Korea becomes Chosen

The road to annexation and the first decade of nationalization

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 January 2007
Last updated 10 September 2023

Opening Korea Sources 1876 Japan-Chosen treaty 1882 US-Chosen treaty 1882 Japan-Chosen treaty 1883 Britain-Corea treaty
Korea becomes protectorate 1904 defense agreement 1905 diplomacy agreement 1907 domestic affairs agreement
Annexation of Korea 1910 Annexation treaty (Seoul) 1910 Ordinance changing name to Chosen 1910 Annexation declaration
  * Related pronouncements Sunjong edict Sunjong instruction Meiji rescript
  * Hall of mirrors Conroy on gappo, gappei, heigo Kim & Kim on annexation Duus on heigo Dudden on Conroy and Duus
  * Extraterritoriality Dudden on extraterritoriality Liu on extraterritoriality
Selected reports on Korea Martini 1655 Hamel 1666 Allen 1873 on Wodehouse 1872 Ross 1879 MacIntyre 1881 Griffis 1882 Griffis 1885 Ross 1887 Bishop 1898 McKenzie 1908 Kiusic Kimm 1919 McKenzie 1920 Cynn 1920 Chung 1921

See Nationalization treaties for how Taiwan and and Karafuto were incorporated into Japan.
See The detritus of empire for examples of how Korea's name changed on various artifacts.
See The continuing annexation for why and how Korea's 1910 union with Japan goes on.

Opening Korea's doors

The country often called "Corea" or "Korea" or "Corée" or related terms in English and other alphabetic scripts did not exist as such at the time it was "opened" in the late 19th century through treaties with Japan and other countries. The name of country had long been ’©‘N in short, more fully ’©‘Nš , and most formally ‘å’©‘Nš  -- which would be romanized Chosŏn, Chosŏn Guk, and Dae Chosŏn Guk according to the McCune-Reischauer scheme that was introduced from 1937.

The most common romanization based on an East Asian reading of ’©‘N was Chaosien,

The English version of the 1876 treaty Korea concluded with Japan in Japanese and Chinese gives its name as "Chosen" -- reflecting, most likely, a Sino-Japanese romanization of ’©‘N.

The English version of the 1882 treaty Korea concluded with the United States, in English and Chinese, also names the country "Chosen" -- most likely because of the impact of the English version of the 1876 treaty and contemporary English writing that used this term or similar terms.

Korea is ’©‘N.
English romanizations
vary but are usually
Chaosien (Chinese) or
Chosen (Sino-Japanese).
More fully Korea is
’©‘Nš  (Chosŏn Guk).
Most formally it is
‘å’©‘Nš  (Dae Chosŏn Guk).

The following romanizations in Sino-Chinese (SC), Sino-Korean (SK), and Sino-Japanese (SJ) represent contemporary spellings, followed by spellings based on Wade-Giles (WG), McCune-Reischauer (MR), and Hepburn reflecting present kana orthography (PH).

SC Chaosien (WG Chaohsien)
SK [unknown] (MR Chosŏn)
SJ Chosen (HP Chōsen)

Contemporary treaties in English and other Euro-American languages represent ’©‘N in various ways, including "Chosen" but also "Korea" and "Corea" and "Corée". Among these names, "Chosen" -- whatever its linguistic provenance, whether Japanese or English -- ranks with "Chosŏ" and "Chosun" as reasonable alphabetic representations of ’©‘N.

Here "Korea" is an algebraic variable for a territory whose borders and governments have changed a number of times over the centuries but today is divided between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), north and south of the 38th parallel of latitude, which roughly splits what I will also call the "Korean peninsula".

"Koreans" is similarly an algebraic variable for the people affiliated at any given time with Korea, as subjects or aleges or nationals or citizens of one or another government or other authority that has had control and jurisdiction if not also sovereignty over the territory, in whole or in part.

"Korean" may be a single form of "Koreans" referring to a person, or an adjective for anything connected with "Korea" or "Koreans", or one of the langauges or dialects which "Koreans" have spoken at any particular time or place.

With this in mind, I ask a simple question -- when did "Korea" become "Chosen"? Here, "Chosen" too is a variable, representing a number of different alphabetic transcriptions of ’©‘N, not limited to but including Sino-Japanese "Chōsen" (Hepburn) and "Tyōsen" (Kunrei), which inspire "Chosenese" and "Tyosenese" as translations of ’©‘Nl (Chōsenjin, Tyosenzin). I am not concerned with how these characters may actually have been pronounced in any language including Korean, Chinese, or Japanese, or written in any script whether hangul, kana, or an alphabet. I am mainly interested in debunking the myths that there is something underhanded or disparaging about the use of "Chosen" and "Chosenese" in English representions, whether or not filtered through Japanese.

In point of fact, Sino-Japanese ’©‘N has been represented a number of ways in romanization -- inlcluding Chosen, Chōsen, Chiyosen, and Tyosen.


A lot of fuss has been made about the names for "Korea" in English. What really matters, in terms of understanding the history of "Korea" in East Asia, is how the country styled itself, and how it was styled by its most intimate Asian neighbors -- China and Japan.

Korea styled itself mainly in Chinese terms that would be read in Sino-Korean by Koreans and Sino-Japanese by Japanese. English (and other non-Sinific language) terms for "Korea" are invariably based on one or another Chinese term that has been directly morphed into English, or has come into English through morphings into other languages, European or Asian.


Except for the 1884 treaty with Russia, all of the following treaties are found in Chung 1919, in the indicated language, using the indicated name for Korea.

Japan, 26 February 1876, English Chosen
Japan, 24 August 1876, English Korea
United States, 22 May 1882, English Chosen
Great Britain, 26 November 1883, English Korea
Germany, 26 November 1883, English Corea, German Korea
Italy, 26 June 1884, English Corea
Russia, 7 July 1884
France, 4 June 1886, French Corée
Austria-Hungary, 23 June 1892, English Corea
China, 11 September 1899, English Korea
Belgium, 23 March 1901, French Corée
Denmark, 15 July 1902, French Corée
Japan, 23 February 1904, English Korea
Japan, 22 August 1904, English Korea
Japan, 1 April 1905, English Korea
Japan, 13 August 1905, English Korea
Japan, 17 November 1905, English Korea
Japan, 24 July 1907, English Korea
Japan, 22 August 1910, English Korea, Chosen [Note]


Chung 1919 erroneously states in the title of his version of the annexation treaty that it was "signed August 29th, 1910" when in fact it was signed on 22 August and came into effect from 29 August.

More significantly, though, Chung's version shows "Chosen" in Article VI rather than "Korea" -- whereas received versions of the treaty show the graphs ŠØš  (SK Hanguk, SJ Kankoku), which correspond to "Korea" as in the name "Empire of Korea". However, Japan did not declare the name change from "Kankoku" to "Chosen" until 29 August when the annexation formally began. For more about this descrepancy, see texts and discussion of Annexation treaty elsewhere on this page.


Treaty sources

In the following discussions, I will be citing Chinese and Japanese texts of treaties, obtained from various on-line and some printed sources, with English versions found mostly in either Henry Chung (1919) or F. A. McKenzie (1908). Other important secondary sources are also described in this section. See also the "English Reports" section of this page for a sampling of contemporary commentary on treaties.

Chung 1919

The most important source for early Korean treaties with other countries is the following compilation by Henry Chung, now available in print-on-demand editions. A POD edition is partly viewable on Google Books. Unfortuantely, I do not have an original or POD copy.

Henry Chung (Compiler)
[A.M., Fellow in Economics, Northwestern University]
Korean Treaties
New York: H. S. Nichols, 1919
xii, 226 [238] pages, hardcover
Preface dated 25 February 1919 (New York)
[POD, Charleston (SC): BiblioLife, 2009 ]

Some of the treaties as published in Chung 1919 are reproduced in Cynn 1920, which I have reviewed later on this page.

McKenzie 1908

McKenzie 1908, also reviewed later on this page and much more available, contains a number of treaties in its appendicies. Unfortunately, they are not as complete as the versions in Chung 1919, and they are sometimes at variance with the versions in Chung 1919.

1899 collection of Treaties and Conventions
compiled by the Foreign Office of Japan
on eve of end of extraterritoriality
(Copped and cropped from Nichibun)
Foreign Office 1899

The image to the right shows the cover of the following book, published in January 1899, the year a number of new treaties with a several Euro-American states were to come into effect, abolishing their territoriality in Japan and otherwise recognizing Japan as a fully sovereign and equally competent state.

Foreign Office [of Japan] (compiler)
Treaties and Conventions Between the Empire of Japan and Other Powers
Tokio: Z. P. Maruya & Co., Ltd. (Maruzen Kabushiki-kwaisha), January 1899

Text (392 pages), appendices (59 pages), plus front and back matter, among other content

The image, and the following information, is adapted from a description of the book in a collection at ‘Û“ú–{•¶‰»Œ¤‹†ƒZƒ“ƒ^[ (Kokusai Nihon Bunka Kenkyū Sentaa) [KNBKS] or "Nichibun", aka International Research Center for Japanese Studies [IRCJS].

The book is classified as No. 1006 in the book section of the government publications section of Nichibun's Shinku database. The item is classified under "Japan" and "Department of Foreign Affairs".

The posted description of the book says it had been in the Library of the Imperial Japanese Embassy in London. The colophon states that it was printed on 26 January 1899 and published on 29 January 1899, in two volumes, Japanese and Foreign, and was priced at 7.00 yen. The book was compiled and published by ŠO–±È‹L˜^‰Û with the participation of several printers and ŠÛ‘PŠ”Ž®˜ð‘“X.

The posted table of contents lists all the treaties and conventions that would soon be in force, or would continue to be effective, that year, when extraterritoriality in Japan would end.

Note that (1) "Korea" is "Corea" and appears first, (2) treaties with most states bear dates of the treaties that resulted from renegotiations in the mid 1890s, to come into effect during 1899, (3) the efficacy of some older treaties would continue (such as those with Korea, and those with Russia concerning Karafuto and the Kuriles), and (4) the status of "Hawaii" has changed.

Treaties and Conventions Between the Empire of Japan and Other Powers
Compiled and published by the Foreign Office of Japan in 1899

Based on information posted by Nichibun (retrieved 12 December 2009).
Arrangement, [bracketed comments], bold emphasis, and underscoring are mine.

Part I: Treaties Relating to Friendship and Intercourse

[Kanghwa] Treaty of Peace and Friendship (English), Feb. 26, 1876
Appendix to the Treaty of Amity and Friendship (English), Aug. 24, 1876
Regulations under which Japanese Trade is to be conducted in Corea (English), Aug. 24, 1876
[Chemulpo] The Additional Convention (English), Aug. 30, 1882
Regulations under which Japanese Trade is to be conducted in Corea (English), July, 25, 1883
Import Tariff (English)
Export Tariff (English)

Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Spanish and English), Nov. 30, 1888

Great Britain
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (English), July 16, 1894

United States Of America
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (English), Nov. 22, 1894

Hawaiian Islands
Treaty of Amity and Commerce (English), Aug. 19, 1871
Note from Hawaiian Government declaring Abandonment of Consular Jurisdiction in Japan (English), Jan. 18, 1893
Reply to above from Japanese Government (English), April 10, 1894

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (English), Dec. 1, 1894

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (French), June 8, 1895

[ Related to 1875 territorial exchange ]

Treaty of Exchange of the Saghalien Island and the Kurile Group (French), May 7, 1875
Declaration relative to Art. IV. of the Treaty of Exchange of the Saghalien Island and the Kurile Group (French), May 7, 1875
Supplementary Article relative to Art. V. of the Treaty of Exchange of the Saghalien Island and the Kurile Group (French), Aug. 22, 1875

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (English), Oct. 19, 1895

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (English), July 21, 1896

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (German), April 4, 1896

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (English and French), June 22, 1896

Treaty of Amity and Commerce (French), Nov. 5, 1895

Sweden and Norway
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (French), May 2, 1896

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (English), Sept. 8, 1896

Treaty of Amity, Establishement and Commerce (French), Nov. 10, 1896

Treaty of Friendship and General Intercourse (English and Spanish), Jan. 2, 1897

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (French), Jan. 26, 1897

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (French), Aug. 4, 1896

Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation (English), Feb. 25, 1898

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (French), Dec. 5, 1897

Part II: Consular Conventions

[ Germany, Belgium ]

Part III: Agreements Relating to Foreign Settlements in Corea

[ Six-nation agreement between China, Japan, United States, Great Britain, Russia, and Germany ]

Agreement respecting the General Foreign Settlement at Chemulpo (English), Nov. 7, 1884
Regulations for the Foreign Settlement at Chinnampo and Mokpo (English), Oct. 16, 1897

Part IV: Stipulations Relating to Treaty Limits in Corea

Stipulations for the Treaty Limits in Corea (English), July 25, 1883

Part V: Agreements Relating to Shipwreck Expenses

[ Great Britain, Unitied States of America ]

Part VI: Treaty Relating to Extradition

[ United States of America ]

Part VII: Convention Relating to Emigration

Hawaiian Islands
Emigration Convention (English), Jan. 28, 1886

Part VIII: Conventions, Protocols, Agreements, etc. Relating to Special Questions of Intercourse

[ Related to settlements to Sino-Japanese War ]

Treaty of Peace between Japan and China (English), April 17, 1895
Separate Articles relative to above Treaty (English), April 17, 1895
Convention of Retrocession between Japan and China (English), Nov. 8, 1895
Protocol relative to above Convention (English), Nov. 8, 1895

Memorandum between Japan and Russia (English), May 14, 1896
Protocol relative to Corean Affairs between Japan and Russia (French), June 9, 1896
Protocol relating to Corean Affairs between Japan and Russia (French), April 25, 1898


1876 Kanghwa treaty between Japan and Chosen

The middle of the 19th century saw an increase in friction between Japan and Korea. By 1873, a number of Japanese political leaders had expressed unease about conditions and developments on the peninsula that might be to Japan's disadvantage. Some even advocated the mounting of a military expedition to Korea with the object of controlling the country.

The Kanghwa indcient at Kanghwa island (]‰Ø“‡ J. Kōkato) in Kanghwa bay (]‰Ø˜p J. Kōkawan) in September 1875 resulted in Japan and Korea signing two treaties the following year -- the principal treaty on 26 February and a supplementary treaty on 24 August 1876. Regulations concerning the treatment of Japanese persons and trade in Korea were also agreed to on 24 August 1876.

Official Japanese and Chinese versions

The principal treaty provides that Japan will communicate in Japanese but will provide Chinese translations for the first ten years, while Korea would communicate in Chinese. There is no mention of an English version, and apparently the English version was created later as a translation of the Japanese version.

The preliminary text and date and signature texts of the principal treaty use ‘å“ú–{š  (Dai Nippon koku) and ‘å’©‘Nš  (Dai Chō koku). The preliminary text, and body, also refer to “ú–{š ­•{ (Nippon koku seifu) and ’©‘Nš ­•{ (Chō koku seifu) -- i.e., the "governents" of the two countries. The provisions of the treaty generally simplify these to just ’©‘Nš  (Chōsen koku) and “ú–{š  (Nippon koku) or their governments. The people of the two entities are referred to as ’©‘Nš l–¯ (Chōsen-koku jinmin) and “ú–{š l–¯ (Nippon-koku jinmin).

Usage in the supplementary treaty is similar, except that the preliminary text refers only to “ú–{š ­•{ (Nippon koku seifu) and ’©‘Nš ­•{ (Chōsen koku seifu) or the "governments" of the two countries.

English versions

I am unable to determine when the English versions of the principal and supplementary 1876 treaties between Japan and Korea came into existence. The received versions conform to contemporary treaty styles but would seem to have been translated by different hands. And indirect evidence suggests that the received English version existed no later than 1882 (see citations from Griffis 1882, 1885 below).

Though the Japanese and Chinese versions of both treaties refer to "Chosen", the received English version of the principal treaty uses "Chosen" while the received English version of the supplementary treaty uses "Korea". The English versions of both treaties otherwise similarly render Sino-Korean terms according to Sino-Japanese romanizations.

Both treaties speak of "people" in Japanese and Japanese, while their English versions speak of "subjects". The English morphs of a number of other Japanese and Chinese metaphors are similarly distorted.

1876 Treaty of Kanghwa

The 26 February 1876 treaty attempted to put Japan and Chosen on an equal standing. The Japanese and Chinese texts are adopted from what appear to be the most credible versions I was able to find on the Internet. The English version is from publications in my own library.

Japanese version

The Japanese version was adapted from the text as posted on the website of "The World and Japan" Database Project (ƒf[ƒ^ƒx[ƒXu¢ŠE‚Æ“ú–{vDeetabeesu "Sekai to Nihon"), maintained by the Tanaka Akihiko Research Group at the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo (“Œ‹ž‘åŠw“Œ—m•¶‰»Œ¤‹†ŠA“c’†–¾•FŒ¤‹†Žº Tōkyō Daigaku Tōyō Bunka Kenkyūjo, Tanaka Akihiko Kenkyūshitsu).

This copy is unpunctuated, as was the original. The structure, however, is clear. Some web versions are punctuated, and punctuated differently. I have added unicode for a few non-JIS-standard characters.

Chinese version

The Chinese version is adapted from a wiki.livedoor.jp copy. As posted, this copy was punctuated with periods. The original was not punctuated. Some web copies are punctuataed with periods and commas. I have added unicode for a few non-JIS-standard characters.

English version

The English version is based on text in appendicies of Cynn 1920 (pages 237-243), which is attributed to Chung 1919 (see Sources above). There is also a version in McKenzie 1908 (page 269-272). The date of English version dates NLT 1882 (see citations from Griffis 1882, 1885 below).

Equality, languages, people

Article I (first clause), Article III (entire), and Article X (entire) read as follows.

]‰ØžŠ–ñ (1876 Kanghwa treaty)
“ú’©CDžŠ‹K (1876 Nit-Cho amity [treaty] provisions)


‘æˆêŠ¼   ’©‘Nš ƒnŽ©Žåƒm–MƒjƒVƒe“ú–{š ƒg•½“™ƒmžÜƒ’•Û—LƒZƒŠŽkŒã™_š ˜aeƒm›‰ƒ’•\ƒZƒ“ƒg—~ƒXƒ‹ƒjƒn”ލŸŒÝƒj“¯“™ƒmâX‹`ƒ’ˆÈƒe‘ŠÚ‘ÒƒVŸ|ƒ‚N‰zàȌ™ƒXƒ‹Ž–ƒAƒ‹ƒwƒJƒ‰ƒXæƒcœn‘OŒðî‘jÇƒmŠ³ƒ’ਃZƒV”—á‹Kƒ’Ž»ƒNŠvœƒV–±ƒƒeŠ°—TO’ʃm–@ƒ’ŠJ°ƒVˆÈƒe™Ô•ûƒgƒ‚ˆÀ”Jƒ’‰i‰“ƒjŠúƒXƒwƒV


‘æˆêŠ¼   ’©‘Nš Ž©Žå”V–MB •Û—Läo“ú–{š •½“™”VžÜB ŽkŒã™_š B —~•\˜ae”V›‰B {ˆÈ”ލŸ“¯“™”VâX‘Š‘ҁB •s‰ÂŸ|—LN‰zàȌ™B ‹Xæ›’œn‘O਌ðî‘jÇ”VŠ³”—á‹KB ˆêØŠvœB –±ŠJ°úª—TO’Ê”V–@B ˆÈŠú‰i‰“‘ŠˆÀB


Article I   Chosen being an independent state enjoys the same sovereign rights as does Japan.

The Chinese version literally translates something like this.

Chosen is a country of self-mastery [self-rule, self-reliance], and shall be assured the possession of authority [rights] equal to [those] provided Japan, . . ."


‘æŽOŠ¼   ŽkŒã™_š ‘Š‰•œƒXƒ‹Œö—p•¶ƒn“ú–{ƒn‘´š •¶ƒ’—pƒq¡ƒˆƒŠ\”NŠÔƒn“Yƒtƒ‹ƒj桊¿•¶ƒ’ˆÈƒeƒV’©‘NƒnáÁ•¶ƒ’—pƒ†ƒwƒV


‘æŽOŠ¼   ŽkŒã™_š ‰˜ÒŒö•¶B “ú–{—p‘´š •¶B Ž©¡\”NŠÔB •Ê‹ï桊¿•¶ˆê–{B ’©‘N—páÁ•¶B


Article III   All official communications addressed by the Government of Japan to that of Chosen shall be written in the Japanese language, and for a period of ten years from the present date they shall be accompanied by a Chinese translation. The Government of Chosen will use the Chinese language.


‘æ\Š¼   “ú–{š l–¯’©‘Nš Žw’èƒmŠeŒûƒjÝ—¯’†ŽáƒVß‰Èƒ’”ƃV’©‘Nš l–¯ƒjŒðÂƒXƒ‹Ž–Œƒnã`ƒe“ú–{š Š¯ˆõƒmRÐƒjŸdƒXƒwƒVŽáƒV’©‘Nš l–¯ß‰Èƒ’”ƃV“ú–{š l–¯ƒjŒðÂƒXƒ‹Ž–Œƒn‹ÏƒVƒN’©‘Nš Š¯ˆõƒm¸™žƒjŸdƒXƒwƒV–Þ™Ô•ûƒgƒ‚Še‘´š —¥ƒjŸƒŠÙ”»ƒVŸ|ƒ‚‰ñŒìå֔݃Xƒ‹ƒRƒgƒiƒN–±ƒƒeŒö•½ˆòácƒmÙ”»ƒ’Ž¦ƒXƒwƒV


‘æ\Š¼   “ú–{š l–¯Ý’©‘Nš Žw’èŠeŒûB ”@‘´”ƍ߁B Œð涉’©‘Nš B l–¯B ŠFŸd“ú–{š RÐB ”@’©‘Nš l–¯”ƍ߁B Œð涉“ú–{š B l–¯B ‹ÏŸd’©‘NŠ¯¸™žB ŠeŸ‘´š —¥uÐB Ÿ|–³‰ñŒìå֔݁B –±ºŒö•½ˆòácB


Article X   Should a Japanese subject residing at either of the open ports of Chosen commit any offence against a subject of Chosen, he shall be tried by the Japanese authorities. Should a subject of Chosen commit any offence against a Japanese subject, he shall be tried by the authorities of Chosen. The offenders shall be punished according to the laws of their respective countries. Justice shall be equitably and impartially administered on both sides.

The body of treaty speaks first of "The Governments of Japan and Chosen" and once of "neither the Japanese nor Chosen Government". Mostly, though, it speaks of just "Chosen" or "the Government of Chosen". And it speaks of "Japanese subjects" and "subjects of Chosen".


Korean place names, and names of Korean government posts, are romanized according to contemporary Sino-Japanese readings of Korean terms. All romanization of Japanese and Korean names reflect the contemporary kana orthography, for example:


‘å’©‘Nš ƒg‘fƒˆƒŠ—F‹bƒj“ÖƒN”NŠƒ’—ð—LƒZƒŠ¡™_š ƒmîˆÓ–¢ƒ^Ÿ¨ƒlƒJƒ‰ƒTƒ‹ƒ’Ž‹ƒ‹ƒjˆöƒedƒeäpDƒ’Cƒe–rƒ’ŒÅƒtƒZƒ“ƒg—~ƒX¥ƒ’ˆÈƒe“ú–{š ­•{ƒn“Á–½‘SžÜ™ž—‘åb—¤ŒR’†›’Œ“™Ò‹cŠJ‘ñ’·Š¯•“c´—²“Á–½•›‘SžÜ™ž—‘åb‹cŠ¯ˆäãŠ]ƒ’ŠÈƒ~’©‘Nš ]‰Ø•{ƒjŒwƒŠ’©‘Nš ­•{ƒn”»’†žâ•{Ž–\櫶“súʕ{•›úʊǛšŽ ³ƒ’ŠÈƒ~Še•òƒXƒ‹Š@ƒm—@Ž|ƒj…ƒq‹c—§ƒZƒ‹žŠŠ¼ƒ’¶ƒjŠJ—ñƒX


‘å“ú–{š B äo‘å’©‘Nš B ‘f“Ö—F‹bB 歷—L”NŠB ¡ˆöŽ‹™_š îˆÓ–¢Ÿ¨B dCäpDBˆÈŒÅe–rB¥ˆÈ“ú–{š ­•{BŠÈ“Á–½‘SžÜ™ž—‘åb—¤ŒR’†›’Œ“™Ò‹cŠJ‘ñ’·Š¯üK“cûC—²B “Á–½•›‘SžÜ™ž—‘åb‹cŠ¯ˆäãŠ]B Œw’©‘Nš ]‰Ø•{B’©‘Nš ­•{BŠÈ”»’†žâ•{Ž–\櫶B•›ã`ŠÇ›šŽ ³B Še…Š•ò—@Ž|B ‹c—§žŠŠ¼B ŠJ—ñ˜°¶B


The Governments of Japan and Chosen, being desirous to resume the amicable relations that of yore existed between them, and to promote the friendly feelings of both nations to a still firmer basis, have for this purpose appointed their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say: The Government of Japan, Kuroda Kiyotaka, High Commissioner Extraordinary to Chosen, Lieutenant-General and Member of the Privy Council, Minister of the Colonisation Department, and Inouye Kaoru, Associate High Commissioner Extraordinary to Chosen, Member of the Genrō In; and the Government of Chosen, Shin Ken, Han-Choo-Su-Fu, and In-Jishō, Fu-So-Fu, Fuku-sō-Kwan, who, according to the powers received from their respective Governments, have agreed upon and concluded the following Articles: --

Note that the w-glide of "kwan" in the title of In Jishō reflects Japanese contemporary kana orthography ƒNƒƒ“ -- though the same graph would also romanize "kwan" from hangul 관 (or "gwan" in this case since "k-" precedes a vowel). The received Chinese text omits the first part of his full title of In Jishō as given in the Japanese text.

Colonisation Department

What is being translated in English as the "Colonisation Department" was actually an "opening and cultivation" or "development" office or agency (ŠJ‘ñŽg Kaitakushi). The agency existed between 1869 and 1882 for the purpose of facilitating Japan's nationalization of its northernmost non-prefectural exclusive and shared territories -- namely Hokkaidoō, the southern part of Karafuto (Sakhalin), and the southern stretch of the Chishima islands (Kuriles).

A separate Karafuto Development Office was established in 1870 but abolished the following year. In 1875, Japan traded its claim southern Karafuto for the northern Chishimas. The general Development Office, which oversaw the Chishima islands as part of Hokkaido, was abolished in 1882 when Hokkaidō was parsed into Hakodate, Sapporo, and Nemuro prefectures.

In 1886 the three prefectures were merged again as Hokkaidō as prefecture. However, the new prefecture was placed under the direction of a new office called the Hokkaidō Agency. As such it was more centrally controlled, as was Okinawa, than other prefectures.

Kuroda Kiyotaka

Kuroda Kiyotaka (•“c´—² 1840-1900) was the agency's vice-minister from 1870-1871, and its minister from 1871 until all but the last month of its existence in 1882. The last minister, who merely oversaw the agency's closing, was Saigō Tsugumichi (1843-1902), from Satsuma, who had led the 1874 punitive expedition to Taiwan.

Kuroda, also from Satsuma, was one of the more important figures in the civil wars of the late Edo and early Meiji periods. He was instrumental in the early development of Hokkaidō but also in the formation of Japan's Northeast Asia policies concerning Russia, and of Korea in terms of the that Russia's interests in the peninsula.

It was largely through Kuroda's advocacy that Japan traded its claim to Karafuto, which Russia also claimed, for Russia's claim to the northern Kuriles. Japan and Russia agreed to the territorial swap, and to related matters, in the Treaty of St. Petersburg, signed in May 1875. The Kanghwa incident occured in September. Kuroda was sent to Korea to negotiate a settlement, hence his position as Japan's chief negotiator of the Treaty of Kanghwa.

Kuroda went on to become Japan's second prime minister, and was serving in this post when the Meiji Constitution was promulgated.

Inouye Kaoru

Inouye Kaoru (ˆäãŠ] 1835-1915) became Japan's first Minister of Foreign Affairs under the cabinet system that began in 1885, under its first Prime Minister, Itō Hirobumi (ˆÉ“¡”Ž•¶ 1841-1909). Itō, also involved in early Japan-Chosen relations, was appointed Japan's first Resident-General of Korea in 1905, a post that officially began the following year, marking the start of Japan's diplomatic protectorship over the Empire of Korea. In 1909 he would be assassinated by a Korean.

"independent state"

Much has been made of the significance of Article 1 of the 1876 Kanghwa treaty. The intent of the article seems to have been to assert that Korea was the master of its soul, as Japan regarded itself. Japan at the time was subject to inequalities in the treaties it had signed with a number of Euro-American states, but was nonetheless a sovereign state. Korea, however, had been a quasi-tributary of China.

Frederick A. McKenzie, writing in 1908, refers to Ariticle 1 and other assurances of Korea's independence with reserved hope that Japan's intentions are sincere. Writing in 1920, a decade after Japan's annexation of Korea as Chosen, he takes, of course, a very different view. (See remarks under McKenzie 1908 and 1920 below.)

1876 supplementary treaty

Both the Japanese and Chinese versions of both the principal and supplementary treaties of 1876 refer to the peninsula state as ’©‘N (SJ Chōsen). The English version of the principal treaty directly romanizes this as "Chosen".

The English version of the "Supplementary Treaty Between Japan and Korea" (McKenzie 1908, pages 273-275), though, speaks of Korea rather than Chosen -- of the Government of Korea, of the Korean Government, and of Korean subjects. Like the English version of the principal treaty, though, Sino-Korean proper nouns are rendered according to Sino-Japanese readings.

Dates of treaties

The styles of dating the signatures on English versions of the principal and supplementary 1876 treaties are also similar. Both represent the solar Japanese reign dates, and lunar Korean dynasty and segagenary cycle dates, as shown on the official Japanese and Chinese versions -- without translation into equivalent Christian era Gregorian calendar dates.

Principle treaty

The received English version of the principal treaty states that it was signed "this twenty-sixth day of the second month of the ninth year of Meiji, and the two thousand five hundred and thirty-sixth since the accession of Jimmu Tenno; and, in the era of Chosen, the second day of the second moon of the year Heishi, and of the founding of Chosen the four hundred and eighty-fifth" (McKenzie 1908, pages 271-272).

Supplementary treaty

The received English version of the supplementary treaty similarly states that it was "Signed and sealed this twenty-fourth day of the eight month of the ninth year of Meiji, and two thousand five hundred and thirty-sixth since the accession of H.M. Jimmu Tenno; and of the Korean era, the sixth day of the seventh month of the year Heishi, and the founding of Korea the four hundred and eighty-fifth" (McKenzie 1908, page 275).

The Japanese government officially adopted use of the Gregorian calendar from January 1873, hence the distinction of "month" (solar) and "moon" in the English version of the principal treaty. The English version of the supplementary treaty, however, fails to make this distinction -- though clearly the Korean year is lunar -- expressed as the year of the founding of the Chosen dynasty, equated to year of the current sexagenary cycle (•¸Žq, SJ Heishi, 1876).

Neither English version gives a Christian era equivalent. This is understandable only if the English versions indended to faithfully reflect the literal content of the official Japanese and Chinese language versions -- without accommodating the needs of most readers of English, very few of whom would have understand why, say, "the second month of the ninth year of Meiji" (“ú–{—ï–¾Ž¡‹ã”N“ñŒŽ) and "the first moon of the year Hei-shi [of Chosen]" (’©‘N—Žq”N) were equivalent -- as stipulated in Article V of the principal treaty.

The phrasal fidelity of the English versions of the 1876 US-Chosen treaties strongly suggest that they were translated from an official language version, most likely the Japanese version, after they treaties were concluded. In contrast, the English version of the 1882 US-Chosen treaty (see next), as the most official version, had to have been written primarily to accommodate its American approvers.


1882 Yin-chuen (Shufeldt) treaty between United States and Chosen (Korea)

The Treaty of Amity and Commerce Between the United States of America and Chosen was signed on 22 May 1882 at Yin-chuen, and ratifications exchanged at Seoul, according to Henry Chung (Chung 21, pages 328-338) F. A. McKenzie, who cited the main body of the treaty, said it was signed at "Gensan", a Japanese romanization of Wonsan (Œ³ŽR), and that ratifications were exhanged at Hanyang (McKenzie 1908, page 276).

"Chosen" is the name stated in the official English version of the treaty, reflecting ’©‘N (SK Chosŏn, SJ Chōsen).

The treaty stated that it was being singed at "Yin-chuen" (mì) and provided that ratifications be exchanged within one year at the same place.

"Hanyang" (Š¿—z), aka Hansŏng (Š¿é), and later as Keijō (‹žé SK Kyŏsŏng), was also referred to as "Seoul" if not "Soul".

"Yin-chuen" is a Chinese-based romanization for mì (SK Inch'ŏn), which at the time was also romanized "In-chiun" if read in Sino-Korean, and "Ninsen" if in Sino-Japanese.

Official languages

Unless otherwise noted, the following English texts are based on the copy in Chung 1921 (pages 328-338). McKenzie includes the treaty in his appendices (McKenzie 1908, pages 276-281).

Article XIII makes the following provisions concerning official languages (page 336).

Article XIII

This treaty and future official correspondence between the two contracting Governments shall be made, on the part of Chosen, in the Chinese langauge.

The United States shall either use the Chinese language, or if English be used, it shall be accompanied with a Chinese version, in order to avoid misunderstanding.

"People" rendered "citizens" and "subjects"

What the English version variously calls "citizens" of the United States and "subjects" of Chosen are referred to as simply –¯l in the Chinese version. "Nationality" in the English version is reflected as Š›¢ (affiliation) in the Chinese version, hence phrases like Š›¢”Vš  (country of affiliation).

Names of countries

The Chinese version is called ’©”üCD’ʏ¤žŠ–ñ. The ’©”ü is most fully and formally expanded at the beginning of the treaty as ‘å’©‘Nš  and ‘嘱”ü—‰í‡Oš . The body of treaty generally reduces these longer terms to just ’©‘N and ”üš  -- but also pairs ‘å’©‘Nš  and ‘å”üš .

The English version speaks fully of "the United States of America" and "the Kingdom of Chosen" but then shortens these to just "the United States" and "Chosen". It speaks of "the President of the United States and the King of Chosen and the citizens and subjects of their respective governments".

There is, of course, no foundation in the Chinese version for "Kingdom of Chosen". In this respect, too, the English versions of the 1876 Japan-Chosen treaties are superior as faithful translations of their Japanese and Chinese versions, whereas the English version of the 1882 US-Chosen treaty relies on conventional (stereotypic) English references to what had been widely characterized as "the Hermit Kingdom".


An equivalent of the term "Korea" appears nowhere in the Chinese -- i.e., Sino-Korean -- version. The treaty is signed by "R. W. Shufeldt, Commodore United States, Navy, Envoy of the United States to Chosen" and Shin Chen, Chin Hong Chi, Members of the Royal Cabinet of Chosen" (page 281).

The preface to the treaty more specifically identifies Schufeldt as "Commodore, U. S. Navy" and "Commissioner Plenipotentiary" of the President of the United States. Shin Chen is called "President of the Royal Cabinet" and Chin Hong-chi is called "Member of the Royal Cabinet", and both men are called "Commissioners Plenipotentiary" of "His Majesty, the King of Chosen". (Chung 1921).

More precisely, the signature section of the received English version reads like this (Chung 337).

   Chosen, May the 22nd, A. D. 1882.

(L. S.) (Signed) R. W. Shufeldt,

             Commodore, U. S. N., Envoy of the
                    U. S. to Chosen.

(L. S.) (Signed) Shin Chen      „¢ 
                                „   (In Chinese)   
(L. S.) (Signed) Chin Hong-Chi  „£

           Members of the Royal Cabinet of Chosen.

Chinese imperial year

The English version does not represent the manner in which the dates are written in the Chinese version -- which neither states "Chosen" as a place of signature, nor uses the Christian "A.D." metaphor.

The Chinese version (see image below) states "Great Chosen State opening-of-state [founding] 491st-year, namely Chinese [emperor] Kwang Hsu 8th-year, 4th-moon first-6th sun [lunar]" (‘å’©‘Nš ŠJš Žl•S‹ã\ˆê”N‘¦’†š Œõ”ª”NŽlŒŽ‰˜Z“ú) -- and "Great American State 1882th-year 5th-moon 22nd-sun [solar]" (‘å”üš ˆêç”ª•S”ª\“ñ”NŒÜŒŽ“ù“ñ“ú). The ranks of the Korean signators are also separately and differently stated in full.

In other words, unlike the 1876 Japan-Chosen treaty, which equated the Chosen founding with the current sexagenary cycle year, the 1882 US-Chosen treaty tied the Chosen founding year to the Chinese imperial year. For all means and purposes, it would appear that the two Chosen signators were acting as agents for the Emperor of China, not yet 11 years old and barely 7 years on the throne.

"Shin Chen" and "Chin Hong Chi [Hong-chi]" may have been intended to represent Sino-Korean romanizations of the names of the Korean officials \櫶 (1810-1888) and ‹àOW (1842-1896), though they could also be Chinese romanizations. By late 19th century and early 20th century standards of romanization, these names are respectively Sin Hŏn (신헌) and Kim Hong Jip (김홍집) in Sino-Korean (McCune-Reishcauer), Shin Ken and Kin Kōshū in Sino-Japanese (New Hepburn), and Shen Hsien (PY Shen Xian), and Chin Hung Chi in Chinese.

Kim, sent to Japan as an envoy in 1880, witnessed what he considered the positive effects on Japan of having opened its ports to commerce with Euro-American countries and undertaken governmental reforms along the lines of such countries. He appears to have been more amenable to the idea of Korea following Japan's example in establishing formal ties with such countries, beginning with the United States.

Kim was also one of Korea's plenipoteniaries in the signing of the 1882 Chemulpo treaty with Japan (see below). He was assassinated by pro-Russia (i.e., anti-Japanese) Koreans in 1896.

Copiest variations

In this context, "Chosen" might also have been perceived as a Chinese or Sino-Korean romanization -- possibly influenced by the "Chosen" in the English version of the 1876 Kanghwa Treaty.

The English version of the 1882 US-Korean treaty in the appendices of Cynn 1920 (see below), gives the names of the Korean signers as "Shin Chen" and "Chin Hong-chi" and notes in parentheses "(In Chinese.)" -- meaning that they signed in Chinese graphs rather than in an alphabetic script. Cynn's version, attributed to Henry Chung's collection of treaties, gives Shufeldt's titles as "Commodore, U. S. N., Envoy of the U. S. to Chosen" but does not give the title of the Korean representatives. A version in Chung 1921 (see below), however, shows the title to be "Members of the Royal Cabinet of Chosen" (Chung 1921, page 337).

The differences between the Cynn and Chung versions, and between them and the McKenzie version, seem to represent copiest variations -- i.e., variations introduced in the process of copying the original if not a copy, or a copy of a copy, of the original. Each generation of copy is likely to be more degraded.

The version in Chung 1921 is embedded as a transcript of the treaty in the fuller presidential proclamation or promulgation of the treaty in the United States on 4 June 1883 -- following ratification by the President of the United States on 13 February 1883, as advised by the United States Senate on 9 January 1883, after signing at Yin-Chuen on 22 May 1882.

The version in Chung 1921 states that the treaty was signed at "Yin-Chuen". The signatures on the treaty are prefaced by a statement that the treaty is being signed at "Yin-chuen" and that ratifications will be exchanged at "Yin-chuen" within a year.

The first paragraph of the proclamation refers to the treaty more fully like this (Chung 1921, page 328, underscoring mine).

Whereas a treaty of peace and amity and commerce and navigation between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Korea or Chosen was concluded on the twenty-second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-two, the original of which treaty being in the English and Chinese languages is word for word as follows:

The proclamation then cites the preface, articles, and signatures of the "Treaty of Amity and Commerce". Their texts are essentially the same as those in Cynn 1920. The articles are essentially the same as those in McKenzie 1908, which does not show the preface. These texts refer only to "Chosen" and never to "Korea".

Following the citation of the treaty, the presidential proclamation goes on to make the following two references to the entity with which the United States has concluded the treaty (Chung 1920, pages 337-338, underscoring mine).

Resolved, That it is the understanding of the Senate in agreeing to the foregoing resolution, that the clause, "Nor are they permitted to transport native produce from one open port to another open port," in Article VI of said treaty, is not intended to prohibit and does not prohibit American ships from going from one open port to another open port in Korea or Chosen to receive Korean cargo for exportation, or to discharge foreign cargo.

In other words, in its public proclamation in 1883 of the ratified 1882 Treaty of Amity and Commerce, it appears that the United States -- under the signatures of "Chester A. Arthur" (1829-1886), then its president (1881-1885), and his Secretary of State "Frdk. T. Frelinghuysen" (1817-1885, in office 1881-1885) -- is formally referring to to the entity with which it concluded the treaty as "Chosen" in the official English version of the treaty -- while clarifying, in the proclamation, that "Chosen" refers to "Korea".

Chinese version of 1882 US-Chosen treaty
showing R. W. Shufeldt's signature and title as
Commodore U. S. Navy / Envoy of U. S. to Chosen
(Copped and cropped from Livedoor site)
"Chosen" in Shufeldt's own hand

Not having access images much less original copies of the treaty, the Image to the right will have to suffice for the present. The image shows the last two pages of the Chinese version of the 1882 US-Chosen treaty. It is shown here as posted on Livedoor in part of a rather elaborate Chosen-Nippon historical website called "Kimama ni reikishi" (‚«‚Ü‚Ü‚É—ðŽj), developed by Sawada Baku (àV“càÑ), about whom I know nothing more.

This is, at this point, the possible confirmation I have seen that "Chosen" was in fact the term for "Korea" in the minds of those who formulated the English version of the treaty and signed it in English -- particular in the mind of Robert Wilson Shufeldt (1822-1895), who appears to have written "Chosen" in his own hand.

The Americans were probably inspired to use "Chosen" out of belief that it was the Korea's name -- which, in fact, it was. At least it appears to have written "Chosen" on the English version of the 1876 Japan-Chosen treaty -- which had to have been made NLT 1882, for Griffis refers to the English version of the treaty as referred to today even by Korean scholars who are critical of the early treaties, and particular of those with Japan.

Griffis himself, through his very popular and often reprinted 1882 book, contributed to the understanding of "Chosen" as a suitable name for Korea in the English world -- long before it was given that name as a territory of Japan.


The spelling "C-h-o-s-e-n" would appear to reflect the manner in which ’©‘N would be have been transliterated from Japanese in the Hepburn system of romanization which had been introduced from the late 1860s and early 1870s.

However, it is also possible that this orthography was regarded by writers in English as a sort of generic reading of ’©‘N -- which, graphically, was clearly the name of the country regardless of how it would have been read in one or another Chinese, Sino-Korean, or Sino-Japanese dialect.


McKenzie (1908, pages 19-22) cites what appears to be the English text of an early 1882 proclamation issued by "the King of Chao-sien" on the eve of his signing of a series of treaties with America, England, and Germany in 1882. The king "commands the rulers and people" of Korea to cooperate with the court's decision to open Korean ports to Euro-American countries, which until then had been turned away because of the perception that accommodating their commercial interests would invite wholesale alienation in the form of Christianization and other unwelcome changes.

In the proclamation, the king refers to the treaty signed with Japan in 1876, which had opened three ports. The last line of the main body of the proclamation, states that "We have now become friendly with Western nations, and the stone tablet outside the city gate forbidding the approach of foreigners must be removed" (ibid., 22).

"Chao-sien" is a romanization of the Chinese reading of ’©‘N. "Chaou-seen" is also found in some contemporary English writing (see, e.g., the 1881 article listed in Griffis 1882, below).

"Chao-hsien" is a Wade-Giles romanization. "Tsiosen" is yet another contemporary romanization.

Ma Chien-chung

As to why the apparently contemporary English statement should include a romanization of ’©‘N based on either a Chinese or Sino-Japanese reading of the graphs is partly explained by the role played by Ma Kie-Tchong (”nŒš’‰ WG Ma Chien-chung, PY Ma Jianzhong (1845-1900). After graduating from a French Catholic school in Shanghai, Ma studied international law in France from 1876-1879.

Armed with a French degree in law, Ma returned to China, where he was employed by Li Hung-chang (—›ƒÍ PY Li Hongzhang, 1823-1901), arguably the most important plenipotentiary of China's imperial court in the last 19th century. Li not only assumed the leadership of Chinese forces during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, over Korea -- but, faced with defeat, he had to negotiate the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895 in which China ceded Taiwan to Japan as part of the terms of settlement.

Korea, though a quasi-tributary of China, was at the same time an independent country. As such it was accustomed to accepting guidance from China. And in fact it received advice from China, if not at times pressure, regarding the question of whether and how it should accommodate demands from Euro-American countries and Japan to open its ports to commerce and otherwise permit the subjects of such states access to and freedom of movement on the peninsula.

Ma, representing Li, became deeply involved in Korea's international affairs in the early 1880s. In 1881, he is supposed to have conveyed advice from Li, to the Korean court, to the effect that Korea should conclude treaties of friendship and commerce with Great Britain, the United States, and Germany, as it had with Japan in 1876, in order to gain a measure of protection against Japan, but also from Russia.

Ma, who was also fluent in English, appears to have had a hand in the English versions of Korean proclamations and treaties. Some Korean critics today blame him for the Sinifications of Korean personal and place names in such documents.

This may explain the Sinifications in the 1882 US-Chosen treaty, which Ma negotiationed and signed for China. It does not, however, explain the Sino-Japanizations in 1876 Japan-Chosen treaty.

It does seem, however, that the English versions of later treaties usually represented Korean names proper nouns in Sino-Korean romanizations.

"Teusen" and "Chousen"

The contemporary Japanese kana reading of ’©‘N was either "Teusen" (‚Ä‚¤‚¹‚ñ) or "Chousen" (‚¿‚傤‚¹‚ñ). The former reflects an older orthography that continued to be used for several decades by some writers. Both expressions would have been pronounced "Chōsen" by Tokyo readers.

For examples of such variations on late-19th-century woodblock prints, see The empire of woodblock prints: Taiwan, Chosen, and the wars with China and Russia in "The Detritus of Empire" feature of this website.


1882 Chemulpo treaty between Japan and Chosen

In late July 1882, two months after Korea and the United States had signed the treaty at Yin-chuen, the Korean palace and the Japanese legation at Hansŏng (Š¿é), or Seoul, were attacked by mobs the Korean government regarded as rebels. The Japanese delegation escaped to Chemulpo, near Inch'on (Yin-Chuen), where they were rescued by a British ship.

A month later, Hanabusa Yoshimoto, the head of the rescued Japanese legation, was back in Korea, demanding reparations for destroyed property, and indemnities and compensation for the injured and for the families of those who were killed, the right to garrison Japanese troops to protect the legation in facilities to be built by Korea, and formal apologies. Japanese army and naval forces were poised to press Korea should it refuse to accept Hanabusa's demands.

Korea balked, but not for long. On 30 August 1882, the two countries signed an agreement, consisting of only six short articles, at Chemulpo, hence the so-called "Chemulpo treaty" (àZ•¨‰YžŠ–ñ SJ Saimoppo jōyaku, SK Chemulp'o choyak).

Both the Chinese and Japanese versions show Japan as “ú–{š  (Nippon koku) or ‘å“ú–{š  (Dai Nippon koku)" and Korea as ’©‘Nš  (Chōsen koku) or ‘å’©‘Nš  (Dai Chō koku). I have not yet been able to examine an English version, referred to in the 1899 Foreign Office compilation as "The Additional Convention" to the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship" of 1876 (see above).

The treaty was signed by ‰Ô–[‹`Ž¿ (Hanabusa Yoshimoto, 1842-1917) representing Japan, and by —›—TŒ³ (Yi Yu Won, 1814-1888) and ‹àGW (Kim Hong Jip, 1842-1896) representing Korea.

Hanabusa, who had headed Japan's legation in Korea at the time, later served in Russia.

Kim Hong Jip (Sino-Korean) had negotiated and signed the 22 May 1882 US-Chosen treaty, at Inch'on or "Yin-chuen", the English version of which Sinifies his name as "Chin Hong Chi" (see above).

"Chemulpo" was the most common romanization of the Sino-Korean reading of Ï•¨‰Y (제물포 Chemulp'o) or "Saimoppo" in Sino-Japanese. It was the more familiar name for the port on the west coast of the Korean peninsula that by then was also associated with Inch'on (mì SK Inch'ŏn) or "Ninsen" in Sino-Japanese.

There appears, though, to have been a formal distinction between the two names at the time. Chemulpo became the more common name for the port town, where a number of foreign settlements were established.


1883 Hanyang treaty between Britain and Corea

On the same day the following year, 26 November 1883, Korea signed treaties with Germany and Great Britian.

The copy of this treaty in McKenzie 1908 speaks of "Korea" and "Korean subjects". The copy in Chung 1919 says "Corea" and Corean" subjects. I suspect Chung's version is more authentic.

Korea's Treaty of Friendship and Commerce with Great Britain was signed in Hanyang on 26 November 1883. Ratifcations were exchanged, also in Hanyang, on 28 April the following year.


Article XII make the following stipulation regarding languages (Chung 1919; [bracketed] terms reflect McKenzie 1908, page 289;)

Article XII.

1. This treaty is drawn up in the English and Chinese languages, both of which versions have the same meaning, but it is hereby agreed that any difference which may arise as to interpretation shall be determined by reference to the English text.

2. For the present all official communications addressed by the British authorities to those of Corea [Korea] shall be accompanied by a translation into Chinese.

Unlike the 1882 US-Chosen treaty, romanizations of Korean proper nouns in the 1883 UK-Corea treaty reflect Sino-Korean pronunciations. Dating at the end includes "Corean era" and "Chinese reign" dates.

Names of countries and nationals

The preface of the English version of the 1883 UK-Corea treaty speaks fully of "Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, and His Majesty the King of Corea".

The body of the treaty refers to "Corea" -- and to things "Corean" and "British", including "Corean subjects" and "British subjects". There is also a reference to "Subjects of either nationality" (Article IX).

The English version of the "British-Korean Treaty" in the appendices of McKenzie 1908 (pages 282-295) states that ratifications would be exchanged in "Hanyang (Seoul)". McKenzie's version also refers to "The ports of Chemulpho (Jeuchuan), Wönsan (Gensan), and Pusan (Fusan)" and "the city of Hanyang and of the town of Yanghwa Chin" (page 284, Art. IV).

The English version of Korea's 1892 "Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation" with Austria-Hungary, as shown in Chung 1919 (page 4), similar refers to "The ports of Chemulpho (Jeuchuan), Wönsan (Gensan) and Pusan (Fusan)" and also to "The cities of Hangyan (Seoul) and Janghwachin" (Article IV).


Korea as a protectorate of Japan

Numerous protocols and agreements were exchanged between Japan and Korea during the last three decades of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, which progressively and collectively culminated in the 1910 annexation treaty in which Korea became a part of Japan called Chosen. The most important of these agreements were those made in 1904 and 1905, which resulted in Korea becoming a protectorate of Japan, and a 1907 agreement which placed the Korean government under Japan's Resident-General for a number of purposes related to internal administration.


1904 defense agreement

In 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War, Korea became a quasi-protectorate of Japan. Pursuant to a protocol signed by Korea and Japan on 22 August 1904, Korea agreed to "adopt the advice" (’‰‚ð—e‚ê‚é) of Japan regarding "improvements in administration" (Ž{­‚̉ü‘P), while Japan agreed to ensure "the safety and repose of the Imperial House of Korea" (ŠØ‘‚̍cŽº‚ðˆÀ‘SN”J‚Ȃ炵‚ß‚é) and guarantee "the independence and territorial integrity" (“Æ—§‹y‚Ñ—Ì“y•Û‘S) of Korea.


1905 diplomacy agreement

In 1905, after the Russo-Japanese War, Korea became a full protectorate of Japan. In an agreement signed on 17 November 1905, Japan agreed to represent Korea in its relations with other countries and to protect "the subjects and interests of Korea" (ŠØ‘‚̐b–¯‹y—˜‰v) in other countries. As Korea's proxy in foreign affairs, Japan would mediate all existing and future treaties between Korea and other countries.

The 1905 agreement, called the Ulsa (Eulsa) treaty, also gave Japan the right to establish a Resident-General (“ŠÄ) in Korea for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the treaty. Japanese consuls in ports and elsewhere in Korea would be replaced by Residents (—Ž–Š¯) to facilitate the Resident-General's functions as Korea's proxy in international affairs, which included foreign trade. Japanese consulates in other countries would represent Korea and Koreans in those countries.

First Resident-General of Korea

Japan's first Resident-General (“ŠÄ) in Korea was Itō Hirobumi (ˆÉ“¡”Ž•¶ 1841-1909), who had served four terms as Japan's Prime Minister between 1885 and 1901. Itō was appointed to the Resident-General post on 21 December 1905 and the post officially began from 3 March 1906. He was forced to resign the post in June 1909 on account of his opposition to plans to annex Korea, and four months later was assassinated by a Korean nationalist.

2005 ROK and DPRK joint statement

2005 marked the centennial of the Ulsa (Eulsa) treaty, which is widely regarded in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as to be the true beginning of the annexation that formally started in 1910.

On 24 June 2005, concluding a four-day conference held in Seoul, ROK and DPRK issued a 12-point joint statement to enhance their ties. The 5th point, concerning Japan, began with a confirmation that the 1905 five-point protectorate treaty was illegal and invalid, on the grounds that it was coerced. By this they meant that, under international law, the treaty should be regarded as null-and-void from the moment it was signed.

However, under Japanese law, agreements with the Empire of Korea became null from the effectuation of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on 28 April 1952. This was implied by the 1965 normalization treaty between Japan and ROK. As of this writing (November 2009), Japan has not yet concluded such a treaty with DPRK.


1907 domestic affairs agreement

On 24 July 1907, the Korea and Japan also signed an agreement which gave the Resident-General of Korea, Japan's protectorate government on the peninsula, the authority to oversee some of Korea's domestic administrative affairs and reforms.

The scope of the 1907 agreement gave Japan the authority to approve laws, ordinances, and administrative measures, recommend Japanese for appointments to posts within the Korean government, and approve retainments of foreigners, among other powers that amounted to significant control of Korea's domestic affairs. Among the important measures to be established under Japan's guidance were the 1909 People's Register Law and its enforcement regulations.

1909 People's Register Law

Under the direction of the Resident-General, the Empire of Korea promulgated and enforced a population registration law and issued enforcement regulations. The purpose of these measures was to improving the quality of demographic information for the purpose of collecting taxes and administering other laws and policies concerning individuals and families.

The law was promulgated on 4 March and enforced from 1 April 1909. Its enforcement regulations were issued on 22 March. Police, as part of Korea's Interior Affairs Department, were responsible for overseeing population registers. This was not inconsistent with police duties, which were involved in civilian administration as well as law enforcement.

See Affiliation and status in Korea: 1909 People's Register Law and enforcement regulations for the texts of and commentary on both measures.

This law, initiated and shaped by the Resident-General of Korea, which was overseeing many of Korea's affairs, sought to increase the precision of demographic information for the purpose of collecting taxes and introducing other administrative reforms of the kind Japan had implemented during the early years of Meiji Period.

All annual reports published by the Resident-General of Korea during its tenure, and all early reports of the Government-General of Chosen that replaced it when Japan annexed Korea in 1910, go into great detail about the failure of customary registration practices on the Korean peninsula, especially their susceptibility to abuse and corruption. Put most simply, some of the customary practices served the vested interests of fusty clans and powerful classes, rather than a state that needed to mobilize its people to develop and protect the nation.


The annexation of Korea

In the larger history of global territorialism, Japan's brief nationalization of Korea from 1910-1945 is a minor incident. That Korea was then divided, sufferred a horrible civil war aided and abetted by alien ideologies on both sides, and continues to be two entities at odds with each other across the 38th parallel -- is also a fairly minor devepment in the larger scheme of territorial invasion and theft.

Japan followed American precedents

Indeed, the most contemporary precedents for Japan's actions in Korea in 1910 -- including the logic of annexation and its legal deceitfulness -- can be found in the causes of the Spanish American War of 1898, and in the manner and reasons in and for which the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898.

Japan was merely following a handbook written by John W. Foster, the former US Secretary of State who in 1895 had participated in the drafting of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which legitimatized Japan's foothold in Korea. It was Foster who then argued most cogenty, in a widely circulated address before the National Geographic Society, in 1897, that the United States should annex Hawaii -- not make it protectorate -- in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of a rival and potential enemy -- namely Japan.

Foster's arguments were precisely those Japan had in mind when, a decade or so later, it decided that Korea should be an integral part of Japan, and not just a protectorate. See John W. Foster's 1897 address on annexation of Hawaii below for excerpts of relevant passages.

Websters beware

Books and dissertations on Korea-Japan relations, focusing on everything Japan is supposed to have done for or to Japan, good and bad, would fill several rooms. In English alone, there are two or three shelves of doctoral dissertations, written by Koreans or Korean Americans for degrees in history or political science at graduate schools in the United States, which examine Japan's colonial rule of Korea.

The wild woolly web is alive with "information" about the annexation and other aspects of Japan's incorporation and integration of Korea into its empire between 1910 and 1945.

Or from 1905 when Korea became a protectorate of Japan. Or from 1897 when Japan engineered the founding of the Empire of Korea and the "restoration" of the Korean royal family. Or from 1894 when Japan compelled Korea to begin to reorganize its government along Japanese lines. Or as early as 1876 when Japan "opened" Korea to foreign commerce with the first of several "unequal" treaties that Korea subsequently signed with other foreign states. Or . . . all the way back to the dawn of cross-straits migration and intercourse.

Many Wikipedia-style articles are patently anti-Japanese. They contain some facts, but they also perpetuate errors -- made credible by a cloak of objectivity that includes attribution to biased or faulty academic sources.

Four representative books

Of the dozens of university press publications in English that focus on Japan-Korea relations during the years leading up to annexation, four are representative of their generation of authorship in terms of how they approach the meaning of "annexation".

These four books -- Conroy 1960 (1974), Kim & Kim 1967, Duus 1995, and Dudden 2005 -- are examined in "Hall of mirrors" section at the end.

The continuing "annexation"

The annexation continues in the sense that, for Japan as well as for the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, "Chosen" still exists. Though both ROK and DPRK are member states of the United Nations, Japan has not normalized its relations with DPRK as a state entity. And ROK and DPRK have not resolved their mutual claims to the entirety of "Chosen".

Japan agreed to lose its sovereignty over Korea (Chosen) when it signed the general Instrument of Surrender in 1945, and lost its effective control of and jurisdiction over Korea (Chosen) when it formally surrendered the peninsula in parts to American and Soviet commanders representing the Allied Powers. It formally abandoned its sovereignty over Korea (Chosen) when the provisions of the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect. However, there are several thousands people in Japan who are still legally still "Chosenjin" -- meaning that they are affiliates of an entity that no longer exists -- except as a legacy of an annexation that, for them, is not quite over.


Annexation treaty

22 August 1910

22 August and 29 August 1910 are dates that historically conscious Koreans are likely to recall. The former was the day on which the Emperor of Korea is supposed to have ceded his sovereignty over Korea to the Emperor of Japan. The latter was the day this event was announced to the world at large and became legally effective.

Null and void

Virtually all high-profile web articles on the annexation note that its legality is disputed. The vast majority observe that the normalization treaty signed by Japan and ROK in 1965 agreed that the annexation treaty and other early treaties between Japan and Korea were "null and void".

Many articles create the impression that "null and void" means the treaties were illegal. Some even create the impression that because they were illegal, their effects can be disregarded when talking about "Korea" and "Koreans" under Japanese rule -- to wit, Korea remained an independent country, and Koreans never became Japanese.

Treaty boilerplate

However, declaring earlier agreements "null and void" -- or "without efficacy" as the Chinese, Sino-Japanese, and Sino-Korean term –³Œø (–³Á) literally signifies -- is standard practice in treaties intended to re-establish new benchmarks for future relationships. The 1897 Hawaii Annexation Treaty and the 1898 Hawaii Annexation Resolution included the following fairly common phrasing concerning past treaties with foreign states.

The existing treaties of the Hawaiian Islands with foreign nations shall forthwith cease and determine, being replaced by such treaties as may exist, or as may be hereafter concluded, between the United States and such foreign nations.

Such phrasing, in some form or another, almost invariably finds its way into cession and normalization treaties. In fact, it would have been an incredible oversight if the 1965 Japan-ROK treaty had not declared the early treaties no longer in force -- which is all they did. They certainly did not judge them to be illegal at the time of their inception.

1910 Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty

Japanese Text

The Japanese text is an edited version of the text as posted on the website of Tanaka Akihiko's "The World and Japan" Database Project at the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo. The text is attributed to “ú–{ŠOŒð”N•\⍎å—v•¶‘ãŠªAŠO–±È (Nihon gaikō nenpyō narabi shuyō bunsho, jōkan, Gaimushō), page 340.

Many copies of this text are available on the internet. A somewhat differently formated version can be found at Nakano Bunko.

English text

The English text is an adaptation of a copy posted at Sven Saaler's www.japanesehistory.de website. Sven Saaler is the co-editor, with J. Victor Koschmann, of Pan-Asianism in Modern Japanese History (Colonialism, Regionalism and Borders), London: Routledge, 2007.

Many copies of this text are available on the internet. Saaler's text is identical to the text posted on the website of USC-UCLA Joint East Asian Studies Center. These and similar texts appear to be based on the version published as "Proclamation of Japan Annexing Korea" in The American Journal of International Law, Volume 4, Number 4, Supplement: Official Documents (October 1910), pages 280-282 (3 pages).

There are variants of the English version in contemporary books, most importantly Henry Chung, Korean Treaties, New York: H. S. Nichols, 1919 (pages 225-226). Chung shows only the articles. The articles in his articles are shown in italics below those in Saaler's version. Chung's version is the basis of the version in Hugh Hueng-Wo Cynn, The Rebirth of Korea (The Reawakening of the People / Its Causes, and the Outlook), New York and Cincinnati: The Abingdon Press, 1920 (pages 271-272).

Both Chung and Cynn describe the treaty as "The Treaty of Annexation, signed August 29th, 1910" -- though it was signed on 22 August and promulgated on 29 August 1910. The most interesting feature of their version, however, is the phrase "the government and administration of Chosen" in Article VI (italics in original).

Korean text

The Korean text comes incomplete -- unvetted and provisionally -- from an ROK Wikisource.

ŠØš •¹‡‚É萂·‚鞊–ñ
Treaty concerning Korea annexation
Korea-Japan merging-of-countries treaty
Signed in Seoul, 22 August 1910
Japanese English Korean




22 August 1910
Signed at Seoul (Japanese/Korean texts)

Promulgated 29 August 1910

Treaty No. 4

Proclamation of Japan Annexing Korea

Notwithstanding the earnest and laborious work of reforms in the administration of Korea in which the Governments of Japan and Korea have been engaged for more than four years since the conclusion of the Agreement of 1905, the existing system of government in that country has not proved entirely equal to the duty of preserving public order and tranquillity; and in addition, the spirit of suspicion and misgiving dominates the whole peninsula.

In order to maintain peace and stability in Korea, to promote the prosperity and welfare of Koreans, and at the same time to ensure the safety and repose of foreign residents, it has been made abundantly clear that fundamental changes in the actual regime of government are absolutely essential. The Governments of Japan and Korea, being convinced of the urgent necessity of introducing reforms responsive to the requirements of the situation and of furnishing sufficient guarantee for the future, have, with the approval of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and His Majesty the Emperor of Korea, concluded, through their plenipotentiaries, a treaty providing for complete annexation of Korea to the Empire of Japan. By virtue of that important act, which shall take effect on its promulgation on August 29, 1910, the Imperial Government of Japan shall undertake the entire government and administration of Korea, and they hereby declare that the matters relating to foreigners and foreign trade in Korea shall be conducted in accordance with the following rules:


The treaty

“ú–{š c’é•Ã‰º‹yŠØš c’é•Ã‰ºƒn™_š ŠÔƒm“ÁŽêƒjƒVƒee–§ƒiƒ‹èŒWƒ’ŒÚƒq‘ŠŒÝƒmK•Ÿƒ’‘iƒV“Œ—mƒm•½˜aƒ’‰i‹vƒjŠm•ÛƒZƒ€ƒRƒgƒ’—~ƒVŸƒm–Ú“Iƒ’’BƒZƒ€ƒJਃjƒnŠØš ƒ’“ú–{’éš ƒj•¹‡ƒXƒ‹ƒj”@ƒJƒTƒ‹ƒRƒgƒ’ŠmMƒV䢃j™_š ŠÔƒj•¹‡žŠ–ñƒ’’÷Œ‹ƒXƒ‹ƒRƒgƒjŒˆƒV”VƒJਓú–{š c’é•Ã‰ºƒn“ŠÄŽqŽÝŽ›“à³‹Bƒ’ŠØš c’é•Ã‰ºƒn“àŠtã`—‘åb—›Š®—pƒ’Še‘´ƒm‘SžÜˆÏˆõƒj”C–½ƒZƒŠˆöƒe‰E‘SžÜˆÏˆõƒn˜ð“¯‹¦‹cƒmã¶ƒm”žŠƒ’‹¦’èƒZƒŠ

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and His Majesty the Emperor of Korea, having in view the special and close relations between their respective countries, desiring to promote the common wealth of the two nations and to assure the permanent peace in the Far East, and being convinced that these objectives can be best attained by the annexation of Korea to the Empire of Japan, have resolved to conclude a treaty of such annexation and have, for that purpose, appointed as their plenipotentiaries, that is to say, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan Viscount Terauchi Masatake, Resident-General, and His Majesty the Emperor of Korea Yi Wan-Yong, Prime Minister, who upon mutual conference and deliberation have agreed to the following articles:

ŠØš  c’é•Ã‰º ‹y “ú–{š  c’é•Ã‰º는 ™_š  ŠÔ 의 “ÁŽê히 e–§한 萌W를 ŒÚ하야 ŒÝ‘Š K•Ÿ을 úi 하며 “Œ—m •½˜a 를 ‰i‹v히 Šm•Û하기 à¨하야 Ÿ –Ú“I을 ’B¬코자 함에는 ŠØš 을 “ú–{š 에 倂‡함에 •s”@할 ŽÒ로 ŠmM하야 玆에 ™_š  ŠÔ에 倂‡žŠ–ñ을 ’÷Œ‹함으로 Œˆ’è하고 ਍Ÿ ŠØš c’é•Ã‰º는 內Štã`—‘åb —›Š®—p을 “ú–{š  c’é•Ã‰º는 “ŠÄ ŽqŽÝ Ž›內³‹B를 Še‘´ ‘SžÜˆÏˆõ에 ”C–½함 ˜¹하야 ‰E‘SžÜˆÏˆõ은 ˜ð“¯‹¦‹c하야 ¶ŠJ ”žŠ를 ‹¦’è함.


ŠØš c’é•Ã‰ºƒnŠØš ‘S•”ƒj萃Xƒ‹ˆêØƒm“Ž¡žÜƒ’Š®‘SŠŽ‰i‹vƒj“ú–{š c’é•Ã‰ºƒjæ¨äoƒX

Article 1

His Majesty the Emperor of Korea makes the complete and permanent cession to his Majesty the Emperor of Japan of all rights of sovereignty over the whole of Korea.

The Emperor of Korea to make complete and permanent cession to the Emperor of Japan of all rights of sovereinty over the whole of Korea.


ŠØš  c’é•Ã‰º는 ŠØš ‘S•”에 è한 ˆêØ “Ž¡žÜ을 Š®‘SŠŽ ‰i‹v히 “ú–{š  c’é•Ã‰º에게 æ¨äo함.


“ú–{š c’é•Ã‰ºƒn‘OžŠƒjŒfƒPƒ^ƒ‹æ¨äoƒ’Žó‘øƒVŠŽ‘S‘RŠØš ƒ’“ú–{’éš ƒj•¹‡ƒXƒ‹ƒRƒgƒ’³‘øƒX

Article 2

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan accepts the cession mentioned in the preceding article and consents to the complete annexation of Korea to the Empire of Japan.

The Emperor of Japan to accept the above-mentioned cession, and to consent to the complete annexation of Korea to the Empire of Japan.


“ú–{š  c’é•Ã‰º는 ‘OžŠ에 揭한 æ¨äo를 Žó‘ø하고 ŠŽ ‘S‘R ŠØš 을 “ú–{’éš 에 倂 ‡함을 ³‘ø함.


“ú–{š c’é•Ã‰ºƒnŠØš c’é•Ã‰º‘¾c’é•Ã‰ºc‘¾Žq“a‰ºâ‘´ƒm@”Ü‹yŒãåგƒVƒeŠe‘´ƒm’nˆÊƒjœäƒV‘Šácƒiƒ‹‘¸ÌˆÐšŽ‹y–¼æ£ƒ’‹—LƒZƒVƒŠŽ”Vƒ’•ÛŽƒXƒ‹ƒj\•ªƒiƒ‹Î”‹Ÿ‹‹ƒXƒwƒLƒRƒgƒ’–ñƒX

Article 3

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan will accord to their Majesties the Emperor and ex-Emperor and His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Korea and their consorts and heirs such titles, dignity, and honor as are appropriate to their respective ranks, and sufficient annual grants will be made for the maintenance of such titles, dignity and honor.

The Emperor of Japan to accord to the Emperor of Korea, ex-Emperor and Crown Prince of Korea and their Consorts such titles, dignities and honours as are appropriate to their respective ranks, and sufficient annual grants to be made for the maintenance of such titles, dignities and honours.


“ú–{š  c’é•Ã‰º는 ŠØš  c’é•Ã‰º c‘¾Žq“a‰º 竝‘´ @”Ü ‹y Œãåá로 하여금 Še‘´ ’nˆÊ에 œä하야 ‘Šác한 ‘¸âi ˆÐšŽ과 ‹y –¼æ£를 ‹—L케 하고 ŠŽ Ÿ를 •ÛŽ함에 \•ª한 歲”ï를 ‹Ÿ‹‹함을 –ñ함.


“ú–{š c’é•Ã‰ºƒn‘OžŠˆÈŠOƒmŠØš c‘°‹y‘´ƒmŒãåáƒj›”ƒVŠe‘Šácƒm–¼æ£‹y‘Ò‹öƒ’‹—LƒZƒVƒŠŽ”Vƒ’ˆÛŽƒXƒ‹ƒj•K—vƒiƒ‹Ž‘‹àƒ’‹ŸäoƒXƒ‹ƒRƒgƒ’–ñƒX

Article 4

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan will also accord appropriate honor and treatment to the members of the Imperial House of Korea and their heirs other than those mentioned in the preceding article, and the funds necessary for the maintenance of such honor and treatment will be granted.

The Relatives of the Emperor of Korea also to receive due dignities, titles, honours and solatia.

[ Chung only summarize article. ]


“ú–{š  c’é•Ã‰º는 ‘OžŠ ˆÈŠO의 ŠØš c‘° ‹y ‘´ Œãåá에 ›”하야 Še ‘Šác한 –¼æ£ ‹y ‘Ò‹ö를 ‹—L케 하고 ŠŽ Ÿ를 ˆÛŽ하기에 •K—v한 Ž‘‹à을 ‹Ÿäo함을 –ñ함.



Article 5

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan will confer peerage and monetary grants upon those Koreans who, on account of meritorious services, are regarded as deserving such special recognition.

The Emperor of Japan to confer peerages and monetary grants upon Koreans who, on account of meritorious services, are regarded as deserving such special recognition.


“ú–{š  c’é•Ã‰º는 ™¬Œ÷이 —L한 ŠØl으로 “Á히 •\²함을 “Kác할 줄로 ”F할 ŽÒ에 ›”하야 žÄŽÝ을 Žö하고 ŠŽ ‰¶‹à을 äo함.


“ú–{š ­•{ƒn‘O‹L•¹‡ƒmŒ‹‰ÊƒgƒVƒe‘S‘RŠØš ƒmŽ{­ƒ’^”CƒV“¯’nƒjŽ{sƒXƒ‹–@‹Kƒ’…ŽçƒXƒ‹ŠØlƒmg铋yàŽYƒj›”ƒV\•ªƒiƒ‹•ÛŒìƒ’äo‚ÖŠŽ‘´ƒm•Ÿ—˜ƒm‘iƒ’š¤ƒ‹ƒwƒV

Article 6

In consequence of the aforesaid annexation the Government of Japan will assume the entire government and administration of Korea, and undertake to afford full protection for the persons and property of Koreans obeying the laws there in force to promote the welfare of all such Koreans.

In consequence of the aforesaid Annexation, the Government of Japan will assume the entire government and administration of Chosen and undertake to afford full protection for the life and property of Koreans obeying the laws in force to promote the welfare of all such.

[ Chung italicizes "Chosen". ]


“ú–{­•{는 ‘O‹L 倂‡의 Œ‹‰Ê로 ‘S‘R ŠØš 의 Ž{­을 ^”C하야 ŠY’n에 Ž{s할 –@‹K를 …Žç하는 ŠØl의 gé“ ‹y àŽY에 ›”하야 \•ª한 •ÛŒì를 äo하고 ŠŽ‘´ •Ÿ—˜의 úi을 š¤함.

"Korea" vs "Chosen" in Article 6

There is some confusion in English reports as to whether the English version of Article 6 of the annexation treaty used "Korea" or "Chosen".

The above received texts show ‘S‘RŠØš ƒmŽ{­ƒ’^”CƒV in Japanese and "will assume the entire government and administration of Korea" in English.

Chung 1919

The English version in Henry Chung's 1919 collection of Korean treaties shows "will assume the entire government and administration of Chosen" (Chung 1919:225-226, italics in original). But I have not seen a Japanese or Korean version with ’©‘N. Chinese versions read ‘S‘R^‰×ŠØš ”VŽ{­.

Cynn 1920 and McKenzie 1920

In 1920, following Chung, Hung Heung-wo Cynn also shows "Chosen" in italics (Cynn 1920:272). However, also writing in 1920, F. A. McKenzie shows "Korea" (McKenzie 1920:180).

I have not been able to examine English, Japanese, or Korean reports immediately following the annexation. And I have no explanation as to why Chung had "Chosen", muchless why he italicized the term. However, Chung was not the first, and Cynn was not the last, to use "Chosen" in Article 6.

Eissler 1918

Writing in 1918, M. Eissler's called Chapter I of his book on Korea Korea "Geography of Korea or Chosen" (page 1). Chapter IX, "Korea since its Annexation by Japan", begins with the observation that "Japan annexed Korea in August 1910 and its name was changed to Chosen", and notes that the territory is under a "Governor General (Chosen-Sozokufu)" (page 47). Eissler then cites the provisions of the 22 August annexation treaty, and Article 6 has "Chosen" (page 47).

Harris 1934

By 1933, Walter B. Harris was showing Article 6 with "Chosen (Korea)" -- in which he, or his source, parenthetically clarifed "Chosen" as "Korea" (page 225).

Parenthetic clarifications

Clarifications of "Chosen" as "Korea" or vice versa were not uncommon. "Chosen (Korea)" is apparently found in US government reports concerning the 1882 US-Chosen treaty of amity and commerce (see above). And "Korea (Chosen)" is found on some Supreme Allied (United States) Command references to "Korea (Chosen" foreseen as an object of postwar occupation (see Imperial General Headquarters General Order No. 1).

Government-General of Chosen reports

The first few English reports on Chosen issued by the Government-General of Chosen had "Chosen (Korea)" in their titles. By the early 1920s, however, GGC felt that "Chosen" had been sufficiently well established in English usage that it began showing only "Chosen" in the titles of its reports (see Korea, Chosen, and Tyosen reports for further details.

Sources cited here

M. Eissler (Mining Engineer)
My Voyage in Korea
Shanghai: The Oriental Press, 1918
106 pages, front matter, maps, plates
University of California Libraries
Scans by Internet Archive

Chung 1919 (see below)

Cynn 1920 (see below)

McKenzie 1920 (see below)

Walter B. Harris
East Again: The Narrative of a Journey in the Near, Middle and Far East
New York: E. P. Dutton, 1934 (1933 foreword) 342 pages
Scan by Google Books


“ú–{š ­•{ƒn½ˆÓ’‰›‰ƒjV§“xƒ’‘¸dƒXƒ‹ŠØlƒjƒVƒe‘ŠácƒmŽ‘ŠiƒAƒ‹ŽÒƒ’Ž–îƒm‹–ƒXŒÀƒŠŠØš ƒj‰—ƒPƒ‹’éš Š¯—™ƒj“o—pƒXƒwƒV

Article 7

The Government of Japan will, so far as circumstances permits, employ in the public service of Japan in Korea those Koreans who accept the new regime loyally and in good faith and who are duly qualified for such service.

The Government of Japan, so far as circumstances permits, will employ in the public service of Japan Koreans who accept the new régime loyally and in good faith and who are duly qualified for such service.

[ Chung italicizes "régime". ]


“ú–{­•{는 ½ˆÓ’‰›‰히 V§“x를 ‘¸d하는 ŠØl으로 ‘Šác한 Ž‘Ši이 —L한 ŽÒ를 Ž–î이 ‹–할 ”Íš¡에서 ŠØš 에 Ý한 ’éš  Š¯—™에 “o—p함.


–{žŠ–ñƒn“ú–{š c’é•Ã‰º‹yŠØš c’é•Ã‰ºƒmÙ‰Âƒ’ãSƒ^ƒ‹ƒ‚ƒmƒjƒVƒeŒö•zƒm“úƒˆƒŠ”Vƒ’Ž{sƒX

Article 8

This treaty, having been approved by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and His Majesty the Emperor of Korea, shall take effect from the state of its promulgation.

[ Chung 1919 omits article. ]


–{žŠ–ñ은 ŠØš  c’é•Ã‰º ‹y “ú–{š  c’é•Ã‰º의 Ù‰Â를 ãS한 ŽÒ로 Œö•z“ú로부터 Ÿ를 Ž{s함.




In faith thereof:

Meiji 43-8-22 [22 August 1910]
Resident General Viscount Terauchi Masatake

Yunghŭi 4-8-22 [22 August 1910]
Prime Minister Yi Wan-yong

‰E 暝Ÿ로 하야 ™_‘SžÜˆÏˆõ은 –{žŠ–ñ에 ‹L–¼’²ˆó함이라.

內Štã`—‘åb —›Š®—p Š¯Í

“ŠÄ ŽqŽÝ Ž›內³‹B Š¯ˆó

In faith thereof:

Yunghŭi 4-8-22 [22 August 1910]
Prime Minister Yi, Wan-yong

Meiji 43-8-22 [22 August 1910]
Resident General Viscount Terauchi Masatake


Imperial ordinance changing name of Korea

29 August 1910

Imperial Ordinance No. 318 of 1910, effective from its promulgation on 29 August 1910, changed the name of the entity the Empire of Korea had ceded the Empire of Japan in the annexation treaty of 22 August (see treaty above), to the name of the entity that formally became part of Japan from 29 August (see declaration below.

This ordinance lost its effect on 28 April 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into force. Japan and ROK, however, did not normalize their relations until 1965. Hence the Japanese text of the treaty the two states signed that year stated that ROK was recognized as the sole government in ’©‘N (Chōsen) (see 1965 Japan-ROK normalization treaty for the texts of this treaty).

1910 Imperial ordinance changing name of Korea
The imperial state of "Kankoku" becomes the territory of "Chosen"

Japanese Text

The Japanese text is a reformated version of the text posted on the website of Nakano Bunko.

English text

The English translation is mine.

Matter of changing national appelation of Kankoku
and stylizing it as Chosen
Imperial Ordinance No. 318 of 1910 (Meiji 43)
Promulgated on, and effective from, 29 August 1910

Japanese text English translation


As for the national appelation of Kankoku [Korea], [the entity] shall from now be styled Chōsen [Chosen].


Supplementary provisions
–{—߃nŒö•zƒm“úƒˆƒŠ”Vƒ’Ž{sƒX This ordinance shall come into effect from the day of promulgation.


Declaration concerning annexation of Korea

29 August 1910

This declaration consistently differentiates between "Kankoku" as an entity up to the point of its annexation, and "Chosen" as the entity after it becomes part of Japan.

To be continued.

1910 Declaration concerning annexation of Korea
Defined the status of the territory of Chosen as a part of Japan
and clarified the status of foreign entities and their nationals

Japanese Text

The Japanese text shown here is an edited version of the text as posted on the website of Tanaka Akihiko's "The World and Japan" Database Project at the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo. The text is attributed to “ú–{ŠOŒð”N•\⍎å—v•¶‘ãŠªAŠO–±È (Nihon gaikō nenpyō narabi shuyō bunsho, jōkan, Gaimushō), pages 341-342. Many copies of this text are available on the internet.

English text

I have shown my translations in blue highlighting. All bold emphasis is also mine.

Korean text


ŠØš •¹‡ƒj萃Xƒ‹éŒ¾
Declaration concerning the annexation of Korea
Published in the Official Gazette (Š¯•ñ Kanpō) on Meiji 43-8-29 (29 August 1910)
Japanese text English translation

ŠØš •¹‡ƒmŒƒj萃V’éš ­•{ƒnŠØš ƒgƒmŠÔƒjžŠ–ñƒ’—LƒV–”ƒnŠØš ƒj‰—ƒeÅœ¨š ‘Ò‹öƒ’‹ƒNƒwƒLƒRƒgƒgƒiƒŠ‹ƒŠƒ^ƒ‹àՈ횠A˜±•Ä—˜‰Á‡Oš AšÒ’n—˜^‰å—˜š A”’Ž¨‹`š A´š A’š–•š A˜Å—–¼š A‘å•s—ñ“^š AˆÉ‘¾—˜š ‹y˜I¼˜±š ƒmŠe­•{ƒj›”ƒV¶ƒméŒ¾ƒ’ਃVƒ^ƒŠ

–¾Ž¡ŽO\”ª”N“úŠØ‹¦–ñ¬ƒŠƒeƒˆƒŠä¢ƒjŽl”N—LéP‘´ƒmŠÔ“úŠØ™_š ­•{ƒn‰sˆÓŠØš Ž{­ƒm‰ü‘PƒjœnŽ–ƒVƒ^ƒŠƒg嫓¯š Œ»Ýƒm“Ž¡§“xƒn®–¢ƒ^\•ªƒjŒö‹¤ƒmˆÀ”J’˜ƒ’•ÛŽƒXƒ‹ƒj‘«ƒ‰ƒXO–¯‹^œôƒm”Oƒ’œåƒL“KŸdƒXƒ‹Šƒ’’mƒ‰ƒTƒ‹ƒmóƒAƒŠŠØš ƒmÃ捃’ˆÛŽƒVŠØ–¯ƒm•Ÿ—˜ƒ’‘iƒV•¹ƒZƒeŠØš ƒj‰—ƒPƒ‹ŠOš lƒmˆÀ”Jƒ’Œvƒ‹ƒJਃjƒnŸƒmÛŒ»§“xƒj›”ƒVª–{“Iƒm‰ü‘Pƒ’‰Áƒtƒ‹ƒm•K—vƒAƒ‹ƒRƒg—Ä‘Rƒ^ƒ‹ƒjŽŠƒŒƒŠ

“úŠØ™_š ­•{ƒn‘O‹Lƒm•K—vƒjœäƒVƒeŒ»ÝƒmŽ–‘Ôƒ’‰ü—ǃVŠŽ›’˜ÒƒmˆÀŒÅƒj›”ƒVƒeŠ®‘Sƒiƒ‹•Ûáƒ’äoƒtƒ‹ƒm‹}–±ƒiƒ‹ƒ’”Fƒ“ú–{š c’é•Ã‰º‹yŠØš c’é•Ã‰ºƒm³”Fƒ’ãS™_š ‘SžÜˆÏˆõƒ’ƒVƒeˆêƒmžŠ–ñƒ’’÷Œ‹ƒZƒVƒ‘S‘RŠØš ƒ’“ú–{’éš ƒj•¹‡ƒXƒ‹ƒRƒgƒgƒiƒZƒŠ

Differentiation of "Korea" and "Chosen"

Historians writing in English habitually refer to "official translations" of Japanese documents. Because such translations often refect standards of usage familiar in the world of English, they represent an "external" and often distorted view of the meanings of Japanese if not Chinese or Korean documents.

Japanese documents relating to changes in status of "Korea" in relation to "Japan" carefully distinction between ŠØš  (Kankoku) and ’©‘N (Chōsen). However, such distinction are lost by historians writing in English who conflate the two terms.

"Kankoku" (Korea) as an entity before annexation

The above sections of the declaration concern events up to the annexation of ŠØš  (Kankoku) and therefore refer to the entity by this name. From this point, however, the declaration concerns mainly ’©‘N (Chōsen), meaning the entity after annexation.

"Chōsen" (Chosen) as an entity after annexation

The following sections are concerned with ’©‘N (Chōsen) as a territory of Japan. The few instances of ŠØš  that appear after this point consistently refer to the entity before it became part of Japan.

Translation standards

Translation standards tend to be higher in diplomatic and legal circles, but even here they can be lax. Translators are inclined to prefer familiar rather than correct terms. And standards of both familiarity and correctness vary with time and place.

Today, the problem of "Korea" versus "Chosen" in English writing is compounded by demands for "political correctness" over linguistic correctness. And as "politically correct" usage becomes fashionable, it also becomes familar.

Even in diplomatic and legal circles, translation standards often lag behind major changes in primary language representations. This is certainly the case here.

The drafters of the Japanese declaration understood the distinction between ŠØš and ’©‘N. Either the translators did not perceive the significance of the distinction, or they decided to assimilate "Chosen" into the conventions of "Korea" -- in order not to have to explain the difference to English readers that might be "confused" by a change in terminology.

Immediately, though, English language reports and other publications of the "Resident-General of Korea" became those of the "Government-General of Chosen".

ŠYžŠ–ñƒn”ªŒŽ“ñ\‹ã“úƒ’ˆÈƒe”Vƒ’Œö•zƒV“¯“úƒˆƒŠ’¼ƒj”Vƒ’Ž{sƒXƒwƒN“ú–{’éš ­•{ƒn“¯žŠ–ñƒmŒ‹‰Ê’©‘Nƒj萃Xƒ‹“Ž¡ƒm‘S•”ƒ’^ácƒXƒ‹ƒRƒgƒgƒiƒŒƒ‹ƒ’ˆÈƒe䢃j¶ƒm•ûjƒjˆËƒŠŠOš l‹yŠOš –fˆÕƒj萃Xƒ‹Ž–€ƒ’™|—ƒXƒwƒLƒRƒgƒ’•\–¾ƒX

ˆêAŠØš ƒg—ñš ƒgƒmžŠ–ñƒnác‘R–³ÁƒjŸdƒV“ú–{š ƒg—ñš ƒgƒmŒ»sžŠ–ñƒn‘´ƒm“K—pƒV“¾ƒ‹ŒÀ’©‘Nƒj“K—pƒZƒ‰ƒ‹ƒwƒV

’©‘NƒjÝ—¯ƒXƒ‹”ŠOš lƒn“ú–{–@žÜƒm‰ºƒj‰—ƒeŽ–îƒm‹–ƒXŒÀ“ú–{“à’nƒj‰—ƒPƒ‹ƒg“¯ˆêƒmžÜ—˜‹y“Á“Tƒ’‹—LƒVŠŽ‘´ƒm“K–@ƒiƒ‹Šù“¾žÜƒm•ÛŒìƒ’ŽóƒNƒwƒV

“ú–{’éš ­•{ƒn•¹‡žŠ–ñŽ{sƒmÛŒ»ƒj’©‘Nƒj‰—ƒPƒ‹ŠOš —ÌŽ–Ù”»ŠƒjŒq›¢ƒXƒ‹Ž–ŒƒnÅIƒmŒˆ’èƒjŽŠƒ‹–˜‘´ƒmÙ”»ƒ’㔍sƒZƒVƒ€ƒ‹ƒRƒgƒ’³‘øƒXƒwƒV

“ñA“ú–{’éš ­•{ƒnœn˜ÒƒmžŠ–ñƒj萌WƒiƒN¡Œã\”NŠÔ’©‘NƒˆƒŠŠOš ƒj—AoƒV–”ƒnŠOš ƒˆƒŠ’©‘Nƒj—A“üƒXƒ‹‰Ý•¨‹y’©‘NŠJ`ƒj“üƒ‹ŠOš ‘D”•ƒj›”ƒVŒ»Ýƒg“¯—¦ƒm—Ao“üÅ‹y“ӐŃ’‰ÛƒXƒwƒV


ŽOA“ú–{’éš ­•{ƒn¡Œã\”NŠÔ“ú–{š ƒgƒmžŠ–ñš ƒm‘D”•ƒj›”ƒV’©‘NŠJ`ŠÔ‹y’©‘NŠJ`ƒg“ú–{ŠJ`ŠÔƒm‰ˆŠÝ–fˆÕƒjœnŽ–ƒXƒ‹ƒ’‹–ƒXƒwƒV


The said treaty, on 29 August, is to be promulgated [and] from the same day immediately enforced; [and] the Government of the Empire of Japan, because the consequence of the same treaty will be [that it] will take charge of the entirety of rule regarding [assume full rule of] Chōsen;, herein announces the disposition of matters regarding foreigners and foreign trade [other-country-persons and other-country-trade] in accordance with the policies to the left [below].

1. Treaties between Korea and the procession of states [i.e., foreign powers] shall naturally revert to being without efficacy [i.e., become null and void]). Treaties between Japan and the procession of states shall be applied to Chosen as far as they can apply.

All foreigners residing in Chōsen shall possess, to the extent that circumstances allow under Japan's legal authority, the same rights and privileges [they would possess] in Japan's Interior, and [they] shall receive the protection of their lawful vested rights.

The Government of the Empire of Japan, [regarding] cases pending in foreign consular courts in Chōsen at the time of the enforcement of the union treaty, shall consent to allowing [these courts] to continue the trials until their final determination.

2. . . . et cetera.

’éš ­•{ƒn–”˜±Ž¢‘R’šš A”ŒŽh¼Ž¢š A’q—˜š AŠi—ϔ䘱š A¼”lj嚠AŠóäcš A–n¼šFš A‘øˆÐš A˜a—–š AâO˜Iš A•’“¸‰åš Aù—…š A“Tš ‹y¼š ƒmŠe­•{ƒj›”ƒV¶ƒméŒ¾ƒ’ਃVƒ^ƒŠ

–¾Ž¡Žl\ŽO”N”ªŒŽ“ñ\“ñ“ú“ú–{š ƒgŠØš ƒgƒmŠÔƒj’÷Œ‹ƒZƒ‰ƒŒƒ^ƒ‹žŠ–ñƒjˆËƒŠŠØš ƒn“ú–{š ƒj•¹‡ƒZƒ‰ƒŒ–{“úƒˆƒŠ“ú–{’éš ƒmˆê•”ƒ’¬ƒXƒRƒgƒgƒiƒŒƒŠŽ¢¡“ú–{š ƒg—ñš ƒgƒmŒ»sžŠ–ñƒn‘´ƒm“K—pƒV“¾ƒ‹ŒÀ’©‘Nƒj“K—pƒZƒ‰ƒ‹ƒwƒNŠYŒ»sžŠ–ñƒ’—LƒXƒ‹—ñš ƒmb–¯–”ƒnl–¯ƒn’©‘Nƒj‰—ƒeŽ–îƒm‹–ƒXŒÀ“ú–{“à’nƒj‰—ƒPƒ‹ƒg“¯ˆêƒmžÜ—˜‹y“Á“Tƒ’‹—LƒXƒwƒV

ou•’“¸‰åš Aù—…š v‚Ì“_‚́AoŠ‚É‚Í‚È‚µp


Emperor Sunjong's imperial edict on annexation

22 August 1910

Though his reign as emperor and head of state of Korea ended on 29 August 1910, Emperor Sunjong kept the title of emperor until his death on 24 April 1926.

Sunjong's imperial edict on annexation (22 August 1910)

ƒ@c’é의 ŠØ“ú‡倂에 관한 Ù’º
Emperor Sunjong's imperial edict
concerning Korea-Japan merger

Imperial edict of Emperor Sunjong
at time of annexation of Korea



’½이“Œ—m•½˜a를è݌Å케하기위하야ŠØ“ú™_š 의e–§한萌W로서”Þ‰ä가‘Š‡하야ˆê‰Æ를¬함은ŒÝ‘Šäݐ¢의K•Ÿ을š¤하는ŠˆÈ를”O로玆에ŠØš 의“Ž¡를§하야Ÿ를’½이‹É히Mû®하는‘å“ú–{c’é•Ã‰º께æ¨äo함을Œˆ’è하고˜¹히•K—v한žŠÍ을‹K’è하야›’˜Ò‰äcŽº의‰i‹vˆÀ”J과¶–¯의•Ÿ—˜를•Ûá하기à¨하야內Štã`—‘åb—›Š®—p을‘SžÜˆÏˆõ에”C–½하야‘å“ú–{’éš “ŠÄŽ›內³‹B와˜ð“¯하여¤‹c‹¦’è케하노니”b은’½ˆÓ의ŠmÐ한바를é“하야•òs케하라





Emperor Sunjong's imperial instruction on annexation

29 August 1910


Sunjong's imperial instruction on annexation (29 August 1910)

ƒ@c’é의 ŠØ“ú‡倂에 관한 ’º—@
Emperor Sunjong's imperial instruction
concerning Korea-Japan merger

Imperial instruction of Emperor Sunjong
at time of annexation of Korea



c ’é若žH ’½이 ”Ûúº으로 䅑å한 ‹Æ을 ³하야 —ÕŒä ˆÈŒã로 ¡“ú에 ŽŠ하도록 ˆÛV­—ß에 è하야 [?] š¤하고 ”õŽŽ하야 —p—Í이 –¢¦•sŽŠ로되 —R˜Ò로 ÏŽã이 ¬á€하고 ”敾가 “ž™|에 ‹É하야 Žž“úŠÔ에 ”Ò‰ñ할 Ž{‘[–³–]하니 ’†–é—J—¶에 ‘PŒã의 ô이 䩑R한지라 Ÿ를 ”C하야 Žx—£‰vr하면 I‹Ç에 ¾E을 •s“¾하기에 Ž©’ê할진‘¥ ”J히 ‘å”C을 l에 ‘ï하야 Š®‘S한 •û–@과 ŠvV한 Œ÷Á를 ‘t케 함만 •s”@한 ŒÌ로 ’½이 ‰—¥에 áؑR히 內È하고 Šf‘R히 Ž©Ð하야 玆에 ŠØš 의 “Ž¡žÜ을 œnŽž부터 eMˆË‹Â하던 隣š  ‘å“ú–{ c’é•Ã‰º께 æ¨äo하야 ŠO으로 “Œ—m의 •½˜a를 è݌Å케 하고 內으로 8ˆæ의 ¶–¯을 •Û‘S케하노니 ˆÒŽ¢‘召b–¯을 š ¨와 Žž‹X를 [Ž@하야 –ÜਔϏï하고 ŠeˆÀ‘´‹Æ하야 “ú–{’éš 의 •¶–¾의 V­에 •žœn하야 K•Ÿ을 ‹¤Žó하라. ’½의 ¡“ú의 Ÿ §는 Ž¢—LO을 –Y함이 아니라 ˜·히 Ž¢—LO을 ‹~Šˆ코자 하는 ŽŠˆÓ에서 o함이라. Ž¢b–¯ “™은 ’½의 Ÿ ˆÓ를 Žé“하라.






ŒÌ‚É’½¥‚ɉ—‚¢‚ÄáؑR‚Æ‚µ‚Ä“à‚ɏȂݘL‘R‚Æ‚µ‚āAŽ©‚ç’f‚¶A䢂Ɋ؍‘‚Ì“Ž¡Œ ‚ð]‘O‚æ‚èeMˆË‚è‹Â‚µ‚½‚éA—׍‘“ú–{c’é•Ã‰º‚ɏ÷—^‚µAŠO“Œ—m‚Ì•½˜a‚ð‹­ŒÅ‚È‚ç‚µ‚߁A“à”ªˆæ‚Ì–¯¶‚ð•Û‘S‚Ȃ炵‚ß‚ñ‚Æ‚·B


’½‚ª¡“ú‚̍Ÿ‚Ì‹“‚́AŽ¢—LO‚ð–Y‚ꂽ‚é‚É‚ ‚炸Aê‚玢—LO‚ð‹~‚¢Šˆ‚©‚¹‚ñ‚Æ‚·‚鎊ˆÓ‚ɏo‚ÁB





Emperor Meiji's imperial rescript on annexation

29 August 1910

This imperial rescript shifts from "Kankoku" to "Chosen" only at the end, at which point it creates the office of the "Government General of Chosen". Until this point, the rescript is speaking of the entity of "Kankoku", which had been a protectorate of Japan at the time.

When Korea (Kankoku) became a protectorate of Japan, Japan created the office of "Resident General of Korea". When the scope of Japan's "protection" of Korea extended to its diplomatic affairs, the Resident General of Korea became in effect Korea's (Kankoku's) Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This office was in effect "Korea's"


Emperor Meiji's imperial rescript on annexation (29 August 1910)

Imperial rescript on
Japan-Korea merger





Ž¢—ˆŽžƒ’Œoƒ‹ƒRƒgŽl”N—L—]A‘´ƒmŠÔ’½ƒm­•{ƒn‰sˆÓŠØ‘Ž{­ƒm‰ü‘Pƒj“wƒA‘´ƒm¬Ñ–’Œ©ƒ‹ƒxƒLƒ‚ƒmƒAƒŠƒg嫁AŠØ‘ƒmŒ»§ƒn®–¢ƒ_Ž¡ˆÀƒm•ÛŽƒ’Š®ƒXƒ‹ƒj‘«ƒ‰ƒYA‹^œôƒm”O–ˆƒj‘“àƒj[ˆìƒV–¯‘´ƒm“gƒjˆÀƒ[ƒYAŒö‹¤ƒmˆÀ”Jƒ’ˆÛŽƒVA–¯OƒmŒ —˜ƒ’‘iƒZƒ€ƒKˆ×ƒjƒnAŠvVƒ’Œ»§ƒj‰Áƒtƒ‹ƒm”ðƒN‰ÂƒJƒ‰ƒUƒ‹ƒRƒg—Ä‘Rƒ^ƒ‹ƒjŽŠƒŒƒŠB







Hilary Conroy on gappo, gappei, and heigo

This book came out shortly after I graduated from high school. I did not first encounter it until about a decade later, by which time I was literate enough to read it.

Hilary Conroy
The Japanese Seizure of Korea, 1868-1910
(A Study of Realism and Idealism in International Relations)
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1974 (1960)
5, 532 pages, softcover (hardcover)
Preface dated September 1959
Introduction dated June 1974

In Chapter VIII, Reverse Idealism, Conroy gives several pages to an examination of Nikkan gappō hishi (“úŠØ‡–M”éŽj) or "The secret history of merger of Japan and Korea", published by the Kokuryūkai (•—´‰ï) or "Black Dragon [Heilongjiang, Amur River] Society". The two volumes of this work were compiled by Kuzū Yoshihisa (Š‹¶”\‹v 1874-1958) from unpublished letters and memoirs of Uchida Ryōhei (1874-1937).

Uchida founded the Black Dragon Society in 1901 as a movement to keep Russia out of Asia. The society was active mostly in Manchuria, but by the 1930s it had evolved into a more general ultranationalist, pan-Asianist group. It was never very large but cultivated close ties with Japan's business, political, and military leaders. It was disbanded by GHQ/SCAP in 1946. Kuzū Yoshihisa, also a rightist, was designated a Class A War Criminal but never indicted.

Uchida formed an alliance with Yi Yong Gu (Yi Yong-koo, 1868-1912) to promote the merger of Japan and Korea in what they called “úŠØ‡–M (Nikkan gappō) or "Japan-Korea united-countries". In 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War, Yi had co-founded the pro-Japanese Ilchinhoe (ˆêi‰ï J. Isshinkai), and Uchida became its adviser about 1905.

Conroy is particularly interested in the activities of Uchida and Yi in the Ilchinhoe. He liberally uses the term "gappō" -- with the macron, but without italics and otherwise unmarked -- in most of his discussion of annexation -- including the following excerpt (pages 415-417, all italics, and bracketed annotations, in original).

Hilary Conroy on gappo, gappei, and heigo (1960)

The ideological basis of the partnership between Japanese reactionaries and their Korean friends may best be explained by discussing our use of the word, merger, in defining their goal for Korea. The Japanese word is gappō, which appears in the title of their "Secret History" and which they use insistently. It is a curious word which, the author was told, sounds more Chinese than Japanese to a Japanese ear. It is not even given in the large Kenkyūsha Japanese dictionary which sits at the author's elbow, but it is not in his Chinese dictionary either. The two characters which compose the word mean respectively "to agree with or to unite with" and "country," which, to the Japanese means also "Japan." Hence Nikkan gappō is "Japan-Korea uniting countries," or "Japan-Korea uniting Japan," which is redundant but rather ironically plausible in view of the long-range outcome. The usual Japanese words for annexation are gappei, heigō, and heidon, all of which appear in Kenkyūsha's dictionary. It seems that the word gappō was the special "reactionaries' word" for the Korean problem, just as, interestingly enough, there was a special "government word" also, namely heigō. The fact that the one is in the dictionary and the other not may be in itself a sort of minute commentary on which group, in the end, ran the annexation show.

At any rate, Itō's sometime secretary, Kurachi, has left us an interesting discourse on this very subject, which he entitled, "The Literal Meaning of Heigō." He says that in the policy documents on Korea which he drew up for Foreign Minister Komura in 1909 "the word heigō was utilized for the first time and considerable care was taken about that," because "at the time, though there were arguments about that Korea was to be annexed (gappei), the meaning was not clearly understood." Then he explains that the words gappei, frequently applied to "business combinations," and gappō, which might imply "a form of federation like Austria-Hungary," were used by some but were unsuitable because --

according to Foreign Minister Komura, Korea was to come completely to Japan and there would be no treaties between Korea and other foreign countries. [However] the word heidon [annex, devour, swallow up] was too aggressive to uses, so after various considerations I [Kurachi] thought out a new wording, heigō, which until that time had not been used. This was stronger than gappei, meaning that the other's territory should become part of Japan's territory. Since then the term heigō has been used widely in public documents, but in theses Korean policy documents it was used for the first time. Having newly invented the word heigō, I did not stress it too much, knowing there would be arguments about it. So even Prime Minister Katsura, when he read the policy documents, sometimes read heigō as gappei without noticing it himself. [Note 52]

Mr. Kurachi undoubtedly had the inside story on heigō, since he composed it himself, but he was perhaps too well educated to appreciate the meaning of gappō, at least as the reactionaries used it. The Western-minded secretary thought it might mean a "federation like Austria-Hungary" but that is too legalistic a description. To Uchida and his friends it was a more romantic affair, a federation perhaps but one whose institutional lines were indistinct, a sort of Asian brotherhood in search of an ideal, Dai Tō Gappō (Great Oriental Federation), the first step toward which was a "federating," or better, "merging" of Korea and Japan. The relationship would be a very intimate one, like "lips and teeth." (This is a Chinese expression formerly used to describe the relationship between China and her dependent states.) [Note 53] The precise form of the relationship was not spelled out, which undoubtedly was a factor in maintaining the enthusiasm of its Korean supporters, but the term, Great Oriental Federation, certainly brings to mind the East Asia co-prosperity ideas which figured so prominently in the Japan-dominated Far East of the World War II period. Also, like the co-prosperity theme, it contained strong anti-Western overtones, as evidenced in Yi Yong-koo's analysis of the root of Korea's troubles expressed to a Japanese friend: "I know it is Christianity which misleads the Korean people and if one goes more deeply,it is the American people who penetrated the Korean brain through Christianity." [Note 54]

[Note 52]  Kurachi, "Kankoku Heigō . . .," p. 5.

[Note 53]  Kuzū, Nikkan Gappō . . ., I, 41, 44. Cf. Nelson, Korea and the Old Orders . . ., p. 87, note 2.]

[Note 54]  Kuzū, Nikkan Gappō . . ., II, p. 627. Same theme, ibid., I, 292-93, 454-54.

Kenkyusha definitions of gappei, heidon, and heigo

Conroy's discussion of keywords in terms of whether they are found in Kenkyusha's dictionary -- by which I gather he means the Third Edition (1954) of the large Japanese-English dictionary, rather than the Second Edition (1931) or First Edition (1918) -- seems a bit quaint today, when linguistically savvy American Japanologists would balk at using such a dictionary to illuminate the meaning of Japanese term.

Conroy has a point, though, If political fashions dictate the content of any dictionary, they can dictate the content of bilingual dictionaries.

As an example of heigō (•¹‡) the prewar Second Edition (1931) of Kenkyusha gives "ŠØš •¹‡ the annexation of Corea". However, this example was dropped from the postwar Third Edition (1954) which apparently Conroy consulted.

In prewar and postwar editions of Kenkyusha, gappei (‡•¹) as a noun is defined as "combination, union, amalgamation, merger, coalition [as of political parties etc.], [•¹‡] annexation [of territories etc.], affiliation [of small companies etc.], incorporation (•Ò“ü)". As a verb with "suru" it is said to mean "combine, unite, amalgamate, merge, annex, [•¹‡‚·‚é] annex, affiliate."

heidon (•¹“Û) as "annexation, absorption (of a small country into a larger one), merger" as a noun, and as a verb with "suru" it is is "annex, absorb (into), merge (in), devour, swallow up" -- the later two reflecting “Û which means "drink" or "swallow".

heigō (•¹‡) is "annexation, amalgamation, absorption (•¹“Û)" as a noun, and as a verb with "suru" can mean "annex, amalgamate, absorb, unite, merge" among other things.

Kojien definitions of gappō and Kankoku heigo

The changes in the entries for ‡–M (gappō) in LŽ«‰‘ (Kōjien), Japan's premier desktop dictionary, are interesting. In the following translations, I have arbitrarily represented •¹‡ as "amalgamation" and ‡•¹ as "merging" -- though essentially they are synonymous.

1st edition 1955 (26th printing, 1967)
[Amalgamating two or more states. Or, that country.]

2nd edition 1969 (8th printing, 1974)
[Merging two or more states. Or, that country.]

3rd edition 1983 (1st printing, 1983)
[Merging two or more states.]

Unchanged in 4th edition (1991, 6th printing 1997).

Unchanged in 5th edition (1999, 1st printing 1999).

An entry in the 1st edition for ŠØ‘•¹‡ states ŠØ‘‚ªEEE‰ä‘‚É•¹‡‚µ‚½ [Korea . . . amalgamated into our country]. The entries in subsequent editions become longer and more complex. By the 5th edition (1999, 1st printing) the definition is The entry in the 5th edition states ’©‘NŽx”z‚ðŠé}‚µ‚½“ú–{‚ªEEEŠØ‘•¹‡ð–ñ‚É‚æ‚èŠØ‘‚ð—Ì—L‚µ‚½‚±‚Æ [Japan, which attempted Chosen control, through the Korea amalgamation treaty took [territorial] possession of Korea].

Other entries related to the period of Japanese control over Chosen also become more elaborate as Kojien editors accommodate their own imperatives and pressure from interest groups.

However, such analyses of dictionaries sheds light only on how later generations view what they believe happened in the past. These definiations have no bearing on the meanings of the terms as at the time the events they describe were taking place. Those meanings can only derive from internal evidence -- i.e., from evidence within the structures of contemporary usage.


C.L Eugene Kim and Han-Kyo Kim on annexation

The year I began my studies in the Department of Oriental Languages at Berkeley, the University of California Press brought out the following book.

C.I. Eugene Kim and Han-Kyo Kim
Korea and the Politics of Imperialism, 1876-1910
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967
x, 260 pages, hardcover
[The Center for Japanese and Korean Studies]

This book was written barely twenty years after World War II and fifteen years after the Korean War. It was also written by scholars who had migrated to the United States and found themselves caught up in the thriving academic industry of trying to explain what had gone wrong in Korea that allowed it be annexed by Japan.

Kim and Kim do not mince their words. Their preface begins with a paragraph that fairly summarizes the entire book (page v).

Decades after China and Japan had been opened by the West, Korea remained closed to outsiders. The peninsular nation lived a tradition-bound life unaware that drastic reforms were essential to cope with the gathering storm of international power politics. While the Japanese were willing to endure two major wars and decades of diplomatic struggle to gain the annexation of Korea, Koreans lacked the unity of purpose and power to frustrate their more aggressive neighbors.

While many scholars today will quibble about its sweeping if not "biased" generalizations and its lack of "critical" sophistication, this single paragraph really says all that needs to be understood about Korea's failure to escape the jaws of its predators -- China, Russia, and Japan -- if not also the United States and a number of European countries.

Kim & Kim show no interest in the Japanese words used to describe what Japan did in Korea. They know that, whatever one calls the act of incorporating a sovereign (or semi-sovereign) Empire of Korea into Japan as an insovereign territory of Japan called Chosen, the result is the loss of sovereignty.

Annexation by whatever name would still be merger.


Peter Duus on heigo

Three decades after Kim & Kim 1967, and two decades after Conroy 1960 was recycled as Conroy 1974 with a new introduction, UC Press published the thickest book in English on Japan's nationalization of Korea.

Peter Duus
The Abacus and the Sword
(The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910)
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998 (1995)
xiv, 480 pages, softcover (hardcover)
[Twentieth-Century Japan: The Emergence of a World Power]

Duus benefited from developments in historiography and better access to materials after the 1960s. Though exposed to the ideological fashions of "critical" scholarship that emerged from the 1970s, he remained largely immune to its obsession with postmodernism.

In the introduction, Duus says he organized his book into two narratives, "one focused on the Japanese metropolitan leadership and their policies toward the Korean state, and the other on the Japanese expatriate community and their activities in the Korean market" (page 24). His premise is that industrialization is a necessary but not sufficient condition for Japanese expansion, and his aim is "to peel apart the various layers of motivation that brought the Japanese to Korea and induced them to stay there" (page 24).

In closing the introduction, Duus qualifies his point of view as one which is more "Japanese" than "Korean" (page 25).

This book will more often reflect the perspective of the traveler [to Seoul] from Tokyo than the visitor from Ŭiju. In short, both narratives will deal with Japanese history rather than Korean history, or even Japanese-Korean history, if one can imagine such a thing.

Peter Duus on "annexation"

The most interesting (and controversial) chapter in Peter Duus's The Abacus and the Sword is "Defining the Koreans" (Chapter 11, pages 397-423). See The semantics of "race": The porous boundaries of biological metaphors for a look at how Duus deals with the terminology of "race" and "nation". Here I wish only to comment on his remarks about the term "annexation".

The last paragraph of Chapter 11 arrives at this conclusion (Duus 1995, op. cit., page 423).

Peter Duus on heigo (1995)

What is most interesting about discussions of racial and historical origins of the Koreans and the Japanese is that all of them arrived ultimately at the same conclusion: that the Japanese annexation of Korea was natural, rational, and perhaps inevitable. For some the takeover was the upshot of a Darwinian struggle between weak and strong, but for most it was the result of a long and complex historical process of separation and reunion that stretched back into the realm of myth. This made it possible to portray the annexation (heigō) of Korea as an act of national integration rather than an act of imperialist subjugation. As Resident-General Terauchi told Prime Minister Yi Wan-yong on the eve of annexation, the two countries had long enjoyed an "inseparable relationship" (bunri subekarazaru kankei) and ought to reunite into "one body" (ittai). [Note 59] Indeed, the term heigō is probably not best translated as "annexation," which implies the addition of one thing to another; it really means "amalgamation," a process of merger rather than a process of accretion. The colonial takeover, legitimized as an act of reunion, was thus hidden behind a façade of putative commonality between the dominator and the dominated.

[Note 59]  Tokio, Chōsen heigōshi, 549.
[Tokio Shunjō. Chō heigō shi. Seoul: Chōsen Oyobi Manshūsha, 1926.]

"amalgamation" versus "annexation"

Duus is right but for the wrong reason. The meaning of heigō should not be based on the motives of those who applied the term to what Japan did to Korea. Nor should it be based on what became of Chosen as a Japanese entity. The meaning should derive from the term itself and its linguistic context -- i.e., its own metaphorical structures in relationship to the phrasing in which it is used.

Duus is right in that, on its surface, "annexation" means the addition of one thing to another. This is why it doesn't work -- structurally -- as a translation of •¹‡ or ‡•¹.

If one can say ŠØ‘•¹‡ and “úŠØ•¹‡ and ŠØ“ú•¹‡ -- and if ‡•¹ can be swapped for •¹‡ in all three expressions -- then "annexation" does not work. The usage of any English terms assigned to reflect these two Sino-Japanese terms would have to be compatible. And structurally, "annexation" cannot be used the same as "amalgamation" and "merger".

Saying that one entity annexes another entity does not place any restrictions on the outcome of "annexation". Hence to say that Japan "annexed" Korea does not mean that Japan and Korea were not amalgamated or merged -- whether one into the other, or both into each other.

Adding one entity to another can produce any number of effects -- from "incorporation" with continued differentiation of the two entities to "amalgamation" and "merger" into an undifferentiated entity.

Such analysis is independent of what might be done in English to satisfy the expectations of how the sort of action Japan took in Korea should be described by the conventions of international law. In such contexts, "annexation" is fine -- because "annexation" works structurally in the English versions of the treaty and related documents.

As a conventional treaty term, "annexation" describes only the action of adding one entity to another. It is entirely non-committal regarding the consequences of such action. Japan did not decide the conventions of treaty English. It is interested in such conventions only as a means of satisfying expectations of states that prefer to see treaties in English.

If "annexation" is deceptive, it is because it has always been deceptive -- no matter which state has used it. Readers of English who feel misled by "annexation" in Japan's English descriptions its treaty with Korea are simply political innocents. Anyone who could read and puzzle out the metaphors of •¹‡ -- or of ‡•¹ or even ‡–M -- could not have been too surprised by what Japan proceeded to do with Chosen.


Alexis Dudden on Conroy and Duus

Duus didn't have the last word for long. A decade after his book came out, University of Hawai'i Press brought out the following volume -- the shortest and most original of the four I have selected for comment.

Alexis Dudden
Japan's Colonization of Korea
(Discourse and Power)
Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005
x, 215 pages, hardcover
[A Study of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University]

The subtitle of this much shorter work -- only 215 plus pages to the 480 odd pages of Duus's tome -- suggests Dudden's ideological orientations. Dudden describes her book as an examination of the "discursive aspects of Japan's annexation of Korea, with particular attention to the international legality of that moment" (page 2). The last paragraph of her introduction reveals more about her intentions (page 5).

Although it is tempting to declare colonial conquest illegal at any time, doing so will not calm the memories of colonial oppression or eradicate the existence of related and ongoing forms of domination. To these ends, we continue to need a more sophisticated understanding of how power works. The pages that follow explore how imperialism's apologists described the legality of their enterprise, attempting to weigh the implications of their actions in the international arena of the early twentieth century and beyond.

Though Dudden would probably shudder at the thought of being mistaken for an "apologist" herself, her own "sophistication" adds considerably to the legitimacy of what Japan did in Korea before and after annexation.

Dudden on "annexation"

Alas, as is the way in the academic world (witness what I am doing now), Dudden takes Duus (more than Conroy) to task in her chapter on "The Vocabulary of Power" (Dudden 2005, op. cit., pages 65-66)

Alexis Dudden on Conroy and Duus (2005)

In his recent discussion of Japan's "penetration" of Korea, Peter Duus rewords Conroy's conclusions and focuses on the importance of understanding the "annexation" as "amalgamation." Duus's emphasis moves away from Japanese creativity, however, and toward a loosely worded suspicion that the Japanese government knew it was concealing its intentions: "Indeed, the term heigō is probably not best translated as "annexation," which implies the addition of one thing to another; it really means "amalgamation," a process of merger rather than a process of accretion. The colonial takeover, legitimized as an act of reunion, was thus hidden behind a facade of putative commonality between the dominator and the dominated [emphasis mine]." [Note 72]

I have emphasized the word "really" in Duus's quotation to underscore how he posits the idea of mistranslation as more significant than what the Japanese bureaucrats actually produced at the time. Despite a repertoire of colonial "annexation" treaties in English, French, and German, and despite the Meiji government's official English publication of the Annexation Treaty in 1910, Duus contends that the Japanese version "hid" the term's intended meaning. Pushed further, such reasoning necessitates seeing Japanese imperialist effort as intrinsically different from American and European standards. For Duus, the Japanese term for annexation really meant something else: amalgamation. From an alternative standpoint, however, the particular term actually used might reveal that the Meiji regime defined Japan's actions to the world in a way that intersected with terms used by other nations. Both Conroy and Duus (though Duus more explicitly so) have argued that the Japanese government's designation of the Korean annexation as heigō was strange, and that the term shielded a deeper meaning. But how is it that only European and American colonial "annexations" were normally defined, whereas the Japanese effort was a façade?

Note   The "[emphasis mine]" in the above hall of mirrors is Dudden's, not mine. [Note 72] attributes her citation to Duus 1995: 423.

Dudden plunges into a seven page examination of evidence supporting her contention that "Japan's foreign policy read fluently in terms of a larger, global praxis" (Ibid., page 72). She underscores this point in the paragraph concluding the Vocabulary of Power chapter (Ibid., page 73).

The text of Japanese-Korean relations between 1904 and 1910 became legal precedent through the terms "admitted in the practice of civilized States," a practice which did not necessitate that Japan act in a morally justifiable manner or in any way different from the actions of other, so-called civilized states. That the imperialist nations justified their actions as legitimate in these terms is precisely what calls the terms themselves into question, along with the legacies of their practice in the postcolonial world of the present. . . .

"Annexation" by any other name

Dudden's contention that the terms of colonialism need to be called into question is not an adequate response to Duus's contention that "heigō" (•¹‡) was something more than "annexation". She documents how thoroughly Japanese legalists studied and debated the meaning of "protectorate" in international law. But she does not show how the terms Duus called into question were used at the time, in legal parlance or otherwise.

What, for example, was the "voluntary" annexation of Hawaii in 1898 called in Japanese, and how was it understood? Or how was the "voluntary" annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1844 characterized and understood in Japanese -- when finally news and knowledge of this event and its impact reached Japan?

Just as an "annexation" -- by any other name -- would smell like "amalgamation" or "merger" or "integration" -- is there any good reason to doubt that, for all practical purposes, •¹‡ (heigō) and ‡•¹ (gappei) have essentially the same meaning?

Dudden is right, of course, to take Duus to task for thinking that the "annexation" of a treaty-ceded territory could mean anything other than legal incorporation -- followed by some form and degree of merger and integration.

Dudden on importance of law

Dudden's most important contribution is actually the importance she attaches to the way in which Japan took to international law as a means of getting ahead in the world as it found it. The first paragraph of her Introduction says it all, albeit in the diction of "discourse" theory (ibid., page 1).

Translating international law into Japanese and using its terms in practice were among the most transformative aspects of Japan's Meiji era (1868-1912). Doing so gave Japanese rulers a new method of intercourse with the United States and Europe and enabled them to reorder the vocabulary of power within Asia. Moreover, this discourse inscribed the legitimacy of Japan's empire from the time of its creation.


Extraterritoriality after annexation

There is a failure -- or perhaps an unwillingness -- on the part of many scholars today to recognize how Japan actually went about ending extraterritoriality in Korea after it became Chosen in 1910. Here I will contrast the recent views of Alexis Dudden, writing in 2005, with those of Shi Shun Liu, writing in 1925.

See Abolition of foreign settlements for details on how Japan went about integrating so-called foreign settlements, Chinese settlements, and Japanese municipalities into Chosen administrative polities in 1913 and 1914.


Alexis Dudden on extraterritoriality

Dudden makes this statement concerning the effects of Japan's annexation of Korea (op. cit., page 119, italics in original).

In 1910, without official exception, the international arena applauded Japan for taking up what it perceived -- and with all the racist implications intended for how it was perceived -- as the "yellow man's burden," in a whitish sort of way. Along with renaming the country (Kankoku became Chōsen in the kanji world but usefully remained "Korea" in other international documents), the Japanese renamed their presence there to the elevated stature of Governor General (Sōtokufu).

Dudden continues to write in this mix of fact and fiction. What she says makes perfect sense as victimhood history, in which inconvenient facts are altered or ignored.

China and Russia did not welcome Japan's takeover of Korea as Chōsen. And there is no evidence of collective "intent" on the part of Dudden's imaginary "international arena" to perceive Japan's actions as those of country bearing the "yellow man's burden". Dudden has a cynical propensity to racialize things which are not about race.

Japan treated Chōsen as it had Taiwan and Karafuto in terms of governing the new territory as part of its sovereign dominion. Hence the office of the "Resident-General of Korea", which participated in the governing of the Empire of Korea as a protectorate state, became the "Government-General of Chosen", which governed Chōsen as a territory of the Empire of Japan. It was not an "elevated stature" but a fundamentally different status.

Japan treated Korea as it had Taiwan and Karafuto in terms of governing the new territory as part of its sovereign dominion. Hence the "Resident-General of Korea", who had overseen the Empire of Korea as a protectorate state, became the "Government-General of Chosen", who oversaw Chosen as a territory of the Empire of Japan.

"usefully remained "Korea"

This is a very curious statement. Dudden seems to regard the continued use of "Korea" in some quarters as "useful". Why would she think so? Has she considered the implications of continuing to call Chōsen by the name of a country that ceased to exist in 1910, and was never reincarnated?

Has she thought about why some writers of English continued to use "Korea" rather than shift to Chōsen -- at the time? And has she contemplated what is lost -- today -- to the "English world" that continues to find it "useful" to confuse "Korea" with "Chōsen"?

Has Dudden wondered why the "kanji world" cannot conflate "Kankoku" and "Chōsen"? Has she considered why the Democratic Republic of Korea (read "Chosŏn") came to be referred to in English by a name that, in kanji, refers to its Republic of Korea rival south of the 38th parallel? And why Japan calls the DPRK (DPRC) "Kita Chōsen" -- rather than "Kita Kankoku"?

The rest of the world may have gone about referring to Chōsen as "Korea" -- and in the beginning, there was little official discouragement of the continued use of "Korea" or "Corea" in other languages. But Government-General of Chosen publications in English called the territory "Chosen" and eventually "Tyosen". Yearbooks in English, published in Japan, also got around to referring to to the territory as "Chosen", and to subjects and nationals with Chōsen registers as "Chosenese" (later "Tyosenese") -- to reflect the fact that the peninsular was no longer "Korea" and people in its household registers were no longer "Koreans".

American consuls in Keijō called Japan's peninsular territory "Chosen" on visas issued to Chosen subjects. Moreover, they recognized that Chosen subjects were nationals of Japan, and as such they were classified as "Japan" by "Nationality" and "Korean" by "Race or people" on passenger manifests of aliens arriving at American ports.

The Bank of Korea became the Bank of Chosen. And postal franks on outbound internationa mail generally preferred "Chosen" to "Corea".

For examples of "Chosen" and "Chosenese" usage see the following pages in "The Empires of Japan" section.
Korea, Chosen, and Tyosen reports under "The Empire in English".
Bank of Korea or Chosen? on the "Where are the historians?" page under "Legacy" issues under "The Sovereign Empire".
Chosen franks on the "The empire of postal services" page under "The Detritus of Empire".
Circa 1937 Japanese passport for Chosen Japanese and family and 1937 US Immigrant Identification Card for Japanese man from Chosen on "The empire of passports and IDs" page under "The Detritus of Empire".

Japan, as a legally competent state, had to deal with foreign legations and foreigners in Chosen. As Dudden herself observes, Japan terminated these treaties upon promulgation of the annexation treaty on 29 August 1910.

Obviously not all extraterritoriality could end with the tick of a clock. Japan understood that it would take time to dismantle the vestiges of extraterritoriality. But it didn't take long.

By 1913, Japan had integrated all foreign settlements, including its own municipalities, into Chosen administrative areas. Chosen was, after all, now part of Japan. These developments came barely a decade after 1899, when Japan closed the curtain on nearly half a century of extraterritoriality in its prefectural entity.

Alexis Dudden on extraterritoriality in Chosen

Alexis Dudden also makes this claim (Dudden 2005, page 120).

On 29 August 1910, a week after Terauchi Masatake and Yi Wangyong sealed the Treaty of Annexation between Japan and Korea, the Japanese government issued a full explanation of the treaty's provisions. [Note 72] The physical space of the peninsula was now a part of Japan, and any agreements that Korea had made with the Powers were (invalid) (mukō). Moreover, "all foreigners residing in Korea [were now] subject to Japanese jurisdiction." Although the Koreans were not redefined as "Japanese," legally the Japanese were no longer "foreign." The American ambassador to Japan, Thomas J. O'Brien, requested a more detailed explanation concerning the meaning of the note generated by the 29 August meeting. On 6 October 1910, Foreign Minister Komura Jutarō wrote the ambassadsor a lengthy response, emphasizing that "the modern judiciary system of Japan has been put into actual operation in Korea to the extent that in all cases in which foreigners are interested as plaintiffs, defendants, or accused, the organization of the competent Courts and the qualifications of the sitting Judges, are essentially the same as in Japan Proper." [Note 73] At this, no foreign Power formally approved of Japan's assertion of legal control over foreign subjects or citizens, but none issued any protest.

[Note 72]  Kankoku Heigō ni Kansuru Sengen, 29 August 1910; Gaimushō [The Japanese Foreign Ministry], Nihon Gaikō Nenpyō, 341.

[Note 73]  Komura to O'Brien, collected in Ilbon Oemusong T'uksu Chosa Munso (Seoul: Koryŏ Sorim, 1989), 721-735. I have quoted the official translation (729).

The legal facts are somewhat clearer if one puts aside the "official translations" and closely examines the original treaties, laws, and formal reports.

The moment Korea (ŠØ‘) became Chosen (’©‘N Chōsen) it ceased being a foreign entity from Japan's point of view. So of course Japanese were no longer foreigners in Chosen.

In the same vein, because Chosen was part of Japan, Chosenese (’©‘Nl Chōsenjin) -- as Koreans (ŠØl Kanjin) had become on account of Korea becoming Chosen -- were no longer foreigners under Japanese law. Those in parts of Japan outside Chosen -- in the prefectural Interior, and in Taiwan and Karafuto -- were counted as Japanese in Japan's demographic statistics.

If Dudden were to examine Japan's demographic statistics -- as published in Japanese, not in English speaking of "Korea" and "Japan proper" and using labels like "Koreans" and "Japanese" -- she would see that generally Japanese (“ú–{l Nihonjin) embraced all people who were subjects and nationals of Japan, including "Interiorites" (“à’nl Naichijin), Chosenese (’©‘Nl Chōsenjin), and Taiwanese (‘ä˜pl Taiwanjin) -- apart from foreigners (ŠO‘l Gaikokujin). Foreigners included Chinese, meaning people who's civil nationality was that of China under the Ching (Qing) Dynasty until 1912, when China became the Republic of China (ROC).

Dudden is correct if we limit our view to the extralegal realm, inside and outside Japan, which is both racialist and racist. In that realm -- then, as today, most people continued to regard “ú–{l and ’©‘Nl in Japanese and Korean, and "Japanese" and "Korean" in English, as signifying race.

However, laws and most formal reports included ’©‘Nl -- and, in fact, all subjects of imperial Japan with nationality -- within the semantic range of “ú–{l. Even foreign states recognized that Chosenese were Japanese.


Shi Shun Liu on extraterritoriality

Of most concern to Euro-American governments was the status of their legations in Korea following the annexation. Japan had clearly stated that extraterritoriality was over.

What exactly did that mean? Did Japan actually have the authority, as a consequence of annexation, to unilaterally abolish treaties between Korea and other governments?

The simple answer is yes, it did -- because it did. Japan abolished extraterritoriality -- and there was nothing the affected states could do but acquiesce and recognize Chosen as part of Japan. That was, after all, the way the Euro-American states had been operating for decades, even centuries.

In 1925, Shi Shun Liu wrote a thesis on extraterritoriality at Columbia University. In it, he explored the rise and fall of extraterritoriality, drawing from treaties, diplomatic correspondence, and papers from the published archives of many states.

Shi Shun Liu
Extraterritoriality: Its Rise and Its Decline
New York: Columbia University Press, 1925
Edited by the faculty of Political Science of Columbia University
Volume CXVIII, Number 2, whole number 263
235 pages, hardcover

Liu, bron in Hunan in 1900, came to John Hopkins University in 1920 after graduating from Tsing Hua College in Peking. With a BA from Johns Hopkins in 1921 he went on to Harvard, and with an MA from there in 1923 he moved on to Columbia, where he wrote his dissertation on extraterritoriality.

This is what Liu says about "Corea". The following text has been formatted from a copy of Liu's book on www.panarchy.org.

Shih Shun Liu on extraterritoriality in Chosen (1925)

Shih Shun Liu

Its Rise and Its Decline

Chapter V: Annexation

V. Corea

In 1910, Corea was annexed by Japan. Article 1 of the treaty of annexation, dated August 22, 1910, provided that the annexation covered "all rights of sovereignty over the whole of Corea" [35]. On August 29, 1910, a Declaration was published by the Japanese Government, announcing that "The Imperial Government of Japan undertake the entire government and administration of Corea." A number of rules were drawn up relating to the status of foreigners in Corea, one of which abolished all the treaties of Corea with foreign Powers [36]. On the same day a statement was issued by the Japanese Foreign Office to the following effect:

At the same time, the right of extraterritoriality which foreigners have hitherto enjoyed in Corea comes definitely to an end from today. The Japanese Government believe that they are entirely justified in regarding such right of extraterritoriality as ended upon the termination of Corea's treaties in consequence of the annexation, considering that the continuance of that system would inevitably prove a serious obstacle and interfere with the unification of the administration of Corea. Moreover, it seems only natural that foreigners, being allowed to enjoy in Corea the same rights and privileges as in Japan proper, should be called upon to surrender the right of extraterritoriality which is not granted to them in Japan proper [37].

All the Powers but the United States acquiesced in the Japanese announcement. The United States maintained that consular jurisdiction should be continued until the old Corean system was completely replaced, under Japanese supervision, by actually operating laws and courts, in substantial conformity to those of Japan itself; or that the trial of American citizens under Japanese laws should be limited to such courts in Corea as were maintained at a high standard of efficiency [38]. The Japanese reply was that the judicial system in Corea was substantially the same as in Japan, and that the system of consular jurisdiction being wildly unsuited to the new condition of things, its revival would be "both unnecessary and inadvisable." [39] The United States persisted for a while in its original attitude [40], but although no agreement has been reached on the subject between the American and Japanese Governments, the former appears no longer to enjoy extraterritorial rights in Corea [41].


[35] Ibid., vol. ciii, p. 993. [State Papers]

[36] Ibid., vol. cv, p. 687.

[37] Ibid., p. 691.

[38] The Acting Secretary of State to the American Ambassador, Sep. 18, 1910, U.S. Foreign Relations, 1911, p. 321.

[39] The Minister for Foreign Affairs to the American Ambassador, Oct. 6, 1910, ibid., p. 324.

[40] "In all my conversations with Mr. Ishii [acting Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs] and others since the Treaty of annexation was published, I have consistently made the point that American consular jurisdiction was not abolished and could not be so until some definite action to that end had been taken by the Government of the United States." The American Chargé d'Affaires to the Secretary of State, Nov. 29, 1910, ibid., p. 327.

[41] In reply to an inquiry addressed by the author, the United States Department of State "regrets that it has no information on this subject available for dissemination."


Selected reports on Korea

Numerous articles and books about Korea were published in English, among other non-Asian languages, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some were by journalists and diplomats, but most were by American, Canadian, and British missionaries who were sent by their churches to China, Japan, and Manchuria -- and later to Korea when it became hospitable to such foreigners, partly as a result of Japan's initiative in 1876 in "opening" Korea to closer ties with foreign states other than China.

The purpose is to cite a few passages from articles appearing in The China Review from the early 1870s to the late 1880s, and passages from from the most widely read books related to Korea from two periods -- the late 1870s and early 1880s, and from the late 1890s to the early 1920s.

My main purpose here is to show how Korea was referred to by major observers writing in English before and after the beginning of Japan's deeper involvement in Korea from the mid 1890s and through the first decade after it annexed Korea as Chosen in 1910. The findings from this simple survey fairly well explain why "Chosen" was favored as the name for Korea in both the 1876 Japan-Chosen and 1882 US-Chosen treaties -- over three decades before Japan annexed Korea as Chosen.

When reading the following citations, bear in mind that the name of Korea until 1897 was, in fact, ’©‘N -- read in "Ch'aohsien" or "Chaohsien" in Chinese (Wade-Giles), "Chosŏ" in Sino-Korean (McCune-Reischauer), and "Chōsen" in Sino-Japanese (Hepburn).

China Review articles (1872-1887)

A number of English-language periodicals cranked out articles on East Asia, some of which reported on Korea when it was essentially closed to Euro-Americans. Here I have extracted comments from several articles that appeared in The China Review from the early 1870s to the late 1880s -- mainly because this journal reported some of the more interesting remarks about the naming of Korea by some of the missionaries most oriented toward Korea, but also by Sinologists.

The China Review was published by the China Mail Office in twenty-five volumes from July 1872 to January 1901, generally six issues a year but at times fewer and with some irregularities. Images of the cited articles when possible (and in some cases only text files) were viewed or retrieved through the Digital Initiatives database of .

Books related to Korea (1879-1921)

I have a dozen or so books on Korea -- written in English by wanderlusts, diplomats, missionaries, journalists, Euro-Americans and Koreans -- straddling the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. This is not even enough to be called a modest, much less exhaustive, collection of such books that were published during this period.

Here I will introduce seven titles from my own collection, that to some extent serve my purpose here -- to illuminate how "Chosen" was used in contemporary English publications. I will also cite two important volumes that I viewed in both image and text files available on the marvelous www.archive.org website of the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

The Internet Archive project may, for many users, obviate the need to consult actual books, much less find copies at used book stores. But having acquried most of my antiquarian books before the digital age, I yet to see an image on my monitor that compares with the thrill of holding an old book (or even a new one) in my hands.


Novus Atlas Sinensis (Martini 1655)

Martinus Martini (1614-1661), an Italian Jesuit priest and missionary, was born in Trento (Trent) and ordained in Portugal. From there, in 1640, he set out for China, arrived in Macao in 1642, and entered the interior of China the following year. He left China in 1651, and traveled through a number countries including Holland and Rome, but was back in China in 1658 and died there three years later.

Apparently he originally also sought to go to Nagasaki via China. For further information about Martini's life related to Korea and Japan, see articles in English and Dutch by Henny Savenije, a researcher based in the Republic of Korea. See especially his Korea through western cartographic eyes website but also the "Dutch Resources" section of his Journal of Hendrick Hamel website.

Savenije transcribes and translates the text he found on the back of a map he describes as "a copy from the Atlas Sinensis". Presumably this map was drawn by Johannes Blaeu for the Novus Atlas Sinensis, a geographical work inspired by Martini while he was in Amsterdam between his China sojourns and first published there in 1655.

The following passages are extracted from the beginning of Savenije's presentations.

The underscoring and [braketing] are mine.

Remarks on Corea attributed to Martinus Martini (circa 1655)
Adapted from materials posted by Henny Savenije

Dutch [transcription?]

.... Dieshalven schrijven de Sinesen dat, toen Taicungus, Keyser van de stam Tanga sijn heir naer Corea wilde voeren, hy genoodtsaeckt was een brugh, oft eer een dijck van twee hondert stadien te maken. Dat is die van Yalo, daer af ick dickwijls gesproken heb.

't Hangend eyland
oft Chaosien

't GErucht is by de volcken van Europa verscheyden en twijffelachtigh, te weten, oft Corea een eylandt, oft vast landt is. Maer ick weet seker dat het een hangendt eylandt is, en niet rondom gevaren kan worden, schoon eenigen seggen dat sy'er rondtom geseylt hebben. Dese doling spruyt hier uyt, dat sy achten 't groot eylandt Fungma, aen de zuydsijde van Corea gelegen, Corea te sijn. Ick een Sinesche schrijver volgende, die men, naer mijn oordeel, beter dan alle d'anderen gelooven magh, maeckt Corea vast landt met Niuche in Tartarien, en een hangent eyland heel op de selve wijse, gelijck het van de Sinesche Aerdbeschreijvers afgeschildert wort, schoon sy niet Corea, maer Chaosien heeten, Want dese naem is van de Japonners tot aen ons gekomen, daer mee sy't gemenelijck noemen.

English [translation]

...Therefor write the Chinese, that, when Taicungus, Emperor of the tribe Tanga, wanted to guide his heir to Korea [Corea], he was forced to make a bridge or a dike of two hundred stadien. *) That is that of Yalu, of which I often have spoken.

th' Hanging island
or Chaosien

th' Rumor is with the people of Europe divers and doubtful, to know, if Corea an island, or fixed island is, and not can be sailed on all sides, though some say that they have sailed around the same. This error sprouts out that they think that the big Island Fungma, laying at the south-side of Corea, to be Corea. I, following a Chinese author, who one, to my judgment, may believe better that all the others, makes Corea attached with Niuche in Tartary, and a hanging island in the same way, like it has been painted by the Chinese cartographers, though they do not call it Corea, but Chaosien. Since this name came to us, by the Japanese, with which they call it in general.

* Savenije notes that "a stadi can mean the Olympic stadi of which 600 went into a degree, and therefor 1 stadi = 184.7 m".


Account of captivity in Korea (Hamel 1666)

Hendrick Hamel (1630-1692), a bookkeeper with the Dutch East India Company (VOC), was heading to Nagasaki, Japan when his ship wrecked on Chejudo island in the straits between Japan and Korea in 1653. Taken to the peninsula with over 36 survivors of a crew of 64, he lived in Korea until he and 7 of the survivors escaped. Hamel, by way of Deshima in Nagasaki, returned to Holland. In 1866, he published a journal of his Korean adventure, which he had written while in Deshima. The journal is considered the first account of Korea by a European.

Henny Savenije on Hendrick Hamel

Henny Savenije (pronounced as in Savernayer), a scholar based in the Republic of Korea, shows images of the manuscript along with Dutch transcriptions and English translations of various parts, which are in three different hands. Two hands are apparent on the excerpts (viewed 25 December 2009) which I have taken the liberty to arrange in the following table.

The first English version is Savenije's literal translation of the manuscript. The second English version is from a section of Savenije's website which he based on ("translated and revised into English from") a book by H.J. van Hove called Hollanders in Korea (Utrecht: Uitgeverij Het Spectrum, 1989, 162 pages).

The (parenthetic) information in texts is as received. The [braketed] information, underscoring, and bold and [bracketed] titles, are mine.

Remarks on Coree attributed to Hendrick Hamel (1666)
Adapted from materials posted by Henny Savenije report showing "Tiocen Cock"

Dutch (transcription by Savenije)

English (translations by Savenije)

[ Introduction in one hand ]

Journael van 't geene de overgebleven officierin ende Matroosen van 't Jacht de Sperwer 't zedert den 16en Augustus A‹ 1653: dat 'tselve Jacht aan 't quelpaerts eijland (staande onder den Coninck van Coree) hebben verlooren, tot den 14en September A‹ 1666 dat met haar 8en onvlught, ende tot Nangasackij [nangasackij] in Japan aangecomen Zijn, Int selve Rijk van Coree is wedervaeren, mitsgaders den ommeganck van die natie ende gelegentheijt van 't land

Journal of what happened to the remaining officer(s) and sailors of the jaght the Sperwer, since August 1653. They lost the same ship off the island of Quelpaert (reigned by the King of Coree). Until September 14, 1666, when eight of them have fled and arrived at Nagasaki in Japan. What had happened to them in the same kingdom of Coree, the manners of the country and the circumstances of the country

[ Based on H.J. van Hove ]

This is the journal, which describes the fate of the officers and crew of the VOC-jaght the Sperwer in the period from August 16th, when the jaght shipwrecked off the coast of the island Quelpaert, which is subject to the king of Coree, and lies south of the coast of this country, till September 1666, when eight of the survivors arrived in Nangasackij in Iapan, with also a description of the nation and the country of Coree.

[ Journal starts in another hand ]

Naer dat wij bij d'Ed=e. Hr. gouverneur en d'E. H=ren raden van India naer Taijoan waren gedestineert, soo sijn op den 18en Junij 1553 met bovengenoemde Iacht vande rheede van Batavia 'tzeijl gegaen, op hebbende d'E. Hr. Cornelis Caesar om't gouvernement van Taijoan, Formosa, met den aencleven van dien te becleden, tot vervangh van d'E [. . .]

After that we by the honorable Mr. governor-general and the honorable Mr. Councils of the Indies were destined for Tayoan, so did we go under sail on June 18, 1553 on the above mentioned jaght, from the roadstead of Batavia. On board were also honorable Mr. Cornelis Caesar, to take over the government of Tayoan [-- Formosa], to hold this office, to replace the honorable. [. . .]

[ Based on H.J. van Hove ]

After we were sent, by order of the Governor-general and the Counsel of the Indies, we went with the jaght the Sperwer and hoisted sail at June 18th, 1653 from Batavia, with destination Taijoan (Tainan). One of the passengers aboard was Mr. Cornelis Caesar who would relieve Mr. Nicolaes Verburgh as governor of Taijoan,. Formosa (Taiwan). After a prosperous journey the jaght arrived on July 16th in the roadstead of Taiwan, where Mr. Caesar disembarked and the cargo was unloaded. At July 30th, the jaght left by order from the governor and the Council from Taijoan to Iapan, to continue our journey in the name of God.

Savenije notes in a side bar that "To avoid confusion between the modern word "yacht", which is derived from the word the "jaght", we continue to use the word "jaght."

Transcribing early manuscripts is never an easy task. In the case of Hamel's journal, Korean and Japanese names are not just morphed into Dutch script, but into Hamel's (or a copiet's) script. The transcriber faces not only the larger linguistic and orthographic problems that arise when dealing with historical texts, but the sometimes preplexing and even incomprehensible idiosyncracies of the writer's hand, compounded by limitations in the writer's abilities to express throughs on paper. The received manuscript might also reflect errors introduced by a scribe in the process of copying an original version of a journal or account.

Savenije has meticulously transcribed his apparently earlier and more authentic version of Hamel's journal, then shown a word-for-word Dutch-to-English translation, in addition to translating and revising H.J. van Hove's version.

Again, I have taken the liberty of extracting the following material from different parts of Savenije's website. The clarifications in <angle brackets> and [square brackets] are as shown on Savenije's presentations, but the underscoring is mine.

I have also cited, for comparison, John Churchill's "An Account of the Shipwreck of a Dutch Vessle On the Coaft of the Ifle of Quelpaert, Together with the Defcription of the Kingdom of Corea" (1704). The account is appended (pages 169-226) to Gari Ledyard's The Dutch Come to Korea, published by Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch in conjunction with Taewon Publishing Company, Seoul, Korea in 1971. The cited text comes at the beginning of the part called "The Description of the Kingdom of Corea" (pages 205-226).

Ledhard attributes the Churchill version of Hamel's account and description in his bibliography as "Churchill: An Account of the shipwreck of a Dutch vessel on the coast of the isle of Quelpaert, together with the description of the Kingdom of Corea, In: A Collection of Voyages and Travels, 4 vols., London, John Churchill, 1704. Vol. IV, pp. 607-632. Reprinted in Corea, without and within, by William Eliot Griffis; also in Transactions of the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. IX (1918).

Griffis's work, about which Ledyard says nothing more, was published in 1885. Griffis had already written at some length about Hamel in a 1882 book. Both books (see below) are important as perhaps the first to disseminate Hamel's story so widely in English.

Hendrick Hamel's reference to "Coree" as "Tiocen Cock"
Adapted from materials posted by Henny Savenije


This is the first line of the earliest known manuscript of Hendrick Hamel's journal.
The seemingly highlighted term is "Tiecen" or "Tiesen" followed by "cock" or "Cock".
This appears to correspond to Korean "Chosŏn kuk [guk]" (McCune Reischauer).
Hamel, writing in "Nangasackij", might also have heard Japanese "Teusen [Chōsen] koku" (Hepburn).
These terms reflect Korean and Japanese readings of ’©‘Nš , the contemporary graphic name of the country.
Caution: The letters in the Dutch, Korean, and Japanese spellings represent three different phonologies.
(Image scanned by and courtesy of Henny Savenije. Interpretations are mine.)

Dutch (transcription by Savenije)

English (word-to-word by Savenije)

Dit lant bij ons Coree ende bij haer Tiocencock gen[aem]t, Is gelegen tussen de 34 1/2 en 44 graden inde lanckte, Z: en N: omtrent 140 a 150 mijl inde breete O: en N: ongevaerlijck 70 a 75 mijl, wort bij haer inde caert, geleijt als een caerte bladt, heeft veel uijstekende hoeken, Is verdeelt in 8 provintie . . .

This land <country> by us Coree and-the by her Tiocencock called, is lain between the 34 1/2 and 44 degrees in the length [latitude], South and North around 140 to 150 mijl wide East and North about 70 to 75 mijl, is by her in-the map, lain as a card leaf, has many protruding angels, is divided in 8 provinces . . . .

Two other English versions

Savenije (based on H.J. van Hove)

The country, which is called Korea by us and Chosŏn Kuk by the inhabitants themselves, is situated between 33 and 44 degrees latitude and is from north to south around 150 miles long and from east to west around 75 miles wide. Korean cartographers depict the country like an oblong, like a playing card, though it has several extensions which point deep into the sea.

The country is divided into eight provinces . . . .

Churchill (Ledyard 1971:205)

The Kngdom known to us by the Name of Corea, and by the Natives call'd Tiozencouk, and sometimes Caoli, reaches from 34 to 44 Degrees of North Latitude, being about 150 Leagues in length from North to South, and about 75 in Breadth from East to West. Therefore the Coreseans repressent it in the shape of long square, like a playing Card. Nevertheless it has sseveral Points of Land which run far out into the Sea.

It is divided into 8 provinces . . . .

Hamel as a descriptive linguistic

Savenije, on his website, remarks that "Hamel mixes up freely the I and J" and so some names with these letters could be read either J or an I -- hence variations like "Iapan" and "Japan" and "Iapanders" and "Japanders".

Savenije remarked in an email correspondence that "The difference between a 'c' and an 's' at certain places in a word didn't make much difference for a seventeenth century Dutchman. He would use them interchangeably."

On his website, Savenije stated that "Hamel didn't speak Korean very well". In email he reiterated his impression that Hamel's Korean may not have been very good, while some other crew members appear to have learned more of the language or at least been more interested in it. This viewpoint he partly grounds in article on Master Eibokken on Korea and the Korean Language: Supplementary Remarks to Hamel's Narrative by Frits Vos in Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume L, 1975.

Vos regrets that Ledyard appended "the so-called Churchill version of Hamel's Narrative to his otherwise admirable study" -- since Churchill's version includes "sensational additions of their own invention" made by Dutch publishers in later editions of Hamel's story -- such "mutilations of the text have indiscriminately been adopted in the French, German and English translations" (Vos).

Vos's article is mainly, however, about Mattheus Eibokken, who was one of the eight captives who escaped in 1666 and one of the six who arrived in Amsterdam in 1668. According to the information about Korea attributed to Eibokken, his Korean is supposed to have been good. Vos, though, remarks that "One might suppose that he had kept a diary or had prepared a list of' words during his stay in Korea, but in that case some grave lapses in his vocabulary would remain unexplained."

Whether Hamel's Korean was better or worse is not, however, proven by his own report, which was simply not concerned with descriptive linguistics.

Hamel's qualifications and "citizenship"

Ledyard appraises the quality of Hamel's report like this (Ledyard 1971, page 121, underscoring mine).

The first Western book on Korea was written by a man whose experience and qualifications as an observer cannot be gainsaid. Hendrik Hamel lived in Korea for over thirteen years. He probably saw more of the country in that time than all ranks and kinds, from the King at the top to state slaves at the bottom, from Confucian officials to Buddhist mendicants. he was acquainted with the commanders of fleets and the abbots of monasteries. He knew soldiers, farmers, fishermen, merchants and beggars. He was in fact formally enrolled as a Korean citizen (insofar as that concept would have been understood in the Korea of his day), and his wooden identity badge, like those of every other Korean, proclaimed to all his name and age and role in that society As the Koreans themselves said of Hamel and his fellows, "these people stayed here so long that they seemed the same as our own people." No modern day anthropologist could have asked for a better view of the country.

Alas, Hamel was not an anthropologists but a captive. His obsession was not to exhaust the riches of a culture or even to convert it, but to escape its confirming hold. And he was no sophisticated and urbane intellectual of Jesuit stripe, but an ordinary Dutch sailor with little education. While an observant and sober man, he hardly had much talent as a writer and could not sustain discussion of an idea or event beyond a few paragraphs at most. It is true that his narrative was intended merely as a report to his superiors, not as a polished manuscript for publication. Yet he lived until 1692 and died in his home-town of Gorcum without, so far as diligent research has been able to discover, ever having written one more word on the subject that is now his only claim to fame.

Ledyard's compassionate profile of Hamel is somewhat marred by his remark about Hamel being "enrolled as a Korean citizen (insofar as that concept would have been understood in the Korea of his day)". Hamel would have been "enrolled" in the locality where he was settled, as a subject of the sovereign, under the authority of local magistrates.

Why is it that historians, especially Americans, like to impose the word "citizen" on the past like this? The "concept" was not especially well understood anywhere in the world until fairly recently -- and even today it remains incomprehensible to not a few people.


Mr. Wade on China (Allen 1873 on Wodehouse 1872)

Thomas Wade (1818-1895), a British diplomat and Sinologist, published in 1859 the romanization system that Herbert Giles (1845-1935), who followed Wade in his own diplomatic and academic career, would modify as the Wade-Giles system in 1892.

Wade was deeply involved in Britain's relationship with China during some of its most difficult and crucial years in the mid 19th century. Serving first in China as an army officer in 1842, then distinguishing himself as an interpreter, translator, and acting Charg&#eacute; d'Affaires at the British legation in Peking, by 1871 he had been appointed Britains "envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, and chief superintdendent of British trade in China" according to an obituary in the journal of the The Royal Geographical Society.

Wade, in his position as an the accredited head of his government's legation to China, to address China's ministers. And he did not hesitate -- except to preface his words with the usual dimplomatic gestures of humility -- to advise China as to how he thought it should conduct its foreign and even domestic affairs. One of his addresses to China's state ministers, delivered in Chinese, was translated into English by H. E. Wodehouse.

Wodehouse's translation of Wade's memorial

Henry Ernest Wodehouse (1845-1929), a British civil servant and magistrate in Hong Kong from about 1867 to 1895, was closely associated with law enforcement, including policing and the courts. His translation of Wade's memorial to China's state ministers appeared in two parts in the first two issues of The China Review in 1872.

[Thomas Wade]
Mr. Wade on China
Translated by H. E. Wodehouse
The China Review
Volume 1, Number 1, July 1872
Pages 38-44

[Thomas Wade]
Mr. Wade on China (Concluded)
Translated by H. E. Wodehouse
The China Review
Volume 1, Number 2, September 1872
Pages 118-124

Here is Wodehouse's introduction (Part 1, page 38) to Wade's memorial address, and his version of what Wade is supposed to have said about a country that Wodehouse thinks might be Scythia (Part 2, page 122 and associated note, italics in original).

Part 1 of Wodehouse's translation of Wade's memorial

[ Translator's introduction only ]
[ The China Review, 1(1), July 1872, page 38 ]


It has some time since this memorial was addressed to the Chinese Ministers of State, but as it has never yet been communicated to the general public, I have no doubt that a translation of it at the present time, when Mr. Wade occupies so prominent a position, will prove acceptable to many readers, who care to know what the opinions of our Minister are, when untrammelled by official restrictions.


[ Rest omitted ]

Part 2 of Wodehouse translation of Wade memorial

[ Paragraph on "Chia Sin" and associated note only ]
[ The China Review, 1(2), September 1872, page 122 ]


[ First part omitted ]

Now it is worth while for China to bear in mind that, throughout the world and throughout all ages, any country that shows herself reluctant to enter into fellowship with her neighbours, induces them to combine together to invade her and to compel her to obedience, nor is there any instance on record in which such a country has not been forced to submit. Those countries, for instance, which border on China, did not they join with her in hating and despising western strangers? And what has been the consequence? England at an early date took Min Tin* (Birmah), France acquired On Nam (Annam) and Russia spread herself along the western countries bordering on Chia Sin† (Scythia?)

   * –É™²      † ’©‘N

[ Rest omitted ]

(Translated by)
H. E. Wodehouse.

I have not yet been able to determine when Wade made the memorial. Nor have I been able to determine on whose authority Wodehouse translated it. Surely if Wade had thought an English version necessary, he could have prepared one himself. The two men worked in entirely different capacities as well as in entirely different circles. But Wade would have had the authority to decide whether his statement should be translated and circulated in English.

That Wodehouse fumbled with ’©‘N says more about his geographical literacy than his knowledge of Chinese. Having passed an exam for the Indian Civil Service, Wodehouse was posted to Hong Kong as a cadet in 1867. Cadet officers formed the administrative elite in the colonies. Wodehouse was only the seventh such officer to be appointed to Hong Kong. Exams for Ceylon and other colonial services east of India were not introduced until 1869.

Apparently Wodehouse's linguistic training did not include reading in the history and geography of the "Far East". It is highly unlikely that he had not heard of "Corea", but simply that he had not learned to associate ’©‘N with that country. One would think, though, that someone at the China Mail Office in Hong Kong, if not Wodehouse himself, could have easily identified the mysterious ’©‘N by contacting Wade or someone else who was likely to know what Wade was talking about.

Allen's comment on Wodehouse's translation of Wade's memorial

At least one other person did know, for two issues later, in a department of the journals called "Notes and Queries on Eastern Matters", a certain "H. J. A." took Wodehouse to task for his failure to recognize that ’©‘N was Corea.

H. J. A.
Chusin or Corea
The China Review
Volume 1, Number 4, February 1873
Page 273

"H. J. A." was most likely "Herbert James Allen" (d1912), a diplomat in the H.M. Consular Service in China, who was also a Sinologist (see more about him below). Here is his entire communication (page 273, italics in original).

Chusin or Corea.   It is difficult to say why Mr. Wodehouse, in his translation of Mr. Wade's state paper on China, concluded in the second number of the Review, translates Ch'ao-hsien ’©‘N or Chusin, as he spells it, by the ancient Geographical term Scythia. In the Chow and early part of the Han dynasties Corea bore this name. The peninsula was afterwards split up into the Kao-li, Petsi, and Liulo states; but in 1392 A. D., when the usurper Li-ch'eng-kuei took possession of tho kingdom of Kao-li, into which the other two states had been amalgamated, he sent an embassy to the Court of the Mings, and as he wished the name of the kingdom changed, the ancient name of Ch'ao-hsien, still applied to Corea in all Chinese official documents, was revived.

H. J. A.

"Ch'ao-hsien" (PY Chaoxian) reflects the Wade system then in use, but this would also be the romanization under the modified Wade-Giles system that came into use two decades later. The character ’© is read both "ch'ao" (PY chao) and "chao" (PY zhao). The former is considered the reading in the case of ’©‘N.

Herbert J. Allen

Herbert J. Allen, in his capacity as a British diplomat in China, was deeply interested in Japan, as the following contemporary articles show.

Early Relations of China and Japan
The China Review
3(1), July 1874, 57-61

Chinese Notice of the Shogun Taikosama
The China Review
3(3), November 1874, 172-176

Notes of a Journey through Formosa from Tamsui to Taiwanfu
Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London
Volume 21 (1877), 258-266

The Lewchew Islands
The China Review
8(3), November 1879

"Chinese Notice of the Shogun Taikosama" -- though published in the November 1874 issue of The China Review -- is dated "Tamsui, 18th December, 1874" -- several weeks after Japan and China had signed a conciliation treaty in Peking, on and under Wade's watch, concerning Japan's punitive expedition against Taiwan in the spring of that year.

The article takes up Japan's activities in Taiwan at the end of the 16th century when the "Taikosama" (Hideyoshi) was busy invading Korea, with designs on China. It begins -- "The recent settlement of the Formosan difficulty leads one to look back 280 years to a time when China was negotiating for the withdrawal of Japanese troops from Corea."

The article on "The Lewchew Islands" was also timely in that, in 1879, Japan forced an end to the Ryūkyū kingdom and its tributary status with China by making the islands the prefecture of Okinawa.

Allen was in charge of the Vice Consulate at Tamsui from 27 October 1873 to 9 November 1875, according to an obituary by Henri Cordier.

Wade witnessed the signing in Peking on 31 October 1874, between China and Japan, of the concilliation treaty regarding the matters that provoked Japan to take action in Taiwan that spring.

Wodehouse is better known today as the father of P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975).


History of Corea (Ross 1879)

Johh Ross (1842-1915) was a Scottish missionary in Manchuria. He graduated from United Presbyterian Hall in Edinburgh in 1869 and arrived in Manchuria in 1872.

Unable to enter Korea, Ross became what amounts to a "Corea watcher" while learning Korean from Koreans in Manchuria and teaching them English and Christianity. With some of these Koreans and others he produced the first Korean translation of the New Testament in separate books from 1882 until all were published five years later.

Among the Koreans who were baptized into Christinity, some learned English well, a few even natively, in mission schools. Some of these students were sent to study abroad, to smaller colleges from which a few went on to seminaries, or to graduate schools in prestigious universities. Inevitably a few of the more ambitious bilingual Koreans wrote their own books in English, about their homeland, their religion, and the relationship between the two.

Ross was only one of many other Euro-Americans who reported on things Korean they had observed outside Korea, sometimes second hand, sometimes from Korean informants. He was, however, one of the most prolific if not most influential in the late 1870s and into the 1880s.

Like William Griffis, who viewed Korea more through his experiences in Japan, Ross expressed hope that Japan's influence on Korea would be positive. Writing about "The Corean Language" in The China Review in 1878, a year before his book was published, Ross also felt that Korea had something from which Japan could beneifit -- its "alphabet".

Japanese could borrow the Corean alphabet with very great advantage and profit, for, radically, the syllabaries of both are the same (Ross 1878, page 402).


John Ross
The Corean Language
The China Review
Volume 6, Number 6 (June 1878)
Pages 395-403

Whether or not one accepts that "radically" the Japanese and Korean "syllabaries" are the same, hangul can easily be used, and are used, to represent Japanese (including Sino-Japanese) sounds. Kana are used to represent Korean sounds, too, but not very well. Neither hangul are kana are syllabic. Hangul represent phones single phonemes and kana represent phonemic morae -- and the phonology of Korean is considerably more complex. Still, it is not clear why hangul would be superior to kana as a means of writing Japanese. Ross wrote more about the Korean language in later articles for The China Review (see below).

In 1879, Ross published a book about Korea that was to be widely read. Griffis lists a 1880 printing in the bibliography of his 1882 book on Korea. There was also "Cheaper Edition" printing in 1891. Scans of both printings are viewable on Internet Archive's www.archive.org website. The texts appear to be the same.

History of Corea
(Ancient and Modern)
[With Descriptions of Manners and Customs, Language and Geography.]
[Maps and Illustrations.]
By Rev. John Ross, Seven years resident in Manchuria.
Paisley: J. and R. Parlane
London: Houlston and Sons [and others], [1879]
xii, 404 pages, plus maps and illustrations
[Cheaper Edition]
London: Elliot Stock, 1891
xii, 404 pages, plus maps and illustrations

Ross divides his history of Corea into four chapters, called Chaohsien (Chapter 1), Gaogowli (Chapter 5), Sinli (Chapter 6), and Corea (Chapter 9). Scans of J. and R. Parlane Paisley and Elliot Stock printings are available on prinprints texts are available on

Chapter 9 ends like with an overview of the 1876 "Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the empire of Japan and the kingdom of Chosen" -- during which Corea is usually referred to as "Chosen" as the entity named in the treaty and, according to Ross, "the modern Chaosien" (pages 296-298, italics in original)

Chapter IX.


[ Omitted ]

We may close this sketchy history of Corea with the treaty concluded between it and Japan; which, however, is not meantime loyally carried out by Corea. This treaty is called "Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the empire of Japan and the kingdom of Chosen," -- the modern Chaosien. In the first article, Chosen is declared to be on an equality with Japan; and all future intercourse is to be carried on in the spirit of this equality. . . .

[ Omitted ]

We are sorry to know that the Corean govenment, which was compelled, under threat of war, to form that treaty, has almost nullified it by enormous prohibitive customs. Corea could not possibly defeat a Japanese invasion; and it is highly impolitic to keep the relationship an open sore.

[ End of Chapter ]

Thus ends Ross's history of Korea. He immediately segues chapters on social customs, religion, government, language, and geography.

Contemporary review of Ross 1879

Here are some extracts from a reivew of an unsigned review of Ross's book that appeared in The China Review a year or so after the book's publication (issue uncertain, pages 233-237).

History of Corea, Ancient and Modern,
with Description of Manners and Cus-
toms, Language and Geography, Maps
and Illustrations, by Rev. John Ross,
Seven Years resident in Manchuria.
Paisley: J. and R. Parlane.

[ From beginning of review, page 234 ]

The earliest notice that we have of Corea is from Chinese historians. In the primeval ages a Tungusic people, savage, unlettered, inhabited Chaosien,* a district now comprising a part of Shingking and the northern prefectures of Modern Corea. This race, it is said, was civilized by Kitzu, the second son of Wen Wang, the founder of the Chau dynasty, 1122 B. C. After an heroic struggle for independent existence, lasting for centuries, it became subject to the Han dynasty, under the rule of which it remained until the dominant Corean race sprang into being. Driving back the wave of Chinese emigration and conquest, Gaogowli the new power absorbed Chaosien and the scattered tribes around it, and eventually laid, with slight modifications, the foundations of Modern Corea.

* Chaosien is the native name of modern Corea.

[ Pages 236-237 ]

What her destiny is no one can foreshadow. "She is," says Mr. Ross," said to be the object of solicitude to England. France talks about moving, America talks about sailing, England proposes a visit, but there is one other power never speaks, but acts. What will Russia do? We imagine that the naval power owner of Corea, could not only rule the gulf of Leaotung and Piohili, but have a good deal of influence over all the Chinese Coast; her shadow would fall darkly over Japan, and if that power is to be Russia, we could look for a speedy termination to the abnormal friendship existing between her and America. The immediate future of Corea is certainly a riddle, but whatever it is to be, it must be a complete severance from her past. Already [has] the beginning of the end appeared. For not only is Russia acting magnetically upon her north, but the Japanese have at length dared to inaugurate a new system, which for the sake of the Corean people, let us hope will speedily open up Corea to modern thought and civilization, impart the blessings of a just government and introduce the religion of righteousness and peace."

[ Unsigned ]


Notes on the Corean Language (MacIntyre 1881)

John Lester MacIntyre (1837-1905), a colleqgue of John Ross who also represented Scotland United Presbyterians, was apparently the author of the following article, the actual text of which is unattributed (I have not been able to the table of contents of the actual journal).

[John MacIntyre]
Korean Pronunciation of Chinese
The China Review
Volume 8, Number 1 (July 1879)
Pages 34-38

This article occassionally refers to "Korea" -- as in the title -- but mostly speaks of "Chaosien". Once it refers to "Gaoli, as the Chinese called this second kingdom, or the Gori as they called themselves" -- the writer says (page 35).

This article seems exceptional in that it may be the only one to be published in The China Review that used "Korea" or "Korean" in the title. Other contributors, if not the editors, seem to have preferred "Corea" and "Corean".

MacIntyre subsequented published a long article called "Notes on the Corean Language" in five parts from the November 1879 (Vol. 8 No. 3) and January 1881 (Vol. 9 No. 3) issues. The particulars of the last part are as follows.

John MacIntyre
Notes on the Corean Language (No. V)
[Part 5 of 5 parts]
The China Review
Volume 9, Number 4, [January] 1881
Pages 219-223

The last paragraph of this last part is significant because MacInyre shows a representation of the name of "our Corea, i.e., ’©‘N" as follows (page 223, underscoring mine).

(Continued from page 95.) [No. IV]

No. V. -- The Verb -- (continued.)

[ Omitted ]

Future Perfect. -- Uri toishiön-e i to ka könnö-gasemiön, tiung kuk potam maintsiö shiöng wang hayiötkattatöra. If this doctrine (i 'this,' to ka 'doctrine') had crossed over or entered (könnö-gasemiön) our Corea i.e. ’©‘N (uri our, toishiön-e Corea) compared with China (potam in comparison with, tiung kuk the Middle Kingdom) early (maintsiö) we would have advanced or prospered (shiöng wang hayiötkattatöra) i.e. If this doctrine had entered Corea (when it entered China) we should have made much quicker progress in it than the Chinese have done.

John MacIntyre,
Newchwang, 12th Nov., 1880.

The "doctrine" of which MacIntyre speaks is of course Christianity. Not only missionaries but writers of the period with other vocations rarely missed an opportunity to put in a word for the church.

Newchwang (‹¯), later Yingkou (šzŒû, 营口), was a treaty port in Manchuria, established by one of the Treaties of Tianjin of 1858. The port, at the mouth of the Liao river on Pohai bay, took the name of a town about fifty kilometers upstream. For more, see Alexander Hosie: Gloomy future falsified by events in the "Manchuria reports" (Manchuria, Manchoukuo) section of "The Empire in English" feature of this website.


MacIntyre first shows sentence in romanized Korean. He then fairly closely translates the sentence into English while parenthetically glossing the Korean expressions.

"Uri toishiön-e" is glossed as "uri our, toishiön-e Corea). The gloss is a bit incomplete in that it fails to observe that the Korean postposition "e", like the English preposition "to", marks an object, place, or person toward which something moves and may arrive.

At the time the expression would have been written 우리朝鮮에. Today it would be written entirely in hangul as 우리조성에. The McCune-Reischauer romanization would be "uri Chosŏn e". While this phrase is possible, native speakers today would more likely say 우리나라에, which reads "uri nara e" and means "to our country".


Corea: The Hermit Nation (Griffis 1882)

English books using "Corea" in their titles and text are possibly the most common among the first wave of publications about Korea. The following book is not only representative of these early books, but arguably the most rigourous and interesting account of what was commonly called the "hermit nation".

William Elliot Griffis
Corea: The Hermit Nation
Second Edition
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1882, 1885
xxiii, 462, hardcover
Frontispiece, maps and illustrations
[Color map at end of volume is missing from my copy]

The "Preparatory Notes to Second Edition" are dated 6 July 1885. The "Preface" to the first edition is dated 2 October 1882. Both are stated to have been written in Schenectady, N.Y., the locality of the First Reformed Church where Griffis had become a minister.

The 2 October 1882 date is significant because the book ends with a citation of a 2 October New York Tribune summary of "news from Yokohama up to September 12th" concerning the terms that Japan and Korea agreed to on 30 August.

W. E. Griffis (1843-1928) had worked in Japan from 1871 (arriving at the end of 1870) to 1874 as an educator and teacher, mostly in the service of local governments beginning with Echizen, about which he makes some interesting comments regarding Koreans (see below). He returned to America to study theology, and devoted the rest of his life to serving his church in the United States.

Griffis was a very prolific and versatile writer. While living in the United States, he published numerous books, many about Japan. His life-long contributions were recognized by the Japanese government, which twice awarded him an Order of the Rising Son medal, the first in 1907, the second in 1926. During his second and last visit, in 1926-1927, he visited Korea and Manchuria.

Mikado's Empire

The Mikado's Empire, his first book about Japan, was published in 1876 with the graphic title cš  (Kōkoku) on the spine. The book is divided into two parts -- Book I, History of Japan From 660 B.C. to 1872 A.D. and Book II, Personal Experiences, Observations, and Studies in Japan, 1870-1874.

Griffis indexes "Corea" and consistently refers to the country and its people as "Corea" and "Coreans". In the middle of his rather long account of Hideyoshi Toyotomi's campaigns in Korea in the late 16th century, Griffis writes this (The Mikado's Empire, 1876, page 244, underscoring and [bracketed terms] mine).

The conquest of Corea, thus ingloriously terminated, reflects no honor on Japan, and perhaps the responsibility of the outrage upon a peaceful nation vests wholly upon Hideyoshi. The Coreans were a mild and peaceable people, wholly unprepared for war. There was scarcely a shadow of provocation for the invasion, which was nothing less than a huge filibustering scheme. It was not popular with the people or the rulers [of Japan], and was only carried through by the will of the taiko [Hideyoshi]. While Japan was impoverished by the great drain on its resources, the soldiers abroad ruthlessly desolated the homes and needlessly ravaged the land of the Coreans. While the Japanese were destroying the liberties of the Coreans, the poor natives at home often pawned or sold themselves as slaves to the Spaniards and Portuguese slave-traders. The sacrifice of life on either side must have been great, and all for the ambition of one man. Nevertheless a party in Japan has long held that Corea was, by the conquests of the third and sixteenth centuries, a part of the Japanese empire, and the reader will see how in 1872, and again in 1875, the cry of "On to Corea!" shook the nation like an earthquake.

Griffis is clearly not soft-peddling Japanese political or social history. The amount of space he gave to the adventures of Empress Jingu in Korea in earlier times is also indiciative of his interest in the history of Japan's relations with Korea -- which was to be the subject of his second major book related to East Asia.

Hermit Nation

In Corea: The Hermit Nation, Griffis continues to generally speak of Corea and Coreans, and of Coreans in China, Japan, and Russia. In this book, however, he also rather commonly refers to the country as "Chō-sen" -- using what appears to be the Sino-Japanese romanization of ’©‘N.

The title page of Corea: The Hermit Nation declares that the book has these three parts.

  I. - Ancient and Mediaeval history
 II. - Political and Social Corea
III. - Modern and Recent History

The book carries the following dedication.


The "Prefatory Notes to Second Edition" opens with this paragraph (page i, underscoring mine).


The publishers have informed the author of their intention to issue an edition of the present work in a cheaper form. By their courtesy, he would improve the opportunity to add a few words of comment upon our present knowledge of Corea, and upon affairs in Chō-sen since the treaty was made with the United States.

[ Rest omitted. ]

The first two paragraphs of the preface read as follows (pages v-vi, underscoring mine).


In the year 1871, while living at Fukui, in the province of Echizen, Japan, I spent a few days at Tsuruga and Mikuni, by the sea which separates Japan and Corea. Like "the Saxon shore" of early Britain, the coast of Echizen had been in primeval times the landing-place of rovers, immigrants, and adventurers from the continental shore opposite. Here, at Tsuruga, Corean envoys had landed on their way to the mikado's court. In the temple near by were shrines dedicated to the Corean Prince of Mimana, and to Jingu Kōgō, Ojin, and Takénouchi, whose names in Japanese traditions are associated with "The Treasure-land of the West." Across the bay hung a sweet-toned bell, said to have been cast in Corea in A.D. 647; in which tradition -- untested by chemistry -- declared there was much gold. Among the hills not far away, nestled the little village of Awotabi (Green Nook), settled centuries ago by paper-makers, and visited a millenium ago by tribute-bearers, from the neighboring peninsula; and famous for producing the crinkled paper on which the diplomatic correspondence between the two nations was written. Some of the first families in Echizen were proud of their descent from Chō-sen, while in the villages, where dwelt the Eta, or social outcasts, I beheld the descendants of Corean prisoners of war. Everywhere the finger of tradition pointed westward across the waters to the Asian mainland, and the whole region was eloquent of "kin beyond sea." Birds and animals, fruits and falcons, vegetables and trees, farmers' implements and the potter's wheel, names in geography and thing in the arts, and doctrines and systems in religion were in some way connected with Corea.

The thought often came to me as I walked within the moss-grown feudal castle walls -- old in story, but then newly given up to schools of Western science and languages -- why should Corea be sealed and mysterious, when Japan, once a hermit, had opened her doors and come out into the world's market-place? When would Corea's awakening come? As one diamond cuts another, why should not Chō-ka (Japan) open Chō-sen (Corea)?


The front matter of Corea: The Hermit Nation ends with a fairly long and finely printed Bibliography (pages xi-xvii).

There are many references to "Chō-sen" -- all apparently transliterations of Japanese-language sources, or materials published in Japan.

Most English-language sources have "Corea". Only a few have "Korea". A 1600 London publication has "Coray".

French publications typically have "Corée".

One 1881 English source, apparently a translation from a book in the History of the Former Han Dynasty, is titled "The Subjugation of Chaou-seen". This would seem to be a Chinese-based romanization of ’©‘N -- which was then most commonly "Chaosien" and would be "Chao-hsien" or "Ch'ao-hsien" in the Wade-Giles system of romanization.


The book ends with a brief overview of the "Cartography" of what he himself refers to as Corea or Chōsen. Romanizations on maps vary from "Chau-sin" (1588 map brought from China to England), and "Corey" (1681 map) and "Coria" (some 17th century Dutch maps), to "Tyo-sien" (map in 1881 Corean-French dictionary).

Undoubtedly "Corea" is the established term in English writing in the mid and late 19th century. The oldest reference in my own collection of 19th-century books about Japan in English is Richard Hildreth's Japan and The Japanese, Boston: Bradley, Dayton & Co., 1860. The "Author's Notice" -- billed also as an "Advertisement" -- is dated 2 July 1860 (pages I-III). Hildreth indexes "Corea" and consistently refers to "Corea" and "Coreans".

"Old Chō-sen"

In Chapter II, called "The Old Kingdom of Chō-sen" Griffis, introduces a noble named "Ki Tsze, viscount of Ki (or Latinized, Kioius)", the legendary founder of Korea (Corea), who is supposed to have named the country "Chō-sen" (pages 12-13, underscoring mine).

Ki Tsze began vigorously to reduce the aboriginal people of his realm to order. He policed the borders, gave laws to his subjects, and gradually introduced the principles and practice of Chinese etiquette and polity throughout his domain. Previous to his time the people lived in caves and holes in the ground, dressed in leaves, and were destitute of manners, morals, agriculture and cooking, being ignorant savages. The divine being, Dan Kun, had partially civilized them, but Kishi, who brought 5,000 Chinese colonists with him, taught the aborigines letters, reading and writing, medicine, many of the arts, and the political principles of feudal China. The Japanese pronounce the founder's name Kishi, and the Coreans Kei-tsa or Kysse.

The name conferred by Kishi, the civilizer, upon his new domain is that now in use by the modern Coreans Chō-sen or Morning Calm.

This ancient kingdom of Chō-sen, according to the Coreans, comprised the modern Chinese province of Shing-king, which is now about the size of Ohio, having an area of 43,000 square miles, and a population of 8,000,000 souls. It is entirely outside and west of the limits of modern Corea.

Griffis may have reasons for introducing the Sino-Japanese and Sino-Korean readings of a name graphed –¥Žq and read Chi-tzu (WG) or Jizi (PY) in Mandardin Chinese. The McCune-Reichauer romanization of the Sino-Korean reading would be Kija -- and Sino-Japanese would today, too, be Kishi.

Why, though, does Griffis state that "Kishi" conferred the name "Chō-sen" on the country -- and claim that "Chō-sen" was the name in contemporary use by "Coreans"? Especially since he immediately shifts back to speaking only of Ki Tsze"?

"New Chō-sen"

Following chapters on the succession of sometimes divided Korean (Corean) states that followed Old Chō-sen, Griffis comes to Chapter XI, called "New Chō-sen", which begins like this (page 76, underscoring mine.

It will be remembered that the first Chinese settler and civilizer of Corea, Ki Tsze, gave it the name of Chō-sen. Coming from violence and war, to a land of peace which lay eastward of his old home, Ki Tsze selected for his new dwelling-place a name at once expressive of its outward position and his own inward emotions -- Chō-sen, or Morning Calm.

For eleven centuries a part of Manchuria, including, as the Coreans believe, the northern half of the peninsula, bore this name. From the Christian era until the tenth century, the names of the three kingdoms, Shinra, Hiaksai, and Kokorai, or Korai, express the divided political condition of the country. On the fall of these petty states, the united peninsula was called Korai. Korai existed from A.D. 934 until A.D. 1392, when the ancient name of Chō-sen was restored. Though the Coreans often speak of their country as Korai (Gauli, or Gori), it is as the English speak of Britain with a patriotic feeling rather than for accuracy. Chō-sen is still the official and popular designation of the country. This name is at once the oldest and the newest.

The first bestowal of this name on the peninsula was in poetic mood, and was the symbol of a peaceful triumph. The second gift of the name was the index of a political revolution not unaccompanied with bloodshed. The latter days of the dynasty founded by Wang were marked by licentiousness and effeminacy in the palace, and misrule in the country. The people hated the cruelties of their monarch, the thirty-second of his line, and longed for a deliverer. Such a one was Ni Taijo (Japanese, Ei Seiki), who was born in the region of Broughton's Bay, in the Ham-kiung province. It is said of him that from his youth he surpassed all others in virtue, intelligence, and skill in manly exercises. He was especially fond of hunting with the falcon.

I have underscored the manner in which Griffis has referred to "Old Chō-sen" and "New Chō-sen" as the "first bestowal" and "second gift" of the name "Chō-sen" on Korea (Corea). Would Griffis have called Japan's renaming of Korea (SK Han, SJ Kan) "Chōsen" in 1910 the "third conferral" of this poetic name on country?

Whatever his reasons the Sino-Japanese romanization of Korea's "oldest and newest" name, Griffis is fond of introducing -- in an English book about "Corea" -- the Sino-Japanese readings of Sino-Korean names.

Hendrick Hamel

One of the more notable features in Griffis 1882 is a chapter dedicated to "The Dutchmen in Exile" (Chapter XXII, pages 167-176), which concludes Part I on "Ancient and Mediaeval History". The chapter anticipates his 1885 book, Corea, Without and Within, which is given mostly to an annotated older English translation of Hendrick Hamel's written account of his unplanned life in Korea between 1653 and 1666.

In this chapter, Griffis says this about Hamel's transcriptions of Korean place names (page 170, underscoring and [bracketed] remarks mine).

Hamel gives a few names of the places through which he passed. These are in the pronunciation of the local dialect, and written down in Dutch spelling. Most of them are recognizable on the map, though the real sound is nearly lost in a quagmire of Dutch letters, in which Hamel has attempted to note the quavers and semi-demi-quavers of Corean enunciation. He writes Coeree for Corea, and Tyocen-koeck for Chō-sen kokŭ, and is probably the first European to mention Quelpart Island [Chejudo], on which the [Dutch] ship [Sparwehr (Sparrowhawk) was wrecked [in 1653 on its way to Nagasaki].

In his 1885 book, Griffis wrote "Tio-zen-couk" but similarly equated it with "Chō-sen kokŭ" (see below). Hamel's name for Korea has been transcribed and otherwise represented a number of ways (see Hamel 1666 above for other examples, including Henny Savenije's work on the earliest known manuscript).

"Political and Social Corea"

At the beginning of one paragraph in "The Eight Provinces" (Chapter XXIII), which begins Part II on "Political and Social Corea", Griffis speaks of a certain territory "drained by the Tong-kia River, between Chō-sen and Chin" -- then shifts back to his discussion of conflict between "Corea" and "China" over the territory, and role of "Li Hung Chang" in settling the dispute (page 182). Griffis is referring to Li Hung-chang, who later advised Korea to conclude treaties with other countries as a way to buffer itself from Japan (see 1882 US-Chosen treaty, above).

On the next page, introducing "The Yellow-Sea Province", Griffis states that "All the eight circuits into which Chō-sen is divided are maritime provinces, but this is the only one which takes its name from the body of water on which its borders lie, jutting out into the Whang-hai, or Yellow Sea . . . (page 183). He then goes back to "Corea".

The map calls the province "Whang Hai Do" and the text refers to the province as just "Whang-hai" -- which would be written ‰©ŠC“¹ and ‰©ŠC. In 1949, the region, in what had become the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, was divided into ‰©ŠC–k“¹ (SK Hwanghaepuk-to) and ‰©ŠC“쓹 (SK Hwanghaenam-do).

The Wade-Giles Chinese romanization of ‰©ŠC“¹ is "Huanghai-tao" (PY Huanghai-dao). The McCune Reischauer Sino-Korean romanization is "Hwanghae-do". The Hepburn Sino-Japanese romanization is "Kōkai-dō".

The graph (“¹) is commonly rendered "circuit" in reference to a region defined by the "way" or "road" through it. Similar uses familiar in Japan, as in Tōkaidō and Hokkaidō, and many others examples.

What we are seeing here, in Griffis 1882, is not a mixture of romanization systems, but rather a Korean-based romanization that simply "looks" more Chinese by later conventions of romanization.

The Wade system was known from 1859 but Giles did not modify it until 1892. The McCune-Reishauer system was not introduced until 1937. Neither system was entirely new, but grew out of a variety of previous practices. Japanese romanization systems, too, were anything but standardized. The same is as true today -- despite the spread of dictatorial government and publisher style sheets -- as then.

Japanese kana and Korean hangul orthographies, and of course dialect differences in all three languages, were likewise not entirely without variations that inevitably affected romanizations. This, too, affects romanizations today.

Names of Japan and Korea in 1876 treaty

Griffis gives three pages to the designs some Japanese leaders, fresh from success in a civil war that replaced the older Tokugawa government with the new restorationist Meiji government, had on Korea in 1873. Their desire to free Korea from Chinese influence, and protect it from Russia by bringing it into Japan's governmental fold, however, was found to be too risky at a time when Japan had to solidify its domestic footing and not invite hostility from countries that might come to Korea's defense.

The 1875 Kanghwa incident, however, resulted in the 1876 Japan-Korea amity treaty, which essentially opened Korea to diplomatic and commercial intercourse with Japan and, afterword, other countries. Griffis says this about how the two countries resolved a dispute over what to call themsleves in the treaty (page 423, note 1).

The Japanese refused to have the Mikado designated by any title but that of Whang Ti (Japanese Kōtei) showing that he was peer to the Emperor of China; while the Coreans would not, in the same document, have their sovereign written down as Wang (Japanese Ō) because they wished him shown to he an equal of the Mikado, though ceremonially subordinate to the Whang Ti or Emperor of China. The poor Coreans were puzzled at there being two suns in one heaven, and two equal and favorite Sons of Heaven.

The commissioners from Seoul attempted to avoid the dilemma by having the treaty drawn up in the names of the respective envoys only; this the Japanese refused to do. A compromise was attempted by having the titles of the Mikado of Japan, and the Hap-mun of Chō-sen inserted at the beginning; and, in every necessary place thereafter, "the government" of Dai Nippon (Great Japan), or of Dai Chō-sen (Great Corea); this also failed. Finally, neither ruler was mentioned by name or title, nor was reference made to either, and the curious document was drawn up in the name of the respective "Governments."

The Japanese and Chinese versions of the 1876 treaty do in fact refer to "Dai Nippon" (‘å“ú–{) and "Dai Chōsen" (‘å’©‘N). They also refer to All English versions of the treaty that I have seen begin with the phrase "The Governments of Japan and Chosen" (see, for example, McKenzie 1908). Apparently such translation was available to Griffiswith theThis statement appears to have been based on an English translation of the treaty, meaning that such a translation, the received copy of which begins . Griffis concludes his book with a discussion of the 1882 treaties.

Later editions

Corea: The Hermit Kingdom became a very widely read book. A stated fourth edition, published in 1894, had a third-edition preface written in Boston on 30 June 1888. This preface ended with this sentence.

He [Griffis referring to himself] is heartily glad that others have entered the field to awaken interest in the once "hermit nation," which is soon to become, let us hope, civilized, social, and Christian.

No question as to where his ultimate hopes lay.

The following edition information has been tentatively pieced together from various sources in addition to my own 1885 printing.

1882, Scribner's, xxiii, 462
1882, W. H. Allen, xxiii, 462
Preface: Schenectady, N. Y., October 2, 1882
[Copies of both editions in Internet Archive]

1885, Scribner's, xxiii, 462
Second Edition
Preface: Schenectady, N. Y., July 6, 1885
[Personal copy]
[Appears to be the same as 1882 edition
except for addition of "Prefatory Notes"]

1888, Scribner's, [xxix? xxx?], [474]
[ Third Edition, Revised and Enlarged ]
Preface: "Boston, June 30, 1888"
[Preface read in 6th edition in Internet Archive
plus tentative date from used book list]

1894, Scribner's
[ Fourth Edition? ]
[ 3rd edition preface? ]

1897, [Scribner's], xviii, 492
[ Fifth Edition? ]

1902, Scribner's, xxx, 492
Sixth Edition, Revised and Enlarged
With Additional Chapter on COREA IN 1897
Preface: "Ithaca on Lake Cayuga, January 27th, 1897
[Copy in Internet Archive]

[ 1904, Scribner's, 502? ]

[ 1905, Harper (London), 498? ]

1907, Scribner's, xxvii, 512
Eighth Edition, Revised and Enlarged
With the Map and History to 1907
Preface: "Ithaca, N. Y., December 12, 1906"
[Copy in Internet Archive]
[Copyrights for 1882, 1888, 1897, and 1904, and 1907]

[ 1911, Scribner's, xxvii, 526? ]

All editions that I have examined, from the 1st in 1882 through the 8th in 1907, often used "Chō-sen" when referring to "Corea" during the dawn of its history, and during the Yi dynasty down to 1897, when the name of the country changed to that of the empire that Japan annexed in 1910.

In other words, Griffis's 1882 book on "Corea" -- which styled the country as originally "Chō-sen" and as "Chō-sen" at the time of writing -- was continually updated as a standard volume on the country for the better part of half a century -- up to, and apparently even shortly after, it became the Japanese territory of "Chōsen".

Contemporary review of Griffis 1882

A long and unsigned review of Griffis's Corea: The Hermit Nation, published in The China Review shortly after it came out, sets Griffis and the book up for some fairly harsh criticism. Here I am mainly interested in how the reviewer introduces Griffis's effort with reference to Ross, and describes Griffis in relationship with Japan. For whereas Ross had been based in Manchuria and viewed Korea from that vantage point, Griffis had been residing in Japan.

The following remarks are from the beginning of the review (issue uncertain, pages 320-321, italics in original).

Corea. The Hermit Nation.
I. Ancient and Mediaeval History,
II. Political and Social Corea,
III. Modern and Recent History
by William Elliot Griffis,
Late of the Imperial University of Tokio, Japan,
Author of "The Mikado's Empire."
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1882.

Corea, so long the enigma of the East, is now an enigma no longer. Thanks to Messrs Ross, Griffis, and others the mystery which shrouded the Forbidden Land is now removed, and it is now as possible to acquire a knowledge of Corea and its people, as sufficiently accurate as of any other Eastern country and people. Its isolation, perhaps, has been of advantage, inasmuch as it has been viewed from many sides, the presumption being that nothing essential has been omitted.

[ Omitted ]

Mr. Griffis like Mr. Ross, labours under the disadvantage of never having set foot on the Corean soil; and his book is therefore in danger of being superseded by the narrative of those that write of what they themselves have seen and heard, seeing that foreigers belonging to the book-making tribes are now all but permitted to roam throughout the length and breadth of the land.

[ Omitted]

To an ardent admirer of Japanese like Mr. Griffis we are not surprised at the interest he takes in the inhabitants of Chosen, the "kin beyond sea of the Japanese," and of his desire, now so successfully realized, of letting the outside world know whence they are, what they have accomplished and whither they are drifting.

[ Rest omitted ]

[ Unsigned ]


Corea, Without and Within (Griffis 1885)

The final chapter of Griffis's 1882 book, Corea: The Hermit Nation, is called "The Year of the Treaties". The chapter ends with what amounts to breaking news of the conflict between Japan and Korea, following the signing of the US-Chosen treaty in May, that resulted in Japan and Korea signing an agreement in August that modified the 1876 Japan-Chosen treaty.

While Griffis was allowing John Scribner's and Sons to publish a nominal "Second Edition" (read "second printing") of his 1882 book in 1885, he was publishing what amounted to an 1882-1885 update -- with an annotated version of an early 18th-century publication of an English translation of Hendrick Hamel's 17th-century account of an unplanned 13-year sojourn in Korea.

William Eliot Griffis
Corea, Without and Within
(Chapters on Corean History, Manners and Religion)
[With Hendrick Hamel's Narrative of Captivity and Travels in Corea, Annotated]
Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1885
315 pages, map, plates

The new "Ta-Chō-sun"

Griffis's introductory remarks set the tone for the book -- which is to hope, by way of declaring, that thanks to the 1882 US-Chosen treaty there is a new Korea that calls itself "Ta Chō-sen" and is ripe for Christianity (12-14, underscoring mine).

Map "Map of Corea or Ta-Chō Sun"
Frontispiece of "Corea, Without and Within" (1885)
Copped and Cropped from Internet Archive


[ Omitted ]

Now, however, in the year of Christ 1884, Ta Chō-sun, as the Coreans call their country, has abandoned the conditions of national hermitage. Opened by American diplomacy, moored by the electric cable to the rest of the world, bound by treaty to further acts of comity, her envoys visiting the United States, her once-secluded capital the seat of the legations of the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Japan and China, her people studying Christianity in Japan, her ports open to American and European commerce, and the beginnings of a foreign municipality [Chemulpo, i.e., Inch'ŏn] at the seaport nearest the capital, which will give her people an object-lesson in Western civilization,-- the future of Corea seems bright with promise, and certainly is full of interest.

Into the seclusion of this Land of Morning Calm few European travelers have ever penetrated. The Dutch supercargo and his companions in the seventeenth century spent thirteen years among these strange people. In this nineteenth century, until within a decade, the French missionaries in disguise and a few shipwrecked sailors, chiefly American, were the only persons hailing from Christendom who have observed Corean life. Even the Chinese and Japanese of the Middle Ages, except in war-time or in the retinues of diplomacy, rarely saw the inside of Corea. As with the lion's cave in the fable, all the footsteps pointed one way -- "Nulla vestigia retrorsum."

There are Dutch, French and American graves in Corea. Wherever a fragment of our national treasures lie, our hearts should be; and the object of the Editor of this work is to interest American readers, and especially American Christians, in what the French priests call "the land of martyrs."

The journal of Hendrik Hamel, who in 1663, on his way to Nagasaki, Japan, was shipwrecked on Quelpaert [Jejudo] Island, is herewith reprinted with explanatory notes. These, with introductory and supplementary historical chapters, will, the Editor trusts, give the reader a bird's-eye glance of Corea past and present, and views from without and within.

W. E. G.

Schenectady, N. Y.,
Dec. 6, 1884.

Variations of Korea's "real" name

Griffis cannot seem to make up his mind about Korea's name in the 1880s. Graphically it was written ‘å’©‘N -- Chinese "Ta Ch'aohsien" (Wade-Giles), Sino-Korean "Dae Chosŏ" (McCune-Reischauer), and Sino-Japanee "Dai Chōsen" (Hepburn).

Griffis has "Ta-Chō Sun" on the map and "Ta-Chō-sun" in his introduction. The word is indexed as "Ta Chō-sun" but the list of pages (12, 16, 29) does not include all examples. Still more variations come in a later note (page 110, see below), including "Chō-sen kokŭ", "Chō-sen (or Cho-zun)", and "Ta Chō-sen or Ta Chō-sun". One is never really sure what language Griffis has in mind.

Griffis's alterations of
"uncouth and unfamiliar orthography"
in Churchill's version of Hamel's narrative

Chapter 4, titled "Hamel's Shipwreck in Corea" (37-44), is essentially an introduction to the rest of book, which is largely devoted to Hamel's "Narrative of Captivity and Travels in Corea" as promised by the subtitle of the book.

Griffis states in three Dutch editions of Hamel's narrative were known, and that the narrative had been translated into French, German, and English. Of the two English versions available to him, he selected Churchill's Collections of Voyages, London, 1732.

He qualifies his alterations as follows (page 37).

Only slight alterations in the text have been made in the present edition, such as the replacement of elided letters, the substitution of modem for obsolete words, and of the more familiar orthography in all cases after the first appearance in the text of the uncouth and unfamiliar orthography of places; as, for instance, S#eacute;oul for Sior, etc.


In Chapter 5, "The Kind Corean Governor", the Hamel account as transmitted by Griffis refers to "Nangasakay". Griffis writes the following footnote on this place name (page 47, note 1). Remarks in (parenthetes) are Griffis's, those in [brackets] are mine.

[Note 1] Nagasaki (Long Promontory), a city in the province of Hizen on the island of Kiushiu [Kūshū] in Southern Japan, was the loophole through wliich Japan looked out upon the world during the period of her hermit-like seclusion. In front of the city, on Dé-shima (Fore Island) [Deshima] the Dutch had a factory and trading-station, and a limited number of Chinese were permitted to live in the city, like the Dutch, under severe restrictions. Nagasaki is now the terminus of the electric cables to China and Siberia, and since 1859 has been an open port for foreign commerce and residence. The usual spelling in the seventeenth century, as we see in Guliver's Travels, was as in the text, representing the southern local pronunciation. The Tōkiō [Tōkyō] pronunciation is now the standard of the empire and the usage of foreign writers.

Griffis does not clarify what orthographic features of "Nangasakay" regards as phonologically distinct from those of "Nagasaki". One obvious feature would be the "nga" as opposed to "ga". One will also hear today variations of "Nangasaki" and "Nagasaki".

Europeans in nearly half a century before Hamel heard words with "nga" rather than "ga". Richard Cocks, in his diary about Japan, for example, romanizes the first month of the year as "Shonguach" (e.g., February 4, 1622 entry). Based on present-day standard pronunciation, this would today be romanized "shōgatsu". Cocks's "ngua" reflects two well-testified elements: (1) a velar nasal (soft) "ng" (rather than the voiced velar stop "g") with (2) a w-glide "wa" (rather than "a").

The w-glide was alive and well in Japanese kana orthography in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An example of the w-glide, which characterized the Sino-Japanese pronunciation of a number of Chinese graphs, can even be found in the 1876 Japan-Chosen treaty. The soft/hard "g" variation is still represented in dialect dictionaries and can easily be heard among native speakers today.

See Kwannon or Kannon? in the literature section of this website for more about w-glides past and present.

Hamel on Korean warnings of
Japanese cruelty toward strangers . . .
and Griffis's remark on "Corean House" in Nagasaki

In Chapter 10, "Escape to Japan", Hamel describes the arrival of his party in Nagasaki and describes the reception being "very friendly, and so was all the nation [Note 1] in general" (page 106). Griffis, in the footnote, makes this observation. The footnote makes this observation.

About a dozen Hollanders usually remained pennanently at a commercial station on the island Déshima in front of the city of Nagasaki. The seven ships crews [of Hamel's group] at this time present in the harbor made up a considerable number of Hamel's countrymen. Sometimes, Coreans, driven by storms or weather, lodged in Nagasaki in a Corean House" erected by the government.

Griffis seems to be disputing the remarks in his version of Hamel's account that "all the Coreans had said to persuade us [not to leave Corea] that the Japanese put all the strangers that came into their country to cruel deaths" (page 105).

Hamel on what Korea calls itself . . .
and Griffis on Korea's "official name"

Chapter 11 begins with Hamel's reference to the Korean name for Korea (text pages 110-111, and combined Notes 1 and 2 on page 110). The (parenthetic) terms are Griffis's. The underscoring is mine.



THE kingdom known to us by the name of Corea, and by the natives called Tio-zen-couk [Note 1] and sometimes Caoli [Note 2], reaches from 34 to 44 degrees of north latitude, being about one hundred and fifty leagues in length from north to south and about seventy-five in breadth from east to west [Note omitted]; therefore the Coreans represent it in the shape of a long square, like a playing-card [Note omitted]; -- nevertheless, it has several points of land which run far out into the sea.

It is divided into eight provinces . . . .

[Notes 1 and 2]  Chō-sen kokŭ (The Land of Morning Calm). The correct official name since A.D. 1392 is Chō-sen (or Cho-zun), hut the common people still use the old name, Kaoli (Japanese Ko-rai). The embassy which visited the United States in 1883 used the term Ta Chō-sen or Ta Chō-sun, Great Morning Calm. The prefix Ta, Tai, like the French Grand, is also used by the Chinese and Japanese.

Griffis's transliteration standards

Griffis glosses "Tio-zen-couk" as "Chōsen-kokŭ". He had been in the habit of calling Korea "Chōsen" -- a romanization of ’©‘N that probably reflects its Sino-Japanese pronunciation. But what did he mean by "kokŭ" as a representation of š ?

In his 1882 Corea: The Hermit Nation, Griffis refers to Hamel's Korean name for Korea as "Tyocen-koeck for Chō-sen kokŭ" -- also using "kokŭ".

The standard way of representing the Sino-Japanese reading of š , at the time Griffis was writing, was "koku" -- as it is today. And elsewhere in his writing, he generally romanizes characters that would be read "koku" in Japanese as "koku". So is he, here, differentiating "kokŭ" as a Sino-Korean romanization, from "koku" as a Sino-Japanese romanization?

In his 1876 book on The Mikado's Empire, he indexes a few words that include "koku" as a romanization of other characters. For example, he indexes "koku" -- representing Î, a measure for a yield or stipend of rice -- and consistenly shows "koku" it the text. He also indexes "Dai Koku" -- representing ‘单 -- but shows "Daikokŭ . . . the God of Fortune" in the text (page 49).

So either Griffis is under the illusion that "Chōsen kokŭ" is a Korean pronunciation, or is representing the name of Korea in Japanese.

In the "Orthography and Pronunciation" guide to his the 1882 hermit nation book, Griffis defines his transliteration standards like this (page xvii, underscoring mine).


In the transliteration of Corean names in English, an attempt has been made to render them in as accurate and simple a manner as is, under the circumstances, possible. . . . Our aim in this work has been to use as few letters as possible.

Japanese words are all pronounced according to the European method -- a as in father é as in prey, e as in men, i as in machine, o as in bone u as in tune, ŭ as in sun . . . .

The most familiar Chinese names are retained in their usual English form.

Corean words are transliterated on the same general principles as the Japanese, though ears familiar with Corean will find the obscure sound between o and short u is written with either of these letters, as Chan-yon, or In-Chiŭn, or Kiung-sang. . . .

For what it is worth -- Griffis had been based in the Tokyo area and would have been used to hearing reduced forms like "des" (desu). Possibly he intended "kokŭ" to represent a somewhat reduced (less fully released, unvoiced) variety of "koku" that sounded to his ears more like "Coke" (as in Coca-Cola) than "Co-coo".

Griffis also sometimes writes forms like "tsŭ" in Japanese transliterations. However -- while the final "-u" in some Japanese speech is in fact reduced by various degrees, from a little less voiced to unvoiced -- it is does not morph from "u as in tune" to "ŭ as in sun".


Corea (Ross 1887)

The people who reviewed Ross's 1879 book on Korea found many faults with his account of the country. They also thought his Korean spellings unusual.

"His proper names are spelt in a way peculiar to himself," they wrote, "the key to which is only alluded to within the last score of pages, where the general reader is referred to Mr. Ross' Mandarin Grammar, as if the general reader studied Mandarin!" (Issue uncertain, page 236)

Most scholars who wrote in English on Korea agreed that there was practically no standard of romanization -- which did not, however, imply that they thought every writer should feel free to invent their own system. Ross, though, does not seem to have felt that others had a better romanization scheme than his.

"Doishun" and "Joshun"

By 1887, in the following article, he had introduced two varieties of the name for the country he said was always called "Chao sien" -- except by Koreans, who called it "Doishun or Joshun".

John Ross
The China Review
Volume 16, Number 1 (July 1887)
Pages 19-25

This article, which John Ross wrote in "Mookden", begins like this (page 19, italics in original, underscoring mine).


As the languid interest based on curiosity regarding the unknown Corea of a few years ago has given place to the practical and wide-spread interest which the electric light of political and commercial life has suddenly directed to it, a short account of its past history and people may be acceptable to some readers of the Review. That history has not been uneventful to itself while it has at times seriously affected its gigantic neighbour.

The name by which it becomes first known to us in Chinese history is Chao sien, 'New Light,' the Chinese having so named it in the time of Woo Wang, when Kitsu was made its king. The name has thus a meaning similar to Japan, both names originating in the fact that the respective countries are east of China which so named them. As Chao sien, it was bounded on the west by the Liao river and on the east by the present Datong river, its capital having been always in the neighbourhood of the present Ping yang, beside which an American vessel was some years ago treacherously destroyed and her crew massacred. Thus Chao sien Kingdom consisted of the Manchurian province of Liao tung and the Corean province of Ping an. Its other historical name is Gaogowli, afterwards abbreviated into Gaoli, by which it is known in Chinese history from the 2d century B.C. to the 14th century A.D., when the Ming dynasty renamed it Chao sien, -- embracing not however the ancient lands but the modern country. This name is written usually by the people themselves Goriu or Gorio, whence our Corea or Korea. But though this is the only name by which the country is known in the west, neither the Chinese nor the people of the country use that name to denote the land. The people are known by the name Gaoli or Gori, but the country is always called Chao sien, the Coreans calling it Doishun or Joshun.

[ Rest omitted ]

JOHN Ross.
Mookden, 15 July, 1887.

The romanization standard now being promoted by the government of the Republic of Korea, and spreading faster than swine flu on the Internet, is "Joseon".

ists being politically-correct, ROK-mandated


Korea And Her Neighbors (Bishop 1898)

Isabella Bird Bishop, F.R.G.S.
Korea And Her Neighbors
(A Narrative of Travel, with an Account of the Recent Vicissitudes and Present Position of the Country)
New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, M DCCC XCVIII [1898]
480 pages, plus foldout map, hardcover
Preface by Walter C. Hillier dated October 1897
Author's prefatory note dated November 1897
Copyright 1897

The concluding chapter, "Last Words on Korea", is a cautious embrace of Japan's efforts on behalf of Korea's independence (pages 458-459).

Such, in brief outline, is the position of political affairs in Korea at the close of 1897. Her long and close political connection with China is severed; she has received from Japan a gift of independence which she knows not how to use; England, for reasons which may be guessed at, has withdrawn from any active participation in her affairs; the other European Powers have no interests to safeguard in that quarter; and her integrity and independence are at the mercy of the most patient and the most ambitious of Empires, whose interests in the Far East are conflicting, if not hostile.

The "most patient" and "most ambitious" of empires appear to be Russia and Japan. She has previously said this (pages 456-457).

Certainly the great object of the triple intervention in the treaty negotiations in Shimonoseki was to prevent Japan from gaining a foothold on the mainland of the Asiatic Continent; but it does not seem altogether impossible that, by playing a waiting game and profiting by previous mistakes, she, without assuming a formal protectorate, may be able to add, for all practical purposes of commerce and emigration, a mainland province to her Empire. Forecasts are dangerous things, but it is save to say that if Russia, not content with such quiet, military developments as may be in prospect, were to manifest any aggressive designs on Korea, Japan is powerful enough to put a brake on the wheel!" [Note 1]

[Note 1]  As "it is the unexpected which happens," it would not be surprising if certain moves, ostensibly with the object of placing the independence of Korea on a firm basis, were made even before these volumes are published.

The latest dated events include the "Royal Edicts" published by the government on 12 August 1897, which are fully cited (pages 451-452), and a remark published on 9 September 1897 in a Russian newspaper concerning the opening of the ports of "Mok-po" and "Chi-nam-po" to foreign trade at that time (page 458).

Appendix E contains "Treaty Between Japan and Russia with Reply of H.E. the Korean Minister for Foreign Affairs" consisting of "Memorandum" dated 14 May 1896, "Protocol" dated 9 June 1896, and "exact translation of reply sent to the Japanese Minister by the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs, concerning the Russo-Japanese Convention" dated 9 March 1897 (pages 471-472). These documents speak one of "the King of Korea", most often of just "Korea", several times of "the Korean Government", and once of "the Korean populace".

The Empire of Korea does not formally begin until 13 October 1897. The preface, dated just October 1897, appears to have been written before the writer, Walter C. Hillier, became aware of the start of the Empire. Chapter XXXII concerns "The Reorganized Korean Government" in reference to reforms carried out in late 1894, after the start of the Sino-Japanese War.


The Tragedy of Korea (McKenzie 1908)

The Canadian journalist Frederick Arthur McKenzie (1869-1931) was one of the most ardent publicists for Korea's independence in the early 1900s. The book he published shortly before Korea was annexed by Japan is examined here. The book he published a year after the 1919 independence movement is examined later on this page.

Frederick Arthur McKenzie (1869-1931).

F. A. McKenzie
The Tragedy of Korea
London: Hodder and Stoughton, MCMVII [1908]
xii, 312 pages, hardcover
Frontispiece and numerous other full-page plates.

The spine reads "Colonial Edition". McKenzie's Preface begins with this prophetic paragraph (page v).

I have to tell the story of the awakening and the destruction of a nation. My narrative, save for a few introductory pages, covers a period of less than thirty years, and the greater part of it has to do with events that have happened since King Edward came to the throne. The brief and tragic history of modern Korea has been linked to great international developments. It gave excuse for the opening moves of what promises to be the main world-conflict of the twentieth-century -- the struggle between an aroused China and an ambitious Japan. it afforded a reason for the Mikado's declaration of war against Russia. It supplies us to-day with a touchstone by which we can test the sincerity of the Japanese professions of justice, peace, and fair play.

The Appendices are dedicated mostly to English versions of numerous treaties and protocols involving Korea, from the Japan-Korea treaty of 26 February 1876 to the Japan-Korean treaty of 24 July 1907 (pages 269-310). They begin with a "full text of the findings of the Japanese Court of Preliminary Inquiries that tried Viscount Miura and his associations for the murder of the Queen of Korea" dated 20 January 1896 (pages 263-268), and end with a transcription of Syngman Rhee's "Petition from the Koreans of Hawaii to President Roosevelt" dated 12 July 1905 (pages 311-312).

Regarding the 1876 treaty, McKenzie wrote this (page 12).

In this treaty Japan admitted that Korea was an independent state, enjoying the same sovereign rights as itself. Intercourse was henceforth to be carried on "in terms of equality and courtesy, each avoiding the giving of offence by arrogance or the manifestation of suspicion." Japan was granted the right to have an establishment at Fusan; various ports were opened to Japanese trade, and a Japanese officer was to reside at each of the open ports for the protection of his nationals.

By 1920, McKenzie had become more cynical about Japan's intent in recognizing Korea as an "independent state" (see McKenzie 1920, below). In any event, the metaphors of the official Japanese and Chinese versions of the treaties are those of self-mastery or self-rule, not independence.

No version of the treaty refers to the affiliates of either state as "nationals". The official Japanese and Chinese versions speak of l–¯ or "people". The unofficial English version has "subjects".


Kiusic Kimm (Kim Kyu Sik) on Korean independence movement

Kuisic Kimm, also known as Kim Kuisic and Kim Kyu-sik (‹àšõA 1881-1950) and by the penname Usa (–ÞŽj), was orphaned when a boy. From the age of six, he was educated under Horace Grant Underwood (1859-1916), an missionary sent to Korea in 1885 by the American Presbyterian Mission Board. He later studied in the United States, receiving a master's degree from Princeton University in 1904 a year after graduating from Roanoke College the previous year.

Roanoke's website boasts that "The first two Koreans ever to graduate from an American college or university received their degrees at Roanoke (Surh Kiu Beung in 1898 and Kimm Kiusic in 1903)" (retrieved 3 December 2009).

Kimm returned to Korea in 1905 but fled to China in 1913.

During the summer of 1919, a few months after the spread of uprisings in Chosen and elsewhere in Japan by Koreans advocating independence, he led a delegation of Koreans to France, where he pled Korea's case at the Paris Peace Conference. The uprisings had begun on 1 March 1919 but were quickly and somewhat brutally suppressed. The Peace Conference, related to settlements following the World War, had convened in January 1919 and would continue until January 1920, when the Treaty of Versailles would come into effect and the League of Nations would formally begin.

Kimm sailed from France to the United States to continue his appeal for support of the independece movement. On 23 August 1919, The New York Times published the following report of his activities in Paris and his views of the prospects for an independent Korea.

Kimm went on to became the vice president of the Korean Provisional Government, in exile in first Shanghai, then in Chungking (see both McKenzie 1920 and Chung 1921, below). I wonder how many copies of McKenzie's book he inscribed and distributed.


Two of Delegates Sent to Peace
Conference Arrive Here
from Paris.


Kiusic Kimm Declares Accounts of
Atrocities Told by Mission-
aries Are True.

Two members of the Korean party that went to the Peace Conference to plead "for liberation from Japan and for the reconstitution of Korea as an independent State," announced here yesterday that they would spend two months in this country in the interests of the cause of Korean independence. They arrived from Paris on the Noordam on Thursday and are at the McAlpin.

Kiusic Kimm, a Korean who was educated in this country, and who was head of the party in Paris, said that he believed full success in the movement would be many years off, unless Japanese policies came into such sharp conflict with those of one or more of the other four Great Powers that war would follow. He said he believed it probable that there would be conflict and that eventually the Far East would be reconstituted, Korea would be reestablished as an independent State, and Japan would be confined to close limits of expansion.

See The New York Times on-line database for the rest of this article in a pdf file.

Kimm's Paris mission failed to gain sympathy from the United States and other countries which had recognized Japan's annexation of Korea. The other Great Powers, still bleeding from the worst war in recent history, had no intention of confronting Japan over its control of, and jurisdiction in, Korea.

Kimm later became the vice-president of the provisional Republic of Korea government in Shanghai. After World War II, he returned to the peninsula, which Japan had surrendered to the Allied Powers, represented by United States and the Soviet Union south and north of 38th parallel. Kimm, in the American occupation zone, opposed the US push for UN sanctioned elections in the south, which would have excluded participation of the north.

The United States had its way, and when two Korean states were established in 1948, the United Nations recognized only the Republic of Korea (ROK), a movement which eventually motivated the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to invade ROK in an effort to reunite the country. In 1950, DPRK forces, after overrunning most of ROK, reportedly kidnapped Kimm and brought him to Manp'o (ŸÞ‰Y), on the norteast coast the peninsula, where he died.

In June 1920, Kimm was in Washington, D.C. long enough to inscribe a copy of F. A. McKenzie's Korea's Fight for Freedom, fresh off the press, to a Mr. Wang Shia, who I am not able to identify. My copy of this book, with Kimm's inscription, is reviewed in the next section.


Korea's Fight for Freedom (McKenzie 1920)

Frederick Arthur McKenzie (1869-1931) continued to write passionately about Korea.

F. A. McKenzie
Korea's Fight for Freedom
New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1920
320 pages, hardcover

The copy in my possession bears the following inscription, done with a fine-point fountain pen in a confident hand, on the front free endpaper.

To Mr. Wang Shia
     With Compliments
   from Kiusic Kimm
Washington, D.C.
  June 25/20

I have not been able to identify Wang Shia.

Kiusic Kimm, an ardent champion of Korean independence, went on to become the vice president of the Korean Provisional Government. For more about him, see Kiusic Kimm 1919 above, and Chung 1921 below.

McKenzie sets the tone for the book in his preface, which is undated.


(Page 5)

The peaceful uprising of the people of Korea against Japan in the spring of 1919 came as a world surprise. Here was a nation that had been ticketed and docketed by world statesmen as degenerate and cowardly, revealing heroism of a very high order.

[ Omitted. ]


(Page 6)

To understand what has happened, and what, as I write, is still happening, one has to go back for a few years. When Japan, in face of her repeated pledges, annexed Korea, her statesmen adopted an avowed policy of assimilation. They attempted to turn the people of Korea into Japanese -- an inferior brand of Japanese, a serf race, speaking the language and following the customs of their overlords, and serving them.

[ Omitted. ]

(Page 7)

The Japanese struck an unexpected strain of hardness in the Korean character. They found, underneath the surface apathy, a spirit as determined as their own. They succeeded, not in assimilating the people, but in reviving their sense of nationality.

[ Omitted. ]


(Pages 9-11)

When my book, "The Tragedy of Korea," was published in 1908, it seemed a thankless and hopeless task to plead for a stricken and forsaken nation. The book, however, aroused a wide-spread and growing interest. It has been more widely quoted and discussed in 1919 than in any previous year. Lawyers have argued over it in open court; statesmen have debated parts of it in secret conferences, Senates and Parliaments. At a famous political trial, one question was put to the prisoner, "Have you read the 'Tragedy of Korea'?" It has been translated into Chinese.

At first I was accused of exaggeration and worse. Subsequent events have amply borne out my statements and warnings. The book has been for a long time out of print, and even second-hand copies have been difficult to obtain. I was strongly urged to publish a new edition, bringing my narrative up to date, but I found that it would be better to write a new book, including in it, however, some of the most debated passages and chapters of the old. This I have done.


Some critics have sought to charge me with being "anti-Japanese." No man has written more appreciatively of certain phases of Japanese character and accomplishments than myself. My personal relations with the Japanese, more especially with the Japanese Army, left me with no sense of personal grievance but with many pleasant and cordial memories. My Japanese friends were good enough to say, in the old days, that these agreeable recollections were mutual.

I have long been convinced, however, that the policy of Imperial expansion adopted by Japan, and the means employed in advancing it, are a grave menace to her own permanent well-being and to the future peace of the world. I am further convinced that the militarist party really controls Japanese policy, and that temporary modifications which have been recently announced do not imply any essential change of national plans and ambitions. If to believe and to proclaim this is "anti-Japanese," then I plead guilty to the charge. I share my guilt with many loyal and patriotic Japanese subjects, who see, as I see, the perils ahead.


In this book I describe the struggle of an ancient people towards liberty. I tell of a Mongol nation, roughly awakened from its long sleep, under conditions of tragic terror, that has seized hold of and is clinging fast to, things vital to civilization as we see it, freedom and free faith, the honour of their women, the development of their own souls.

I plead for Freedom and Justice. Will the world hear?

F. A. McKenzie.

In the first chapter, McKenzie reviews Japan's role in opening Korea. His assessment of the meaning of Article 1 in the principal 1876 treaty of amity between the two countries is notably more cynical than it was in his 1908 book (see above).


[ Omitted. ]

(Pages 21-22)

Japan, which herself after considerable internal trouble, had accepted the coming of the Westerner as inevitable, tried on several occasions to renew relations with Korea. At first she was repulsed. In 1876 [sic = 1875] a Japanese ship, approaching the Korean coast, was fired on, as the Japanese a generation before had fired on foreign ships approaching their shore. There was a furious demand all over the country for revenge. Ito and other leaders with cool heads resisted the demand, but took such steps that Korea was compelled to conclude a treaty opening several ports to Japanese trade and giving Japan the right to send a minister to Seoul, the capital. The first clause of the first article of the treaty was in itself a warning of future trouble. "Chosen (Korea) being an independent state enjoys the same sovereign rights as does Japan." In other words Korea was virtually made to disown the slight Chinese protectorate which had been exercised for centuries.

The Chinese statesmen in Peking watched this undisturbed. They despised the Japanese too much to fear them, little dreaming that this small nation was within less than twenty years to humble them in the dust. Their real fear at this time was not Japan but Russia. Russia was stretching forth throughout Asia, and it looked as though she would try to seize Korea itself. And so Li Hung-chang advised the Korean rulers to guard themselves.

"You must open your doors to other nations in order to keep out Russia," he told them. At the same time it was intimated to Ministers in Peking, particularly to the American Minister, that if he would approach the Koreans, they would be willing to listen. Commodore Shufeldt was made American Envoy, and an American-Korean Treaty was signed at Gensan on May 22, 1882. It was, truth to tell, a somewhat amateurish production, and had to be amended before it was finally ratified. It provided for the appointment of diplomatic and Consular officials, and for the opening of the country to commerce. A treaty with Britain was concluded in the following year, and other nations followed.

One clause in the American Treaty was afterwards regarded by the Korean ruler as the sheet anchor of his safety, until storm came and it was found that the sheet anchor did not hold.

There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between the President of the United States and the King of Chosen and the citizens and subjects of their respective Governments. If other powers deal unjustly or oppressively with either Government, the other will exert their good offices, on being informed of the case, to bring about an amicable arrangement, thus showing their friendly feelings.

All of the treaties provided for extra-territoriality in Korea, that is to say that the foreigners charged with any offence there should be tried not by the Korean Courts but by their own, and punished by them.

[ Rest omitted. ]

His concluding chapter is a somewhat desperate plea to "the Christian Churches of the United States, Canada and Britian" (page 315).


"What do you want us to do?" men ask me. "Do you seriously suggest that America or Great Britain should risk a breach of good relations or even a war with Japan to help Korea? If not, what is the use of saying anything? You only make the Japanese harden their hearts still more."

What can we do? Everything!

I appeal first to the Christian Churches of the United States, Canada and Britain. I have seen what your representatives, more particularly the agents of the American and Canadian Churches, have accomplished in Korea itself. They have built wisely and well, and have launched the most hopeful and flourishing Christian movement in Asia. Their converts have established congregations that are themselves missionary churches, sending out and supporting their own teachers and preachers to China. A great light has been lit in Asia. Shall it be extinguished? For, make no mistake, the work is threatened with destruction. Many of the church buildings have been burned; many of the native leaders have been tortured and imprisoned; many of their followers, men, women and children, have been flogged, or clubbed, or shot.

You, the Christians of the United States and of Canada, are largely responsible for these people. The teachers you sent and supported taught them the faith that led them to hunger for freedom. They taught them the dignity of their bodies and awakened their minds. They brought them a Book whose commands made them object to worship the picture of Emperor -- even of Japanese Emperor -- made them righteously angry when they were ordered to put part of their Christian homes apart for the diseased outcasts of the Yoshiwara to conduct their foul business, made them resent having the trade of the opium seller or the morphia agent introduced among them.

[ Rest omitted. ]

The rest, as one might say, is history.

Much of the Korean "nationalism" that pooled in pockets of resistance to Japanese rule outside but also within Japan (including Chosen), appealed to what what I would call the "religious nationalism" of the Euro-American world -- the hope that, in rescuing Korea, and later China, from the Japan's increasing strong influence, they would could be conquered by Christianity.


The Rebirth of Korea (Cynn 1920)

Hugh Heung-wo Cynn wrote very passionately, and very much from a Christian perspective, about the prospects of the 1 March 1919 independence movement.

Hugh Heung-wo Cynn
The Rebirth of Korea
(The Reawakening of the People / Its Causes, and the Outlook)
New York: The Arbingdon Press), 1920
272 pages, hardcover

The title page of Cynn's book states that he was "Principal Pai Chai Haktang, Seoul, Korea". The book is dedicated "To the Women in Korea".

The front matter and main text of Cynn's book consume only 187 pages. The rest of the book consists of appendices, fifty pages of which (223-272) are given to ten treaties, from the 1876 amity treaty to the 1910 annexation treaty. All ten treaties "are taken from Korean Treaties compiled by Henry Chung, and are used here with the permission of the compiler" (page 223).

The "Korean Treaties" compilation was apparently published in New York in 1919, according to Henry Chung's The Case of Korea, which was published in 1921. This book is arguably the best contemporary statement by a Korean on the Korean Independence Movement (see Chung 1921, below).

In the body of the text of his book, Cynn refers to the 1910 treaty, called "The Treaty of Annexation" (pages 271-271) in the appendices, as "the Treaty of Union" (page 84). He also characterizes the event as "the fateful 'Union of Japan and Korea'" (page 86).

Cynn does not remark on the fact that, as of its union with Japan, Korea was renamed Chosen. However, in citing laws related to the 1 March 1919 uprisings, he refers to "the Governor-General of Chosen" in the formal manner by which the office was known (page 91).

"foreigners" as "disinterested third parties"

Cynn also makes the following rather interesting statement (page 120).

As a summary on the whole situation, a further analysis of which is too long to make, a document called, "Some Reasons Underlying the Present Agitation in Chose," which was presented to "important Japanese in Tokyo" by a committee of foreigners from Korea, is here appended in the hope that it will make clear to the reader that these are facts as seen by disinterested third parties whose views can be relied upon as unbiased.

The fully cited document consumes the next five full pages of the book. It refers only to "Korea" and "Koreans".

By "foreigners" or "disinterested third parties" Cynn appears to mean someone other than Japanese or Koreans. That is, it is not "Japanese from Korea" or "Koreans from Korea" who are presenting the document to "Japanese in Tokyo" -- but persons who would be "foreigners" from the viewpoint of the "Imperial government" if not the "government-general" referred to in the document.

Cynn is not, of course, interested in names, but in independence and Christianity.

Cynn was apparently was based in Chosen, from which he seems to have been able to travel fairly freely outside Japan to paticipate in Christian conferences, and also in Institute of Pacific Relations activities.

Unfortunately I have no other information about him.


The Case of Korea (Chung 1921)

One of the better contemporary writers about the Korean Independence Movement was Henry Chung.

Henry Chung
The Case of Korea
(A Collection of Evidence on the Japanese Domination of Korea, and on the Development of the Korean Independence Movement)
New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1921
367 pages, hardcover

My copy of this book is inscribed by the author as follows.

My good friend and
Classmate Henry C. Keene
With My Compliments
and best wishes

  Henry Chung
    Washington, D. C.
      June 18, 1921

I have not been able to discover anything about Henry C. Keene. Henry Chung left a number of tracks that can be traced in archives (see below).

The by-line includes the titles "A.M., Ph.D.". Chung is further described as a "Member of Korean Commission to America and Europe" and as the "Author of 'The Oriental Policy of the United States,' 'Korean Treaties,' etc.".

The title page also states "With Foreword by / Hon. Selden P. Spencer / U. S. Senator from Missouri". Neither Spencer's Foreword nor Chung's Preface are dated. Both were stated to have been written in Washington, D.C.

Brave Men and Women

Chung's dedictation reads -- "To the memory of those BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN who suffered martyrdom in the national movement of 1919 that Korea might have restored independence this volume is respectfully inscribed".

Chung indexes "Korea" and related terms but, in the text, refers to "Chosen" both obliquely and directly.

The first phrase of the first page of the "Introduction" reads -- "Korea, the land of Morning Calm, is a country that lies between China, Japan and Russian Siberia" (page 25). Later in the introduction he makes this statement (page 33).

Korea made her first treaty with Japan in 1876, the first article of which reads: "Chosen, being an independent state, enjoys the same sovereign rights as does Japan."

Chung's appendices include a few treaties from 1882, but not the 1876 treaty. He repeats the above line in a list of citations from six treaties signed by Japan with various countries between 1876 and 1904, which testify to "Japan's Guarantee of Korean Independence" (page 339).

Chung's appendices also include a list treaties with between Korea and ten "other powers", and a foot note satates that the full texts may be seen in "the author's Korean Treaties (New York, 1919)" (page 339).

Chung refers matter of frankly to the "Bank of Chosen" (from page 117). He does not explain that it had been renamed this from the "Bank of Korea" or otherwise fuss about the name "Chosen".

Chung obviously differentiates "Japanese" and "Koreans" but seems also to do so on in terms of "nationality" -- for he states that under the "Japanese Government in Korea . . . the Japanese, backed by their Government" have taken control over every commercial and industrial channel, and that "The Korean merchant cannot compete with the Japanese because of the preferential treatment accorded to Japanese nationals" (page 121).

Chung thus represents most contemporary writers in English, in that he writes of "Korea" and "Koreans" as though they were not within the semantic range of "Japan" and "Japanese" -- though in law, and in diplomatic practice, they were.

Chung and Singman Rhee

The Digital Library of the University of Southern California features some items in the Korean Heritage Library. Items include documents that are part "The Reverend Soon Hyun Collected Works" contributed to the library by the "Korean Independence Historical Association, Inc. (KIHAI)".

One document is a "copy" (rather than original) of a letter, dated 21 April 1921, from George. W. Stearn to Henry Chung, Secretary Korean Commission, Continental Trust Building, Washington, D.C.. In the letter, Stearn paraphrases the content of a letter he apparently had received from Chung, to the effect that Syngman Rhee (1875-1965), President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea government, had dismissed Soon Hyon (Sun Hyon, 1879-1968), who was therefore "no longer a member of the Korean Commission and has no authority to act as Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States nor as Representative of the Republic of Korea in any capacity or form whatever" -- in Stearn's words.

Stearn, seemingly an ardent supporter of Soon, questioned the manner of his dismissal by Rhee. Apparently Soon and Rhee had exhanged telegraphs about financial problems and the closing of the Philadelphia Office of the provisional government, Rhee had asked for Soon's resignation, Soon had refused, and Rhee had fired him. By the mid 1920s, Rhee himself had been ousted from the Korean Provisional Government, which was headquartered in Shanghai.

The third page of the letter more fully describes Chung as "Secretary of the Korean Commission to the United States and Europe of the Republic of Korea" -- which adds new meaning to the title claimed on the title page of his book.

Whoever prepared the copy of the letter stated, at the beginning of an archival note on the page 4 of the 4-page document, that "The writer of the foregoing letter, Mr. George W. Stearn, is a native born American citizen but a good and close friend of Dr. Syngman Rhee, the President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. He has been and is a consistent and loyal friend of Korea, and earnest and persistent advocate of full and complete independence for our country. . . ." The note goes on to list the various positions Stearn held in organizations and on committies.

The "Korean Commission" section includes 24 items. The following two items are of special interest.

1944 telegram to Kim Koo and Kim Kiusic in Chungking

A telegram dated 30 September 1944 to President Kim Koo and Vicepresident Kim Kiusic, Members State Council of the Korean Provisional Goverment in Chungking, concerned plans to send agents to Manchuria and Korea, and otherwise organize military actions against Japanese, and order oversea Koreans to support such mobilization.

Text of a telegram to President Kim Koo (Kim Ku), Vicepresident Kim Kiusic (Kim Kyu-sik), Members State Council KOPOGO Chungking,
Collection: Soon Hyun collected works
Creator: (Correspondent) Korea (Provisional Government, 1919-1945)
Date: 1944-09-30

The KOPOGO -- as the Korean Provisional Government (KPG) was called in the telegrapm -- had been in Shanghai when Japanese forces invaded and occupied that part of China in 1937. KPG followed Chiang Kai-shek's Republic of China government into exile in Chungking. In 1941, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, KPG joined ROC in declaring war on Japan.

Until this, ROC had not been at war with Japan. Japan never did declare war on ROC, as from 1940 it had recognized the government of Wang Ching-wei.

1942 census of Koreans in Montana

This document consists of a single page written in Korean -- though only "Montana" is shown in hangul. The document is very simple. There is short title, a few figures, and the date 15 February 1942.

Koreans in Montana: 1942 'census'
Collection: KNA documents
Creator: (Compiler) Korean Commission (Washington, D.C.)
Date: 1942-02-15

A total head count of 100 is broken down into 30 "first generation" (ˆê¢) and 70 "second generation" (“ñ¢) people. These in turn are broken down into respectively two and three gender and family status categories.

Han'in, Kanjin, Karabito

The title reads 몬타나’n”VŠØllŒû’²¸ -- meaning "Survey of population of Korea people in Montana".

The term for "Korea people" (ŠØl SK 한인 Han'in, SJ Kanjin) is the same as that used in the 1910 annexation treaty to refer to the people of the Empire of Korea. As a consequence of the treaty, the Empire of Korea became territory within Japan called ’©‘N (SJ Chōsen), and Kanjin became Chōsenjin (’©‘Nl) or "Chōsen people".

As a reference in early 8th century Japanese historical chronologies for people who inhabited part of present-day Korean peninsula, ŠØl was pronounced "Karabito" -- meaning "people of Kara".