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Hanok Activist David Kilburn in Ill Health

Quite a few papers — including the Munhwa Ilbo — are reporting that English hanok activist David Kilburn is apparently in very bad health and in Japan getting treatment.

The crap the man and his family has been through trying to preserve the culture of Bukchon is heartbreaking.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • Wedge

    Sorry to hear that. I hope he recovers soon.

  • R. Elgin

    Indeed. He is a decent fellow and a better Korean citizen than more than a few of his neighbors.

  • http://www.san-shin.org sanshinseon

    Yeah, a good guy and a righteous activist on what matters to him…

  • cm

    A very sad story.

    In the meantime, Chosun Ilbo has an article about Korea the Republic of Ugly Apartments that are blighting the skylines of Korea for decades to come.

    http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/11/02/2009110200067.html?Dep0=chosunnews&Dep1=related&Dep2=related_all

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    My aunt in western Seoul lives in a hanok…

    There is a transformer outside the property (but attached) that had 1917 written on it, but I think the hanok itself is older.

    It’s nice, but sort of tubular, like someone attached four RVs and made a square with an open courtyard in the middle. My more American sensibilities prefers wider spaces rather than narrow spaces.

    I’m a bit torn myself. A part of me thinks that my aunt and her family would better be served by tearing it down and putting a modern, American style stucco home in it’s place. I mean, the hanok occupies a lot of land and Korea doesn’t have a lot of land. It just seems like a very inefficient use of land given the more modern building designs of the modern era.

    Another interesting thing is that before I stepped into my aunts hanok, she was literally apologizing to me that I’d have to stay in an “old style” Korean home and wondered if it would be comfortable enough for me. I felt bad because she apparently thought that I was a spoiled American. Also, I got the feeling that my cousins were not too jazzed up about living in a hanok given that a lot of their friends probably lived in more modern high rises and standard stucco houses. I had this feeling that there was a stigma to living in a hanok, as if owning one meant that you were somehow a step behind the times or provincial or something.

    The historian in me believes that a certain number of these buildings should be preserved, particularly if it has historical significance. However, given the space issues and the inherent inefficiencies of the hanok design, particularly in an urban setting like Seoul, I think many of them can be developed over. Personally, I think my aunt and uncle would be better off if they tore down their hanok and built a two story house with the same square footage. There is enough land there that they could do that AND sell half their land. I don’t think they will do it, but I’m pretty sure my cousins will.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    I’m not an expert in Seoul real estate, but theoretically I reckon that my aunt and uncle could finance the building of a new house by selling half their land!

    Economically… they would be better off.

  • http://www.chiamattt.com chiamattt

    Get well soon dude, Seoul needs you.

    I have some friends and some coworkers who live in Hanok, and they really like it. They’re all upper crust people who really don’t give a damn what the middle class think is desirable.

    I can understand why people think apartments are better, but they prefer living in a traditional building with a modern interior. But I think apartments are desirable because society has been taught that they’re more desirable. It isn’t about land as much as it’s about developers making more money, more easily, by building boring rectangular monstrosities that have no charm whatsoever.

  • Seth Gecko

    Thanks for posting the link to the little movie.

  • http://martinjapan.blogspot.com/ MestreGrotti

    David is a good friend and he deserves all our prayers – he has done a lot for Korea and his Tea Museum in Tokyo is fantastic.

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