[KS] Institue of the Library of Myongji

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Jan 7 01:56:47 EST 2002

>  In his 1930 booklet "Occidental Literature on Korea," ... Dr. 
>Horace H. Underwood makes reference to one Gregory Cespedes, "who 
>came to Korea as chaplain of the Japanese Christian soldiers under 
>the Christian General Konishi" in 1592 (some 60 years before Hamel

Gregorio de Céspedes (1551-1611) came to Korea a year later, on 
December 27, 1593 -- indeed with the troups of Konishi Yukinawa 
(alias Augustin Arimandono) as a priest for the 15,000 Christian 
soldiers among Konishi's invasion troups.  He stayed until April 1994 
in Korea. It was reported by a letter of Father Luís Fróis 
(1532-1597) that around 300 Korean prisoners of war  -- mostly 
"slaves" it seems -- were brought to Nagasaki as converted 
Christians. You all know that one of those was later (1597)  brought 
to Italy by the slave trader Francesco Carletti (1573-1636), known as 
Vincent Kwon (1578?-1626) ...  in the 1610s the Vatican send him to 
Manchuria to reenter Korea as a missionary, but he wasn't successful.

>published in French on the "Priority due to the Spanish in the 
>Discovery of Korea"? Possibly, but I always supposed that Cespedes 
>was a Portuguese

He was indeed Spanish. Underwood was wrong here; many other accounts 
before and after his one also talked about him as Portuguese, but 
there is no question that he was Spanish. G.St.G. Gompertz' 1957 
article in the journal of the Korea Branch of the Royal Asiatic 
Society (pp. 41-54) already deals with this question ... and most of 
the newer Korean articles from the 1990s all get that right as well. 
See also Pak Ch'ul's text
Park, Chul. Testimonios literarios de la labor cultural de las 
misiones españolas en el Extremo Oriente: Gregorio de Cespedes. 
Madrid: Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, 1986
... and his Spanish text online "Las Primeras Relaciones de España con Corea"

>    Has this theory been subsequently debunked? Have
>the letters of Cespedes been found, or discredited?

Read the above quoted online text by Pak Ch'ul -- there are 4 letters 
he discovered, all written in Korea. Also look at footnotes 1 and 12.


Frank Hoffmann
http://KoreaWeb.ws  *  Fax: (415) 727-4792
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