The purpose of this paper is to analyze characteristics of Yanagi Muneyoshi’s underst anding of Korea in the colonial period by investigating the content of his early writing about Korea. The articles analyzed in this study are “Sculpture of Seokbulsa”, which w as published in Geijutsu in 1919, “My Feeling Toward Fellow Koreans” in the Yomiuri Newspaper from May20-24,1919, and “ A Letter to My Korean Friends”, which was pu blished in Kaijo in 1920.
Yanagi made his first trip to Korea in 1916. He visited many places including Busan, the Hayin Buddhist Temple, Seokguram Grotto, and part of the Bulguksa Temple compl ex in Gyeongju. From that time on, he became interested in Korean history, religion, ar t, and people, and he began to understand them..
Yanagi did not engage in political speech activities that actively opposed Japan’s colon ial rule in Korea. He showed that there was no prejudice or discrimination against forei gn objects, and that he could recognize himself by understanding a foreign culture. He had no prejudice or discrimination against foreign cultures; instead, he showed that we can recognize ourselves by understanding something different.