Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery is an international cemetery designated by King Gojong that holds the tombs and graves of many foreign missionaries. The cemetery is also known as Hapjeong-dong International Cemetery.
The need for a foreign cemetery in Seoul was apparent in July, 1890 after the death of John Heron, a Presbyterian minister. Up until this point, foreigners were often buried at Chemulpo Foreigners’ Cemetery in Incheon.
A medical missionary, Dr. Horace Allen, searched and found a place for a cemetery. He obtained the rights to the land on the banks of the Han River. He called the cemetery Yanghwajin after the name of an old ferry crossing. In 1885, Dr. Allen became the director of Gwanghyewon, the first western style hospital in Korea. Dr. Allen died in 1932 and is buried in this cemetery.
A quote on the tomb of Homer Hulbert (1863-1949) reads “I would rather be buried in Korea than in Westminster Abbey.” He was an independence activist from Japan and today is highly respected.
Many of the tombstones were damaged during the Korean War (1950-1953). Evidence of this damage still exists today as members of the foreign community decided against repairing many of the fractured tombs. The designs of the tombs found here are western in style, which is unique for Korea.
It is estimated that there are 376 people buried here (221 adults and 133 children). There are also an additional 23 unmarked graves. Buried here are missionaries from all over the world including the United States, Australia, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Europe.
On the other side of Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery is the Jeoldusan Martyr’s Shrine.