[KS] Westerners and Korean Spouses
Andrei.Lankov at bigpond.com
Sat Mar 29 01:46:44 EST 2003
In those years there were some marriages between Korean women and Russian
a) most of such marriages took place outside Korea, in the cities of the
Russian Far East which by 1900 had large Korean communities
b) such unions were very unusual. Indeed, Soviet Koreans began to marry
outside their community only in the 1940s. I do research on the Soviet
Korean who were dispatched to the DPRK in the 1940s - and among some 250
people whose personal data I have found, only 3 or 4 had Russian spouses
(actually, non-Korean spouses: one was married to a Jew, and another to a
Of earlier examples, the only case I can cite is Alexandra Stankevich (nee
Kim). She was born 1895 in Sinelnikovo, large Korean village not far away
from Vladivostok. However, her father, a professional interpretor, died when
she was only 10 y.o., so Alexandra Kim was adopted by a Russian family and
graduated from a Russian high school. In the early 1910s she married certain
Mr. Stankevich but soon divorced him. Eventually she became a prominent
Communist leader and was executed by the Japanese in 1918, during the
Russian Civil War.
However, taken into consideration the general atmosphere in Russia of the
early 1900s, I tend to believe that such marriages would be more acceptable
there than, say, in most Anglo-Saxon countries. Then as now a number of the
prominent Russians had Asian heritage and was quite proud of it. This is, of
course, not to say that racism was not a problem in Russia: it was simply
less prominent than in some other places (I'm afarid, this is not the case
any more - but we are talking about 1900, not 2000).
Dr. Andrei Lankov
China & Korea Centre,
Faculty of Asian Studies,
Australian National University,
ACT, 0200, Australia
From: Koreanstudies-admin at koreaweb.ws
[mailto:Koreanstudies-admin at koreaweb.ws]On Behalf Of Robert Armstrong
Sent: Friday, 28 March 2003 12:48 PM
To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Subject: [KS] Westerners and Korean Spouses
I realize that this is a little strange but I am looking for information on
Westerners who might have married Koreans during the period of 1882-1905. I
know that most of the Westerners that were single and residing in Korea
either associated with Japanese, often taking them as mistresses, or with
other Westerners, but I know of only one that actually married a Korean -
what is even stranger is that this Westerner was a woman. The Westerners
that married Japanese women during this period were often looked down upon
other members of the community - especially the early missionaries - and
most of the wives were not even mentioned in the official embassy registers
- ie., Townsend and his wife. There were a couple of Westerners that were
married to Chinese - Amador (Spanish woman) married to Woo, and Oiesen
married to a Chinese woman in Gensan (Wonsan), but for the most part they
were accepted in their community.
I think that the social stigma would have been even more extreme and
unacceptable by both communities for a Korean to marry a Westerner - the
Korean women always being described as elusive and hidden.
Would appreciate any assistance.
With best regards
>From: "Horace H. Underwood" <hhu at fulbright.or.kr>
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>Subject: [KS] Fulbright Forum April 4
>Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 14:21:31 +0900
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>Fulbright in Seoul (the Korean American Educational Commission) is pleased
>to invite you to attend the Fulbright Forum for April, which will be held
>Friday, April 4, 2003, at 6:30 p.m. at the Commission offices in Mapo.
>The speaker this month will be Michael Hurt, Fulbright grantee to Korea and
>doctoral candidate in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. The title of the talk
>is "Finding Korea: Everyday Life and People from a Photographic
>and will introduce the audience to Mr. Hurt's experience conducting
>documentary photo classes in Korean alternative schools, as well as his own
>ongoing photo project, in which he tries to capture images of everyday life
>in Korea and the people who define it. Mr. Hurt shoots through the lens of
>an outsider's perspective, and encourages his alternative school students
>do the same by using the lens to document and thereby to take a step back
>from their everyday environments. The Forum will show a great deal of Mr.
>Hurt's work for the first time, along with some student photo projects that
>were completed this past December in the "SSRO.net" media school.
>Mr. Hurt says, "Western photographers who come to Asia often do not live in
>the places and among the people they photograph. In the case of Korea,
>there is not much contemporary photographic work at all, in comparison with
>other countries more prominent in the Western mind, such as China and
>or photogenic locales such as Malaysia or Tibet. Even in Korean
>there is a dearth of documentary photography collections that are not
>table books for tourists or do not have to do with the recent World Cup.
>Documentary photography exists in Korea, but is eclipsed by art photography
>and exists in the shadow of a huge body of earlier photo work on a postwar,
>underdeveloped South Korea."
>We welcome to the April Fulbright Forum all Fulbrighters, senior scholars,
>graduate students and ETAs, as well as Board Members, Fulbright alumni,
>Peace Corps alumni, Korean studies scholars, foreign graduate students, RAS
>members, and any other interested friends of Korea or members of the
>The presentation will be followed by a buffet reception (in lieu of
>We hope many friends will come to enjoy the lecture, the discussion, and
>Place: Fulbright Building
>168-15 Yomni-dong, Mapo-gu
>see maps on our website: www.fulbright.or.kr
>or call Mrs. Lee: 3275-4000 for directions
>Date: Friday, April 4, 2003
>Time: 6:30 p.m.
>See you on the 4th!
>Horace H. Underwood, Executive Director
>Korean-American Educational Commission (Fulbright)
>hhu at fulbright.or.kr
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