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Fri, August 12, 2022 | 06:24
The fate of Sontag Hotel
When Marie Antoinette Sontag returned to Korea sometime in late 1906 or early 1907, she found Seoul had greatly changed. The foreign legations were now mere consulates and Japan dominated Korean politics and business opportunities - most of the Westerners employed by the Korean government were replaced with Japanese. Yet, Sontag managed to return to her former position in the...
Sontag Hotel - 'consultation center for diplomatic conspiracies'
One of the greatest obstacles for Westerners visiting Seoul prior to 1900 was a lack of accommodations. With no suitable hotels, visitors were forced to impose themselves upon friends or family or throw themselves upon the mercy of foreign residents of the city or even their legations and consulates. However, in 1900, things began to change.
Marie Antoinette Sontag: “The uncrowned empress of Korea”
According to a Korean almanac published in 1895, in the twelfth month of the lunar year (January 16 - February 14, 1896): “The wild goose stands with its face to the north and the magpie builds for itself a nest shelter. The crow of the pheasant is heard on the hillside; hens feed on milk and the lake's stomach becomes solid.”
Russians arrive in Korea in 1885
The Russian cruiser Razboinik, with its crew of eight officers and 105 sailors, steamed into the harbor of Jemulpo (modern Incheon) on Oct. 3, 1885. The harbor was quite crowded with Chinese, Japanese, British and American warships - many of them having just arrived - and an English steamship, its crew was busily engaged in unloading the Joseon government's newly purchased mi...
The return of Heungseon Daewongun
When Arthur H. Heath (a journalist for the Illustrated London News) and his two companions (Charles Joseph Uren and Lionel F. Gowing) traveled to Korea in late September 1885, they expected a great adventure and were not disappointed.
The Korean power shovel
In the modern age of “ppali-ppali” (a Korean expression that means to do everything quickly) one still occasionally sees what some Westerners over a century ago called “the Korean power shovel.”
Joseon dragons' great influence over weather, state affairs
Dragons have dwelt on the Korean Peninsula since the beginning of time - at least according to the legends and folklore. These mystical creatures or entities were also popular subjects to grace the pages of Westerners' letters home or to the editors of their local newspapers.
Baseball in Joseon: Part 2
Phillip Gillett, an American missionary working with the YMCA, is often credited as being the first to introduce baseball to Korea in 1905. He helped popularize it and form a Korean baseball team - the Hwangseong YMCA Baseball Team. The following year, he helped arrange the first official Korean baseball match on Feb. 11, 1906. It would not be the last game.
Baseball in Joseon: Part 1
On a beautiful fall afternoon in late October 1894, baseball made its appearance in Seoul. It isn't clear if this was the first baseball game to be played in Korea, but it is the earliest account I could find and clearly predates the popular belief that baseball began in Korea in 1905.
The Royal English School's Sports Day
In her diary, on June 16, 1897, Elizabeth Greathouse duly noted that it was a cloudy day but it promised to be a good day for the Royal English School's annual athletic sports day. She wasn't quite sure what the students were going to do - some type of gymnastics, she guessed - but she looked forward to attending the event with two Korean ladies. They were due to arrive at 3 ...