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Seoul before the war
May 23, 2012 4:12 PM   Subscribe


 
Interesting to note how many shopfronts still sport Japanese kanji, notably barbers and inns.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:26 PM on May 23, 2012


Not kanji, but hanja (Chinese characters). Hanja was the primary writing system used until the invention of hangul. Even then, hanja continued to be the writing system of the educated class, used for official records as well as by scholars who studied Chinese texts and wrote their own treatises on them.

(Kanji is not actually Japanese, but Chinese hanzi, although some Japanese-specific usage has developed, as has happened with hanja.)
posted by needled at 4:41 PM on May 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


I looks a lot like written Japanese from the colonial period.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:47 PM on May 23, 2012


Very cool to see how Seoul would have looked to my grandparents (and parents as toddlers). Also kind of interesting to see how much the city has changed in the last several decades. These pictures remind me a great deal of when I first visited Seoul in 1979, but seem almost nothing like the Seoul I revisited in 1992.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 4:56 PM on May 23, 2012


Color pictures of Seoul, 1949....otherwise known as color pictures of North Korea, 2012.
posted by jnnla at 4:59 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was in Seoul in '72, if you had told me they were taken while I was there, I would have believed it.
posted by HuronBob at 5:02 PM on May 23, 2012


I love looking at these old photos of cities. Three things that always leap out at me:

1. The relevant absence of advertising, especially garish advertising.
2. The lack few people on the street
3. The visibility, I mean you can see for hundreds of metres because the metropolis is at relatively empty, of both architecture, people, and most essentially traffic.

Photos like this really illustrate to me how much richer we are as a general population, and how the road has really become the preeminent artefact of the twentieth century, dominating our physical spaces.
posted by smoke at 5:58 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was in Seoul in '72, if you had told me they were taken while I was there, I would have believed it.

I was a little surprised how many of them could have almost been photos of poorer areas of South Korea today. Korea's an ultramodern marvel in many ways, but there are still some places here, particularly in the countryside populated with old people living in villages with no children left, where on first glance at least, it might as well be 1950 still.

Interesting to see, though. Black and white historical photos tend to leave me cold.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:00 PM on May 23, 2012


Color pictures of Seoul, 1949....otherwise known as color pictures of North Korea, 2012

Except more vibrant and varied than Pyongyang 2012.
posted by marvin at 7:14 PM on May 23, 2012


On closer inspection, KoreaBang looks the same as ChinaSmack. What's the connection?
posted by marvin at 7:26 PM on May 23, 2012


From KoreaBang's "About" page:

chinaSMACK now has a hyperactive little sister. With the fastest broadband speeds, the most excitable netizens, and the least Twitter-savvy politicians, South Korea is the ideal home for a companion site to its Chinese “big brother”.
posted by needled at 4:18 AM on May 24, 2012


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