[KS] Memories of Sookmyung--the house in Noryangjin

Stefan Ewing sa_ewing at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 26 22:55:47 EDT 2006

Dear KS list members:

(Apologies for any confusion yesterday.  The second email I sent out 
yesterday was different from the first one, but might have appeared like a 

I have received more information from the lady enquiring about the house in 
Noryangjin.  I have the vain hope that this might help in locating it, as 
it's possible that someone here has heard of her great grandfather--or his 
wife--who lived there.

The lady's great grandfather was one Nomura Seinosuke (Kanji/Hancha version 
of name in attached document), who lived in Seoul during the Japanese 
colonial period and became the principal of Sookmyung Girls' High School in 
1940.  (The school was first established in 1906 as "Myeongsin Girls' 
School"; the university's predecessor, Sookmyung Institute, was founded in 
1912.)  Mr. Nomura is mentioned in the school's chronology, under the entry 
for 1940 here: http://sookmyung.hs.kr/info/04.asp .

I have read that there were many progressive Japanese educators who took 
their responsibilities in Korea to heart, and Mr. Nomura appears to have 
been one of them.  He cared for the students in his charge, and the feeling 
was reciprocal to the point that one of his charges wrote a book about her 
experiences.  To quote my correspondent:

"He was a very good Christian man and was well liked among his students.  
One of his students named Choe Hesook wrote about how he influenced her life 
in a book.  The book was written in Korean and Japanese.  The Japanese title 
was Hanno Kanatani. He encouraged her to go to college when that sort of 
things wasn't really done back then.  She also writes in her book that one 
of her friends wanted to help as a nurse in the Japanese army to get money 
for her family.  He told her not to do this and to stay in school.  She 
later found out those 'nurses' were used as comfort women.  She was very 
grateful to him for that."

I also have one more detail about the house.  Mr. Nomura "enjoyed living 
there because he could see the ocean from the hill where his house was."  
(Could this reinforce the idea that the house might have been along the 
eastern ridge south of the Han'gang Daegyo?)  Beyond that, all she knows is 
that its address at the time was 205 Roryoshin (205 Noryangjin).  I know the 
addressing system in Seoul was just revamped radically within the last few 
years, and I'm sure that even before then, the address would have changed a 
few times--but as I asked yesterday, does anyone know of a database or 
physical archives where one might be able to look up a property by its 
former address?

Her great grandfather did return to Seoul 15 years before he passed away, 
and the house was still there (I don't know when he passed away), so perhaps 
there's some faint hope that it still exists!  This story has so intrigued 
me that if I were in Seoul, I would gladly look for the house or try to 
undertake the research myself.

Thank you in advance to anyone who can provide information on any of the 

* Any Japanese-era maps of Seoul that are detailed enough to show property 
information (fire insurance or local police station neighbourhood maps, 
perhaps, if those still exist or are available);
* Resources for searching for historical property information (i.e., land 
registry offices);
* Mr. Nomura Seinosuke (a Google search for his name in Han'gu^l and 
Kanji/Hancha turned up nothing);
* Ms. Choe Hyesook or the book she wrote (even the Korean title?);
* A more detailed history of Sookmyung than what's available online via the 
university's own website or the Naver encyclopedia; or
* The location of the house itself, if it's still standing.

Yours very sincerely,
Stefan Ewing


>Just a quick follow up...
>I have found two panoramas of the Noryangjin area from the 1930s, although 
>I can't pick out the house being looked for.  I wonder how much more 
>extensive the neighbourhood was than what appears in those photos.  The 
>pictures are the 3rd and 4th ones down on this page:
>Judging by the house's setting in the photo I linked to earlier (and 
>judging by the house's appearance, the family must have been well off), I 
>wonder if might have been located along the ridge in the background of both 
>A more general question: I haven't taken the time to explore Noryangjin 
>myself, though I have often wanted to, since it was one of the first 
>built-up areas south of the Han River.  All I've seen of it has been from 
>the subway, or zipping along the Olympic Daero.  Are there still many old 
>buildings standing there, or has it been as completely redeveloped as 
>everwhere else south of the river?
>Thanks again,
>Stefan Ewing
>Dear KS list members:
>A lady has contacted me asking to locate a house in Seoul that her great 
>grandparents lived in, and if possible take a picture of it.  As I live in 
>Canada, there's not much I can do for her.  I've attached her email (minus 
>personal information) below.  A few notes:
>1) She sent along an old photo of the house, available through this link: 
>2) In the address she's provided, Roryoshin appears to be the Japanese name 
>for Noryangjin 
>3) Dr. Cwiertka asked this question back in April (which is how this lady 
>found out about the Army Map Service's 1946 map of Seoul, I guess), but can 
>anyone think of any additional Japanese-era maps of Seoul, beyond those 
>mentioned in the spring?  (The thread starts here: 
>How might she match the address of her great grandparents' house to a 
>modern-day address?  Are there archives anywhere storing property records 
>from the colonial era?
>Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks,
>Stefan Ewing
>Dear Stefan,
>Thank you for posting the Keijo map from Texas University.  We went to the 
>genealogical library in Salt Lake City looking for a map and so far this 
>one has been the best.  Do you know where I can find a more detailed map of 
>Keijo (a map with street names in Japanese or romanized English)?
>My great grandparents use to live in 205 Roryoshin, Eitohoku, Seoul.  I am 
>looking for their old house.  I also posted a picture of there house just 
>in case anyone happens to be in the neighborhood.  If you do see it, could 
>you take a snapshot of the house for me?
>Esther ...

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