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[The Korea Review]Q&A from The Korea Review 1편

1901 1월 서울, 미국인 헐버트는 한국에 관심을 가진 서양인들이 활발하게 소통할 수 있는 장을 마련하기 위하여 영문 잡지 『코리아 리뷰(The Korea Review)』를 창간하였습니다.

1901년부터 1906년까지 발행되어 세계 곳곳에 배포된 이 『코리아 리뷰(The Korea Review)』의 <질의응답>세션에는 그 당시 외국인들이 한국인들에게 품은 질문과 그에 대한 답변이 실려있는데요

그 당시 외국인들의 눈에는 한국인들의 어떤 점이 특이하고, 재미있게 비춰졌을까요?

자 그럼, 구한말 한국인에 대한 서양인들의 궁금증을 해결해준 Q&A from The Korea Review.
1월호에 실린 첫번째 이야기 들려드리겠습니다.

Q.  Why does the Korean so frequently patch white clothes with red material?

A. This is never done except when the injury has been caused by fire. The proper explanation is that the Koreans consider it an omen of ill luck to burn the clothes and they believe the ill luck will be averted by patching with red. This as far as the Korean goes, but it would be interesting to know whether red is used because it is the color of fire and on the principle that dog’s bite can be cured by the hair of the dog.” Or may it be that it goes back further still and forms the remnant of an ancient fire worship?

It is also said, but without good authority, that the red patch is a visible confession of clumsiness on the part of the owner, as if he would say “Behold the man who is so awkward as to allow his clothes to be burned.”

As to allow his clothes to be burned.”

Q.  Why does the Korean always seize his ear when he burns his finger?

A. For the same reason that a Westerner might put his finger in his month under similar trying circumstances. Having wet the injured member the rapid evaporation cools it. So the Korean seizes the ear because it is partially detached from the body and therefore the coldest part and he believes he can relieve the pain by so doing. The only value this remedy seems to possess is that one always has it with him.

Q. Why do the Koreans avoid stepping or sitting on the thresholds of their houses?

A. There seems to be a universal superstition against this. The Korean goes to some pains to teach his children to step over the threshold of the door and does not hesitate to punish them if they seem careless about it. They are not pleased to have us sit on their thresholds when calling, as we are tempted to do in order to avoid removing our shoes. Two explanations are given for this. The first is that the So-hak, the “Little Learning,” a book studied by all boys, lays it down as a rule of propriety that the door of a host’s house must never be touched by the feet of his guest; for the door being the means by which the owner finds entrance and exit is, through its usefulness alone, one of the most honorable parts of the house. How discourteous then would be to tread it under foot! There is another reason current, among the people. It is contained in the common saying that the man who steps on his own threshold steps on the throat of the Sung-ju or guardian deity of the house. The threshold is sacred to the Sung-ju, and to tread on it is as disrespectful an act as to tread on the demon’s neck, and will be followed by swift and sure retribution. The Koreans say that the person who allows the threshold of his house to be sat upon will be visited by robbers that night.

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