The Experience of Importing and Translating a Semantic System: ’Civilization’, ’West’, and ’Russia’ in the English and Korean Editions of The Independent. (The period of Kojong’s flight to Russian Legation: 1896 April 7th to 1897 February 20th)

 

                                                                                            V.Tikhonov (Oslo University).

 

I. Foreword.               

 

Among many differences between the radical reformers of the 1880s (Kim Okkyun, Pak Yŏnghyo, etc.), and their successors in the 1890s (Sŏ Jaep’il, Yun Ch’iho, etc.), one of the most important may be termed “linguistic”.  The radicals of the 1880s, brought up and schooled in Confucian tradition, used classic Chinese – or, in some cases, a form of vernacular Korean heavily loaded with Chinese logographs – as their medium of choice. While taking European/American modernity as the point of reference in theory, they were unable to use books in European languages or communicate without interpreter (or resorting to the written discussion in classic Chinese) with the people from outside of the East Asian cultural sphere. Very much as it was the case with the members of Korean Courtiers’ Observation Mission of 1881 who had to translate Japanese documents and books into classic Chinese to make them available for usage in Korean practice, the radical reformers of the 1880s used mainly Japanese texts as the media for understanding “civilization and progress”, simply appropriating the Meiji-coined logograph-based neologisms for their classic Chinese treatises and memorials. In many cases, such ”linguistic appropriation” was highly superficial – the 1880s radicals hardly were able to convincingly explain the original meaning of those Western concepts, Japanese-coined “translation words” for which they were using. The descriptive models they used in their classic Chinese writings hardly showed any signs of “modernization”: citations from Confucian classics, traditional idioms, as well as general tendency to begin with abstractly formulated “laws” and “rules” and then proceed with more concrete examples, demands, and conclusions, mark their writings. In a word, they did invoke Meiji-coined equivalents of “modern” Western terms whenever political necessity urged them to do so, but certainly were not qualified to translate and explain the “new world” of “civilization and enlightenment” to the Korean public.                                                               

The radical reformers of the 1890s, who, on the top of earlier Confucian background were, for the most part, schooled in Japan and the USA (or learned English and Japanese in Korea) had different tasks. As their project of building modern Korean nationalism involved the ideological and political mobilization of much larger community that the traditional audience of classic Chinese-using literati, they had to build up also the language of Korean nationalism – “modernized” sort of vernacular usable for narrating on “civilization and enlightenment”. The background for creating that “modernized” vernacular could be both English (which the USA-educated leaders of the 1890s reformers mastered on near-native level) and Japanese – the latter possessed large vocabulary of logograph-based Western-influenced neologisms already tapped by the earlier reformers in the 1880s. As British/American “modernity” was considered “referent”, the ultimate “goal” for Korea’s “progress”, English was accorded the standing reserved previously for classic Chinese: English narratives (mostly centred on “civilization”/”progress” topics) were produced by the reformers as “models”, whereas vernacular structures usually were translations of the “model” English” ones made with the help of Japanese “modern” vocabulary. In this semantic context, the fact of printing of the English version of The Independent by the 1890s reformers was highly symbolic: it connoted their ability to produce “model narratives” on themselves, and, by implication, their “civilizedness”. The way of producing the “model” English narratives of the “enlightenment” largely harked back to the Confucian past: just as ample and artful use of ready-made literary idioms was considered  “good style” in Korean classic Chinese, the sentences and/or phraseology from popular English narratives (newspapers, journals, textbooks) found their way into the English pages of The Independent. The process of translating these “enlightenment narratives” into the vernacular paralleled the process of transplanting Western “civilization” onto Korean soil, as envisioned by the radicals. Unlike their 1880s forerunners, they were highly active and assertive in the role of “interpreters” of the “model narratives” of “civilization and enlightenment” for those who were not lucky enough to benefit directly from Western/Japanese education and had to be “enlightened” through the medium of Korean vernacular. Also in contrast with the 1880s radicals, the 1890s “enlightenment” circle, albeit not totally devoid of Confucian background, was consciously anti-Confucian in its attitudes: Christianity, the “religion of civilization”, was considered much worthier and was to supersede Confucian dogmas as the unifying meta-narrative of the “new country”. However, as “modern” part of Korean vocabulary was yet rather underdeveloped and many Japanese-coined “translation words” for the “modern” concepts were yet simply foreign to the general public, traditional, Confucianism-influenced terms and idioms had to be mobilized to better interpret the narrative of “enlightenment and civilization” to the vernacular readership.

  

 What kind of phraseology did the English-enchanted radical reformers use for describing and explaining Russia?  While for some moderate reformers of the 1880-1890s (Yu Giljun, for example) Russia represented mostly “threat” (in the same way it was feared by contemporary moderate Chinese reformers, typically Wang Tao), the radicals viewed it rather as a part of the “civilization and enlightenment”’s “model”. For them, Russia represented achievement of the “civilized” standards by previously a “non-civilized” country – achievement praised in the same terms that were reserved for Japan’s Meiji leap into the “civilized” area. “Concerns” about Russia’s “aggressiveness” started when the relationship between the Russian diplomats in Seoul and pro-American reformist group started to seriously deteriorate in the beginning of 1897, but even after that the criticism of Russia’s Korean policy did not prevent the editorial writers of The Independent from describing Russia in the same “civilization” and “enlightenment” terms. While some measure of Pan-Asianism is certainly discernable in the editorials of The Independent, “Russian threat” never was explicitly taken as the main ground for the “alliance of three East Asian states”. Temporary political conflicts aside, Russia remained a part to the “model” the creators of The Independent imagined for Korea’s future.

 

The appropriation of the 19th C. language of “civilization and progress” by America-educated Korean reformers will be analysed here from the viewpoint of the theoretical approach to the problems of cultural dialogue pioneered in Russian cultural studies by Yu. Lotman (1922-1993). Lotman used to emphasize that, in case of “asymmetrical” dialogues between the dominant cultural discourse and a non-dominant culture relegated to the “peripheral” position, the language of the former is supposed to be thoroughly mastered, and the texts in “dominant” language are supposed to be produced. As texts in “dominant” language and/or their direct translations into “peripheral” language are taken as (semi)-sacred, “true by definition”, the “dominant” culture is described as “absolute light”, as opposed to the “darkness” of autochthonous tradition. This kind of attitude was adopted, for example, by the Byzantium-educated/influenced representatives of mediaeval Russian ruling class towards Slavic local cults (“heathenism”), as well as by Russian Westernizers of 18th C. and after towards Russified Byzantine traditions[1]. Arguably, the totality of the espousal of Western “enlightenment” and renunciation of local (Confucian, Buddhist, Shamanist) “darkness” by the pro-American reformers of the 1890s featured all the traits of such “wholesale” acceptance of the “dominant” language/discourse. In Western post-colonial studies, essentializing/homogenizing, and glorifying as “ideal”/”model”, simultaneously with discounting “local tradition” as “backward” – phenomenon known in most Western-dominated “peripheral” societies – is classified sometimes as one form of “auto-Orientalism”, or “Occidentalism”[2].  It is well known that “Occidentalism” in all its forms tends to generalize the discourse on “the West”, often to the point of effacing important differences between the political/cultural entities lumped together as “Western”. In this way, inability of The Independent authors to give “Russia” they imagined and created more concrete and distinguishable characteristics can be regarded as typical for the “Occidentalist” descriptive patterns. Still, while identified with “West”/”modernity” to the point of almost losing its own distinctive features, “Russia” of The Independent is definitely removed from the Anglo-Saxon/Protestant “centre” of the imagined “Western civilization”. In the terms of world-system theory, that may be explained by the realities of British-dominated capitalist world of late 19th C. which were internalised by the East Asian intellectual elite already in the 1870-80s: such different thinkers as moderate Confucian reformer Wang Tao and anti-Confucian Japanese reformer Fukuzawa Yukichi, equally placed British/American “civilizations” on the top of the evolutionary pyramid. But, even as “British/American” was recognized as a “trope” for “European”/”civilized”, Russia’s place in the ranks of “model” European powers – somewhere on par with French or Germany – was never questioned. It may be productive to compare the perception of “civilization” by The Independent writers with that of, for example, contemporary Thai elite: the latter exhibited very similar penchant for emphasizing British/American “centrality” and taking the Westernised culture of Russian ruling class as a sign of Russia’s belonging to homogenized, essentialized “Western civilized world”[3] 

 

II. The Aim and Limits of the Present Work:

 

The present report is a part of an ongoing research project, which is devoted to the analysis of The Independent’s attitude towards Russia throughout the whole periods of its publication (1896 April 7th – 1899 December 4th). Due to the time restrictions, I am going to confine the current presentation to the “honeymoon” period of close cooperation between pro-American reformers in power and Russian Legation – the period of King Kojong’s prolonged stay in Russian diplomatic mission (up to February 20th, 1897). As political aspects of the collaboration between “Chŏngdongp’a” – the pro-American group – and Russian diplomats in the troubled 1894-1899 period are already well described in research literature[4], I will not dwell on them and instead, will focus on how, in what ideological forms, through which semantic idioms, these relationship of political collaboration were represented in The Independent. Among the existing analyses of The Independent’s content, Kim Yuwŏn’s recent work[5] was of much use in the process of writing the present article. But, unlike Kim Yuwŏn, the present author is taking into consideration not only editorials but also all the remaining sections of the newspaper – chappo (“miscellaneous news”), kwanbo (“official news”), and weguk t’ongsin (“foreign news”) in Korean editions and “local items”, “department news”, “exchange”, and “latest telegrams” in English editions – as well, for the selection and manner of coverage of Russia-related items in these non-editorial sections were also obviously influenced by both immediate political considerations and deeper ideological sympathies. While the traditional viewpoint on the ideological inclinations of the pro-American reformers’ group centered on Sŏ Jaep’il describe them as “enlightenment” and characterize Sŏ himself as “Korean Voltaire”[6], revisionist historians emphasize his “statist” (kukkwŏnjuŭijŏk), elite-centered view of “civic rights”, Euro-centric and Social Darwinist background of his understanding of “civilization”, as well as subsequent “defeatism” (p’aebaejuŭi) in his views on Korea’s development – once Korea would follow China in its perceived “failure” to civilize itself, imperialistic “grab” of its territory and national rights was seen by Sŏ as historically inevitable[7]. While agreeing that Sŏ’s “auto-Orientalism” certainly can be described as a form of “self-peripherizing”, and essentially Euro-centric thinking, the present author still insists that his model of “catch-up development” did not completely lack positive features. Although his idea of “civilizing” Korea through “transplanting” generalized “Western” ideas and institutions (including, for example, Russian military discipline) did emphasize “strong” developmental state (as well as unquestioned loyalty to it on the part of the subjects), state-promoted internalization of “modern” discipline on personal level, and state-driven campaigns against “backward” local culture (Chinese acupuncture, shamanism, etc.), his view of “modernity” cannot be reduced to its “oppressive” and “destructive” aspects exclusively. Lots of “modernization” questions vital to the underprivileged – first and foremost, the unchecked official corruption that virtually nipped in the bud the sprouts of the capitalist growth “from below” in the country – were often addressed by The Independent, Russia being mentioned, among other things, as an example, of “modern”, “clean” bureaucracy that allowed Korean settlers in the Maritime Province to prosper economically (see below). The present author hopes that this article will contribute to the drawing of more accurate, fuller picture of the views of the 1890s radicals by showing concretely, in details, what aspects of European (Russia included) “modernity” were thought worth “transplanting”, and how the “civilizing”/”transplanting” process was conceived.                

 

III. Russia as a “Model” of and “Helper” in “Civilization”: The Independent, April 1896 – February 1897.

 

The first English issue of The Independent (1896, April 7th) opened with the editorial, which ended with elucidating on the paper’s “platform”. “Platform” was formulated in the following way:

“Korea for the Koreans, clean politics, the cementing of foreign friendships, the gradual though steady development of Korean resources with Korean capital as far as possible, under expert foreign tutelage, the speedy translation of foreign textbooks into Korean that the youth may have access to the great things of history, science, art and religion without having to acquire a foreign tongue, and Long Live to His Majesty, The King”[8].

As we can see, the reformers were open about what they considered the main element of “civilizing” Korea: “foreign expertise” was to be transplanted, both directly through foreign specialists (“development of recourses under foreign tutelage”) and indirectly in the process of translating Western “textbooks” into the vernacular. In this vision of modernity as “transplantation”, Koreans were explicitly likened to “children”: they were to study “foreign textbooks” under “foreign tutelage”, the usage of both words with strong connotations to the “schooling process” hardly being an accident. “Schooling” was a metaphor of the “civilization process” as a whole; in its literal meaning, it also was taken as crucial for Korea’s “progress”. The view that success of schooling heavily depended on the vernacular translations of foreign books, was expressed by the writers of The Independent in several later editorials as well:

 “The time has now come when Korea should adopt a national system of education.                To do this several things are necessary. First it needs a full set of educational works translated into the Korean. Here there is an utter lack in the present. There is no arithmetic, no general history, no geography suited for a general text book, no history of Korea itself. (…). Get the Korean to understand that preferment of any kind depends more on his capacity than on his family name and soon we shall see here what was seen in Japan, an impulse toward education was simply overwhelming” (The Independent, English edition, 1896, May 16th)[9].

The editorial did also make a point that, unlike the government-run schools of English established before, the newly projected schools should not become simply “interpreter-mills” churning out nothing more than speakers of the language; “thorough rounded elementary education” was suggested as the goal, Japan being the “model”. But, as “thorough rounded” education was supposed to be based on the “full set of educational works translated into Korean”, its “thoroughness” seemingly meant, first and foremost, “thorough” transplanting of “referent” European “modernity” onto Korean soil. That physical presence of “modern” foreigners was considered an important element too, is visible from another English editorial:

“The students of the different schools give us more hope than any other class of Koreans, especially those children who are under foreigner’s supervision. The boys in the schools under a foreign teacher are entirely different from the lads who are idling away their time at their homes or who waste the precious moments of their young lives in committing to memory the Chinese classics. The students who are taught by the foreigners have the same kind of ambitions as the boys of European and American schools. They have eagerness for knowledge; they acquire independent, manly habits, spirit and disposition; they are ambitious to be well informed on all subjects so that they can converse and deal with the people of the world on equal terms; they look down on those who are not honourable nor patriotic (…). As to the athletic sports, young Koreans take to them like ducks to water. They are passionately fond of military drill (…). The Royal English School boys have been recently taught to play football under the direction of a foreign friend of the school. These boys go at it with such vim and earnestness that they have won the praise and admiration of their instructor. (…) When Koreans are properly guided and encouraged, they will become new being” (The Independent, 1896, December 3rd)[10].

 

As we can see, the foreign “tutelage” mentioned in the paper’s “platform”, was to lead Koreans to attaining both agile, docile (in Foucauldian sense of the term) “modern” bodies, and  “modern” Weltanschuung marked by the attitude of equality towards the “civilized” world (“converse and deal with the people of the world on equal terms”) and contempt towards the “uncivilized native” (“look down on those who are not honourable nor patriotic”). In a word, by The Independent’s own expression, “tutelage” was a necessary tool for turning an “uncivilized” Korean into a “modern” “new being”.

 

What kind of image for Russia did the newspaper that proclaimed its intention to lead the “regeneration” of the Koreans into “new beings” create? Let us observe in details in what contexts and manner was Russia mentioned on the pages of The Independent in various periods:

 

1)      1896:

 

1. April: Russia mentioned in the Korean edition on April 14th in connection with a letter published by a Russian daily, Novoe Vremya, on the desirability of taking Mokp’o, a conveniently located port. The Independent assures the readers that Russia “is not likely” to follow the advice[11]. Next Korean edition, on April 16th, informs the readers of the forthcoming coronation of Tsar Nikolai II, which will involve “150 thousand of troops and a military orchestra that will demonstrate Russia’s wealth”. Next issue (Korean edition, April 18th) explains that, as Russia-led Triple Intervention in April 1895 helped China to retain Liaotung, China will, “out of gratitude”, lease a port to Russian and give them a railroad concession. Finally, English edition on April 28th informs that two postal clerks were sent to Vladivostok to study postal system there[12]. All in all, the image this kind of news could create was that of definitely “civilized” (“wealthy”) country, “helping” its less blessed neighbours (in the same way, USA’s relations with Cuban anti-Spanish independence movement are also depicted as “help”), certainly not menacing for Korea, and deserving being studied (for example, its postal system is an object of “study”). Russia was portrayed as a part of the “civilized West” that was to “tutor” Korea.

 While Korean editorials for April, 1896, did not deal with Russia specifically, lots of admonitions of general type on how to deal with foreigners and “foreign knowledge” were provided to the readership. The inaugural Korean editorial on April 7th promised to the readership that the newspaper ”will report from time to time on the situation in foreign lands so that those Koreans who cannot travel to foreign countries may learn about them”, so that their “wisdom (chihye) would progress (chinbo)”[13]. The combination of such term as “wisdom”, solidly grounded not only in Confucian, but also in Buddhist tradition, with Japanese-coined translation word for “progress” (Japanese pronunciation: shinbo)[14] shows very well how The Independent was going to overcome the barrier between the world of Korean tradition and new language of “civilization”: new terms and concepts were introduced in close association with the traditional ones more intelligible for the average reader. The same method was employed by the next Korean editorial on April 9th:

“(…) As all people of the world are brothers, every person who comes to live in Korea is a guest of Korean people. It is a barbarian act if a host either mistreats or harms a guest; but, if a guest will not regard Korean people a respectable host and will treat them rudely, it is harmful for the whole country. (…)”[15]. Old Confucian abstract belief that “all within the four seas are brothers”[16], is used here for explaining why it is “barbarian” in modern sense of the world (the term “barbarian”, yaman, here is the antonym for “civilization”, munmyŏng, in “civilization and enlightenment” discourse) to disregard those who were considered “barbarian” (ijŏk) in traditional Neo-Confucian Korea. As we can see, translation of the language of “civilization” and “modernity” required both artful use of traditional concepts to explain the new ones, and Japanese-coined “translation words” for the “modernity”-related Western vocabulary. Only by such a combined method could “Russia” and the rest of the “West” be presented to a Korean reader in positive, friendly light.                           

 

  2. May: Russia-related coverage is centred on its military capacities and political course in connection with the Korean affairs. Russian warship and gunboats sent to the Pacific (English edition, May 9th) are mentioned, as well as Korean purchase of Russian rifles and ammunition (English edition, May 14th). At the same time, Russia’s might was not portrayed as “threatening”: the Novosti’s stance that Russia did not intend to entrench itself in Korea, but just did not want any other state to do so, is introduced uncommented (English and Korean editions, May 16th), as well as the Vedomosti’s claim that Russia supported Korea’s independence (Korean edition, May 5th), while the North China Herald’s claim that Russia was dominating Korean affairs already, is refuted in details in a special editorial (English edition, May 7th).  Symbolically, Russia’s “civilized” status is emphasised in the accounts on the garden party given by Russian Minister K.Waeber (English and Korean editions, May 28th), “one of the most brilliant entertainments ever given in Korea” where K.Waeber was reported to escort the wife of American Minister to the refreshments, while his own wife was escorted by the American-educated Japanese Minister[17]. Russia continues to be viewed somewhere on pair with the “referent” “civilized country”, America, although the coverage share of the latter is, for understandable reasons, incomparably bigger.

Admonitory articles on how to further make Korean closer to the “civilized powers”, continued to appear in the Korean edition in May. For one good example, on May 2nd, Korean edition editorialised on how to “improve” Korean “race” (injong), which, as Sŏ Jaep’il stated, was innately better than any other “Oriental race” – “more diligent than Chinese race, and stronger than Japanese race”. Sŏ Jaep’il’s advice to the government on the matter of “race improvement was “to follow the example of other countries” and “benefit the commoners” (literally: “bestow favour” – ŭnhye-rŭl kkich’ida) with a new water pipes system, so that “Korean race” might grow healthier[18]. Japanese-coined term for the newly introduced Western concept of “race”[19], as well as Galtonian ideas of “race improvement”, were presented in that editorial in an skilful combination with the time-honoured concept of government “benefiting” the “people below”. In such a combination, the advice “to follow the example of other countries” could look more acceptable to the readers.    

The idea of the “inherent superiority” of “Korean race” in comparison with other “Orientals” was again explained in simplest possible terms in the May 30th Korean editorial. That Koreans enjoyed some “inborn advantages” in comparison with “slow, filthy, stubborn Chinese, unable to learn good things and insensitive to the mockery by others”, sounded more or less commonsensical for the ears of “progressive” 1890s readership, already accustomed to the Orientalist rhetoric of “poor wretched China”.  But the statement that even Japanese, however “quick to learn the civilization from others” they might be, were still “inferior to Koreans” due to their “impetuous character”, was certainly rather novel. The agenda beyond all these “racial” comparisons is visible from the last sentence of the statement – Koreans were “to become the first race of the Orient once taught properly”[20]. Sŏ Jaep’il obviously tried hard to persuade his readership that “enlightenment of Korea” along the lines of the “civilized powers” was a fully feasible project with tremendous prospects of success: Koreans were to become “the first race of the Orient” not just a “civilized nation”, once his admonitions would be paid heed to.        

 

3. June: A visit to Russian and French schools by Russian and French Ministers was given ample coverage in both Korean (June 4th) and English (June 4th); Korean article expressed its hopes on “civilizing influence” of Russian and French teaching pointing out that the pupils (one of whom gave a welcome speech in French) were “becoming the same as in other countries”. A report from Kobe Chronicle on the demarche by British and American Ambassadors in St.-Petersburg who had reportedly asked both Russia and Japan to safeguard Korea’s neutrality was given due attention in Korean (June 9th) and English (June 11th) editions, but much more prominence was accorded to the detailed reports from Moscow where Nikolai II’s coronation ceremony was in full swing (English and Korean editions – June 18th). At the same time, Khodynka Field catastrophe (which took the lives of more than 1000 coronation spectators!) was covered by rather brief notices (English and Korean: June 13th). Khodynka tragedy – which gave the reason for harsh criticism of Russia in liberal and social-democratic Western newspapers – being downplayed, Russia’s demands to Turkey to stop massacres of Christians by “Muslim barbarians” (Kor. Mohamed gyo yaman-dŭl) were featured (Korean edition: June 16th), together with The Independent’s own fundraising campaign for Armenian victims of “Muslim barbarism” (Korean and English editions: June 16th). On the whole, Russia’s “civilized” status (contrasted to the “barbarism” of its Muslim neighbours) was explicitly emphasized, especially in context of its alliance with other undoubtedly “civilized” state, France: celebrations of Nikolai II’s coronation in Paris was duly mentioned (Korean and English editions, June 25th)[21].

Encouragements to ”study the civilization” from the generalized ”West” remained in June the main fare of The Independent’s Korean editorials. On June 2nd, the newspaper editorially advised Korean publishers to “hire some highly learned Westerners proficient in Korean (nop’ŭn hangmun innŭn Chosŏn mal hanŭn Sŏyang saram) in order to translate” Western technical and scientific literature[22]. On June 6th, the Korean editorial on the evil of traditional pre-arranged marriages extolled the “customs of other countries” (of course, “West” was meant) where lovers were free to marry through romance, which, according to The Independent’s colorful description, ended usually when the two “go to church and pledge in face of God to love, respect, and help each other”[23]. And, in the famous June 20th Korean editorial advocating the erection of the Independence Arch (Tongnip mun; to be afterwards designed by a Russian architect), The Independent explained how Koreans could earn the “respect” and “equal treatment” by the “other countries”. Only equal standing of Korean king with “other sovereigns”, Sŏ Jaep’il editorialized, might lead Korean people to the equality with “other nations”: thus, “love and sacrifice for His Majesty King of Korea” was the only way for Koreans to an equal position in the world[24]. So, “learning from the West” and “becoming like West” was considered to be inseparably related to the task of strengthening of the existing state power structure.

 

4. July: Russia was mentioned in rather passing way, mostly in connection with its Far Eastern policy: the rumours of secret treaty concluded with China (English edition, July 9th), its relations with Japan as seen by Japanese Minister to Korea (English edition: July 14th; Korean edition: July 16th), its hospitable treatment of Min Yŏnghwan (1861-1905), Korean Envoy to the coronation (Korean edition: July 23rd), and decorations presented by Russian Government both to Min and his interpreter, Yun Ch’iho (Korean and English editions: July 28th)[25]. Information was exclusively positive: while low productivity of Korean agriculture was a constant topic for editorials, dreadful hunger catastrophes in contemporary Russia (only one famine in 1891-1892 cost around 400 thousand lives[26]) were ignored. At the same time, the pages of The Independent also bear witness to the “honeymoon” relationship between its publishers and Russian Legation: K.Waeber’s influential interpreter, Kim Hongnyuk (later to be harshly criticized by The Independent for “corruption” and “influence-paddling”), is mentioned among the contributors to The Independence Club (July 25th)[27]. More generally, The Independent continued to praise the contribution of Western “teachers” to Korea’s “civilization and enlightenment”. On July 1st, Korean editorial stated that “successive victories” of governmental troops over “rebels” (ranmin; Confucian “Righteous Armies” are meant) owed much to the service of British and American advisers in the Financial and Military Departments, and that the concession for Seoul-Inch’ŏn line, given to an American businessman (actually, it was granted to J.R.Morse with the approval of Russian Legation[28]), would become “a school of enlightenment” (kaehwa hakkyo) for Koreans, as well as a provider of many new jobs[29]. Other important “school of enlightenment” was, according to The Independent, modern army: soldiers in “various countries of the world” (Western countries and Japan, as the context shows) were expected “to cultivate their mind and body”, and Korean soldiers were also to show the example of “civilized behaviour” to their compatriots not only by their readiness to “crush their bones and squash their body”  (pun’gol swaesin) for their sovereign, but also by “bodily cleanliness”, abstinence from “bawdy talks” (ŭmdam p’aesŏl) on public, and “rules-prescribed respect and love” towards their superiors (Korean editorial, June 9th)[30]. As Russian instructors were expected to take charge of this important “model of civilization”, The Independent’s attitude towards Russia was understandably built on respect and interest at that time.  

 

5. August:  Coverage on Russia remained sporadic and was dominated by the Korea-related items: drilling of Korean soldiers by a Russian officer, who advised them to be “brave, patriotic, and loyal”, was mentioned in an affirmative way (English edition, August 18th), together with the participation of Russian instructors in selection of cadets for Royal Military School (Korean edition, August 22nd). Medical works of a Russian physician were mentioned in passing manner (English edition, August 29th), and the role of Russia in defeating Napoleon (described as a “great self-made hero of Europe”) was reduced to its famed “bitter frosts” (Korean edition, August 18th)[31]. While Russia definitely remained a part of “model” “civilized” world, it was given less prominence than any other “civilized” country (coverage on USA being the most extensive).

On more general note, the August 13th Korean editorial pointed out that the primary object of Social Darwinist “competition”, in case of Koreans, are Chinese and Japanese. To be able to “compete and win”, Koreans were, according to The Independent, to free themselves from the “wrong custom” of “parasitic” reliance on one’s relatives and friends, and from old yangban obsession with getting the official post by all ways and means, right and wrong – any sort of work, however “base” in old view, had to be honoured[32]. And the surest way to raise Korea’s “competitiveness” was, as August 1st Korean editorial enunciated, to understand that “civilization and progress” (munmyŏng chinbo) were universal and “what Englishmen, Americans, or Germans could achieve, Koreans can achieve as well”, and begin both “react with indignation” to the “insults by others” and “take the example from what others do well”[33]. In the early nationalistic discourse, the motif of “insulted national pride” and “Occidentalist” desire “to learn from others” went hand in hand.

 

6. September: The Independent’s interest to Russia rose, partly in connection with K.Waeber’s rumoured promotion to the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, partly as activity of Russian advisers and concession-seeking traders in Korea became more palpable than before. Rumours of Waeber’s promotion prompted The Independent to publish an editorial panegyric to the Russian representative (English edition, September 1st) asserting that Czar’s servant had “best interests of Korea in heart”, Russia’s intentions being exclusively “keeping order and preserving independence of Korea”. Sŏ Jaep’il’s favourable attitude was reciprocated: K.Waeber gave an official dinner in his honour (reported in: English edition, September 29th). In the meanwhile, courteous welcoming speech by German Emperor Wilhelm, who called his Russian counterpart “the bulwark of peace” was diligently reported (English and Korean editions, September 22nd), together with rumours that Russia – unlike Britain – was favourably inclined to the revision of tariffs with China, even without getting any concessions from Chinese side (English edition, September 8th). The musings of a Theosophy adept and maverick imperialist thinker, Prince E.Ukhtomsky (1861-1921), on Russia’s “imperial destiny in the East”[34], were cited in some length[35] without any censure or apprehensions about “Russian threat”. The visit to Seoul by the man who would become an archetype “Russian imperialist concession-hunter” for the Korean historians in future, Vladivostok merchant J.Bryner, was also depicted in the warmest possible tones: Y. Bryner “made warm friends” in Korea, and, besides, “contributed $100 for the construction of the Independence Arch” (English edition, September 15th)[36].  Besides still good relationship between pro-American reformist group and Russian Legation, affirmative attitude towards J.Bryner was connected to the general course on defence of “civilizing” concessions and foreign trade taken by The Independent. Even European agricultural immigration to Korea was thought by Sŏ Jaep’il to be a possibly effective “civilizing tool” for the country (English edition, September 22nd)[37].                            

 

7. October:  As Russian advisers and concessionaires became visible in Seoul’s political life, Russia remained one of the key topics of The Independent’s campaign for “civilization and progress”. Min Yŏnghwan, the Envoy to the Russian court, was to become a Councillor (ch’amjŏng taesin) in the Ŭijŏngbu reorganized along Japanese lines, and The Independent editorialised that the “wonders of Western civilization” he had seen in Russia and elsewhere in Europe, would be “fine education” to him (English edition, October 1st)[38]. Once again, “Russia” was submerged by the generalised image of homogenous “West”, which was to “school” Korea in the “civilization”. The concrete aspect of the “civilization” The Independent mostly identified “Russia” with was, hardly surprisingly, the military: Russian army was hailed for its “strict discipline” and “severe regulations” (Korean and English editions, October 24th)[39], and Russian military instructors were expected to “make Korea like Russia” in this respect. October 17th English editorial gave a laudatory description of how the Korean troops drilled by Russian Lieutenant Hmeloff [Khmelyov] were internalising the disciplinary skills and the habit to live in strict accordance with schedule, making themselves into “docile modern bodies”, in the Foucaultian meaning of the term[40]. A seamy side of the “military discipline” so much applauded by The Independent, may be seen in another report: a private from a military unit stationed in Yanggŭn (today’s Yangp’yŏng, Kyŏnggi Province), certain Chŏng Suman, was publicly executed without any trial for alleged “misbehaviour” in a tavern (Korean edition: November 19th; English edition: November 14th). Admiration of “discipline”, so characteristic of radical Westernizers, apparently outweighed their avowed respect for law and due process, for The Independent did not bother to comment on the case or criticise the cruelty of the military authorities[41] The hopes put on Russia’s “civilizing influence” in the military matters, were similar to the expectations for Korea’s “educational and spiritual progress” under the “tutelage” of the Protestant missionaries, those “best friend of Korea” who “instructed the people in the art of proper living” (English editorial, October 22nd)[42]. While Russian drill instructors were to “civilize” the bodies of Korean soldiers, Protestant missionaries were to “modernise” their “moral habits”. As Russia remained a crucial element of the “civilization and enlightenment” enterprise, the Japanese accusations of Russian high-handedness and forcible concession hunting were resolutely rebuffed (English edition, October 27th ; Korean edition: November 5th), Yu. Bryner’s timber concession being declared “useful” for Korea’s “progress”[43].  It should be also remembered that Kojong’s government, in reality, pinned great hopes on the 13-strong delegation of Russian military instructors that came to Korea on October 21, 1896, expecting them to train a 800-strong elite palace guard detachment able to protect Kojong and his court from such outrages as Japanese-organized assassination of Queen Min the previous year. So, The Independent’s friendly coverage of the Russian-supervised training of Korean soldiers – who were, moreover, to be armed with Russian-produced weapons – also reflected the stance of Kojong’s government, which still supported Sŏ Jaep’il newspaper venture at that period[44].                                                                                                                              

 

8. November: The news that the Russo-Chinese convention signed by Li Hung-chang and S.Witte in St.-Petersburg (1896, May 22nd), was eventually ratified by the Chinese Government (1896, September 30th; a.k.a. “Cassini Convention”), prompted The Independent to editorialise in details on both “unavoidability” and “progressiveness” of concession-taking by the “civilized” countries on the less blessed territories. The key points of the Convention, as reported by The North China Daily News, - permission to Russia to extend Trans-Siberian Railway to Vladivostok across Manchuria, protect this planned railroad by its own armed forces in certain points, acquire mining concessions in Northern China, and lend a “ice-free port” on China’s eastern coast[45] - were hailed by The Independent in no uncertain terms, as a great step forward in the “development” of the lands and resources previously “wasted” by China – “the Sick Man of the Far East” (English edition: November 12th, 14th; Korean edition: November 12th). Korean editorial, in rather condensed, succinct form, stated that, as “barbarian government of Ch’ing can not make, unlike other countries, these good lands and ports useful for its own populace and the people of other countries”, it should “better lease them to others, so that both them and Chinese would be benefited”. Moreover, The Independent wished to show its Korean readership that “barbarism” should be punished even stricter: “Even if come countries will like to divide not only Shantung and Manchuria, but the whole China among themselves, we wish it to succeed, as it will civilize the populace and develop the land for the whole world”[46]. In English editorials, the “civilizing”, “benevolent” colonialism was advocated in much more florid terms: “Is it wise for the world to sit still and watch the waste of the natural resources of these fertile lands? We congratulate Russia or any other Power who has enterprise and enough push to endeavour in the matters of internal improvement of those now idle places”[47]. “We care very little who owns the railroads and steamships that carry our cargo and ourselves when we transport our good or when we are travelling. All we care for are good accommodation and rapid transportation. If these can be accomplished by Russia’s energy and diplomatic skill, we would rather praise her for it than entertain any jealousy or ill feeling. China is absolutely incapable of accomplishing any such feat for the good of her own people or the peoples of the world. Then, let some nation go there and open up the immense territory for the good of the whole universe. The result of such enterprise will certainly to benefit Chinese themselves. (…). History tells us that wherever Western civilization has made its appearance, the place was transformed into a new country altogether. The (…) plains of the Western prairies of America have become happy homes of many million souls (…). We hope the time will soon come when Western civilization will penetrate every corner of the Continent of Asia (…)”[48]. In this panegyric to the “benevolent” imperialism, Russia was given the highest honour of being directly compared to the USA, which embodied the very “spirit” of “civilization” in the world picture of The Independence writers; Russia’s advance to Northern China was greeted with the enthusiasm rather resembling the comments of Russian papers.    

Apparently, Sŏ Jaep’il’s image of “civilized” Russia was confirmed by casual meetings with the visiting representatives of the Westernised Russian elite. In November 1896, Sŏ was invited by K.Waeber to the welcoming dinner for Admiral Alexeieff [E.I.Alekseev; 1843-1918). The Admiral, known to the contemporaries and historians as “pompous and stupid creature, of extremely exaggerated opinion of his military talents”[49], was considered by Sŏ to be a “fine looking gentleman of cordial and refined manners”. Very important for Sŏ was the fact that the Admiral, aside from “civilized” European manners, also spoke “the languages of civilization” – English, French and German – fluently. Alexeieff’s advice to push ahead with “progressive reforms” to achieve the “great future” that is promised to Korea by its “Mediterranean climate”, was duly noted in The Independent (English edition, November 19th)[50].

As to the countries, which were adversely affected by Russian Imperial expansion, the attitude of Sŏ and his close colleagues from The Independent hardly contained at that point any elements of “anti-imperialistic” sympathy. Just as Russia’s acquisition of concessions in China – as well as possible partition of China by the “civilized” countries – was considered essentially the fault of Chinese “barbarians”, Poland’s century –old partition was seen as an outcome of the inability of the Poles to behave in what The Independent held to be “civilized” way – “to unite the masses around the sovereign”. That was the gist of the speech given by then foreign minister and Sŏ’s confidant, Yi Wanyong (1858-1926) at the ceremony of laying of the Independence Arch cornerstone that was held on November 21st, and covered in both English and Korean editions of The Independent three days after. Yi contrasted the progressive’s ideal, the USA, with unlucky Poland, and stated that, if successfully united around the king, government and its “civilizing” policies, Koreans could become as rich and powerful as Americans. Otherwise, cautioned Yi, they were doomed to become “the other’s slaves”, just like ill-fated Poles. This Social Darwinist logic that blamed the weaker as “unfit” and thus “doomed by evolution”, was seemingly well received by predominantly foreign and Korean “progressive” public. But unlike the majority of foreign representatives, K.Waeber was not among the audience[51]. Some commentators later saw his absence as an ominous indication foreboding the coming end of the “honeymoon” relationship between Russian “protectors” of “Korean independence” and its native pro-American “champions”.

Among the ”Latest telegrams”, which appear in The Independent on November 28th (English edition), one could have been of no small importance for the understanding of contemporary situation on the world’s colonial periphery by the Korean reformers. The cable – marked ”London, 17th Nov.” – informed that ”The Treaty of Peace recently arranged between Italy and Abyssinia was undoubtedly due to Russian and French influence. King Menelik wired to both the Czar and President Faure the moment the treaty was signed”[52]. The Independent did not elaborate but, in fact, the Treaty of Addis-Abeba (concluded on October 26th, 1896) meant the recognition of Ethiopian sovereignty by Italy, and was forced on Italy by its humiliating defeat in the battle of Adowa (March 1st, 1996), where 14500 of Italian troops were rounded (70% of them were killed or wounded) by Russia and France-armed Ethiopian army. The outcome of that battle was a staggering reminder about the shaky grounds of European colonial power outside Europe: “civilizing” invaders turned out to be rather weak when confronted by a well-commanded indigenous military armed with “modern” weapons. From 1896 onward, Adowa battle and consequent recognition of Ethiopian independence by Italy became a symbol of successful “black resistance” for the growing Pan-Africanist movement[53]. The Independent used to cite brief cables on the developments in the Italy-Ethiopian conflict, but never played up the nationalistic, anti-colonial significance of the event, preferring instead to emphasize the “peace-making role” of Russia and France - the two “civilized” competitors of Italy. The fact that Russian “protection” was priced high enough by King Menelik to be remunerated by giving permission to Russians to use a naval coaling station was also duly mentioned (Korean edition, December 29th)[54].  That shows how indifferent were the “civilizers” of The Independent to the discourse of “native anti-colonial struggle” at that moment of time.

 

9. December:   Russian Legation still remained an important focus of Sŏ Jaep’il’s attention. “Kindness” of Russian diplomats, who generously compensated a Korean packhorse driver (mabu) for the latter’s horse taken by the “Righteous Army” insurgents while he was transporting Russian baggage, became a news item[55].  Not only “generosity”, but also business-friendly “rationality” of Russia’s “modern” bureaucracy became a focus of Sŏ’s attention. The impressions of a prominent Victorian traveller, I.B.Bishop (1831-1904), about the “prosperity” of Korean settlers in maritime Province, - which the travelling lady attributed to the fact that “Koreans on Russian soil are not molested by corruptible officials or unscrupulous yangbans”, and “feel secure in their lives and property”[56] – were editorialised (English edition, December 5th)[57] as an “evidence” that “foreign tutelage” and transplantation of “civilized” institutions could lead Koreans to developing fully their “enterprise and ambition”. Russian Koreans were taken as an example of success of Korean “grassroots capitalism” under what Sŏ considered “civilized” conditions. An “antithesis” to Russia’s “civilized” bureaucracy was thought to be Korean government – “dumping ground for worthless idle relatives of a few influential yangbans” that “suck the blood” of their well-to-do relatives, and “cause poverty of the country” (English edition, December 10th)[58] by the rampant corruption and illegal extractions that “kill the enterprising spirit” (English edition, December 12th)[59]. Sŏ’s campaign against corruption and nepotism, however it was marked by the self-denigrating comparisons with “advanced” and “clean” societies, undoubtedly shows a progressive side of his “civilizing” project: official extraction did prevent rank-and-file Koreans in no small degree from any attempts to win better position in the fledgling capitalist economy. At the same time, The Independent in December continued to praise Russian drill officers in Korean Army, as well as their Korean charges, already apt in gymnastics and the language of Russian military commands (English edition, December 12th). The coming of Russian military instructors to Korea was also selected as one of the most important events of the year in the New Year review of all what happened in 1896 in Korea (English edition, December 31st)[60]. Internalized military discipline, associated with “Russia”, remained an important part of “modernity” Sŏ and his circle were going to “transplant”.

 

 

2)      1897 (Korean and English editions are separated):

 

1. January: I.B.Bishop’s lectures on the conditions of Koreans in Russian Maritime Province – held in the Russian Legation-patronized Seoul Union – remained an important topic for the editorials: they were mentioned thrice in English (January 12th,14th, 16th)[61] and twice in Korean (January 5th, 16th)[62] editions in great details. The credit for the well-being of “enterprising, thrifty, clean, honest and honourable” – in a word, “civilized”, - Koreans in the Maritime Province was given by the newspaper both to the “humane and enlightened” Russian administration of the region (the Russian governmental aid distributed among the first settlers was scrupulously listed) and Russian education, and to the innate “goodness” of Korean race, fully able to “civilize” itself once “well-governed”. Of special interest to Sŏ and his circle as a possible model for Korea’s ”civilized” future was the local self-government in Korean-populated districts of the Maritime Province, where Koreans were allowed to elect their own village headmen (along the same lines as Russian peasants that could elect obshchina and volost’ heads). In fact, being at the first time unable and unwilling to challenge his governmental patrons by directly proposing the democratisation of Korea’s central government, Sŏ Jaep’il started instead to propagate the advantages of local self-rule from the very beginning of the publication of The Independent. For instance, Korean editorial on April 14th, 1896, explained:

“(…) In foreign countries, such persons as provincial governors, country chiefs, and governmental clerks, are elected by the commoners (paeksŏng). So, even if these officials are making mistakes, the commoners do not bear a grudge against the ruler, but scold themselves for their own mistaken choice. On the next voting, such officials are not given even the pettiest post. Even before being punished by the government, a wicked official is put to shame by the commoners: so, fears the commoners more than governmental punishment, and knows that he would not be able to avoid punishment through private solicitation. It is right if the ruler personally appoints ministers and their deputies, but the governors and county chiefs should be elected by the commoners of the respective provinces and counties. Only in this case the commoners will not resent the government, and these elective provincial officials will do their jobs better than those appointed upon recommendations by one or two influential Seoul dwellers. Being the local people, these elective officials will know their respective districts in more details than the appointees sent from Seoul, and will have stronger wish to assist the local commoners. The governmental official is ruler’s retainer and people’s servant, who should take service under the ruler above and under the commoners below. In such case, the rulers’ authority will be elevated, and commoners’ conditions will improve. Even if there would be contingencies inside the country, will anybody complain or resent? We wish that the people in the government will behave prudently and, instead of recommending the governors and county chiefs themselves, allow the people of each district to elect their local officials. In just 1-2 years we will see how beneficial it is for the nation (kungmin)”[63] As we can see, Sŏ Jaep’il tried to persuade the government that, once local self-rule is permitted the popular attitudes towards the authorities would actually improve, as the pivotal reason for local discontent, the abuses of centrally appointed local bureaucrats, would be largely removed.

 In January 1897, using now very concrete example of Russian local government instead of abstract “foreign countries”, The Independent again proposed that once ”the people have the right of electing their Magistrates, the present system of corruption and squeezing will die a natural death”, as the popular-elected Magistrates ”will serve the people as their masters”. The people, at the same time, ”will consider themselves as parts of political fabric” and develop ”free and independent spirits”[64].  The limited local peasant self-rule that existed in late 19th C. Russia, seemingly have looked to Sŏ as a practical way to advance Korea gradually to his ultimate ideal of very distant future – constitutional parliamentary government[65]. At the same time, together with limited village-level “grass-roots democracy” of Russian provinces, Russian military discipline was continuously commended. The remark made by Col. Poutiata [Putyata] at the sight of Korean guards who warmed themselves inside the tents while on duty – “even if a guard is faced by a freezing death while standing on duty, he should rather die standing” – was reported in an obviously approving way (Korean edition, January 9th)[66]. Russia also was continuously presented as a “defender” of Turkish Christians, especially Armenians, - Russian demands to Turkish authorities concerning “civilized” treatment of Christians, as well as Czar-initiated collection of donations to the benefit of Armenians, were mentioned in both English and Korean editions (Korean edition: January 14th and 19th; English edition: January 14th and 21st)[67].                                                                   

 

2. February:  In connection with the petition campaign in favour of Kojong’s return to his palace, The Independent, while taking a sceptical view on such action as “premature”, commended once again Russian and its diplomatic representatives for “defending” and “helping” the Korean sovereign (Korean edition, February 13th)[68]. The news of the two Russo-Japanese agreements that were meant to determine Korea’s future without consulting with Korean Government – Waeber-Komura Memorandum (Seoul, May 4, 1896) and Lobanov-Yamagata Protocol (St.-Petersburg, June 9, 1896), - and were made public for the first time by the Japanese side in the end of February, did appear in the Korean edition of The Independent (February 27th)[69] uncommented. Obviously, at that point of time that must have been unclear for Sŏ and his collaborators how Russia’s image of the “defender” of Korean “sovereignty” should be reconciled with the flagrant great power disregard of that “sovereignty”. In the meanwhile, Russian Imperial House remained an important “model” for The Independent “civilizers” circle anyway: to achieve the same prestige and might as Russian and British ruling houses and American President was proclaimed an aim of Korea’s “development” (Korean edition, February 27th), and the practical education in agriculture Nikolai II had supposedly “received” (in fact, his education mainly consisted of general gymnasium course, private lessons in various sciences and humanities, as well as military service, without any emphasis on agriculture) was made into an “example” of “industry and diligence” for Korean readers, together with the purported “artisanship” and Portuguese and German sovereigns (Korean edition, February 16th)[70]. As to Russia’s foreign policy, its alliance with France was constantly mentioned (Korean editions, February 1st and 13th)[71].

 

 

IV: Concluding Remarks.                                                                                                                                           

 

In February 1897, “honeymoon” relationships between the Russian Legation and the circle of pro-American reformers were swiftly approaching their end. The concession requests presented by Waeber to Kojong on February 23rd, were, in the end, to become a first stumbling block in the development of that unusual partnership between an absolutist monarchy and Korea’s earliest admirers of Western parliamentary institutions. A former “pro-Russian” politician Yi Wanyong was to retire from his ministerial post soon as a result of his stubborn opposition to Waeber’s request. In the end of that year, Russia’s new representative to Seoul, A. de Speyer, was to encounter vocal and decisive opposition from The Independent in his plans to put Korean finances and army under tighter Russian ”advisors’” supervision[72]. The word ”independence” started to be interpreted as ”independence from Russia” in the pro-American reformist circles. Finally, the Independence Club-led mass anti-Russian campaign of early 1898 ended for good the prospects of friendly collaboration between the radicals and their erstwhile ”sponsors” from the Russian Legation.    

 While being neither the ultimate “civilization ideal” of the radical reformers nor their long-time supporter, Russia still did contain in its image many features that were essential for the radicals’ “Occidentalist” project of “civilizing” Korean under “enlightened” foreign “tutelage”. As believers in “rich state, strong army”-centred, state-led “development”, and in “modern” army as a powerful “civilizing tool”, the radicals found essential such features of Russian “modernity” as strict – almost to the point of cruelty – military discipline, eventually adopting them as a part of their “reference model” of “civilization”. Russia’s military might-based international authority, “certified” by its close alliance with an embodiment of “civilization”, France, was also an important point of reference for the reformers, obsessed with the idea of “equality with the foreign powers”. Russia’s assistance to the embattled Ethiopian monarchy, its ambitious railroad-building plans in China, as well as its “protection” of the Christian subjects of Turkish Empire, were seemingly interpreted as a sign of its ability and willingness to participate in the “tutelage” over the fledgling Korean “civilization”. Individual encounters of the Korean reformers with the Westernised elite Russians certainly helped to further integrate Russia’s image into a generalized, homogenous picture of referent “Western civilization”. At the same time, as admirers of democratic forms, the radicals did find Russia’s obshchina and volost’ peasant self-government a relevant “model” for their cherished project of gradual development of grass-roots democracy in Korea. In a nutshell, “Russia” was referred to in The Independent of 1896- early 1897 as a part of referent homogenized “West” in a variety of contexts. Recognition as a part of “West” did endow “Russia” with strong authority of “civilization”. But the flip side of this identification with “West” was considerable loss of – or, rather, failure to acquire – its own distinctive profile. The peculiarities of Russia’s political, religious, or cultural life unrelated to these aspects of “civilization” that were relevant for the reformers’ project, were hard to find in The Independent. That was only in the 1900s that the information of Russia’s revolutionary developments or literary life started to trickle to Korean reading public, mainly through Japanese and European language sources.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



[1] Yu. M. Lotman, “Problema vizantiyskogo vliianiya na russkuyu kulturu v tipologicheskom osveshchenii”, - Izbrannye statyi, Vol. 1, Tallynn, 1992, pp. 121-128. 

[2] L.Lindstrom, "Cargoism and Occidentalism," - Occidentalism: Images of the West, James Carrier, ed., Oxford, 1995, pp. 33-60.

[3] Thongchai Winichakul, “The Quest for Siwilai: A Geographic Discourse of Civilizational Thinking in the Late 19th and Early 20th C. Siam”, - The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 59, N. 3, August 2000, pp. 528-550.

[4] I used Han Ch’ŏrho, Ch’inmi kaehwap’a yŏn’gu, Kukhak charyowŏn, 1998, pp. 125-211, as main secondary source for references.

[5] Kim Yuwŏn, Paengnyŏn twi-e tasi ing-nŭn tongnip sinmun, Kyŏngin munhwasa, Seoul, 1999.

[6] Yi Gwangnin, “Sŏ Jaep’ir-ŭi kaehwa sasang”, - Tongbang hakchi, Vol. 18, 1978, pp. 148-193.

[7] Chu Jino, “Tongnip hyŏphwe-ŭi taewe insig-ŭi kujo-wa chŏn’gae”, - Hangnim, Vol. 8, pp. 69-105; Chu Jino, “Sŏ Jaep’il chasŏjŏn”, - Yŏksa Pip’yŏng, Vol. 14, 1991, pp. 297-307.

[8] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 4.

[9] Op. sit., p. 72.

[10] Op. sit, p. 416.

[11] As is well known, Russian officials considered Mokp’o a convenient and strategically important port, assiduously followed the development of Japanese settlement there after the decision to ”open” Mokp’o was reached by Kojong in October, 1897, and afterwards encouraged Russian purchases of land there: Hangukchi (Korean translation of Opisanie Korei), Han’guk chŏngsin munhwa yŏn’guwŏn, 1984, pp. 226-227.

[12]Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, pp. 14-40.

[13] Op. sit., p. 1. An English translation, though not literal, is available: Yŏng-ho Ch’oe, Peter H.Lee, Wm. Theodore de Bary  (ed.), Sources of Korean Tradition, Vol. 2, Columbia University Press, NY., 2000, p. 280.

[14] This term was widely used, among others, by famous “enlightenment” thinker Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901). See, for example, an opening passage from his Bunmeiron no gairyaku: “(…) Present-day Europe can only be called the highest level that human intelligence has been able to attain at this juncture in history. Since this is true, in all countries of the world, be they primitive or semi-developed, those who are to give thought to their country’s progress (my italics. – V.T.) in civilization must necessarily take European civilization as the basis of discussion, and must weigh the pros and cons of the problem in the light of it” (Fukuzawa Yukichi’s “An Outline of a Theory of Civilization,”  David A. Dilworth and G. Cameron Hurst (tr.), Tokyo, Sophia University Press, 1973, p. 14-15).   

[15] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 4.

[16] See the Confucian Analects (12:5): “If the noble person is reverent, unfailingly courteous toward others, and observant of the rites, then all within the four seas are his brothers”, Wm. Theodore de Bary & Irene Blum (ed.), Sources of Chinese Tradition, Vol. 1, Columbia University Press, NY., 1999, p. 55.

[17] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, pp. 50-92.

[18]  Op. sit, p. 45.

[19] On the origins of Japanese-coined word for “race”, jinshu (injong in Korean pronunciation), see: Michael Weiner, “The Invention of Identity: Race and Nation in Pre-War Japan”, - Frank Dikotter (ed.), The Construction of Racial Identities in China and Japan: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, pp. 107-109.

[20] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1,, p. 94.

[21] Op. sit, pp. 100-148.

[22] Op. sit., p. 97.

[23] Op. sit., p. 105.

[24] Op. sit., p. 129.

[25] Op. sit., pp. 164-200.

[26] R. Robbins, Famine in Russia, New York: Columbia University Press, 1975, p. 19.

[27] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 190.

[28] Peter Duus, The Abacus and the Sword: the Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910, University of California Press, 1995, p. 140.

[29] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 149.

[30] Op. sit., p. 161-162.

[31] Op. sit., pp. 204-252.

[32] Op. sit., p. 221.

[33] Op. sit., p. 201

[34] His book, Puteshestvie na Vostok (SPb., 1893), was translated into English: Travels in the East of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia When Cesarevich 1890-1891, Vol. 1-2, London, 1896. On his ideology, see: David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun: Russian Ideologies of Empire on the Path to War with Japan. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2001.

[35] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 280 (English edition, September 15th). Ukhtomsky’s name was not given: he was introduced simply as a “princely companion” of Czar. 

[36] Op. sit., pp. 253-304.

[37] Op. sit., p. 292.

[38] Op. sit., p. 308.

[39] Op. sit., pp. 345, 348.

[40] Op. sit., p. 336; M.Foucault, Surveiller et punir, Gallimard, 1975, pp. 424-425.

[41] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, pp. 384, 390.

[42] Op. sit., p. 344.

[43] Op. sit., p. 352.

[44] On the Korean governmental expectation concerning the arrival of Russian military advisers and instructors, see: Yi Minwŏn, “19 segi mal Rŏsiya kunsa kyogwandan-ŭi hwaltong-gwa yŏkhal”, - Kunsa, Vol. 44, 2001, pp. 293-301.

[45] See one of the earliest descriptions of the Convention in: Henri Cordier, Histoire des relations de la Chine avec les puissances occidentales. 1860-1902, Vol. 3 (Paris, 1902), pp. 343-347.

[46] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 377.

[47] Op. sit., p. 380.

[48] Op. sit., p. 384.

[49] B.A.Romanov, Diplomaticheskoe razvyazyvanie russko-yaponskoi voiny, 1904-1905, - Istoricheskie zapiski, 1940: http://grandwar.kulichki.net/books/romanov_01.html

[50] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 392.

[51] Op. Sit., pp. 397, 400.

[52] Op. Sit., p. 408.

[53] Akpan, M. B. 1985. “Liberia and Ethiopia, 1880-1914:  the survival of two African states” - Africa under colonial domination, 1880-1935. Vol. 7, General History of Africa, ed. Boahen A. Paris: UNESCO; Ibadan, Nairobi: Heinemann; California: University of California Press, 1985, pp. 272-273.

[54] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 457.

[55]Op. sit., p. 416.

[56] See also a separate chapter on Koreans in Russia in her famous book, Korea and Her Neighbours, Yonsei University Press, Seoul, 1970, pp. 223-239.

[57] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 420.

[58] Op. sit., p. 428.

[59] Op. sit., p. 432.

[60] Op. sit., p. 464.

[61] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 7, pp. 130, 134, 138.

[62] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 2, pp. 1, 21.

[63] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 13.

[64] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 7, pp. 138.

[65] On the political ideals of Sŏ and his circle, see: Yu Yŏngnyŏl, Taehan cheguk-ki-ŭi minjok undong, Ilchogak Publishers, Seoul, 1997, pp. 48-55.

[66] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 2, p. 11.

[67] Op. sit, pp. 18, 26; Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 7, pp. 133, 145. 

[68] Tongnip sinmun, Han’guk munhwa yesul chinhŭngwŏn, Seoul, 1981, Vol. 2, p. 69.

[69] Op. sit., p. 94.

[70] Op. sit., p. 73.

[71] Op. sit., pp. 51, 69.

[72] Han Ch’ŏrho, pp. 220-242.

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