Homer Hulbert

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Homer B. Hulbert
Homer Bezaleel Hulbert.jpg
Born (1863-01-26)January 26, 1863
New Haven, VT, USA
Died August 5, 1949(1949-08-05) (aged 86)
Seoul, South Korea
Nationality American

Homer Bezaleel Hulbert (January 26, 1863 – August 5, 1949) was an American missionary, journalist and political activist who advocated for the independence of Korea.


Hulbert was born in New Haven, Vermont, in 1863 of Calvin and Mary Hulbert. His mother Mary Elizabeth Woodward Hulbert was a granddaughter of Mary Wheelock, daughter of Eleazar Wheelock, the founder of Dartmouth College. After graduating from Dartmouth, Hulbert attended Union Theological Seminary in 1884. He originally went to Korean Empire in 1886 with two other instructors, Delzell A. Bunker and George W. Gilmore, to teach English at the Royal English School.[1] In 1901 he founded the magazine The Korea Review. Before 1905 he was positive towards Japanese involvement in Korea, seeing them as an agent of reform, as opposed to what he saw as reactionary Russia. He changed his position in September 1905, when he criticized Japanese plans for turning Korean Empire into a protectorate. He resigned his position as a teacher in the public middle school, and in October 1905 he went to the United States as an emissary of Emperor Go Jong, protesting Japan's actions. After returning to Korean Empire in 1906, he went sent as part of a secret delegation from Emperor Ko Jong to the Second International Peace Conference held The Hague in June 1907. They failed to gain a hearing with the world powers, and emperor's actions led to the Japanese forcing him to abdicate. Hulbert's 1906 book, The Passing of Korea, criticized Japanese rule. He was not so much theoretically opposed to colonialism as he was concerned that modernization under the secular Japanese was inferior to a Christian-inspired modernization.[2] He was expelled by the Japanese resident-general for Korea on May 8, 1907.


Herbert also contributed to the advancement of Han-geul with his research and study into orthography and grammar of Han-guel with Ju Si-gyeong.[3] and he made the first han-geul (Korean) textbook '사민필지(Sa min pil ji)'.[4]


He was reported to have been a close personal friend King Gojong. One of his young middle school students just after the turn of the century was the first President of Korea, Syngman Rhee, who invited him back to Korean Empire in 1948. It was on this trip that Hulbert developed pneumonia and died. Hulbert's tombstone reads “I would rather be buried in Korea than in Westminster Abbey.” He is interred at Yanghwajin Foreigners' Cemetery in Seoul.[5] He was the recipient of the Order of Merit for National Foundation by the Korean Government. He is referred to in Republic of Korean as a 독립유공자 (contributor to independence)


Homer Hulbert said that Korea and Japan have the same two racial types, but Japan is mostly Malay and Korea is mostly Manchu-Korean. Hulbert said that Korea is physically mostly of the northern type, but also said that the nation, being physically mostly of the northern type, did not disprove Hulbert's claim that the Malay element developed Korea's first civilization, although not necessarily originating Korea's first civilization, and the Malay element imposed its language in its main features in the entire peninsula.[6] Hulbert said that in Korea there was admixture with Chinese blood that stopped more than a thousand years ago.[7]

Selected bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]


Homer Hulbert Biography. Royal Asiatic Society-Korea Branch [2]

  1. ^ Dynamic Korea: The American who loved Korea more than a Korean
  2. ^ [1] Andre Schmid, "Two Americans in Seoul, Evaluating an Oriental Empire, 1905-1910"
  3. ^ "한글을 사랑한 첫 외국인, 헐버트/The first foreigner who loved han-geul". Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  4. ^ Kim, jiyoon. "호머 헐버트, 한글 사랑한 벽안의 교사/Homer Hulbert the great blue eyes teacher". Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  5. ^ JoongAng Daily: The journalist and missionary who defied Japan
  6. ^ Hulbert, Homer B. (1902). The Korea Review. Seoul: Methodist Publishing House. Page 445 & 457. Retrieved June 4, 2017, from link.
  7. ^ Kim, Ji-myung. (2014). Champion of the Rose of Sharon. The Korea Times. Retrieved May 31, 2017, from link.

External links[edit]