Monday, May 21, 2007

Quotable Quotes

I'm a sucker for a good quote: pointed yet general, pedestrian in its composure yet sophisticated in scrutiny. There is something provokingly stimulating about these context-devoid flashes of observation, their inherent malleability of intent, their power to suggest self-reflection on humanity’s most virtuous or deleterious traits. Indeed, the general appreciation of quotes leads me to believe that humankind prefers both condemnation and glorification in concise, easy to remember chunks—an entire book could never avoid criticism from even the most ardent admirer, but the brief wisdom of a quote is easy to appreciate. So when this Sunday I came across two quotes that are as divergent in opinion as they are candidly accurate, I couldn’t help but smile. Surely the misanthropes are just misinformed….

After ages during which the earth produced harmless trilobites and butterflies, evolution progressed to the point at which it has generated Neros, Genghis Khans, and Hitlers. This, however, I believe is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return.

-Bertrand Russell

That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for [man] is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel Tower were now representing the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle knob at its summit would represent man's share of that age; and anybody would perceive that the skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would, I dunno.

-Mark Twain

*I'm sorry, but this post has absolutely nothing to do with Korea--at least not directly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Celestial Debate of Terrestrial Importance

Theological suspicions not withstanding, I propose Heaven to be a large coffee shop. More than this, a coffee shop in real Café du Monde style: white and blue tile, 15 foot ceilings, rod-iron tables scattered around huge round pillars. The beignets are always fresh and the weather perfect. On this day Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and the Emperor Hirohito share a pot of Café au lait and some of their thoughts. We enter the conversation as their discussion, strangely enough (and coincidentally a perfect topic for this blog), turns to English Teaching in South Korea……….

Masaryk: Are you really arguing that parents, who may or may not have any understanding of English and likely have no pedagogical experience, should be allowed to manipulate the goings on of a classroom at the behest of their own prejudices?

Hirohito: You know very well that I’m not saying that at all. I’m merely relaying to you the level of active participation that many East Asian parents consider natural. There are certain cultural differences that you should be aware of if you’re going to start criticizing an educational system.

Masaryk: So you admit it’s a problem?

Hirohito: I admit that most things involved with the very complex issue of education are capable of presenting any number of problems.

Masaryk: That’s a very Royal response, your majesty. But it doesn’t address the issue. Nor does it grapple with the clear social distinction made between a Korean teacher and a foreign “teacher.” You must understand that parents are bombarded daily with sensationalized stories of how western English teachers lack responsibility or training, are sexual deviant, addicted to drugs or worse. It doesn’t surprise me that parents who are inundated with this propagandistic nonsense feel they should act to preserve what they view as their child’s educational sanctity.

Hirohito: And what do you propose, dear president? Would you have the parents shipped off to “thought school” in Western countries to counter their own racial chauvinism? There are certain variables that simply have to be worked around. This may be one of them.

Masaryk: Exactly my point, oh enlightened one. It seems to me that the school administrators should act to thwart this kind of disruptive behavior. Yet they seem to encourage it by taking advantage of the lack of correspondence between English-speaking foreign teachers and Korean-speaking parents to make scapegoats out of teachers when problems inevitably arise.

Hirohito: You can’t really believe that these schools are purposely encouraging this? They have little to gain from tainting their instructors’ reputations just to quell the irrational reactions of some parents.

Masaryk: Well, I may have argued that last point a little over-zealously, but…..

--Both ghostly personalities are now focusing their attention on some elderly ghost stripping his robe off and pouring hot coffee over his chest.--

Hirohito: Who is that fool over there?

Masaryk: Oh, that’s the new guy, Kurt Vonnegut. He’s still in denial about the whole afterlife thing.

Hirohito/Masaryk: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…….

[I designed this post in flattering imitation of the scenes in Milan Kundera’s book Immortality where the late Goethe and Hemingway discuss the topic of their own remembrance. The topic has obviously been changed to suit a more current and practical interest.]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Damn!! Somebody Really Said That?!?!?!

It's not every day one comes across something so completely ridiculous, so overtly pompous, so hysterically absurd that it generates a lurid compulsion to read it again and again. I've always subscribed to the belief that the vast majority of people are inveterate self-praisers; we tend to be as convinced of our own genius almost as we are baffled by how no one else could notice. For this reason, with predictable consistency, some fool hopped-up on 100mg of self-importance makes a comment that, well, sounds something like...."if you get killed from smoking, you've lost an important part of your life"-Brooke Shields... or "The Korean Language and Korean Writing are the greatest cultural inheritance of everything in the world" -Mr. Notworthmentioning. Since this quick post is about quotes, I think it only fitting to close it with one.

“It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say then don’t say it.” –Sam Levenson
Great advice, Sam!!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Pick Up Your Kid!!

Before coming to Korea I had neither the slightest inclination nor the tiniest bit of cause to ever even contemplate kicking the living shit out of a small child. But recently this urge, ne this craving to bludgeon both the child and the oblivious mother who thinks a packed subway staircase is the appropriate place for walking lessons has been difficult to suppress.

From the packed trains and platforms to the conveyor belts carrying frantically sprinting businessmen, every aspect of the Seoul Metro screams urgency. On any given morning the throngs of passengers pounding the marble floors and stairs as they transfer from one line to the next is a daunting spectacle. The trains regularly fill to bursting as literally millions of people make their way across the city. Yet all of this goes completely unnoticed by the average housewife. With only her Gucci handbag and small child in tow, this quintessential model of postmodern domesticism hunting for the perfect $2000 shower curtains remains bafflingly unaware of all this. I can no longer count the number of times I’ve watched in bewilderment as a mass of busy Koreans are forced to nervously wait behind a woman slowly and gently coaching her young child up or down a subway staircase.

Please, for everyone’s sake, pick up your kid!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Of Saints and Soju

Saint Patrick’s Day came early this year: about noon! The Irish embassy in Seoul put on a public concert and street parade complete with free Guinness, clowns on stilts, and a few genuine drunk Irishmen. Needless to say it was full-on lame. The park was boiling over with an especially rank 외국인치깨 of super-sized Canadian girls, unshaven English teachers, old green T-shirts, and lines for free Guinness long enough to persuade an Irishman to drop the sauce. We stayed just to snap a few “yes I was there” photos and then headed for the dark safety and musty comfort of a Hof. That’s when we saw it—a message from St. Patrick himself. It was scrawled in cheap golden thread and branded to the ass-end of a large, fuzzy, walking pint of Guinness.

Go forth and spew unto the multitudes a Soju-scented message of imprudence and foolery

Its sheer lunacy stopped us dead in our tracks and converted us instantaneously. And so began what would end up being a thirteen-hour-long, spiritually-inspired Hof Crawl and whirlwind taxi tour.

As a tribute to the legendary story where St. Patrick miraculously banished all snakes from Ireland, we decided to visit as many Korean Hofs as we could find in the Hyewha area and rid them all of these nasty serpents. I’m happy to report that our snake banishing powers are obviously of an exceptionally high quality, as we didn’t see a single snake. Our mere stumbling presence and thick Soju stench was enough to drive these wretched creatures out of every Hof we entered and possibly off the entire peninsula. Even we were pleasantly surprised that we possessed this magical power.

Intoxicated by our own recently recognized celestial greatness, we set off to minister to the entire city of Seoul. We promptly hired two taxis and flew across the river to spread the message of St. Patrick and share the healing power of 참이슬 to the misguided residents of Konkuk, Sincheon and Daechi. Our mouths soothed the tormented hearts of drunken, sexually-ambiguous old Korean businessmen with poorly pronounced Korean words; our fingers itched for cheap stuffed animals imprisoned in coin-operated glass cages; some of us even learned to crave the biting flavor of cigarette ash covered chicken.

Thousands of Soju baptisms and a multitude of embarrassing inebriated street-side genuflections later we felt satisfied that our work was done. After several overly enthusiastic embraces and a round of slurred and unrecognizable utterances we retired to our respective homes with swollen hearts and bladders. While our amazing feat may never be celebrated or even recorded (thankfully) in any Korean media, I’m satisfied that our day-long ministry was responsible for saving both lives and seouls.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Conversation With An Ape

김민족: (Respected Korean Journalist): Let me be the first to welcome you to Korea, Joel.

Talking Ape: That’s very nice of you; but this is my third time in Korea, and I’ve been here over 2 years in total.

김민족: That’s fantastic. I hope you’ve enjoyed Korea. Could you start by telling me about your time teaching English here?

Ape: I would be happy to. Let me start by saying that I can’t express enough how much I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to live and work in this country. It’s been a unique experience that I’ve benefited from in so many ways. But I must say that due to the systemic cultural/racial prejudices teaching English here in Korea as a foreigner can be quite frustrating at times.

김민족: Ahh, that’s very interesting. So have you seen the 63 building here in Seoul? You know it’s the tallest in the country, right?

Ape: Uhmm, well, yes I’ve seen it. It’s very nice. But as I was saying, the natural insularity of Korea combined with the race-based prejudices passed on from generation to generation do a great deal to undermine a foreign teacher’s classroom authority. Consequently, the fo…..

김민족: So have you tried Kim-Chi?

Ape: ………………CONSEQUENTLY, the foreign teachers are relegated to a position of genuine impotence. In this way we are powerless to effect structural change or even do our job in any meaningful way.

김민족: Great! And it wasn’t too spicy?

Ape: NO!!! IT WASN’T TOO SPICY. I’M CAJUN FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! Are you paying any attention at all to what I’m saying? You explained to me that we would be having a conversation about issues concerning foreigners teaching English in Korea. What does my capacity for eating Kim-Chi have to do with that? I’m trying to explain a very real problem with the Hak-Won system, a problem perpetuated by everything from irrational, xenophobic fear to plain ol’ malicious racial hatred. A problem that could be resolved by……

김민족: Wonderful! And what’s your favorite thing about Korea?


김민족: You like Soju? How many bottles can you drink?

Ape: AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2007

What a difference A Day makes

Some time back a rather precocious student of mine asked me a question I just couldn't answer fast enough. I believe I was somewhere in the middle of my well-rehearsed explanation for the many forms of English, a speech I inevitably have to give to any and all the classes I deem able to understand it. Korean children, and occasionally even the adults, have a difficult time grappling with the reality that different countries with differing cultures and histories can share the same language. This lecture—and since it's part of an English course intended for Korean adolescent comprehension it includes the requisite pale monkey antics and foolery—involves an embarrassingly short history of colonialism and revolution: a sort of "put the banana on the English-speaking countries, put the apple on the Spanish-speaking..." kind of exposition.

I was moving along with this worn-out sermon at a swift, orderly pace by this point, the expressive apples and bananas making a veritable sundae as I juggled them around the whiteboard. And then, seemingly from out of nowhere it came: “When is America day?" "Whhhaaaatttt.....," I asked a little confused. To my utter amazement the child went on to explain to me that both Canada and Australia (I believe he lived in Australia for a time) each have their respective, self-titled national holidays.

Now this was quite something. It’s been my experience that the cavernous insides of an average Korean boy’s prepubescent mind rarely hold much more than the memories of the current month’s most popular computer game and a few colorful dactchi. I suppressed both my bafflement and the powerful desire to respond with the arrogant answer, “everyday is America day,” and took a deep breath.

America has an independence day just like Korea,” I went on. I purposely invoked this comparison as an appeal to his own systematically-instilled sense of Korean superiority and exceptionalism. “Then what’s the difference between Canada day and American Independence day?” was his apt reply. I gave the child a wry smile and said bluntly “well my boy, when your country has spilt blood for their independence you get an independence day. And when a bunch of ex-lawyers put on their Sunday bests, get in a big colorful group and make a law over it, well, you just get a day.” I don’t know if he understood the humor in this; but I got a kick out’a saying it.

[My apologies to all my Canadian and Australian friends out there.]

Friday, March 2, 2007

It’s Only a 민 Joke!!

We’ll put force against force, says the citizen. We have our greater Ireland beyond the sea. They were driven out of house and home in the black 47. Their mudcabins and their shielings by the roadside were laid low by the batteringram and the Times rubbed its hands and told the whitelivered Saxons there would soon be as few Irish in Ireland as redskins in America. Even the Grand Turk sent us his piastres.
-James Joyce, Ulysses

Our nationality is like our relations to women: too implicated in our moral nature to be changed honourably, and too accidental to be worth changing.
-George Santayana

우리 나라, 우리 , 우리 민족


To paraphrase Ernest Gellner, nationalism is a political principle, which demands that the political and the national unit should be congruent—the merger of cultural chauvinism and political aspirations. By most accounts it is the obvious remedy for the kind of debilitating disorder that a collection of heterogeneous cultures (something not only common but necessary for Agrarian societies) imposes upon industrial states. Only by cloaking a people in a common culture, perpetuated by a state-run educational system, can the kind of mobility and communication between individuals that allows for perpetual economic growth be sustained. It is for this reason that the nation is now the most common if not the only accepted form of legitimate stateliness.

Occasionally, however, the cultural melding of groups is so immutably complete that a third element is added to this union of culture and politics: race. The reasons for the occasional emergence of this national trinity are as numerous as their various expressions; but this route is not open to all nations. Clearly, it would take a powerful cultural impact, combined with a disavowal of known history so complete to be tantamount to ignoring overt reality for a nation state like the USA to convince itself of a fallacy like racial homogeneity. Yet for nations like Korea, where physiological differences between nationals “seem” less acute, this leap is easily made, hence the largely accepted and educationally perpetuated notion of the Han Minjok.

As for the precise roots of this concept in Korea, I must admit ignorance. But for those interested, this excerpt from Nationalism and the Construction of Korean Identity is quite revealing.

In postwar South Korea, the mythical Tan'gun racial regeneration narrative was a product ( Yi K. B. 1990) of collective historical imaginations of today's most widely recognized "nationalist historians" (minjok sahakja) including Kim Ch'ŏl-jun, Yi Pyŏng-do, Ch'ŏn Kwan-u, Yi Ki-baek, Kim Chŏng-bae, and Yi Man-yŏl ( Yi M. Y. 1987). Because of their work, the Tan'gun narrative appears at the beginning of all Korean history textbooks despite the conspicuous absence of any reliable historical, archaeological, or art historical evidence supporting the legend prior to the thirteenth-century Samguk Yusa (Tales of the Three Kingdoms) ( Yi P. D. 1981). These historians also aver a historical lineage linking them to the pioneering spirit of national historical struggle (minjok t'uchaengsa insik) initiated by Sin Ch'ae-ho in the 1930s (TSKH 1987). Their shared claim of discovering "real" Korean history (Han'guksa palgyŏn) stems from a belief that all previous academic work--ranging from Japanese colonial historical scholarship to earlier Korean dynastic documents--cannot be considered Korean Studies since it lacks a truly "Korean historical consciousness" (Han'guk Yŏksa insik). Consequently, they dismiss earlier historians such as Kim Pu-sik ( twelfth century), the author of Korea's earliest complete historical work, Samguk Sagi, as being steeped in the traditional pro-Chinese attitude of sadae (to serve the bigger) ( Chŏn H. C. 1973) and lacking credibility as Korean historians because of their Confucian historiographical methodology. In addition, nationalistic historians denounce colonial-era publications and data, whether archaeological, ethnographic, or art historical, as tainted by Japanese scholars' "imperialistic historical viewpoint" (ilche hwang-guk sagwan) and, as a result, not worthy of study ( Pai 1994). Furthermore, they assail those Japanese scholars who study ancient history for deliberately distorting Korea's prehistoric past in hypothesizing a common racial origin for Japanese and Koreans (Nissen Dosoron), a hypothesis considered to be part of a Japanese conspiracy to deliberately eradicate Korean racial identity (minjok malsal).

…Three characteristics are commonly cited in self-definitions of Koreans: (1) the homogeneity of the Korean race, nation, language, and culture since Kochosŏn's prehistoric origins five thousand years ago; (2) the self-representation of Korean racial characteristics (minjoksŏng) as paedal minjok. Etymologically, the word paedal is said to derive from the name of the mythical pakdal tree on Paektusan where Tan'gun was born ( Ch'ŏn K. U. 1983). In Chinese characters, the word can also be written to mean "the delivered race" (paedal) who, as the "chosen" or "good" (sŏn) people, were saved from Japanese efforts at racial eradication and assimilation by the Tan'gun spirit of independence; and finally (3) the shared historical destiny and cultural heritage of all Koreans since the formation of the Korean race by the founding ancestor, Tan'gun. According to this view, Koreans have been able to preserve their distinct racial, cultural, and linguistic heritage because of a continuous spirit of resistance directed against foreign superpowers from time immemorial. Because of these widely accepted assumptions concerning the homogeneity of the Korean race, language, and culture, all scholarship on Korea is automatically subsumed under the rubric of racial history (minjoksa), leaving little room for alternative voices to be heard.

–Hyung Il Pai and Timothy R. Tangherlini - editors. Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley1998.

Now it’s very likely that a resounding Korean response would be “so what?” And maybe there’s nothing at all wrong with all this. So what if Korean academia is crippled and blinded by its own racial image of itself? Who’s harmed by a national consciousness, which despite all the evidence to the contrary clings passionately to the idea of its own racial exceptionalism? Every nation has its own national mythology. In the United States school children are bombarded with absurdities, told in all seriousness mind you, about George Washington’s quasi-divine compulsory truthfulness and the communal harmony between Pilgrim settlers and Native Americans. The inherent incredulousness of these statements is enough to make a leper laugh. Yet these myths are not only perpetuated by the annual pageantry of American national holidays, they are sometimes fervently defended (though usually tolerantly ignored) by historians claiming academic objectivity.

So why do I think this idea of a Minjok should be condemned as a malignant national aberration? It is to my profound dismay that this question remains much easier to pose than to answer. It is entirely likely that my aversion to the idea of a pure race is merely a byproduct of the extant Western trauma affected by Nazism and Italian Fascism. The fear and repulsion of these ideologies and the disaster they precipitated continue to pervade political and academic thought in Europe and North America. Additionally, the American history of race-based slavery has left an indelible mark on the American consciousness, which has surely affected how and what I can rationalize. But outside of my own culturally-instilled prejudices I believe there are several other reasons to abhor the Korean notion of a Minjok. For the sake of argument (and this is all for the sake of argument) I propose two reasons: one of current practical importance, the other a likely scenario.

1—Many Koreans continue to hold fast to their own socially-generated characterizations and caricatures of foreigners: Chinese people smell, Southeast Asians are gold-diggers, Westerners are sex-crazed, drug-addicted morons taking advantage of Korea, and so on. Admittedly, every national group harbors such discriminatory attitudes toward outsiders. Yet these externally directed attitudes, when compounded by a sense of one’s own racial purity, have a tendency to produce barriers to educational opportunities and economic success, which in turn thwarts cultural assimilation. The consequence (if not the purpose) of this is to lock foreigners in a cycle of isolation, which breeds discrimination and further contributes to these race-based caricatures of foreigners.

2—This then brings me to a likely scenario, one that has been played out in other countries at other times in the past. What happens when Korea’s dynamic economic escalation inevitably suffers a prolonged recession? How will a racial consciousness react when an economic environment is created that compels some Koreans to compete with foreigners for jobs and other opportunities?

It’s because of the sensitivity surrounding this topic that I’ve chosen to use such an insipidly dull and colorless prose. It has never been my intention to degrade Korean culture. Nor do I think an educated discussion of this issue is in any way harmful to Korean society. I would, however, like to spawn some type of discussion on this subject, a discussion—judging by the passionately defensive responses I’ve received from every Korean with whom I’ve dared to broach this topic—that is entirely absent in popular Korean social discourse.

So…. let me he have it….

Itaewon Introduction (Remnants of an aborted book)

Situated just south of the city center and east of the massive Yongsan American military base Itaewon is the nexus of the foreign and Korean worlds—the veritable intersection of Western culture and Korean subculture. This ad hoc love-child of pragmatism and offensiveness exists as an island within Seoul: isolated by its reassuringly foreign as well as its uncomfortably recognizable traits. Nowhere else in Seoul will you find trashy western bars, homosexual havens, Korean rub-brothels, heterosexual and gay saunas, Japanese massage parlors, streetwalkers and your local MacDonald’s all in one place. Make no mistake; this is the seedy epicenter of Seoulite seediness.

While Itaewon is no longer the explosive GI circus of drunken street fights, testosterone, and treatable herpes it once was, a palpable vestige of its former glory remains. The “bars” and brothels lining Hooker Hill and its tributaries that were once oozing with customers continue to persist, albeit with far fewer clients. Their flashing neon tastelessness blinks overtly suggestive titles like Best Club, Tiger Tavern, and StarButts as they summon stray GIs and English Teachers to lose their inhibitions and reservations. This place has a quaint style of seediness that encourages visitors to misplace their principles just as it inspires locals to execrate its lewdness. For anyone in search of Korean debauchery, Itaewon should be near the top of their list.

History and Background

The exact etymology of the name Itaewon is unclear. Of the possible origins there are two likely candidates (both from Chinese roots): 南部 屯芝坊 梨泰院契 a grove of pear trees, and 異胎圓 an allusion to an area of foreigners. The available information on both of these origins makes them equally plausible; and there seems no reason not to promote the historical accuracy of both, unless of course we are to assume that the presence of pears precludes the possibility of the presence of foreigners. However, since a grove of pear trees is about as mundane as, well, a grove of pear trees, we shall concern ourselves only with the second, and heartily more interesting, possible historical origin.

The reference to a place of foreigners is deeply rooted in the passionately nationalistic mythology surrounding three successful invasions of Korea: two Japanese and one American. According to Korean legend, after the sixteenth century invasion (1592-98) some Japanese soldiers sacked the Unjeong-Sa Temple in present day Itaewon and proceeded to rape the female monks living there. The Japanese then burnt the temple and left, leaving the women homeless and pregnant. Since the word Itaewon can also be interpreted to mean “different navel cord,” some have accepted the notion that the place was named for the half-Japanese bastard children of these raped monks. When the Japanese returned in 1910 to initiate what would become 35 years of occupation they chose the area around Itaewon to build a military base. It’s not difficult to imagine the area swarming with Japanese soldiers heading off to or returning from the many fronts of their various campaigns just as American GIs have done ever since. And it is no small coincidence that the former Japanese military base now houses an American one.

Through the 1970’s the Itaewon area changed from a collection of thrown-together dime-stores and souvenier venders to a more notable assortment of tailors, shopping outlets and foreign-style bars and restaurants. The Seoul-hosted 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Olympic Games completed this transition, and the area was declared a “special tourism zone” in the 1990’s. Throughout these years residing diplomats, soldiers, immigrants, and more recently English teachers have contributed to the still burgeoning foreign community. As for the more sordid institutions in this area, their history is a bit more clouded, but infinitely more attractive.

Hooker Hill
(this section is still incomplete......additions will be made and posted)

In Loving Memory of the Late George Hogan

Dear readers,

I regret to inform you that a dear friend of ours and my former co-researcher has been brutally slain at the hands of several members of the Korean Indoctrination Ministry (KIM). The exact manner of his death is still unclear; however, with the help of several inside sources I’ve been able to glean some small bits of the process of his appalling departure from this cruel world.

As is well known, the late George Hogan has been an ardent critic of the systematic cultural indoctrination of the Korean people. On more than several occasions he has proudly endured scathing and malicious condemnation from the Korean media for daring to question some of the most fundamental Korean beliefs. Most recently he was accused of boldly insisting that Korea may be only 4723 years old—an intolerable affront to Korean self-worth and national pride. Indeed, it was this final offence that sealed his fate.

Witnesses have explained to me that he was bagged and dragged from his apartment early on the morning of the 26th of this month. From there he was taken to the KIM’s notorious secret torture and reeducation compound deep inside Wonderland’s Central Office. After being forced to endure 10 hours of the sappiest Korean soap operas, he was then pelted until insensible with large rocks collected from the shores of Dok-Do. Once unconscious, he was stuffed into a large pot of Kim-Chi that was buried in some as yet undisclosed location. I have been assured by inside sources that in a final act of symbolic benevolence the KIM chief overseeing the execution requested that the Kim-Chi be made less spicy, as it is well-known by Koreans that foreigners (especially Western foreigners) lack both the racial purity and the long history of Japanese oppression that allows Koreans to endure spicy food.

Despite the current situation I have vowed to finish the research begun by George and I. Doubtlessly, without George’s superb insight into the labyrinth-like world of Korean culture this research will be incalculably more difficult. Nonetheless, I’m now posting the first installment of our still incomplete work on Korean brothel culture. I send my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the late George Hogan. It is my hope that by dedicating this book to his memory some solace will be brought to his survivors.