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The Introduction of Soccer and the Emergence of Nationalism

The Introduction of Soccer and the Emergence of Nationalism Modern soccer is thought to have been introduced into Korea, together with Western culture and civilisation, in the late nineteenth century. Relevant records may be found in materials dealing with Korean soccer or sports culture. First, the introduction of the game into Korea is described in the first paragraph of 100-Year History of Korean Soccer, published in 2003 by the Korea Football Association after its successful hosting of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup:

An established theory about the introduction of soccer into Korea centres on the time when Korea was opened up at the end of Joseon Dynasty. In June 1882 (the nineteenth year of King Gojong’s reign), Flying Fish, a British warship, entered the Jemulpo port in Incheon and its crew kicked a ball about in order to relieve the boredom of life on board. This was the first time when modern soccer was seen in this nation. The British crew was expelled by Korean soldiers because they landed without the permission of the District Office and the children picked up the ball left by the crew and imitated kicking it. One month later, another British warship HMS Angaund entered the harbour and the crew of this ship was officially permitted to set foot ashore, and played soccer near Hunryeonwon (located near current Dongdaemun Stadium in Seoul). It is said that many people flocked there and watched their ball-kicking game with wonder.3