The following are some extracts from Korean history books or books written by Westerners who visited the country BEFORE the Japanese annexation.
“Corea the Hermit Nation,” written by a US orientalist, William Griffis.
“Corea has no samurai. She lacks what Japan always had – a cultured body of men, superbly trained in both mind and body,
the soldier and scholar in one, who held to a high ideal of loyalty, patriotism, and sacrifice for country,”
according to “A Forbidden Land” by Ernst Oppert.
“Common soldiers hardly ever war swords. Only officers and mandarins of a higher rank are armed with such of Japanese make, but they are all old and rusty.
It is more like that these also were brought into the country by the Japanese, and were left behind on their withdrawal,”
海東諸國記 해동제국기 Written by Shin Suk-ju（申 叔舟）in the 15th century
“Japanese soldiers prefer to use sword or spear. They forge iron very well to make sword. There is no other sword crafted that well.”
朝鮮王朝實録 조선왕조실록 ‘ The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty ‘
ー15 May 1487ー
“Any Japanese swords stored in the arsenal, even lower quality swords are extremely sharp, it’s not good idea to sell them because the arms truly reflect Japan’s militarism country. ”
“(軍器寺藏倭刀雖下品, 甚鋭利, 實軍國重器, 輕易和賣未便。)
ーJune 11, 1480ー
“Our people are not accustomed to use of sword or spear. In order to defend themselves from enemy’s attack, they solely use bows and arrows …
” (矧惟國人, 不慣槍劍, 專業弓矢, 爲禦敵之備)
ーOctober 13, 1592ー
“The king remarked, “There is no swordsman in our country at all …” “(上敎政院曰, 我國絶無劒手)
ー17 June 1593ー
“Our swords which bluntness is more like a wooden branch and are a child toy compared to Japanese swords. Our swords are shaved by Japanese swords like hemp. ”
懲毖録 징비록 Written by Ryu Seongryong（柳成龍） in the 16th century
“The enemy (Japanese) were foot soldiers. Their swords were as long as 35 to 47 inches with outstanding sharpness.
They brandished them left and right swiftly to cut down humans and horses alike. There was no way to repulse their fierce attacks.
Japanese soldiers use swords and spears extremely well. We can not defend against them,
because we do not have hard strong durable plate armour.
So, we made armour in thick iron, with the intent to charge the Japanese army.
However, the iron armour was too heavy to wear. ”
武藝圖譜通志‘ 무예도보통지 ‘
The Comprehensive Illustrated Manual of Martial Arts in Korea ‘ in the 18th century.
“the only martial art in Korea is archery (止弓矢一技),”
“The Japanese sword is so strong and sharp that the Chinese sword cannot equal it.
The Japanese sword is strongest and sharpest of sword patterns.
星湖僿説 성호 사설 Seonghosaseol Written by Yi Ik（李瀷）in the 18th century
“There are silkworms in our country, but we import raw silk and floss from the suzerain (China).
We have iron and furnaces, but our swords and mirrors are no match for the wisdom of Japanese.
Our craftsmen compared to other craftsmen around the world are inferior.”