Homer B. Hulbert Event

I made a visit to the foreigner’s cemetery located at on the Seoul Union Church grounds in Hapjeong. Today banners were hanging in several places around the station and church advertising a memorial event or 추모식 for this Friday (Click the picture for a zoomed in version of the event details) to be held at the church for Homer B. Hulbert who, according to the banner, “loved Korea more than the Koreans do.” The event has some big sponsors and might be interesting to attend if you are in Seoul and have the time to kill.

I only know of Hulbert (1863-1949), who was an important early missionary to Korea, from his brief political involvement in 1905, and his most famous work The Passing of Korea, written in 1906. However, he also published a history of Korea the year before and much earlier helped James Gale on A concise Dictionary of the Korean Language published in Yokohama in 1890. You can read more about him here (Korean PDF here).

UPDATE: Fixed English translation. I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that Hulbert loved the country more than its people. Sorry about that.


  1. The phrasing “(Hulburt) loved Korea more than the
    Koreans” begs parsing. Does it mean “he loved Korea more
    than the Koreans do?” Or, “he loved Korea more than he
    loved the Koreans?” Hopefully the message on the banner
    was in Korean, and the first interpretation can be
    Gari Ledyard

  2. Professor Ledyard, if you click on the small thumbnail picture above, you’ll get an enlarged shot of the banner. The banner says 한국인보다 한국을 더 사랑한, which confirms your suspicion that Konrad’s translation should be interpreted as “he who loved Korea more than the Koreans do (or did?).”

  3. With all due respect, I believe that Prof.Ledyard and dozens of American
    scholars of his generation and perhaps younger, will find out all kinds
    of fascinating facts about Mr. Hulbert if they take the time to read
    a book I have recently published, entitled The Foreign Destruction of
    Korean Independence. Perhaps Mr. Ledyard, whom my late husband, William
    R.Shaw , always admired, will be among those to admit he has been
    caught up in an horrific historical deception that remained so very
    secure for nearly a century,regarding the loss of Korean independence,
    and the integrity of individuals such s Homer B. Hulbert. Actually, I
    am still waiting for a reasonable explanation from some of my Korean
    scholar friends why Hulbert was so lightly dismissed as a credible
    witness of the events on the Korean peninsula in 1905 when he had been
    a twenty year eyewitness of Korea’s foray into the modern world. If
    my husband was still alive, you can rest assured, I would press him
    very closely. I do know that before he died, however in 1993, as an
    adjunct professor at SAIS. he had concluded that the Japanese point
    of view had prevailed on the loss of Korean independence. I discovered
    this in reading his lecture notes after he died.

  4. Thank you for honoring a dedicated life, Dr. Homer B. Hulbert. I spent 16 unforgettable months in Korea in 1957-58 and had many privileges of being
    in Korean homes from Seoul to Paju. I also held a DMZ pass as 24th Inf Div Medic, later, lst Cav.Div. After returning to the States, I avidly read
    Dr. Hulbert’s History of Korea. What a wonderful piece of research. I wish I had a copy in my own library. A glimpse of ancient customs that
    soon changed or vanished. My hat off to his scholarship and the objective way it was presented. Thanks. HHH

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