What Was That Again?

The first hour of Korean class tonight was spent listening to a visiting lecturer pontificate on the Korean Diaspora in the Imjin War (1592-98). His voice was monotone and punctuated by that unnatural halting speech pattern that so many non-native English speakers exhibit. It was difficult to listen to him, even more difficult to understand him. Two points, though, piqued my interest.

He was explaining how several hundred Korean slaves (captured by the Japanese) were baptized by Christian missionaries while living in Japan. He made the comment, “They were executed by the stake. By the burning.” Which immediately brought to mind a bad dinner at a cheap steak house. “Ahhhhh! I’m being killed by a charred steak! Help me! Help!”

He then made a point that one of the key strategic tactics of the Japanese was to capture all the Korean potters and hold them captive. I thought I had misheard. Out of all groups of people, potters wouldn’t rank at the top of my list of most dangerous, must be captured, isolate them communities of people. Personally, I would’ve gone after say, government officials. Or the military. You know, the guys throwing spears and stuff. Not clay.

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