The Center for Korean Studies fall 2015 colloquium series begins on Monday, September 28, with a reexamination of international rivalries in Korea in the late nineteenth century. Historian Wayne Patterson will deliver an illustrated presentation titled “A New Look at Korea’s Chinese Decade: Maritime Customs in the 1880s.” His talk begins at 4:00 p.m. in the Center conference room.
When discussing Korea’s so-called Chinese Decade, that is, roughly the dozen or so years prior to the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 – 95, attention in the past has focused mostly on the heavy-handed activities of Yuan Shikai in Seoul. Less well known is that part of this Chinese effort to bind Korea more closely to China involved the absorption of Korea’s newly formed Maritime Customs Service.Using the recently discovered correspondence of William N. Lovatt, the first commissioner of customs in Pusan (1883 – 1886), Patterson will discuss some heretofore unknown aspects of this attempted takeover by China. Lovatt was an Englishman who had served in the British army and, after leaving the army, joined the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs Service. When the Korean Customs Service was established he took up the post in Pusan. Lovatt’s papers enable Patterson to add rich detail to our knowledge of events during that period from a perspective away from the usual focus on Seoul and Yuan Shikai’s assertions of Chinese influence on the government of Korea.
Wayne Patterson is professor of history at St. Norbert College. He is the author of In the Service of His Korean Majesty: William Nelson Lovatt, the Pusan Customs, and Sino-Korean Relations, 1876 – 1888 (Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2012) and of two books on the history of Koreans in Hawai‘i—The Korean Frontier in America: Immigrants to Hawaii, 1896 – 1910 (1988) and The Ilse: First-Generation Korean Immigrants in Hawai‘i, 1903 – 1973 (2000), published by the University of Hawai‘i Press.
The Center for Korean Studies is located at 1881 East-West Road on the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa campus. Center events are free and open to all. Presentation of this colloquium is supported by the Doo Wook and Helen Nahm Choy Fund. For further information, including information on access for the handicapped, telephone (808) 956‑7041.