[KS] By train from Seoul to Incheon--what's in a name?
provine at umd.edu
Tue Jan 24 22:58:52 EST 2006
Dear Stefan and others:
I have very little information about the trains and their names, but one observation of
possible interest in connection with --
> The sticking point is that, up until 1910, Seoul's name was Hanso^ng,
> and thereafter changed by or under the Japanese authorities to
> Kyo^ngso^ng. Long-time Korean practice before and since has been to
> name many provinces, transportation routes, or events by joining
> together one character from each of the two place names involved: thus,
> Ch'ungch'o^ng-do (Ch'ungju-Ch'o^ngju); the Kyo^ngjo^n
> (Kyo^ngsang-Cho^lla) railway line; the Kuma (Taegu-Masan) Expressway;
> and relevant to the recent discussion, the Puma (Pusan-Masan)
> Uprising(s) (?--cannot find their mention now). Why, then, was the
> original railway called not, say, the Hanin (Hanso^ng-Inch'o^n)
> Ch'o^lto, but the somewhat contrived Kyo^ngin Ch'o^lto?
> That Seoul was not officially named as such until one year after
> liberation in 1946 does not preclude the possibility that the word
> "so^ul" ("capital") was used colloquially to refer to the city prior to
> that time. When streetcars first came to the capital in 1898, the
> operating company--Hanso^ng Cho^ngi Hoesa--was referred to in English as
> the "Seoul Electric Co."
> , 7th photo from top; note Han'gu^l rendition of company's name as
> "Hansyo^ng Tyo^ngu^i Hoesa"). Could the character "kyo^ng" have had
> some currency as a written noun, equivalent to the colloquial name "Seoul"?
The 11th edition (1910) of the Encyclopedia Britannica gives a map of Korea (as Korea, not
as part of Japan, and all place names in Korean) with the capital city clearly labelled in
capital letters: SEOUL. In short, the name was in use and internationally known by 1910.
FWIW, the name of Seoul during the occupation was Keijô (i.e. the Japanese pronunciation
of the characters for Kyôngsông).
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