Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/9

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MAY, 1897.


DURING my residence in Japan I sought many interviews with Korean students, attachés of the Korean legation, and others, and in journalistic fashion asked them many questions concerning their country, people, habits, manners, customs, etc. At that time I found no Korean who understood English, but the younger men were studying Japanese, and so through them, by the aid of a Japanese interpreter, I managed to ask many questions of the older men. Since my return a number of opportunities have occurred—meeting Koreans who spoke English, and for several months I had a Korean as house companion. The information thus gained was not originally intended for publication, but for comparison with similar material of a cognate but far more advanced people, the Japanese.[1]

I may say here, though not as an excuse for any errors which may doubtless occur, that my questions could not have been more carefully asked, or the answers more promptly recorded, had I been on Korean soil. It is also proper to state that in every case the information was derived from Koreans of official position, and therefore the statements, so far as their own class is concerned, ought to be reliable.

  1. It is an extraordinary fact that in the late war with China the Japanese, single-handed, overawed the Koreans, a hostile nation of at least eight million people, drove every Chinese soldier out of the country, and, had it not been for the interference of three powerful European nations, would have held the Regent's Sword, and would have supported the young Korean party in its patriotic efforts to regenerate that poor country. That the Koreans could not make the faintest stand against the Japanese, though aided by Chinese armies, leads one to wonder what manner of people are the Koreans, and this is my reason for publishing the following memoranda, disjointed and fragmentary as they are.