[KS] By train from Seoul to Incheon--and Jemulpo, too.
sa_ewing at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 25 22:17:15 EST 2006
Dear KS list members:
A heartfelt thank you to everyone for all your replies, both on- and
off-list. After the Yusin constitution and kisaeng, this makes at least the
third time this month that the small spring of an idle question has gushed
into an overflowing river of specialized knowledge!
If I can draw together everyone's replies, it would appear that:
(1) Seoul has a long-established use as a vernacular name for the capital
(for this, I must give pride of place to Sun Joo Kim for his citation of the
1885 _Chao-xian Di Li Xiao Zhi_, with an honorable mention to Professor
(2) This vernacular use is also attested to by early Western use of the word
(R. Provine, J. Margolis).
(3) The isolated character "kyo^ng" appears in some geographical sources,
again in reference to Seoul. (Courtesy of an off-list source. I do recall
seeing the character so used myself on an old map (possibly Kim Cho^ngho
(Kosanja)'s Tongyo^do?), but I cannot verify that now.)
(4) As another person mentioned off-list, the written use of "kyo^ng" alone
(not combined into a two-character word) and the vernacular "Seoul" might
have been mutually complementary. As Robert Ramsey suggested in June 2005
the _hun_ (definitional) readings of at least some hancha might be taken not
so much to be definitional glosses as to be the modern-day legacy of
once-used alternative readings of the characters they denote.
(5) Two-character words built on "kyo^ng" (Kyo^ngdo, Kyo^ngso^ng,
Wanggyo^ng) abound during and prior to the Choso^n Dynasty, in specific
reference to Seoul (J. Van Lieu, S.J. Kim, and another off-list source).
(6) More specifically, Kyo^ngso^ng had centuries-old currency as a widely
used, unofficial (or at best quasi-official) name for
(7) Finally, when it came time to choose names for the Hanso^ng-Inch'o^n and
Hanso^ng-Pusan railway concessions in the late 1890s, for whatever reason,
"kyo^ng" (signifying either the widely attested "Kyo^ngso^ng" or possibly
the hanmun equivalent of the vernacular "Seoul"/"capital" (or perhaps
felicitously, both!)) was chosen to designate the northern end in the two
lines' names (Kyo^ng'in by 1896, and Kyo^ngbu by 1898--M.S. Son, S.J. Kim,
and P. Shepherd).
This clears up a lot, although it still leaves unresolved the original
question--which Min Suh Son re-raised--of exactly why "Kyo^ng(so^ng)" was
chosen over "Hanso^ng" for the naming of the railway lines under
discussion...or why when the terminus in Seoul proper was finally built, it
was named "Kyo^ngso^ngyo^k" (or "Kyo^ngso^ng Cho^nggo^jang"?).
The simplest hypothesis would seem to be that "Kyo^ngso^ng" (written or also
spoken) or "Seoul" (spoken)/"Kyo^ng" (written) were in much wider use in
reference to the capital than the name Hanso^ng. This is plausible, given
that written officialdom and both written and spoken vernacular usage seem
to have diverged in many areas. (As was pointed out both on- and off-list
last summer, this was especially true in, for example, Choso^n-dynasty
dating practices (that's calendrical dating, not the other kind!).)
I suppose a much less plausible hypothesis would be that this was an attempt
at independence-era de-Sinification, because purely by accident, the first
character in "Hanso^ng" happens to be the same as that which designates the
Chinese Han dynasties--this is easily dismissed, however, as it wouldn't
explain the retention of Hanso^ng for the official name of the city
itself.... (Then again, it might well account for the renaming of the city
itself after 1910.)
Anyhow, this entire issue leaves apart the etymology and older uses of the
word "so^ul" or its antecedents, as Gari Ledyard and one off-list source
have mentioned. Indeed, the use of "so^ul" as a common noun denoting _any_
capital is no doubt long established. It would appear that the use of Seoul
(and Kyo^ngso^ng, Kyo^ngdo, etc.) to refer to _the_ capital (and not merely
_any_ capital) would be a case of a word's being at once both a common and
proper noun--like Namdaemun or Kangnam, which, depending on the context, may
be taken to mean either specific places in Seoul (or elsewhere?), or any
run-of-the-mill, generic great south gate or south riverbank (according to
I will be glad to read any further replies to this thread, or any further
insight anyone can provide into exactly why the name "Hanso^ng" appears to
have been so unfavoured by the late 1890s, as to not even be bestowed on the
new inner city rail terminus when it was built shortly after the turn of the
Finally--on another note--Joshua Margolis asked about Inch'o^n. As touched
on by Sunjoo Kim and Gari Ledyard, Inch'o^n has been in continuous existence
as a legal entity since 1413. Inch'on was a subdivision of Kyo^nggi
province from 1413 to 1895, and again from 1896 to 1981. Between 1895 and
1896, an expanded Inch'o^n formed one of the 23 districts (_-bu_
(Ý¢´)) into which Korea was divided (during a short-lived abolition
of provincial governments); and since 1981, it has existed as a first-tier
(provincial-level) municipal entity.
Surely Chemulp'o has long existed as a place name, but it does not seem to
have gained widespread currency until the locality became Inch'o^n's
overseas trading port in or about 1883. (See Naver link above, as well as
Thank you again to everyone, and my apologies to anyone whom I missed above.
¿©·¯ºÐ²² °¨»çµå¸³´Ï´Ù (_Yo^ro^bunkke kamsadu^rimnida_).
>From: "Sunjoo Kim" <sunjookim1 at hotmail.com>
>Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
>To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>Subject: Re: [KS] By train from Seoul to Incheon--what's in a name?
>Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 07:15:43 -0800
>My quick search through e-kyujanggak database by "kyOngin" in hanja
>produces 130 hits. Not all of them concern KyOngin railroad, but a lot of
>them do. The earliest reference to KyOngin ch'Oldo is 1896. I will
>copy-pase two examples here. I hope the llinks work.
>- a kind of contract to build railroad between Choson and US in 1986
>This short quotation is from IlsOngnok. You can even view the original text
>from the following link.
>Ù¤Ý» 釆Ô½Ô³ (1896 6 7 )
>As for the usage of "kyOng" in premodern Korea, it is abundant as Joshua
>gave us examples. If I may add:
>Sejong sillok chiriji [The veritable records of King Sejong, geographic
>survey]. - used "KyOngdo HansOng-bu Ô´Ý¤" referring to the capital.
>Sinjúng Tongguk yóji súngnam [Augmented survey of the
>geography of Korea]. Compiled and revised by Yi Haeng et al. in 1530. --
>used "KyOngdo Ô´" referring to the capital.
>I find terms like "wang (king) + gyOng (capital)" and "KyOngsOng" in the
>KoryOsa [History of KoryO].
>As for "Seoul," in Chosón chiri soji (Chao-xian di li xiao zhi in
>Chinese), it says something like:
>Seoul is itself a pure Korean word indicating the capital. The classical
>Chinese for Seoul is Ï¢×¹. (note:Ï¢ is one character not two characters Ï¢
>For your reference, this book is the classical Chinese translation from the
>Japanese edition of the Chôsen hachi iki shi (, 1882?), whose
>original text was the Taegniji, written in classical Chinese by Yi
>Chung-hwan (16901756) in 1751. It was published in Qing China in 1885. This
>particular passage might have been added on by the Japanese
>Sun Joo Kim
>Associate Professor of Korean History
>EALC, Harvard University
>2 Divinity Ave.
>Cambridge, MA 02138
>e-mail: sjkim at fas.harvard.edu
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