Japan’s colonization of Korea

Japan Colonizes Korea

In 1910, the Chosun Dynasty ended with Japan’s annexation and colonization of Korea. Koreans remember the Japanese colonial rule as a brutal experience. Resistance groups formed in Korea and China, mostly adopting leftist politics in reaction to the right-wing Japanese administration. Memories of the Japanese Imperial Administration’s oppression continue to haunt relations between the people of both Koreas and Japan today. Korea also began to modernize during this period, and the city of Pyongyang in particular became a vibrant center for Christianity and western culture.

From LiNK – Liberty in North Korea


Kimhae City, Korea – the Gaya Kingdom

Kimhae City is the ancient region of the Gaya Kingdom. It is located west of Busan City in South Korea.

Gaya kingdom began in 42 A.D. when King Sooro was born near present day Kimhae. According to tradition six eggs were dropped from heaven and were to become six kings. The area named Goo Ji Bong in Kimhae City is the birthplace of King Sooro. The story says that this area is where the 500 year history of the Gaya Kingdom was born. It is also the birthplace of Goo Ji Ga, the poetry from that time era in Korea’s literary traditions. King Sooro is named as the father of all the Kims of Kimhae City.

Goo Ji Bong

Plaque in Kimhae describing Goo Ji Bong area as the birthplace of King Sooru. He founded the Karak nation and became the father of all the Kims originating from Kimhae.

As I mentioned in my post on the Shilla Dynasty,  Shilla Dynasty overtook Gaya Kingdom in 562 AD.

Map of Gaya from Wikipedia site

Map of Gaya from Wikipedia site

The Kimhae Museum has an excellent display of many artifacts and history of Gaya. The people of Gaya Kingdom were well known for their iron working skill. They traded their iron works with Japan and other East Asian countries. The video shown below gives a very interesting summary of Gaya’s history.



Some artifacts from Kimhae Museum:

All photos from Wikipedia


Photos from our visit to the Queen of King Sooro’s tomb and Kimhae Museum.

Josun Dynasty 조선 (1392-1897)

The Josun Dynasty followed the Goryeo Dynasty. Many significant events happened  during this period. I will try to highlight a few of them in this post. Joseon is the last dynasty of Korean history.

Joseon dynasty

Joseon dynasty


General Yi Seong Gye founded the Josunn dynasty. He was later named King Taejo and was raised to the rank of Emperor after he died. He was born in the North Korea city of Hamheung and died at the Chang deok Palace in Seoul, as he had made Seoul the capital city of the empire. This palace is part of the 5 great palaces complex in Seoul. The general had gained favor by pushing Mongol forces out of the peninsula and repelling attacks by Japanese pirates.

Confucianism was chosen as the official dynasty ideology. This was to counter the Buddhist religion from Goryeo and Shilla dynasties. Many Confucian societal mores continue today, especially within the education system. One example is the civil service examination. These exams were established to limit the movement between classes in Korea.

Sosuseowon Confucian School

Sosuseowon Confucian School – Kyung-ju, South Korea

King Sejong the Great and the Korean alphabet 한글


During the reign of King Sejong the Great (r. 1418-1450), Joseon’s fourth monarch, Korea enjoyed an unprecedented flowering of culture and art. Under King Sejong’s guidance, scholars at the royal academy created the Korean alphabet Hangul. It was then called Hunminjeongeum, or “proper phonetic system to educate the people.”

The Turtle Ship 거북선  (Japanese Invasions 1592-98)

In 1592, Japan invaded the peninsula to pave the way for its incursion into China. At sea, Admiral Yi Sun-shin (1545-1598), one of the most respected figures in Korean history, led a series of brilliant naval maneuvers against the Japanese, inventing the geobukseon (turtle ship), the world’s first ironclad battleship.

Turtle Ship 1795 Wikipedia

Turtle Ship 1795

General Yi sun-sin is credited with the resurrection and recreation of the turtle ship from former style of boats. Here are some pictures from Yeo-Su where general Yi had his headquarters. He used the turtle ships in four campaigns against the Japanese. The final campaign being fought in Busan. He was successful in all four campaigns.

After invasions by Japan and Manchuria, Korea was able to obtain a peaceful period of two hundred years. During this time they became known as the Hermit Kingdom because of their isolationist foreign policy. They just wanted to be left alone. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for long as Japan came to occupy Korea in 1910 ending the Joseon period of history.

Josun Society

Korean Confucian ethics encouraged frugality and pragmatism. This was reflected in very simple pottery of the time:



Hwa fortress near Seoul UNESCO World Heritage Site

Hwa fortress near Seoul UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jinju fortress

Korea Jinju fortress built during Joson Dynasty

North gate of the Dongnae fortress in Busan

North gate of the Dongnae fortress in Busan about 20 minutes from where we live

Pottery site Leeum Museum

Korean Bath Houses

Korean Bath Houses are a pretty interesting cultural education. You can learn a lot about the culture there. I’ve been a couple times, but it’s just a little too out there for me. Being naked with a bunch of naked Korean ajummas and halmonis is a little overwhelming. 😀

I’m going to add some interesting pictures to this post. Most of them have been posted on other blogs, so I will try to include the links to the original article at the end. They are all very interesting stories of people’s experiences in these types of bath houses.


Korean spa Korean spa

This is a bath house in Pusan. Nongshim in Dong nae This is a bath house in Pusan. Nongshim in Dong nae

National Archives of Australia
Korean bath houses in 1959


Psy in the steam room
Psy in the steam room

Might as well add the video too

Article from CNN

Bathhouse basics

Getting Naked in Korea

Korean Bathhouse in Shanghai

Korean Spa

Hotel Nongshim, Pusan

Bathhouse experience

JJimJil Bang


Goryeo Kingdom (고려) 918-1392 A.D.

The Goryeo Dynasty or Kingdom is where the name Korea is derived. You might find that I spell the name different ways. That’s because I can’t decide which romanization to use. Korea used to be spelled with a ‘C’ Corea. Some Koreans say the reason it was changed to the ‘K’ is because when Japan occupied the peninsula they wanted Korea’s name to start with a letter after theirs ‘J’. I don’t know about that, but there has been some discussion as to whether to change the spelling back to the ‘C’.

Goryeo 1374

Goryeo 1374

From Wikipedia:

Goryeo, also known as Koryŏ (Hangul: 고려; hanja: 高麗; Korean pronunciation: [koɾjʌ]; 918–1392), was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by King Taejo. This kingdom later gave name to the modern exonym for Korea.[2] It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the leader of the Joseon dynasty in 1392. The Goryeo dynasty expanded its borders to present-day Wonsan in the north-east (936–943) and the Amnok River (993) and finally almost the whole of the Korean peninsula (1374).

“Korea” is the modern spelling of Corea, a name attested in English as early as 1614.[4] It is an exonym derived from Cauli, Marco Polo‘s transcription[5] of the Chinese 高麗 (simp.高丽, MCKawlej,[6] mod.Gāolì). This was the Hanja for the Korean kingdom of Goryeo or Koryŏ (고려; 918–1392), which ruled most of the peninsula during the time of his travels.

I did a post earlier about the Shilla Dynasty. Shilla preceded Goryeo.

Here’s how things looked during the Shilla Dynasty:


Two of Goryeo period’s most notable products are Goryeo celadon pottery and the Tripitaka Koreana — the Buddhist scriptures (Tripitaka) carved onto roughly 80,000 woodblocks and stored, and still in, Haeinsa. Subjects and officials of the Goryeo dynasty also created the world’s first metal-based movable type in 1234; the oldest surviving movable metal type book, the Jikji, was made in 1377.

Examples of the celadon pottery here:


Tripitaka woodblock Buddhist writings housed at Hae In Sa (temple)

Tripitaka Koreana woodblock Buddhist writings housed at Hae In Sa (temple)

The capital cities of this kingdom were mainly located in North Korea. Goryeo dynasty diminished and the next dynasty to take over, the last one before the Japanese occupation, was Joseon Dynasty.

From Wikipedia:


In the Goryeo dynasty, trade was frequent. In the start of the dynasty, Byeokrando was the main port. Byeokrando was a port close to the Goryeo capital. Trade included:

# Trading country Import Export
1 Song dynasty Silk, pearls, tea, spices, medicine, books, instruments Gold and silver, ginseng, marble, paper, ink
2 Liao dynasty Horses, sheep, low-quality silk Minerals, cotton, marble, ink and paper, ginseng
3 Jurchen Gold, horses, weapons Silver, cotton, silk
4 Japan Mercury, minerals Ginseng, books
5 Abbasid dynasty Mercury, spices, tusk Gold, silver


Goryeo Kingdom

Goryeo Kingdom

From D-Day, to the Rhine, to Korea: Roy Rushton

Roy’s amazing life. I love our veterans! I’m proud of you and thank you so much for your sacrifice. Roy fought two wars and still has a bullet in his leg to remember it by. He’s 96 and lives with his wife in Nova Scotia. God bless you Roy!


Seventy years ago, Roy Rushton peered through a hole in the floor of his vibrating aircraft as it swept over the Normandy coast. Just below, he saw German flak ripping the sky apart.

It didn’t look good; and Roy’s day was just beginning.

Rushton was heading into his first battle, in his first war. There would be more of each. Wherever Roy Rushton turned up, exciting, noisy, dangerous things always seemed to happen.

tmpC172 Roy Rushton, as a sniper in Holland, January 1945 © Roy Rushton

It’s tough to imagine a soldier who’s been through more perilous moments than Roy Rushton. But he is neither a brooder; nor a gasbag. He’s a level-headed, laid-back fellow, with a wry sense of humour, but with no sense at all of self-importance. Quite the guy.

At 11 p.m. on the 5th of June, 1944, Rushton and ten other Paratroopers in that plane, watched England…

View original post 603 more words

The Shilla Dynasty

While Rome was busy trying to keep control of its empire, the Korean peninsula was in the process of solidifying its power blocks.

The period called the three kingdoms is when some unification of the peninsula started taking place. Shilla kingdom was located in the southeast of the peninsula, where present day Busan City and area is. Baekje was in the southwest, where present day Jeolla province is. Goguryeo was in the north area.

Shilla(57 B.c. – 935A.D.)

Baekje (18 B.C – 660 A.D.)

Goguryeo (37 B.C. – 668 A.D.)



The Kaya kingdom was formed later than the others from 42 A.D. and remained until 562 when Shilla swallowed it up. Spelling differences in the names are due to the romanisation of the Korean names. When Shilla annexed the Kaya/Gaya kingdom, Baekje and Goguryeo responded by allying together. Shilla then countered with a unification with the Tang Dynasty in China. That tipped the scales and Shilla then united the southern parts of Korea and the north passed into the Balhae era, so that there was a north/south delineation.

This map shows the geographical boundaries of the two kingdoms around 830 A.D. Balhae extended far into Manchuria and Russia until China rose up and took back some of the land.


The Unified Shilla Kingdom remained from 676 until 935 and Balhae Kingdom was in existence about the same time period. Obviously the south of the peninsula is very proud of their Shilla Dynasty roots. The capital of the Kingdom was Gyongju. It was the capital of the Shilla Dynasty for 1000 years. They call the whole city a ‘museum without walls’ as there are Kings tombs scattered throughout the area. It is designated as a World Heritage Site.

Kings tombs

Kings tombs

more tombs

more tombs

It was during the Shilla dynasty that Buddhism became the official religion for the Kingdom.

Bulgok sa in fall

Bulguk sa (temple) in fall

Bul gok sa

Bul guk sa (Sa means temple)

The temple of Bul Guk is the most famous temple of Kyong ju. It has a Unesco Heritage Treasure designation.

Korea's biggest bell

Korea’s biggest bell

A huge bronze bell is displayed near the Kyong-ju National Museum. It is one of Korea’s National Treasures.

Here we are by the Bomun Lake

Here we are by Bomun Lake Resort.


The Bomun Lake Resort is an international tourist destination. There are five super-deluxe hotels, a golf course, an amusement park, a hot spring, museums, and lots of shopping.

Maurie and Darcy in front of the Cheomseongdae Observatory

Us in front of the Cheomseongdae Observatory

This observatory is the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia. It was constructed about 632-647 and was used for observing the stars and forecasting the weather. It is one of Korea’s National Treasures.

That’s my short history for the Shilla Dynasty in Korea. I recommend seeing this city when you come to Korea. Koreans, especially those in the Kyung Sang province, are very proud of their Shilla Dynasty.



Blood Brothers

turkey flag

Turkey a.k.a……Anatolia. Home of the ancient  Hittite kingdom. The Eastern Mediterranean or Middle East is the Cradle of Civilization, the Fertile Crescent and the Crucible of History.  The interesting thing about Turkey is that it’s people seem to feel a special affinity toward the Koreans and vice versa. People have puzzled over this when Turkish and Korean soccer teams cheered for each other in the 2002 World Cup. Some say it’s because the Turks came to help South Korea during the Korean war. The two countries refer to each other as ‘blood brothers’ presumably because the Turks shed their blood on Korea’s behalf. Many Asian countries, Turkey being one of them, have admiration for Korea because of their miraculous recovery from wartime devastation to the point where they are in the top 20 most developed countries on Earth. But some say this bond goes beyond the Korean War back to their common root languages. The Turkish and Korean languages are part of the Ural Altai language group. Finnish and Hungarian also belong to this language group. The Ural-Altai language group also has such extinct languages as Sumerian, Elamite, Cretan, Etruscan, among others. All are languages originating in and around Mesopotamia. The western branch of the Ural-Altai language tree includes the Turkic and Mongolian languages. The eastern branch has Korean, Japanese and Ainu. So we seem to have a connection of these people back to Mesopotamia. Which is no surprise since as said earlier, Mesopotamia was the Cradle of Civilization. If we go right back to the beginning of the human race, that’s where Turkey plays the main setting.

We don’t know where the original Eden was located, but we do know where Noah’s Ark rested. The Turkish government has designated the site of the Ark as a national park. We know from the book of Genesis that Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Table of Nations, in the 10th chapter of Genesis, outlines the various people groups descending from these three men. From south-eastern Turkey people went out to the east and to the west. The people groups which have inhabited Turkey are varied: the Hittites, the Phrygians, Aegeans (Greeks), then the Persians, again the Greeks, the Celts or Gauls came in and settled in the area named Galatia, Anataloia becomes a province of Rome with its capital as Ephesus, Seljuk Turks, next the Ottoman Empire, finally we have the Turkish republic. The Scythians, Hittites, Huns, Turks, Mongols and Manchu were all peoples who rose along the Caspian and Black Seas and went out into northern Asia. The Mongols and the Manchus have influenced the Korean peninsula very much. I think this special bond between Turkey and Korea is cool. It’s a testament to the fact we are all one big family. Our many greats grandfather was Noah.

What does all of this have to do with herbs? Well, Turkey’s number one export is the poppy plant. The poppy plant is sometimes said to symbolize death or blood. It symbolizes the blood shed by the Turks in Korea. Turkey and Korea: ‘Blood Brothers’.

For poppy seed products and other herbs and supplements visit and use the code RVZ335 on check out for a $10 discount.


Click to access modul1bimportantplant.pdf