The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Korea
|←Kordyan||The Encyclopedia Americana
|Edition of 1920. See also Korea on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
KOREA, kō-rē'ạ, COREA, or CHOSEN, since 29 Aug. 1910, is a sovereign kingdom situated on the Korean Peninsula in a strategic point in East Asia between China, Russia, and Japan. The name means Morning Splendor/ Morning Calm. By the census of 1910 it contains 2,274,263 native dwellings and a population of 13,115,449, the females numbering 6,169,610 and the males 6,945,539, the discrepancy in sex numbers arising from the neglect of female infants, 146,147 Japanese, 1,818 Chinese and 889 other foreigners. It comprises a strip of coast and a peninsula projecting southward from Manchuria, divided from it by the great valleys of Yalu or Amnok northwest and the Tuman northeast, both rising in the colossal peak of Paik-tu (White Head), 8,300 feel high. The Japan Sea divides it from Japan, whose southern-most island (Kiushu) approaches its southern tip within 100 miles, separated by Korea Strait with large islands midway; to the west, Korea Bay and the Yellow Sea, marked off by Shantung Peninsula, divide it from China. A dense archipelago fringes it south and west. Its parallels are from 33° 12' to 43° 2' N., or about the same as from Concord, N. H., to Wilmington, N. C, and average much south of Italy; its meridians, 124° 13' to 130° 54' E. It is about 600 miles long by 135 broad; area, 84,738 square miles.
Korea is traversed north to south by a mountain backbone of striking individuality: a perpetual zigzag, skirting the eastern shore with slender coast-lands, in a steep solid wall unbroken for hundreds of miles save by Yunghing or Broughton's Bay at the northern neck. In the north it has summits 4,000 to 8,000 feet high, and at Cape Pelissier, about lat. 37°, culminates in Mount Popoff (4,800 feet); thence the main chain turns southwest and ends in the extinct volcano of Mount Auckland (6,700 feet), on Quelpaert Island, while to the east it throws out low hills and plateaus. The islands of the southern archipelago, verdant rocks worn into the semblance of fantastic castellated ruins, are the ends of its spurs. On the eastern side the ridge is timbered to the summit; on the west almost treeless, and seamed with deep ravines shallowing out into broad fertile plains, occupying most of Korea. On the east below the boundary there is but one river of any size, the Nak-tong along the southeastern uplands, and almost no islands; the west has 10 considerable streams, and the coast is thickly notched with harbors and fringed with fertile islets.
The chief rivers are, from the north: The great Yalu or Amnok, a mile wide and rising 40 feet in flood, navigable 30 miles for sea-going junks and 175 for boats, to Wi-wön, and now crossed by a superb steel highway bridge uniting Korea with the trunk Imes through Russia to Europe. Opposite is the Tuman. The Taidong or Ta-tong, navigable for boats 75 miles to Ping-yang. The Han (“the river”), rises on the western slopes of the eastern ridge but 30 miles from the Japan Sea, draining nearly the whole breadth of tbe peninsula with two main arms, and flowing into a bay of the Yellow Sea among islands. About 30 miles up lies Keijo, or Seoul, tbe capital, and a tine of small steamers runs between it and Chemulpo, on Imperatrice Gulf as much farther south; boats ascend nearly 100 miles more. The Nak-tong (above) empties into Korea Strait near Fusan, and is navigable 140 miles for vessels drawing four and one-half feet. The best harbors are Gen-san and Port Lazareff, on Broughton's Bay; the best on the south coast is Fusan on Korea Strait, now finely equipped with docks for large steamers. The tides on the west and south are very high and rapid, often leaving vessels stranded on mud banks.
The climate is much like that of the eastern coast of America in the same latitudes; the north and centre have very hot summers and severe winters; the south is like the Carolinas, and tempered by the ocean breezes. The Han is frozen in winter so that at Seoul, where it is 400 yards wide, it is available for cart traffic three months of the year, from December to February. The rainfall averages 36 inches, 22 in the crop season. A fall of only 4.1 inches in 1901 created a famine.
Flora and Fauna. — There is a great variety of excellent hardwood timber on the east slopes and the northern mountains; in the west it is scarce and sparingly used; lack of coal has caused much wasteful denudation in other parts. The one surpassing animal of the native fauna is the man-eating tiger, who fills the native proverbs and literature, depopulates whole villages and even besieges houses for days, sometimes leaping on the thatched roof and tearing his way down through. Besides him there are leopards, tiger-cats and foxes; deer, beaver, badgers, otters, martens, etc., and a great variety of birds.
Products. — The great native crop is ginseng, which grows wild in the distant mountains, and is extensively cultivated about Sunto; it is a government monopoly, and despite much smuggling yields a large part of the state revenue. Among other products are rice, wheat, millet, sesame, Indian corn, beans, cotton, hemp and perilla (for oil and pigment). The domestic animals are few. The cattle are excellent, the bull being the usual beast of burden; the ponies very small but hardy, fowls good, pigs inferior. Iron ores of excellent quality are mined, and there are copper mines in several places. In 1910 the value of gold exported was $3,053,038; the silver output is very small. Three-fourths of the trade is with Japan, and over four-fifths of the remainder with China.
Government. — Formerly a hereditary absolute monarchy: till 189S tributary to and receiving investiture from China, and like it in administrative forms, with officials appointed by examination in the classics. On the declaration of independence (see History), the entire system was abolished, as well as the privileges of the aristocracy, and a cabinet of 10 ministers in charge of different departments formed, who with five councillors formed a grand council of state to lay measures before the emperor. Till 1896 the country was divided into eight do or provinces; it was then redivided into 13, including a metropolitan province around the capital. There are now 12 urban prefectures, 317 local districts, 4,351 villages and 12 treaty ports.
Social Conditions and Education. — The usual dwellings are one-storied. Fire is built at one end for the cooking and the heat is utilized by being carried along through the house by means of a system of flues, the chimney being low down at the other end. Smoke is seen hanging at most Korean towns in the morning and evening, and the conditions of life for the masses, as in China, are hard and squalid; but actual distress is rare and beggars are few. Caste till recently was iron-bound, and no offices of even local importance could be held by other than nobles, who are distinguished by colored clothing and horsehair hats. Women are secluded; concubinage is allowed. but only one legal wife at a time. The immemorial system of education was almost wholly in Chinese, which contained the only written memorials needing it, and was of Chinese classics. The general course of culture, philosophy and the creed of the Korean educated gentleman was nearly the same in Korea as in China. In the reconstruction of the national education by the Japanese there were, in 1914, 366 public or government schools attended by 50,000 children, and 814 private (mostly missionary) schools for Koreans, attended by 22,273 pupils, taught by 311 Japanese and 695 Korean teachers, female scholars numbering one-fifteenth of the whole. Under government auspices are 60 industrial, 14 agricultural and 2 commercial schools. There are also 149 schools with 17,264 pupils, with teachers for Japanese.
Religion. — See History. There are now, by the Japanese official report of 1911, over 370,000 native Christians. The popular religion is the degraded Shamanism (q.v.); the higher classes are Confucians; the anciently all-powerful Buddhism, crushed by the revolution of 1392, is slight and uninfluential, with a few ignorant monks.
Population. — The people are a mixed race of disputed elements, apparently Mongoloid and Ain with Manchu and Malayan infusions.
The chief cities are Seoul (Han-yang), the capital, estimated at over 200,000; Pingyang, perhaps 40,000, and Kai-seng. A trolley line nine miles long, built 1899, is operated in Seoul by Americans, and a trunk-line of railways with branches traversing the peninsula from Wiju on the Yalu River to Fusan. The total mileage of railroads open in 1914 was 934.7, and of light railways and trams, 109.8 miles.
|1 Experimental Farm and School, in Korea||2 Bureau of Printing, Seoul, Korea|
|3 Chemical Laboratory, Government School, Seoul, Korea|
|1 Round Gate, on the Palace Grounds, Seoul||2 Big East Gate, Seoul|
History. — The traditional founder of Korean nationality is the Chinese noble Ki-ja, who left China with 5,000 followers 1122 B.C., and established a kingdom with capital at Pjeng-yang. The first authentic history is the annexation to China 108 B.C. A century or so later it split into three princedoms, of which, about 960, Korai (Kao-li) came to the front, probably from borrowing the higher Chinese civilization. It recast the administration upon the Chinese model, introduced Chinese methods and arts, and initiated several centuries of brilliant progress and prosperity, enriched by art and literature. Buddhism was the paramount religion, and developed a powerful and rigid ecclesiastical hierarchy. As a result, a protestant movement took place, and in 1392 a revolution resulted in the fall of Buddhism and the exculpation of Confucianism. The capital (seoul) was fixed at Han-yang. When the Manchu power began to rise in the 15th century, China, to protect herself against its ravages, desolated a strip of fertile territory many thousand square miles in extent, then or early in the 17th century destroying four cities and many villages and removing 300,000 inhabitants; and down to 1875 this zone of 60 miles wide by 300 long was kept as a permanent buffer between China and Korea. During the rise of the Japanese shogunate out of the 16th century anarchy, Hideyoshi, as a preliminary to invading China, sent an army into Korea, rapidly overrunning it. But Korea is like Spain, easy to conquer and impossible to hold; and the stolid resistance of the natives, with the Chinese armies, gradually forced the Japanese out of the peninsula six years later, retaining Fusan on the southeast coast as a trading station. Thirty years later the Manchus, previous to their conquest of China, invaded it and exacted a tribute, which was continued to the Manchu dynasty in China; in 1653 it was reduced to a third, and for generations down to 1894, when it was finally abolished, had been only nominal, as an acknowledgment of Chinese supremacy and a trading license. But the Chinese wisely attempted no permanent occupation.
Korea had as intense a determination to seclude herself from foreign influences as ancient Egypt, and practically the first knowledge obtained of it by modern Europe was through the shipwreck of some Dutch on the coast in 1653, though the Jesuit missionary Cespedes had entered it in 1594. In 1784 new missionaries came and planted Christianity in the peninsula, despite steady persecution; in 1835 the French missionaries reinforced them. But in 1864 came a fiercer blast. The then king died childless, and his oldest widow set aside the natural successor, her nephew, and nominated Yi-Hevi, the present king — the 12-year-old son of a royal prince, whom she made regent. The latter was a savage reactionist, and let loose fire and blood to extirpate the foreigners, rigidly excluding all new ones. A futile French expedition was sent against him in 1866; the same year a stranded American schooner, the General Sherman, was burned and her crew murdered in sight of Pingyang. An American expedition sent in 1871 had slight success. Meantime several nations were attempting to force Korea into treaties of commerce and gain trading privileges, but Japan was the first, in 1876, to succeed, having the ports of Gensan and Fusan opened in 1876 and Chemulpo in 1880. Meantime the “neutral strip,” for many years a nest of brigands and pirates, was abolished by Li Hung Chang in 1875. In 1882 Commodore Shufeldt negotiated a treaty of friendship between the United States and Korea, and thence on, other nations were rapidly admitted — Great Britain and Germany in 1883, Italy and Russia in 1884, France in 1886, Austria in 1892 and China in 1897.
The flood of new ideas and habits aggravated the conflict between the progressives and the reactionaries, in which the former won, and Korean embassies began to visit other countries — Japan in 1880, the United States in 1883. The nativists raised an insurrection in 1884. The greatest breach with the past, however, was the result of the Chino-Japanese War of 1894-95, one of the pretexts of which was the action of China in reasserting her ancient suzerainty over Korea. It was at Pingyang that the first heavy defeat was inflicted on the Chinese, and off the Yalu River that the Chinese fleet was destroyed. On 8 Jan, 1895 the king of Korea proclaimed its independence, and the Chinese gate near Seoul was publicly destroyed with impressive ceremonies. In 1897 the king proclaimed the country an empire, named it Dai Han and took the title of emperor. Under the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Korea became a “sphere of influence” for the Japanese, whose struggle against Russian encroachments culminated in the war of 1904-05. (See Manchuria). By the Treaty of Portsmouth (q.v.) Japan's preponderating interests in Korea were acknowledged, and a Japanese protectorate was established in November 1905. On 18 July 1907 the emperor abdicated in favor of the crown prince, but Japan's protectorate continued until, by virtue of a treaty made with the Korean emperor, the sovereignty and territory of Korea passed to Japan. Following this act, the royal family of Korea received “such titles, dignities and honors as are appropriate to their respective ranks and sufficient grants to be made for the maintenance of such titles, dignities and honors.” Relatives, meritorious Koreans and men of rank, old persons, virtuous widows, etc., to the number of 87,643, also received monetary rewards. Since the Japanese occupation, new public buildings, roads, a national coinage, survey, systems of banking, postal communication, taxation, education, encouragement of agriculture, commerce, fisheries, etc., have given Korea most of the features of a modern state. Consult Annual Report of Reforms and Progress in Chosen, for 1913-14.
As Korea passes out of existence as an independent state, and her people increasingly conform, both in outward circumstances and inward characteristics, to modern conditions and requirements, it may be well to inquire as to Korea's place in history, to note her contributions to civilization and to survey the progress made in the 20th century. The Koreans rebuilt Kija's (Kitse's) tomb at Pingyang, which was injured during the Chino-Japanese War of 1894, because they consider this historical character as the founder of their social order in 1122 B.C Their literature contains many references to him as their national hero, while popular and especially local tradition, in the north especially, concerning him is abundant and voluble. To him is credited the name of the country, Chosen, or Morning Splendor, which is now the modern, as it was the ancient, name. Critical scholars, however, incline rather to the belief that it was from some centuries later reading, in Chinese annals of the story of Kija, that the Koreans became acquainted with the name and work of this ancient patriarch. In any event, only a small part of modern Korea lay within the area of the Kija domain, which came to an end in 203 B.C. In 108 B.C. Korea formed a part of the Chinese Empire under the Han dynasty, but the people revolted in 30 B.C. paying tribute to China, however, until 9 A.D. The early history of Korea resembles that of Britain, in which after the Romans, men of three ethnic stocks contended for centuries together, Welsh, Scottish, English. Three states arose (Chinese, Kaokuli, Sinlo and Petsi; Japanese Korai, Shinra and Pechi) and for 10 centuries border wars, with alternate invasions and succor from China and the mixed people of the eastern islands, who, later known as Japanese, were gradually attaining political unity. There were long intervals of peace, also, during which more or less trade and communication with China and Japan are noted in the annals of the three countries and by comparison many of the events and dates, asserted to be historical, may be verified. In the modern reconstruction of the state under Japanese auspices, very interesting antiquities, in the form of mortuary art and literary relics, have been recovered and scrupulously cared for. Although Korea's interior history is interesting, yet the glory of progress and civilization is best expressed in that of Buddhism which, introduced into the peninsula in the 4th century, was destined to enjoy a thousand years of successful propaganda. Its career of material and spiritual splendor lends strong color to the idea held by scholars that the story of Korea and its civilization during the last 500 years forms a chapter of decay rather than of the progress, the Koreans from about 1500 A.D. having steadily degenerated. However this may be, it is certain that in the train of the faith, imported from India and China and Tibet, came elements that fertilized the Korean imagination and supplied the spiritual forces in which early Confucianism was lacking. Art, literature, folklore, noble monuments in sculpture and architecture, splendid temples and monasteries followed with the coming or as the result of this vast synthesis of Asiatic beliefs, forces, intellectual achievements, science and craftsmanship, called Buddhism. Not content with the spiritual conquest of the peninsula, the Buddhist missionary activities overflowed into the islands of the Rising Sun. Japan received at the hands of Buddhist teachers those principia, of art, literature and civilization which link her history with the great world of the West, besides thousands of Korean colonists, many of them skilled artists and craftsmen. This explains why, until lately, the Koreans were apt to look on themselves as vastly superior and the Japanese as semi-savages. The political outcome of the factors of evolution in these early centuries was the strong state of Silla (Shinra), whose people, beside having the richest soil, were nearest to China, had first received Buddhism, traded with the Arabs and sent their students to Nankin in China for study. One of their literary statesmen invented what (except the Sanskrit letters imported from India) was a new thing in Chinese Asia — a true alphabet, of 14 consonants and 11 vowels (the en-mun), classified according to the organs of speech. This system, however, was not perfected and put into general practice until the 15th century, nor ever made nation-wide until the Christian missionaries made reading democratic and popular. With Confucianism the system was never given opportunity to develop. In the 10th century Shinra's rule extended over the entire peninsula, but in the north the hardy men of Korai were uniting under Wang-gon (Chinese, Wu Wang) who made himself master of the rival states and unified the peninsula, making his capital at Song-do (Sunto). All historians agree that luxury was the chief cause of the downfall of Silla. Buddhism was now endowed as the state religion and the country was divided for administrative purposes into eight districts based on the river basins, provinces and capitals having the first syllable of their names in common. The evolution of government was away from feudal forms to centralized monarchy, after the Chinese model. The mariner's compass is recorded as used on Chinese ships voyaging to Korea, 1122 A.D. The Mongol invasions of the 12th and 13th centuries made apparently little impression on the country. In 1392, a new dynasty coming into power banned Buddhism. The first half of the 15th century was a period of inventions, the improvement of the alphabet (en-mun), printing by means of movable or “living” metal types, notable literary productions, the casting of great bells and improvements on agriculture being among these. In politics, political parties arose. Yet while both China and Japan felt, for evil and good, the contact of Europe, Korea became, in spirit and fact, more and more a hermit kingdom, foreign trade being tabooed and the educated classes shrivelling into self-conceit and the pride of ignorance. The invasions of the Japanese, 1592-97, called forth the inventive powers of the Koreans. Admiral Yang invented an ironclad, propelled by oars, which destroyed the enemy's fleets. The use of bomb shells (“heaven shaking thunder”} by the Koreans hampered the enemy's siege operations. The Manchus in 1627, the entrance of Roman Christianity in 1777, through books, and by French priests (in 1836), and of Reformed Christianity in 1884, with the treaties made since 1876 and the presence of large armies on her soil during the Chino-Japanese War of 1894, form the nuclei around which recent events may be grouped. Repeated endeavors, made by Japan during 30 years, to have the Korean dynasty and nobility reform their corrupt administration and create a modern state were made, during which the Japanese legation was twice attacked and burned and the Japanese driven from Seoul. Plot, counterplot, insurrection and foreign complications followed in monotonous repetition. Japan, to maintain the independence of Korea as necessary to her own existence, was compelled to engage in two foreign wars — with China and with Russia. Finding Korea never free from anarchy and incapable of governing herself, Japan felt compelled to assume that responsibility of a protectorate. It had been made evident by the logic of events, that the interests of Japan and Korea were identical — a view that was recognized almost immediately and unanimously in the West, all governments promptly withdrawing their legations from Seoul. Japan, sending her ablest statesman, Prince Ito, as resident-general, assumed the control of Korea's foreign affairs and during three years attempted internal reforms according to an agreement signed 24 July 1907. The Korean soldiery resisted the attempts to disarm them and in the two years of intermittent fighting 21,000 natives and 1,300 Japanese lost their lives. At Harbin, 26 Oct. 1909, Prince Ito, and shortly afterward, in California, Mr. D. W. Stevens, an American adviser, were shot to death by Korean assassins. To this date, 1910, Japan's outlay of money for railways, military and reforms in Korea had amounted to $72,000,000. Driven by necessity to the final step of annexation, which was taken 22 Aug. 1910, the Mikado declared that “all Koreans under his sway shall enjoy growing prosperity and welfare and be assured of repose and security,” while he called upon “all his officials and authorities to fulfil their duties in appreciation of his will.” How thoroughly Japan has carried out her purpose of reconstruction, in every department of human activity and the opening to the Koreans of all avenues to prosperity — the purpose being to give, in time, to Koreans the same privileges as Japanese subjects enjoy — may be seen in the annual reports, issued by the resident-general from 1908 to 1914 and copiously illustrated. In Count S. Terauchi, born in Choshi in 1852, the year of Commodore Perry's arrival, a worthy successor of versatile ability and indomitable energy was found to Prince Ito. The first work was in sanitation and cleanliness. Smallpox, always epidemic (exactly as in old Japan), and formerly an almost annual visitant, causing at times nearly a thousand deaths in a day in Seoul alone, is now only sporadic. In one year 5,400,000 Koreans were compelled to receive vaccination. Cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, diphtheria were also chronic visitants — often brought from China — and have almost ceased to be epidemics. Housecleaning twice a year is now compulsory. In 1913, with cholera almost unknown, the cases and deaths from all epidemic diseases were 4,068 and 805, respectively. In 1913, 384,006 patients were treated in the government charity hospitals and 2,406,126 visits made to patients. Silk raising is now a native industry, over 13,000,000 mulberry seedlings furnished the food material for the worms. The annual rice, wheat and barley crops have been doubled. In 1915, a great national exhibition was held in Seoul which showed that in every one of the 13 divisions of Korea modern methods in sanitation, agriculture, education and industry were in operation or had made beginnings. The revenue for 1914-15 was 59,412,966 yen. The total trade for 1914 was 97,620,248 yen. In March 1913, 49,328 native pupils attended the government schools and 2,190 the private schools, besides 28,173 Japanese were under instruction; the official expenditures being 1,141,952 yen. The work of railways, road-making, harbor improvements and survey, sanitation, silk culture, agricultural development, banking (one family in 600 having a savings account) and finance, and the general prosperity and uplift of the people, as shown in annual publications both official and private, are remarkable. Japan, as a devotee of science and a pastmaster in the art of rejuvenating nations, profits by her own experience in renewing her own body politic, after the long marasmus and anæmia of centuries brought on in all three countries under Chinese culture by hermitage and bad government. Hence the vigor and thoroughness with Korea — apart from any question of political morality — for Japan is scarcely less severe with Korea than she has been with herself. Great as is the work done for the Koreans, their contact with the world, by changing the status from one of hermitage and degeneration to one of brotherhood and progress, bids fair to produce even greater ultimate results for the good of themselves and the race.
Language. — Korea since early times has employed two languages: Chinese for writings and native Korean for speech, Chinese if spoken being an acquirement like French in America. The literature in Chinese is sometimes translated into Korean, however; and the work of the missionaries in making general use of the en-mun or native script has reacted to the great appreciation by the Koreans of their own language. The reforms are proclaimed in the vernacular.
Korean is of a not extreme agglutinative type, belonging to the polysyllabic branch of the Mongol-Tartar languages like Japanese, and unlike the monosyllabic Chinese; it is structurally unrelated to the latter, though it has very many Chinese loan-words, pronounced after its own phonology. Its resemblances to Japanese are far closer: mutual translations word for word, and even particle for particle, are quite feasible. The particles and grammatical terminations in both represent punctuation, emphasis and inflection of nouns and verbs. The honorific vocabulary — almost a complete ceremonial language even in construction, to express relations between superiors and inferiors and equals — is common to both. The differences are mainly euphonic: Korean vowels are heavily assimilated to those which follow, the syllables need not end with a vowel, and the spelling is as irregular as English, none of which is true of Japanese.
The grammar of Korean is extremely flexible and pregnant; like Chinese, the roots are invariable. There are no inflectional forms for number, person or case, or conjunction of verbs, and no form for gender; all are indicated by particles without meaning, or whose meaning has been lost, affixed to the stem, and varying with its terminal letter, as consonant, vowel or liquid. There are no pronouns of the first and second person; the third, with relational particles, serving for both. Development has expended itself on the verbs, which are marvels of varied, flexible and ingenious expressiveness. Many words not primarily verbs can be turned into them (as in English), and these with the true verbs constitute 20 per cent of the entire vocabulary. The grammatical forms of the verb are said to average 300. Adjectives and adverbs are not distinguished from the verbs, and the prepositions are verb forms. All conditions expressed by inflections in Western languages — present, continuing, past, unfinished or completed, optative, subjunctive, potential, interrogative, participial, etc. — exist in Korean, and a vast number of others expressed by us in long sentences. Some verbs have no passive, but all have a negative voice. There is no number; the three persons in every variant are expressed by courtesy forms — one to or of superiors, one for equals, one for inferiors or of things. The syntax is positional, as with Chinese, The object precedes the verb or other governing word, the prepositions are postpositions, the adjective precedes the noun it qualifies and the adverb its verb or adjective (as in English). A dependent clause precedes its principal.
Korean has an alphabet of 25 letters, 14 consonants and 11 vowels, a very simple and scientific one, analyzed by organs of speech. The vowels are a, ya, ŭ, yŭ, o, yo, u, yu, i, eu, ă; with the diphthongs è, é, e'. The consonants are — labials, p, ph, m; dentals, t, th, n, l; palatals, ch, chh, s; gutturals, k, kh; laryngeals, (?) h, ng final. There are no letters f, v, w, b, d, g, j or z, though (except the first, which is replaced by p) they exist in speech. There is but one character for l and r, and neither of them can begin a word, their place being taken by n. The characters — women and children's only, the true “learned” characters being Chinese — are of an extreme simplicity, contrasting strongly with the complex Chinese; and there is a cursive form. This alphabet is called en-mun, “the vulgar”; and there is a system called nido, in which the letters are grouped in the 199 possible combinations and learned by rote. The writing is in syllables, in columns from right to left, as with Chinese. There is already a very respectable volume of Christian literature expressed in en-mun and the newspapers of the capital and large cities are printed in this character.
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