Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Foreign Missionary's Cemetery, Hapjeong, Seoul

Last Thursday I found myself with some spare time in the Hapjeong area and I walked over to check out the Foreign Missionary's Cemetery which is only a 3 minute walk from the station area.  It was interesting to see all the different kinds of people who have lived, and died, here in Korea.


You can learn about the stories of so many interesting individuals. The grave pictured above is the grave of the second Episcopal bishop of Korea. He was the leader of the YMCA in Korea and he assisted in the resistance against the Japanese during the colonial period.

While many graves here are of missionaries, there are also many other foreigners buried here too.  The photo above shows the graves of some US military personnel and their wives. It makes me wonder who they were and how they wound up being here until the death. Did they want to be buried here? Did their families want them buried here? Did their families from home make it to Korea to attend the funeral? It makes me sad to think of people being buried so far from where they are from. But, then again, maybe they thought of Korea as their home. I can't help ponder these ideas as I walk through this cemetery.

These are the graves of babies. The dates are all a few days or a few weeks between each other.  So sad...

But, cemeteries have a certain beauty about them. Korean tour groups are always walking through with tour guides explaining the history of these forigners who shaped the history of Korea so much. It's a very peaceful place and it really feels like being at home, too.

You can get here by going out exit 7 of Hapjeong Station (line 6/2) and following the signs down into a back alley. Go under the bridge and you'll find the cemetery, worship hall and Jeoldusan Martyr’s Shrine in the area. It's located about 3 minutes from the subway station.


  1. You should also be aware that the Yanghwajin Cemetery has a very controversial history, in which a Korean congregation essentially forced out the non-Korean church historically associated with the site:

  2. Hmm.. interesting, I hope they can preserve it. There are such interesting people buried there and it's nice that there can be a western cemetery for foreigners here..

  3. I visited this spot quite some time ago, and the interpretive center, as well as the Catholic Church with its outdoor Stations. Hauntingly beautiful. I was amazed at the dedication of the foreigners who chose to give their lives for the natives here--some of whom are still at it: though the Underwood family officially left several years ago, they still operate Tuttle Publishing which covers Asian interest, and have a hand in Korean representation stateside.

    My post about Janghwajin, long ago, is here: http://seoulpatch.blogspot.com/2008/11/yanghwajin.html for comparison. You can find graves of my namesakes at the bottom of the entry.