Early Modern Brick and the Perforated Qing Cross

Before the rise of reinforced concrete, brick was the heart and soul of many an early modern building in Korea. Red brick architecture arrived in the 19th century, with some of the earliest (non-palace) examples being the Busan Japanese Administration Office in 1879, the Sechang Trading Company in 1884, the Beonsachang Armory in Seoul (1884-present),1 … More Early Modern Brick and the Perforated Qing Cross

Hanok in Japan, Korean Architecture Abroad

Over the course of Korea’s colonization, the construction of thousands of machiya and other Japanese clapboard buildings altered Korea’s traditional cityscapes. Some believe this transfer of culture was one way, that Korea left little to no imprint on the Japanese who lived there and in the metropole during colonization. However, colonization was a shared and … More Hanok in Japan, Korean Architecture Abroad

Yeosu

Situated in the middle of Korea’s southern coastline, the micro-peninsula of Yeosu was heavily influenced by Japanese settlers and Western missionaries during the colonial period. Though the current city government of Yeosu likes to tout its Joseon legacy as related to Yi Sun-shin, this scenic getaway spot has a rich colonial history that deserves much … More Yeosu

Suncheon

At the end of the 19th century, the area around Suncheon had long been known as an important military and administrative center. Its early modern and colonial history is not widely known, but it was the events during this time period that led to its gradual urban reformation under Japanese rule. As the former Joseon seat … More Suncheon

Mokpo

A small ocean-side village sat on the tip of the South Jeolla province during the Joseon period. Estimated as having only eighty households in the late 1800s,1 this unimportant farming community would grow to become one of Korea’s most influential colonial port cities. Its name was Mokpo, and today it contains some of the most fascinating early modern … More Mokpo

Iksan

Iksan was established as a colonial town in the middle of the Honam breadbasket at the turn of the twentieth century. For a town that is off the radar for most tourists, it may be surprising to know that a significant portion of its early modern architecture remains. Unfortunately, its murky colonial past makes it … More Iksan

Ganggyeong

Ganggyeong-eup was an important colonial river port during the Japanese occupation. As industrialization swept the peninsula in the 1960s and 1970s, Ganggyeong was left behind. As its neighbor, Gunsan, developed in the 1980s and 1990s, changes to the waterway also contributed to the port’s disappearance. The result is a well preserved early modern Korean town … More Ganggyeong

Miryang

Miryang sits in a basin made by the Nakdong River which, though fairly mountainous, is just above an important plain that is still used for rice farming. The city was built up around the river’s winding “S” curve that contains two low-lying islands. One island is occupied by rice fields. The other was developed and … More Miryang

Jinhae

Strategically placed in the middle of a natural harbor, and even further protected from possible Russian naval attacks by the island of Geoje-do, the location of Jinhae has long been considered a valuable naval position. Prior to 1906, the area that Jinhae now occupies was previously known as the county of Ungcheon (Uncheong-gun). Masan, a … More Jinhae

Cheongdo

Cheongdo The county of Cheongdo (Cheongdo-gun) was named centuries before Korea’s early modern period back in 1343. Its modern administrative system was established in 1895 under the district of the city of Daegu (Daegu-bu), only to fall under Gyeongsangbuyk-do’s provincial jurisdiction the following year due to the new administrative division system introduced under the Gabo … More Cheongdo

Gadeokdo

Despite being set apart from the rest of Busan, the island of Gadeok-do actually falls under the jurisdiction of the city’s Gangseo-gu district. There are two villages towards the southern tip named Daehangpo and Yangpo. The Japanese Army forced the locals out of the Yangpo area in 1905 in order to convert the valley into … More Gadeokdo

Busan (7)

Gangseo-gu In 1927, socialist writer Cho Myeong-hui described the Nakdong River as being “the mother’s milk of many lives” in his historical fiction named after the waterway.1 The river flows all the way from the northern Taebaek Mountains down to Busan and has played an important role in the development of Korean civilization since ancient times, … More Busan (7)

Busan (6)

Nam-gu The majority of the hill houses in Uam-dong and Munhyeon-dong appear to be from the 1960s, with perhaps a handful from the 1950s. As such, it is not a particularly noteworthy area with regard to old architecture. However, there are a handful of structures left spread throughout the two neighborhoods. A U.S. military map from … More Busan (6)

Busan (5)

Dong-gu Overview Choryang was a fishing village, which was reportedly ‘“difficult to walk about in the fishing season because of its stench.”’1 Though colonial era Japanese land buyers later sought property in Choryang, it was largely a Korean community prior to 1905.2 Much of the Korean fishing community was forced out and made to live in … More Busan (5)