Tatsuno Kingo: The Face of an Empire

Early modern architecture in Japan went through a series of distinct phases. One of these phases was a certain kind of neo-Renaissance introduced by architects like Josiah Conder, Hermann Ende and Wilhelm Böckmann in the late 1800s. Separate from earlier mixed Western-Japanese buildings found around the bund at Yokohama, such neoclassicism became well-admired and common … More Tatsuno Kingo: The Face of an Empire

Traces of the Imperial Crown Style in Colonial Korea

The Imperial Crown Style was a genre of Japanese modernist architecture generally found in 1930s-1940s government buildings. It appears to have mostly skipped southern Korea, but traces of the style can still be seen today. In Volume 92 of Transactions, a journal published by the Royal Asiatic Society – Korea Branch, you may find a short article … More Traces of the Imperial Crown Style in Colonial Korea

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

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

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)

Busan (2)

Yeongdo After the port’s opening in 1876, the lands in the northern part of the island of Yeongdo, formerly known as both Makishima and Jeolyoung Island (Jeoryeongdo), may have been appropriated by Japanese colonists as early as the 1880s.1 However, some parts of the island were definitely occupied by 1885 when a concession was granted for the stated … More Busan (2)

Daegu (1)

Any discourse on the colonial modernization of Daegu must be centered around the construction of Daegu Station and the dismantling of the city’s fortress walls. However, its important to understand that it was not the colonial policies of the 1900s that made Daegu great. For almost three hundred years prior to the arrival of Japanese … More Daegu (1)

Jinju

Jinju is a very old city. Touted as having a thousand-year history, it used to be known as Goryeonggaya prior to 940. In 1896, it became the seat of power in the newly formed Gyeongsangnam-do province. The provincial capital then shifted to Busan in 1925. There are only a handful of colonial buildings left in Jinju. Okbong-dong … More Jinju

Daejeon (1)

Daejeon was a product of colonial modernization, becoming so important that it later replaced Gongju as the seat of power in the region. While cities like Seoul and Busan were already relatively important at the turn of the 20th century, Daejeon barely existed prior to 1900. The lack of convenient transportation, and even more importantly, … More Daejeon (1)

Tongyeong

Tongyeong is a small, but noteworthy, connective point along the southeast coast of Korea. Named after the Samdosugun Tongjesayeong (삼도수군통제사영) naval force stationed here during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, it wasn’t until after the installation of this force that Tongyeong really became an economic center in the region. By the 1700s, its crafts … More Tongyeong

Guryongpo

Just to the east of Pohang lies the community of Guryongpo. An eup under Pohang’s jurisdiction, it was at one point the largest fishing base around the East Sea, known for being a mackerel center after the Houjou Fishing Sailor Group’s success in the area in 1909.1 In 2011, the city followed in the footsteps of Gunsan … More Guryongpo

Sorokdo

Sorokdo’s tragic past stands as a historic example of human rights abuse – particularly abuse committed under the name of medical modernity. At first glance, the island is deceptively beautiful and doesn’t resemble what we would imagine a leper colony to look like. As you cross over the suspension bridge from Goheung, everything is notably more serene … More Sorokdo