[KS] Hermit Country?

Walraven, B.C.A. B.C.A.Walraven at let.leidenuniv.nl
Wed Aug 3 09:38:57 EDT 2005

Recently Scott Burgeson in his discussion of the Hermit Kingdom issue
has stated that "it was official policy to detain permanently foreign
(mainly non-Chinese and non-Japanese) sailors who were shipwrecked on
Korean shores so that they could not return to their native lands and
disseminate information about Korea (and thus attract more unwanted
visitors)". It is of course true that Weltevree and Hamel and his
companions were held in Korea for a long time (although hardly "in
captivity" as they enjoyed considerable freedom), but this was not
official policy. It was standard East-Asian practice to return
shipwrecked sailors to their home country and this argument was used to
good effect in the successful negotiations between the Japanese and the
Koreans about the return of the sailors who remained in Korea after
Hamel had made his escape. See the chapter by W.J. Boot about these
negotiations in "The World of Hendrik Hamel" ed. by Vibeke Roeper and
myself (Amsterdam: SUN publishers, 2003).

Boudewijn Walraven

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list