For purposes of civil administration Korea is divided into 13 Provinces (do) all maritime, all based mainly on the river basins; and named (the 8 originals ones) by uniting the initial syllables of the largest cities within their borders; for example, Hoang-chiu and Hai-chiu, when thus separated form the province of Hoang-hai. They are subdivided into eleven prefectures (pu) and 333 districts (kun). The present excellent system of gov't is modeled on that of Japan. Japanese names are being given gradually to the provinces and cities. The annual income is about 30 million yen, and is equaled by the expenditures. About 8000 steamers, sailing-ships and junks touch at Korean ports each year. The largest of the provinces, NORTH AND SOUTH HAM-GYONG (Complete View), with 1,388,611 inhabitants, border Manchuria and Asiatic Russia, from which they are separated by the Humen River and the Ever-White Mts. The region (called Kankyou by the Japanese) is one of lofty, forest-clad mts. -- the home of the tiger, leopard, the huge Korean bear, and of much small game. Within the boundaries is Paik-Tu Mt., a limestone formation prominent in Korean folk-lore as the abode of a benevolent goddess who presides over the entire country. Chinese writers have compared the peak to a 'white porcelain vase with a scalloped rim,' and it is believe (by the credulous) that the white-haired fauna of the district never injures man. Snow cover Paik-Tu for 10 months of the year. The chief port, Won-san, on the S. shore of Broughton Bay, contains little to interest travelers. Ships of the Osaka Shosen Kaisha ply weekly to Fusan (297 M.; fare, Y15), Osaka (618 M. Y30), and to minor ports.
NORTH AND SOUTH PHYONG-AN (Tranquil Peace) or Ping Yang, or Heian, lie to the W. of the above provinces and flank Manchuria and the Yalu River at the N., and the Yellow Sea at the W. They belie their peaceful name, for S. Phyong-An had been the great battlefield of Korea for ages. For centuries it was the gate of ingress for, and outlet to, China, and on its wide plaints (which support a pop. of 1,934,340) hosts of Mongols and Koreans, Japanese and Chinese have fought and died.The region is rich in minerals; the Japanese Navy makes its briquettes from the anthracite product of the extensive Ping Yang Coal Mines (veins 32 M. long by 7 1/1 M. wide) owned by Gov't. Many ruins o early Chinese occupation are to be found, and fortified castles, quaint old gates and walls dot the hills. Heijou, the capital, is mentioned at p. 754.
HOANG-HAI (Yellow Sea, or Hwang-hai, or Koukai), with 1,015,867 inhabs., borders this sea, and its extreme point is the nearest in Korea to the (80 M.) Shantung Promontory of China. It was long the camping-ground for the hordes of Chinese pirates (from Chefoo and Teng Chow) who formerly made periodical raids in the peninsula. On their arrival it was customary for the Korean lookouts to light great signal-fires (pong-wa) by night and to send up dense colums of smoke by day to warn the inland people of the approach of the buccaneers; other fires were soon lit on other hills until a luminous chain of them flamed to the sky clear to Nam-San at Seoul, and the King was apprised of the on-coming peril. The picturesque arrangement (one now superseded by the telegraph of the 'foreign devil') was, until quite recently, employed extensively, and by means of it the King received intelligence from the uttermost end of his realm. Hoang-hai was also the objective point of the early missionaries who tried to enter the forbidden land -- there to suffer martyrdom and a cruel death. The adjacent sea teems with fine fish, and it was long the chosen fishing-ground for Chinese from the mainland. The most important islands off the coast are the Hall Group, so-called (in 1816) by Basil Hall (captain of the ship Lyra) in memory of his father Sir James Hall, sometime president of the Edinburgh Geographical Society. Rock-salt and ginseng are among the chief products. The extensive Iron Mine (brown hematite ore) in the Chai-nyong district (near Chinnampo) is owned and operated by the Gov't; the annual output (much of which goes to the foundry at Wakamatsu) is about 70,000 tons. Modern machinery is used. There are two smaller mines, the Anak, and the Eunyul.
KANG-WON (River Moor), or Kougen, with 833,000 inhabs., is unique among the provinces in that its (150 M.) coast is unsheltered by islands, and is without harbors. It is the most mountainous of all the provinces. The Twelve Thousand Peaks of the Diamond Mt. are within its borders, as is also the source of the river Han. Forty-five miles off the coast lies the solitary and rarely visited Dagelet Island (named for this astronomer by La Pérouse, the French navigator who discovered it in 1787). From the high rampart of bare rock which surrounds it a central peak rises 4000 ft. above the sea. The few Koreans and Japanese who dwell in this lonely spot subsist by fishing for the whales which abound in the waters roundabout. The coast of the province is noted among Koreans for its Eight Views (P'al-kyong), which are of no interest to foreigners.
KYONG-KWI (Capital Boundaries), of Keiki (pop. 1,513,966) though smallest in area, is one of the richest of all the Korean possessions. It flanks Kang-Won on the W., the Yellow Sea on the E., is crossed by the Han River (largest of the native rivers flanked on both sides by Korean territory), and beside Seoul, the modern capital, it contains within its borders the important port of Chemulpo, and the one-time prosperous town of Kang-hoa.
NORTH AND SOUTH CHYUNG-CHYONG (Pure Loyalty), or Chuusei, a rich and fertile province (pop. 1,519,309) sometimes referred to as the Granary of the Kingdom, is celebrated among Christians as the 'nursery of the faith,' for its soil has been repeatedly soaked with the blood of native believers. Along its coast are numerous bays and islands marked on European charts with the names of the foreign navigators who visited them in the early days. Jerome Bay and the Prince Imperial Archipelago recall the ill-fated wrecks (in 1846) of the ships Glory and Victory. Fogs are frequent off the coast, and these, with the many shoals and strong high tides, render navigation extremely hazardous. The Keum, a river of minor importance, drains both provinces and empties into the Yellow Sea near Kun-San.
NORTH AND SOUTH CHYOLLA (Complete Network), or Zenra, the most fertile and warmest of the provinces (pop. 2,632,849), occupy the site of the ancient Kingdom of Pakché; are the nearest to Shanghai, and produce cattle for the meat-eating Korean and cotton for the Japanese mills. The island-dotted shores have been the scene of many shipwrecks.
NORTH AND SOUTH KYONG-SYANG (Joyful Honor) or Keishou, occupy the site of the sometime kingdoms of Silla, Kaya, and Karak, in the southeasternmost region of the peninsula, and are at once the richet and most populous (3,174,985 inhabs.) of the provinces. The plains and valleys are watered and drained by the Nak-tong, and the equable climate is free from the rigors of the northern winters. From time immemorial the invading Japanese have landed their troops here, and here the earliest Korean civilization and art reached their highest development before being expatriated to the island of Kyuushu. Fusan, one of the most important of the ports, is mentioned at p. 694. The Japanese are developing the region, and China-hai, on the bay of the same name, is perhaps destined to be a great naval port.
The KOREAN HIGHWAYS are not yet suitable for automobiles. What the natives grandiloquently term 'Great Roads' are oftentimes infamous foot-paths with scarcely room for two laden bulls to pass each other. Many of the bridges (usually sod-covered) are so rotten that even the native horses refuse to cross them until the mapu (driver) crosses them first and tests them. The Japanese Gov't is rapidly extending the peninsular highways, widening and strengthening them as they go. At present the difficulties of automobile travel in Korea would be too great to be lightly undertaken.
The River System is extensive, and the country is well watered, but with few exceptions the streams, because of their shallowness, are practically useless for navigation. The largest of the rivers, the Yalu, called by the Koreans Am Nok, or Green Duck (from its bluish-green color after the melting of the snow and ice near its mt. source), forms a part of the N. boundary and separates Korea from Manchuria. It is navigable for 60 M. from its triple mouth (at the Yellow Sea), and is much used for rafting down (to Antung) the logs cut near its upper reaches. The cold Tumen, which rises in the Ever-White Mts. and separates N.E. Korea from Asiatic Russia, though about 200 M. long is of little benefit to Koreans. It is frozen over during several months of the intense Siberian winter, and in the spring, when the snows melt, it becomes a raging torrent difficult to navigate. The Tai-dong (Daidou), which drains South Phyong-An and is often called the Ping Yang (after it passes the old capital of that name), empties into the Yellow Sea near Chinnampo and is one of the important rivers of the peninsula. At Ping Yang it is about 1200 ft. wide, and during the season its surface is often quite covered with the timber-rafts that come down from the mts. to the sea. The upper reaches are noted for fine scenery. The stately Han, the finest of the Korean rivers, referred to by mariners as the Seoul River and by others as the River of Golden Sand (because of the auriferous deposits in its bed), rises in the Diamond Mt., serves as the great fluvial artery between that region and Seoul (where it is 900 ft. wide), thence flows 45 M. to the Yellow Sea. It is navigable for small flat-bottomed craft for nearly 170 M. from its mouth, and up and down its sinuous course, through gorges that remind one of those of the Yangtze-kiang, go many picturesque, mediaeval junks. There are 50 or more rapids along its upper reaches, and some of them glissade down amid the most beautiful and inspiring scenery in the country. It is the favorite river with foreigners for house-boating, and a journey to its mt. source leads one through the very heart of Korea, where many of the old beliefs and customs prevail. Trips can always be planned with the assistance of the hotel manager at Seoul. The high tides of the Yellow Sea affect the river 56 M. from its mouth. Thirty miles below the capital it divides, the main stream flowing W., and a branch, the Salée, turning S. At the mouth stands Kanghoa Island ('Flower of the River'), long regarded as one of the invincible fortified outposts of the capital, and oftentimes the retreat of kings forced out by foreign invasion or domestic uprisings. Duplicates of the national archives were formerly preserved here, and the library was anciently rich in Chinese MSS. The fortress was bombarded and destroyed so many times after the foreigners forced their way into the country, that its one-time prestige has vanished. -- The Nak-tong, the most prominent of the southern rivers, drains the greater part of North Kyong-Syang before emptying into the Korea Channel near Fusan. The Keum River rises in Chyung-Chyong and merges its shallow waters with those of the Yellow Sea near Kun-san.