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Korean Royalty

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Book categories: History, Royalty, Palaces, 19th & 20th Centuries, Yongjo & Hyegyong, Sejong, Children's Books

Korean History

Through Gates of Seoul: Trails and Tales of Yi Dynasty by Edward Adams. The Yi (or Choson or Joseon) dynasty ruled Korea from the 14th century until 1910. This guidebook to Seoul and other parts of Korea includes illustrations, descriptions of landmarks, and information on Korean history.

A New History of Korea by Ki-Baik Lee. A complete history of Korea from prehistoric times to modern era.

Korea: An Illustrated History From Ancient Times to 1945 by David Rees.

Korea: A Historical and Cultural Dictionary by Keith Pratt and Richard Rutt. This reference work contains approximately 1,500 entries covering Korean civilization from early times to the present day. Subjects include history, politics, art, archaeology, and literature.

Korean Royalty

A Shijo Poet at the Court of King Sonjo: The Pine River Songs by Chong Ch'ol, translated by Kevin O'Rourke. A translation of Songgang kasa, Chong Ch'ol's (1536-1593) famous collection of Korean songs. Includes a biographical sketch of the author, who was personal secretary to the king.

The Annals of King T'aejo translated by Byonghyon Choi. Never before translated into English, this is the official history of the reign of King T'aejo, founder of Korea's Choson dynasty (1392-1910 AD).

King Chongjo, an Enlightened Despot in Early Modern Korea by Christopher Lovins. The first detailed analysis in English of monarchy and governance in Korea during the reign of 18th century king Jeongjo.

The Confucian Kingship in Korea by Jahyun Kim Haboush. The 18th century Korean ruler Y&oic;ngjo had to choose between saving his only son, Crown Prince Sado, or his dynasty.

A Genealogy of Dissent: The Progeny of Fallen Royals in Choson Korea by Eugene Y. Park. In early modern Korea, the Choson state conducted an extermination campaign against descendants of the preceding Koryo dynasty.

Korean Palaces

Palaces of Korea by Dong-uk Kim and Tong-uk Kim. Guides readers through the history of palaces in Korea, daily life and ceremonial events, and palace architecture.

The Royal Palaces of Korea: Six Centuries of Dynastic Grandeur by Yong-Hun Sin, translated by John Huston.

The 19th and 20th Centuries

The Abacus and the Sword by Peter Duus is about the Japanese takeover of Korea, 1895-1910 (from Japan's perspective).

The World Is One: Princess Yi Pangja's Autobiography by Princess Yi Pangja. Written by a Japanese princess (Princess Masako, daughter of Prince Nashimoto Morimasa) who married Korea's Crown Prince Yi Un in 1920. She died in Seoul's Changduk Palce, or Secret Garden Palace, in 1989.

King Yongjo and Lady Hyegyong

A Heritage of Kings: One Man's Monarchy in the Confucian World by Jahyun Kim Hoboush is about 18th century Korean king Yongjo.

The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth Century Korea by Hyegyonggung Hong Ssi, edited by Jahyun Kim Haboush. Lady Hyegyong's memoirs, which recount the chilling murder of her husband by his father, King Yongjo, is one of the classics of Korean literature. From 1795 until 1805 Lady Hyegyong composed this masterpiece, which depicts a court life whose drama and pathos is of Shakespearean proportions.

Memoirs of the Red Queen: The Crown Princess' Own Story by Lady Hong, translated by Choe-Wall Yang-hi. Another translation of Lady Hyegyong's memoirs.

Memoirs of a Korean Queen by Lady Hong, edited by Choe-Wall Yang-Hi. Another edition of the princess's memoirs.

King Sejong and His Alphabet

The Korean Alphabet of 1446: Expositions Opa, the Visible Speech Sounds Translation With Annotation, Future Applicability by Sek Yen Kim-Cho. About the alphabet developed by King Sejong of Korea.

Children's Books About Korea

King Sejong Invents an Alphabet by Carol Kim and Cindy Kang. Picture book for children ages 8 to 12 that tells the true story of how King Sejong created a Korean alphabet.

Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars, Korea, A.D. 595 by Sheri Holman. From the fictional "Royal Diaries" series for children ages 9 to 12.


These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.

Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace). Very popular South Korean miniseries about a 16th century apprentice cook who becomes the king's personal physician. (Read Amazon reviews closely before buying; there are poor reviews for the English subtitles on some editions.)

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