George Clayton Foulk
George Clayton Foulk (b. October 30, 1856 in Marietta, Pennsylvania - son of Clayton and Caroline Foulk; died 1893 in Japan). He graduate from the US Naval Academy in 1876 and went to Asia on the ship Alert. He made a 427-mile journey through Japan, then returned to the United States overland via Korea, Siberia, and Europe. He became fluent in Japanese and Korean; when a Korean mission arrived in 1883 he was the only person in Washington who could interpret. He was appointed U.S. Naval Attache to Korea and after arriving there embarked on two long journeys by sedan chair around the country. On the longer journey, 43 days, his visit included Gongju, Gwangju, Haeinsa, Busan, Daegu, and Mungyeong. A coup occurred in Seoul during the latter part of this journey and the Koreans' hospitality turned to hostility from those who took him to be a Japanese spy.
He served as the Minister to the Kingdom of Korea from 1885 to 1886 and again from 1886 to 1887. Soon after his relief by William Harwar Parker, Foulk was sent back to Korea after a report reached Washington, D.C. that Parker was a "chronic drunkard" who suffered from alcoholism. The United States government considered the situation so serious that a squadron of naval vessels was diverted to intercept Foulk's passenger liner and return him to Korea as soon as possible.
Foulk was finally recalled several months later and relieved by Hugh A. Dinsmore, with the U.S. acting at the behest of the Chinese government. The Chinese were unhappy with Foulk's attempts to build up Korea's ability to counteract Chinese and Japanese influence.
After his recall, Foulk worked as a teacher at Doshisha College (now Doshisha University) in Kobe. On September 7, 1887, he married Japanese national Masura Kane, with whom he had corresponded while in Korea. They are buried together in the Nyakuoji Cemetery, Kobe, Japan.
- "Recollections of a Naval Officer", William Harwar Parker (Published 1883)
- America's Man in Korea: The Private Letters of George C. Foulk, 1884–1887, Samuel Hawley, Lexington Books, 2007
- Inside the Hermit Kingdom: The 1884 Travel Diary of George Clayton Foulk, Samuel Hawley
- Guide to the George Clayton Foulk Papers at The Bancroft Library
- Photos and Maps of George C. Foulk's at the American Geographical Society Library, UW Milwaukee
Lucius H. Foote
William Harwar Parker
|Minister to the Kingdom of Korea
1885 - 1886 (first term)
1886 - 1887 (second term)
William Harwar Parker
Hugh A. Dinsmore