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Lobby Exhibition

Football in Gyeogseong & Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football
Title Football in Gyeogseong & Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football
Period 2018-09-18 ~ 2018-11-11
Location Exhibition hall on the first floor, Seoul History Museum
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Football in Gyeogseong & Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football


Football in Gyeogseong & Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football


In light of the turn-around in inter-Korean relations, the Seoul Museum of History has prepared a special exhibition dealing with a variety of football championships, including the Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football Competition, which took place during the Japanese Occupation. At a time when the Seoul Metropolitan Government is pushing for the revival of the Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football Competition, this exhibition will hopefully serve as a turning point in drawing public interest in the traditional football competition.


1. “Kicking a pig bladder-encased ball in a hanbok and topknot”

Korea’s modern football was introduced in 1882 by sailors at the HMS Flying Fish of the royal navy, anchored in the Jemulpo. Since then, football has spread gradually as schools built by Western missionaries taught modern sports. Football during the latter era of the Joseon Dynasty differed from today’s because players used to use a ball made with straw and cow or pig bladders in a big empty lot dressed in hanboks.


2. “Men play football!”

As football popularized during the 1910s, there were various football championships. Among them there were the Joseon Football Tournament (1921-1940), the Joseon Inter-city Football Championship (1936-1942), and Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang-Hamheung 3-City Football Tournament (1938-1942), which were held mostly at Gyeongseong Stadium while being enthusiastically received by spectators. These competitions, however, came to a close in 1942 when Japan, following an extreme vigilance against the convergence of numerous Koreans in one location, finally called for the banning of all games completely.


3. Gyeongseong and Pyeongyang become football rivals – Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football Competition

The Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football Competition in which the Gyeongseong and Pyeongyang football teams competed during the Japanese Occupation began on October 9, 1929. A total of eight competitions were held until March 1946, following the liberation from Japan, making for a total of 23 matches. On the day of a football match, anywhere from 7,000 to 20,000 spectators gathered, leaving the train between Gyeongseong and Pyeongyang filled with cheering crowds. The competition’s popularity was so great, in fact, that organizers had to throw human manure to thwart spectators whenever the progress of the game was hampered.


4. Inter-Korean Unification Football Competition for first time in 45 years

As inter-Korean exchanges picked up momentum following the Special Declaration for National Unification and Prosperity in July of 1988, the Inter-Korea Unification Football Competition took place 45 years since the last competition was held in Pyeongyang in 1946. It was then commenced once more in 2002, with an additional match that was held as part of the Inter-Korean Festival on August 15, 2005, further deepening the goodwill between the two Koreas. However, football events were held on an irregular basis and essentially were short-lived, failing to inherit the historical significance of the Gyeongseong-Pyeongyang Football Competition.