Thursday, July 12, 2012

1925 May 11 - "Local Color"

This May 11, 1925 article is from the Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo and is entitled, "Local Color." The reporter is describing the Korean city of Cheongjin in North Hamgyeong Province.
Local Color 
If you walk down a Korean  street in this city, the first thing you notice after one or two houses are signs that say “Boarding House,” “Restaurant,” and “Pawn Shop.” And in every alley you see places with such names as “Seoul House” and “Daegu House” that sell rice wine. You also see many prostitutes in heavy makeup going in and out the doors. However, rather than seeing these establishments as promoting immorality, I see them as places that necessarily exist to provide natural, temporary relief to an increasingly large number of laborers. 
Speaking of prostitutes, scores of Korean and Japanese bordellos fill Bukseong-jeong (part of the port city of Cheongjin in Northern Hamgyeong Province ) and have become the town’s specialty product. Whenever military ships, which allow no women onboard, enter the port, it is said that dozens and dozens of sailors race ashore, completely turning the port into a “City of Flesh.”  Even when there are no military ships in port, it is said that the streets are bustling with nightlife as sailors are always coming and going. 
Most of the buildings along the street are Japanese style. Many of the people on the streets wear Western suits. Hundreds of people leave and enter the city each day. Even many of the locals seem to be wearing Western suits. You hear auctioneers shouting, “five cheon, ten cheon,” and you also hear, “Let’s play, let’s play.” You hear, “The Social system is blah, blah, blah,” and you also hear, “Amen.” All parts of the new and old worlds are represented on the streets of this city.

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