Seen in Jeonju

Archive for June, 2012

The Independent: Thursday, June 18th, 1896

15th June 2012


Continuing the weekly project of retyping Korea’s first English-language newspaper, this week’s issue is Vol.1, No. 32 from Thursday, June 18, 1896. In this issue: The Minister of Education tries to humilate the students of French for not knowing Chinese, other Ministers make failed efforts to resign and the shamans succeed in getting the Chief of Police fired and ending their persecution but the new Chief of Police earns the scorn of the editor for using coarse language to his subordinates.   <<Reminder:  All opinions expressed in the newspaper are the views of the editors of The Independent. They do not reflect the opinions of this website and are reproduced here for the sole purpose of providing historical context. >>


The cause of Korea’s weakness at the time of the great Japanese Invasion three hundred years ago was that when a really capable man appeared, the rest, through jealousy, caused him to be either killed or banished or stripped of office.  We fear that history is repeating itself for no sooner do we see a strong, firm, manly man in the position of Chief of Police, a place where those qualities are eminently necessary, than he is pounced upon by a lot of harpies who malign him and, by arts that he would scorn to use, encompass his downfall.

Of all desparate and indefensible practices this of working on the superstitious fears of the ignorant common people is the height and crown.  It is par with the custom of selling ones own flesh an blood for hire and the people who carry on this mudang trade are notoriously corrupt. If anything could make Korea rotton at the core these creatures will.  We expect bad habits and corrupt practices among higher classes. They go hand in hand with Confucianism the world over, but these creatures passing in and out before the common people and playing on their superstitious natures, meanwhile ply other and less excusable trades so that the whole mass of the people is contaminated by their very breath.

In Japan such elements are segregated from the masses an put by themselves in a separate quarter so that he who would associate with them must go where they are but these mudangs, plying their trade under to the cover of a holy office, as they claim, are the epitome of corruption.

And now they claim that they have made the pictures of ancient kings their idols.  This in itself should bring down upon them swift punishment.

In the days of Sun Jo Tae Wang a picture of one of the Korean Kings was stolen by a Japanese and taken to Japan but after a while it was brought back and handed over to the Governor of Chulla Province. What did he do with it? He burned it immediately because it had been desecrated by being carried to Japan.  If so what shall be said of the pictures of Kings which have been hung in the halls of harlots and been the objects of their reverence? We beg of the authorities that they will mak th comparison an see how free of guilt are these officials who have tried to clean these augean stables and how worthy of punishment are those who have hindered them in the necessary but thankless task.

Brief Notice

The law of the Supreme Court is that no suits of any kind are received by the said court until the case has been decided by the common court.  The former Magistrate of Sin Chun, Kim Sang Heun who is the brother-in-law of a Judge of the Supreme Court, Yi Heui Ik, ignored the law and sued the Government for his alleged back pay, through the Supreme Court. The judge received the complaint even though the case did not come through the Common Court.  If the Supreme Court of the land disregards the laws of the Nation on account of family considerations it will be a hard matter to make the people obey them.  We do not attempt to criticise the merits of the nature of the complaint but he must take the same steps of legal procedure as any other individual, even though he has a brother-in-law on the bench of the Supreme Court.

Yi Pyeng Eui of Chemulpo who raised money on false pretenses from the coolies of that port was tried and convicted. He received 60 blows and two years imprisonment with hard labor.

A live male infant was wrapped in sheets and thrown on the street near Hyo Dong.  The police in that neighborhood picked it up and took it to his house.

We notice in the street small children go about naked. The hot rays of the sun produce a bad effect on the skin, and the sight is certainly disgusting.  We hope the police department will forbid it right away.

Major Yi Cho Heun volunteered to go down to the Southern provinces and crush out the insurgents.  He was offered a mixed battalion of three companies but he refused to take a mixture.  He guarantees that he can finish them with 40 well-trained soldiers. He left Seoul on Tuesday with 40 men. We admire his loyalty as well as his bravery.  He shall have all the good wishes from us and we hope to see him come back triumphant, and take laurels which he will undoubtedly deserve.

The murderers of Ex-Finance Minister O Yun Chung have been sentenced to five years banishment.

The new Chief of Police Yi Chong Keun uses a low form of language to his sub-ordinate officers when they are not of yangban <noble> class. This custom was abolished in 1894 but the new Chief institutes the obnoxious custom again. Go slow Mr. Yi Chong Keun.

The Minister of the Home Department, Pak Chong Yang sent in his resignation, but His Majesty did not accept it. Minister Pak has been allowed a vacation to recuperate his health. In the meantime the Vice Minister Sin Suk Heui has been appointed Acting Minister.

The Minister of Finance Sim Sang Hun sent in his resignation, but His Majesty did not accept it.

Kim Sang Dok was appointed Governor of Hong Ju, but he declined to serve and sent in his resignation. He has been arrested for the crime (?) of declining the honor and sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labor. We do not pretend to know the intricacies of the law of this country, but it seems to us very odd to imprison a man for three years with hard labor for declining an office.

At the meeting of the Municiple Council in Chemulpo on the 10th, the matter of the selection of a Chief of Police, in the place of Mr. Ragsdale, resigned, was left open for the present. It was decided to forbid sampan (rickshaw)  men from running up into the streets for passengers. Other matters such as the grading of new streets was attended to. Chemulpo presents the unusual spectacle of an eastern settlement being out of debt with a good bank account to its credit.  Mr. F. Krien, the German Consul, went down from Seoul to attend the meeting as did Dr. Allen, US Vice Counsel General. Dr. Allen made the trip up over rough roads on his bicycle in three hours.

The Russians are laying out a supply station on Rose Island Chemulpo.

Diabutsu Hotel is being renovated before being opened to foreign customers.

The Minister of Education, Shin Ki Sun possesses one quality of statesmanship in common with statemen of America and Europe and that is he does not mind the newspaper criticisms. We venture to say that he is the most thick-headed man in the Government.

Four hundred soldiers of Kang Wha garrison now at Chai Chon district have been notified by the Minister of War that the troops are to be dismissed except two hundred men and four officers. These officers and men have been fighting insurgents for the last five months and hearing the above order have now refused to fight not knowing as to  who is to be dismissed or retained. It seems to us to be an unwise move on the part of the War Office to send down such an order while these men are in the disturbed districts. This will necessitate sending down new troops thus incurring unnecessary expense and consuming more time.

The Armenian Fund so far has received the Office of the Independent: $10.00 from the Independent, $5.00 from Col. FJH Niensted, $10.00 from HB Hulbert, $10.00 from Mr. Eugene Bell.

To the Editor of the Independent.  Dear Sir– the cringing and servile action of the Minister of Education (or the champion of the insurgents) have been already aired in your columns to the satisfaction of law-abiding citizens of Korea, hence I would not take much of your space to give my view of this man. But I would like to call your attention to the fact that Mr. Sin came to the Russian and French School a few days ago, and ordered the students to recite old Chinese classics to him in place of Russian and French text books which they have been studying. Does the Minister think that the Chinese classics are taught in these schools or is he playing the fool to amuse the world? Any information on the subject will be appreciated.  Yours sincerely, Choi Kak.     ———— Ask us something easy, Mr. Choi.

Posted in The Independent: 1896 | Comments Off

Index of the 1970s: Kim Eung-cheon part 2

12th June 2012

Normally on a Tuesday night, I post the trailers of the new Korean films that will be opening in theaters at the end of the week. However, this week there are no Korean films opening so instead I will post theinformation on the remaining nine films from the 1970s of Director Kim Eung-cheon.  Click the thumbnails to see the full-sized image. The plates I made of the rest of his films, as well as the movies from other directors, can be seen by clicking the tab at the top of this page marked ‘The 1970s.’  

kimeungcheon1978 girlonfire, kimeungcheon1978 girlnamedmaengsoon, kimeungcheon1978 archoftriumph, highschoolkids, butterflyamongflowers,

ourhighschooldays, youreawomanimaman, womanonaferriswheel, thoughtless momo  Up next on the list: Kim Gi

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Korean Box Office: June 8-10

11th June 2012


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Korean Movies on DVD: June 10-16

9th June 2012

There are a lot of excellent films being released on DVD this week including three classic movies and documentary.


Neverending Story– directed by Jeong Yong-joo, starring Uhm Tae-woong and Jeong Ryeo-won.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital: 5.1/ Running Time: 114 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: June 12th.

Character– directed by Son Gwang-joo, starring Kim Soo-hyeon and Lee Hwan.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: for ages 12+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 99 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: June 12th.

Kinship (1963)– directed by Kim Soo-yong, starring Kim Seung-ho and Hwang Jeong-soon.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean, English, and Japanese/ Rating: for ages 12+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital Mono/ Running TIme: 83 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 15,400 KRW/ Available: June 12th.


Unbowed– directed by Jeong Ji-yeong, starring Ahn Seong-gi an Park Won-sang.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 100 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: June 13th

Yeosu– directed by Jin Gwang-gyo, starring Ko Joon-hee and Jeong Ui-cheol.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 98 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: June 14th.

Korean Short Film Animation Collection vol. 3– various directors. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: none listed/ Format: 16:9/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 94 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 16,500 KRW/ Available: June 15th.

polluted ones

Polluted Ones (1982)– directed by Im Kwon-taek, starring Ahn Seong-gi and Bang Hee. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for mature audiences/ Format: 4:3/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono/ Running Time: 102 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 16,500 KRW/ Available: June 15th

Adada (1987)– directed by Im Kwon-taek, starring Shin Hye-soo and Han Ji-il.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for mature audiences/ Format: 4:3/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 118 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 16,500 KRW/ Available: June 15th

Cuban Boyfriend— directed by Jeong Ho-hyeon (documentary)– Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 93 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300/ Available: June 15th

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Declaration of Fools (1983)

8th June 2012

declaration of foolsWow..  That was completely unexpected. Declaration of Fools, also known as Children of Darkness 2, took my by surprise with its creativity.  I remember Children of Darkness (1981) being very good, but it was nothing like its ’sequel.’  The DVD box lists a long line of film festivals and awards this movie won, and it deserves every one of them. Of course there are faults, it was the 80s after all and not the easiest time to be making films, but Lee Jang-ho crafts a deeply nuanced and entertaining film nonetheless.

Before I begin the review, I would like to point out that the DVD does not contain English subtitles. However, for about 80 percent of the film, that does not matter as the movie is silent sans music and sound effects. There is some narration in the form of a child. The boy reads his lines in a stilted monotone and uses the grammar style that elementary school students write their picture-diaries in (if you have seen many Korean movies or dramas you have probably seen these).  When the characters finally speak for the first time… more than thirty minutes in… it is jolting and actually ruins part of the mood that had been set up. I was happy when, later in the film, the director returns to the concept he began.  The child’s voice introducing the film is utilized along with children’s drawings as the opening credits role. After that, our ears are assaulted with the sounds of the 80s which include video game music, beeps and blips, Western music (most notably the song Gloria by Laura Branigan).. drowning out the sound of a traditional pansori song. Through sound, the theme of the film is introduced although we do not get directly reminded of this until the movie’s final sequences.

The movie starts with a suicide of a stranger and with that we get a better idea of our main character as he lifts the dying man’s watch in front of  a crownd of bystanders and makes off the unfortunate man’s shoes and carefully folded clothes. This is done in a mildly comical way that somehow makes his callous and criminal act seem amiable. However, his progress acts strain the good will and comedic efforts to make us like him as he next begins stalking an attractive young woman and eventually coming up with a plan to kidnap her.  Fortunately, nothing goes exactly as planned and eventually he, the young woman and a taxi driver who lost his cab are headed out into the world to enjoy their new-found freedom and make a life for themselves.

It was early on in the film, I think with the first dream sequence in the cab, that I started realizing how much like a Charlie Chaplin film this was. It was not just because Declaration of Fools is nearly a silent film. It was more to do with the similarity of the main character (Dong-cheol played by Kim Myeong-gon) to Chaplin’s Little Tramp in his expressions and exaggerated walking style. What differentiated Dong-cheol from his predecessor was a complete lack of innocence. I could not imagine Chaplin’s beloved character plotting a kidnap/rape scenario…

This is a movie that is definitely worth seeing. I was impressed with the story, the creative cinematography and music, the acting and the message. I was also deeply impressed with the risks that the director took with this film..not the least of which was adding the Blue House in the background as two of the characters completely reject society. I only wish that the people who released the DVD had added subtitles so it could more easily be understood by a wider audience. With the lack of dialogue, it would have taken about 20 minutes to translate and write the captions.  But don’t be too discouraged by the lack of subtitles. The movie relies heavily on sound and visuals over dialogue don’t need the subs to enjoy this one. THe DVD was just recently released, so if you find it, but it! You won’t regret owning this masterpiece in you collection.

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The Independent: June 16th, 1896

6th June 2012


Continuing the weekly project of retyping Korea’s first English-language newspaper, this week’s issue is Vol.1, No. 31 from Tuesday, June 16, 1896. In this issue: The editor seems all over the place as he expresses his views on Japanese trade in Korea, Yang Ju is attacked and overwhelmed by 15 insurgents, and the Americans in Seoul start planning a Fourth of July forming committees. <<Reminder:  All opinions expressed in the newspaper are the views of the editors of The Independent. They do not reflect the opinions of this website and are reproduced here for the sole purpose of providing historical context. >>


It is fairly safe to say that the interest of Japan in Korea is largely a commercial one. She may have some sentimental ideas about the “debt of gratitude” which Korea owes her and her ambition may include Korea in her “sphere of influence” politically but, after all, the Japanese people as a whole are much more interested in the commercial aspect of the case than in the politcal.  Great as has been Japan’s advance politically her industrial progress has been greater still and the nations of the world see in Japan not so much a rival in the arts of war as a rival in the arts of peace. The Japanese do not appear to think so but as the prizes of war slip one by one through their fingers they will come to see that this is true, and act upon it.

Now notice that commerce is the most democratic thing in the world. The merchant would as lief sell his goods to a coolie as to a prince, to an idiot as well as to a scholar.  The supply adapts itself to the demand whoever it is that demands. The trader would rather have good will of themasses tan of the government unless the latter uses its power to curtail his business and the favor of government would be curred not for its own sake but to open up a way again to the masses.  What is the bulk of Korean imports? Cotton goods.  Who uses them? The common people. What forms the bulk of Korea’s exports? Rice, beans and hides.  Who raises them? The common people.

Ordinarily the common people think little about about government so long as things run smoothly. It’s like nerves.  You know nothing about them till they get out of order.  The common citizen is most interested in the man he sells his goods to and the man he buys from.  To his mind Government is made for evil doers, not for law abiding citizens and if he has a good market to buy and sell he is pretty well content.

That the Japanese have not grasped this fact is evident from the way Japanese merchants are treating the Korean people. A rather timid countryman, who is wholesomely afraid of the Japanese, comes into the Japanese settlement to look about and see the goods displayed. He has always been accoustomed to handle and examine goods before purchasing and he stops before an open shop window where the goods are all within reach of the hand and he picks up an article and looks at it.  Suddenly the proprietor rushes out at him, heaps abuse upon him, cuffs him perhaps, and tell shim he must pay for the thing now he has handled it. The poor fellow is frightened nearly to death and hands over the money exactly as he would hand it over to a highwayman who had a revolver at his head.  But you say these are rare cases. They are not. You can see such any day if you will stand a few minutes in the streets of the Japanese settlement. The tactics pursued in getting Korean’s houses away from them has been too well aired in our columns to need comment here. The following is a sample of Japanese business methods. Some months ago two Japanese laid before a wealthy Korean a scheme for making money.  The Korean was to supply capital, Japanese laborers were to be sent into the country to cut timber and from the proceeds both Koreans and Japanese were to make a handsome profit.  When the timber  was all cut and ready for market one of the Japanese suddenly left for Japan and the other one told the Koreans that as he was in partnership with the absent man he had no pwer to settle the matter till the other one came back, which of course he will not do; and the Korean has simply been done out of two or three thousand dollars.  Every time a Korean gets a bit in this way a hundred others hear of it and vow they will have nothing to do with the Japanese unless absolutely driven to it.  If this is the way the Japanese think to build up trade here they are a much shorter sighted people than we had supposed.

Brief Notice

The Governor of Kong Ju reports that the Police inspector of that province captured a band of robbers in Kong Ju and recovered a large quantity of stolen goods among which were sixty-nine rolls of linen belonging to some Chinese merchants, and these were returned to the owners.

The Governor of Seoul reports that a man named Cho In So calling himself a leader of the ‘righeous army’ arrived in Yang Ju Magistracy with fifteen followers and raised a disturbance.  The Magistrate has run away and the officials of the district are in hiding. The insurgents are having every thing their own way as thre is no resistance from any source.  They have killed three inoffensive citizens and are robbing every house in sight.

The Governor again reports that a company of Seoul troops were dispatched to Yang Ju and captured the band of insurgents but the leader got away.

The general subscription is being taken up in Japan among the foreign communities there for relief of sufferers in Armenia.  Korea cannot be left behind in such a praise-worthy effort and the Independent  takes pleasure in opening its column to forward such an enterprise. The project does not originate with us but has been suggested and as the Independent office iscentrally located we may without impinging upon any one else’s province offer to receive and forward any sums which the worthiness of the object may prompt the people of Seoul to give. Itwill go direct to the relief headquarters at Constantinople as Korea’s substantial evidence of sympathy.  The Independent takes pleasure in starting the subscription by putting down ten dollars which we wish might be ten thousand dollars. Will the Ladies and Gentlemen honor themselves by participating in this gift of Korea to suffering Armenia? Strict account will be kept and all sums will be published either under the donor’s name or anonymously if desired.

The students of Pai Chai School are looking well in the new caps and uniforms.  They seem to be proud of their new dress and all regret that they did not adopt it sooner. They are drilled by the Sergeant of the US Marines who kindly comes over to the”School grounds every afternoon to train them. Long Live Pai Chai < This may seem like a superfluous article however, the unwritten meaning is that the students are currently in violation of the Minister of Education’s order that students may not wear Western clothing in school. There will be consequences… tom>

At the meeting of American citizens held on Friday afternoon for the purpose of discussing the 4th of July, it was unanimously decided to celebrate the day in appropriate manner, and the following Committees were appointed. Committee on Programme, Philip Jaisohn, HG Appenzellar, Mrs Bunker.  Committee on Arrangements, HR Hulbert, DA Bunker, Eugene Bell.  Committee on Refreshments, Mrs MF Scrantan, Mrs HN Allen.  Committee on Invitation, HN Allen, JB Busteed.  Some contribution is necessary to defray the expenses of printing, refreshments, etc.  Every American is requested to forward his or her share to any members of Committe on Programme as the financial matter was deferred to this Committee. The Committee has recieved already contributions amounting to $30.

The report of the appointment of Herr Von Brandt as Advisor to the Chines Foreign Office is unfounded.

Dr and Mrs Underwood have returned from their trip to Chefoo.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir— I voice the sentitment of the law-abiding and patriotic citizens of Yang Ju and beg to say a few words to the public through your valuable paper in regard to the memorial and the order which the new Minister of Education, Mr Sin Ki Sun has written since his appointment to the office.  All of his sentiments expressed in these documents clearly indicate that he is in perfect accord with the so-called ‘righteous army’ now robbing and looting the peaceful and law-abiding citizens throughout the country. We, the patriotic citizens of Korea, have horror for these lawless gangs of the ‘righteous army’ and only pray and hope that the Government will soon crush thm out and make them obey the laws of the land.  But the new Minister of Education champions the cause of these robbers by saying that the use of Korean unmun by Korean people is a sign of ‘turning men into beasts;’ and the wearing of European costumes by the students of the Government schools is an indication of ‘making civilized men into barbarians.’  and adopting the Gregorian calendar in place of the Chinese is a step toward ‘becoming disloyal to the Chinese Emperor.’  These are exactly the sentiments this ‘righteous army’ entertain and champion at the present. If the Government entrusts such a high position as Minister of Educati0n to a  man who holds the same views as these enemies of the commonwealth, how can the peace loving citizens of theland hope to see the day when enlightment and progressiveness shall reign supreme over all Korea?  Yours faithfully, Chung To Sun, Yang Ju

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Trailers for New Korean Movies opening June 6/7

5th June 2012

Only for movies are opening this week, and two of them are Korean films.

The trailer below is for THE CONCUBINE directed by Kim Dae-seung and starring Jo Yeo-jeong and Kim Dong-wook.

The other film is SUPER STAR starring Kim Jeong-tae and Song Sam-dong. It is directed by Im Jin-soo

They are up against two other films that have the potential to be big hits.. one is PROMETHEUS (us) which I admit to being interested in and, for the younger crowd, there is MADAGASCAR 3 (us)

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Korean Box Office: June 1-3

4th June 2012


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Korean Movies on DVD: June 3-9

3rd June 2012

I was away in Incheon the past weekend for the wedding of a former student and so I could not post on this site as I wanted. However, I will quickly post this information before heading off to sleep.  We have two new movies coming out on DVD this coming week. One is on my ‘must have’ list, the other..well.. if someone gave it to me as a gift, I would not refuse, but I am not actively thinking of buying it.

cafe noir

The one I must own, despite its Bollywood-ish running time, is CAFE NOIR directed by Jeong Seong-il and starring Shin Ha-gyun and Jeong Yoo-mi.  Number of disc: 2/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for mature audiences/Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 198 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: June 8th.. Oh! and it comes with a 16-page booklet.

The movie pictured on the right in the image is DANCING QUEEN, directed by Lee Seok-hoon and starring Hwang Jeong-min and Uhm Jeong-hwa.  This film did quite well in theaters and both of the main actors are quite good.  In fact, the only reason I am not considering buying it right away is because it is primarily a comedy..not my favorite genre..  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 12+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 124 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: June 8th

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