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The Independent: Thursday, April 30, 1896

19th January 2012


Brief Notice:

Last Saturday afternoon a game of baseball was played in Mo Wha Kwan between the American residents and the U.S. Marines. The score was 20 to 21 in favor of the latter. The game was full of excitement and everybody did his part excellently. There were a number of lady spectators from the city and several Koreans watched the game with a great deal of curiosity. The marines wish to thank the ladies through The Independent for the excellent luncheon which they enjoyed after the game.

Heredity of crime is illustrated in the case of one Whang No who was arrested a few days ago on the charge of robbery. His father, brother and cousin were punished for the same years ago.

The governor of Seoul is taking steps to clear out the Peking Pass which was blocked by a landslide the other day. <reported in the April 21 edition–tom> The estimated cost will be $200. As this is the great thoroughfare between Seoul and the north it is a wonder that this has not been seen to before but “better late than never.”

The magistrates of Po Chun reports to the governor of Seoul, on the 27th, that a company of Seoul soldiers went to Ka Pyung from Chul Won and dispersed the insurgents in that district, killing twelve of them. The insurgents in that neighborhood heard of the defeat of the Ka Pyung contingent and all dispersed.

The governor of Tai Ku reports to the governor of Seoul that the Seoul soldiers entered the stronghold of the insurgents at Chin Ju and dispersed them on the 25th.

The Royal Messenger, Yi Do Chai, reports that the insurgents in Kang Won Province have been dispersed excepting one small band in the district of Kang Neung.

Twenty eight Chusas <low level government clerks–tom> in the Finance Department were dismissed by the late Minister, Yun Yong  Son, without cause, and his personal friends were appointed in their places. The adviser of the Department, Mr. Brown, says that these new chusas are incompetent to perform their official duties and that he does not propose to pay their salaries. Hurrah for Mr. Brown!

Mr. and Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Webb and Dr. Wells have started for Pyeng Yang where they propose to reside permanently.

The popular Russian Vice-consul M. Rospopoff has been transferred to Tokyo. M. Rospopoff has made many warm friends during his residence in Seoul and it is a matter of regret that he is going to leave us. M. Kehrberg has been made Secretary and Interpreter and M. Polianovsky has become the attache to the Russian Legation.

M. Collin de Plancy, the new French Charge d’Affairs had an audience with His Majesty at 4 o’clock Tuesday afternoon.

The Magistrate at Po Chun reports to the governor of Seoul that 300 of the dispersed rebels came together again atKa Pyung and plundered and raised a general disturbance. Some of them were seen also at Yang Ku, In Che, An Sung and Chuk San districts.

The U.S. Marines challenge the American residents to another game of baseball next Saturday afternoon. We take pleasure in inviting all the gentlemen who took part in the last game to be on the grounds at Hun Yun An inside the East gate at two o’clock sharp. The ladies are cordially invited to be present and lend encouragements to the Knights of the bat and ball.


The Kobe Chronicle says that “Observers of the course of events would scarcely be surprised if before another six months had elapsed an offensie and defensie alliance should be concluded between Russia and Japan.”

The North China Herald gives a short summary of the official report on matters connected with the Events of October 8th, 1895, and the death of Her Majesty the late Queen, as it appeared in the March Number of the Korean Repository. <The Korean Repository was the first English-language magazine published in Korea. It was written primarily by missionaries and started publication in March, 1896–tom>

The New York Maritime Register says: It is noticeable in all the statements about the competition in manufactures between Japan and the United States that there is in them nothing definite or tangible. There is a long list of goods mentioned and a great bluster over the evils that are to come. But there is given no proof that such goods are really manufactured in Japan nor that there is any bona fide importation or sales of goods. Indeed this cry of Japanese competition is mainly wind….. But there is every chance of success for American manufactures in the East. Instead of fearing competition the American manufacturers and exporters should push their trade, for they have every prospect of success.

The Korean Repository for April appeared yesterday. It contains a valuable memoir of the late Father Coste whose connection with the re-establishment of Roman Catholicism after its reverses in 1866 and with the publication of the French Dictionary make this memoir valuabe from a historical standpoint. It also has a good word for The Independent which it believes will prove a value to the Korean people. It also contains interesting articles on Korean holidays and customs.


One thing that takes a prominent place in the minds of those who wish well for Korea and are interested in her physical as well as moral well-being is the matter of a water supply for the city of Seoul. It is of more value than railroads for instead of saving money it saves life. A full supply of clean fresh water is a sine qua non <Latin for ‘an essential item’–tom> of health. You can estimate the grade of civilization of any people by the amount of water they use. Paris heads the list with seven gallons a day for each individual. It is probable that a quart a day would suffice for the average Korean while a pint would be oceans for the ordinary Chinaman. The Japanese are said to be great lovers of water and so they are, but this is somewhat modified by the fact that so many of them are contented to take it second hand.

That a good water supply for Seoul is a prime necessity the cholera reports will show. The public wells here in vogue are centers of contamination and are responsible for very much of the mortality in times of pestilence.

In approaching the subject of a water supply for seoul two or three things must be kept in mind  or we get beyond the realm of practical; first, that it must be on such a scale that the people can pay for it and will be willing to pay for it. We can roughly estimate the size of Seoul at 40,000  houses. It is said that on average five hundred cash a month is paid per house for the bringing of water. Supposing we add a half on account of the superior advantages to be enjoyed and reckon that each house will pay 750 cash or 30 cents a month. It will then amount to $3.60 a year per house. The whole would then yield a revenue of $144,000 a year. If the work should cost a million dollars we would here have enough to pay interest in the investment at 7 percent and have $74,000 left for running expenses and repairs.

There are two ways by which Seoul could be supplied with water; one by bringing it a long distance through pipes from some point up the Han River, and the other by building a reservoir in some such place as the valley outside the northwest gate where the powder mill was. Either of these methods would require expert surveys to prove their feasibility. The former would probably secure a steadier supply but at a very high cost while the other probably could be accomplished  for half the money but at risk of an occasional shortage of water in specially dry seasons, because fed by a comparatively small stream. However, it will be necessary to consult the paying capabilities of the people and choice must be made of that method which, while promising to be fairly successful, will come within the means of the metropolis.

(All opinions expressed belong to the long-dead editor of The Independent and do not reflect my own–tom)

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The Independent: Saturday, April 25th 1896

5th January 2012

The Independent, Vol 1, No 9


Brief Notice

The interpreter of the Police Headquarters of the Japanese Consulate named Yun Tai Heung, donned Japanese clothes and entered the house of a Korean policeman, Yi Kyung Sul, knowing that Yi was on duty at the time. He insulted Yi’s wife and made a disturbance generally. The neighbors heard the noise and informed Yi, who hurried home and arrested Yun on the charge of house-breaking. Yun tried to pass himself off at the police station as a Japanese but his identity was soon estanblished. He was put in prison awaiting triall. Last Monday some Japanese policemen went to the Police Headquarters and demanded his release but the authorities refused to comply on the ground that the the prisoner was a Korean and amenable to Korean law.

The Steamer Higo arrived from Japan yesterday and will leave for Neuchang and Chefoo this morning. <In an earlier edition, I had assumed that Chefoo was a variation of Cheju (Jeju) Island. However, further research has revealed that Chefoo was the former name of the Chinese city of Yantai>

The Roman Church will ordain two Korean priests on Sunday next which will be the first time Korea will have regularly ordained Catholic priests among the natives. <This is not accurate. The first Korean priest was ordained in 1845.  His name was Kim (Andrew) Taeg0n. However, he was not active as a priest for long as he was captured and beheaded in 1846 at the age of 25.>

There will be a baseball match game between the US marines and the American residents of Seoul this afternoon at 2:30. The lovers of the American sport are cordially invited to be present at the game. The party will meet at the Independent Building at 2 o’clock and go to the grounds outside of the W.gate Mo Ha Kwan. Ladies are specially requested to be present.

Captain Yi Cho Heun has returned from Song Do after suppressing the disturbances in the West and Captain Yi Kyung Che went to Kyung Sang province after quieting the disturbances in Chul La province.

Rev. D.L. Gifford and Dr. C.C. Vinton returned Tuesday from an evangelistic tour in the Su Won district having cut short their trip because of the illness of the former.

The Koreans as well as Japanese residents of Chemulpo are rejoicing in the prostpect of a railroad between Seoul and that place. They realize that it gives an impetus to trade and enables the farmer to market his good more quickly and cheaply.

The telegraph line between Seoul and Fusan has be re-established by the Japanese.

Chief Engineer C.J. McConnel and Asst. Engineer J.C. Leonard of the USS Charleston are making a short visit in Seoul.

Mr. Wilkinson of Chemulpo is in town.

The Nagasaki Rising Sun says “Korea is getting on. At least that appears to be the case, for a tri-weekly newspaper, the Independent, has appeared.”

Mrs. H.N. Allen invited a few friends to an informal dinner Thursday evening in honor of Dr. Allen’s birth day. Those present besides the host and hostess were Mr. and Mrs. Bunker, Dr. Jaisohn, Lieut. Neumann US.N., Mr Wilkinson, H.B.M Consul at Chemulpo, Masters Harry and Maurice Allen.

A few days ago a policemang got drunk and made a disturbance in a private house. The Independent made a note of it and the Police Department discharged him promptly.

The share holders of the Seoul Union will hold their regular semi-annual meeting this afternoon at 4 o’clock. <This refers to the Seoul Union Church which exists to this day. Their website has a sub-heading which states “Serving the expatriate community since 1886“>


Editor of the Independence, Dear Sir:    In you issue of the 16th inst. “A Resident” calls attention to the “serious inconvenience to a large part of the foreign community” the French Legation has occasioned by placing the fence–barbed wire at that– on the city wall “far beyond the original limits.” I know the time when there was no fence there. Then the Legation erected one on the edge and later moved it in on the wall so far that it is now impossible for two people to walk side by side. I well remember when the fence was moved the last time. Not only were foreigners highly indignant but Koreans as well, who did not scruple to call it–well let me be polite and say–”encroachment.”  If the dividing line between the city wall and the French Legation is exactly where the barbed wire fence now is we confess our ignorance and surprise. If not, then, we demand the removal back to its original limits wherever that may be. Unless this is done why may not the Methodist Mission, taking this precedent, claim the same right and move their walls to within several feet of the stone wall or parapet?  Believe me, yours truly, Another Resident.

Editorial (continued from last issue)

Let us next inquire as to the relation opf the cost of rice to the rate of wages in Korea. A measure of rice today is worth fourteen cents silver, and will last one person two days. The average monthly wage in Korea is difficult to estimate but it cannot be far from five dollars for the great mass of the people. It appears then that $2.10 out of $5.00 goes fro rice alone, or over two fifths. That sum will buy forty pounds of American flour laid down in Seoul. This would give one and a third pounds a day, or two and two thirds pounds for each Korean measure of flour, which is about what it would weigh, so we see that so far as quantity is concerned a Korean could live on Amerian wheat flour as cheaply as Korean rice. This become still more evident when we consider that a measure of rice when ground into flour will not fill the measure. As to the nutriment to be gotten from the two grains there is probably little difference. It should be noted that indigestion is the most common of Korean complaints and it probably arises from the rfact that rice if bolted rapidly is not readily digested unless it be cooked more than Koreans are acccustomed to cook it. It should be thoroughly masticated, but no one can watch a Korean eat rice and then aver that he maticates it all. If, then, a Korean could live on American wheat flour as cheaply as on his native rice, he should be able to live on his native wheat for half this sum at most. Notice again that he would have a more wholesome food than the bolted flour for he would have what we call graham flourwhich is confessedly more wholesome than the pure wheat flour.

We learn form a man who has traveled widely in Korea that in many places in Ham Kyung province in the north, wheat is raised instead of rice and that one man will easily raise thirty, forty or fifty bag, and that these farmers are thorougly well-to-do compared with the rice farmers.

It is a curious fact too that the provinces of Chulla and Kyung Sang are called the garden of Korea because of the great quantities of rice raised there and yet in truth they are the most poverty-striken provinces in the land. Other causes are doubtless at work but we do not believe that the raising of rice will produce as much or as good food as wheat, nor as much revenue for the government.

Where do we find the strongest, bravest, most manly Koreans? It is in the north where they eat millet, potatoes and wheat. How is it in China? The best physiques are found in the north where one out of five an afford to eat rice.

One more consideration. Korea will never have good cart roads so long as they have to pass through rice growing districts. Japan may be cited as an argument to the contrary but even there one does not have to go far from the main lines of road before he finds himself in the mud. Rice fields are an enemy of drainage. It is a continual fight to keep the water from flowing away, and without good drainage good raods are impossible except at fabulous expense. We are not so rash as to think that any such revolution could be accomplished in this generation nor perhaps in the next but the time will certainly come sooner or later when nature will have to be wooed less arduously than she is when rice is the suit.

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The Independent: April 23, 1896

30th December 2011

The Independent, Thursday: April 23, 1896 Vol.1, No. 8


Things you will learn from the issue:  The benefits of being a policeman, to leave your hairpins at home and that not everyone likes rice.  This issue also requires me to put a up a disclaimer;  the opinions expressed belong solely to the editor and staff of the Independent living more than 120 years ago. They do not reflect my own opinions.

Local Items

- The muncipality of Chemulpo contemplates the plan of changing the street lamps for electric lights. Hurrah for Chemulpo!

- The Taetar of Nanking is reorganizing his army on European plans and it is to be officered in part by foreigners.

- More police stations have been established in different parts of the city.

-A few weeks ago, one Chun Chiu Po, living in the southern part of the city, died of starvation. His wife and two of the children followed him to the grave for the same cause leaving one child of five years. This child is now being cared for by a servant in the Police Headquarters and the dead have been buried at public expense.

- A female servant of a man named Ko, in the southern part of the city, went to a well to draw water. While raising the vessel from the ground to put it on her head, the cushion which rests on the head fell to the ground. She requested a bystander to replace it on her head but while doing so he snatched her silver hair pin and ran away. She screamed after him and a policeman being near secured the thief, restored the pin to its owner and marched the culprit off to the police station. Moral; leave your hair pins at home.

-A Soldier’s Police has been established whose business it is to look after unruly soldiers on the street.

- Some months ago, fifty two students of the Military Academy were selected by examination and soon eighteen more will be admitted but we are told that no examination is required this time.

-We notice that the guards at the gate of the War Office smoke cigarettes or pipes while on duty. We consider this unsoldierly and hope the authorities will put a stop to it.

Foreign News

-The World of New York says that it has made a poll of every state in the Union and that as a result it predicts that Wm. McKinley will be nominated for Republican presidential candidate at the St. Louis convention.

-The United States are said to produce a good deal of shoddy material but T.H. Elliott, Secretary of the English Board of Agriculture says that out of fifty-one articles from America not one contained adulterations. On the other hand, out of 104 samples from European countries, thirty-seven were adulterated.

-Panic prevails in Crete owing to a renewal of the murders of Christians. The deputies have invoked the protection of Greece.

Government Gazette

-Police Pension Law: (1) If any Police Officer or any Policeman receives injury or suffers death while on duty, the Police Department will pay the cost of medical treatment and the funeral expenses (2) If he receives permanent injury or is crippled for life, he shall receive not less than $50 and not more than $100 (3) If he receives permanent injury though not crippled, he shall receive not less than $20 and not more than $50. (4) If he dies on account of injury received while on duty, his wife or family shall receive not less than $50 and not more than $100. If he has no wife or family, his nearest relative shall receive not less than $20 and not more than $50 (5) The cost of medical treatment will be in accordance with the gravity of the case (6) The funeral expenses will be not less than $10 and not more than $20.

-Verdict of the Supreme Court on the cases of those connected with the events of Oct. 8th and Nov. 28th. Yi Heui Wha was found guilty of entering the Palace with Japanese on the 8th of Oct. and he entered the chamber of Her Majesty the late Queen. After the death of Her Majesty, he presented himself before His Majesty and acted as secretary in the writing of the fraudulent edicts. It is evident that he knew beforehand the treacherous purpose of the Japanese who entered the chamber of Her Majesty; therefore his is accessory to the crime. We, the Judges of the Supreme Court, sentence him to be hung according to the law in such cases.


The westerner can scarcely consider it other than unfortunate that these eastern people use as the staple article of food a grain which requires so favorable conditions of climate for its growth as does rice. This grain forms the main article of food of much more than half the human race and yet of all the cereals it requires the greatest care in cultivation and suffers most from too much or too little rain. Not only must there be enough rain but it must come at a praticular time or it is useless; then from the very position of the rice fields they are the first to suffer from freshets. <Freshets are floods from heavy rains> When one takes into account the amount of time and care that are necessary in keeping the rice fields in repair and the banks in good order, in regulating the water supply and distributing it over the fileds, in the frequent manipulation of the growing grain, first in sowing, second in transplanting and third in cultivating, in reaping which must be done by hand as the grain frequently stands ankle deep in water or at least mud which must for ever render the use of machinery impossible– When we take into account these fact and also the inroads made upon the health of the people in proximity to noisome paddy fields and by the almost invariable contamination of wells, we are constrained to believe that the exclusive use of rice is the most serious bar to waht we may call the enlightenment of these people.

This may seem like an extreme statement, but let us examine it a little more closely. We cannot be going far astray when we say that a third of the people of Korea are engaged in the cultivation of rice. Of course, the cultivate other things too, but rice is the main object of care. Now if we look at enlightened countries we will see that as fast as general culture and enlightenment have advanced the condition of the peasant has been ameliorated. Machinery has come in to supplement his labor and lighten him of some of his heaviest loads, consequently fewer people are required to carry on these lower forms of labor, produce has been cheaper and larger numbers of people have thus been given leisure to engage in pursuits of a higher order, but notice that from the conditions above enumerated rice always has had and always will have to be raised by hand without the aid of machinery except perhaps in the process of threshing.  There seems to be no hope of anything better for one third of the Korean people than to wade in paddy fields and breathe the miasmatic vapors which they exhale.

Compare rice with wheat. The inner kernal is almost identically the same in each, pure starch; but while in the case of rice the husk is of such a nature that it can scarcely be eaten. The inner husk of wheat, when ground up with the kernel, makes the most wholesome article of food to be found in the world; for besides the starchy matter, we find certain other ingredients, nitrogenous, mineral and others which makie it by far more useful as a food stuff than rice.

 Then again see the contrast in the amount of labor. A farmer can plow a certain field in a day, he can spaend one day in bringing  fertilizer and one dayis sowing the wheat and then his work is all done until the time for reaping comes. To cultivate the same area in rice will require the labor of four men for at least fifteen times as many days, and in addition the hardier wheat is not anywhere nearly so dependent upon rain at stated times. In the time thus saved the farmer could busy himself in cattle or sheep raising, to silk culture or in any one of a thoushand other lucrative employment. (to be continued) < The editor’s ‘Rant Against Rice’ will indeed continue next issue>

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The Independent: April 21, 1896

23rd December 2011

I am currently in the USA for the next three weeks and will not be able to easily watch Korean films. However, I took copies of The Independent with me so I could update my blog while here. Usual posts on Korean movies will shortly after I return to Korea on January 14. 

The Independent, April 21st, 1896


Local Item

A little girl about four years old was lost on the Big Bell street the day before yesterday and was picked up by the police and cared for at the Police Department awaiting the arrival or discovery of the parents.

The Peking Pass is temporarily blocked by a mass of stone and debris that has fallen in from the steep sides. Fortunately no one was passing at the time. Water percolating through the crevices and freezing probably caused the landslide. <In a later issue, I leared the “Peking Pass” was what the foreign community called the road between Pyeongyang and Seoul>

Hon. J. Komura the Japanese Minister has been made Envoy Extraordinary to Korea. We congratulate him and all concerned for he has proven himself to be the man for the position and a very delicate position, too.

On the complaint of one Mun Sam Pak, a countryman, the police yesterday arrested Yi Kwan Ho of Seoul charged with purchasing the wife of the complainant. We wonder what section of the criminal code this will come under. We hope a place can be found for it and a severe punishment, for such events as this are extremely common.

Count Taruske Itakagi of Japan was made Minister of the Home Department. He is the leader of the Liberal Party in Japan.

We are encouraged by the report from our Chemulpo agent that The Independent is being largely read by the people there and that we must double the supply in order to meet the demand in that port.

We are informed that the mayor of Pyeng Yang has been doing some fine work in the line of squeezing and that consequently the people are on the verge of revolt. <By ’squeezing’, the reporter is refering to extortion>

Cho Bang Heun, a captain of the company which went to Chul Won to suppress disturbances, took occasion to rob some wealthy citizens of that district. The authorities in the War Office were informed of the fact and ordered the arrest of the culprit but he has decamped.

Another captain who came to Song Do from Chul Won with a company of soldiers, brought a wealthy citizen, Ko, from the former district and threatened to kill him because of supposed sympathy with the rebels. The doomed man offered 25,000,000 cash and thus saved his life. Is this affair known to the War Office authorities? <I have no idea what the currency is. It is unlikely the Won the amount listed is quite large. I would venture a guess that this is Jeon, a smaller currency no longer in use. 1 Won consisted of 100 Jeon>

Edict—Those who were loyal to us in the affair of the 8th of October have been killed by the barbarous weapons of Our enemies. We feel sorry for their untimely death and hereby give them special rank to show Our appreciation of their loyalty. The criminals of the 8th of October are banished for ten years; Hong Won Do is sentenced to hard labor for one year and Chung In Heung is released. <October 8th was the day that the Queen was murdered in the palace by Japanese guards. The assassins conspired with several Korean ministers and servants within the palace>

Editorial– <Today’s editorial is a rare one that in no way relates to Korea. Instead, he postulates about the growing possibility of a war in Europe. Rather than post that, I will type the advertisements that appear in the back of the newspaper>

AdvertisementsThe Independent as its name implies, is free from all political bias and will simply give the facts so far as they can be ascertained, independent of parties. We hope to enlarge the sheet as soon as the circulation of the paper warrents.

Scott’s Emulsion of pure Cod Liver Oil with Hypophosphites of Lime and soda. Large Bottles $1.50, Small Bottles .80  Kumamoto & Co. Druggists No. 58 Chin Ko Kai, Seoul.

K. Kameya General Store Keeper, Chong Dong, Seoul.  Fresh California Butter, Cheese, Flour, Ham, Bacon, Canned Fruits, Vegetables &c. &c., just arrived.

The Korean Repository. A monthly magazine dealing with all Korean questions of general or special interest. Price $3.00. Apply to Kelly & Walsh, Shanghai or to J. W. Wadman, Tokyo, Japan. <The three dollar price was the annual subscription rate>

Great Clearing Sale.  The undersigned hereby notifies his patrons and the public generally that he will sell off his stock preparatory to closing his store. The entire stock, consisting of groceries, wines, canned provisions, liquors of all kinds, German and Russian fruits, jams, jellies in glass jar, cigars, tobacco, toilet articles, stationery, confectionary, various patent medicines and drugs. They will be sold at 20% discount being less than the actual cost. Price lists will be issued. Send your orders in soon or you will be too late. Sale begins 1st May.  F.H. Morsel  Chemulpo.

H.C. Cloud & Co. Chemulpo, Korea. Navy Contractors, compredores and Bakers. The only American Firm in Korea.

J. Gaillard Jeune. Chemulpo, Korea. Provisioner of French men of war, General Store-Keeper, Naval Contractor and Commission Agent.  We can supply you with the following articles upon receiving your order. American, English, French and German preserves; Wines and Liquors of best quality; Table Claret $4.00 per dozen; Russian Caviar; Gruyere, Roquefort, American & Dutch Cheese; American & English Ham & Bacon; French & German Sausages; Pure Olives; Salad Oils; Toilet Articles; French soap; Cigars; Tobacco; etc. etc. etc.  J. Giacinti, Manager.

Seoul Grocery Company. No. 15 Legation St. Chong Dong.  We have fancy and staple groceries and provisions of both foreign and domestic products. Our Customers will be supplied with passbooks and accounts will be payable monthly. The only Korean firm of this kind in the city

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The Independent: Saturday, April 18th, 1896

18th December 2011


Saturday, April 18th, Vol. 1 No. 6
Local Items
For the last two years the pine forests on the hills of Seoul have been encroached upon by wood gathers and much timber has been cut without permission. If this continues the hills will eventually become denuded. The police department has just awakened to this fact and yesterday a policeman made an arrest of four culprits who were in the act of carrying away stolen timber from the hills of Yong San.

Some months ago a hunter brought a live wild goose to the market for sale. A Buddhist had compassion on it, because it was to be killed, and bought it and let it go. It flew to the pond just outside the South gate where it remained, seeming to enjoy its new abode very much. A Japanese hunter passing by tried to shoot it but the people in the neighborhood prevented him.

Yi Sun Chang, a wealthy citizen of So Heung, was called out from his house at midnight last week by a gang of burglars who bound and tortured him for the sake of making him pay over a large sum of money. He could not endure the pain so paid them 30,000 cash. They tortured him again to make him tell the name of anther wealthy man in the town. He told them the name of Yun Chang Kil. They then ordered him to give them a written guarantee that in case they should not get 300,000 cash from Yun, he would pay them the sum. Under the curel torture he had to give them the written promise.

The day before yesterday the Japanese opened a school in Hyo Dong for the purpose of educating Koreans. Over fifty students were enrolled and began the study of Japanese language.

The Ladies’ Tennis Club opened the season yesterday and all the members of the Seoul Union were present besides members of the Ladies’ Club. It was a beautiful afternoon and everybody enjoyed the event heartily. The tea was served by Mrs. Graham. The tea will be served always on tennis day between 4 and 6 o’clock.

The steamer Genkai Maru will arrive at Chemulpo on the 19th and will leave for Fusan and Nagasaki on the 21st. The Higo Maru will arrive on the 22nd and leave for Chefoo on the 23rd. The Choshu Marue will arrive on the 22nd and leave for Nagasaki, Fusan and Wonsan on the same day. <Chefoo= Jeju Island>

Col. Karneeff and Lieut. B. Michailoff of the Russian army accompanied by two Russian soldiers went to Kiung Sang Province about a month ago in the interests of the Geological Society of Siberia. Arriving at Chun Ju, the Colonel went to Na Ju while the Lieutenant started for Fusan. Between Chun Ju and Fusan he met a crowd of 2000 rebels who took him for a Japanese and stoned him and took his baggage and it was with great difficulty that they were convinced of their mistake. He arrived in Seoul the day before yesterday. <Yeah! Jeonju (Chun Ju) gets mentioned! …Too bad it’s not in a more flattering light…>

Now that Spring has opened, the road committee will doubtless be on the lookout for spots to be repaired. As soon as the community is able to afford the cost, a system of lighting should be adopted. Oil lamps ought to be provided at a comparatively small cost to the community.

Korea has about the same area as Japan but only one third the population. This has much to do with the question as to what the future of Korea is to be. It is true that at the present moment a coldness has sprung up between the two but in the long run business interests will assert themselves and Korea and Japan are so situated and their business interests so dovetail the one into the other that whatever the relations may be politically their business relations cannot but be intimate. That this is true a few facts will demonstrate.

The relation of Korea’s area to her population shows that is capable of producing vastly more than her people can consume. It follows that the exports from Korea as fast as Korea opens up her agricultural and mineral resources. This again means an increased carrying trade and here we find the first commercial bond of union between the two. Korea has so much room in herself and so much to absorb the attention of the people that the carrying trade will for many a decade fall to the lot of others. That it will be Japan is as evident as anything can ne in these days of rapid changes. Japan does almost the whole of the carrying trade of Korea and no competitor is in sight.

joseon1In the second place, Japan is becoming more and more a land of manufacturers. Woolen, cotton, and silk manufactories are springing up all over the land. The energies of the Japanese people are rapidly focusing on this point. Already this tendency has far outrun Japan’s capacity for producing the raw material and she is looking in all directions for it. Korea is nearest to her and easiest of access; she has the most spare area that is cultivable and her soil, climate and temperature are eminently suited to supply the very things that are there wanting. The southern provinces of Korea produce a cotton of superior quality, and her northern provinces abound in the most admirable timber. Both bituminous and anthracite coal are found in large quantities and as Japanese manufactories increase and her merchant marine multiplies Korean coalmines will be called into requisition. Korea’s capacity for silk culture is practically unlimited. As the people learn improved methods of sericulture Korea’s export of raw silk alone, ought to mount up into the millions. The mulberry thrives here.

As Japanese energies become directed more and more toward manufacturing she will demand more and more food stuff from abroad. Here also Korea will supplement Japan in a marked degree. Already Korean rice has obtained a firm foothold in the Japanese market and at times the carrying capacity of all the vessels plying to the Korean ports has been quite inadequate for its transportation. The time is soon coming when improved methods of irrigation will enhance the value of the present cultivated land and when the increased demand will move the “margin of cultivation” farther up the sides of the hills, when marsh land will be reclaimed and the annual output nearly doubled.

A third important consideration relates to the vast tracts of land in Korea that are too hilly for successful cultivation. There is one way by which these could be made to yield a splendid revenue. It is by sheep-raising. If the Korean people could supply the Japanese woolen mills with their raw material they could at one stroke utilize their thousands of square miles of steep hill sides, give occupation to thousands of their people and secure a steady and rich revenue to themselves. At present the sheep is held as a sort of sacred animal in Korea and is used only in Royal sacrifices but we feel sure that a far larger good would come from encouraging the people in the growing of wool than ever would accrue from the sacrifices.

These three things then, the carrying trade, the supply of raw material and the food stuffs, are sufficient to warrant us in believing that the relations between Koreans and Japanese will inevitably become closer.

We are well aware of inborn and inbred antipathy between the two races but that need not interfere seriously with the commercial relations. It is not necessary that thousand of Japanese should come to Korea in order to secure the advantages above indicated. There are plenty of capable Koreans to act as agents and middlemen between the Japanese factory and the Korean field.

First let the government so rule that every countryman will feel secure in the possession of his lawfully earned wealth and he then will have some ambition to branch out in lines of work which heretofore have been practically barred from him by the exactions of officials.

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The Independent: Thursday, April 16, 1896

11th December 2011

Seoul Union Tennis Club

Local Items– We are pleased to remark that the ladies of the Seoul Union have put their shoulders to the wheel and handsomely papered the rooms of the Union. We congratulate them and ourselves on the improvement thus effected and are glad to hear that they intend to open the season tomorrow. Let every member be present with his tennis racquet and with a good stock of harmless gossip and show the ladies his appreciation of their efforts.

–It gives an unfavorable impression to officers of the army going about the streets either on public or private business attended by two or three soldiers who are used as menials and not as a proper escort. The government should impress upon the people the fact that a soldier’s position is an honorable one and while he should be kept strictly under the others of his superior he must not be treated as a menial and required to do work that only coolies should perform.

–A grave charge which we can scarcely credit is made against Koreans in Fusan that they are poisoning Japanese wells. When one of the culprits is caught, tried and convicted then it will be time to publish a report, but to circulate such a rumor without any confirmation can do no good and can only reflect upon those who invented it.

–The Independent will be sent to all provincial governors and all district magistrates through the Korean post office and the horse courier service from this day on at the request of the Minister of the Interior. We look upon this as a progressive move on the part of the Home Office and we believe that it has opened up the way to the accomplishment of one of the main objects contemplated in the starting of this paper, namely the bringing of the capital and the country into more intimate touch with each other. If a copy is on file in every magisterial office and the people learn that they can secure it regularly on application, an entering wedge will have been formed which will help materially in the harmonizing of the present discordant elements.

–Mr. Leigh Hunt, the representative of an American Syndicate in the matter of a Seoul-Chemulpo railroad, left Seoul on the 14th and will sail from Kobe on the 22nd for America. He will return sometime in the summer to commence operations. We wish him a pleasant voyage and a full accomplishment of his plan which will be of mutual advantage to the Korean People and to the company which undertakes the enterprise.

Communications–Notice to correspondents– No attention will be paid to anonymous communications. All letters or communications must be addressed to The Independent, Seoul, Korea, and all remittances should be made to the same.

–To the Editor of the Independent:  Dear sir, The only pleasant half hour’s walk in the vicinity of the foreign quarter is along the back of the Methodist Mission property and the French Legation but unfortunately the fence of the latter has been put out so far beyond the original limits that it is quite impossible for two people to walk side by side. This is a serious inconvenience to the large part of the foreign community and we feel sure that if our friends should rectify the mistake they would receive the unanimous thanks of the community.  Yours truly, A. Resident.

To the Editor of the Independent:  Dear sir, The governor of Tong Nai pretends to be a progressive man yet his actions are worse than those of the conservatives. He is continuously making people pay up their old debts, on commission the latter not being a fixed percentage of the sum but according to his own caprice. The government has regulated the tax rates but he collects according to the old system. If this sort of thing continues the people of Tong Nai District are likely to rise and take his life and by so doing show the Home Department that such fellow will not be acceptable as governors in country districts. Yours truly, Yi.

Editorial—The building of the railway between Seoul and Chemulpo deserves more than passing notice. As we stated a few days ago, the contract has been definitely made and it is expected that the surveys will begin sometime during the coming Summer. According to the terms of the contract the government cedes to the company the land forming the route between the two points; the company builds and equips the road and has complete control for fifteen years. At tat time the government has the option of buying the road from the company at a price to be agreed upon at that time by one representative from the government and one from the company. If they cannot agree upon a price it shall be referred to an umpire chosen by them. If at that time the government does not wish to buy, the road shall remain in the company’s during a further period of ten years when the government shall again have the option of buying. At the expiration of each ten years the government has the option of buying.

These terms appear to us to be extremely advantageous for both parties. Here we have a place where a railroad is a necessity. It is no speculation. With two such termini, one the capital of the country containing some 300,000 people, and the other the most flourishing port in the country and one whose importance is daily growing, we can readily believe that the element of chance is well nigh eliminated from the problem.

On the other hand however advantageous may seem the contract for the company there are other large considerations that may not be overlooked. The benefits that accrue to the people will more than counter-balance the seeming partiality. In the first place the work is to be done so far as possible by Korean workmen. Thousands of them will be employed. Not only in the work of construction but after it is finished, Koreans will be largely employed in less responsible positions in connection with the road. In the next place the value of real estate all along the line will be greatly enhanced and at the termini the rise in value will be very great. The government should recoup itself for the expense of getting the site for road bed for the company by buying further in the vicinity of the termini and profiting by the rise in value. Then again the government will save largely in the cost of transporting revenue rice from Chemulpo to the capital and in transportation of troops.

One of the advantages of the present arrangement is that the road will be in the hands of people belonging to a power which under no conceivable circumstances could be suspected of ulterior motives of a political nature. The road will always be worked in the interests of the Korean people. We presume that the agreement stipulates that the road shall never be allowed to pass into the hands of any other company, syndicate or power but shall be controlled permanently by the present contracting syndicate until the government wishes to purchase. This is implied in the stipulation that at the end of each ten years the government shall have the option of buying. On the whole this is the most satisfactory contract of a similar character the government ever made with a foreign firm. We congratulate the government, the company and those who acted as instruments for the fair and impartial manner in which this contract was made.

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The Independent: April 11 & 14, 1896

4th December 2011

I opted to combine these two issues as the Editorial found in the April 11th issue was taken up with the growing tensions between Spain and the USA regarding Cuba…   Reminder: All opinions expressed herein belong to the editors of The Independent and written 120 years ago…

bullock and bicycle

Local Items—The long expected, the long hoped for and sighed for railroad between Seoul and Chemulpo seems to be in sight. It may be only to the eyes of faith but the hope is backed by more than rumor. The contract has been signed by the Korean government, the money is forth-coming and if that proverbial slip between the cup and the lip does not occur we shall be soon taking sweet revenge on that unspeakable thoroughfare between the Capital and the port which has so long been dignified by the name road. We understand that it will be done with American capital and that the whole plant will be on the American system. Of course, the great crux of the undertaking will be the bridging of the river but we will hope that engineering skill we overcome this formidable obstacle.

 -Even at the risk of being charged with vanity we cannot refrain from giving some of the comments which have been made apropos of the appearance of The Independent in the journalistic field. Among foreigners we hear such expressions as “A good thing,””Just what Korea needs,””An important innovation.”  We take these expressions to mean a commendation of the general plan and not of the form or matter of the first issue The Independent must be given time to prove its right to its name and to its existence.  Among Koreans the best praise is the rapidity with which the first issue was sold, and not merely so, for many doubtless bought from idle curiosity, but the number of permanent subscribers enrolled at first sight bids fair to compel us to increase our issue from 2000 to 3000 immediately.

 –Even at this early date the editorial “club” has been brought into requisition. One of the Independent staff, passing a place where Chinese coolies were at work, found them busily engaged in stoning a Korean private citizen who had gotten into an altercation with one of them. The Chinamen’s queue formed a good point d’appui and our peacemaker laid hold of it and soon the matter was successfully ‘arbitrated.’ <<’Queue’ is the pigtail Chinese workers used to wear. In other words, the reporter pulled their hair to stop the fight>>

 –A recent graduate from the Law School named Kim Pyung-che being disappointed at not receiving an official appointment immediately wrote insulting letters to the Ministers of the Interior and of Justice, for which offence he was arrested and beaten at the department of Justice. If this was done, as we understand, without the semblance of a trial it is to be deplored. It is important that no man should be punished even for a trivial offence and, however clear his guilt, without going through the proper forms.

 –Probably driven by poverty, its parents threw a new-born male child, still living, into the street night before last. It was fortunately rescued and adopted by people who were not so fortunate as to have an heir. Such an event as this lifts the veil for an instant from the awful straits to which many of the lower classes are reduced and instead of condemnation calls for pity.

 –We understand that the Japanese government intends to demand indemnity for the Japanese subjects who have been killed by the Korean insurgents. $5000 is said to be demanded for each life.  <<This subject will be brought up again at a later date>>

 –The large fire which occurred outside the west gate a few days ago seems to have been caused by spontaneous combustion in the straw roof. The Koreans called it the work of devils but we hope, by giving a proper explanation in the unmun <<hangul>> column, to help to dispel this wrong impression.

–Rev. Graham Lee and Dr. J.H. Wells left Pyeng Yang on Monday morning and arrived at Seoul on Tuesday evening.  This is the fastest trip ever made by bicycle between the two cities.

–A Chusa named Yi Sung Won memorialized His Majesty to the effect that the late cabinet were all traitors and that the present one is little better. For this offence he was arrested, tried at the Supreme Court, found guilty and sentenced to receive 100 blows and to be banished for life. The place of his banishment has not been decided on. <<A ‘chusa’ is a clerk or a low level administrator// Memorials were a special audience before the King in order to accuse a member of government of misdeeds in the hopes of getting him removed from office>>

–Four wealthy men of Duk Som went hunting one day last month and as they were returning home they met some loaded bullocks. One of them happened, in the dark, to let the muzzle of his gun touch one of the oxen, so the story runs, and the driver being in liquor tried to wrench the gun away. In the scuffle, the piece was discharged and the driver was shot through the thigh. The people of the neighboring village where the driver lived arose and went into Duk Som and pulled down the houses of the four hunters. One of them was arrested but was released under the Edict of Amnesty of Feb. 11. The wounded driver is now in the Si Pyung Won Hospital just inside the South gate and is being cared for by Dr. J.B. Busteed. The hunters are paying all expenses. If this is all true we wonder who will pay for the houses that were torn down.

–The expedition sent out by the government to suppress disturbances in Chin-Ju Kiung Sang Province, reports that things are quieting down there. The trouble is that they quiet down where the government troops are sent but only to break out somewhere else. <<Jinju, Gyeongsang Province>>

Editorial—As we intimated in a note in the issue of the 7th, the outbreaks in the country are due not so much to dislike of the present government as to the dislike of all government. Large numbers of men who have little to lose and much to gain by turning highwaymen are trying their hand at a great game of pickpocket. This may be the worst feature of the case, for if it were mere dislike of the government diplomacy and conciliation might bring about a change for the better but where the spoliation is merely mercenary the only remedy would seem to be that applied to ordinary robbery and we can hardly look for a cessation of the trouble till the country is so policed as to render the profits too small to warrant the risk. We fear therefore that mere conciliation will not affect the purpose. It is reasonable to suppose that the great mass of country people are peaceful citizens and would like nothing better than to pursue their ordinary avocation unmolested but are unable to do so because of constant fear of the “Righteous Army.” Would it not be possible to make use of this large peaceful element in the country and by a system of militia to put each district on such a footing that it can defend itself against the plunderers?

It is beyond question that country people of means dread nothing so much as the approach of these fellow who are a sort of “Coxey” army and levy mainly on the well-to-do. The moment the insurgents find themselves opposed by a determined band of armed countrymen, they will go to pieces. Now they simply terrorize the country districts. Could not the government send a well equipped expedition into the country organizing the yeomen into bands of militia who can act as minute-men, leave two or three competent officers in charge of each important position and distribute arms and ammunition as much as possible? This will serve two purposes, first it will demonstrate the good will of the government toward the country people in unmistakable terms and second it will be the death-warrant of the “Righteous Army.” That this will take money we are well aware but the transaction will be a paying one in the end. However great the cost, the relations between the Capital and its food supply are so vital as to be of absolutely first consideration.

International TelegramsLondon, Mar. 27.  A dispatch from Cape Town states that the Matabeles have risen in revolt and have massacred a number of white settlers. London, Mar. 30. The situation in Matabele land is of the gravest character. All the Whitesin the Filibushi district have been murdered and their bodies mutilated. The Rt. Hon. Cecil Rhodes is hastening to Buluwayo. London, Apr. 1. The position at Buluwayo is most serious, a general rising of the native tribes is feared. The defenders of Buluway are short of arms and have only a month supplies while the Matabeles have plenty of arms. <<This is the start of the Second Matabele War>>

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The Independent: Vol. 1, No.1

28th November 2011

Below is the first issue of the first English newspaper in Korea, the Independent, published beginning in 1896. I will admit, the first issue is the least interesting of those I have read so far.. and I have read about a year’s worth of news already…  However, it does do a good job of setting the stage. I will explain a little of the background of the stories mentioned at the end of passages where I think necessary to help with the general understanding of what is going on and of the events to come which become progressively more exciting and complex. This will be writtin in italics to keep it separate from the text.


Tuesday, April 1, 1896–

Local Items: – It has become evident that the disturbances n the country are not the result of disaffection toward the government but are simply the excesses indulged in by lawless characters who take advantage of the present lack of strong central control, knowing that for the moment they will go unpunished. We could wish that they might take warning from the fate of similar attempts on the past and remember that sooner or later their sins will find them out. We decidedly refuse to to believe that any large fraction of the country people are willing actors in these anarchical proceedings. The better informed Koreans in the Capital are of this opinion.

– The Admiralty Court of Inquiry into the sinking of the Egar pinnace at Chemulpo found that the launch was overladen and badly managed.  <<Chemulpo refers to the area now called Incheon and was of great importance because of the port.>>

– We learn to regret that a case of insubordination in the police force was condoned rather than punished because the offender had been given his position by a powerful official. Such things tend to bring into discredit an otherwise effective force.

–The promptness of which the governor of Ha Ju was dismissed from his office wehn evidence of his malfeasance was forthcoming tends, insofar, to disprove the charge of inactivity which has been made against the present government.

– At the Easter service in the Union Church, Hon. J.M.B. Sill, U.S. Minister delivered an able address. The children rendered some Easter music very prettily. The altar was handsomely decorated with potted plants.

– EDICT.  Alas, of late the minds of the people have been disturbed by wrong ideas conveyed to them by the bands of bad characters calling themselves the “Righteous Army.” These unscrupulous men incite to trouble and keep the country in an uproar. This is due to Our being unable to rule them properly and we consequently feel ashamed. We have sent Royal messengers in all directions in all directions and have ordered the people to go back to their vocations in peace, but they do not seem to know what is right to do. We also sent the Royal troops to the disturbed district but we did not wish them to fight unless the people should resist the Royal Edict. The time has come for tilling the soil but the people have not yet returned to their duties and We fear that famine will follow. In that case We would not be able to eat or sleep in peace for thinking of the suffering of Our people. We have been told that some foreigners have been killed by these rebellious bands and that some some of Our people have been killed by foreigners, all of which shocks and pains us. As We have opened up intercourse with the world, We consider that we are all brothers, whether foreign or native born. For brothers to hate and kill one another is an offence to Heaven and will bring its punishment. Our messengers tell us that the governors and magistrates have received Our orders to protect the people regardless of nativity.   Ye people, cast away all savage customs and become peaceful and obedient children. Cast aside the doubts ond suspicions which you entertain against foreigners. The names of those killed, whether natives or foreigners, should be reported to Us. <<At the beginning of 1895, a peasant rebellion, known as the Donghak Uprising was quashed. Donghak was a kind of philosphy/religion that taught all men were equal regardless of birth and the poor rose up against the nobles (yangban).  The rebels demanded four things– that their lives and property would be protected from greedy landlords; that they would be given equal rights as the rich, to drive Japanese and western people for Korea and; to purge the government of Seoul from corruption.  The Korean army failed to stop them and China sent 3000 soldiers to Seoul to assist. Japan took this as a threat to its own security and this sparked the first Sino-Japanese War. Japan also sent soldiers into Korea and set a trap for the rebels at Gongju where they were wiped out.  This resulted in changes in the yangbans’ power for a while, but they started falling back into their old ways and the peasants were soon rising up again.  In the coming months we will see them organize and become a powerful movement>> <<The King writing this is Gojong–lots more on him later>>

Editorial– The time seems to have come for the publication of a periodical in the interests of the Korean people. By the Korean people, we do not mean merely the residents of Seoul and vicinity nor do we mean the more favored classes alone, but we include the whole people of every class and grade. To this end three things are necessary; first, that it shall be written in a character intelligible to the largest possible number; second, that it shall be put on the market at such a price that it shall be within the reach of the largest possible number; third, that it shall contain such matters as shall be for the best interests of the largest possible number.

To meet the first of these requirements it has been put in the native character called the on-moon for the time is shortly coming, if it is not already here, when Koreans will cease to be ashamed of their native character, which for simplicity of construction and phonetic power compares favorably with the best alphabets in the world. Difficulty is experienced by those not thoroughly acquainted with the onmun from the fact that ordinarily there are no spaces between words. We therefore adopt the novel plan of introducing spaces, thus doing away with the main objection to its use. We make it biliteral because this will act as an incentive to English speaking Koreans to push their knowledge of English for its own sake. An English page may also commend the paper to the patronage of those who have no other means of gaining accurate information in regard to the events which are traspiring in Korea. It hardly needs to be said that we have access to the best sources of information in the capital and will be in constant communication with the provinces.

To meet the second requirement we have s arranged the size of the sheet as to be able to put it on the market at a price which will make it unnecessary for anyoe to forego is advantages because of inablity to buy.

To meet the third requirement is a more difficult matter. What Korea needs is a unifying influence. Now that the old order of things is passing away, society is in a state which might be described as intermediate between two forms of crystalliation. The old combinations of forces have been broken up or are rapidly breaking up and they are seeking new affinities. The near future will probably decide the mode of rearrangement of the social forces.

It is at this moment when Korean society is in a plastic state that we deem it appropriate to put out this sheet as an espression at least ofour desireto do what can be done in a journalistic way to give Koreans a reliable account of the events that are traspiring, to give reasons for things that often seem to them unreasonable, to bring the capital and the provinces into greater harmony through a mutal understanding of each other’s needs, especially the need of each has of the other.

<<By on-mun– which in later issues, editor Jaisohn will spell ‘unmun’, he is, of course, referring to what we now call ‘hangul’–Korean characters used in writing. Up to this time, all newspapers were written in Chinese.  The Korean/English versions of the newspaper was printed until the end of 1896. They were then enlarged and separated into two distinct papers.>><<I now realize that typing nearly the entire newspaper will make for very long posts– It might be wiser to divide it into differnt sections: Local News one day, the Editorial the next…>>

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The Independent: Introduction

26th November 2011


When you think about English newspapers in Korea, names like The Korea Times, The Korea Herald or the Joongang Daily probably leap to mind if you live in Korea. After all, they are the largest English newspapers in the country. In fact, a quick trip over to The Korea Times website reveals that they are the oldest English daily newspaper in Korea. It might surprise you to learn that they started publiction back in 1950. It might also surprise you to learn that, while the Korea Times is the oldest daily English paper, it is not the oldest English newspaper in Korea. That honor goes to The Independent.

The Independent started publication on April 7th, 1896 in conjuction with the start of the Dokrib Shinmun, the first newspaper written in Korean rather than Chinese. Both of these papers were started and edited by Dr. Seo (Phillip Jaisohn) Jae-pil. Born in South Jeolla Province, Dr. Seo was educated in America, graduating from the Columbian Medical College in Washington DC in 1892. He married Josephine Armstrong, the daughter of George Buchanan Armstrong, founder of the US Railway Mail Service. The pair moved to Seoul in 1895, a place, as you will see, very different than what we know today. Inspired by an English Missionary monthly magazine that started in March of that year called the Korean Repository, the visionary Seo realized the usefulness of having news available to the international community and to the masses and he founded The Independent and the Dokrib Shinmun. He shared editing duties with a Mr. H.G. Appenzeller. The newspaper was published three times a week; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and sold for either 10 cents an issue or $1.30 a year. 

So what does this have to do with Korean movies? I think I have mentioned how I dig through old newspapers in the library to find images of old movies for the plates I am making in the Korean film index I am working on. At one point I had found a few issues of the Independent and thought that it might have a report about when the first movie was shown in Korea. The first public screening is generally recognized as 1903, but there are reports of private screenings as early as 1897. I have now been able to locate all of the original run of the Independent which starts in 1896 and continues for several years. I do not know if I will find what I am looking for, but I have found many other interesting things.. a report of the first phonograph in Pyeongyang, the origins of the trains, the poisoning of the king’s coffee, a murder mystery and trial among the foreign community, the meltdown of the Minister of Education and the growing insurgency.

I want to share these articles in full with readers once a week. They often a fascinating look at history unfolding from the perspective of the foreign residents in Seoul who manage to keep a stiff upper lip throughout the growing chaos of the times. The early editions of the paper are simply one page and I will be able to reproduce it in full editing out only the list of government appointments and dismissals.  I do want to stress however, opinions of the newspaper articles written 120+ years ago are NOT mine. In fact, I am more than a little horrified by some of what is printed and what the newspaper was promoting such as the witchhunt against the shamans and fortunetellers and the terms used to define certain classes and races living in Seoul. I will add a short explanation at the end where I can and comments and analysis are welcome.

I plan to make this a mid-week feature, but I will post the Volume 1, Issue 1 later this weekend.

(I need to somehow find The Korean Repository — The Independent mentions it has art and society pages which might reveal something about the early showing of films)

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