COVERED IN the dust of past and present, the history of student-led media on campus is vague and unclear. Despite being the oldest English news outlet in Korea, The Yonsei Annals’ rich history is still unknown to many. Though the Annals’ logo has the phrase “since 1962” included in itself, the title of “the first campus English press” has always been with The Yonsei Annals.
The meaning of “since 1962”
The Yonsei Annals is, and always has been Yonsei University’s only official campus English media. The Yonsei Annals published its first campus English newspaper in tabloid form in June, 1962, as a four-page supplement to Yonsei Chunchu’s 312th issue. The Annals was published in order to inform the progress of Yonsei University to its graduates and other various universities around the world*. In 1968, The Yonsei Annals was promoted to Yonsei Chunchu’s sister newspaper, printed and distributed separately from The Yonsei Chunchu. In 1981, The Yonsei Annals became an independent and a separate organization from The Yonsei Chunchu. Thus, the phrase “since 1962” in The Yonsei Annals’ logo implies that the very first publication of a completely-English newspaper was in 1962.
The history of Yonsei University and Yonsei’s student media
Yonsei University’s beginning dates back to the year 1885, which started off as The Yonsei University Medical School. The other part of Yonsei University’s ancestor is Chosun Christian College, which was founded in 1915. At the time of Japanese imperialism, higher education institutions in Korea were strictly repressed through various regulations and ordinances. For the purpose of passing through the loopholes in the Japanese ordinance to be accepted as a higher education institution, Chosun Christian College had several names: Yonhi Professional School, Yonhi College, then Yonhi University. In the year 1957, Severance Medical College and Hospital and Yonsei University merged to form Yonsei University.
The first student-led newspaper of Yonsei University is The Yunjun Times. Published in September 1st of 1935, it holds a great significance as it is the first student newspaper in Korea. The newspaper, like the school, has gone through many changes in its name. The paper was renamed The Yunheui Times in 1946, Chosun Christian University Times in 1952, The Yun-hi Chun Chu, Fortnightly in 1953. In June of 1954, the English name for the paper was changed to the familiar “The Annals”. The Annals maintained its name until the year 1962, when the paper was split into The Yonsei Chunchu, which covered news in Korean, and The Yonsei Annals, a supplementary paper of The Yonsei Chunchu written in English.
The origin of the Yonsei Annals
The Yonsei Annals is a literal translation of The Yonsei Chunchu. Since 1981, The Annals formed its own editorial office with its own staff, separate from The Yonsei Chunchu’s. But before then, those who wrote the articles for, edited, and published The Yonsei Annals were staff members working within The Yonsei Chunchu. Before 1962, there was no distinction between The Yonsei Chunchu and The Yonsei Annals. They were one and the same.
The Annals’ was established with a primary goal of “informing the progress of Yonsei University to its graduates and other various universities around the world and to enhance the students’ English abilities.” Now, The Annals’ core value is to “bridge Yonsei with the world.” Such spirit of The Yonsei Annals originates from Yonsei University’s very first newspaper “Yunjun Times,” being no different from the origin of The Yonsei Chunchu. The very first issue of the “Yunjun Times” published in 1935 had published an article in English titled “Welcome to the Yunhi Times” to introduce the readers to Yonhi College. Throughout its history The Yunjun Times and its successors published articles in English, continuing to fulfill The Annals’ goal and value. Articles in English include articles such as “Some Notes on The Draft of the Civil Law” (1957.9.24), contributing articles such as “Christmas to me (1955.12.13), and even articles in the form of simple quizzes (1954.4.1), which engaged students and tested their English.
* * *
Today, The Yonsei Annals is separate from The Yonsei Chunchu. The independence helps Both the Annals and the Chunchu to cater their audience better and bring about richer commentary to Yonsei University’s campus. But the two student press organizations are not neighbors. They are siblings who share a common ancestor. The Yonsei Annals as an Englsih newspaper has the longest history of all English newspapers in Korea.