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Currently, and until January 27th, there is an exhibition called Emperors in Istanbul at the Busan Museum. It costs 10,000KRW and you are not allowed to take photos. Usually when I’m told that I take them anyway–I paid, so, yeah–but the lighting was really dark so any photo would have come out bad unless I used a flash which would have been obvious and that picture would have probably come out looking flat.

Anyway, whats in the exhibit you may ask?

Coins and Medallions from all different rulers with their faces on them.

Some amazing drawings of the different empires and attacks.

Statues of Nike (pretty disappointing, actually) and men with snake legs (never even heard of that before!)

A mirror with a handle that looks like a gold branch which I thought was pretty amazing.

A lot of candle holders including one that was about the size of me! (5ft 2in)

Beautiful turban headpieces that looked like something out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

A beautiful Koran chest

And a glass chess set–I don’t play chess but I’d be willing to learn if someone gave me a set as beautiful as that one.


After the Istanbul exhibition, I went upstairs to the regular part of the Museum, which starts with History of Korea-Japan relations, which has never been good…Then was the Living Culture Gallery, the Folklore of Busan Gallery, Modern Busan, and Contemporary Busan. This is all in the second building. I never went upstairs in the first building because you are kind-of pushed from the front desk where you buy the ticket straight to the Istanbul part and I didn’t know there was anything upstairs (or that there even was an upstairs) in the first building. Oh well, maybe next time I go I won’t be told 3 times where to go because, apparently, stopping to look at something in a museum means you are lost (I wasn’t the security guard was just pushy).

Here is the first part of History of Korea-Japan relations. I loved the paintings of the time period, including the one below of an attack. I believe it was called ‘Defense of Busanjin somethingsomethingsomething’ because there were 2-3 paintings that started with the same ‘Defense of Busanjin’ part.

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This last photo is a massive scroll, showing the Procession of a Korean Mission.

Next was Living Culture Gallery, which is small and had a warning sign of ‘This smell comes from Korean traditional straw thatched houses’. It did smell a bit odd in that room, but not odd enough for me to be bothered to ask someone downstairs at information about it, but I guess they had enough complaints. I always love this part of museums, because a lot of work goes into making them. The second photo I liked because of his shoes.

Busan Museum and UN Memorial Cemetry 046 Busan Museum and UN Memorial Cemetry 048Folklore of Busan would have been more interesting if a kid did not change the video I was trying to watch. There were 9-16 videos you could put on in a large room, I put on 2 and sat down, and a kid ran up and started slamming all the buttons. Oh well. There were nice dioramas there as well.

Busan Museum and UN Memorial Cemetry 055The next part was called Modern Busan, and mostly was about Busan during the Japanese Occupation. The picture explains why it is important to give up food for Japan. There was a video room titles ‘Education of Japanese Colonial Rule’, but since I did not understand what the video was saying, and the ‘teacher’ was just holding a stick while students looked sad it did not look to different from what my students tell me school is like now.

Busan Museum and UN Memorial Cemetry 058I’m not sure where the Contemporary Busan part started, but there was a sign saying:

Meanwhile the photographs which had been thought to be made by attaching dried bodies on the paper, started to be popularized by degrees thanks to family photos for Koreans who give a high value on a familial solidarity.

I thought this next photo was pretty interesting in what it says about school during the Korean war. After that is a photo of a sign saying that Korea should be united.

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I learned something today too from this sign:

As Seoul was retaken on September 28, 1950, the Korean government felt it was the best chance to achieve the unification, so insisted on advancing northward. The UN and South Korean forces crossed the 28th parallel, took Pyeong-yang on October 19, and advanced northward to reach the vicinity of the Amnokgang (Yalu River). When the UN forces reached the Korean-Chinese border, the Chinese forces intervened in the war. Then the situation reversed and the UN forces retreated to the 38th parallel, around which the two opposing forces mingled with each other.

I feel like this implies that if Korea had stopped short of the Chinese border then Korea would be unified. After this there was a sign calling the Korean War ‘The Unfinished War’, which sounds really accurate.