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

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

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

Jeonju

The decade prior to Jeonju’s modernization was fraught with turbulence and disorder. Like the entire nation of Joseon itself, Jeonju faced an uncertain future at the end of the 19th century. In 1894, Jeonju came into a chaotic time as the Donghak rebels took control of this provincial capital city. Joseon government troops then laid … More Jeonju

Gunsan

Gunsan was the most important port in the Honam region in the early 1900s. It developed so quickly that it easily rivaled Chemulpo (Incheon), Busan, and Mokpo, becoming a modern international trade center whose ships could reach both China and Japan. As a city mostly propped up by the colonial economic structure, it declined post-liberation.1 … More Gunsan

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

Ulsan

Perhaps no other city in Korea has seen as much change in architecture and infrastructure as Ulsan, for only one of its historically significant structures remain intact. Almost no minor colonial buildings are left, let alone any Joseon relics. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the Ulsan we know today began to develop, but the … More Ulsan

Samnangjin

Samnangjin contained one of the biggest docks on the Nakdong River during the Joseon period. Positioned just south of Miryang, it was an historically important passageway for travelers. An old walking road was made along the rocky shore line to the east of the present train station in a place called Jando.1 Remains of this old … More Samnangjin

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

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)