Monday, January 05, 2009

Maps of Korean cities in the 1940s

I was looking up old maps of Pusan and upon looking at the University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection I found that their Korea collection had a new addition: Korea City Plans - U.S. Army Map Service, 1944-1946.

The map images in this collection include Seoul (which, along with Pyongyang, was already at that site) and a handful of ports now in South Korea (the Japanese names are in brackets): Kyongsong or Seoul (Keijo), Chinhae (Chinkai), Kunsan (Gunzan), Masan,Mokp'o (Moppo), Pusan (Fusan), and Yosu (Reisui). The bulk of the maps are actually of present-day North Korean cities, including those near Pyongyang (Heijo) - Chinnamp'o (present-day Nampo), Kyomip'o (Kenjiho) (Present-day Songrim), and Haeju (Kaishu) - as well as those on the east coast (in order from south to north): Wonsan (Genzan), Hamhung (Kanko), Hungnam (Konan), Najin (Rashin), Ch'ongjin (Seishin), and Unggi (Yuki) (Present-day Sonbong).

I wasn't sure where Kyomip'o or Unggi were, so some searching turned up the links above, as well as this photo of the Mitsubishi iron works in Kenjiho (Kyomip'o), which is south of Pyongyang on the Taedong River:

For other photos of some of the cities mapped above, go here for a folder (in a zip file) of colonial-era photos commenter Mika pointed out to me over a year ago (the download 'button' is at bottom left, you have to wait 20-some seconds).

There are photos of colonial Seoul (Keijo), Incheon (Jinsen), Busan (Fuzan), Gunsan (Gunzan), Daegu (Taikyu), Daejeon (Taiden), Pyongyang (Heijo), Sinuiju (Singisyu), Cheongjin (Seisin), Wonsan (Genzan), Hamheung (Kanko), and Nanan (Ranan). In all, there are about 330 photos in the 80mb zip file.


Brian said...

Nice find.

Do you know of any sites that have historical census data? For example I'm curious to know how many people lived in Yeosu, Suncheon, Gwangju (for example) over the decades and centuries, but I haven't been able to find anything.

Anonymous said...

Hi. My name is Back Eun Sil and I am a student of Sookmyung Women University. First of all I appreciate your consideration for Korea. I would like to introduce Korean culture more, so would like to I send you an e-mail about that. My e-mail address is
I will wait your e-mail. Thank you very much. :)

please check up on reference link.

Don Southerton said...

The post mentions the zip file containing photos of the Colonial Period. Anyone know the source of the collection?

Owen said...

Thanks for that Matt - those plans are fantastic. Funnily enough I just taught a class on the history of Seoul yesterday. I have a feeling some of those plans will make it into a future powerpoint which will satisfy my unhealthy fascination for maps and probably send my students to sleep.

BTW that comment above from 'eun sil' seems to be some bizarre new form of spam. I got an almost identical one on my blog from someone claiming to be an SNU student.

matt said...


Sorry for the slow reply. I looked around but couldn't find anything of use. I'd imagine that would be a good question for those at Frog in a Well.

'eun sil':
Love the Korea Sparking link.

Don Southerton:

I don't know the source of those photos. They came from a Japanese site, so I would suspect they are scans of Japanese-language books. Other than that, I have no idea.


Glad they are useful - I imagine we share a love for maps. It's fun comparing them to Google or Daum maps and seeing how the cities have grown. I don't know if you've seen this, but I picked it up the other day and it looks interesting.