Using Korean Archives for Ming History
Kenneth M. Swope, Ball State University
Ming Studies Annual Meeting, April 2006
Kyujanggak Archives: http://kyujanggak.snu.ac.kr/english/e5.jsp
Comments: Located at Seoul National University. Has a great English language summary and overview of holdings that includes an annotated list of archival catalogues & publications with both Chinese characters and Korean Romanization. In theory searches can be conducted by pasting Chinese characters into search engine, but I had better luck with help from a Korean librarian using the Korean alphabet (hangul). Probably has the best overall collection of rare materials useful for Ming specialists.
National Library of Korea: http://www.nl.go.kr/nlen/nlen1_01.htm
Comments: Located south of the Han River, just north of Seoul National University. Has a good English language site with maps and clear explanations of how to get to facility and gain access to holdings. It’s possible to search holdings online, but again, pasting Chinese characters onto site doesn’t always work. Lots of rare documents have been scanned into a database and library has computers dedicated to access and printing of these materials, but this can only be done onsite. Also has a great array of Ming-related materials, including a room of genealogical materials on Korean yangban families.
National Archives of Korea: http://archives.go.kr/e_gars/html_online/national.asp
Comments: There are two repositories, one located in Daejeon [Taejŏn]; the other in Busan [Pusan]. According to English language website, only the latter has Chosŏn dynasty materials, but these mostly seem consist of originals or rare copies of the dynastic history. The other site’s materials mostly deal with twentieth century history.
*Sungkyunkwan University Academy of East Asian Studies:*http://aeas.skku.edu/
Comments: Located in Seoul, just north of Changyŏnggong Palace & downtown. Site of the former Confucian Academy of the Chosŏn kings. Has a small, but impressive collection of rare published and manuscript materials. Again, searches can be done online, but knowledge of Korean would be helpful. Site also has Chinese and Japanese options.
Jinju [Chinju] National Museum and Archives: http://jinju.museum.go.kr/index.jsp
Comments: THE place to go for documents and artifacts pertaining to the Imjin [Renchen] War. Located in the southern city of Chinju, which was devastated by the Japanese invaders, who allegedly massacred 60,000 in one battle. Recently published 31 volume document set pertaining to the conflict. Also has a great assortment of armor, weapons, scrolls, and other items from the conflict. Archives are located in the basement and require special letters of introduction and payment of fees for access. The museum is located on the ruins of Chinju Castle, which is a park full of monuments to the heroes and victims of the Imjin War.