev. Geo. Heber Jones of Chemulpo.

(8) Question. Why do Koreans bury an unmarried girl in the middle of the road?

Answer. Improbable though it may seem, this curious custom prevails in Chul-la Do, such graves having been seen by several Missionaries. Whether it prevails in other parts of Korea, the writer is unable to say.

Two explanations are given, of which the following seems the more satisfactory. According to Eastern ideas the life of a girl who dies unmarried has been an utter and complete failure, a disappointment only; therefore it is to be expected that in the next world her spirit will be restless and revengeful. To prevent this, she is not buried on the hillside among those whose lives have been happy and prosperous, but in the center of the public road, where all passers-by may trample her spirit under their feet and thus keep it in subjection.



Editorial Comment.


The Korea Review Album

One of the most serious embarrassments to the writer on Korean topics is the lack of proper illustrations. One good photo-graph-will often tell more than two pagesof the best written manuscript. As the KOREA REVIEW is gotten up with the view of furnishing information about Korea we do not see how we can get along without illustrating. On the other hand we do not see how on our present modest financial basis we can furnish illustrations to our subscribers. The result of this dilemma is that we have decided to publish what we shall call The Korea Review Album, of Korean pictures. We have secured a goodly number of choice pictures on Korean scenery, customs, superstitions, monuments, architecture, punishments, [page 70] etc. etc. which will be developed into half-tone plates and printed on a heavy quality of paper of a size suitable for insertion in an album of good proportions or for mounting in frames if so desired.

Thirty of these pictures will be issued with each yearly number of the Korea Review. In other words it will constitute the ILLUSTRATED KOREA REVIEW. The additional cost for these illustrations will be three yen a year. The subscription to the REVIEW itself will remain as before but the ILLUSTRATED REVIEW will be seven yen a year. To all who have subscribed for the REVIEW these thirty pictures, gotten up in the most attractive shape, will be furnished for three yen extra. A complete collection of these pictures will form the most reliable work possible on Korean life. It may be that the pictures can be put out more rapidly than we have indicated, in which case a complete album of several hundred pictures can be put out in a year’s time. If so, notice will be given in good time to our subscribers. Particular pains will be taken to secure pictures of genuine value and interest and there will be no duplicate pictures nor two pictures bearing on the same subject unless for very special reasons.

In the January 22nd issue of the Japan Daily Mail and in the January 26th issue of the weekly Mail there appeared an editorial dealing with an article reported to have been printed in Gunton’s Magazine. That article was reviewed by a Mr. Yamaguchi and it was upon quotations of Yamaguchi’s quotations that the editorial above mentioned was based. Judging from these quotations it is certain that the original article was wholly reprehensible both in spirit and in expression. Nothing that the Editor of the Mail says about these wild statements is too severe. No man with the rudiments either of common sense or of common charity could have made the statements there quoted nor can we conceive of anyone believing them however reliable may have seemed the source from which they came. We are in perfect agreement with the views of the Editor of the Mail with one single exception. We cannot agree with him as to the identity of the man. who published the statements of that missionary. It is plain that the person referred to by the Mail was the Editor of The Korea Review, for there has been no other man named H. B. [page 71] Hulbert who has furnished the Japan Mail with matter relating to Korea.

Now we wish to state most distinctly and categorically that we had nothing whatever to do with the article in question, nor do we know who wrote it. The statements there made are diametrically opposed to all our notions of Japan. Furthermore the person charged with this serious offence has not written an article on Japan since the year 1887 and then only on the ordinary sights and sounds of that country. He has never before heard of Gunton’s Magazine nor does he know whether it is an American or an English publication. From the beginning of his residence in the East in 1886 his attitude has been one of entire friendliness toward Japan and in his references to Japan in articles on Korea will be found evidence of the kindliest feelings for that country.

The article referred to must have been written by someone with a very superficial knowledge of the East and withal of a most credulous mind. The serious mistake of the Editor of the Japan Mail lay in his jumping to the conclusion that simply because the article was written by a Mr. Hulbert it must necessarily be this particular one. After confessing that he had not seen the original article he charges it up against us in language that in the very proportion in which it properly characterizes the real author in that same proportion libels us.

We have no doubt that as soon as the Editor of the Japan Mail learned of the mistake he hastened to undo as far as possible the injury which his negligence had caused to a fellow journalist and a personal acquaintance. The reputation of the Japan Mail should be a sufficient guarantee that no pains would be spared to right such a wrong, especially when committed against one who has always been a warm friend and advocate of Japan.


News Calendar


G. Hayashi Esq., the Japanese Minister, returned to Seoul on the sixth inst.

It has been decided to station a Korean consul at Chefoo but it is said that for the present a French gentleman will act as Vice-Consul. [page 72]

We are informed that the Household Department secured the services of a German physician.

The severe weather of the early days of February necessarily occasioned great suffering among prisoners. It is reported that two boys succumbed to the cold.

Advices from Wun-san show that in that section the ground is covered with four feet of snow on the level.

It is interesting to note that during the year 1900 the number of people vaccinated in Korea was 46027. These cases were well distributed over the country, the remoter sections having rather more than those neat the capital.

We are informed that before coining to Seoul as French Minister Colin de Plancy will be in Japan some five or six months.

It is reported that under the auspices of Mr. Yi Yong-ik silver money is to be minted by the Government.

One afternoon in December last Mrs. Jordan formerly of Seoul gave an afternoon tea to the “Korean” visitors at Lausanne, Switzerland. Those present were Mr. and Mrs. Jordan, Mrs. Scranton and her daughters, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Gale and her daughters, Miss Everett, Dr. and Baldock and Rev. H. G. Appenzeller and family.

The articles carried from Korea for exhibition in Paris did not find a ready sale and in view of the heavy expense of shipment they have been stored in France for the present.

It was found a short time since that the prefectures of North Kyung-sang Province were six years in arrears in their subscriptions to the Official Gazette. The aggregate sum was over a thousand dollars. For this remissness the governor was ordered to be reprimanded. Such is the unhappy predicament of those who postpone the inevitable day.

The Emperor of Japan has conferred upon the Prince Imperial of Korea the order of the Chrysanthemum, The decoration was brought to Korea by the Japanese Minister.

There have been so many applications for licenses of incorporation of Korean companies that the Ministry of commerce has decided to discontinue the granting of such licenses [page 73]

Gen. Yun the newly appointed Governor of South Chul-la Province passed through Mok-p’o the other day on his way to his new pest.

The great piles of rice that lie upon the bund of Mok-p’o give evidence of the growing importance of the port. Of late the Nippon Yusen Kaisha boats have not been stopping at this port but they will not be able long to pass without calling.

The astonishing enterprise of the Japanese is evinced in their erection at Mok-po of one of the finest foreign buildings in Korea. They are beyond doubt the “Yankees” of the East.

A bold band of armed robbers surrounded the station and village of Oricol and looted them. A telegram for help was sent to Chemulpo and a special train of policemen and soldiers was sent up but by the time it arrived the robbers had disappeared.

It is reported that the Japanese have secured a fine site on a hill outside the city of P’yung-yang for their Consulate and other buildings, that a regular post office is to be established in April, the mails at present going through the Consulate, and that the site for the Japanese settlement is to be outside the South Gate.

A Memorial Service was held in the English Church, Seoul on 2nd February, the day on which the remains of the much-beloved Queen Victoria were laid in the mausoleum at Frogmore near Windsor. The lessons were taken from the 44th chapter of the Book of Ecclesiasticus, “Let us now praise famous men, etc;” from the 5th chapter of the Gospel of John and from the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians. The rest of the service was choral and included hymns 401, 140, and 398 in Hymns Ancient and Modern. The officiating clergyman was the Rev. M. N. Trollope, assisted by the Rev. F. R. Hillary. Several Korean officials were present on behalf the Emperor of Korea. All the Legations were represented by their respective Ministers. The general community was also largely represented.

Since writing the editorial note relative to charges made against us by the Japan Mail we learn with some satisfaction that the editor of that paper has so far retracted his state- [page 74] ments as to publish our telegram denying the charges, and to state that he is glad they are not true. It is pleasant to know that he is glad. We should have expected that his gladness would be tempered with a certain degree of chagrin at having made what proves to be a sheer blunder. But irrespective of this the main-point was the public denial of the gross charges. This having been done the incident is closed. We are too conscious of editorial fallibility ourselves to be censorious. The pleasant review of our first number in the Mail shows that the relations between that paper and the Korea Review are as cordial as need be.

The Kisogawa Maru which arrived at Chemulpo on the 21st inst brought eighteen American men who are bound for the mines at Un-san. The run from Mok-p’o to Chemulpo was exceedingly rough. The monotony of ship life was broken by the failing of the large saloon lamp which threatened to cause a considerable blaze. But the prompt application of the biceps Americanus prevented such a catastrophe. Fire at sea, especially in a storm, is one of those things that are more interesting to read about than to experience.

The Korean Government has secured the services of Franz Eckert, Kgl. Preussischer Musik direktor, to organize an Imperial Band in Seoul. Mr. Eckert who arrived on Feb. 19th was employed for twenty years by the Japanese government in a similar capacity, and we cannot doubt that his long experience in the East will be of great value in training Koreans. That experience combined with the Korean’s taste for music will, we doubt not, result in air excellent band.

Robbery is not confined to the country districts. We are sorry to learn that the Methodist Publishing House has been broken into and three valuable founts of matrices stolen. A bicycles is also missing from the residence of Mr. Gale.

Up to the moment of going to press there was no definite news about the condition of Dr. Johnson of Ta-gu. The combination of gastritis, pneumonia and typhus renders his condition very grave. Both Dr. Irvin and Rev. Mr. Ross of Fu-san have gone to Ta-gu. But we are still permitted to hope that medical science will prevail and that Providence through this instrumentality will restore a valuable worker to his post. [page 75]

We are putting out with this number a full statement of our plan for a Korea Review Album. We are of the opinion that public patronage will render this attempt to picture Korea to the outer world a success. A few hundred selected pictures of Korean scenery, monuments, customs, and the like can do more to give a correct notion of what this country and people are like than any amount of writing can do. Thirty photogravure pictures will be published with this year’s magazine. It will constitute the Illustrated Korea Review.

On the 10th inst. a very charming entertainment was given in the Seoul Union Reading Rooms, consisting of charades and tableaus by the Children. The costumes were very gay and the afternoon was voted a complete success. No small part of the credit for this success is due to Mr. Sands who spared no pains in getting up the handsome costumes which the small people wore.

We are pleased to learn that, after the inevitable delay, Prof Frampton has signed his contract with the Government as Head Master of the English Language School.

Lady Om sent several hundred blankets to the Police Department on the 15th inst. to be distributed among the prisoners.

The native papers state that the amount of domestic mail matter that passed through the Korean Post office during 1900 was 1,308,627 pieces.

The Educational Department has been requested by the Law Department so select ten suitable men from among the students of the French language as a nucleus of a new Law School which is contemplated.

Early ill the month three hundred guns and ten thousand rounds of ammunition which the Government had ordered from Germany arrived in Chemulpo.

A Russian Red Cross Hospital ship, carrying 150 wounded Russian soldiers, entered Ma-san-p’o on the 5th inst.

On the 20th inst. Mr. Yamadza, Secretary of the Japanese Legation left Seoul en route for Japan.

The Superintendent of the Seoul Fusan R. R. arrived in Chemulpo from Japan on the 19th inst. [page 76]

The disagreement between the Korean and Japanese rice merchants in Chemulpo seems to have reached a critical stage. The native papers say that the Korean merchants have formed an agreement to sell no more rice to Japanese except upon a strictly cash basis. The Japanese have likewise determined to pay no more money in advance to Koreans for rice. In the past the Japanese have frequently lost heavily by paying for rice crops far in advance and Koreans likewise have lost by giving rice to the Japanese on credit. It will be a good things for both parties to come down to a “spot cash” basis. That will put an end to the difficulties on both sides.

On Wednesday the 20th instant a General Meeting of the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society was held at the Seoul Union Reading Room. The paper of the day was by Rev. M, N. Trollope and his subject was Kang-wha. A long residence on that island has made him an authority on its geography, history and folk-lore. The paper was consequently of extreme interest. After a careful description of the geography and topography of the island there followed an account of all the monuments and other historical remains in which it abounds and filially a graphic account of the more important epochs in its history. It appears that in spite of the unexampled spread of the Mongol power, even to the banks of the Danube, they never conquered the island of Kang-wha. Nor was it because they did not try. Mongol armies more than once encamped oil the opposite mainland and by threat and promise tried to induce the King to return to Song-do but they never ventured across the water. It was due to their ignorance of boats and of navigation that saved Kanawha from their ravages.

The Society is to be congratulated on securing a paper of the highest scholarly grade on a subject that is perhaps as fascinating and important as any in connection with Korea.

By a mistake in proof reading one foot was dropped from the third line of the quatrain in the story of Rip Van Winkle under the heading Odds and Ends. The line should read:

By mountain, river, glade and glen. [page 77]


Chapter III.—Continued.


In the autumn of that year the two generals, Yang-bok and Sun-ch’i, invaded Korea at the head of a strong force: but U-gu was ready for them and in the first engagement scattered the invading army, the remnants of which took refuge among the mountains. It was ten days before they rallied enough to make even a good retreat. U-gu was frightened by his own good luck for he knew that this would still further anger the Emperor; so when an envoy came from China the king humbled himself, confessed his sins and sent his son to China as hostage together with a gift of 5,000 horses. Ten thousand troops accompanied him. As these troops were armed, the Chinese envoy feared there might be trouble after the Yalu had been crossed. He therefore asked the Prince to have them disarmed. The latter thought he detected treachery and so tied at night and did not stop until he reached his father’s palace in P’yung-yang, The envoy paid for this piece of gaucherie with his head.

Meanwhile Generals Yang-bok and Sun-ch’i had been scouring Liao-tung and had collected a larger army than before. With this they crossed the Ya-lu and marched on P’yung-yang. They met with no resistance, for U-gu had collected all his forces at the capital, hoping perhaps that the severity of the weather would tire out any force that might be sent against him. The siege continued two months during, which time the two generals quarreled incessantly. When the Emperor sent Gen, Kong Son-su to see what was the matter, Ger. Sun-chi accused his colleague of treason and had him sent back to China, where he lost his head. The siege, continued by Gen. Sun-ch’i, dragged on till the following summer and it would have continued longer had not traitor within the town assassinated the king and fled to the Chinese camp. Still the people refused to make terms until another traitor opened the gates to the enemy. Gen. Sun-ch’i’s first act was to compel Prince Chang, the heir apparent, to do obeisance. But the people had their revenge upon the [page 78] traitor who opened the gate for they fell upon him and tore him to pieces before he could make good his escape to the Chinese camp.

Upon the downfall of Wi-man’s kingdom, the country was divided by the Chinese into four provinces called respectively Nang-nang, Im-dun, Hyun-do and Chin-bun. The first of these, Nang-nang, is supposed to have covered that portion of Korea now included in the three provinces of P’yung-an, Whang-ha and Kyung-geui. Im-dun, so far as we can learn, was located about as the present province of Kang-wun, but it may have exceeded these limits. Hyun-do was about coterminous with the present province of Ham-gyung in the northeast. Chin-bun lay beyond the Yalu River but its limits can hardly be guessed at. It may have stretched to the Liao River or beyond. It is exceedingly doubtful whether the conquerors themselves had any definite idea of the shape or extent of these four provinces. Twenty-five years later, in the fifth year of Emperor Chao-ti 81 B. C. a change in administration was made. Chin-bun and Hyun-do were united to form a new province called Pyung-ju, while Im-dun and Nang-nang were thrown together to form Tong-bu. In this form the country remained until the founding of Ko-gu-ryu in the twelfth year of Emperor Yuan-ti, 36 B. C.

It is here a fitting place to pause and ask what was the nature of these wild tribes that hung upon the flanks of civilization and, like the North American Indians, were friendly one day and on the war-path the next. Very little can be gleaned from purely Korean sources, but a Chinese work entitled the Mun-hon T’ong-go deals with them in some detail, and while there is much that is quite fantastic and absurd the main points tally so well with the little that Korean records say, that in their essential features they are probably as nearly correct as anything we are likely to find in regard to these aborigines (shall we say) of north-eastern Asia.


Chapter IV.


The wild tribes .... the “Nine Tribes” apocryphal .... Ye-mak .... position .... history .... customs .... Ye and Mak perhaps two .... Ok-ju [page 79] .... position .... history .... customs .... North Ok-jo .... Eum-nu .... position .... customs .... the western tribes .... the Mal-gal group .... position .... customs .... other border tribes.

As we have already seen, tradition gives us nine original wild tribes in the north, named respectively the Kyun, Pang, Whang, Pak, Chuk, Hyun, P’ung, Yang, and U. These we are told occupied the peninsula in the very earliest times. But little credence can be placed in this enumeration, for when it comes to the narration of events we find that these tribes are largely ignored and numerous other names are introduced. The tradition is that they lived in Yang-gok, “The Place of the Rising Sun.” In the days of Emperor T’ai-k’an of the Hsia dynasty, 2188 B. C. the wild tribes of the east revolted. In the days of Emperor Wu-wang, 1122 B. C. it is Said that representatives from several of the wild tribes came to China bringing rude musical instruments and performing their queer dances. The Whe-i was another of the tribes, for we are told that the brothers of Emperor Wu-wang fled thither but were pursued and killed. Another tribe, the So-i, proclaimed their independence of China but were utterly destroyed by this same monarch.

It is probable that all these tribes occupied the territory north of the Yalu River and the Ever-white Mountains. Certain it is that these names never occur in the pagesof Korean history proper. Doubtless there was more or less intermixture and it is more than possible that their blood runs in the veins of Koreans today, but of this we cannot be certain.

We must call attention to one more purely Chinese notice of early Korea because it contains perhaps the earliest mention of the word Cho-sun. It is said that in. Cho-sun three rivers, the Chun-su, Yul-su, and San-su, unite to form the Yul-su, which flows by (or through) Nang-nang. This corresponds somewhat with the description of the Yalu River.

We now come to the wild tribes actually resident in the peninsula and whose existence can hardly be questioned, whatever may be said about the details here given.

We begin with the tribe called Ye-mak, about which there are full notices both in Chinese and Korean records. The Chinese accounts deal with it as a single tribe but the Korean accounts, which are more exact, tell us that Ye and [page 80] Mak were two separate “kingdoms.” In all probability they were of the same stock but separate in government.

Ye-guk (guk meaning kingdom) is called by some Ye-wi- guk. It is also know as Ch’ul. It was situated directly north of the kingdom of Sil-la, which was practically the present province of Kyung-sang, so its boundary must have been the same as that of the present Kang-wun Province. On the north was Ok-ju, on the east the Great Sea, and on the west Nang- nang. We may say then that Ye-guk comprised the greater portion of what is now Kang-wun Province. To this day the ruins of its capital may be seen to the east of the town of Kang-neung. In the palmy days of Ye-guk its capital was called Tong-i and later, when overcome by Sil-la, a royal seal was unearthed there and Ha-wang the king of Sil-la adopted it as his royal seal. After this town was incorporated into Sil-la it was known as Myung-ju.

In the days of the Emperor Mu-je, 140 B. C., the king of Ye-guk was Nam-nyu. He revolted from Wi-man’s rule and, taking a great number of his people, estimated, fantastically of course, at 380,000, removed to Liao-tung, where the Emperor gave him a site for a settlement at Chang-ha-gun. Some accounts say that this colony lasted three years. Others say that after two years it revolted and was destroyed by the Emperor, There are indications that the remnant joined the kingdom of Pu-yu in the north-east for, according to one writer, the seal of Pu-yu contained the words “Seal of the King of Ye” and it was reported that the aged men of Pu-yu used to say that in the days of the Han dynasty they were fugitives. There was also in Pu-yu a fortress called the “Ye Fortress.” From this some argue that Nam-nyu was not a man of the east but of the north. Indeed it is difficult to see how he could have taken so many people so far especially across an enemy’s country.

When the Chinese took the whole northern part of Korea, the Ye country was incorporated into the province of Im- dun and in the time of the Emperor Kwang-mu the governor of the province resided at Kang-neung. The Emperor received an annual tribute of grass-cloth, fruit and horses.

The people of Ye-guk were simple and credulous, and not naturally inclined to warlike pursuits. They were modest [page 81] and unassuming, nor were they fond of jewels or finery. Their peaceful disposition made them an easy prey to their neighbors who frequently harassed them. In later times both Ko-gu-ryu and Sil-la used Ye-guk soldiers in part in effecting their conquests. People of the same family name did not intermarry. If a person died of disease his house was deserted and the family found a new place of abode. We infer from this that their houses were of a very poor quality and easily built; probably little more than a rude thatch covering a slight excavation in a hill-side. The use of hemp was known as was also that of silk, though this was probably at a much later date. Cotton was also grown and woven. By observing the stars they believed they could foretell a famine; from which we infer that they were mainly an agricultural people. In the tenth moon they worshipped the heavens, during which ceremony they drank, sang and danced. They also worshipped the “Tiger Spirit.” Robbery was punished by fining the offender a horse or a cow. In fighting they used spears, as long as three men and not infrequently several men wielded the same spear together. They fought entirely on foot. The celebrated Nang-nang bows were in reality of Ye-guk make and were cut out of pak-tal wood. The country was infested with leopards. The horses were so small that mounted men could ride under the branches of the fruit trees without difficulty. They sold colored fish skins to the Chinese, the fish being taken from the eastern sea.

We are confronted by the singular statement that at the time of the Wei dynasty in China, 220―294 A. D. Ye-guk swore allegiance to China and despatched an envoy four times a year. There was no Ye-mak in Korea at that time and this must refer to some other Ye tribe in the north. It is said they purchased exemption from military duty by paying a stipulated annual sum. This is manifestly said of some tribe more contiguous to China than the one we are here discussing.

Mak-guk, the other half of Ye-mak, had its seat of government near the site of the present town of Ch’un-ch’un. Later, in the time of the Sil-la supremacy, it was known as U-su-ju. It was called Ch’un-ju in the time of the Ko-ryu rule.

The ancient Chinese work, Su-jun, says that in the days [page 82] of Emperor Mu-song (antedating Ki-ja) the people of Wha-ha Man-mak came and did obeisance to China. This may have been the Korean Mak. Mencius also makes mention of a greater Muk and a lesser Mak. In the time of the Han dynasty they spoke of Cho-sun, Chin-bun and Ye-mak. Mencius notice of a greater and lesser Mak is looked upon by some as an insult to the memory of Ki-ja, as if he had called Ki-ja’s kingdom a wild country; but the above mention of the three separately is quoted to show that Mencius had no such thought.

The annals of Emperor Mu-je state, in a commentary, that Mak was north of Chin-han and south of Ko-gu-ryu and Ok-ju and had the sea to the east, a description which exactly suits Ye-mak as we know it.

The wild tribe called Ok-ja occupied the territory east of Ka-ma San and lay along the eastern sea-coast, it was narrow and long, stretching a thousand li along the coast in the form of a hook. This well describes the contour of the coast from a point somewhat south of the present Wun-san northward along the shore of Ham-gyung Province. On its south was Ye-mak and on its north were the wild Eum-nu and Pu-yu tribes. It consisted of five thousand houses grouped in separate communities that were quite distinct from each other politically, and a sort of patriarchal government prevailed. The language was much like that of the people of Kogu-ryu.

When Wi-man took Ki-jun’s kingdom, the Ok-ju people became subject to him, but later, when the Chinese made the jour provinces, Ok-ju was incorporated into Hyun-do. As Ok-ju was the most remote of all the wild tribes from the Chinese capital, a special governor was appointed over her, called a Tong-bu To-wi, and his seat of government was at Pul-la fortress. The district was divided into seven parts, all of which were east of Tan-dan Pass, perhaps the Ta-gwul Pass, of to-day. In the sixth year of the Emperor Kwang-mu, 31 A. D., it is said that the governorship was discontinued and native magnates were put at the head of affairs in each of the seven districts under the title Hu or Marquis. Three of the seven districts were Wha-ye, Ok-ju and Pul-la. It is said that the people of Ye-guk were called in to build the government houses in these seven centers. [page 83]

When Ko-gu-ryu took over all northern Korea, she placed a single governor over all this territory with the title Ta-in. Tribute was rendered in the form of grass-cloth, fish, salt and other sea products. Handsome women were also requisitioned. The land was fertile. It had a range of mountains at its back and the sea in front. Cereals grew abundantly. The people are described as being very vindictive. Spears were the weapons mostly used in fighting. Horses and cattle were scarce. The style of dress was the same as that of Ko-gu-ryu.

When a girl reached the age of ten she was taken to the home of her future husband and brought up there. Having attained a marriageable age she returned home and her fiance then obtained her by paving the stipulated price.

Dead bodies were buried in a shallow grave and when only the bones remained. they were exhumed and thrust into a huge hollowed tree trunk which formed the family “vault.” Many generations were thus buried in a single tree trunk. The opening was at the end of the trunk. A wooden image of the dead was carved and set beside this coffin and with it a bowl of grain.

The northern part of Ok-ju was called Puk Ok-ju or “North Ok-ju.” The customs of these people were the same as those of the south except for some differences caused by the proximity of the Eum-nu tribe to the north, who were the Apaches of Korea. Every year these fierce people made a descent upon the villages of the peaceful Ok-ju, sweeping everything before them. So regular were these incursions that the Ok-ju people used to migrate to the mountains every summer, where they lived in caves as best they could, returning to their homes in the late autumn. The cold of winter held their enemies in check.

We are told that a Chinese envoy once penetrated these remote regions. He asked “Are there any people living beyond this sea?” (meaning the Japan Sea.) They replied “Sometimes when we go out to-fish and a tempest strikes us we are driven ten days toward the east until we reach islands where men live whose language is strange and whose custom it is each summer to drown a young girl in the sea. Another said “Once some clothes floated here which were like ours except that the sleeves were as long as the height of a man.” [page 84]

Another said “A boat once drifted here containing a man with a double face, one above the other. We could not understand his speech and as he refused to eat he soon expired.”

The tribe of Ok-ju was finally absorbed in Ko-gu-ryu in the fourth year of King T’a-jo Wang.

The Eum-nu tribe did not belong to Korea proper but as its territory was adjacent to Korea a word may not be out of place. It was originally called Suk-sin. It was north of Ok-ju and stretched from the Tu-man river away north to the vicinity of the Amur. Its most famous mountain was Pul-ham San. It is said to have been a thousand li to the north-east of Pu-yu. The country was mountainous and there were no cart roads. The various cereals were grown, as well as hemp.

The native account of the people of Eum-nu is quite droll and can hardly be accepted as credible. It tells us that the people lived in the trees in summer and in holes in the ground in winter. The higher a man’s rank the deeper he was allowed to dig. The deepest holes were “nine rafters deep.” Pigs were much in evidence. The flesh was eaten and the skins were worn. In winter the people smeared themselves an inch thick with grease. In summer they wore only a breach-cloth. They were extremely filthy. In the center of each of these winter excavations was a common cesspool about which everything else was clustered. The extraordinary statement is made that these people picked up pieces of meat with their toes and ate them. They sat on frozen meat to thaw it out. There was no king, but a sort of hereditary chieftainship prevailed. If a man desired to marry he placed a feather in the hair of the damsel of his choice and if she accepted him she simply followed him home. Women did not marry twice, but before marriage the extreme of latitude was allowed. Young men were more respected than old men. They buried their dead, placing a number of slaughtered pigs beside the dead that he might have something to eat in the land beyond the grave. The people were fierce and cruel, and even though a parent died they did not weep. Death was the penalty for small as well as great offences. They had no form of writing and treaties were made only by word of mouth. In the days of Emperor Yuan-ti of the Eastern Tsin dynasty, an envoy from this tribe was seen in the Capital of China. [page 85]

We have described the tribes of eastern Korea. A word now about the western part of the peninsula. All that portion of Korea lying between the Han and Yalu rivers constituted what was known as Nang-nang and included the present provinces of P’yung-an and Whang ha together with a portion of Kyung-geui. It was originally the name of a single tribe whose position will probably never be exactly known: but it was of such importance that when China divided northern Korea into four provinces she gave this name of Nang-nang to all that portion lying, as we have said, between the Han and the Yalu. The only accounts of these people are given under the head of the Kingdom of Ko-gu-ryu which we shall consider later. But between Nang-nang and the extreme eastern tribes of Ok-ju there was a large tract of country including the eastern part of the present province of Py’ung-an and the western part of Ham-gyung. This was called Hyun-do, and the Chinese gave this name to the whole north-eastern part of Korea. No separate accounts of Hyun-do seem to be now available.

Before passing to the account of the founding of the three great kingdoms of Sil-la, Pak-je and Ko-gu-ryu, we must give a passing glance at one or two of the great border tribes of the north-west. They were not Koreans but exercised such influence upon the life of Korea that they deserve passing notice.

In that vast tract of territory now known as Manchuria there existed, at the time of Christ, a group of wild tribes known under the common name Mal-gal. The group was composed of seven separate tribes, named respectively―Songmal, Pak-tol, An-gu-gol, Pul-lal, Ho-sil, Heuk-su (known also as the Mul-gil and the Pak-san. Between these tribes there was probably some strong affinity, although this is argued only from the generic name Mal-gal which was usually appended to their separate names, and the fact that Mal-gal is commonly spoken of as one. The location of this group of tribes is determined by the statement (1) that it was north of Ko-gu-ryu and (2) that to the east of it was a tribe anciently called the Suk-sin (the same as the Eum-nu,) and (3) that it was five thousand li from Nak-yang the capital of China. We are also told that in it was the great river Sog-mal which was three li wide referring it would seem to the Amur River. These tribes, though [page 86] members of one family, were constantly fighting each other and their neighbors and the ancient records say that of all the wild tribes of the east the Mal-gal were the most feared by their neighbors. But of all the Mal-gal tribes the Heuk-su were the fiercest and most warlike. They lived by hunting and fishing. The title of their chiefs was Ta-mak-pul-man-lol-guk. The people honored their chiefs and stood in great fear of them. It is said that they would not attend to the duties of nature on a mountain, considering, it would seem that there is something sacred about a mountain. They lived in excavations in the sides of earth banks, covering them, with a rough thatch. The entrance was from above. Horses were used but there were no other domestic, animals except pigs. Their rude carts were pushed by men and their plows were dragged by the same. They raised a little millet and barley, and cultivated nine kinds of vegetables. The water there was brackish owing to the presence of a certain kind of tree the bark of whose roots tinged the water like an infusion. They made wine by chewing grain and then allowing it to ferment. This was very intoxicating. For the marriage ceremony the bride wore a hempen skirt and the groom a pig skin with a tiger skin over his head. Both bride and groom washed the face and hands in urine. They were the filthiest of all the wild tribes. They were expert archers, their bows being made of horn, and the arrows were twenty-three inches long. In summer a poison was prepared in which the arrow heads were dipped. A wound from one of these was almost instantly fatal. The almost incredible statement is made in the native accounts that the dead bodies of this people were not interred but were used in baiting traps for wild animals.

Besides the Mal-gal tribes there were two others of considerable note, namely the Pal-ha and the Ku-ran of which special mention is not here necessary, though their names will appear occasionally in the following page s. They lived somewhere along the northern borders of Korea, within striking distance. The last border tribe that we snail mention is the Yu-jin whose history is closely interwoven with that of Ko-gu-ryu. They were the direct descendants, or at least close relatives, of the Eum-nu people. They were said to have been the very lowest and weakest of all the wild tribes, in fact [page 87] a mongrel tribe, made up of the offscourings of all the others. They are briefly described by the statement that if they took up a handful of water it instantly turned black. They were good archers and were skillful at mimicking the deer for the purpose of decoying it. They ate deer flesh raw. A favorite form of amusement was to make tame deer intoxicated with wine and watch their antics. Pigs, cattle and donkeys abounded. They used cattle for burden and the hides served for covering. The houses were roofed with bark. Fine horses were raised by them. It was in this tribe that the great conqueror of China, A-gol-t’a, arose, who paved the way for the founding of the great Kin dynasty a thousand years or more alter the beginning of our era.


Chapter V.


Southern Korean .... Ki-jun’s arrival .... differences which he found three groups .... Ma-han .... position .... peculiarities .... characteristics .... worship .... tatooing .... numbers .... Chin-han .... Chinese immigration .... customs .... Pyon-han .... position .... habits .... the philological argument .... southern origin .... Ki-jun and his descendants.


We must now ask the reader to go with us to the southern portion of the peninsula where we shall find a people differing in many essential respects from the people of the north, and evincing not merely such different but such opposite characteristics from the people of the north that it is difficult to believe that they are of the same origin.

When King Ki-jun, the last of the Ki-ja dynasty proper was driven from P’yung-yang by the unscrupulous Wi-man, he embarked, as we have already seen, upon the Ta-dong River accompanied by a small retinue of officials and servants. Faring southward along the coast, always within sight of land and generally between the islands and mainland, he deemed it safe at last to effect a landing. This he did at a place anciently known as Keum-ma-gol or “Place of the Golden Horse,” now Ik-san. It should be noticed that this rendering is simply that of the Chinese characters that were used to represent the word Keum-ma-gol. In all probability it was a mere [page 88] transliteration of the native name of the place by the use of the Chinese, and the rendering here given was originally un-thought of.

They found the land inhabited, but by a people strange in almost every particular. The explicitness with which all native accounts describe the people whom Ki-jun found in the south is in itself a striking argument in favor of the theory that a different race of people was there encountered. The southern part of the peninsula was divided between three groups of peoples called respectively Ma-han, Chin-han and Pyon-han. How these names originated can hardly be learned at this date, but it would seem that they were native words; for the last of the three, Pyon-han, was also called Pyon-jin,. a word entering into the composition of many of the names of the towns peopled by the Pyon-han tribes. It is necessary for us now to take a brief glance at each of these three groups, for in them we shall find the solution of the most interesting and important problem that Korea has to offer either to the historian or ethnologist.

The Ma-han people occupied the south-western part of the peninsula, comprising the whole of the present province of Ch’ung-ch’ung and the northern part of Chul-la. It may have extended northward nearly to the Han river but of this we cannot be sure. On its north was the tribe of Nang-nang, on the south was probably a part of Pyon-han but one authority says that to the south of Ma-han were the Japanese or Wa-in. These Japanese are carefully described and much color is given to this statement by certain coincidences which will be brought out later. No Korean work mentions these Japanese and it may be that the Japanese referred to were those living on the islands between Korea and Japan. But we can easily imagine the thrifty islanders making settlements of the southern coast of Korea.

The first striking peculiarity of the Ma-han people, and one that differentiates them from the northern neighbors, was the fact that they were not one tribe but a congeries of small settlements each entirely independent of the others, each having its own chief, its own army, its own laws. It is said that they lived either among the mountains or along the coast, which would point to the existence of two races, the one in- [page 89] land, indigenous, and the other, colonists from some other country. The Ma-han people were acquainted with agriculture, sericulture and the use of flax and hemp. Their fowls had tails ninety-five inches long. Here is one of the interesting coincidences that uphold the contention that the Japanese were in the peninsula at that time. These peculiar fowls are now extinct, but, within the memory of people now living, such fowls were quite common in Japan and preserved specimens in the museum at Tokyo show that the above measurements are by no means unusual in that breed of fowl. It would seem then that Japan procured them from Korea, or else the Japanese colonists introduced them into Korea.

Another point which differentiates the south from the north was the fact that a walled town was a thing unknown in the south; as the Korean writer puts it “There was no difference between town and country.” Their houses were rough thatched huts sunken a little below the surface of the ground, as is indicated by the statement that the houses were entered from the top. These people of Ma-han were strong and fierce and were known by the loudness and vehemence of their speech. This accords well with the further fact that they were the virtual governors of all south Korea, for it was Ma-han who furnished rulers for Chin-han. These people did not kneel nor bow in salutation. There was no difference in the treatment of people of different ages or sexes. All were addressed alike.

Another marked difference between these people and those of the north was that the Ma-han people held neither gold nor silver in high repute. We may safely reckon upon the acquisitive faculty as being the most keen and pervasive of all the faculties of eastern as well as western peoples, and that the north should have been acquainted with the uses and values of these metals while the south was not, can argue nothing less than a complete ignorance of each other. The southern people loved beads strung about the head and face, a trait that naturally points to the south and the tropics. In the summer they worshipped spirits, at which time they consumed large quantities of intoxicating beverages while they sang and danced, several “tens of men “ dancing together and keeping time with their feet. In the autumn, after the harvest, they [page 90] worshipped and feasted again. In each of the little settlements there was a high priest whose business it was to worship for the whole community. They had a kind of monastic system, the devotees of which fastened iron drums to high posts and beat upon them during their worship.

Another striking statement is that tatooing was common. This is another powerful argument in favor of the theory of a southern origin, for it is apparent that tatooing is a form of dress and is most in vogue where the heat renders the use of clothing uncomfortable. As might be expected, this habit has died out in Korea, owing without doubt to the comparative severity of the climate; but within the memory of living men it has been practiced on a small scale, and today there is one remnant of the custom in the drawing of a red colored thread under the skin of the wrist in making certain kinds of of vow or promises.

In the larger towns the ruler was called Sin-ji and in the smaller ones Eup-ch’a. They had tests of endurance similar to those used by North American Indians. One of them consisted in drawing a cord through the skin of the back and being hauled up and down by it without a murmur.

We are told that in Ma-han there were 100,000 houses, each district containing, from 1,000 to 10,000 houses. This would give an approximate population of 500,000. The names of the fifty-four districts or kingdom included in Ma-han are given in the appendix together with those of Chin-han and Pyon-han.

We are told that the aged men of Chin-han held the tradition that thousands of Chinese fled to Korea in the days of the Tsin dynasty, 255-209 B. C., and that the people of Ma-han gave them land in the east and enclosed them in a palisade, and furnished them with a governor who transmitted the office to his son. This could refer however only to a small portion of Chin-han. There was a large and widely scattered native population occupying approximately the territory covered by the present Kyung-sang Province. It is probable that these Chinese refugees exercised a great influence over them and taught them many things. It is not improbable that it was owing to this civilizing agency that Sil-la eventually became master of the peninsula. But it should be carefully [page 91] noted that this Chin-han did not derive its name, from the Chin (Tsin) dynasty of China through these Chinese refugees. The character used in designating Chin-han is not the same as that used for the Chin dynasty.

 The land was fertile. The mulberry flourished and silk culture was a common employment. . Horses and cattle were used both under the saddle and as beasts of burden. Marriage rites were scrupulously observed and the distinction between the sexes was carefully preserved. When a body was interred men followed the bier waving feathers in the air to help waft the soul of the departed on its flight to heaven. The country contained much mineral wealth. Ye-mak, Ma-han and the Japanese all obtained metal from Chin-han. Iron was the medium of exchange. They were fond of music and the dance. Their music was made by means of a rude harp and an instrument made by stretching wire back and forth inside a metal cylinder which, when struck, caused the strings to vibrate. When a child was born a stone was placed against its head to flatten it. Tattooing was common in those parts contiguous to the Japanese, which would imply that the custom was a borrowed one. When two men met on the road it was considered good form for each to stop and insist upon the others passing first.

It is hardly necessary to dwell upon the characteristics of the Pyon-han people, for they were nearly the same as, those of the people of Chin-han. Some say they were within the territory of Chin-han, others that they were south both of Ma-han and Chin-han, and nearest to the Japanese. They tatooed a great deal. Beyond this fact little is known of them excepting that their punishments were very severe, many offences being punished with death.

It is difficult to say what was the nature of the bond be- tween the different districts which made up the whole body of either Ma-han, Chin-han or Pyon-han. On the one hand we are told that the districts were entirely separate and yet we find Ma-han as a whole, performing acts that imply some sort of federation at least if not a fixed central government, in fact one Chinese work states that a town named Cha-ji was the capital of all three of the Hans. We must conclude therefore from these and subsequent statements that some sort of central government prevailed, at least in Ma-han. [page 92]

The names of the several kingdoms which composed the three Hans are preserved to us, mutilated, in all probability by reason of Chinese transliteration, but still useful from a philological and ethnological standpoint. If the reader will glance but casually at the list of these separate districts as given in the appendix, he will see that there was good cause for the division into three Hans. We will point out only the most striking peculiarities here, as this belongs rather to the domain of philology than to that of history. In Ma-han we find seven of the names ending ro. We find two or three of the same in Pyon-han but none in Chin-han. In Ma-han we find fourteen names ending in ri but none in either of the others. In Pyon-han we find ten names beginning with Pyon-jin which is wholly unknown to the other two. In this we also find three with the unique suffix mi-dong. In Chin-hail we find nine ending in kan and five in kaye, which are found in neither of the others. It is hardly necessary to say that these cannot be mere coincidences. In each group we find at least one considerable set of endings entirely lacking in the others. As our own ending ton, ville, burgh, chester and coln have an original significance, so these ending ro, ri, mi-dong, Kan and ka-ya have a meaning which should supply us with important clues to the origin of the people of southern Korea.

The marked polysyllabism of these names makes it impossible to imagine a Chinese origin for them. It is seldom that a Manchu or Mongol name of a place exceeds two syllables. On the other hand we find in Japan and Polynesia a common use of polysyllabic geographical names. A thorough discussion of the subject here would be out of place, but this much must be said, that several of these endings, as ro, piri and kan, find their almost exact counterpart in the Dravidian Languages of southern India, where they mean village, settlement and kingdom.

The argument in favor of the southern origin of the people of the three Hans is a cumulative one. The main points are; the structure and vocabulary of the language, the nonintercourse with the people of northern Korea, the custom of tattooing, the diminutive size of the horses found nowhere else except in the Malay peninsula, the tradition of the southern origin of the people of the island of Quelpart, the physiologic- [page 93] al similarity the people, especially the females, of Quelpart and Formosa, the seafaring propensities of the people of the three Hans, their ignorance of the value of gold and silver, the continuous line of islands stretching along the whole coast of China together with the powerful ocean current which sweeps northward along the Asiatic coast, the tradition of the Telugu origin of the ancient sultans of Anam and the love of bead ornaments.

Such was the status of southern Korea when Ki-jun arrived at Keum-ma-gol. By what means he obtained control of the government is not related but the fact remains that he did so and founded a new kingdom which was destined to survive nearly two centuries. Ki-jun died the same year. No details are given of the events that transpired during the next hundred years or more excepting that one Chinese work states that during the reign of Emperor Wu-ti 14088 B. C. frequent envoys went from Ma-han to the Chinese court. We are also told that off the coast of Ma-han among the islands lived a tribe called the Chu-ho, a people of smaller stature than the people of Ma-han and speaking a different language. They cut the hair and wore skins for clothing but clothed only the upper part of the body. They came frequently to Ma-han to barter cattle and pigs.

Ki-jun’s seventh descendant was Hun, with the title of Wun-wang. His reign began in 57 B. C. during the reign of the Han Emperor Hsuan-ti and in the second year the great kingdom of Sil-la was founded in Chin-han. In his twenty-second year the great northern kingdom of Ko-gur-yu was founded, 35 B. C., and nineteen years later the kingdom of Ma-han fell before the forces of Pak-je. It is necessary therefore for us to investigate the origin or these three great kingdoms of Sil-la, Ko-gur-yu and Pak-je.


Chapter VI.


The founding of Sil-la, Ko-gur-yu and Pak-je .... Sil-la .... legend ....growth .... Tsushima a vassal .... credibility of accounts .... Japanese relations .... early vicissitudes .... Ko-gur-yu .... four Pu-yus .... legend .... location of Pu-yu .... Chu-mong founds Ko-gur-yu .... growth and extent .... products .... customs .... religious rites .... official grades .... punishments .... growth eastward .... Pak-je .... relations between Sil-la and Pak-je .... tradition of founding of Pak-je .... opposition of wild tribes .... the capital moved .... situation of the peninsula at the time of Christ.

[page 94]

In the year 57 B. C. the chiefs of the six great Chin-han states, Yun-jun-yang-san, Tol-san-go-ho, Cha-san-jin-ji, Mu-san-da-su, Keum-san-ga-ri and Myung-whal-san-go-ya held a great council at Yun-chun-yang-san and agreed to merge their separate fiefs into a kingdom. They named the capital of the new kingdom Su-ya-bul from which the present word Seoul is probably derived, and it was situated where Kyong-ju now stands in Kyung-sang Province. At first the name applied both to the capital and to the kingdom.

             They placed upon the throne a boy of thirteen years, named Hyuk-ku-se, with the royal title Ku-su-gan. It is said that his family name was Pak, but this was probably an after-thought derived from a Chinese source. At any rate he is generally known as Pak Hyuk-ku-se. The story of his advent is typically Korean. A company of revellers beheld upon a mountain side a ball, of light on which a horse was seated. They approached it and as they did so the horse rose straight in air and disappeared leaving a great, luminous egg. This soon opened of itself and disclosed a handsome boy. This wonder was accompanied by vivid light and the noise of thunder. Not long after this another wander was seen. Beside the Yun-yung Spring a hen raised her wing and from her side came forth a female child with a mouth like a bird’s bill, but when they washed her in the spring the bill fell off and left her like other children. For this reason the well was named the Pal-ch’un which refers to the falling of the bill. Another tradition says that she was formed from the rib of a dragon which inhabited the spring. In the fifth year of his reign the youthful king espoused this girl and they typify to all Koreans the perfect marriage.

As this Kingdom included only six of the Chin-han states, it would be difficult to give its exact boundaries. From the very first it began to absorb the surrounding states, until at last it was bounded on the east and south by the sea alone, while it extended north to the vicinity of the Han River and westward to the borders of Ma-han, or to Chi-ri San. It took her over four hundred years to complete these conquests, many of which were bloodless while others were effected at the point of the sword. It was not until the twenty-second generation that the name Sil-la was adopted as the name of this kingdom. [page 95]

It is important to notice that the island of Tsushima, conquered by Sil-la or not, became a dependency of that Kingdom and on account of the sterility of the soil the people of that island were annually aided by the government. It was not until the year 500 A. D. or thereabouts that the Japanese took charge of the island and placed their magistrate there. From that time on, the island was not a dependency of any Korean state but the relations between them were very intimate, and there was a constant interchange of goods, in a half commercial and half political manner. There is nothing to show that the daimyos of Tsushima ever had any control over any portion of the adjacent coast of Korea.

It gives one a strong sense of the trustworthiness of the Korean records of these early days to note with what care the date of every eclipse was recorded. At the beginning of each reign the list of the dates of solar eclipses is given. For instance, in the reign of Hyuk-ku-se they occurred, so the records say, in the fourth, twenty-fourth, thirtieth, thirty-second, forty-third, forty-fifth, fifty-sixth and fifty-ninth years of his reign. According to the Gregorian calendar this would mean the years 53, 31, 27, 25, 14, 12 B. C. and 2 A. D. If these annals were later productions, intended to deceive posterity, they would scarcely contain, lists of solar eclipses. The marvelous or incredible stories given in these records are given only as such and often the reader is warned not to put faith in them.

The year 48 B. C. gives us the first definite statement of a historical fact regarding Japanese relations with Korea. In that year the Japanese pirates stopped their incursions into Korea for the time being. From this it would seem that even at that early date the Japanese had become the vikings of the East and were carrying fire and sword wherever there was enough water to float their boats. It would also indicate that the extreme south of Korea was not settled by Japanese, for it was here that the Japanese incursions took place.

In 37 B. C. the power of the little kingdom of Sil-la began to be felt in surrounding districts and the towns of Pyon-han joined her standards. It was probably a bloodless conquest, the people of Pyon-han coming voluntarily into Sil-la. In 37 B. C. the capital of Sil-la, which had received the secondary [page 96] name Keum-sung, was surrounded by a wall thirty-five li, twelve miles, long. The city was 3,075 paces long and 3,018 paces wide. The progress made by Sil-la and the evident tendency toward centralisation of all power in a monarchy aroused the suspicion of the king of Ma-han who, we must re- member, had considered Chin-han as in some sense a vassal of Ma-han. For this reason the king of Sil-la, in 19 B. C., sent an envoy to the court of Ma-han with rich presents in order to allay the fears of that monarch. The constant and heavy influx into Sil-la of the fugitive Chinese element also disturbed the mind of that same king, for he foresaw that if this went unchecked it might mean the supremacy of Sil-la instead of that of Ma-han. This envoy from Sil-la was Ho gong, said to have been a native of Japan. He found the king of Ma-han in an unenviable frame of mind and it required all his tact to pacify him, and even then he succeeded so ill that had not the Ma-han officials interfered the king would have had his life. The following year the king of Ma-han died and a Sil-la embassy went to attend the obsequies. They were anxious to find opportunity to seize the helm of state in Ma-han and bring her into the port of Sil-la, but this they were strictly forbidden to do by their royal master who generously forebore to take revenge for the insult of the preceding year.

As this was the year, 37 B. C., which marks the founding of the powerful kingdom of Ko-gur-yu, we must turn our eyes northward and examine that important event.

As the founder of Ko-gur-yu originated in the kingdom of Puyu, it will be necessary for us to examine briefly the position and status of that tribe, whose name stands prominently forth in Korean history and tradition. There were four Pu-yus in all; North Pu-yu, East Pu-yu, Chul-bun Pu-yu and South Pu-yu, We have already, under the head of the Tan-gun, seen that tradition gives to Pu-ru, his son, the honor of having been the founder of North Pu-yu, or Puk Pu-yu as it is commonly called. This is quite apocryphal but gives us at least a precarious starting point. This Puk Pu-yu is said by some to have been far to the north in the vicinity of the Amur River or on one of its tributaries, a belief which is sustained to a certain extent by some inferences to be deduced from the following legend.








March 1901


Xylographic Art in Korea.


[page 97] The art of carving characters and pictures on wood for the purposes of printing has flourished in Korea for upwards of fifteen hundred years. The histories that were published in this country about that time give evidence that this art even at that early date had attained considerable perfection. If we wish to go back to an earlier date still we find according to one historical statement that one of the Chinese classics was published in southern Korea before the time of Christ, but of this we cannot be sure. The high degree of civilization that arose in southern Korea in the early centuries of our era make it quite sure that ceramic art as well as xylographic reached a degree of perfection that is unknown in the peninsula today. The high degree of civilization in Sil-la is hinted at in the fact that the largest bell in Korea and one of the largest in the world is at Kyong-ju in southern Korea and has hung there for over sixteen centuries.

Korean art in its various manifestations does not form a consistent whole. In the highly developed field of embroidery we find that while the finer details are worked out with minute care the larger and more important elements are neglected, especially the fundamental principle of perspective. In ceramics the detail or ornamentation is not the main consideration but elegance of shape. In the art of cutting pictures on wooden blocks we shall find still another law prevalent.

By giving a few illustrations it is my purpose to show wherein lie the predominant characteristics of Korean pictorial art. [page 98]


As the readers of this. magazine are aware there are two opposing schools one of which advocates the law that only objects at rest are proper subjects for the painters brush while the other insists that a horse going at full speed, for instance, is a proper model. It is not our purpose to advocate either one side or the other of this question but merely to slate that the [page 99]


Koreans seem to have hit upon a happy combination of the two ideas, for in the accompanying pictures, which were drawn and cut by a Korean artist entirely from his own standpoint and in accord with Korean traditions, we will see that there is no lack of animation, but at the same time the people and ani- [page 100] mals are not necessarily moving at the moment the picture is conceived. In other words the artist has caught them at an instant’s pause in the work they were doing. At least such a pause is conceivable from even a cursory glance at the pictures. By this means the artist has avoided both extremes. The figures do not look as if they were sitting for their photographs; nor do they look as if caught by a snap shot in midair. I do not say that this is always the case but the rule seems to be a general one. The result is a certain repose and dignity of which even the crudities of development along other lines cannot deprive the picture. The idea is there in its entirety and put in such a way as to fix the attention and arouse the interest of the one who sees it.

                           In the second place these pictures have humor. The personages who are pictured seem so unconscious of our critical examination and they all seem to be taking life so seriously that we smile in spite of ourselves. At first glance the pictures look strange to us but a little examination will reveal, I think, a naturalness of pose and a certain naivete of treatment, if I may use that term, which is altogether delightful. Take for instance the picture of Chumong crossing the river on the fishes’ backs. His vengeful brother stands upon the bank grasping his sword with both hands thinking only of his escaping victim and not paying any attention to the miraculous character of the escape. His attendant, however, who has less at stake has struck an attitude of blank amazement in view of the miracle.

In the third place we notice that each, picture has a distinct central point of interest. The eye does not wander from point to point to find different points of interest. Everything in the picture points to one single central idea and bears a distinct relation to that idea. This is plainly seen in the picture showing the grave of Kim Hu-jik. The King is out hunting, as the falcon and the dog and the dead deer plainly show. The people in the background are quiescent waiting the good pleasure of the King, who bends to listen to the sounds which come forth from the grave of Kim Hu-sik the wise statesman whose advice the King has scorned, for this Kim had chidden the King for spending so much time in sport. Now a miraculous voice comes from his grave bewail-










[page 101]

ing the evils that are upon the state because of the King’s remissness. The picture is a complete entity with no adventitious and diverting side issues; none of those artistic afterthoughts which have spoilt so many a work of art by robbing them of simplicity.

In the fourth place these works of art are direct. They have a single word to speak and they speak it without rhetorical embellishment, which may be the height of eloquence. The lack of shading, for one thing, in the pictures, their entire innocence of anything like chiaroscuro, while it excludes them from the precincts of finished art, cannot debar them from the outer purlieus of pure art. The Greeks used to paint their statues to imitate life. Without doubt the art was more finished but, as we today believe, it was at the expense of purity. Art is not an imitation of life but a rendition into tangible symbols of ideal life. So we believe that these attempts of the Korean people show n0 little ability to grasp the fundamentals of art.






In the list of the really great literati of Korea, as so recognized by the scholars of the present dynasty and enrolled in the calendar of literary saints known as the Yu-rim-nok (the “Forest of Scholars,”) there are two names selected from the ancient kingdom of Sil-la, Sul Ch’ong and Ch’oe Ch’i-wun. And as Sil-la is thus chronologically the first kingdom which is acknowledged to have possessed men worthy the name of literateurs, these two names necessarily head the list of the famous scholars of Korea. In their order Sul Ch’ong comes first and then Ch’oe Ch’i-wun. It is the purpose of this sketch to tell something about the first named of these worthies.

Sul Ch’ong was the first man to hand down to posterity in Korea a lasting fame as a scholar. That there were other literati before him versed in scholarship we have every evi- [page 102] dence. Sul Ch’ong himself must have had a teacher. Many of these men may have been the equals or even the superiors of Sul Ch’ong, but fate in Korea has been unkind to them and we know very little about them, their names having either altogether disappeared, or else are given scant notice in the notes to Korean histories with fragmentary quotations from their writings. As far as the estimate of the present day scholarship of Korea is concerned, as shown in the canonized worthies of Korea’s literary past, the father of letters with them is Sul Ch’ong. Now this of course runs us into a problem of the first magnitude—that of the date of the beginning of Korean literature, the discussion of which we reserve for the close of our sketch.

As to the year of Sul Ch’ong’s birth we have no definite statement, but we know that he rose to fame in the reign of King Sin-mun of the Sil-la dynasty, who occupied the throne A. D. 681-092. The period in which he flourished was therefore about the end of the seventh century of the Christian era. Sul Ch’ong was born of celebrated parentage. His father was named Won Hyo. He had early taken orders as a Buddhist monk and had risen to the rank of an abbot. This, in a nation in which the established religion was Buddhism, was a post of some importance. That Won Hyo was a learned man is clear. It is stated that he was versed in the Buddhist writings which were known in Korea both in the Chinese character and the Pa-li. Some of Sul Ch’ong’s originality and thirst for learning may undoubtedly be traced to his father the old abbot. After remaining a monk for some time Won Hyo abandoned the Buddhist priesthood. No reason for this course is given, but it may be that already the ferment of the Confucian writings was beginning to make itself felt and the old abbot was one of the many who advocated the adoption of the China Sage and his ethics. Certainly the son became the source and fountain of the present dominance of Confucian Civilization among the Korean people. That the abbot was not only a learned man but also something of a celebrity seems clear from the fact that having abandoned Buddhism he further divested himself of his vows by forming a matrimonial alliance with the reigning house. His wife, the mother of Sul Ch’ong was the princess Yo-suk. Some extraordinary influence must have [page 103] been back of the fortunes of an unfrocked monk by which he could disregard his vows and marry into the family of the King. This princess was a widow.

Of the early training of Sul Ch’ong we have no account, but in all probability he grew up at Court taking his studies tinder his father. From him he may have imbibed that love of the Chinese Classics which led him to open a school for the explanation of them to the common people. He was placed in high posts at the Court in recognition of his fearlessness of statement and his extensive acquirements. Four things have contributed to his fame.

The Mun-hon-pi-go is authority for the statement that he wrote a history of Sil-la. If so all traces of it, with the exception of the bare mention of the fact, have disappeared. This is to be regretted like many other things which have happened in Korea, for it would have been most interesting to be able to look in on that famous little kingdom through the eyes of such a man as Sul Ch’ong. But the work is gone and we have only the tantalizing statement of the fact that it once existed.

The second thing on which the fame of Sul Ch’ong rests is the “Parable of the Peony.” This is preserved for us in the Tong-guk T’ong-gam and as it is an interesting piece of parabolic teaching I venture to give it.

It is said that one day King Sin-mun of Sil-la having a few leisure moments called Sul Ch’ong to him and said:

“Today the rain is over and the breeze blows fresh and cool, it is a time for high talk and pleasurable conversation, to make glad our hearts, You will therefore narrate some story for me which you may have heard.” To the royal command Sul Ch’ong replied:

“In ancient times the Peony having become king planted a garden of flowers and set up a red pavilion in which he lived. Late in the spring when his color was brilliant and his form lordly all the flowers and the buds came and, doing obeisance, had audience of him. Among these came the lovely Chang-mi whose beautiful face blushed pink and her teeth were like jade. Clad in garments of beauty and walking with captivating grace before the King she found opportunity to secretly praise his great fame and high virtue and [page 104] making use of all her wiles sought to make him her captive.”

“But then came Old White Head (the chrysanthemum) a man of lordly mien, clad in sack-cloth, with a leathern girdle and a white cap on his head; who, leaning on his staff, with bent body and halting step, approached the king and said: ‘Your servant who lives outside the wall of the royal city is given to musing on things. His Majesty surrounded by his servants shares with them excellent food but in his napkin he carries a good medicine Therefore I said to myself, even though one possess silk and grass-cloth in abundance, it is not wise to cast away the cheap weeds but not knowing Your Majesty’s thought about this I have come to inquire.’ “

“The king replied to this―’My lord’s speech is of wisdom but it will not be easy to obtain another beautiful Chang-mi.’ Then the old man continued: ‘When the King has near him old lords he prospers but when he is intimate with beautiful women he perishes. It is easy to be of one mind with the beautiful women but it is hard to be friendly with the old lords. Madame Ha-heui destroyed the Chi dynasty of China, and Madame So-si overthrew the O dynasty. Mencius died without being accepted by his generation; and the famous General P’ung-dang grew old and his head whitened with the snows of many winters, but he could not succeed in his plans. From ancient times it has ever been so, what then shall we do?’ “

“Then it was that King Peony acknowledged his fault and we have our proverb: “King Peony confesses he has done wrong.’ “

To this parable of Sul Ch’ong King Sin-mun listened with intense interest. It laid bare the foibles of Kings with such an unsparing hand that the very boldness of the story attracted him. Whether it had a personal application in his case or not, we are not told. At any rate Sul Ch’ong was ordered to reduce the parable to writing and present it to His Majesty that he might have it as a constant warning to himself. It showed great cleverness on the part of Sul Ch’ong to make the story hinge about the peony, for the flower was new in Korea at that time. Of its introduction into the peninsula the following interesting story is told. During the reign of Queen Son-duk A. D. 632-647 T’ai Tsung, second emperor of the [page 105]

Tang dynasty, sent to the Sil-la Queen a painting of the peony and some of its seeds. On receiving it the Queen looked it over and said: “This is a flower without perfume for there -are no bees or butterflies about it.” This statement was received with amazement, until on planting the seeds and obtaining a specimen of the flower the Queen’s observation was found to be correct. The interest about the flower in Korea was therefore enhanced by tins incident and the King was the more prepared to make the application that Sul Ch’ong evidently intended. The parable of Sul Ch’ong has been handed down from generation to generation as a piece of uncommon wisdom to guide Kings, and has commentators and exponents even in this dynasty. It is regarded as one of the literary treasures of Korea.

The third thing for which the memory of Sul Ch’ong is cherished, and which is his greatest claim to fame from the Korean standpoint, is the work he did in introducing the common people to the Chinese Classics. The times were favorable to the Chinese Sage in Korea. The great Tang dynasty was on the dragon throne in China. The warlike Pak-che and Ko-gu-ryu people were attacking Sil-la on all sides so that the southern kingdom was driven to seek aid from Tang. This was granted and the Tang alliance cemented the relations between Korea and her great neighbor. The Tang year style was introduced, for Korea had at that time her own chronology. Communication between the two became frequent and cordial and the young men of Sil-la, even scions of the royal house, went to Tang for their education. The result could hardly be otherwise than an increase in the influence of China among the Sil-la people and the introducing of many things from that land. In this we may have a hint of the motives which underlay the action of Sul Ch’ong’s father, the old abbot, in laying aside his vows as a monk and taking unto himself a wife. The philosophy of China probably became a matter of partisanship and its advocates carried the day for the time being in Sil-la and the downfall of Buddhism began.

Probably no man contributed more to this than Sul Ch’ong and in this fact we find the origin of the peculiar sanctity in which he is held among the Koreans. The record of the canonized scholars of Korea above mentioned—The For- [page 106] est of Scholars—tells us that “Sul Ch’ong began to explain the meaning of the Nine Classics, or sacred writings of the Confucian Cult, in the Sil-la colloquial. He thus opened up their treasures to future generations and conferred inestimable blessings on Korea.” The explanation of this statement appears to be that up to that time the Sil-la people had carried on the study of the Classics in the language of Tang and that it was not until the time of Sul Ch’ong that a man arose who attempted to put them in Korean colloquial. This is a most interesting fact. For we here strike the period when really began in all probability that transformation of the Korean language which has so enriched it with Chinese terms and idioms. Sul Ch’ong was in his way a sort of Korean Wyckliffe. Lacking a native script in which to reduce the Classics to the vernacular, he got no further than oral instruction of the people in their tenets, but that that was an advance of vast importance is evidenced by the stress laid on in it in the eulogies of Sul Ch’ong in Korean history. Had he had a medium for writing he would, like Wyckliffe, have stereotyped the Sil-la form on the Korean vocabulary and saved many words for us which are lost today. And Wyckliffe had his Lollards who went about reading the Bible to the common people in the tongue they could understand. So Sul Ch’ong set the vogue in Korea of the verbal explanation of the Classics in the language of the people. He popularized the Sage of China in Korea and in less than twenty-five years the portraits of Confucius and the seventy-two worthies were brought from Tang to Korea and a shrine to the Sage was erected, where one day Sul Ch’ong himself was destined to occupy a place as a saint. Thus this son of a Buddhist ex-abbot became an epoch marking force in the introduction of Chinese civilization among the Koreans. And it seems conclusive to the writer that it is from this time rather than from the time of Ki-ja that we must date the real supremacy of the Chinese cult in Korea. That is, the civilization which Ki-ja gave Korea must have suffered an eclipse and gone down in the barbarian deluge which had Wi-man and On-jo and other worthies of Korean history for its apostles. Without setting up the claim that Sul Ch’ong was the actual founder of Chinese civilization in Korea it does seem clear that he was something more than the [page 107] apostle of a Confucian renaissance in the Peninsula. Certainly in Sul Ch’ong’s own Kingdom of Sil-la the national history up to his time bears little trace of Confucian ethics. Up to A. D, 500 the su-jang or burying alive of servants and followers with the dead had continued and was only discontinued at that late date. It is said that at royal funerals five men and five women were always interred, alive to accompany the departed spirit. This certainly points to a barbarism not compatible with Confucianism. Buddhism had been the established religion for two hundred years and if any traces of Confucian civilization had existed it would had been buried beneath the Indian cult. During its supremacy it was the civilizing’ force in the country and to it is to be attributed such amelioration of the laws and customs of the people as the abolishing of the cruel custom of burying alive, a custom that would suggest only mid-African savagery. Finally if the Confucian cult had prevailed in Sil-la previous to Sul Ch’ong it would have produced scholars whose names would have been preserved for us by the Confucian school which has undoubtedly dominated Korea for the last 500 years. As no names are given to us we are led to the conclusion that Sul Ch’ong was, in a special sense, the one who inaugurated the reign of Confucian philosophy in Korea. And Confucius is the propulsive force in Chinese civilisation. The great conquering power of China in Asia in the past is traceable, not to the prowess of her arm, though under some of the dynasties this has been great; nor is it to be found in manufacturing skill, though at this point some of the people of the Chinese empire are very industrious and clever; but it has been the Code of Confucius. This great Code is made up of something more than simply the Five Cardinal Precepts guiding human relationships: it also contains a philosophy, political and social, specially adapted to the stage in the development of tribes coming out of a segregated state of existence, in which they demand something that will bind them into a national whole. Confucianism supplied this. It is well adapted to that stage of political existence where a people are in a transition state from a tribal and patriarchal form of government to pronounced nationality, hence its attractiveness to Asiatic peoples. Several other features might also be mentioned of almost equal importance but [page 108] the one indicated will give us a gauge to measure the value of Sul Ch’ong’s service to his country. He set in movement those forces which have done more to unite the scattered and different tribes in the peninsula into one people, than the political sagacity of Wang-gon, founder of the Ko-ryu dynasty, or the military genius of Yi T’a-jo, founder of the reigning line of monarchs. With Sul Ch’ong begin that school of scholars who have written all the Korean literature we have, and have compelled us, in a way, to accept their views on the history and principles of the Koreans, and to become in a sense their partisans.

The fourth and last claim of Sul Ch’ong to fame is based on his invention of the I-du or interlinear symbols to facilitate the reading of Chinese despatches. As this curious system, the first attempt of Korea to grapple with the difficulties which grew out her adoption of Chinese, has been very fully described by Mr. Hulbert in the pages of the Korean Repository (Vol. 5, p. 47.) I would refer the reader to that interesting article. Suffice it to say that Sul Ch’ong in his endeavor to popularize Chinese in Sil-la found it necessary to invent symbols which would stand for the grammatical inflections of the Sil-la language, and which, introduced into a Chinese text, would make clear the grammatical sense. The system contained in all, as far as we can ascertain today, 233 symbols. These symbols were divided into the following groups. Two of them represented one syllable grammatical endings, ninety-eight of them stood for two syllable endings, fifty-two of them for three syllable endings, forty-six of them for four syllable endings, twenty-six of them for five syllable endings, five of them for six syllable endings, and four of them for seven syllable endings. One stipulation in connection with the system was that it was obligatory on all lower class men in speaking, or rather writing, to a superior. Whether as invented by Sul Ch’ong it contained more than 233 symbols and some of them have been lost, or whether it contained less than 233 but has been added to in the coarse of time, we cannot now say. But it is a matter for congratulation that so many of the symbols with their equivalents have been presented to us, for they will prove of much value in a historical study of the grammatical development of the Korean [page 109] language. It remained in force until the time of the invention of the Korean alphabet in the 13th century and even later.

We now come to a crucial question in connection with the whole history of Sul Ch’ong: Is he entitled to be called the Father of Korean Literature? If not why then is he the first scholar deemed worthy of remembrance and all before him consigned to oblivion? It seems clear to the writer that there have been two schools of scholarship in Korea, which for lack of a better classification may for the present be known as the Buddhist School and the Confucian School. The writer would adduce the following reasons for this classification.

(1) No one acquainted with the facts can take the position that the writing of books in Korea began with Sul Ch’ong in Sil-la. In that country itself previous to Sul Ch’ong we have every reason to believe that there were learned men who must have produced works on history, religion, poetry and romance. Some of their names have come down to us. Kim Ch’un-ch’u who afterward reigned in Sil-la as King Mu-yol, and his son Kim In-mun were both of them mentioned for their skill, in making verses in the Chinese. Earlier in the dynasty a special school was established under the auspices of Buddhism where the youths of Sil-la listened to lectures on filial piety, respect, loyalty, and faithfulness, by monkish professors. Out of their number must have come the men we hear mentioned as writing up the archives of the nation and producing works on various subjects.

(2) Turning from Sil-la to the other two kingdoms which shared the peninsula with Sil-la, viz. Pak-che, and Ko-gu-ryu, we find traces of literature among them which are not mentioned in the canonical records of scholarship. In Ko-gu-ryu we know of one work which reached the large size of 100 volumes. Under the influence of Buddhism Pak-che had many scholars, some of whom won lasting fame by giving Buddhism and letters to Japan. Why is it that worthies of Ko-gu-ryu who could produce the “Yu-geui,”(above mentioned) and those of Pak-che who became the tutors of a foreign nation, nowhere find mention in the annals of the present school of literateurs in Korea, while Sul Ch’ong and Ch’oe Ch’i-wun are the only ones of all that long period accorded recognition? Surely the reason must be that they are regard- [page 110] ed as belonging to a different school from the one which now dominates Korea.

 (3). It is to be noticed that the discrimination in the canonical records is altogether in favor of writers who belong to the Confucian School of philosophy. Buddhism had a long reign in Korea. And its character as far as learning is concerned has been the same in Korea as elsewhere. Supported by the gifts of the government and the people, the monks had little else to do but study, and that they did so is clear from the character of Sul Ch’ong’s father. Did these men produce nothing worth handing down to posterity? Did no scholars exist among them? It seems only reasonable to suppose that they did exist and that they wrote on history, religion, biography, philosophy and ethics and these with their successors down to A. D. 1392 would constitute the Buddhist School. But where are their works? This is not such a difficult question to In the first place, at the very best the works produced need not to have been numerous. It is not the intention of the writer to give that impression. The writers of the Buddhist School may have been the authors of much that is strange and inexplicable in Korean history of today. Then the slow painful process by which books were reduplicated by hand would not be favorable to the multiplication of copies of their works. This would make it easy for these works, during the period of neglect ushered in by the supremacy of the Confucian School, to disappear or be utterly lost. If we should recognise this classification and acknowledge the existence of these two schools in Korean literature and thought the Buddhist School would, to a great extent, ante-date the Confucian School, though there was a time when they were co-existent, and a time when during the reign of the Ko-ryu dynasty (Xth. to the XlVth. centuries) that Buddhism again became uppermost and the Confucian School suffered a partial eclipse.

The Confucian School which is dominant in Korea today began with Sul Ch’ong. He was the one who set in motion the forces from which has evolved the present school of thought in Korea. Now we note that the Confucian School has produced nearly all the literature which we possess worthy the name in Korea today. In history, philosophy, ethics, law, [page 111] astronomy, biography they are the workmen upon whom we are forced to rely. It has not been a continuous school. Only two Scholars in Sil-la are specially noted, and thirteen in the Koryu dynasty, a period of four hundred years until we reach the present dynasty, A. D. 1392. But they kept the lamp of their school burning and laid the foundations of the present complete conquest of the Korean mind by the Chinese Sage.

 At the head of this school unquestionably stands Sul Chong, the son of the ex-Buddhist abbot. And to the extent to which literature and learning has emanated from that school is he the Father of Korean Letters. This enables us to fix the beginnings of Korean literature in the seventh century of the Christian era, for while the personal contributions of Sul Ch’ong to the literature of today are insignificant still he was the one who put in operation the forces from which the literature has been evolved.

And the School which he founded has not been ungrateful to his memory. His final reward came when he was canonized as a Confucian Saint and enshrined with the tablets of Confucius to share with the Sage the worship of Korean literati. This occurred during the reign of the Ko-ryu king Hyon-jong, in the year 1023 and the title of Marquis of Hong- nu was conferred on him.




A Leaf from my Journal.

I was stopping at a little country town, when the evening conversation turned upon the position of woman in the home. A young man from a neighboring village had remarked that some of the Christian women there had forgotten their baptismal names. Another suggested then when their names were called in Heaven and they did not recognize them it would be rather embarrassing. Thereupon the subject of women’s names, or rather their lack of them, came up. Someone asked if girls in America had names given them just the same as the boys and whether they retained their girlhood names, after marriage. When this had been explained the question was broached: [page 112]

What term should a Korean husband use in addressing his wife or in speaking of her to others? One man answered that if there was a child in the family the wife would he called “―’smother” as we would say “Charlie’s mother” but if there were no children at all it would be decidedly embarrassing.

On the other hand a Korean woman cannot call her husband by his given name, as it would be considered disrespectful; indeed such a thing is unheard of. Neither can she say “Tell my husband to come,” as this would also be disrespectful. For the same reason she cannot say “Tell Mr. ―to come” but would have to say “Tell the gentleman of this house to come,” or she may say “Tell —’s father to come, or in case she has no son she may mention a nephew and say “Tell―’s uncle to come.” According to country custom she may mention the name of the village where he married her and say “Tell the ― ville gentleman to come.”

The husband in speaking to others of his wife commonly refers to her as “The person at our house.” The wife and the husband are in the same predicament, for just as she cannot address him by his surname nor his given name nor even call him “husband” even so to the husband the wife has no name and even if she had one in girlhood it would be out of the question to use it after her marriage.

It was remarked that foreign gentlemen in addressing their wives often made use of the term “My Dear,” but the Koreans agreed unanimously that this would not do here for if a mail should use such a term to his wife all his relatives would think he was crazy.

Mr. Chun said that after adopting Christianity be came to dislike his former habit of using “half talk,” to his wife (addressing her as an inferior) while she had to use high language to him as to a superior. He mentioned the matter to his mother and said he had determined to use the forms of equality to his wife but his mother objected so strongly that he was obliged to refrain from following what he felt to be a good impulse, which he believed come from a new life within him and not from specific instruction from the foreigner oil the subject. He said that after moving to his present home where he lived alone with his wife he had been using the forms of equality to [page 113] her and that she was delighted, and her treatment of him had undergone a marked improvement. And he finished by remarking pointedly:

“The rest of you fellows had better try it.”

Young Mr. Sin said he would try it but was much afraid his father would make trouble. I asked why, and he replied that it would seem to the parent that a part of the honor due him was being taken away and given to the wife. The neighbors would also say that the son was weak-minded and on this account the father would object to such a change.

Mr. Chun said that he had heard that the foreigner kissed his wife when going away but that any young man in Korea would be ridiculed for such a thing. If a man were living with his parents, as is usually the case, he would not say good-bye to his wife at all, but only to his parents. If he were living alone with his wife he might say good bye but kissing her would never do ― at least it would never do to be caught at it.

Young married people are not supposed to talk to each other in the hearing of their parents. In a Korean House it is easy to hear what is said in the adjoining room and even at night, after retiring, if the young couple should talk the father would call out:

 “Be still there! What are you young things making such a noise about?”

When told that in America or Europe it is customary for a lady to sit while the gentleman being introduced to her must rise and bow they all agreed that it was strange the foreigners should have customs turned upside down like this, and treat woman is if she were man’s superior.

In Korea, to use Mr. Chun’s words, “The young woman must honor her husband as if he were a king and must obey her father-in-law and mother-in-law as her own parents.

                                                                              S. F. MOORE.



Odds and Ends.



Prophecy has played no small part in the his-tory of Korea. Almost every event of great significance has been preceded by omens and signs or else by [page 114] direct verbal prophecy. It is quite natural for us to imagine that these traditions originated after the events to which they referred and we are pretty safe in so believing, but we must bear in mind that for hundreds of years there has been a prophecy extant to the effect that at some future time the capital of Korea will be at Kye-ryong San in Ch’ung-ch’ung Do. When the founder of this dynasty sent out a commission to select a place for his new capital it is said they went to Kye-ryong San and began to build but were mysteriously warned that that was a site reserved for the capital of a future dynasty. The plain beneath that mountain is scattered with cut stones which are said to be remains of that mistaken attempt. This site is well described by the late Rev. D. L. Gifford in The Korean Repository. Here then at least we have one prophecy which we know to be prior to the event. The Koreans seem to accept it as worthy of belief though they, as well as we, hope the time is still far off. In connection with this prophecy it is said that in 1394 the founder of the dynasty had a dream in which he saw a hen snap off the head of a silk-worm. No one could explain it till a courtier with unaccountable temerity suggested that the hen was the Kye of Kye-ryong and the silkworm’s head was Chamdu (silk worm’s head) which is applied to the bold western spur of Nam San in this city. In other words the dynasty whose seat was to be at Kye-ryong San would destroy this dynasty. Of course there was nothing to do but pronounce the death penalty.


Mathematics vs. Chinese.           

Even in Korea we sometimes run across an instance where the study of Chinese is not the all in all of a successful life. In the reign of Hon-jong Ta-wang (1835-1850) a man named Sin had a grandson who at eight years old refused to study, but spent all his time in play. After exhausting every argument both mental and corporal the grandfather placed a measure of wheat before the boy and told him that if he did not count them all before night he would receive a severe whipping. The boy listened in silence and when his grandfather had gone resumed his play as if nothing had happened. All day he played until the sun was within half an hour of the western horizon. Then he called for a pair of scales and weighing out a couple of ounces he proceeded to count them. Then he weighed the [page 115] whole measure of wheat and by a simple arithmetical process estimated the whole number. When the grandfather entered, after learning from the boy’s tutor that he had been playing all day, he asked severely how many grains of wheat the measure contained. The boy glanced contemptuously at it and said “Thirty-seven thousand six hundred and eighty-four.” The old gentleman of course thought the boy was merely guessing at it and said as much, but the youngster said if he did not believe it he might count them himself and see. The grandfather wanted to be just, so he called in a dozen men and by working all night they found that the boy was exactly right. The lad grew up to be the celebrated General Sin Gwang-hu.


The Story did it.            

Yung-jong Ta-wang cherished a great affection for his mother to whom he gave a separate palace just to the north-west of the Kyong-bok Palace. Her servants knew the King could not deny her anything and they knew she would shield them from punishment whatever they might do. One day they fell to beating a wine merchant because he insisted upon their paying for the wine they had imbibed. They were consequently arrested and thrown into jail by command of the Minister of Law. When the Queen’s mother heard of it she hastened to ask the King to depose and execute the Minister of Law. He was immediately seized and the death penalty pronounced, but being given leave to speak he said:

“Once on a time an aged couple lived in Seoul with their only son who was a hunch-back. They had sought everywhere for means to cure him but of course without avail. One day as they sat in their little room they heard someone going along the street calling out “Hunch-backs straightened! Hunch-ba-a-a-acks straightened!” They rushed to the door and called him in. He said he could straighten their son’s back quite easily and after pocketing a modest fee he called for a block and a mallet. He bound the cripple to the block and then by one tremendous blow of the mallet straightened the poor fellow’s back—but of course it killed him. Whereupon the parents fell upon the mender and were like to tear him to pieces. But he shook them off and remarked calmly ‘I simply engaged to straighten his back and I have done it.’ So when Your Majesty appointed me to execute the laws I did it faith- [page 116] fully and if it became necessary to punish the servants of Your Majesty’s august mother I could not shrink from the responsibility. It should have been stipulated in advance that they were not amenable to the laws of the land.” The King cried “Strike off his bands. He is a better man than I.”



There was to be a great gala day and the wicked step-mother said to Cinderella:

“You cannot go until you have husked a bag of rice and filled this broken crock with water” And off she went with her favorite daughter to enjoy the festival.

Poor Cinderella sat down in despair but a rush of wings and a clamorous twittering made her look up. And there she saw a flock of birds fluttering about the rice, and in a trice they had it all husked for her. And then an imp crawled out of the fire-hole and mended the crack in the water jar so that she filled it in a moment. Then off she went to the picnic and had the best time of them all in spite of her step-mother’s ugly looks.

The next time, the step-mother said “You must hoe out all the weeds in this field before you can go,” and left her weeping, but a great black cow came out of the woods and ate up all the weeds in ten mouthfuls. She followed the cow into the woods and there found some most delicious fruit which she gathered and took to the festival. Her jealous sister asked about it and when told about the cow determined to get some fruit like that herself. So the next gala day she stayed at home and let Cinderella go. The cow came out of the woods as before but when the girl followed it led her through tangled thorn bushes where her face was scratched until her shallow beauty was all gone.


An Engineering feat.     

Let no one say hereafter that the Koreans are not ingenious. They say that when the present East Gate was built they found that it was not plumb, but leaned toward the East. So they made long ropes of hemp and tied them to the top of the gate while the other ends were fastened to the Water Gauge Bridge [수표다리] a mile and a half away! When it rained [page 117] of course the ropes shrank and drew the gate into place. This was irrespective of the fact that the bridge is perhaps a tenth as heavy as the gate.


Brains vs. Muscle.

When the tiger and the rabbit met the former smiled grimly and licked his jaws in pleasant anticipation but the rabbit summoned all his wits to his aid and said;

“Look here, I would hardly make a good mouthful for such a big chap as you. I will show you how to get a square meal.”

The tiger looked interested.

“Come and lie down here on this ice in this clear spot and keep perfectly still and I will go around and drive the game right down to you. But you must keep your eyes tightly closed until I give you the signal. Even when you hear a crackling noise do not open your eyes; that is only the game approaching and if you open your eyes the animals will see you and flee.”

So the tiger lay down on the ice and closed his eyes and waited patiently. At last he heard a rustling sound but did not open his eyes until he heard the rabbit call; when behold, all about him was piled a heap of brushwood that the rabbit had gathered and set on fire. He attempted to spring over it but found that his shaggy hair was frozen to the ice and he could net move. And so he burned to death.


Editorial Comment.

In the January number we began our review of the status of Korea at the beginning of the century by affirming that the civilized nations of the earth are joined in a federation of amity and concord. Some exceptions have been taken to this statement. Our purpose is not to make excuse for the statement but’ to reaffirm it, for there has been no serious talk of declaring war with China. Our treaties with her have not been abrogated, our ministers have not been recalled. Relations have been, strained by the-fact that parties [page 118] who had no intrinsic right to interfere in the management of Chinese affairs overawed and for the time held in their power the government at Peking but no one has ever doubted that if the Emperor of China, the sole source of authority, could be once gotten out of rebellious hands the former friendly relations would be resumed. So much for China. As for the South African war that is an affair within the confines of the British Empire and, though perhaps inter-racial, it is not international. It is true that every power capable of signing a treaty has done so and is at peace with every other power. Korea was the last to come into line; whether she did SO willingly or unwillingly makes no difference so long as she today accepts her position.

Again we find that every industrial change disorganizes the ranks of labor until the transition period is past and that very disorganization may be called a sign of better times to come, just as the introduction of power looms into England caused widespread suffering for a time but was followed by marked improvement in the condition of the laboring classes. Our purpose was to leave this impression in regard to the transition stage in which Korean labor now finds itself but we did not deem it necessary to go into all the details, supposing of course that much might be left to the penetration of the reader. As we said, the cost of living has increased faster than the wages of labor but the result must be in Korea is in every other land that wages will catch up in the long run and be even more satisfactory than before. Wages have already gone up in a remarkable manner. All artisans, such as carpenters, masons etc, receive today from fifty to sixty percent more than they did ten years ago but as yet this is not enough, for rice has gone up eighty or a hundred percent. That an equilibrium, at least, will be attained no one can doubt.



News Calendar.


About the beginning of March a Japanese resident of Chemulpo named Yoshigawa demanded that the Koreans on [page 119] Roze Island in Chemulpo harbor be removed as the island had been purchased by himself. The matter was referred by the Kamni of Chemulpo to the government at Seoul.

The investigation which followed has caused considerable disturbance in high places. In the course of the investigation Kim Yung-jun was accused of having instigated the anonymous letters which were received by the foreign representatives, which were mentioned in the January number of the Review, Charges and counter-charges were made in a rather promiscuous manner and the result is that the finding of the Supreme Court reads as follows: In the tenth moon of last year when Kim Yung-jun was consulted in regard to the matter of Roze Island he said that there was one way out of the difficulty, namely to send letters to the Legations threatening them with destruction and in the confusion consequent upon this to kill four leading men (whose names need not appear here) and reconstruct the government. In this case the matter of Roze Island would become insignificant.

The Supreme Court condemned Kim Yung-jun to be strangled, Chu Suk-myon to be banished for life for having withheld important information, Min Gyung-sik to be banished for fifteen years for not having given information immediately about the anonymous letters and Kim Gye-p’il to be banished for three years for having been implicated in sending the anonymous letters.

The sentence of death was executed upon Kim Yung-jun during the night of the 18th inst. Min Yung-jun, Min Yung-sun, Yi Cha-sun and Yi Chi-yong who were important witnesses in the case have been exonerated and released.

The annual stone fights seem to have begun rather sharply, as three men have already been killed in them. When the police interfered with this “amusement,” as the people call it, a large number of soldiers sided with the people and the mimic war went on in spite of the constabulary. As Hamlet said of Danish wassail drinking, this custom of stonefighting is more honored in the breach than the observance. It has little to commend it.

The native papers state that His Majesty, the Emperor took 3,000 shares in the projected Seoul-Fusan Railroad and the Crown Prince, took 400. [page 120]

It appears that opium smoking has been indulged in by a considerable number of the Korean soldiers and active measures are being taken to put a stop to the pernicious habit.

On the 5th inst the Foreign Office telegraphed to the Korean Minister in Tokyo to return to this country.

The Korean Government has been invited to make an exhibit at the international exhibition which is to be held this year in Scotland. It is not likely that the Government will see its way to accept the invitation.

A report comes from P’yung-an province that there is a recrudescence of the Tong-hak trouble there but that the local authorities are putting it down with a strong hand.

On the 8th inst the Government suffered a serious loss in the burning of the new mint at Yong-san. It is said to have contained several hundred thousands of dollars’ worth of bullion. We wait with impatience to learn how much of the melted bullion is recovered from the ruins. The loss in buildings and machinery alone runs up into the hundreds of thousands, none of which is covered by insurance.

The people of South Ch’ung-ch’ung Province are agitated over the work of what they call a female propagandist of the Greek Church, who is seemingly meeting with a favorable reception on the part of some few of the people, in that vicinity. An order for the arrest of this person was given at the Police headquarters but it was countermanded soon afterwards.

The new time-table of the Seoul-Chemulpo R. R. is an improvement upon the previous one. Five trains a day each way should be enough to satisfy even the most impetuous of us. The time table of this road will always be accessible in the advertising columns of the Review.

The French Minister M. Colin de Plancy arrived in Seoul on the eleventh inst.

Cho Min-heui has been appointed Minister to United States, Kim Man-su Minister to France, Min Yung-don Minister to England and Italy, Yi Pom-jin Minister to Russia, and Min Ch’ul-hun Minister to Germany.

Dr. and Mrs. H. Baldock returned to Seoul on the 28th ult. [page 121]

Mr. and Mrs. Bostwick arrived from America on the 6th inst.

The Korean Ministers to America, England, Italy, France and Germany will start for their posts on the 26th inst.

Dr. C. C. Vinton and family returned to Seoul from their furlough in America on the 12th inst.

The government has purchased all the property belonging to the Presbyterian Mission in Chong-dong, Seoul, and we understand that the missionaries occupying this property will remove to a site outside the West Gate.

E. V. Morgan Esq., Secretary of the U. S. Legation, has been appointed Second Secretary to the U. S. Embassy to Russia and will leave for his new post this week. The congratulations and best wishes of a large circle of friends will go with him. The Seoul Union and the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society as well as the legation are deprived, by his departure, of a valuable officer. We do not believe that even the gaiety of a European Capital will make him forget the “Land of Morning Freshness.”

By the courtesy of the English Church Mission the valuable collection of books 011 Korea and the Far East, called the Landis Library, has been placed in the hands of the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. A large number of other similar works have been loaned by Mr. Kenmure, the Agent of the British and Foreign Bible society and by others. They are kept for the present in the office of the British and Foreign Bible Society and may be loaned to members of the Society upon application. The Korea Branch is to be congratulated on having this nucleus of a library at this early period in its career. These books are merely loaned to the Society but they will be of equal value to the members as if they were the property of the Society.

On the 17th inst. a leopard came down into the grounds of the Kyong-bok Palace and killed a tame deer. Over a hundred soldiers were sent to capture the animal, which they did after an exciting chase.

The budget for the year 1901 has been completed at last and we give herewith a summary of its contents: [page 123]

The War Department.

Main office                     41,522

The army                        3,553,389

Total     3,594,911

The Law Department.

Main Office expenses     31,803

The Supreme Court         14,895

The City Court                10,076

Total                               56,774

The Police Department.

The Main office             284,918

The Prisons                     19,298

Provincial Courts                          51,462

Police at Open Ports        69,386

Travelling expenses         975

Total     426,039

The Educational Department.

The Main Office                          $24,774

Observatory                     24,774

Schools                            105,179

Subsidies                        25,140

Private school                  7,960

Students abroad               15,920

Total     203,747

The Agricultural Department

The Main office              32,990

Public improvements       37,127

Total     70,117

The Privy Council.

Main office                     17,152

Cavalry reserves (?)         56,032

Surveying bureau.

The Main office              $29,664

Surveys etc.                    100,000

Total     129,664

Bureau of decorations.

Total     $22,345

Bureau of Communications.

The Main office              20,730

Post office                       160,350

Telegraph office              217,ooo

Total     398,080 [page 124]

Emergency fund.

Law revision      ............$1,903

Road and ditch repairs     40,000

Constabulary                  1,000

Petty repairs.                   9,000

Aid to mariners who are wrecked etc.       4,000

Pauper burial                  300

Total     56,203

Entertainment of Japanese guard  Total $ 480

Audit of Mines                              Total 1,848

Reserve fund                                 1,00,000

The treaty between the Empire of Ta Han and the Kingdom of Belgium was ratified on the 23rd inst at the Foreign Office in Seoul. It was signed by M. Leon Vincart on the part of Belgium and by Pak Che-sun, Minister of Foreign Affairs on the part of Korea.

                           By a translator’s mistake we gave in the January number what purported to be the customs receipts of Fusan for the past twenty-three years. It should of course have read “for the past year.” [page 125]





It must have been about fifty years before the beginning of our era that King Ha-bu-ru sat upon the throne of North Pu-yu. His great sorrow was that Providence had not given him a son. Riding one day in the forest he reached the bank of a swift rushing stream and there dismounting he besought the Great Spirit to grant him a soil. Turning to remount he found the horse standing with bowed head before a great boulder while tears were rolling down its face. He turned the boulder over and found beneath it a child of the color of gold but with a form resembling a toad. He gave it the name Keum-wa or ‘‘Golden Toad.”

Arriving at the age of manhood, Keum-wa looked about for a wife. As he was walking along the shore of U-bal-su (whether river or sea we do not know) he found a maiden crying. Her name was Yu-wha, “Willow Catkin.” To his inquiries she replied that she was daughter of the Sea King, Ha-bak, but that she had been driven from home because she had been enticed away and ravished by a spirit called Ha-mo-su. Keum-wa took her home as his wife but shut her in a room to which the sun-light had access only by a single minute aperture. Marvelous to relate a ray of light entered and followed her to whatever part of the room she went. By it she conceived and in due time gave birth to an egg, as large as five “measures.” Keum-wa in anger threw it to the pigs and dogs but they would not touch it. Cattle and horses breathed upon it to give it warmth. A stork from heaven settled down upon it and warmed it beneath her feathers. Keum-wa relented and allowed Yu-wha to bring it to the palace, where she wrapped it in silk and cotton. At last it burst and disclosed a fine boy. This precocious youth at seven years of age was so expert with the bow that he won the name of Chu-mong, “Skillful Archer.” He was not a favorite with the people and they tried to compass his death but the king protected him and made him keeper of the royal stables. Like Jacob of Holy Writ he brought his wits to bear upon the situation. By fattening the poorer horses and making the good ones lean he succeeded in reserving for his own use the [page 126] fleetest steeds. Thus in the hunt he always led the rout and secured the lion’s share of the game. For this his seven brothers hated him and determined upon his death. By night his mother sought his bed-side and whispered the word of warning. Chu-mong arose and with three trusty councillors, O-i, Ma-ri and Hyup-pu, fled southward until he found his path blocked by the Eum-ho River. There was neither boat, bridge nor ford. Striking the surface of the water with his bow he called upon the spirit of the river to aid him, for behind him the plain smoked with the pursuing hoof-beats of his brothers’ horses. Instantly there came up from the depths of the river a shoal of fish and tortoises who lay their backs together and thus bridged the stream.

Fantastic as this story seems, it may have an important bearing upon the question of the location of Pu-yu. Can we not see in this great shoal of fish a reference to the salmon which, at certain seasons, run up the Amur and its tributaries in such numbers that the water is literally crowded with them? If there is any weight to this argument the kingdom of Pu-yu, from which Chu-mong came, must have been, as some believe, along the Sungari or some other tributary of the Amur.

Leaving his brothers baffled on the northern bank, Chu-mong fared southward till he reached Mo-tun-gok by the Po-sul River where he met three men, Cha-sa, clothed in grass cloth, Mu-gol in priestly garb and Muk-hu, in seaweed. They joined his retinue and proceeded with him to Chul-bon, the present town of Song-ch’un, where he founded a kingdom. He gave it the name of Ko-gu-ryu from Ko, his family name and Ku-ryu, a mountain in his native Pu-yu, Some say the Ko is from the Chinese Kao, “high,” referring to his origin. This kingdom is also known by the name Chul-bon Pu-yu. It is said that Pu-ryu River flowed by the capital. These events occurred, if at all, in the year 37 B. C. This was all Chinese land, for it was a part of the great province of Tong-bu which had been erected by the Emperor So-je (Chao-ti) in 81 B. C. Only one authority mentions Chu-mong’s relations with Tong-bu. This says that when he erected his capital at Chul-bon he seized Tong-bu. China had probably held these provinces with a very light hand and the founding of a [page 127] vigorous native monarchy would be likely to attract the semi- barbarous people of northern Korea. Besides, the young Ko gu-ryu did not seize the whole territory at once but gradually absorbed it. It is not unlikely that China looked with complacency upon a native ruler who, while recognising her suzerainty, could at the same time hold in check the fierce denizens of the peninsula.

We are told that the soil of Kogu-ryu was fertile and that the cereals grew abundantly. The land was famous for its fine horses and its red jade, its blue squirrel skins and its pearls. Chu-mong inclosed his capital in a heavy stockade and built store-houses and a prison. At its best the country stretched a thousand li beyond the Yalu River and southward to the banks of the Han. It comprised the Nang-nang tribe from which Emperor Mu-je named the whole north-western portion of Korea when he divided northern Korea into four provinces. On the east was Ok-ju and on its north was Pu-yu. It contained two races of people, one living among the mountains and the ether in the plains. It is said they had a five-fold origin. There were the So-ro-bu, Chul-lo-bu. Sun-no bu, Kwan-no-bu and Kye-ro-bu. The kings at first came from the So-ro-bu line but afterwards from the Kye-ro-bu. This probable refers to certain family clans or parties which existed at the time of Chu-mong’s arrival and which were not discontinued. Chu-mong is said to have married the daughter of the king of Chul-bon and so he came into the control of affairs in a peaceful way and the institutions of society were not particularly disturbed.

Agriculture was not extensively followed. In the matter of food they were very frugal. Their manners and customs were somewhat like those of Pu-yu but were not derived from that kingdom. Though licentious they were fond of clean clothes. At night both sexes gathered in a single apartment and immorality abounded. Adultery, however, if discovered was severely punished. In bowing it was customary for these people to throw out one leg behind. While travelling, men more often ran than walked. The worship of spirits was universal. In the autumn there was a great religious festival. In the eastern part of the peninsula there was a famous cave called Su-sin where a great religious gathering occurred each [page 128] autumn. Their religious rites included singing and drinking. At the same time captives were set free. They worshipped likewise on the eve of battle, slaughtering a bullock and examining the body for omens.

Swords, arrows and spears were their common weapons. A widow usually became the wife of her dead husband’s brother. When a great man died it was common to bury one or more men alive with his body. The statement that sometimes as many as a hundred were killed is probably an exaggeration. These characteristics were those of the Nang-nang people as well as of the rest of Ko-gu-ryu. The highest official grades were called Sang-ga-da, No-p’a, Ko-ju-da. Some say their official grades were called by the names of animals, as the “horse grade” the “dog grade” the “cow grade.” There were special court garments of silk embroidered with gold and silver. The court hat was something like the present kwan or skull-cap. There were few prisoners. If a man committed a crime he was summarily tried and executed, and his wife and children became slaves. Thieves restored twelve-fold. Marriage always took place at the bride’s house. The dead were wrapped in silks and interred, and commonly the entire fortune of the deceased was exhausted in the funeral ceremony. The bodies of criminals were left unburied. The people were fierce and violent and thieving was common. They rapidly corrupted the simpler and cleaner people of the Ye-mak and Ok-ju tribes.

No sooner had Chu-mong become firmly established in his new capital than he began to extend the limits of his kingdom. In 35 B. C. he began a series of conquests which resulted in the establishment of a kingdom destined to defy the power of China for three quarters of a millennium. His first operations were against the wild people to the east of him. The first year he took Pu-ryu on the Ya-lu, then in 29 B. C. he tock Hang-in, a district near the present Myo-hyang San. In 27 B. C. he took Ok-ju, thus extending his kingdom to the shore of eastern Korea. In 23 B. C. he learned that his mother had died in far off Pu-yu and he sent an embassy thither to do honor to her.

The year 18 B. C beheld the founding of the third of the great kingdoms which held the triple sceptre of Korea, and [page 129] we must therefore turn southward and examine the events which led up to the founding of the kingdom of Pak-je.

When Chu-mong fled southward from Pu-yu he left be- hind him a wife and son. The latter was named Yu-ri. Tradition says that one day while playing with pebbles in the street he accidentally broke a woman’s water jar. In anger she exclaimed “You are a child without a father.” The boy went sadly home and asked his mother if it was true. She answered yes, in order to see what the boy would do. He went out and found a knife and was on the point of plunging it into his body when she threw herself upon him saying “Your father is living and is a great king in the south. Before he left he hid a token under a tree, which you are to find and take to him.” The boy searched everywhere but could not find the tree. At last, wearied out, he sat down behind the house in despair, when suddenly he heard a sound as of picking, and noticing that it came from one of the posts of the house he said “This is the tree and I shall now find the token.” Digging beneath the post he unearthed the broken blade of a sword. With this he started south and when he reached his father’s palace he showed the token. His father produced the other half of the broken blade and as the two matched he received the boy and proclaimed him heir to the throne.

But he had two other sons by a wife whom he had taken more recently. They were Pi-ryu and On-jo. When Yu-ri appeared on the scene these two brothers, knowing how proverbially unsafe the head of a king’s relative is, feared for their lives and so fled southward. Ascending Sam-gak San, the mountain immediately behind the present Seoul, they surveyed the country southward. Pi-ryu the elder chose the country to the westward along the sea. On-jo chose to go directly south. So they separated, Pi-ryu going to Mi-ch’u-hol, now In-ch’un near Chemulpo, where he made a settlement. On-jo struck southward into what is now Ch’ung-ch’ung Province and settled at a place called Eui-rye-sung, now the district of Chik-san. There he was given a generous tract of land by the king of Ma-han; and he forthwith set up a little kingdom which he named South Pu-yu. The origin of the name Pak-je is not definitely known. Some say it was because a hundred men constituted the whole of On-jo’s party. Others say [page 130] that it was at first called Sip-je and then changed to Pak-je when their numbers were swelled by the arrival of Pi-ryu and his party. The latter had found the land sterile and the climate unhealthy at Mi-ch’u-hol and so was constrained to join his brother again. On the other hand we find the name Pak-je in the list of original districts of Ma-han and it is probable that this new kingdom sprang up in the district called Pak-je and this name became so connected with it that it has come down in history as Pak-je, while in truth it was not called so by its own people. It the same way Cho-sun is known today by the medieval name Korea. Not long after Pi-ryu rejoined his brother he died of chagrin at his own failure.

It must not be imagined that these three kingdoms of Sil-la, Ko-gu-ryu and Pak-je, which represented so strongly the centripetal idea in government, were allowed to proceed without vigorous protests from the less civilized tribes about them. The Mal-gal tribes in the north, the Suk-sin and North Ok-ju tribe in the north-east and Ye-mak in the east made fierce attacks upon them as opportunity presented. The Mal-gal tribes in particular seem to have penetrated southward even to the borders of Pak-je, probably after skirting the eastern borders of Ko-gu-ryu. Nominally Ko-gu-ryu held sway even to the Japan Sea but practically the wild tribes roamed as yet at will all through the eastern part of the peninsula. In the eighth year of On-jo’s reign, 10 B. C., the Mal-gal forces besieged his capital and it was only after a most desperate fight that they were driven back. On-jo found it necessary to build the fortresses of Ma-su-sung and Ch’il-chung-sung to guard against such inroads. At the same time the Sun-bi were threatening Ko-gu-ryu on the north, but Gen. Pu Bun-no lured them into an ambush and routed them completely. The king rewarded him with land, horses and thirty pounds of gold, but the last he refused.

The next year the wild men pulled down the fortresses lately erected by King On-jo and the latter decided that he must find a better site for his capital. So he moved it to the present site of Nam-han, about twenty miles from the present Seoul. At the same time he sent and informed the king of Ma-han that he had found it necessary to move. The following year he enclosed the town in a wall and set to work teach- [page 131] ing agriculture to the people throughout the valley of the Han River which flowed nearby.

In the year which saw the birth of Christ the situation of affairs in Korea was as follows. In the north, Ko-gu-ryu, a vigorous, warlike kingdom, was making herself thoroughly feared by her neighbors; in the central western portion was the little kingdom of Pak-je, as yet without any claims to independence but waiting patiently for the power of Ma-han so to decline as to make it possible to play the serpent in the bosom as Wi-man had done to Ki-ja’s kingdom. In the south was Sil-la, known as a peaceful power, not needing the sword because her rule was so mild and just that people from far and near flocked to her borders and craved to become her citizens. It is one of the compensations of history that Sil-la, the least martial of them all, in an age when force seemed the only arbiter, should have finally overcome them all and imposed upon them her laws and her language.


Chapter VII.

Change of Ko-gu-ryu capital .... Sil-la raided .... Legend of Suk-ta’l-ha .... fall of Ma-han .... beginning of Chinese enmity against Ko-gu- ryu .... the three kingdoms differentiated       King Yu-ri degraded .... extension of Ko-gu-ryu .... Japanese corsairs .... remnant of Ma- han revolts .... fall of Pu-yu .... origin of in-gum .... siege of Ko-gu-ryu capital raised .... Sil-la’s peaceful policy .... patronymics .... official grades .... unoccupied territory .... kingdom of Ka-rak .... legends .... position .... dependencies.


We read that in 2 A. D. the king of Ko-gu-ryu was about to sacrifice a pig to his gods, when the pig escaped and taking to its heels was chased by the courtier Sul-chi into the district of Kung-na. He caught the animal near Wi-na Cliff, north of the Ch’o-san of today. When he returned he described the place to the king as being rough and consequently suitable for the site of a capital. Deer, fish and turtles also abounded. He gave such a glowing account that the king was fain to move his capital to that place, where it remained for two hundred and six years.

In 4 A. D. Hyuk-ku-se, the wise king of Sil-la died and seven days later his queen followed him. It is said that they [page 132] were so completely one that neither could live without the other. Nam-ha his son, with the title of Ch’a-ch’a-ung, reigned in his stead. A remnant of the Nang-nang tribe, hearing of the death of King Hyuk-ku-se, thought it a fitting time to make a raid into Sil-la territory, but they were beaten back.

In the third year of his reign, Nam-ha built a shrine to his father and then put the management of the government into the hands of a man named Suk-t’al-ha who had become his son-in-law. This man is one of the noted men of Sil-la and his origin and rise are among the cherished traditions of the people.

Somewhere in north-eastern Japan there was a kingdom known as Ta-p’a-ra and there a woman, pregnant for seven years, brought forth an egg. The neighbors thought it a bad omen and were minded to destroy it but the mother, aware of their intentions, wrapped the egg in silk and cotton and placing it in a strong chest committed it to the waters of the Japan Sea. In time it drifted to A-jin Harbor on the coast of Sil-la where an old fisherwoman drew it ashore and found upon opening it that it contained a beautiful child. She adopted him and reared him in her humble home. It was noticed that wherever the child went the magpies followed him in flocks, so they gave him the name of Suk, the first part of the Chinese word for magpie. The second part of his name was T’al. “to put off” referring to his having broken forth from the egg, and the final syllable of his name was Ha meaning “to open” for the fishwife opened the chest. This boy developed into a giant both physically and mentally. His foster-mother saw in him the making of a great man, and so gave him what educational advantages she could afford. When he had exhausted these she sent him to enter the service of the great statesman Pyo-gong the same that had acted as envoy to Pak-je. Pyo-gong recognised his merit and introduced him at court where his rise was so rapid that ere long he married the king’s daughter and became vicegerent of the realm, the king resigning into his hands the greater part of the business of state.

The year 9 A. D. beheld the fall of the kingdom of Ma-han. We remember that Ki-jun became king of Ma-han in 193 B. C. He died the same year and was succeeded by his son Ki-t’ak with the title Kang-wang, who ruled four years. [page 133]

It was in 58 B. C. that Ki-jun’s descendant Ki-hun (Wun- wang) ascended the throne. It was in the second year of his reign that Sil-la was founded and in his twenty-second year that Ko-gu-ryu was founded. After twenty-six years of rule he died and left his . son, Ki-jung, to hold the scepter. It was this king who in his sixteenth year gave On-jo the plot of land which became the seat of the kingdom of Pak-je. Twenty-six years had now passed since that act of generosity. Pak-je had steadily been growing stronger and Ma-han had as steadily dwindled, holding now only the two important towns of Wun-san and Kom-hyun. In fact some authorities say that Ma-han actually came to an end in 16 B. C. at the age of 177 years but that a remnant still held the towns of Wun-san and Kom-hyun. The balance of proof is however with the statement that Ma-han kept up at least a semblance of a state until 9 A. D.

The first sign of hostile intent on the part of Pak-je against her host, Ma-han, had appeared some years before, when Pak-je had thrown up a line of breast-works between herself and the capital of Ma-han. The latter had no intention of taking the offensive but Pak-je apparently feared that Ma-han would divine her hostile intent, Ma-han hastened to send a message saying “Did I not give you a hundred li of land? Why do you then suspect me of hostile designs?” In answer, Pak-je partly from shame and partly because she saw that Ma-han was wholly unsuspicious of her ulterior designs tore down the barriers and things went on as before. But now that Ma-han was utterly weak, the king of Pak-je decided to settle the matter by one bold stroke. He organised a great hunting expedition and under cover of this approached the Ma-han capital and took it almost without resistance. Thus, as Wi-man had paid back the kindness of Ki-jun by treachery so now again On-jo paid back, this last descendant of Ki-jun in the same way.

Up to this time China had looked on with complacency at the growth of Ko-gu-ryu but now Wang-mang the usurper had seized the throne of the Han dynasty. His title was Hsin Whang-ti. One of his first acts seems to have been directed against the powerful little kingdom that had supplanted the two provinces of Tong-bu and P’yung-ju into which China had [page 134] divided northern Korea. He was probably suspicious of a rapidly growing and thoroughly warlike power which might at any time gather to its standards the wild hordes of the north and sweep down into China.

Here was the beginning of a long struggle which lasted with occasional intermissions until Ko-gu-ryu was finally destroyed some eight centuries later. Ko-gu-ryu was uniformly China’s foe and Sil-la was as uniformly her friend and ally Pak-je was now one and now the other. It may be in place to say here that the three powers that divided the peninsula between them were strongly differentiated. Ko-gu-ryu in the north was a strong, energetic, fierce, unscrupulous military power, the natural product of her constituent elements. Sil-la was the very opposite; always inclined toward peace and willing oftentimes to make very large concessions in order to secure it. Her policy was always to conciliate, and it was for this mainly that at the last China chose her as the one to assume control of the whole peninsula. Pak-je differed from both the others. She was as warlike as Ko-gu-ryu but as weak in military resources as Sil-la. She therefore found her life one scene of turmoil and strife and she was the first of the three to succumb.

It was in 12 A. D. that Wang-mane sent an envoy to Yuri, king of Ko-gu-ryu, demanding aid in the work of subduing the wild tribes of the north. This was refused by the headstrong Yu-ri, but the Emperor compelled him. to send certain troops to accompany the Chinese army. They however took advantage of every opportunity to desert, and large numbers of them formed a marauding band that penetrated the Liao-tung territory and plundered and killed on every hand. For this cause the Emperor sent against Ko-gu-ryu a strong force under Gen. Om-u, who speedily brought the recalcitrant Yu-ri to terms, took away his title of royalty and left him only the lesser title of Hu or “Marquis.” From that day began the policy of reprisals on Chinese territory which Ko-gu-ryu steadily pursued until it cost her life.

These were stirring days in all three of the kingdoms of the peninsula. In 14 A. D. Ko-gu-ryu extended her territory northward by the conquest of the Yang-mak tribe and at the same time she seized a strip of land beyond the Liao River [page 137]

The marked difference between Ko-gu-ryu and Sil-la was well illustrated by the events of this year. While Ko-gu-ryu was reaching out covetous hands in every direction and carrying fire and sword into the hamlets of inoffensive neighbors, Sil-la was pursuing a course of such good will to all both without and within her borders that natives of the wild tribes to the north of her came in large numbers and settled on her soil, glad to become citizens of so kind and generous a land. The king himself made frequent tours of the country alleviating the distress of widows, orphans and cripples. It was in 32 B. C. that he changed the name of the six original families which united in founding        The men of Yang-san, Ko-hu, Ta-su, Ul-jin, Ka-ri, and of Myung-whal were named respectively Yi, Ch’oe, Son, Chong, Pa and Sul. These names will be recognised at once as among the most common patronymics in Korea at the present day, which adds confirmatory evidence that Korea of today is essentially the Korea of the south. When we add to this the fact that the names Pak, Kim, An. Ko, Suk, Yang, So, Su, Kwun, Pa, Im, Na, Hyun, Kwak, Ho, Whang, Chang, Sim and Yu originated in southern Korea the argument becomes well-nigh conclusive. The only names of importance that did not originate in southern Korea are Min, Song, Om, Cho, and Han; and many of these originated in what must have been Ma-han territory. At the same time the king established seventeen official grades and called them respectively I-bul-son, I-ch’uk-son, I-son, P’a-jin-son, Ta-a-son, A-son, Kil-son, Sa-son, etc.

It must be remembered, that as yet neither of the “Three Kingdoms” had begun to occupy all the territory that nominally belonged to it or that lay within its “sphere of influence.” Between them lay large tracts of land as yet unoccupied except by wild tribes. It is more than probable that at no point did any of these kingdoms actually touch each other. Ko-gu-ryu was broadening out northwards, Pak-je was at a standstill and Sil-la was growing rather by immigration than by occupation of new territory. As yet Sil-la had taken but four districts outside of the original six, and so we see that a large part of the south was still in the hands of the original inhabitants as given in the list of the settlements of the three Hans. In 41 A. D. the nine districts whose names ended in [page 138] kan, namely A-do-gan, Yo-do-gan, P’i-do-gan, O-do-gan. Yu-su-gan, Yu-ch’un-gan, Sin-ch’un-gan, Sin-gwi-gan and O-ch’un-gan, formed a confederacy and called it the “Kingdom of Ka-rak”. They placed their capital at Ka-rak, the present town of Kim-ha, and made Keum Su-ro their king. Tradition says that he obtained his Queen in the following way. A boat approached the shore bearing a beautiful woman, Queen Ho, whose ornamental name was Whang-ok or “Yellow Jade”. She came from the far southern kingdom of A-yu-t’a, otherwise known as Ch’un-ch’uk. It is said that she lived a hundred and fifty-seven years and that the king survived her one year. All that is told us of the history of this rival of Sil-la is the list of her kings which will be found in the chronological tables. After an existence of 491 years it came to an end in the reign of the Sil-la king Pup-heung. It is also affirmed that when Sil-la fell in 935, some worthless wretches who defiled the grave of Keum Su-ro were mysteriously killed, one by the falling of a beam, one by an invisible archer and nine others by a serpent eighteen feet long. The records say that when the Japanese, at the time of the great invasion three centuries ago, dug open this king’s grave they found great store of gold and jade. The skull of the monarch was of prodigious size, and beside his body lay two women whose features were well preserved but which dissolved and melted away when exposed to the air. It is barely possible that we here have an indication that embalming was practiced, but if so we have no other intimation of it.

Ka-rak extended eastward as far as Wang-san River, six miles to the west of the present Yang-san; to the north-east as far as Ka-ya San, the present Ko-ryung; to the south and south-west as far as the coast and on the west to Chi-ri San. From this we see that it was little inferior to Sil-la in size.

Ka-rak had five dependencies, namely the districts known under the common name of Ka-ya. They were So-ga-ya, Ko-ryung-ga-ya, Song-san-ga-ya, Ta-ga-ya and A-ra-ga-ya. They correspond respectively to the present towns of Ko-sung, Ham-ch’ang Sung-ju, Ko-ryung and Ham-an. Tradition says that one day when the chiefs of the nine tribes of Ka-rak were banqueting they saw upon the slope of Sung-bong, called also Ku-yu-bong, a singular cloud. From the sky [page 139] above it came a voice. They hastened up the mountain and there found a golden box containing six golden eggs. These opened and disclosed six boys. One of the was Keum-Su-ro who became king 0f Ka-rak and the other five were made chiefs of the five Ka-ya, subject to Ka-rak. Of these Ka-ya states we know the founder of only one. He was descended from Kyon-mo-ju, the female divinity of Ka-ya Mountain who wedded a celestial being, Yi-ja-ga. Their off-spring was Yi-i-a-si, who founded one of the Ka-ya states. The Ka-ya states fell before Sil-la some five hundred years later in the reign of King Chin-heung.


Chapter VIII.


Vicissitudes of Ko-gu-ryu .... last Ma-han chief joins Sil-la .... Pak-je and Sil-la become sworn enemies .... legend of Kye-rim .... Pak-je worsted .... Ko-gu-ryu’s strength on the increase .... Sil-la’s rapid growth .... Ka-ya attacks Sil-la .... Ko-gu-ryu make compact with Ye-mak .... Su-sung’s evil reign        roads in Sil-la .... Japanese raid .... legend .... an epicurean .... Pak-je’s victory .... origin of government loans .... Yun-u’s trickery .... capital of Ko-gu-ryu moved ... wild tribes attack Sil-la .... democratic ideas in Sil-la .... Ko-gu-ryu breaks with China .... and attacks Sil-la .... China invades Ko-gu-ryu .... the king retreats .... relieved through treachery .... capital of Ko-gu-ryu moved to P’yung-yang…. beginning of feud betweenKorea and Japan .... reforms in Pak-je .... third century closes .... progress of Sil-la how Eul-bul became king of Ko-gu-yu .... a noble lady of Sil-la is sent to Japan.


Mu-hyul, the third king of Ko-gu-ryu died in 45, leaving the kingdom to the tender mercies of his son a worthless debauchee. Four years later He in turn made way for Ha-u, a member of a collateral branch of the family. Following the traditions of of Ko-gu-ryu this ruler professed loyalty to China 011 the one hand and seized all the Chinese territory he could lay hands on, on the other. In 54 he was assassinated by one Tu-no and the seven year old grandson of king Yu-ri was placed on the throne, a regent being appointed to carry 0n the government until the boy reached his majority. The good work continued. Ten forts were built in western Liao-tung to guard against Chinese advances, which shows that she had regained nearly all the territory she had lost at the hands 0f [page 140] the parvenu Wang-mang. The following year she took formal possession of the territory of Ok-ju on the eastern coast.

In the year 58 Yu-ri, the third king of Sil-la died. He must not be confounded with Yu-ri the second king of Ko-gu-ryu. The sound is the same but the character is different. It was he who had the difference of opinion with Suk-t’al-ha in regard to the succession. As he died without issue the reins of government naturally passed into the hands of the aged statesman Suk-t’al-ha, He was sixty-two years old when he assumed the cares of royalty. In his fifth year the one remaining Ma-han chief, Mang-so, who had escaped the appetite of Pak-je, went over to Sil-la, as he concluded it was no longer possible to prolong a hopeless struggle against Pak-je. Pok-am fortress thus passed into the hands of Sil-la. Strange to say Pak-je not only did not resent this but even made overtures to Sil-la for a friendly meeting of their respective kings in the following year. Sil-la refused to sanction this, and the rebuff was too much for the equanimity of Pak-je. From that day the attitude of Pak-je toward Sil-la was one of studied hostility, broken only by an occasional spasmodic attempt at reconciliation. Among the three kingdoms, Sil-la was the only one that preserved her dignity intact and kept herself untainted by the charge either of avarice or pusillanimity.

The year 66 brought forth another of those wonders that embellish the legendary lore of Korea. The king of Sil-la was wakened one night by the loud cackling of a hen, which seemed to come from a forest to the south. A messenger was sent to see what was the cause of the disturbance and he found a box hanging from the branch of a tree, while 0n the ground beneath it there cluttered a white hen. When the box was placed before the king and he had opened it a handsome child was found. It received the name Keum Yun-ji. Some say this Yun-ji was merely a part of the name while others affirm that it is a pure Sil-la word meaning “baby”. Up to this time the kingdom had been called Su-ra-bul but now the King changed it to Kye-rim, Kye meaning “hen” and rim meaning ‘‘woods.” So the kingdom was called “Hen in the Woods”, not a very dignified name but one, perhaps, that fitted well the military prowess of the kingdom.

In 68 Pak-je deemed herself strong enough to undertake [page 141] operations against Sil-la. She began by seizing the fortress of Wa-san. She enjoyed possession of it for nine years but in the end she paid dear, for it was retaken by Sil-la and the Pak-je garrison was put to the sword. This year also saw a continuation of Ko-gu-ryu’s forward policy and the little settlement of Kal-sa which had been made by Pu-yu fugitives was absorbed. She followed this up by the conquest of Chu-ra farther north. Her military strength seems to have been on the rapid increase.

In So the great Suk-t’al-ha died and was succeeded by the son of King Nam-ha. He must have been of advanced age and yet not so old as to prevent his becoming the greatest conqueror that Sil-la ever produced. During the thirty-two years of his reign he added to the Sil-la crown the districts of Eum-jip-pul, Ap-to, Pi-ji, Ta-bul, Ch’o-p’al, and Sil-jik. These together with U-si and Ku-ch’il, which and been added the year before his accession, formed a considerable increase in

the territory of the kingdom and added not a little to Sil-la’s reputation as a military power. This king, P’a-sa, was one of those men who seem to take hold of affairs by the right end and wring success from seeming failure. He was as great an administrator as he was mild a conqueror. He attended so carefully to the needs of the people that it is said that during most of his reign food was so plentiful that the wayfarer needed no money to pay for food or lodgings along the road.

The kingdom of Ka-ya, whose origin we noted in the previous chapter, now assumed the offensive against Sil-la. The first intimation we have of this is the fact that Sil-la in 88 built two forts named Ka-so and Ma-du, the first of which was to guard against the encroachments of Pak-je and the second to guard against those of Ka-ya. It was not till three years later that Ka-ya actually opened hostilities by inaugurating an expedition against Sil-la. As the event is not disclosed by the annalists we may conclude that it was unsuccessful.

Ko-gu-ryu now extended the field of her military operations. She made friends with the people of Ye-mak, to the east, and together with them began a series of raids into Chinese territory beyond the northern borders. The sixth king of Ko-gu-ryu, T’a-jo Wang, had now reached the sixty-ninth year of his reign so he turned over to his brother, Su-sung, [page 142] the administration of affairs. This brother was as ambitions as the king and continued the league with Ye-mak and the encroachments upon China. But he was disloyal to his brother and tried to form a combination against him. In this he was not successful. The reign of this T’a-jo Wang was the longest one on record in Korean annals. He held the scepter ninety-four years, thereby sorely trying the patience of his heir apparent. That gentleman came to the throne at the green old age of seventy-six, in the year 147 A. D. He showed however that his memory had not yet failed him for one of his first acts was to a arrest and put to death all the wise men who had chidden him for attempting to unseat his brother. Ko Pok-chang a celebrated scholar of that day was so overwhelmed in view of this barbarous act that he asked to be destroyed with the rest of the wise men, a wish that was probably granted. One day this singular monarch having seen a white fox cross his path, an evil omen, asked a soothsayer what it might portend. That individual suggested that if the king should reform even the worst of omens would turn out happily. The soothsayer lost his head as a result of his candor; but from that day on, whenever the King wanted to consult a soothsayer he found that they were all engaged in important work at some distant point.

King Il-seung of Sil-la whose reign began 134 was the first to pay attention to the building of good roads throughout the country. In his fifth year he built a road from his capital to Chuk-yun, now Pung-geui, and another one over Kye-ip Pass. These became very important thoroughfares. We also find that his successor continued this good work by opening roads thro to the north of the kingdom. These kings were not many years behind the Romans in recognising the vast importance of good roads both for administrative and military purposes.

The relations between Sil-la and Japan are graphically described in the single statement that when someone circulated in the capital the rumor that a company of Japanese were coming the people fled precipitately from the city until it was half depopulated. When the mistake was discovered they gradually came back.

The interesting legend of Yung-o and Se-o belongs to the year 158, though it scarcely merits the “once upon a time” of [page 143] a nursery tale. Yung-o a poor fisherman lived with his wife Se-o beside the waters of the Japan Sea on the eastern shore of Sil-la. One day as Yung-o was seated on a great boulder beside the water, fishing, he felt the rock tremble and then rise straight in air. He was carried, to his great consternation, eastward across the sea and deposited in a Japanese village. The Japanese folk took him for a god and made him their king at once. When his wife found that he did not return from fishing she went in search of him. Ascending the same rock that had carried him to Japan she experienced the same novel extradition that had so surprised her spouse. She found him metamorphosed into a king and was nothing loath to become queen. But their departure brought disaster to Sil-la for the sun and moon were darkened and the land was shrouded in gloom. The sooth-sayers said it was because someone had gone to Japan, An envoy was sent post haste to those islands in search of the fugitives, but found to his dismay that they had become king and queen of one of the kingdoms there. He told his story and besought them to return, but they seemed well satisfied with the change. Se-o however brought out a roll of silk and gave it to the envoy saying that if the king of Sil-la would spread it out and sacrifice upon it the light would return. The event Droved the truth or her statement and when the king uttered the words of invocation the sunlight burst forth again and all was well. It is an interesting but melancholy fact that most of the arguments used to show a Korean origin of things Japanese are based upon evidence nearly if not quite as credible as this story. The Japanese work entitled the Kojiki bears the same relation to the carefully detailed history of Sil-la that the Niebelungenlied bears to the works of Tacitus.

When the time came for Su-sung, the sanguinary king of Ko-gu-ryu to die a young scapegrace by the name of Ch’a-da came to the throne. His idea of royalty was that it consisted in one long orgie. He attempted to carry out his ideal but was cut short within a year by the assassin’s knife. His motto, in his own words, was “Who does not wish to enjoy life?” Epicureanism may have existed in Korea before but it had never had so frank a disciple. Pak-ko a relative of the murdered king was called from a mountain fastness whither [page 144] he had led for safety. They had to ask him three times before they could convince him that it was not a mere decoy.

By the year 168 either Pak-je had grown so strong or Sil-la so weak that the former deemed it a fit time to make a grand demonstration all along Sil-la’s western border. It is said she carried back a thousand captives to grace her triumph. Sil-la, though filled with rage, was not in condition to return the compliment in kind. She however sent an urgent letter pointing out the advantages of peace and asking that the captives be returned. We may imagine how this was received by the proud army flushed as it must have been by an unwonted victory.

About this time was begun one of the ancient customs of Korea that has ever since exerted an important influence upon the life of the people. While hunting the met a man weeping bitterly and upon being asked what was the matter replied that he had not a grain of food to give his parents. Thereupon the king gave him an order on the government granary with the understanding that when autumn came he should pay it back. Thus originated the whan-sang or custom of making government loans in the spring to be paid back with interest in the autumn. When this king died he was succeeded by the grandson of old Suk-t’al-ha. He took in hand the work of instilling new life into the well-nigh dead bones of Sil-la. His first action was to establish two military stations at the capital so that it might not be at the mercy of the first adventurer that might pass that way. He also ordered the people to pay less attention to the construction of fine government buildings and more to agriculture, the back bone of the state.

Nam-mu the tenth king of Ko-gu-ryu died at night and the queen, desiring to gain an extension of her power, slipped out of the palace and hastened to the house of the king’s oldest brother Pal-gi. She stated the case and urged him to hasten to the palace and assume the royal prerogative. He refused to believe that the king was dead and accused her of immodesty. She then hurried to the house of the younger brother Yun-u and repeated the story. The young man accompanied her and when morning broke it was found that he was established in the palace and ready to meet all comers. Pal-gi raged and cursed. He stormed the palace with his retainers, but being unsuccessful, was fain to beat a retreat to Liao-tung.








[page 145] A Vagary of Fortune.

A Korean Romance.


“Your son will die on his eighteenth birthday precisely at noon.”

Three men were standing on a ledge of rock high up on a mountain side in central Korea. Behind them, built into the side of the cliff, half cave and half hut, was the home of a holy recluse. Before them the sun was sinking to rest behind a serrated line of mountain peaks that formed the. western horizon: but the thoughts of these three men were neither on the hut behind nor on the scene before them. The most striking figure of the three was that of the hermit whose long scanty beard exaggerated the thinness of his face and whose eye, lit by the true ascetic fire, showed the power of mind to out-live matter.

The second figure was that of a high-born Korean, somewhat past middle age, dressed in the flowing robes that make the Korean gentleman the most dignified of all the dwellers in the Far East. The imperiousness of his mien and of his eye showed a man born to command. He was, in sooth, the Prime Minister of Korea. Beside him stood his only son, Sun-chang-i, a boy of fifteen years.

“Your son will die on his eighteenth birthday precisely at noon.”

The Prime Minister had not been able to withstand the temptation to look into the future and assure himself of the boy’s success in life and this doom had been pronounced not by an ordinary fortune-teller, or mudang, but by the saintliest hermit in the land. [page 146]

The father’s face bore a look of defiance against fate itself as he seized the boy’s hand and led him rapidly down the steep path to the valley below where his escort awaited him. But the hermit remained standings on the mountain crag looking away into the distance with prophetic eye, careless alike of life or death.

As an embassy was about to be dispatched to the court at Peking; the Prime Minister secured an appointment in it for the boy and when he set out bade him consult the best diviner in that capital and see if the prophecy would be confirmed.

When Sun-chang-i came before that venerable man and told his story the old man shook his head and said:

“It is true. You must die on your eighteenth birthday” but after looking intently at the boy for some time he seized a pen and wrote a single sentence. Handing it to the boy he said:

“If there is anything that can save you it is that.” Sun-chan-i took it with trembling hands and read the peculiar words.

“It is a great wrong for a nobleman to kill a slave without good cause but how much worse is it for a wife to kill her husband!”

 Pondering this in his mind he turned his foot-steps toward his distant home but the harder he thought the more bewildered he became. What possible relation could there he between him and nobleman’s killing a slave or a wife’s killing her husband? Yet he was willing to use every possible means to avert his fate and so he put the piece of paper in his chumoni or pouch and kept it safe.

While he was absent from home on this journey an event occurred in Korea that had an important bearing upon his career and so we must leave him for the time, and go back to his father’s house.

As the Prime Minister sat in his official reception room attending to the business of the office an attendant entered and announced that there was a criminal case to be considered. A slave had attacked his master and beaten him almost to death. The case was clear. The prisoner himself did not deny the charge. The Minister in his indignation ordered the prisoner to be treated as a capital criminal, to have his [page 147] head struck off, to have his wife strangled and to have his son tortured and finally killed It was done and the whole family was destroyed, as the minister thought; but one member of it had been overlooked. A young girl, named Yi Wha, stood by while her father and mother were executed.

As she witnessed the awful spectacle her very soul seemed to be on fire. All purer and better emotions were dried up within her, the spirit of revenge flooded her whole being and took possession of every part. Life lay before her not full of promise and hope but of black despair, valuable only as it offered an opportunity to avenge the unmerited suffering of her mother and brother. This one ambition took possession of her and her first step showed the depth of its hold upon her. She would not seek a hasty revenue. It should be maturely planned and carried out in such a manner that there should be no possibility of failure. She gathered together her few wretched garments and throwing the bundle over her shoulder started for the country begging her way as she went. She entered the mountainous country to the east and pushed on until she was in the midst of a wild and uninhabited district where she left the road and made her way up the side of a thickly wooded mountain. She searched until she found a comparatively level spot and there she made herself a hut of branches and turf. The next day saw her gathering wood and carrying it to the neighboring village and selling it for a pittance. She also made a little garden beside her hut and planted it, but her main work was the gathering and selling of wood.

A year passed by at the end of which she made a journey to the capital and returned with a beautiful sword hidden beneath her skirt. It represented the earnings of a whole year. From this time on she gathered and sold only enough wood to procure the food that was necessary to keep body and soul together. But she spent a greater part of her time in another and more mysterious manner. She had cleared a round open space in front of her hut and made it smooth and hard and there hour after hour and day after day she girded up her skirt with a rope belt and with the flashing weapon in hand practiced the sword dance. During the intervals of rest she seated her sell before a smooth hard stone and sharpened the sword until its edge was as keen as that of a razor. Her in- [page 148] tention was to perfect herself in the great sword dance until she should be able to surpass the best dancers at the capital and then when she should be called to dance before the high dignitaries of the land her good sword would aid her to avenge on the son of the Prime Minister the deep injury that her family had received of his father’s hands. Ah! that would be better than killing the Prime Minister himself for he had but one son and his death would end the line as her brother’s death had ended their’s.

But we must leave the girl Yi Wha as she sits grinding the edge of her avenging sword or throwing her limbs about in the wild ecstasy of the sword dance, and follow the fortunes of her intended victim.

When the boy San-chang-i reached his home after his journey to China he told his father what the soothsayer had predicted but said nothing about the mysterious sentence which he had received. On hearing this report the old gentleman gave up all hope that the prophecy might be false and surrendered to the inevitable, but he could not bear the constant presence of his son. It was a perpetual source of pain. So he decided to send the boy away from him and never set him again. Under pretense of attending to the boy’s education he sent him to study at a school in a distant part of the country and as he bade him good bye he said:

“Stay at the school until I tell you to return. Do not come back until you receive a specific order from me.”

So Sun-chang-i left his father’s house. He was a diligent and careful student and made rapid progress but the thought of his coming fate constantly arose before his mind. “Of what use is my studying if I am to die on my eighteenth birthday? It would be better for me to spend the few years that remain in travelling and enjoying this good world which I must leave so soon.” As he had no money with which to carry out this resolve he decided to break through the injunction of his father and go up to Seoul and ask for some money with which to travel. What was his father’s surprise therefore to see his son before him. “Pardon me, father, for breaking your commands but consider my position. Doomed to die in two years and a half, of what use are the Chinese classics to me? It would be far better for me to enjoy what little of life is left me in travel and observation. I have therefore come up to Seoul [page 149] to ask you as a last request to give me the means to carry out my plan. I will promise never again to appear before you.” The father immediately fell in with this idea and gave his son a considerable sum of money and sent him off.

The boy immediately set out upon his travels. Southward he wandered to the confines of the land and beyond to the island of Che-ju where under the shadow of old Hal-la San he looked into the fathomless hole from which four thousand years ago the fabled founders of Tam-na rose. Then he visited the ancient site of Sil-la’s capital, and fingered the jade flute that emits no sound if taken beyond the confines of its resting place. He visited the monastery where the rice kettle is so large that the cook has to go out in a boat to stir the rice in the middle. He beheld the eight wonders of the eastern coast, witnessed the battle of wild cats and rats on the island of Ul-leung, dreamed away a month among the monasteries of Diamond Mountain, saw the reflection of his face in Ki-ja’s well a jar of whose waters is a pound heavier than that of any other water in the land. But the boy was restless and dissatisfied ever wishing that the terrible secret of his fate had not been made known, to him, ever pondering the enigmatical words upon the piece of paper which he still preserved. Finally his wanderings led him among the rugged mountains of the province of Kang Wun celebrated in Korean story for their grandeur and beauty. Here in the contemplation of nature he found more peace than he had known for many a month. It seemed to reconcile him to his fate.

One afternoon he lingered longer than was his wont among the mountains and when he turned back toward the little hamlet where he lodged, night was already coming on. Before he had accomplished half the distance darkness had settled down upon him. The path grew indistinct and presently he became aware that he had wandered from it. On each side towered high wooded slopes dimly visible against the half clouded heavens. Sun-chang-i sat down on the root of a great pine and tried to decide what it would be best to do in this predicament, but before he reached a conclusion his eye caught the glimmer of a fire far up the opposite height.

“Ah! there is the hut of some hunter or wood gatherer and I must seek its shelter for the night.” [page 150]

Suiting the action to the word he forced his way through underbrush and over fallen trees straight up the side of the mountain until he found himself in a small cleared spot beside the house. But a curious sight arrested his attention and made him stop before announcing himself. At one side of a circular spot of hard trodden earth in front of the house burned the bright fire of pine knots which had attracted his attention from below. But in the center of the open spot and facing the fire stood a young girl, her hair flying loosely over her shoulders, her arms bare and her skirt girded up so as to give free action to the limbs. Poised in her nana she held a glittering sword whose polished surface reflected the blaze of the fire.

Slowly she raised it until it pointed toward the zenith than her other hand rose slowly, to a horizontal position. Slowly her lithe form swayed from side to side. Slowly her body turned to right and left trembling with suppressed emotion. Then her motions became more animated. She turned completely around with a light quick step then sprang to the right and left and presented the sword as if in a contest. Quicker and quicker she turned, faster and faster she struck and parried while the glittering sword seemed in the flashing rays of the fire to make a halo of diamond light about her head. Faster and faster she sped, fast and faster fell the blows, when, at the very climax of her frenzy, she gave a bound like a wounded tigress to the edge of the ring and buried half the blade in a rotten log which lay beside the fire. Leaving the weapon quivering in the log she covered her face with her hands and fell to the ground crying:

“I am avenged! avenged!”

Long she lay there as in a swoon and long the boy stood gazing in wonder not unmixed with fear at the startling spectacle. He had seen the sword dance before but never danced like this, never with such a thrilling ending. The fury of that last thrust and the flash of her eye as the weapon sank-into the wood made his flesh creep with horror for just so might a man pierce his deadliest foe. But at last he felt the necessity of making his presence known. Approaching into the ring he gave a low cough to attract the girl’s attention and he succeeded better than he had expected. She [page 151] sprang to her feet with a scream of terror, snatched the sword from its unnatural sheath and faced the intruder like a tigress at bay.

“Who and what are you?” she panted.

“I am only a belated traveller who has lost his way. I saw the light of your fire from the valley below and I made my way here to beg your hospitality for the night. I meant no harm.” Yi Wha stood a moment gazing at him incredulously but finally let fall the point of her sword and answered:

“But I am a woman and alone; how can I offer you the hospitality of this miserable hut?”

“True, but when I saw your fire from below how was I to know? However, I will not enter you hut. Let me only lie here by the fire until the morning. I ask nothing more.”

“No” replied the girl “You must occupy the hut and I will stay here by the fire. I am accustomed to such a life while I see that you have lived in better circumstances and the exposure would be more difficult for to bear.” So she prevailed upon him to occupy the hut while she seated herself beside the fire and watched out the long hours of the night. But neither of them could sleep. He could not banish from his mind that flashing eye, that splendid from, proud as a queen’s though, clad in rustic garb. She was the first being that had been able to stir him from the deep despondency into which the knowledge of his overhanging fate had plunged him.

“Ah! if I could only rest here forever! If I could only pursuade this wild creature to be my wife how willingly would I share the hardships of her mountain life!”

The girl likewise pondered upon the singular encounter, the young man’s delicacy and his evident nobility of character. Softer feelings for the time drove out the hateful thoughts which she had cherished so long. “Alas, if I had not been chained to the awful destiny in store for me; if it had been my lot to be the happy wife of some honest, generous man like this, how my worthless life might have blossomed into hope.” And so the long hours passed until the morning broke, which brought Sun-chang-i one day nearer to his doom and Yi Wha one day nearer her revenge.             _

When he emerged from the hut he found her busily pre- [page 152] paring the morning meal. They saluted each other with evident embarrassment, the result of their mutual thoughts about each other, but as Sun-chang-i busied himself in helping his hostess their restraint wore off and soon they were conversing as freely and affably as if they had been old acquaintances. They shared the frugal repast, Sun-chang-i drawing it out as long as possible; but when it was done he had no possible excuse for staying longer so he reluctantly said good-bye, after thanking the girl for her kindness, and wended his way down the mountain to the nearest village where he determined to spend a few days in hopes of meeting again his mountain hostess. Every day his eye scanned the road along which she must come, but she did not appear. He felt an inexplicable longing to see her again and when a week had passed it had grown to such proportions that he decided that he would invent some means by which he could communicate with her. He know that in his present guise she would look upon him with great suspicion for his dress and language both betrayed his noble birth. He did not care to conceal his identity but only to allay her suspicion as to his intentions.

So he purchased a common woodman’s dress and swinging an axe over his shoulder struck into the forest and made his way toward Yi Wham’s cabin. But before he reached it the sound of an axe greeted his ears and presently he caught sight of his interesting friend striking lusty blows at the body of a thick pine. On her face there was the same stern look as when she drove the sword point into the rotten log, as if each blow of the axe severed the head of a deadly enemy, and when the great tree came crashing to the ground there was the same fierce look of unholy triumph.

When she caught sight of him she started violently and the tell-tale blood came surging up to her face, while the only words that she could frame were:

“You here!”

“Yes, I am here” he answered “but come, sit down with me on this tree that you have just felled and let me tell you why I am here and in these garments.”

Her eyes fell before his glance and she seemed inclined to turn and fly but by a strong effort she controlled herself and quietly sat down on the mossy trunk. [page 153]

“Now listen,” he said “You and I are two honest people, however strange our present position may be when compared with the usual conventionalities; but there is something in each of our lives that sets us apart from ordinary men, something that frees us from conventional standards, I am born of a noble family, but for no fault of my own I am cast out, ostracized, disowned, I am a wanderer without house or home. What avails my nobility? I should be driven from my father’s door were I to return. I have no means with which to live as becomes my birth and so it happens that I have cast off my nobleman’s clothes and am dressed as becomes my worldly position but I retain my high blood and my intrinsic nobility. These are not incompatible with a life of manual labor. But why do I say this to you? Because I have seen that your real nobility of mind is as much higher than your birth as my birth is higher than my present position, so you are every bit my equal and I ask you to be my wife, to let me share the toil of this rugged life with you, to lean upon you, if need be, until these hands unused to toil shall become hardened to the plow and axe, hoping for the time when you shall lean on me. Answer me. Will you be my wife?”

 Who shall describe the conflict that was raging in her heart. Love beating at the portal where revenge held sway. On the one hand her lover’s ardent gaze and on the other those accusing eyes of her murdered father! Love and duty! One or the other she must choose; both she could not. She scorned herself that this new feeling, this strange warm feeling whose life was just begun and might be counted in hours should dispute the empire of her heart with that despot, Revenge, which had been her only hope and aim for years, No! she could not give it up. She turned to her lover.

“You do not know what you ask. Let me tell you once for all that mine is a devoted life; devoted to one terrible object that before many years have passed must be accomplished and once accomplished must sweep my life with it to a doom I dread to contemplate. I cannot tell you all. Let it suffice that ere two years are passed I shall have surrendered up my life to a noble cause. Yet do not mistake me or deem me insensible of the love you offer me. Were it not for another over- [page 154] mastering passion that holds me in its power I feel that I could love you as few men have ever been loved. Oh that I had never met you.” She covered her face with her hands and wept aloud while her whale frame shook with the intensity of her emotion. While Sun-chang-i waited for this paroxysm to pass he was busily revolving in his mind what he should say. When she could listen he said:

“I have not told you all. I, too, am doomed to die before two years have passed. Here is still another evidence that Heaven has destined us for each other. There are two years of life before us. Let us live them together. Even the knowledge of our impending fate cannot rob us of the happiness of that short interval, for we are not of those who fear death. I promise you that when the time corals for the fulfillment of your mission whatever it may be I will not detain you an instant. Together we will cast off these human bonds and who can tell but we shall meet hereafter, our several missions accomplished, to renew this sweetest of all relationships that I ask you to form. Come. Will you not live the remaining fragment of your life with me?”

Then love renewed the battle against vengeance and won.

“Why should I not yield?” she said to herself, “He absolves me from all obligation after two years are expired. Why should I not in the meantime take just one taste of the happiness of life? If only I perform my dreadful task at last all will be well; besides he too is destined to an early death and so I shall not leave him to mourn my loss.” She turned and put her hand in his while her glorious eyes thrilled him through and through with a nameless delight as she softy answered.

“Yes, I will be your wife to honor and love you. Only this, when my time has come I must go and do my work. If you will let me put that duty first, the duty to a dead father, I will be yours in all else. I would not dare to do it were it not that you will not survive me long to mourn my loss.”

So, beneath the forest trees, these lovers plighted their troth. How little did the maiden think when she made that one condition that the man she was to kill was the very one to whom she had pledged her love and from whom she had exacted the promise that in nothing would he hinder her in the [page 155] performance of her dreadful task whatever it might be. A quiet unpretentious wedding at the house of one of her acquaintances sealed their mutual compact and together they took up their abode in the mountain hut.


(Concluded in the next number.)



The Introduction of Chinese into Korea,




Documents relating to the introduction and the use of Chinese characters in Korea are few in number. The Sam-guk Sa-geui, a work written in Chinese in the eleventh century does however mention several interesting facts which show that the history of Chinese writing differs for the various states then occupying the Peninsula. Ko-gu-ryu, situated to the north-west, appears to have extended at certain periods over a considerable part of what is to-day Manchuria; by its very position it had relationships in the way of commerce and war with the Kingdoms of North China, and so it is in the territory of Ko-gu-ryu that legend and history fix the site of the governments of Tan-gun*, Keui-ja† and Wi-man‡. The last two of these were Chinese refugees, and so with them should we find the first appearance of civilization, at least the Chinese form of it.

The Sam-guk Sa-geui mentions that in 600 A. D., it being the eleventh year of King Yung-yang§, the Prince commanded Yi Mun-jin, a doctor of the College of Literati, to epitomize the ancient histories of the country. Yi Mun-jin wrote a work of five volumes on the subject. The Sam-guk Sa-geui adds the following words: “Since the origin, of the Kingdom, characters have been in use, for at that time there existed one hundred volumes of memoirs, written by different persons, called Yu-geui. At this time the text was revised


T.G.T’.G.―Tong-guk T’ong-gam, 東國通鑑 S.G.S.G.―Sam-guk Sa-geui, 三國史記 *檀君 †箕子 ‡衛滿 §嬰陽 [page 156]


and fixed.” The antiquity of at least a limited use of Chinese characters in the country is further supported by the fact that from the time of T’a-ja*, who ascended the throne in 53 A. D., the names of kings are all explainable in Chinese; till toward the end of the fourth century the Chinese expression made use or is at the same time the name of the sovereign and that of the locality where his tomb is situated; the designations or special names of the kings are, on the other hand, Buddhistic. It was in 372 A. D, the second year of King So Su-rim† that the new religion was introduced into Ko-gu-ryu and it led to a revival of Chinese study. Buddhistic books were introduced and the King established a school called Ta-hak for the teaching of young people (T.G.T’.G.IV, 4; S.G.S. G. XVIII 3)

For the Kingdom of Pak-che, situated at the South of Ko-gu-ryu, on the west side of Korea, the Sam-guk Sa-geui limits itself to noting from some more ancient documents that in the reign of Keum So-jo (346-375 A. D.) they began to use writing to note down events (S.G.S.G.XXIV.) Is this only a question concerning the origin of written annals? Would it not seem unlikely that a Kingdom possessing the art of writing had existed more than three centuries and a half without its even having occurred to anyone to note down important events? I should be inclined to think, for my part, that writing was known nothing of till this time, and that it was brought by Buddhist missionaries who then went everywhere throughout the Peninsula. (T.G.T’.G.IV.7.) It is only a hundred years later that the names of the kings of Pak-che cease to be simple transcriptions without sense in Chinese, and take the form of temple names; particular names in Pak-che as in Ko-gu-ryu remain about all, till the absorption of these states by Sil-la, pure and simple transcriptions.

It is true that ancient Japanese, works on history date the arrival of the scholar Wa-ni (Wang-in) at 285 A, D. He was a native of Pak-che and brought with him the Analects and the Thousand Character Classic. This statement has been accepted by the greater number of European scholars, but Mr. Aston has proven that many of the ancient Japanese an-


*太祖 小獸林 [page 157]


nals are not worthy of confidence; in particular he has shown that all the period of relationship between Pak-che and Japan has been interpolated by ancient Japanese authors, in such a way as to fill up the gaps in the half fabulous chronology which they find in the traditions. On this point he is of the same mind as the Japanese scholar Motoori. Mr. Aston brings down the events of this period two cycles or one hundred and twenty years. The introduction of Chinese characters into Japan would then have taken place at the end of the fifth century and this, date coincides very nearly with that of the use of writing in Pak-che, As to the name of the Thousand Character Classic mentioned at this time, there need be no difficulty, since the work seems to have been a first edition, before that of the sixth century which has come down to us.

Sil-la, occupying the south-east of the Peninsula, was more distant from China than its neighbors and extended along eastern regions still barbarian. It is strange indeed to read in the Sam-guk Sa-geui (1. 6) that King Yu-ri, in the ninth year of his reign (32 A. D.,) gave to the inhabitants of the six cantons of his Kingdom, Chinese family names, Yi, Ch’oe, Son, Chong, Pa and Sul, the three royal families being called Pak, Suk and Kim. If the correctness of these assertions is proven, we would conclude from it that there was a knowledge of Chinese characters on the part of the people of Sil-la at this remote period. We must not fail to mention as proof in support of this the history of those Chinese who came to the country of Chin-han, in order to escape the tyranny of the Emperor Chi of Tshin and who gave to the country, on landing, the very name of the dynasty that chased them from their native land. Chinese authorities have in fact made the two names Chin and Tshin to agree. We might also mention the refugees from north Korea, the state of Keui-ja which was Chinese in origin as referred to in the opening lines of the Sam-guk Sa-geui. But all this is the shifting region of legend; in fact as one runs through the Sam-guk Sa-geui, it is not before the end of the sixth century that we commence to find Chinese, names for people. Till that time all the names made use of have the unmistakable appearance of words transcribed from a foreign language. The three royal names of Pak, Suk and Kim are to be found, it is true, dating from the [page 158] sixth century, but the explanation in the Sam-guk on the subject of these names shows clearly that Chinese characters were used to represent the native word which they resembled in sound. This is true, at any rate, in two cases out of the three. Moreover what is the documentary value of the Sam-guk Sa-geui for this remote period? This is a question which I shall examine later.

Even though the family names in question had been in use since the founding of the Kingdom, it does not prove that Chinese characters had been employed since that time in the country. If we admit as a fact the statement of an ancient Chinese immigration, it would not be astonishing that the descendants of these fugitives, in forgetting almost all the culture of their mother country and with it the art of writing, had preserved the simplest customs of their civilization and before everything else the family names, and even a tradition of the mysterious signs representing them. But that is only a supposition, and the fact drawn from the reading of the Sam-guk is that up to the second half of the sixth century the names were not in use.

On examination of the proper names of the kings of Sil-la it appears that before the reign of Sil-sung* who ascended the throne in 402 A. D. they were transcribed from a foreign language; the very name Sil-sung has a Chinese appearance. That of his successor has two forms of spelling and seems indeed to be a transcription of Korean. Cha-pi† who reigned from 458 to 479 might have taken his name from Buddhistic books; but the two designations of the King following (479-500), the one at last Pi-cho‡, has nothing of Chinese about it. Apart from these the names employed to designate the kings are easily explainable and resemble the names of Chinese temples.

It was King Chi-cheung, in 503, who abandoned for the first time his Korean little Ma-rip-gan for the Chinese title Wang. At the same time the chief officials asked of him that he fix definitely the name of the Kingdom. Till then they had called it Sa-ra§, Sa-ro|| and Sil-la¶, but now they were of the opinion that the last appellation should he held to, for Sin


*實聖 †慈悲 ‡毗處 §斯羅 ||斯盧 ¶新羅 [page 160]


Kingdom of Sil-la does not seem to have profited by the progress of civilization until later, after Japan, in the course of the sixth century.

Now to what extent are the statements that I have made on the authority of the Sam-guk Sa-geui to be depended on? That is to say, what is the documentary value of this work? It was written by a nigh officer of the court of the Kings of Ko-ryu, Kim Pu-sik*, who lived at the end of the eleventh century and at the beginning of the twelfth, two centuries and a half after the disappearance of the three kingdoms whose history he wrote, at a time when the monarchy of Ko-ryu had borrowed much from the Songs of China. The ancient language and institutions were forgotten or no longer understood, more because of the contempt felt by the literati of the Chinese school for their barbarian ancestors than in consequence of opposition between Ko-ryu, the northern and military monarchyand Sil-la the Kingdom of the south which was the last survival of the Hans. The tribes of Ka-ya†, and the Kingdoms of Pak-che and Ko-gu-ryu absorbed by Sil-la in the sixth and seventh centuries were still more than ever forgotten These diverse circumstances were somewhat unfavorable to the compilation of an exact and impartial history; however, we must not lose sight of the fact that the Sam-guk Sa-geui is the most ancient Korean work existing on the history of the country. The authenticity has never been questioned, the style is simple and bears marks of antiquity and good faith, the plan of the work is very clear and throughout imitative of the historical memoirs of Ta Ma-ch’un.

Besides this work having been prepared by royal order Kim Pu-sik must have had at his disposal all documents then existing which have today disappeared. He mentions some of them without giving anywhere a complete list, and as he has not included in his work any chapters on literary history, deviating in this respect from Chinese models, we have on ancient literature only fragmentary notes few in number. We know at least that Kim Pu-sik consulted them as well as the archives and other documents and we stats that his work is in accord throughout with Chinese histories and with some


*金富軾 †伽倻 [page 161]


ancient Korean works of a later period yet sufficiently remote to be drawn from the same source. What then was the degree of correctness of the documents that Kim Pu-sik had? Among books and archives of whatever kind, if those which relate to Ko-gu-ryu seem to date indirectly from the very origin of the Kingdom, they do not go further back than the end of the fourth century for Pak-che and the commencement of the sixth for Sil-la, for it is at this double epoch that Chinese writing was. introduced and developed in South Korea, as I have shown above and as Ma Toan-lin states, and nowhere does there exist any trace or mention of writing used before this time. Then all the most ancient history rests on simple oral tradition, most uncertain. This will explain the doubtful points, the miraculous doings, the lack of definite information for the first four or five centuries of Korean history. The cyclical characters of the years which are found at the beginning of the Sam-guk could very easily be added after it was done, as has taken place for the early history of China and Japan; the astronomical phenomena noted might furnish a verification. Mr. Aston has made an attempt at this process but without any result.

But the fact that engages my attention at this moment, namely the introduction of writing, marks precisely the limit between oral tradition and written history. Little time passed by till the art unknown till then to Koreans was applied to the recording of events: the annals of Pak-che date from the very introduction of Buddhism into the peninsula, those of Sil-la commence seventeen years after the first definite preaching of the Hindoo religion in the Kingdom. These facts stated of the Sam-guk on the subject of the. first transplanting of characters are worthy of confidence on the same score as all later events and without being subject to the doubt that I have mentioned with regard to the ancient history of Korea.

What was first brought by the Buddhist monks were the books of their religion: then followed the Chinese Classics, various historical works, works 0n astronomy, astrology, medicine and some Taoist books. The indications that I have found from Ma Toan-lin and among Korean authors on the subject of books brought from China are to be found in the Bibliographie in the places assigned by the nature of the [page 162] works to which they relate. These are the works that have been studied by Koreans especially in the College of Literati established by the different Kings of the peninsula. They were also in the hands of the Wha-rang, young people chosen by the Kings of Sil-la for their grace and intelligence, taught physical exercise and all intellectual elegance and called then to the highest offices. These works were made the object of examination, begun in Sil-la at the end of the eighth century. Sons of influential families devoted themselves with earnestness to Chinese study; from 640 Koreans went to study in China. The most celebrated statesmen of Sil-la such as Kim Heum-un, Kim Yu-sin and Kim In-mun, the last a son of the King, were celebrated for the extent of their literary knowledge.

Not content with studying foreign books Koreans endeavored to write in the language of their instructors. The Mun-hun Pi-go quotes a phrase written in Chinese taken from the annals of the Kingdom of Ka-rak, without stating whether the quotation is drawn directly from the annals, which would seem little likely, or whether it was mentioned in another work. However that may be, this Kingdom having submitted to Sil-la in 532 A. D. it follows that before this date there were Koreans of the south able to write in Chinese. The passages that the Sam-guk draws from the annals of the three Kingdoms and from other ancient memoirs, the texts of decrees and petitions that it repeats are in the same language; a little later it is in Chinese that the King of Sil-la corresponds with the governor sent by the Tangs. There is no noticeable difference between the style employed by the Koreans and that of the Chinese of the same period: perhaps originally Chinese were employed as official secretaries in the peninsula as seems to have been frequently the case with the Tartar people of the north of China; perhaps the Korean writer limited himself to copying phrases from Chinese books and inserting them from end of end. The Japanese of antiquity were very expert in this sort of mosaic. Mr. Satow says that they came to treating subjects purely native without using a phrase that had not been taken from Chinese works. It might not be impossible that it was from facts of this kind that the tradition was handed down which makes Ch’oe Ch’i-wun the [page 163] first Korean who wrote Chinese and that until him they had confined themselves to phrases taken entire from authors.


(To be continued.)



Odds and Ends.


Exorcising Spirits.         

The Korean practice of driving out evil spirits is well illustrated at the American gold mines at Un-san in the north, whenever a Korean miner is killed in the mine. The Koreans suppose that his death is caused by some spirit of the earth who feels himself aggrieved in some way or for some cause. No sooner does the accident occur than all the miners come flocking from the shaft, and work is at a complete standstill until the matter is adjusted. It ordinarily takes an hour and a half or two hours to get things back to a working basis. The wife of the dead man or his nearest female relative is summoned to the mouth of the mine. Live chickens and pigs are brought in goodly numbers. The miners provide themselves with rude drums or kettle-pans or anything else that will produce a loud sound, while some arm themselves with brooms. When these preparations are complete the chickens are tied fast and thrown one by one down the empty shaft, and the pigs are treated the same way. At the same time the woman kneels at the edge of the shaft and holds her hand as far down in it as she can reach, with the thumb and fore-finger pinched tightly together. It is supposed that she has gotten hold of the evil spirit. Meanwhile they all listen to the sounds that come up the shaft from the immolated animals and when they hear the right sound they all give a loud shout and the woman draws out her hand as if she were drawing out the spirit. The thumb and fore-finger are still tightly held together. At this point the miners begin to beat the woman severely and the tom-toms and drums beat and the sweepers sweep the floor and the air as if sweeping out the evil influence. The woman is beaten till so exhausted that she can no longer hold thumb and finger together and her hand opens. This means that the spirit has been exorcised and soon the miners go back quietly to their work.

[page 164]


The Shogun.     

The Shogun of Japan is known among Koreans as the Kwan-bak. The story of the origin of this term Kwan-bak may not be known to many of of our readers and so we venture to give it here. In the reign of Emperor So-je of the Former Han dynasty in China that august ruler was aided in the administration of the government by a celebrated Prime Minister named Kwak Kwang who; singularly enough, was unacquainted with the Chinese characters. This man attained to such an eminence that no business could be brought to the notice of the Emperor without first passing through his hands. This became stereotyped into the phrase Sun kwan bak kwang which means “First make the matter known to Kwang.” The two middle words of this formula, Kwan-bak, were applied to the Shogun, for while the Mikado was the nominal Supreme Ruler of Japan practically the government of that country rested in the Shogun.


Small Pox.        

The Koreans call the Small-pox fiend Ho-gu Pyul-sang and this means the Fierce Fickle Fiend. He is wont to come and stay thirteen days. Note the unfortunate number. To get rid of him the Koreans make the “counterfeit presentment” of a horse of sali wood and beside it they place a tempting array of bread and other food whereby they try to induce the fiend to eat and then mount the horse and ride away. Out of this custom has arisen the saying Sali-mal-t’a, “give him a sali-wood horse to ride.” This is used of any one whose visits are frequent and inconveniently long―in other words a bore.


Question and Answer.

(9) Question. Is there such a thing as a genuine hereditary nobility in Korea?

Answer. Theoretically the line of demarcation between the Yang-ban and the Sang-nom classes is very distinct but practically there has been so much intermixture that the line is a very broad one. This intermixture however has taken place very largely during the last hundred years. It was not so long ago that every Korean of the lower class was a serf [page 165] owing service to some neighborhood gentleman and for whose good conduct that gentleman was, within certain bounds, responsible. But within the ranks of veritable Yang-bans there are widely different degrees of nobility. There are doubtless many who can trace their descent straight back a thousand or fifteen hundred years and who have always been specially eligible for office but so far as we know there is no such thing as a patent of nobility in Korea and the Yang-ban class as a whole forms far too great a proportion of the entire population to be called “the nobility” in any such sense as the titled class hi England, for instance, are so called.

(10) Question. What is the origin and nature of the custom called Po-sam.

Answer. There are two answers to this question neither of which are highly complimentary to the Korean. The less objectionable one is this:―Several hundred years ago this custom “broke out” in Korea for it was a sort of epidemic like witch burnings and Jew baitings in lands far to the west. It was customary to consult soothsayers to find out whether the life of a prospective bride would be a happy one, especially in cases where the young woman came from, a noble and wealthy family. If the fortune-teller announced that she would become a widow an attempt would be made to thwart the fates by having recourse to the Po-sam. The day before the real wedding was to take place a young boy would be inveigled into entering the bride’s house and there he would be seized and compelled to go through a mock marriage ceremony with the prospective bride. After this was done he would be immediately strangled and the body would be smuggled out of the house under cover of the night. The young woman having thus become a widow has supposably fulfilled the prediction of the soothsayer and on the morrow can proceed to her real marriage without fear.

It happened that about the time this grewsome fad was in vogue the Government pierced the wall of Seoul with a gate on the slopes of Nam-san between what is now called the Su-gu-mun and the top of the mountain. It was called the Little South Gate or Nam-so-mun. Someone happened to notice the juxtaposition of the two events and the geomancers after solemn examination of the spot declared that the making of [page 166] this gate had liberated evil spirits from the ground and it was through their influence that this evil custom had arisen. The gate was forthwith closed and “consequently,” according to native belief, the custom soon died out. The word Po-sam is derived from two native words meaning respectively a blanket and to wrap, referring obviously to the manner in which the unfortunate boy was destroyed. An examination of the wall of Seoul in the vicinity indicated will show the place where the gate was walled up.



Editorial Comment.


WM. E. GRIFFTS, D. D., the well-known author of “The Hermit Nation,” in a letter to the Review makes some suggestions of great value which are so concisely worded that we cannot do better than quote them verbatim. He asks if information cannot be given about:—

(1)Any relics or remembrances of Hendrik Hamel or his companions.

(2)A historical notice of the Korean Repository.

(3)How P’yung-yang looks today, etc., etc.

(4)The American Expedition of 1871 from the Korean standpoint.

(5)Song-do, its present aspect and its past history.

(6)The railroad route between Seoul and Fusan.

(7)The route between Seoul and Eui-ju.

(8)The Miryuk or stone images.

(9)Fauna and marine life.

(10)Old battle flags, mural pictures, nature worship, etc.

(11)A special article devoted to each of the eight original provinces.

(12)Folklore, etc.

(13)Translation of Korean novels.

(14)Street Songs.

(15)Foreign Legations.

(16)Material progress.

It will be noticed that we have given attention already to one or two of these subjects but we have here a valuable list of questions all of which are of the greatest interest.

[page 167]

The new imperial palace has been steadily growing in size by the purchase and inclusion of surrounding properties. The government, which means practically the Household Department, desired to include the Customs premises in the palace grounds but, without apparently estimating the difficulties involved in the removal and proper bestowal of the accumulated archives of such an institution as the Imperial Customs, and the housing of those in charge of them, it asked Dr. J. McLeavy Brown to vacate the premises on the shortest possible notice. As this was manifestly impossible, he made the very reasonable and necessary request that time be given for the arrangements to be made but without refusing to accede to the demands of the government when kept within the limits of the possible.

Thereupon Dr. Brown was informed that the government had decided to dispense with his services. As everyone knows, the matter assumed an international significance as well it might in view of the very high standing of the parties involved and in view of that which could be read between the lines of the whole transaction. The arguments were conclusive and the government was induced to withdraw its demand.

It hardly needs be said that the Imperial Customs has always been a financial sheet anchor to windward for the Korean ship of state. It has been a great and valuable conservative element among the fluctuations of what we might call experimental finance in the peninsula. By wise forethought and frequently misunderstood economy Dr. Brown was able to pay off several millions of government debt to Japan and thus extricate Korea from a serious situation. It his conservatism has seemed draconic it must be remembered that such conservatism was needed to counterbalance an equal extreme in the opposite direction and effect a healthful equilibrium.

The Customs of Korea have had a steady and healthy growth and very few mistakes have been made. Now that the government has obtained a loan of five million dollars from France the value of the Customs comes to the fore for it forms the only security that is satisfactory to the creditors. At such a time it is necessary that the customs should be administered as they have been and in such a way that the receipts [page 168] can be applied without fail to the liquidation of those debts, whose liquidation forms the basis and proof of Korea’s solvency.

The government claims that much of the blame for the misunderstanding lies with Kim Kyu-heui who acted as interpreter between Dr. Brown and the Palace and in consequence he has been banished for ten years to Ch’ul-do, an island off Whang-ha Province.

The Korean government is to be congratulated on its wise determination to retain in the highest post within its gift a man like J. McLeavy Brown whose nationality and whose known sentiments proclaim him to be unalterably in favor of Korean autonomy.

We may be pardoned for trespassing thus far into the field of politics, for this is a matter that touches Korea’s welfare so nearly that not to mention it would lay us open, to the charge of remissness.



News Calendar.


W. H. Emberley has secured a foreign house in close proximity to the terminal station of the Seoul-Fusan Railroad and is opening it as a foreign hotel. It will meet a long felt want and we wish him all success in the venture.

Rev. Arthur Brown D. D., Secretary of the Presbyterian Mission Board arrived in Seoul on the 23rd. He intends to travel in the interior and inspect the work of the mission in Whang-ha and P’yung-an Provinces.

The Japanese Minister, Mr. Hyashi, has approached the Government in regard to permission to establish a system of wireless telegraphy on the coast and also to lay submarine cables between several of the ports.

On the 12th inst, the Military School, at whose head is the energetic Gen. Yi Hak-kyun, enjoyed a very successful field day at the Hong-je-wun in the valley beyond the Peking Pass. A goodly number of foreigners were present and enjoyed the sham-fight which took place in the morning. In the afternoon there was rifle practice in which the foreign guests were invited to participate and from which resulted a good deal of fun in spite of an occasional sore shoulder. [page 169]

March 27th was the birthday of His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince. The Diplomatic and Consular body and the foreign employees of the government were received in audience in the morning and had the pleasure of wishing the Prince long life and happiness.

We note with satisfaction that the Korean Religious Tract Society has decided to issue an occasional Bulletin to serve as an advertising medium and a means of communication be-tween the officers and the members of the Society. This ought to increase the interest of the general membership in the important work of this Society. Several amendments to the constitution have been proposed which will put the Society on a better working basis.

The first of a series of Chinese Readers for use in native Schools has just been published. It is from the pen of Rev. Jas. S. Gale. It is well adapted to the end in view and will much facilitate the study of Chinese. There can be no doubt that the enormous number of Chinese derivatives in Korean renders necessary a study of Chinese words but we hold the opinion as heretofore, that this can be done without the use of the Chinese Character just as an English speaking person can know what a gymnast, a physician, a policy, a machine, a plutocrat or an architect is without knowing the Greek alphabet or the Greek language, from which they are derived. The roots on which these borrowed words are based can be studied as well in English; so the Chinese words can be learned as well, if not better, without the time-wasting toil of learning the ideograms. The Korean language and literature would deserve a written medium of their own even if there were as yet no alphabet; how much more then do they deserve it when Korea possesses an almost perfect alphabet which only hide-bound prejudice and caste feeling have spurned as common. As if the best things in the world were not common! We have nothing but words of praise for the book to which we refer when once we admit the wisdom of the policy of which it is the outcome but here we hesitate.

In preparing the new tomb for the late Queen it was found that the rock came near to the surface at the point where the grave was to have been. This, according to the laws of Korean geomancy, was an unpropitious sign and render- [page 170] ed the place quite unsuitable. A very large sum of money had been expended on it, which of course is lost. It was reported that two of the geomancers who recommended the site committed suicide but this appears to have been an exaggeration. At any rate sixteen geomancers have been arrested in connection with the affair and they are being examined under torture to find out who is responsible. It is reported that another site will be selected not far from the same place.

It is with profound regret that we are obliged to record the death, at Mok-po on the twelfth instant, of Mrs. Eugene Bell after an illness of only three days. Rev. and Mrs. Bell have been for the past seven years members of the American Presbyterian Mission, South, and they both came from Kentucky. Mrs. Bell was the daughter of Rev Dr. Witherspoon, a name well known throughout the Middle West. The body was brought to the foreign cemetery and interred on the afternoon of the 19th inst. She left two little children, one five years old and the other two. Mr. and Mrs. Bell resided for some years in Seoul and have a wide circle of acquaintances and friends who will always remember them with the deepest interest. Mr. Bell is leaving for America immediately but we trust that his absence will be only temporary.

On the 16th inst. the Korean Ministers to England, Italy, Germany and France started for their posts. Kim Man-su was accredited to France, Min Yung-don to England and Italy and Min Ch’ul-hun to Germany. Before their departure arrangements for their support had been provided for only the space of one month after their arrival at their respective posts, just how it is going to be done does not yet appear but we trust the success of the enterprise will not be jeopardized by lack of funds. Cho Min-heui the newly appointed minister to the United States left Seoul on the 19th inst.

Hon. Wm. H. Stevens of New York has been appointed Korean Consul-General in America in place of Everett Frazar Esq. deceased.

A party of mounted Chinese brigands raided the town of Mu-san on the northern border during the latter part of March. The Korean garrison gave them a very lively time of it, for the raiders were driven back with a loss of thirty killed and [page 171] wounded. The Korean loss was twenty in killed and wounded. It appears that the Korean soldier can stand up successfully against an enemy when the two sides are fairly matched.

The three years concession for lumbering on the north-eastern border, which was granted to a Russian firm three years ago has been extended twenty years.

Song Ki-un the Korean Minister to Japan who returned to Seoul on April 3rd was immediately reappointed to the same post.

It is an interesting fact that the newly appointed ministers to Europe and America were obliged to cut off their hair and dress in European style. When this condition was made known to Kim Man-su he averred that he would rather throw up the position than cut off his top-knot. For this he was subjected to a deal of good natured badinage and finally succumbed to the argument that as a great many men had been willing to give their lives for their country he surely ought not to let a mere top-knot stand in the way of such ail important public service.

The Prime Minister, Yun Yong-sun resigned and Sim Sun-t’ak was appointed in his place.

Ten thousand rifles and a million rounds of ammunition were landed at Chemulpo on March 20th for use in the Korean Army.

All the money needed for the Seoul Fusan R. R. has been subscribed twice over and so this important work is removed from the field of possibilities and takes its place among the certainties of the near future. May the time soon come when we shall no longer be at the mercy of the tides, the fogs and the other dangers and inconveniences of the western coast of Korea.

An attempt has been made to rehabilitate the Imperial Mint which burned last month. Sufficient machinery was saved to carry on the minting of nickels at the rate of $6o0o, worth a day. Some of the damaged machinery was sent to Japan to be repaired.

On the ninth inst. the British Minister, J. H. Gubbins, C.M.G. presented to His Imperial Majesty the Order of the [page 172] Grand Commander of the Indian Empire. It is said that the document accompanying this decoration was one of the very last of this kind which the late Queen Victoria signed with her own hand.

Prof Martel of the French School and Prof Bolljahn of the German School have arranged to teach French and German in the Imperial Military School. This is an important departure and one that should be of great value to the School and to the Korean army. English is also taught in the school under the supervision of the principal, Gen. Yi Hak-kyun.

A complaint was lodged with the Minister of Law by the people of Nam-p’o in Ch’ung Ch’ung Province alleging that Yang Kyu-t’a, An Chong-hak, An Pyong-t’a and Chung Kil-dang (a woman) have been claiming to be Russian citizens and to be propagandists of the Greek Church and under cover of this extorting money from the people and committing other excesses in that district. The Law Department referred the matter to the Foreign Office. It was discovered that the four persons referred to are Russian citizens. The woman’s father resided for a time at Petersburg some forty years ago and was a land-owner in Russia. Six years ago she came to Korea with a Russian passport, which she lost. The Russian authorities offer to investigate the matter and punish the woman according to law for traveling in the interior without a passport. We feel sure that the Russian Government will not countenance any abuses on the part of those who claim to be her citizens and to be the heralds of Christianity.

Min Sang-ho and Min Yung-ch’an have been the recipients of handsome gifts from Prince Henry of Prussia through the German Consulate.

Su Pyong-kyu, a graduate of Roanoke College Va. U. S. A. has been appointed professor in the Imperial Middle School, Prof. Su is well known to many foreigners in Korea under his anglicized name of K. B. Surh. There are few Koreans who have so good a command of English as Prof, Su. Seven years, residence in America afforded him an experience that should become of great value to Korea.

The press of the east has been giving very great prominence to the movement of Russian war vessels on the coasts [page 173] of Korea, mostly in connection with the Port of Masam-po and adjacent waters. Various kinds of comments have been made upon these movements but we have nothing to record in the way of actual news as to what these things means. We do not share the uneasiness which so many seem to feel, for as yet these manoeuvres are nothing more than we might expect in view of the fact that Russia has a coaling station at this point. It is only natural that she should be anxious to survey the neighboring waters. If Japanese, English and United States vessels have frequently surveyed other parts of the Korean coast there seems n0 reason why Russia should not do so in the vicinity of a port where she possesses such obvious interests. But we may say, without entering upon the field of politics, that it seems singular that this work should be done at a time when the public feeling in Japan is so sensitive over the Manchurian question and when, in consequence, a wrong interpretation is almost sure to be placed upon it.

We regret to say that on the night of the 20th inst. the entire plant and buildings of the Han-Sung Sin-po were consumed by fire. This is especially to be regretted because Korea has so few newspapers that this one could not well be spared. We trust that the proprietors will be able to resume the publication of that paper at no distant date.

On the 18th inst. the Korean Government secured a loan of $5,000,000 from France. The final papers were signed at a Cabinet Council on that day. The loan is to be in the shape of gold and silver bullion. The Imperial Customs returns are mortgaged for the payment of interest which is set at 5 1/2 per cent. The debt is to be paid up in full within twenty-five years.

Since the above was written further particulars have transpired showing that the loan was floated at 90, or in other words that instead of giving $5,000,000 the French syndicate will give $4,500,000on the understanding that $5,000,000 be paid back within twenty-five years at per cent, annually. It is stipulated that one third of the amount be in silver bullion and two thirds in gold bullion and that if the quality should be found to be inferior the Government would be allowed to return it. As to the uses to which this money is to [page 174] be put, rumor says it is partly for the establishment of a bank and partly for public improvements, such as broadening the sewers and building roads.

From the fact that the loan is to be in bullion one might reasonably infer that the Government purposes to mint it into money. Now the shrinkage in the value of the nickel money has shown that in the long run there is no actual profit to be made by minting money. The metal used and the labor involved will almost inevitably cover all the value of the finished coin if the purity of the metal is preserved. We are anxious so see a thoroughly good and trustworthy Korean currency, one that will not need to be discounted. If this new departure means the beginning of such a currency and the heightening of the financial credit of this Government and if the money is to be used in such a way as to inure to the benefit of the Korean public at large nothing could be more praiseworthy.

Bishop D. H. Moore, the Resident Bishop in the Far East of the Methodist Episcopal Church of America, arrived in Chemulpo on the 23rd inst. and left the next day, in company with Rev. W. B. Scranton the Superintendent of the Korea Mission, to inspect the work in Pyeng-yang. The Annual Meeting of the mission is announced to begin on the ninth of May, in Seoul.

We are sure that many of our readers will be highly pleased to see a translation of the Introduction to Courant’s Biblographie Coreenne, by Rev. J. S. Gale, the first part of which appears in this number of the Review. It fairly bristles with points of interest and offers many suggestions that will well repay further study on the part of any who are historically inclined.

Few of us are aware how serious the outlook had become for the Koreans on account of the lack of rain. It meant not only scarcity of food but prevalence of disease, for the rain is the only scavenger in this country and the extreme dryness of the weather invites cholera with all is attendant horrors. For this reason we deem it worthy of record that the welcome rain began to fall on the 25th inst. In the wheat districts of the United States they speak of a “million dollar rain,” and without exaggeration, but to these people rain means not only money but life itself. [page 175]

On the evening of the 26th inst. a reception was tendered Rev. Arthur Brown, D. D., and Mrs. Brown at the residence of Dr. O. R. Avison.

Mr. and Mrs. Blaylock, who were driven out of China by the Boxer movement and who have been spending some mouths in Seoul, returned to Chefoo about the middle of April intending to return to their mission station in central Shantung as soon as conditions permit, which we trust will be soon.

The regular semi-weekly afternoon teas at the Seoul Union, under the auspices of the Ladies’ Lawn Tennis club, began with great eclat on Tuesday the 15th of April. The membership of the Seoul Union has been largely increased during the past year and a large number of new periodicals have been put on the tables of the Reading Room. In fact there are few Reading Rooms in the Far East that are better equipped than this.

A scheme has been evolved whereby the foreigners in Seoul can have an opportunity to read the best fiction that comes from American and English publishers in the shortest possible time after its publication. A competent agent in America will make a selection of the very best novels at the rate of three or four a month and mail them to Seoul. Foreigners by the payment of three yen a year can have the opportunity of reading these books in rotation and at the end of the year the books will be disposed of at auction or in any other way that may be desired by the subscribers. More particular information can be obtained by applying to Dr. C. C. Vinton who at considerable inconvenience has consented to attend to the correspondence and to the proper circulation of the books.

Two of the Geomancers who have been found “guilty” in connection with the matter of the Queen’s tomb have been sentenced to decapitation and two others to imprisonment for life. According to the claims of their profession they should know where rocks lie beneath the surface of the soil.

Later advices state that the death sentence on the two geomancers who were held responsible for the mistake in selecting the new site for the Queen’s tomb has been transmuted to imprisonment for life.

Something of a sensation has been caused by the work of a mad dog at the Russian Legation, in consequence of which [page 176] His Excellency A. Pavloff, the Russian Minister, Prof. N. Birnkoff of the Imperial Russian School, a Cossack and a child have gone to Japan on a Russian man-of-war to be treated at the Pasteur Institute in Tokyo. We join with the whole community in hoping that no evil effects will result from this painful incident.



Seoul                                                                                  $19,709.07


Pyeng-yang ..................................................................................6,463.39

Sam-wha                                                                             2,722.74

An-ju ..................................................................................             1,304.06

Un-san .......................................................................................1,455.46

Eui-ju ......................................................................................... 3,754.66

Ka-sung                                                                              1,239.21

Ha-ju                                                                                   1,128.32

Kong-ju                                                                             729.94

Chun-ju ............................................................................. 1,807.20

Ok-ka ...........................................................................................1,632.67

Mun-an                                                                                            3,417.19

Ta-gu                                                                                 3,105.56

Chang-wun                                                                         2,901.92

Fu-san                                                                                             5,735.23

Keum-sung                                                                        77.37

Wun-san ...................................................................................... 4,384.66

Ham-heung                                                                        1,065.76

Eun-san* ....................................................................................1,531.30

Puk-ch’ung† ..............................................................................152.64

Sung-jin† ............................................................................            81.74

Kyong-sung‡                                                                      32.10


We would call special attention to this excellent showing which is the result of faithful and energetic work in one of the best regulated departments of the Korean public service. Mr. J. H. Muhlensteth the Director of Telegraphs is one of the oldest foreign residents of Korea and very properly takes a leading place in those material improvements which are slowly but surely lifting Korea in spite of herself.


*Six months only. †Two months only. ‡One month only. [page 177]





The first twenty-five years of the century witnessed unusual activity on the part of the surrounding savages who in view of the constantly increasing power of the three states beheld their territories diminishing. The wild people of Kol-p’o, Chil-p’o and Ko-p’o ravaged the borders of Sil-la but were driven back. On the south she attacked and burned a settlement of Japanese corsairs who had apparently gained a foothold on the mainland. Pak-je was also attacked on the east by the savages and was obliged to build a wall at Sa-do to keep them back. This period saw over a thousand Chinese refugees cross the Yalu and find asylum in Ko-gu-ryu. It also saw U-wi-gu, the fruit of a liaison between the eleventh king of Ko-gu-ryu and a farmer girl whom he met while hunting, ascend the throne of Ko-gu-ryu. It witnessed a remarkable exhibition of democratic feeling in Sil-la when the people rejected Prince Sa-ba-ni and in his place set up Ko-i-ru to be king.

The year 240 was an important one in the history of Ko-gu-ryu. King U-wi-gu was a man of boundless ambition and his temerity was as great as his ambition. Ko-gu-ryu had been at peace with China for eight years when, without warning, this U-wi-gu saw fit to cross the border and invade the territory of his powerful neighbor. The town of An-p’yung-hyun in western Liao-tung fell before the unexpected assault. This unprovoked insult aroused the slumbering giant of the Middle Kingdom and the hereditary feud that had existed for many years between Ko-gu-ryu and China was intensified. At the same time U-wi-gu turned his eyes southward and contemplated the subjugation of Sil-la. To this end he sent an expedition against her in the following year. It was met on the Sil-la border by a defensive force under Gen. Suk U-ro who withstood the invaders bravely but was driven back as far as the “Palisades of Ma-du” [page 178] where he took a firm stand. As he could not be dislodged the invading army found, itself checked. Meanwhile a dark cloud was rapidly overspreading Ko-gu-ryu’s western horizon. The great Chinese general, Mo Gu-genm, with a force of 10,000 men advanced upon the Ko-gu-ryu outposts and penetrated the country as far as the present Sung-ch’un where he met the Ko-gu-ryu army under the direct command of king U-wi-gu. The result was an overwhelming victory for Ko-gu-ryu whose soldiers chased the flying columns of the enemy to Yang-bak-kok where dreadful carnage ensued. “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad” proved true in this case. U-wi-gu was so elated over the victory that he declared that a handful of Ko-gu-ryu troops could chase an army of Chinese. Taking five hundred picked cavalry he continued the pursuit; but he had boasted too soon. Gen. Mo Gu-geum’s reputation was at stake. Rallying a handful of his braves the latter turned upon his pursuers and handled them so severely that they turned and fled. The Chinese followed up the timely victory and threw themselves upon the army of Ko-gu-ryu so fiercely that the tables were completely turned. It is said that in the engagement that followed Ko-gu-ryu lost 18,000 men. King U-wi-gu, seeing that all was lost, fled back to his capital and awaited developments. But Gen. Wang-geui, Mo Gu-geum’s associate, pursued the king across the Yalu and gave him no rest until he had fled eastward to the territory of Ok-ju on the eastern coast. On his way thither he crossed Chuk-nyung Pass where all his remaining guard forsook him and fled. One of his officials, Mil-u, said “I will go back and hold the enemy at bay while you make good your escape”. So with three or four soldiers he held the narrow pass while the king found a retreat in a deep valley, where be succeeded in getting together a little band of soldiers. He offered a reward to anyone who should go and bring Mil-u safely to him. U Ok-ku volunteered to go. Finding Mil-u wounded and lying on the ground he took, him in his arms and carried him to the king. The latter was so delighted to recover his faithful follower that he nursed him back to life by his own hand. A few days later the pursuit continued and the king was again hard pressed. A counter, Yu-ryu, offered to go to the enemy’s [page 149] camp and in some way stop the pursuit. Taking some food he went and boldly announced that the king desired to surrender and had sent this gift ahead to announce his coming. His words were believed and the general received the gift. But Yu-ryu had concealed a short sword beneath the dishes and when he approached the general he whipped out the weapon and plunged it into the enemy’s breast. The next moment he himself was cut down by the attendants. When the king learned that the pursuers had lost their general he rallied his little force, threw himself upon them and put them to flight. The following year U-wi-gu, recognising that his capital was too near the border, decided to remove the court to P’yung-yang, which had been the capital for so many centuries. Two years later be made a treaty with Sil-la which remained unbroken for a century. He had been cured of some of his over-ambitiousness. Yun-bul was his successor.

It the third year of King Ch’um-ha of Sil-la, 249 A.D., the first envoy ever received from Japan arrived at the shore of Sil-la. He was met by Gen. Suk U-ro who addressed him in the following unaccountable manner. “It would be well if your king and queen should come and be slaves in the kitchen of the king of Sil-la”. Without a word the envoy turned about and posted back to Japan, An invasion of Korea was determined upon and soon a powerful force landed on the coast of that country. Gen. Suk U-ro was filled with dismay and remorse. He confessed to the king that he was the cause of this hostile display and begged to be allowed to go alone and propitiate the advancing enemy. It was granted and he walked straight into the Japanese camp and confessed his crime and asked that he alone be punished. The Japanese took him at his word, burned him alive in their camp and returned to their own land without striking a blow. The following year the same envoy came again and was well received by the king, but the widow of Gen. Suk U-ro desiring to avenge the blood of her husband, obtained permission to work in the kitchen of the envoy’s place of entertainment. There she found opportunity to poison his food and thus accomplish her purpose. This of course put an end to all hope of amity between the two countries and that event marks [page 180] the beginning of the feud which in spite of occasional periods of apparent friendship, existed between the people or Japan and Korea until the year 1868. Hostilities did not however begin at once.

The latter half of the third century beheld few events of special interest in the peninsula. During this period Pak-je seems to have made a spasmodic effort at reform, for we read that she reorganised her official system and set a heavy penalty for bribery, namely imprisonment for life. She also patched up a shallow peace with Sil-la. In Ko-gu-ryu a concubine of King Pong-sang tried to incense him against the queen by showing him a leather bag which she claimed the queen had made to drown her in. The king saw through the trick and to punish the crafty concubine had her killed in the very way she had described. A chief of the Sun-bi tribe invaded Ko-gu-ryu and desecrated the grave of the king’s father. The wild men of Suk-sin attempted to overthrow Sil-la but the king’s brother drove them back and succeeded in attaching their territory to the crown of Sil-la. It is said that when Sil-la was hard pressed by a band of savages strange warriors suddenly appeared and after putting the savages to flight, as suddenly disappeared. Each of these strange warriors had ears like the leaves of the bamboo and when it was discovered next day that the ground around the king’s father’s grave was covered with bamboo leaves it was believed that he had come forth from his grave with spirit warriors to aid his son.

With the opening of the fourth century the fifteenth king of Sil-la, Ki-rim, made an extensive tour of his realm, He passed northward as far as U-du-ju near the present Ch’un-ch’un. He also visited a little independent “kingdom” called Pi-ryul, now An-byun, and made many presents, encouraged agriculture and made himself generally agreeable. Not so with the king of Ko-gu-ryu, He was made of sterner stuff. He issued a proclamation that every man woman and child above fifteen years old should lend their aid in building a palace. Ko-gu-ryu had of late years passed through troublous times and the people were in no mood to undertake such a work. An influential courtier, Ch’ang Cho-ri, attempted to dissuade the king but as he was not successful he settled the question by assassinating the king. Eul-bul, who suc- [page 181] ceeded him, had a chequered career before coming to the throne. Being the king’s cousin he had to flee for his life. He first became a common coolie in the house of one Eun-mo in the town of Sil-la. By day he cut wood on the hill sides and by night he made tiles or kept the frogs from croaking while his master slept. Tiring of this he attached himself to a salt merchant but being wrongfully accused he was dragged before the magistrate and beaten almost to death. The official Ch’ang Cho-ri and a few others knew his whereabouts and, hunting him up, they brought him to the “Pul-yu water” a hundred and ten li from P’yung-yang, and hid him in the house of one O Mak-nam. When all was ripe for the final move, Ch’ang Cho-ri inaugurated a great hunting party. Those who were willing to aid in dethroning the king were to wear a bunch of grass in the hat as a sign. The king was seized and imprisoned, and there hanged himself. His sons also killed themselves and Eul-bul was then elevated to the perilous pinnacle of royalty.

It was about the beginning of this century also that the Japanese, during one of those spasmodic periods of seeming friendship asked the king of Sil-la to send a noble maiden of Sil-la to be their queen. The king complied and sent the daughter of one of his highest officials, A-son-geup-ri.


Chapter IX.


Rise of Yun .... rebellion against China .... siege of Keuk Fortress raised .... Ko-gu-ryu surrenders to Yun .... Ko-gu-ryu disarmed .... Japanese attack Sil-la .... Pak-je’s victory over Ko-gu-ryu .... moves her capital across the Han .... Pak-je people in Sil-la .... Yun is punished .... Buddhism introduced into Ko-gu-ryu .... and into Pak-je .... amnesty between Ko-gu-ryu and Pak-je .... but Ko-gu-ryu continues the war .... Pak-je in danger .... envoy to Japan .... Ch’um-nye usurps the throne of Pak-je .... and is killed .... Sil-la princes rescued .... Ko-gu-ryu and Pak-je receive investiture from China .... China’s policy .... Nul-ji’s reign .... Ko-gu-ryu and Pak-je transfer their allegiance .... Yun extinct .... beginning of triangular war .... diplomatic relations .... Ko-gu-ryu falls from grace .... first war vessel .... diplomatic complications .... Pak-je humiliated .... her capital moved.


[page 182]

We have now come to the events which marked the rise of the great Yun power in Liao-tung, They are so intimately connected with the history of Ko-gu-ryu that we must give them in detail. For many years there had been a Yun tribe in the north but up to the year 320 it had not come into prominence. It was a dependency of the Tsin dynasty of China. Its chiefs were known by the general name Mo Yong. In 320 Mo Yong-we was the acting chief of the tribe. He conceived the ambitious design of overcoming China and founding a new dynasty. The Emperor immediately despatched an army under Gen. Ch’oe-bi to put down the incipient rebellion. Ko-gu-ryu and the U-mun and Tan tribes were called upon to render assistance against the rebels. All complied and soon the recalcitrant chieftain found himself besieged in Keuk Fortress and was on the point of surrendering at discretion when an event occurred which, fortunately for him, broke up the combination and raised the siege. It was customary before surrendering to send a present of food to the one who receives the overtures of surrender. Mo Yong-we, in pursuance of this custom, sent out the present, but for some reason it found its way only into the camp at the U-man forces while the others received none. When this became known the forces of Ko-gu-ryu, believing that Mo Yong-we had won over the U-mun people to his side, retired in disgust and the Chinese forces, fearing perhaps a hostile combination, likewise withdrew. The U-mun chiefs resented this suspicion of treachery and vowed they would take Mo Yong-we single-handed. But this they could not do, for the latter poured out upon them with all his force and scattered them right and left. From this point dates the rise of Yun. Gen. Ch’oe-bi fearing the wrath of the Emperor fled to Ko-gu-ryu where he found asylum. Here the affair rested for a time. The kingdom of Yun forebore to attack Ko-gu-ryu and she in turn was busy strengthening her own position in view of future contingencies. Ten years passed during which no events of importance transpired. In 331 Eul-bul the king of Ko-gu-ryu died and his son Soe began his reign by adopting an active policy of defense. He heightened the walls of P’yung-yang and built a strong fortress in the north, called Sin-sung. He followed this up by strengthen- [page 183] ing his friendly relations with the court of China. These facts did not escape the notice of the rising Yun power. Mo Yong-whang, who had succeeded Mo Wong-we, hurled an expedition against the new Sin-sung Fortress and wrested it from Ko-gu-ryu. The king was compelled, much against his will, to go to Liao-tung and swear fealty to the Yun power. Two years later the capital was moved northward to Wan-do, in the vicinity of the Eui-ju of today. This was done probably at the command of Yun who desired to have the capital of Ko-gu-ryu within easy reach in case any complications might arise.

Mo Yong-whang desired to invade China without delay but one of his relatives, Mo Yong-han, advised him to disarm Ko-gu-ryu and the U-mun tribes so that no possible enemy should be left in his rear when he marched into China. It was decided to attack Ko-gu-ryu from the north and west, but the latter route was to be the main one, for Ko-gu-ryu would be expecting the attack from the north. The stratagem worked like a charm. Mo Yong-han and Mo Yong-p’a led a powerful army by way of the sea road while General Wang-u led a decoy force by the northern route. The flower of the Ko-gu-ryu’s army, 5,000 strong, marched northward under the king’s brother Mu to meet an imaginary foe, while the king with a few undisciplined troops held the other approach. As may be supposed, the capital fell speedily into the enemy’s hands but the king escaped. The Ko-gu-ryu forces had been successful in the north and might return any day, so the Yun forces were forbidden to go in pursuit of the king. To insure the good behavior of the king, however, they burned the palace, looted the treasure, exhumed the body of the king’s father and took it, together with the queen and her mother, back to the capital of Yun. With such hostages as these Yun was safe from that quarter. The next year the king offered his humble apologies and made a complete surrender, in view of which his father’s body and his queen were returned to him but his mother-in-law was still held. The same year Ko-gu-ryu moved her capital back to P’yung-yang. A few years later, by sending his son as substitute he got his mother-in-law out of pawn.

In 344 new complications grew up between Sil-la and [page 184] Japan. The Japanese having already obtained one Sil-la maiden for a queen made bold to ask for a royal princess to be sent to wed their king. This was peremptorily refused and of course war was the result. A Japanese force attacked the Sil-la coastguard but being driven back they harried the isla