10 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars So much for the "Evil" Japanese, January 11, 2005
chatan - See all my reviews

This review is from: Korea & Her Neighbours Hb (Kegan Paul Travellers Series) (Hardcover)

This book presents an insightful account of Korea (in particular, Seoul) during the final years of the Lee Dynasty.

We learn that Seoul in those days bore striking resemblance to present-day North Korea, i.e. a total hell hole. I find this fascinating because most, if not all, Koreans speak fondly of this period and lambast the Japanese for destroying their "culture".

Highly recommended.

A. Costello says:

Please don't even go there. Books like this can be dangerous - she is not a scholar, and as a previous reviewer mentioned she carries the prejudices of a person of her social status and era. I agree more with historians review. Ok Korean people romanticise the past, but if you visit the royal palaces of Seoul you will find that a lot of them were burned, destroyed, dismantled by the Japanese during one of their many invasions. Please please please read your history, before you read books like this. And.....please don't say you are another ESL teacher, who got tired of Korean nationalism and found something to contradict it.

l don't doubt this lady makes interesting insights, but a lot of subjective material written even 70/80 years after this period by Westerners is taken with a pinch of salt due to the lack of insight into the culture and mind of the people. I am not Korean American or have any Korea blood whatsoever, but l wouldn't mock knock them with the word culture in inverted comments.

2 of 10 people found the following review helpful:

Not very scholarly, April 12, 2007

By Historian

This review is from: Korea & Her Neighbours Hb (Kegan Paul Travellers Series) (Hardcover)

Although this book gives an interesting snapshot of the state of Korea during the 1890's, I found the perspective to be a bit dated. Bird is a layperson describing events and accordingly provides a superficial account of Koream events. This is also a perspective of a Victorian lady with all the prejudices of that bygone era. The book is amusing from that perspective and is more like a novel; but it is hardly a scientic or sholarly study--if you are looking for a more scholarly work in your study of Korea and its history at this time you might instead look to more a recently published work and written from someone with appropriate educational background and training.

Accordingly, this book should be read with a grain of salt as it is written by a layperson with all prejudices of a bygone Victorian era. It is hardly historical. It is perhaps like reading WWII American accounts of the Japanese empire and its people and taking that as the historical perspective.

Korean Impact on Japanese Culture: Japan's Hidden History

by Jon Etta Hastings Carter Covell

Edition: Hardcover

Availability: Out of Print--Limited Availability

22 used & new from $30.99
8 of 33 people found the following review helpful:
full of perceptual cues, May 3, 2005

This review is from: Korean Impact on Japanese Culture: Japan's Hidden History (Hardcover)

Isn't it usual to think that Chinese culture rather than Korean culture influenced the ancient Japanese culture? I found no good proofs to support the opinions of the history fiction writer. It is better to read this book unbelievingly. I also recommend to read "Korea and Her Neighbours" written by Isabella Bird, English traveler and writer, first woman member of the Royal Geographical Society.

Alan Covell says:

As one of the authors, I ask you to please consider this--I would not write something unsupported. I freely admit I used the English translations of the Kojiki by Chamberlain and Nihongi by Aston as primary sources; both of these books were published well prior to the jingoistic period. We also used numerous other sources, but did not do inline citation, as this was meant to be a "coffee-table" book. Every reference in the extensive Bibliography was used, as well more than a half-century of study of China, Japan, and Korea by Jon(etta) Carter Covell, the first Westerner to get a Ph.D. in Japanese Art