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More on eunuchs

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By Mark Peterson

A few weeks ago I wrote of my visit in 1977 to the last living eunuch in Korea and I wrote of his jokbo (genealogical book) and how it showed adopted eunuch children retained their natal family surname. The article stirred some interest among our readers and as a result, several questions came to me and I received several requests to write more about eunuchs.

One reader commented on a house that still stands in Seoul that was described as a eunuch's house. That reader, Jacco Zwetsloot, showed me the house tucked in behind the Japanese embassy, near Gyeongbok Palace. We walked around the outside; it appeared empty and desserted. There were two shops on the street side that had been remodeled to appear new. But to get a good look at the house we were able to go into the high-rise building next to it, and look down on it and even take a photograph. It didn't look to me like a eunuch's home, from what I have read about eunuch's homes.

The thing that I have read is that eunuch homes had several inner gates leading to a protected inner courtyard where the eunuch's wife and children could be safe and protected from the outsiders' view and possible ridicule. My source........

© The Korea Times