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The Meeting between Korea and Europe in the early 19th Century - Focused on the Interchange between Siebold and Korean Castaways-

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2008, (90), pp.229-264
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Ha Woo Bong 1

1전북대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Before modern times, Europeans met Koreans a few times in Korea but Siebold had very rare opportunity as European to meet and interchange with Koreans in the city of the third country as Nagasaki. It was possible by the repatriation system for castaways in premodern northeastern Asia. P. Siebold was German doctor who was dispatched to Dutch trading center in Dejima in Nagasaki. He met Korean castaways in March 1827 and wrote informations from them in his book, Nippon. Nippon was the most comprehensive and profound work of the European writings about Japan in Early 19th century. It was a guide for Europeans to understand Asia including Japan. So the chapter Koorai (Korea) of this book became a manual for studying Korea. It is interesting to find Siebold's recognition about Korea in the chapter Koorai of Nippon. Although he met few Koreans and came contact with very small part of Korean culture, he tried to be objective to understand Korea. He excluded negative standpoint toward Korea which had been originated from H. Hamel and tried to understand Korean society and culture at the base of cultural relativism. In general, he was sympathetic and friendly to Korea and criticized European cultural imperialism. Korean castaways who met Siebold sympathized with him although he was the first European they met. They had very good impression of Europeans including Siebold. The interchange between Siebold and Korean castaways in Nagasaki, the city of international trade in Japan in early 19th century made an opportunity for Korean to understand Europe and for Europeans to form the recognition about Korea. We can't know the exact extent of the influence of this interchange, but it surely had affirmative influence.

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