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KOREA [2008 VOL. 4 NO. 10]

KOREA [2008 VOL. 4 NO. 10]

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Monthly magazine opening a communicative space between Korea and the world

Korean Culture and Information Service(KOIS) - www.korea.net
Monthly magazine opening a communicative space between Korea and the world

Korean Culture and Information Service(KOIS) - www.korea.net

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Published by: Republic of Korea (Korea.net) on Oct 13, 2009
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Opening a communicative space between Korea and the world

October 2008 VOL. 4 NO. 10

10 24



Korea Focuses on Green Energy Industry 2008 Ramsar Convention Coming to Korea

Provincial Delicacies

48 13

Cultural Figure

‘A Poet on the Piano’ — Pianist Paik Kun-woo

Korea Enhances Economic Ties with Romania and Uruguay Seoul and Moscow Agree on Strategic Economic Cooperation
Cover Photo Uponeup in Gyeongsangnam-do



Chinese Actress Named Goodwill Ambassador for Korea


Global Korea

Castro Praises Korea’s Olympic Baseball Team

Publisher Yoo Jin-hwan Korean Culture and Information Service Editing & Printing Herald Media Inc. E-mail webmaster@korea.net Design toga design
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from Korea and the Korean Culture and Information Service. The articles published in Korea do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. The publisher is not liable for errors or omissions. Letters to the editor should include the writer’s full name and address. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space restrictions. If you want to receive a free copy of Korea or wish to cancel a subscription, please e-mail us. A downloadable PDF file of Korea and a map and glossary with common Korean words appearing in our text are available by clicking on the thumbnail of Korea on the homepage of www.korea.net.

Korea’s Public Servants Training Offers Top-notch International Program World-class Ships Coming to Busan International Tattoo Fest Brings Global Marching Bands to Korea Dokdo in the Eyes of Foreign Reporters



Dolphin Funeral in Korea



World’s Top National Theaters Perform in Korea



Pusan Film Fest Aims to Be the Best Yet Gwangju Biennale Fuses Art and Spectacle

Korean Athletes Shine at 2008 Paralympics






The Beauty of Hangeul Transcends Modern Designs Korea’s Dynamic and Unique Megacity

Korean Heritage A New National Strategy for Korea




Foreign Viewpoint

Sea of Autumn Colors — Seoraksan National Park
발간등록번호: 11-1110073-000016-06

Diplomacy in the Internet Age




President Lee Myung-bak looks at a product related to generating wind energy before he participates in a “green energy” meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on Sept. 11

Windmills in Daegwallyeong, Gangwon-do

Korea Focuses on Green Energy Industry
orea is fast turning the green energy industry into a new growth engine after world leaders vowed to cut CO2 emissions to address global warming issues during the G8 summit in Hokkaido, Japan, in July. The Government has decided to spend 3 trillion won ($2.6 billion) until 2012 on researching and developing new and renewable energy in cooperation with the private sector. It also said it will increase production of “green” energy nine-fold, from $1.8 billion last year to $17 billion. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy unveiled the ambitious project to build a “Green Korea” and reported this

ment President Lee’s vision for “low carbon, green growth.” Speaking at an Aug. 15 event to mark the 60th anniversary of the nation’s founding and the 63rd anniversary of national liberation from Japan’s colonial rule, President Lee said, “We will support job creation and overcome challenges from climate change and high fossil fuel prices through green growth, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emission and environmental pollution.” “Green growth is also a new national development paradigm that nurtures new growth boosters and creates jobs with green technology and clean energy,’’ he added. The Government will also concentrate on developing a variety of new renewable energy sources. It plans to increase supplies of solar energy to 400 megawatts and wind energy to 1 gigawatt by 2012. To utilize maritime energy resources, including tidal power and currents, the Government will complete the construction of Sihwa Power Plant in Gyeonggi-do with a capacity of 254 megawatts, the world’s largest tidal power plant, by 2009. The Government will also build a 1 megawatt-class experimental tidal current power plant at Uldolmok in
Ssangyong Motor’s diesel hybrid technology

Jeollanam-do by the end of this year, and build a commercial power plant with a capacity of 90 megawatts by 2013. The Government plans to establish a pan-national implementation system for the green energy industry, while forming a “committee for the promotion of the green energy industry” under the joint sponsorship of economic organizations and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. Along with the Government, a growing number of businesses are choosing environmentally friendly management as a priority to maintain growth. Consumer patterns are also changing in favor of the environment, and awareness is growing that buying environmentally friendly products benefits consumers. Big companies like POSCO and Hyundai Motor are also joining the efforts. Since two years ago, POSCO has been pursuing fuel cell and solar panel technology that emits no carbon dioxide as part of projects to secure new growth engines. E-Mart, Homeplus, Lotte Mart, GS Retail and other large retailers have already linked with manufacturers of food and household products to launch a green mileage program that aims to reduce the amount of packaging used in consumer goods. s
Solar power panels in Taean, Chungcheongnam-do


plan to President Lee Myung-bak on Sept. 11. The ministry highlighted nine key sectors: solar and wind power, light-emitting diode (LED), hydrogen fuel cells, gas-to-liquid and coal-to-liquid energy, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), and energy storage. If the Government’s investment project proceeds as planned, the output of the green energy industry will likely reach $17 billion by 2012. Besides that, about 105,000 new jobs will be created by 2012. The ministry’s “development strategy for the promotion of the green energy industry” is an action plan to impleOCTOBER 2008 KOREA 7




2008 Ramsar Convention Coming to Korea
Gyeongnam Provincial Office

he 10th meeting of the contracting parties of Ramsar Convention will take place in Changwon, Korea, in October. Under the theme “Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People,” the meeting will be held for eight days from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4 at the Changwon Exhibition Convention Center. More than 2,000 representatives of contracting parties, professionals and NGOs devoted to wetlands will participate. Ramsar Convention was first organized as the International Environmental Convention in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. The purpose of the convention is to protect disappearing wetlands. A total of 1,752 lands from 158 countries are registered on the Ramsar List and are being managed. Wetlands, known as the “Kidney of Nature,” are essential for the ecosystem. Wetlands purify water by eliminating nitrogen and phosphor in it. They prevent floods, droughts and storms by controlling the amount of water on the land. Many lives depend on wetlands. At this year’s convention, plenary sessions and regional and standing meetings will take place as usual. Aside from the official conferences, there will be a world NGO meeting, exhibition booths of participating countries and an exposition of IT technology for wetlands. One of the important goals of this convention is to establish the “Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2014.” Participants


will discuss 31 different agendas, such as “Wetlands and Human Health,” “Wetlands and Urbanization” and “Wetlands and Climate Change.” Excursions and ecological tour programs are part of the program. Famous wetlands in Korea, such as Uponeup and Junam, are included. Participants can also learn about Korea’s unique culture along the way. The official excursion will be held on Nov. 2. For more details, visit www.ramsar2008.go.kr. s




Muan Tidal Flat

Major Wetlands in Korea

A mudflat in Muan-gun, Jeollanam-do. A total of 324 species of birds, animals and insects are known to live there. It was registered as a Ramsar site in January 2008. Area: 35.59 square kilometers.

Junam Wetland Park
A reservoir in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do. This is a famous spot where migratory birds flock. Area: 2.82 square kilometers.

A parasite volcano crater lake in Namjeju-gun, Jeju-do. It is the only wetland in Korea on the peak of a mountain. It was registered as a Ramsar site in October 2006. Area: 0.309 square kilometers.

A swamp in Changnyeong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do. It is the oldest natural swamp in Korea. It was registered as a Ramsar site in March 1998. Area: 8.54 square kilometers.

Yongneup of Mt. Daeam
A swamp in Inje-gun, Gangwon-do. Composed of two bogs and surrounded by a deciduous broad-leaved forest, it is the only swamp in Korea formed in a high hilly section. It was registered as a Ramsar site in March 1997. Area: 1.06 square kilometers.

Suncheon Bay
A mudflat in Suncheon, Jeollanam-do. It is well known as the habitat of hooded cranes. It was registered as a Ramsar site in January 2006. Area: 35.5 square kilometers. s
(Photos courtesy of Gyeongnam Provincial Office)

Zaragoza Expo Committee Yonhap


Preparation for 2012 Yeosu Expo Gets Started
The Korean delegation of the 2012 Yeosu Expo receives the BIE flag at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Zaragoza Expo on Sept. 14 in Spain

President Lee Myung-bak with Romanian President Traian Basescu (left) and Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez

Korea Enhances Economic Ties with Romania and Uruguay

reparation for the 2012 Yeosu Expo is expected to go into high gear since the 2008 Expo closed its curtains and Yeosu has officially taken its place as the future host. At the closing ceremony of the 2008 Zaragoza Expo held in Spain Sept. 13-14, Chang Seung-woo, the committee chairman of the Organizing Committee of 2012 Yeosu Expo, received the BIE (Bureau of International Exposition) flag from the BIE Secretary-General Vicente Loscertales. “By receiving the BIE flag, Yeosu reclaimed its position as the next host of the global exposition. We will do our best to make this a successful event during the next four years,” Chang said upon receiving the flag. The closing ceremony was attended by high-level delegates such as Juan Carlos I, the King of Spain, and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister. To celebrate this special occasion, Korea’s national


folk music group performed the traditional Korean music “nongak.” Korea successfully won the bid to host the 2012 International Expo in the southwestern coastal city of Yeosu last year with its timely theme “The Living Ocean and the Coast,” which focuses on the growing concerns on global warming. The 2012 Yeosu Expo seeks to pro-

mote sustainable development of the seas and oceans and to cope with maritime problems and environmental issues faced by many developing countries. The expo is slated for May 12 through Aug. 12, with over 80 participating countries and 10 international organizations. An estimated $8 million will be invested in this project. s
The masterplan for the 2012 Yeosu Expo venue


he leaders of Korea and Romania have agreed to boost economic cooperation between the two countries in the fields of nuclear power, seaport construction and energy resources. Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Traian Basescu signed a joint declaration to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership at the conclusion of a summit at Cheong Wa Dae on Sept. 11. During the summit in Seoul, President Lee asked the Romanian government to include Korean companies in projects to build infrastructure, nuclear plants and container ports. Basescu welcomed Korean firms’ participation. Korea is the world’s sixth largest generator of nuclear power and is running 20 commercial nuclear-power reactors. Ten more are planned to be in operation by 2020. Another eight are

under construction or are planned for completion by 2016. “The two sides aim to further strengthen bilateral economic cooperation, taking into account the continued growth of economic relations between the two countries in recent years,” the joint statement said. Two-way trade was estimated at $930 million last year. Korea’s exports to and imports from Romania were $850 million and $80 million, respectively, in 2007. Korean companies such as shipbuilders, electronics firms and steelmakers invested $340 million in Romania last year. A Cheong Wa Dae official said Romania will provide Korean companies with a gateway to expand into European markets. Romania has emerged as a major logistics, distribu-

tion and manufacturing center in Europe since its admission to the European Union in January 2007. On Sept. 1, President Lee held summit talks with Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez and agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and other economic fields. Vazquez became the first Uruguayan president to visit South Korea since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 1964. During the summit, Vazquez stressed the need to boost cooperation in trade and energy fields and asked South Korea to increase its investments in the South American country. After the summit, the two leaders observed their Cabinet ministers sign memorandums of understanding on closer cooperation in forestry and fisheries businesses. s



President Lee Myung-bak and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev talk at the Kremlin in Moscow on Sept. 29

Seoul and Moscow Agree on Strategic Economic Cooperation
President Lee Myung-bak (right) and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev shake hands prior to their summit

President Lee Myung-bak reviews Russian honor guards, upon his arrival at a Moscow airport on Sept. 28

resident Lee Myung-bak and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev held a summit at the Kremlin on Sept. 29 and signed an agreement to forge a strategic partnership, promote various joint business projects, and cooperate to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear programs. Lee arrived in Moscow on Sept. 28 for a three-day visit. He and Medvedev agreed to upgrade their ties to a “strategic cooperative partnership.” Their predecessors, Roh Moo-hyun and Vladimir Putin, established a “mutually trustful and comprehensive partnership” in 2004. Under the agreement, the two countries will enhance their relation14 KOREA OCTOBER 2008


ship, which is now mainly economic, and pursue closer coordination in security, diplomacy and global issues, Seoul officials said. The countries will launch a viceminister-level strategic dialogue on security matters soon, and promote diverse exchange programs through their existing bilateral channels, the statement said. On the sidelines of the summit, the nations signed 26 agreements to cooperate in the oil, gas, minerals, trade, science, information technology, aerospace, education and other fields. The leaders agreed on a deal under which Korea will import 7.5 million metric tons of natural gas per year

from Vladivostok after 2015. The state-run Korea Gas Corp. and Russia’s Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding for the import deal. They also agreed to study the creation of a pipeline though the Korean Peninsula for the gas delivery. The amount of natural gas will account for 20 percent of Korea’s gas consumption. The nation imports most of its gas from the Middle East and Southeast Asia and is seeking to diversify its supply sources. The two sides also agreed to restart a suspended joint oil drilling project off the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula. Russia is the second-biggest oil exporter in the world and controls a

quarter of the world’s reserves of natural gas. The Russian President welcomed South Korea’s participation in development projects in the Far East and Siberia. Russia seeks foreign investment in the eastern regions to develop energy resources, build industries and expand its transportation and infrastructure. The two leaders promised to continue to cooperate in developing gas projects and building a LNG plant and a gas chemical complex in Russian Far East. Medvedev also backed South Korean companies’ bids to participate in infrastructure construction in Vladivostok and Sochi, scheduled to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012, and the Winter Olympics in 2014. The two presidents also affirmed their willingness to promote linking an inter-Korean railway with Russia’s trans-Siberian line. In late August, Russia and North Korea agreed to launch reconstruction

of the railway section between North Korea’s port Rajin and Russia’s station Khasan in the Primorye territory Oct. 3. Russia will help rehabilitate the 54-kilometer railway section and pushes to construct a container terminal and related infrastructure in Rajin. Lee proposed joint projects to develop ports in Russian Far East in connection with the continental rail projects. The two leaders concurred that the

railway links will not only develop logistics industries in eastern parts of their countries, but also will deepen economic interdependence among those three nations and thus contribute to regional peace and stability. This is the second meeting between Lee and Medvedev. They conferred in July on the sidelines of the expanded G8 summit in Toyako, northern Japan. s


The Korea Herald


sik, COTI president. COTI’s international programs kicked off in 1984 and in the last 24 years, over 3,000 government officials from 165 countries have received training here. The length of the program varies from two to three weeks. During those weeks, officials are expected to take courses on Korean culture, society and legal system, as well as administration and economic development. The highlight of the program will be the field trips and excursions to industrial and cultural sites of Korea where participants can see and feel what they

have learnt in the classroom. COTI’s international programs in recent years have evolved to meet the needs of modern days. “It is important to identify new training needs to cope with the new challenges of the changing global environment,” the president said. COTI works closely with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Together, they invite officials from developing countries to impart useful information and educate them on implementation capabilities to help advancement of their countries and

new development system, often supported with funding of the Korean Government. Recently, however, many countries like Japan, Russia and China are voluntarily taking customized programs to train their officials. A customized program of 15 participants is estimated to cost approximately 20 million won ($17,500). Not only working-level staff but senior executive officials of participating countries have received training here including Partha Sarathi Ray, India’s foreign affairs senior director, Nguyen Phu Biah, Vietnamese vice

Participants take a lecture at COTI’s seminar room

Customized Program Key to Official Training:

COTI President

Korea’s Public Servants Training Offers Top-notch International Program

After 35 years of service in the local and central Government, Chung Jang-sik now heads the Central Officials Training Institute (COTI). He says the greatest reward from working for COTI is the feedback from former participants. “COTI’s international programs are aimed at mutual development of participating countries and Korea. It is great to see how the former participants are taking advantage of the techniques they have learned here in their own countries,” he said. He said many former participants come back to Korea for a second trip, many times with their family members. “It is true that they become representatives of Korea in their respective countries. Last December, former Malaysian participants and their families visited Korea for a week, and we threw them a welcome-back party. That is now a great memory.” So, what’s so special about COTI’s programs? He says COTI stands out because it encourages each participant to see and feel from the curriculum outside the classroom. “Our lectures and field trips to various industrial and public sites make the participants see and feel for themselves where Korea’s growth came from,” he said. Chung said he and the COTI crew feel a great responsibility as civil ambassadors. “Each of us at COTI considers ourselves civil ambassadors. And interacting with government officials of other countries has helped us improve our global awareness as well.” He envisioned that the institute’s programs will become more user-friendly. IT education, human resource development and government administration are some of the most sought-after sectors by participating countries, he said. “We will expand our official development assistance programs in cooperation with Korea International Cooperation Agency to provide developing countries with a chance to come here and learn. We hope more countries will benefit from the study-visit programs at COTI.” s
Chung Jang-sik, COTI president

group of Paraguayan government officials were intently listening to a lecture on Korea’s egovernment system in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do on Sept. 22. These 15 high-ranking officials from the remote South American country were here on a 10-day program to learn about Korea’s e-government system in an aim to facilitate the implementation of the system in their homeland. The Central Officials Training Institute (COTI), under the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS), operates training programs for both local and foreign government officials. Its international program has played a significant role in connecting


Korea and developing countries. And it recently turned itself into a revenueproducing engine inviting officials from developed countries as well. This year alone, there are 14 training programs scheduled for some 240 public servants of countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Russia, Afghanistan and Tunisia. The e-government program is one of the recent curriculums and is in high demand by South American, Southeast Asian countries and Russia. “We lack in general infrastructure and know-how in establishing e-government. With Korea International Cooperation Agency’s help and the program here, I think we can make a

great progress in the IT sector in Paraguay,” said Nicolas Pereyra Molinas, Civil Cabinet of the Presidency in Paraguay, who’s participating in the program. “What’s happening in Korea’s IT sector is splendid and we’re here to learn about it. Only 4.2 percent of Paraguayans are using the internet daily and only 0.3 percent of them are using the broadband service,” he said. “Korea’s advanced IT technology is setting a role model for other countries. But really, it’s a win-win for both Korea and the participating country. Korea’s trade and overseas investment greatly benefits from these Koreafriendly officials,” said Chung Jang-



Participants in the international program

Visit to a shipyard

foreign minister, and Wang Xiachu, China’s vice human resource and security minister. “Korea has already gone through the development stage. And we can share our experience and mistakes with the officials of other countries so they can lead a pragmatic government,” Chung said. Korea’s official training program is significant to Korea as well, since it helps establish and maintain the close partnership Korea has built with the participating countries over the years. “A significant amount of budget is spent on running this program. But all the participants leave here with good memories and this has helped the nation to consolidate its diplomatic relations with participating countries. I would say it is over 100 percent effective,” said Park Kyung-bae, director general of COTI. He also added that this positive image of the country is helping Korean products and companies project a positive image abroad, which is crucial for the success of the nation’s firms as they highly depend on exports and overseas natural resources. Since the turn of the millennium, COTI’s programs have become even more diverse as the need rises in the IT sector and business area. Korea’s pragmatic government system is especially popular in Japan and other Asian nations. In Southeast Asian and African countries, economic and human resource development is the key subject. “We consider ourselves as civil diplomats as we believe what we do here greatly contributes to our global competence. COTI’s international programs will get more customized to suit each participating country’s need,” Park said. More information is available at www.coti.go.kr. s

The National Folk Museum of Korea


Officials of the national folk museums of Korea and Japan at their annual conference in Seoul on Sept. 4

Folk Museums in Korea and Japan Enhance Exchanges


Cultural immersion program

n a recent event, the National Folk Museum of Korea and its Japanese counterpart have consolidated their partnership to better promote each other’s folk culture. At an annual conference held on Sept. 4 at Seoul’s National Folk Museum, researchers from the National Folk Museum of Japan presented their studies on Asian fairytales and animal characters in folklores. This year’s conference touched on subjects ranging from the moral values of leading animal characters to the origins of snake and feline

fairytales. The two groups began having exchanges during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. In celebrating the global event, the two museums held exhibitions to promote better understanding of each other’s culture and lifestyle. Followed by this successful exhibition, they signed a memorandum of understanding in 2003 to further consolidate their relations to continue the promotion of each other’s folk culture and to increase exchanges. Since 2003, the activities have ranged from itinerant exhibitions and conferences

to cultural education programs and performances. Yi Ki-won, the deputy director of cultural exchange and the education division, said these exchanges provide good means to promote mutual understanding of both cultures. “Folk culture provides a good reference to understand each country’s spiritual culture and its people. Exchanges between Korean and Japanese folk museums will provide the people of both countries with a reliable source in learning about each other’s culture.” s



‘My Friend Vietnam’ Brings Korea, Vietnam Closer
A Vietnamese performer in the Thang Long Water puppet Troupe

A Vietnamese band performs traditional Vietnamese music

mid the nation’s growing efforts to promote multicultural communities, a three-day event dedicated to Vietnam offered citizens a chance to better understand Vietnamese culture. The National Museum of Korea and Hana Financial Group hosted “My Friend Vietnam” event from Sept. 5 to 7 in a bid to provide the public with a place to learn about Vietnamese culture and traditions. The events included a famous Vietnamese puppet show performed by the Thang Long Water Puppet Troupe. The puppeteers control the puppets underwater during the show, which farcically demonstrates a Vietnamese farmer’s life. Pham Tini Phuong, a Vietnamese who immigrated to Korea for marriage, said, “I always heard about the puppet show back at home but I never had a chance to see it until now. I’m glad I could see it with my son.” Following the puppet show, there was a children’s play based on the Vietnamese nursery tale “Taam va Caum.” The play received positive reaction from Koreans who were pleasantly surprised to find out how similar Vietnamese and Korean sentiments are. Along with other events and performances, classes on Vietnamese history and culture were offered by renowned professors. The three-day event was attended by some 3,000 people, including Vietnamese immigrants, their families and local citizens interested in Vietnamese culture. The National Museum of Korea runs programs dedicated to multicultural communities through the year. The programs not only target the foreign community, but also children of multiracial parentage. Each year, the museum hosts three events dedicated to a particular country. This year, the museum dedicated an event to Mongolia and a festival for multicultural families. s
(Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Korea)


Children decorate a board after watching a Vietnamese play

A scene from a Vietnamese water puppet show

A scene from a water puppet show




World-class Ships Coming to Busan

n assortment of top-notch naval vessels, including a Korean aegis destroyer, will take part in an international fleet review in Busan in October. Around 50 vessels and 30 aircrafts from up to 12 countries are slated to show at the fleet review, which will be held between Oct. 5-10 to mark the
Korea’s Gwanggaeto the Great destroyer


60th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean Armed Forces this year. This is the second time Korea has hosted such an event. The 7,600-ton Sejong the Great, a top-of-the-line destroyer equipped with the Aegis combat system, will be among the ships to take part, along with United States aircraft carrier George Washington and its aegis destroyer John S. McCain. Japan, ranked as owning the world’s second most powerful navy, will participate with its 4,650-ton de-

stroyer Suzunami, while from China, Harbin, a destroyer, will participate, the Navy said. The October fleet review will be China’s first experience in the international event. Russia, which hopes to revive its naval powers based on its growing economic prowess, will participate with its destroyer the Mashal Shaposhynikov. The Navy predicted that the review will be an opportunity to view a wide assortment of world-class ships. More information can be found at its official website at http://fleetreview.navy.mil.kr. s
(Photos courtesy of the Republic of Korea Navy)

The U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington

The Chinese destroyer Harbin

The Japanese destroyer Suzunami

The Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhynikov




The opening ceremony of the International Tattoo Festival in Wonju, Gangwon-do on Sept. 5

A performance by Korea’s Defense Ministry marching band

A traditional Korean drum performance

International Tattoo Fest Brings

Global Marching Bands to Korea
dent bands and local musicians. Both Koreans and immigrants joined the street parades and festivals, which involved traditional wedding ceremonies of various countries, traditional performances of the participating countries and samulnori performances. Kim Chan-soo, the secretary-general of the Wonju International Tattoo Committee, said the annual festival was conceived in Wonju but has truly become an international event in only five years. “This year’s festival featured many global teams and local citizens. This has truly added to its uniqueness. It is our goal to make Wonju a center of international culture through the nation’s only military marching band festival,” he said. More information on the festival can be found on its multilingual website at www.wonjutattoo.com. s


usical groups of East and West became one during a five-day festival held in Wonju, Gangwon-do, in September. Participants and local citizens of Wonju city had a great time enjoying street parades and concerts during the 2008 Wonju Tattoo International

Festival, which was held Sept. 5 to 9. The annual international military and marching band festival is famous for its uniqueness, which range from Western genres of orchestra and classical music to Korean traditional music — gukak, pop music and b-boy performances.

Teams from home and abroad joined the festival this year — O’Shea Ryan Irish Dance Team from Australia, Pipe & Drum Marching Band from Canada, Lampang Kanlayanee student band from Thailand, the 8th army military band from the United States, and Korea’s national military bands, stu-

A street parade in Wonju on Sept. 6

Australia’s O’Shea Ryan Irish Dance Team



in the Eyes of Foreign Reporters

Dokdo islets on Korean east coast


or such a small island, Dokdo has evoked much hard feeling and discomfort between Korea and Japan for over a century. Once seen as a silly dispute over “a few pieces of rock” from overseas perspectives, these days, even the world’s press is taking a peek into the rocky site that Korea is so fiercely defending. In a recent trip by foreign correspondents to Dokdo, sponsored by the Korean Government, much emphasis was given to local sentiment toward the island that goes beyond mere questions of territory or resources. “It is hard to overstate the emotional impact the dispute over the tiny islets — which if placed in New York’s Central Park would occupy just 0.5 percent of its total area — has for South Koreans,” wrote Kim

Hyung-jin in an Aug. 27 AP article entitled “S. Korean emotions run high over island dispute.” The article describes the painful past of Japan’s annexation of Korea from 1910 to 1945 and gives quotes from policemen, Dokdo residents and a professor, who all express bitter sentiments toward Japan. “I explode with anger whenever they say it’s their territory,” Kim Sung-do, 68, a resident of Dokdo was quoted as saying. Kim is one half of the only couple residing on the island. His house displays seven Korean national flags. The piece goes on to explain that for Japan “the dispute appears not to arouse anywhere near the same level of public emotion as in South Korea” except as a “favorite cause of the vocal right wing and

among fishermen on Japan’s western coast who want greater access to the rich waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula.” The article introduced the island as “South Korea-controlled Dokdo.” A more intense article was posted in the Aug. 28 edition of the International Herald Tribune — “A fierce Korean pride in a lonely group of islets” by Choe Sang-hoon. The article begins with the description of Dokdo as a not-so-attractive place with unpredictable waves and lack of conveniences, including a public toilet. Choe stressed, however, that over the past three years Dokdo has emerged as a “highly popular pilgrimage for Koreans” frequented by 80,000 people this year alone. The article explains the historical entanglement between Korea and Japan since the latter’s colonial rule from 1910 to 1945 and its takeover of the island five years earlier. Even after Korea’s liberation, the article writes, “the postwar peace treaty between a defeated Japan and Allied powers did not resolve sovereignty over the islets.” “When Japan claims Dokdo as its own territory, we Koreans feel as outraged as if someone pointed at our wife and claimed that she is his own,” the article quoted Cho Whan-bok, secretary general of the Northeast Asian History Foundation in Korea, as saying. Another example of Korean fervor about the island surrounds the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which recently changed the island’s status from “South Korean” to “undesignated sovereignty,” until President Bush intervened before heading to Seoul for a summit. The change was reverted back to its earlier status. In Marie-France Han’s article “S. Korea steps up defense of disputed islets,” Reuters reported on the Korean coastguards keeping an even closer eye on Dokdo. It said, “South Korea has responded by forming [a] research institute, sending ships to fortify Dokdo’s defenses and saying it would build even more structures on the islands it controls.” s

Reporters from abroad interview a Dokdo resident

A Korean landmark in Dokdo





Woongjin Foundation

New Radio Station Launched for Foreigners

Lobed Celadon Bottle Inlaid with Peony and Chrysanthemum
National Treasure No. 114

DJs with the Multicultural Radio: (From top) Laddawan Sattathamkul from Thailand, Peng Li Ying from China, Maria Regina Panol Arquiza from the Philippines, and Hoang Minh Ngoc from Vietnam

orea’s first multilingual radio station targeting immigrants started service on Aug. 15. Korea is home to over 1 million immigrants as of 2007. “Multicultural Radio” currently offers programs in four languages — Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Thai — to accommodate the immigrant groups. The shows are aired via the local satellite TV operator Sky Life and C&M Cable TV 24 hours a day. Next year, the service will be available in eight languages, including Russian, Arabic, Mongolian and Japanese. Woongjin Foundation, the sponsor of the radio station, hired native speakers of the respective countries as the show hosts. They are themselves immigrants. “Native speakers host the programs, most of which will be presented in their language with short Korean translations at the end of each program. It will help foreign audiences learn Korean, and it will also help Korean listeners learn other languages,” said Park Byung-bai, the foundation’s secretary general. The shows include traditional and modern music of each country. There are also educational and cultural programs, which give information on medicine, legal counseling and jobs. The shows introduce Korean culture and customs, the foundation said. Getting information in a foreign country would be easier if it was provided in their mother tongue, the foundation said of the endeavor. “Our program aims to help immigrants maintain their cultural individuality while becoming part of our society,” said Park. Radio stations in China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand have signed memoranda of understanding to provide long-term support for the programs. Authorities at embassies and culture ministries are also working together to provide useful content for the programs. s


This bottle from the Goryeo Dynasty (918 - 1392) is well balanced with a voluptuous body and a long neck. The bottle’s mouth is shaped like a flower, and the body, separated into eight parts with bold lines, is inlaid with peony and chrysanthemum patterns. The bottom is decorated with a lotus flower pattern. This type of bottle originates from the Tang Dynasty, but it adopted the features of Korean celadon during the Goryeo period. This bottle, in particular, exudes balance and warmth with its rounded lines. It is on display at Seoul’s National Museum of Korea. National Treasure No. 94 is similar to this bottle, but it has no decorations.
(Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Korea)





Korean Athletes Shine at 2008 Paralympics

Korean national team enters the main stadium of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics

Park Keon-woo, a gold medalist in boccia

Culture Minister Yoo In-chon (center)

Lee Hwa-sook, a gold medalist in female archery

ugust and September were months to cheer in Korea as athletes provided outstanding performances at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Paralympics. Korean athletes in the Paralympics, held Sept. 6-17 in Beijing, garnered a total of 31 medals, including 10 gold medals. But what was more significant than the number of medals was their courageous performances and true sportsmanship during the 12-day event. They all overcame their physical and psychological obstacles. Korea dispatched a team of 131 members, including 77 athletes for 13 events in this year’s Paralympics. Some 4,300 athletes from 148 countries and regions participated in the Beijing Paralympics, the largest number of participating nations in history. Korea gained four gold medals in shooting, and two golds in archery and boccia each. Table tennis and track events also each brought one gold medal. Korea’s medal rally started on Sept. 9, as female shooter Lee Yun-ri won the women’s 50-meter sport rifle competition, bringing Korea its first gold medal. Lee, 34, shot a world record total of 676.9 points, edging out her compatriot rival, Kim Im-yeon, by 5.9


points. Lee, who lost use of her legs in a car accident in 1996, began shooting just two years ago with the help of her fiancée, a career soldier and sniper. She finished second in a world competition in Germany last year. Lee Ji-seok also won gold in the men’s mixed R5 10-meter air rifle competition on the same day. Park Keon-woo, 18, won gold in the mixed individual BC3 boccia class. Boccia, similar to curling, is played by athletes with cerebral palsy and other locomotive disabilities. Park, the youngest athlete on the national team, has the most serious case of cerebral palsy among participants. He contributed to his team in garnering gold in the group event, defeating Spain 8-1. Park attributed his victory to his current high school teacher, who supported his sporting career with financial aid. “I would’ve never made it this far without the support of my school teacher who, despite his low salary, supported me immensely,” Park said in an interview. In the wheelchair racing event, Hong Suk-man won gold in the men’s 400meter T53 with 47.63 seconds to set a new world record on Sept. 11. He also brought home a bronze in the men’s 200-meter T53 category on Sept. 15.




Hong Suk-man after setting a new world record in wheelchair racing on Sept. 11

Hong, whose legs became disabled after a bout with polio at age 3, started wheelchair racing in college. “I ran for my son’s 4th birthday. This gold medal will be a good present for him,” he said. Paralympics is particularly special for Hong as he met his Japanese wife, a former volunteer for the Paralympics, during the 1998 Paralympics in Japan. He is now the father of two sons. In table tennis, Cho Jae-kwan took the silver in the men’s individual class 1 table tennis on Sept. 11, while Moon Sung-hye secured bronze in class 4 by overcoming Monika SikoraWeinmann of Germany, the 2004 Athens champion and No. 4 seed. In powerlifting, Jung Keum-jong lifted 180kg to take the bronze on the same day. Archer Lee Hwa-sook earned a gold medal in the women’s individual recurve event on Sept. 13. The Korean team also won gold in the men’s team recurve open category two days later, outperforming China. In the women’s team competition on the same day, Korea came away with a silver medal, losing to their Chinese counterparts. In swimming, Min Byeong-eon earned a silver medal in the men’s 50meter backstroke and a bronze in freestyle. Min, who suffers from an incurable neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, started swimming in 2003 to overcome his fear of water. “I started swimming for rehabilitation in primary school, but I soon quit because I was scared to death. But I feel more strength in my legs and hands in the water. And it has made me realize that I can, maybe, win the fight against this disease,” he said. Min is gunning for a gold at the London Paralympics in four years. s

Prime Minister Han Meets the Chinese Premier
Prime Minister Han Seung-soo visited China on Sept. 6 to 7 to attend the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and meet Korean athletes and sports officials. During his two-day stay, he also met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to discuss concrete ways to enhance Korea-China ties. On Sept. 6, Han attended a welcoming luncheon hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao. Following his meeting with Hu, he took a tour of the athletes’ residence, archery field and shooting range. During the meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Han delivered President Lee Myung-bak’s congratulatory message on the successful hosting of the Olympics. The two premiers agreed that highlevel visits between the two countries have enhanced mutual trust and cemented the political foundation for a long-term, stable relationship. Han said Korea will work more closely with China to carry out any consensus reached at the meeting held during the Beijing Olympics. On the economic front, Wen said China would like to step up cooperation with Korea in environment, telecommunications, finance, logistics and energy. Wen also pledged to accelerate the establishment of a KoreaChina Free Trade Agreement. In response, Han said Korea will expand its comprehensive cooperation with China. He also hailed China’s important role in promoting the six-party talks, regarding North Korea’s nuclear issue. This was the first premier-level Korea-China talks since Han took office earlier this year. Han is the first Korean prime minister to attend the opening ceremony of the Paralympics. s
Cho Jae-kwan wins a silver medal in table tennis on Sept. 11 Korean shooter Lee Yun-ri (left) The men’s archery team wins gold

Korea’s Prime Minister Han Seung-soo (left) and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao



Lie Sang-bong

The Korea Herald

Fabric featuring hangeul

angeul, or the Korean language, is one of the most distinguished features of Koreans and their culture. As the Korean Wave, or hallyu, took over many Asian countries, the popularity of the Korean language also saw a huge boost. Hangeul was promulgated in 1443 by King Sejong the Great in a bid to increase literacy among Koreans who could not read nor write Chinese characters, the medium of writing in those days. It is so important that Oct. 9 is designated as a day wholly dedicated to the language. Korean is now the world’s 13th most-spoken language. It is spoken by over 77 million people around the world, including South and North Korea, North and South America and various Asian regions, according to Korea Educational Development Institute data. The number of Korean speakers has also grown among non-ethnic Koreans. Applicants for the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) grew to some 150,000 people in 2008, up over 100 percent from 72,300 a year earlier. The test, which started in 1997, is conducted twice a year in 31 countries, including Turkey, Laos and Indonesia. These days, Korean is not only a means of communication but also an inspiration for artists and manufacturers. And wearing a T-shirt or a dress with Korean on it is now considered cool among many hipsters. Lie Sang-bong, a renowned fashion designer based in Seoul and Paris, features hangeul in his design. He said hangeul is not only a language but al34 KOREA OCTOBER 2008


The Beauty of Hangeul Transcends Modern Designs

“Power of Youth,” by Korean artist Kang Ik-joong, is on display at Paris-based UNESCO building

Hangeul-inspired designs and products

so an entity that represents the nation and its civilization. “When I was at the Moscow collection last year, clients came to see the show in clothes featuring hangeul. I can’t express how touched I was to see them. Can you imagine people walking around with our language printed on their shirts and pants?” Local media in France referred to his white gowns adorned with black calligraphy of Korean language during the 2007 Paris Pret-a-Porte as the “representation of oriental yet modern aesthetics,” and “balance between fashion and geometric beauty.” Hangeul gained the world’s spotlight through his design and put Korea on the fashion world map. “I wonder how many nations have their own writing system and language. I think sometimes Koreans forget how precious and beautiful their language is because they take it for granted. I wanted to let all the people in the world know its beauty through my design,” Lie said. His attempt took off commercially as well. Variations of hangeul designs are now found everywhere — on lavish mobile phones, diaries, kitchenware, building exteriors, wrapping paper and street signs. This popularity gave birth to the online shopping mall Tiummall, which specializes in products and souvenirs inspired by hangeul. Seok Geum-ho, CEO of Sandol Communications Inc., a company that specializes in corporate contents development and typography, said the potential of hangeul-inspired design lies in its cursive lines. “The lines found in Korean language are very different from those of Japanese or Chinese. They are subtle and elegant. And these are great advantages when developing a typography and other product designs,” he said. Lee Sang-gyu, director-general at the National Institute of Korean

Language, says the geometric beauty of the Korean language is broadening the influence of Korean culture. “As the imaginative power of Korean artists is exploding, now the interest toward Korean language is growing in various sectors of Web content, performing circles and fine arts. I think it is important to share Korean with the rest of the world and provide more places to learn the language,” he said. He also urged the need to preserve and protect the language amid an era of globalization and multiculturalism. “It’s a pity that there are few publications dedicated to the Korean language. Korean is changing with the growing multicultural society, and the nature of the language and vocabulary are going through transitions as well. Collecting data and establishing a solid database are some of the urgent tasks we face,” Lee said. Meantime, a series of events and celebrations are scheduled in central Seoul on Oct. 9 to celebrate the birth of hangeul. More information can be found on the Ministry of Public Administration and Security’s website at www.mopas.go.kr and the Hangeul Organization’s website at www.hangeul.or.kr. s
American actress Lindsay Lohan in designer Lie Sang-bong’s T-shirt featuring hangeul


Lie Sang-bong


Korea’s Dynamic and Unique Megacity
Setting a New Trend in Architecture

“Megacity” by Ahn Se-kweon


o many foreign eyes, Korea is an iconic country of rapid economic growth and the home of affordable household electronics and high-tech gadgets. The country’s artistic and aesthetic sides, however, have long been underappreciated, partly due to lack of exposure. Recent exhibitions in Germany, however, have brought Korea’s modern architecture into the spotlight. The “Megacity Network, Contem-

porary Architecture in Korea” exhibition, held in Frankfurt in 2007 and Berlin earlier this year, showcased the nation’s 16 leading architects and their most significant projects through the lens of renowned photographer An Se-kweon. Ursula Kleefisch-Jobst, a German architectural historian and critic, called Seoul a city dominated by breathtaking diversity. “The buildings in Seoul are needles in a haystack in search of their own

“Boutique Monaco” (right) in southern Seoul




Gahoeheon, a modern take on hanok by Hwang Doo-jin

The Seoul Central Post Office

identity and a balance between the past and present, men and nature, public and private and also Eastern and Western architectural language,” she said. In fact, Seoul has become one of the most populated cities in the world. The city is home to some 10 million people — with about 20 million living in the general metropolitan area. This enormous population explosion and rapid industrialization have challenged modern Korean architects, said Kim Sung-hong, professor of architecture and urbanization at the University of Seoul. Today’s Seoul was born as a solution amid high densification of urban areas on one side and the preservation of small traditional structures and cultural identity on the other. Interestingly enough, the city has been designed by a generation of young Korean architects who have mostly studied abroad, mainly in the United States and Europe. “Korean architecture shows the universal traits of modern architecture and the unique nature created under the nation’s circumstances. It’s the nation’s dynamic potential and complexity that bring about the ‘wow factor’ from architects of other countries,” Kim said. The humble back streets of Namdaemoon market, the hanoks at Bukchon village and the resurrected Cheonggyecheon stream and promenade in central Seoul are examples that demonstrate the unique aspects of modern Korea. “Now is the time for diverse points of view. And the energetic nature of Korean architecture deserves to be recognized.” He said many Koreans view Western architecture as something superior, while looking down on local architecture. “Koreans tend to look at things

Korean with a critical attitude. But Korea’s charm really is found in those specifically ‘Korean’ things. The massive expansion of the city, the complexity and dynamic nature found in Korean architecture has a potential that can’t be found in other places in the world,” he said. The exhibition showcased Seoul in its own skin. This attracted both Europeans and Americans. The exhibitions are scheduled in Estonia and the United States in 2009. Another fruit of the exhibition is the book “Contemporary Korean Architecture,” which was published by the international publishing firm JovisVerlag last year. Kim, who was the vice commissioner of the 2004 International Venice Biennale and an organizer of the Megacity Network exhibitions, can’t emphasize enough the importance of international exposure. “After all, it’s exposure that Korean architecture really needs. The publication of the book, therefore, was meaningful considering there aren’t many books solely dedicated to Korean modern architecture,” he said. So, why the sudden flow of interest from the Western world? Kim says Korea’s open atmosphere and high education level give a unique style to its architecture. “Korea’s modern architecture started to gain interest from the outside world at the turn of the millennium. The architects here are well educated and their working style is more challenging compared with other places in the world.” He envisions the nation’s architects will set a new trend of modern megacities in the future. “It is getting harder to apply one model of architecture into all of the world’s big cities. More metropolitan cities will become like Seoul.” s
(Photos courtesy of Kim Sung-hong)

Korean Architects Aim to Set New Global Trend
The Korea Herald

Sleek high-rises and tall apartment buildings represent modern-day Seoul, the very city where most Koreans would like to work, live and see their careers take off. While corporate-type architects were busy constructing these skyscrapers, Hwang Doo-jin brought a new look into Korea’s modern architecture, which involves the traditional Korean house, hanok. Thanks to Hwang, living or working in a hanok building is now considered fashionable among contemporary Koreans. Since the turn of the millennium, Hwang has worked on hanok renovation projects in Bukchon, central Seoul. Bukchon, or North Village, is nestled between the nation’s two major royal palaces, Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, and was a highly prestigious neighborhood of aristocrats and high-ranking government officials during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The hanok style became almost extinct in modern architecture circles. But through Hwang, it came to life as a place of high flexibility, which accommodates the needs of today — whether it is an office, a residence, a gallery or a photo studio.

Hwang, who was educated at Seoul National University and Yale University, says he loves modern Korea. And he likes to tread on both lines of modern and traditional lifestyles. “The 21st century is an era of complexity. And architects should be able to reflect the complex thoughts of contemporary Koreans. Hanok is like a vessel, and only Korean modern architecture can see such a vessel,” he said in an interview. He thinks working in 21st-century Seoul is not only unique on its own but also very meaningful. “Soon, all of the world’s architects will follow Seoul’s architectural style. Here, the architect’s judgment is very important. Korean architects have always struggled between urbanization and the preservation of nature — and now, this is becoming a global trend,” he said. As an architect, he believes he bears the responsibility of inheriting tradition and going one step further. “It is important to understand tradition and to also enjoy the conveniences of modern times. Hanok is just a starting point. Through new ideas and experimentation, hanok can become modern and global. That’s our job, as architects.” s




The Beauty of Korean Tradition

Hwarot, ceremonial dress of a princess of the Joseon Dynasty

ince ancient times, Koreans have been wearing the traditional dress known as hanbok. This generally consists of pants or a skirt with a jacket and robe, a tripartite arrangement that has remained unchanged since ancient times. Another distinctive point is the importance attached to the hat, known as gwanmo. Koreans have worn different clothing according to their social status, making dress an important mark of rank. The ruling class, including royalty, wore impressive costumes with embroidered insignia on the front and back and adorned themselves with necklaces, bracelets, rings, and other jewelry. As seen in a mural of the Goguryeo Tomb of the Dancers in Manchuria, men and women wore jackets that came down to their hips with pants or a skirt underneath. Over this they wore a robe with the collar, hem, and cuffs trimmed in a different color. From then until Goryeo times, the king and officials wore colorful clothing while commoners were restricted to an undyed plain jacket and pants. This simple costume of the common people was maintained throughout the Joseon period. The official and ceremonial dress of the ruling class and royal-


ty were influenced by China from the Unified Silla to Joseon times and the everyday dress of jacket and pants for men or jacket and skirt for women remain largely unchanged. This basic dress was worn by everyone from royalty to peasants, but distinctions of status were marked by official clothes, sacrificial robes, and ceremonial dress. The basic costume also varied with the seasons, lined clothes being worn in spring and autumn, unlined clothes in summer, and cotton-wadded or quilted clothes or furs in winter. The common people made their clothes out of undyed material, which is why Koreans are often called the “whiteclad folk.” Hanbok can be classified according to function: everyday dress, ceremonial clothes worn on formal occasions such as a child’s first birthday, weddings and funerals. Costumes were made for special purposes, such as those worn by the officiants at Jongmyo Shrine, shamans, or performers of traditional dances. Popular forms of hanbok included the striped costume worn by children on their first birthday, the red skirt and yellow jacket sported by young women

of marriageable age, the wedding costumes known as wonsam for the bride and gwanbok for the groom, and the red skirt and green jacket worn by a newlywed woman. There are many varieties of hanbok, all of which are full of dignity and elegance. s (Source: Korea Tourism Organzization)

(Photos courtesy of Lee Young Hee Hanbok)




Korean Wave in Argentina: Weak Today, Stronger Tomorrow?
Argentinean students perform taekwondo at the Korean Cultural Center (left), Argentines try traditional Korean wedding gowns at the Korean Cultural Center in Buenos Aires

The popular Korean show, “Nanta Cookin”


he world is still surprised by the popularity of Korean films, pop music and TV dramas. A country with a small territory is showing its huge dimension in cultural terms. After leading one of the most impressive processes of economic development in world history, Korea is now consolidating its power in the field of arts and culture. Argentina is not excluded from that influence. Being a most distant country from Korea — the tale says that if you are drinking ginseng tea, in Insa-dong, downtown Seoul, and you decide to dig a hole straight to the

heart of the Earth, after crossing it, you will find yourself drinking our traditional beverage “mate” in Argentina’s Pampas. Nevertheless, Argentina has also felt the influence of Hallyu, or the Korean Wave. It is also true that as distance grows, the strength of the Wave fades. Within the three most visible expressions of this trend, pop music, TV dramas and cinema, it was the last one that has been most successful. Special screenings in the biggest cities of Argentina attracted the attention of the public, avid to receive new expressions of world art. Critics ap-

plauded the quality and deep histories shown in Korean films. But, still, the impact of the Wave was not strong, and nowadays it seems like it is losing momentum. After the first Wave, there were no more. The peak of Hallyu was when the films “Jibeuro” and “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter — and Spring” were presented in Argentina and stayed on the screens for many weeks. The question we have to address is why Hallyu did not take root here, like it did in other places. Also, why was it only limited to cinema productions? Let’s try to find the answers. First of all, we should say that geographical distance is the key factor to understanding the cultural distance between the two countries. This physical limitation is there and nobody can change it. A flight from Seoul to Buenos Aires takes at least 30-35 hours, including waiting times at airports. As a result, both peoples do not have a deep understanding of each other. The themes also play an important factor in whether or not pop culture in one part of the world could ever catch on in another. Sometimes, themes or certain storylines are not understood by people with a different cultural background. This is one of the reasons why the most popular films were those with themes common all over the world —

like relations between young and old generations, or the difficulties of a single or divorced mother in contemporary societies, as was the case in “Jibeuro.” In some cases, the public is also attracted to films that shed light on an unknown topic. One such case here was “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring,” which contains a strong and compelling visual story with Buddhist influences, not so common in Argentina. Two years ago, while in Seoul, I had the extraordinary opportunity to participate in one of the most interesting and peculiar expressions of Korean Art: “Nanta Cookin.” This show is innovative and presents a perfect opportunity to export the image of Korea to the world — music, acting and cooking, all together. It is a great formula to get the attention of the public. At that time I dreamt about having them in Argentina. Fortunately, it turned into reality very fast: In 2007, the Korean Cultural Center, located in Buenos Aires, celebrated its first anniversary with a rich agenda of activities. One of the events was the performance of “Nanta Cookin.” Argentineans were amazed when they saw the performance, but besides those who attended the session, there was no other impact on the general

public. Local media did not reflect its presence here, and an opportunity was missed to open our eyes and minds to other expressions. May I suggest the utilization of more innovative methods, among which I would include the promotion of Korean cartoons. Cartoons appeal to the eyes and imaginations of younger generations. This should be the target of Korean producers if they want to create long term interest. Exposing kids to Korean cartoons will create future consumers of Korean films, music and other artistic expressions. Those of us born in the sixties spent our childhood watching Disney’s productions — the only exception was Astroboy — while our kids, born in the nineties, watch Digimon, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z and other Japanese anime. In both cases, they influenced the formation of our minds and spirits. Why don’t we envision a future with more Korean influence thanks to the promotion of Korean cartoons? In the end, the future expansion of Korean culture in this part of the world will be conditioned by the possibility of increasing bilateral personal exchanges. Acknowledging the immense distance between Korea and Argentina, even in terms of cultural affinity, historical experiences, political relationships or economic ex-

changes, the development of the Korean Wave is a real challenge. The improvement of communication systems all over the world facilitates the actions taken within this context. Even though there are limitations in personal human exchanges, the use of the latest technologies — if correctly managed — can lead to a deeper knowledge between two distant peoples. Universities are doing their part. We created the Argentina Association for Korean Studies, joining the efforts of ten Centers for Korean Studies active in the country. The AAKS has organized its annual Congress since 2005 with unexpected success. More than sixty researchers are studying different aspects of Korea, including Hallyu. This is an asset that we offer to this shared construction. In sum, there is a lot to do in order to increase the presence of Korean culture and art in Argentina. Our country is considered one of the leaders in the field of art, education and culture in Latin America, and the public is open to new expressions of these. Moreover, our tradition is open to the world’s influence; we do not have a strongly nationalistic attitude towards culture. The environment here is, therefore, fertile to increase the presence of Korean culture. s
(Photos courtesy of Korean Cultural Center in Buenos Aires)



How to Get There
By bus, it takes four hours from Seoul to Sokcho City. Airlines and trains are also available. For more information, visit the park’s multilingual website at seorak.knps.or.kr/eng.

many travelers seeking an autumn excursion. A 15-minute drive from Sokcho City will bring you to the main entrance valley to the national park, which contains popular tourist spots. The Yukdam Waterfall and the Biryong Waterfall on the left side of the valley present a spectacular view. The Heundeulbawi, a fivemeter high spherical rock which moves back and forth, is also a unique attraction. Forests of the mountain display vivid fall hues every autumn. Travelers can find striking autumn colors on a magnificent drive, which meanders along with the cliff of Hangyeryeong Ridge. According to the meteorological administration’s forecast, the peak season for the mountain’s colorful autumn foliage is expected to take place on Oct. 20. s

Sea of Autumn Colors
— Seoraksan National Park
Korea Tourism Organization

Hikers enjoy the autumn colors of Seoraksan

The tops of Seoraksan are shrouded with cloud

Korea Tourism Organization

Daecheongbong Peak

round this time every year, mountains and roadside trees in Korea turn brilliant red and yellow showing off the beauty of autumn colors. Among them, it is widely known that autumn is best appreciated at Seoraksan in Gangwon-do, eastern Korea. As the highest mountain located in the Taebaeksan mountain range, sometimes called “the backbone of the Korean Peninsula,” Seoraksan is the third highest mountain in Korea after Hallasan on the southern resort island of Jeju-do and Jirisan in Jeollanam-do. Its Daecheongbong peak reaches 1,708 meters. Every year Seoraksan National Park attracts



The Korea Herald




Korea consists of several provinces, and each one has a distinct culture, dialect, and custom. The cuisines from each province are very diverse, and each area boasts unique delicacies. These delicacies contain local ingredients and the culture of the villages they are originally from.

tional red pepper paste, consists of wild herbs, gathered from the mountains, mixed with red pepper paste and rice. The aroma of the fresh herbs is tantalizing to the nose. Because sanchae bibimbap is low in calories, it is ideal for people on a diet.

Gulbap Gulbap, or oyster rice, is originally from the Yellow Sea area of Chungcheongdo. It is prepared by adding live oysters while the rice is boiling, and then adding some soy sauce.
powder, green onions, garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce. The noodles taste best when served with ice cold dongchimi, or watery radish kimchi.

Dongnae Pajeon Dongnae Pajeon is a flat, fried pancake, which originated from Busan. Seafood, such as squid and clams, are mixed with green onions in a batter to make this pancake. This dish is very popular as a snack or when accompanied with alcoholic beverages, such as dongdongju, a traditional Korean liquor.

Yeonggwanggulbi Jeongsik Yeonggwanggulbi Jeongsik is a full course meal, which consists of dried yellow corvine fish. This meal was typically served to the monarchs during the Joseon Dynasty. Gulbi, a sundried yellow corvine fish, was traditionally the king’s favorite. The fish is salted and sun-dried. This dish is served with 20 different kinds of side dishes.

5 Jeolla-do
The agriculture-based Jeollabuk-do and Jeollanam-do are well known for their highly developed food culture in Korea. The cuisine combines seafood and grains, which are locally grown. Dishes in Jeolla-do consist of a variety of seasonings, such as garlic, red pepper paste and sugar. Residents of Jeolla-do boast traditional Korean table settings, which include at least 20 different kinds of side dishes and a variety of pickled seafood.

6 Jeju-do
Jeju-do Island is known for its special food culture. Since Jeju-do is an island located south of the Korean peninsula, most of the foods consist of seafood that are quite salty. People add little seasonings to their food in order to enjoy the natural flavor of the ingredients, most of which are from the sea.

1 Gyeonggi-do
Gyeonggi-do has surrounded Seoul for over 500 years. During the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty (13921910), all of the provinces brought their ingredients to the capital, which resulted in an eclectic and elaborate array of food. Presentation is very important in this region, and the table settings are very elegant.

2 Gangwon-do
This area is located near the East Sea in the northeastern part of Korea. There are many steep mountains in this area. With the advantage of being by the sea as well as having great mountains, this area is famous for its seafood as well as corn, potato, buckwheat, herbs and other grains. The meals and table setting are usually simple. The dishes in Gangwon-do typically do not include many seasonings.

4 Gyeongsang-do
Gyeongsang-do is situated between the southern and eastern seas and is divided into Gyeongsangnam-do and Gyeongsangbuk-do. The cuisines mainly consist of fresh seafood. The city of Andong, which was once visited by the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth, is the birthplace of the Joseon Dynasty’s aristocratic culture. The aristocratic food culture still remains today.

3 Chungcheong-do
Chungcheong-do is divided into two provinces — Chungcheongnam-do and Chungcheongbuk-do. The meals in Chungcheong-do are simple compared to other provinces. Seasonings and sauces are hardly used in order to enhance the natural tastes of the ingredients. Chungcheong-do residents are known for being generous, and this can be seen in the serving sizes of Chungcheong-do food.

Seolleongtang Seolleongtang, or ox-bone soup, was traditionally prepared for rites held by the Joseon Dynasty kings in hopes of an abundant harvest season. Beef bones are boiled in a stone pot for a long time. The only seasoning typically used for this mineral-rich broth is salt. However, some people choose red pepper powder. Japchae Japchae, or potato noodles stir-fried with vegetables, is made during a celebration in Korea. Vegetables and beef are mixed with cellophane noodles. The colors are brilliant and the noodles are mouthwatering.

Gamja Gyeongdan Gangwon-do is known for its potatoes. Therefore, many recipes in the province include potatoes as the main ingredient. Gamja Gyeongdan, or potato dumplings, is among the popular dishes in the province. Potato starch powder is kneaded into a dough and steamed. It is then rolled in cinnamon or soybean flour. Memil Makguksu Memil Makguksu, or buckwheat noodles, is enjoyed during the hot summer months. The delectable buckwheat noodles are mixed with red pepper

Olgaengiguk Olgaengiguk, or small freshwater snail soup, is made from boiled, small freshwater snails. The taste is slightly bitter yet savory, and the broth is refreshing. This is an ideal breakfast food. Sanchae Bibimbap Sanchae Bibimbap, or boiled rice topped with vegetables, meat and op-

Andong Jjimdak Andong Jjimdak, or Andong braised chicken, is prepared by first brushing soy sauce over the chicken before steaming it. The salty and spicy seasoning goes well with the tenderness of the chicken. After eating the chicken, it is customary to mix rice with the leftover seasoning. Agujjim Although not pretty to the eye, agu, or anglerfish, is good to the mouth when cooked Gyeongsang-do style. Agujjim, or steamed angler fish, is made by steaming anglerfish with bean sprouts, Japanese parsley and a spicy seasoning.

Jeonju Bibimbap Jeonju Bibimbap consists of steamed rice mixed with fresh vegetables and herbs (both cooked and raw), fried egg, a touch of sesame oil, ground beef, and red pepper paste. This globally popular dish is served on Korean airlines as a representative of Korean cuisine. Daenamu Tongbab Daenamu Tongbab, or rice steamed in bamboo, is rice cooked in hollowed out bamboo canisters, rather than a pot. Gingko nuts, dates and chestnuts are added to the rice, making this dish nutritious and savory. The aroma of bamboo is infused into the rice.

Okdomgui Okdom is a pink colored fish found only in the ocean around Jeju-do. The fish is seasoned with salt and then roasted over charcoal and served with several side dishes. No other fish can compare to okdom in terms of taste. Galchi Hobakguk Galchi Hobakguk is a traditional pumpkin and hairtail fish soup made only on islands, such as Jeju-do Island. The residents of Jeju typically serve this soup for honorable guests. The pumpkin, combined with the fish, is seasoned with salt and then boiled for a long time. s
(Source: Korea Tourism Organization)

To obtain information on cuisine and famous restaurants in Korea, please refer to the Korea Tourism Organization’s website at www.visitkorea.or.kr.



‘A Poet on the Piano’
Pianist Paik Kun-woo

His repertoire is extensive and incorporates a wide range of styles and genres. An artist with a quiet intellect, straddling the cultures of East and West, Paik often successfully combines a conventional repertoire with the more unusual.

orn in Seoul in 1937, virtuoso Korean pianist Paik Kun-woo gave his first concert at the age of 10 with the Korean National Orchestra (now the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra). Later he studied at the Julliard School in New York, and in London and Italy with Rosina Lhevinne, Ivona Kabos, Guido Agosti and Willhelm Kempff. Following wins at both the Naumburg and the Busoni Competitions he went on to give significant debuts at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall to launch his international career. His repertoire is extensive and incorporates a wide range of styles and genres. An artist with a quiet intellect, straddling the cultures of East and West, Paik often successfully combines a conventional repertoire with the more unusual. He is also well-known for pursuing the entire music pieces of one composer. Starting with the pieces of Ravel at the age of 26, he has explored the mu-


sic of renowned musicians such as Rachmaninov, Mendelssohn and Liszt by performing all their piano pieces. In December last year, he performed all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall — for two hours a day over seven consecutive days. Paik is also the first Korean pianist to perform in China in 2000. His popularity in the country has been growing since he performed with the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Beijing back in 2002. Last year he staged a highly successful concert with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in Guangzhou with the more than 1,400 tickets being sold out long before the concert. Now living in Paris, he is the artistic director of the Emerald Coast Music Festival in Dinard (France) and was made “Chevalier de I’ordre des arts et des letters (Order of Arts and Literature)” by the French government in 2000. His wife Yoon Jung-hee is a famous silver screen star in the 1960s. s

Universal Music Korea




Chinese actress Li Bingbing (left) and Culture Minister Yu In-chon at the minister’s office in Seoul on Aug. 20

Castro Praises
Korea’s Olympic Baseball Team

idel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary patriarch, praised the Korean baseball team for its stunning victory over Cuba in the Beijing Olympics. In his recent column titled “A gold medal for honor,” the former Cuban leader, who is a well-known baseball fan, said, “The final match against South Korea was dubbed the tensest and most extraordinary that the Olympics had ever known.” “The adversary’s professional baseball players were like batting machines. They had a left-handed pitcher (Ryu Hyun-jin) who threw varied speed balls with surgical precision,” he said. Starter Ryu Hyun-jin had pitched brilliantly despite giving up two solo homeruns. He limited the powerful Cuban batters to 5 hits over 8 1/3 innings. The column was published on the website of the Granma, the official publication of the Cuban Communist Party, on Aug. 24, the day after the gold medal match. In


The website of Granma

the article, he also commended Cuban players’ achievements during the Olympics, especially the amateur baseball team which, he said, is trained to serve the country, not for profit. Fidel Castro, 81, stepped down as president in February this year, ending his long tenure as head of the communist state. Castro writes regularly for the paper’s “Reflections of Fidel” section. The Korean baseball team came into the Olympics tournament hoping for a bronze medal, and that seemed to be an uphill task, as Japan, Cuba and the United States were the three teams generally considered favorites. But a combination of strong pitching and timely hitting allowed the Korean team to pull off upsets against all three teams. s

Chinese Actress Named Goodwill Ambassador for Korea

hinese actress Li Bingbing recently accepted a new role — goodwill ambassador for Korea. Named by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the 32-year-old actress will culturally bridge the two countries. “I’ll do my best to strengthen the friendship between two countries,” she told reporters on her visit to Seoul on Aug. 21.
Born and raised in Harbin, the capital city of Heilongjiang province in northeast China, she learned about Korea, especially food such as naengmyeon, or cold noodles, through her ethnic Korean neighbors, she said.

“Thanks to the memories in my childhood, I feel closer to Korea,” she said. “Many Korean Wave stars are warmly welcome in China,” she said,

The Korea Herald


pointing out Kwon Sang-woo’s “Stairways to Heaven” as her favorite Korean drama. “I hope cultural exchanges will increase as more Chinese entertainers reach the Korean audience,” she added. She received the Best Actress award at the Singapore International Film Festival in 2001 for her role in “Seventeen Years,” directed by Zhang Yuan in 1999. After the successful film debut, she has gone on to perform in a variety of film and television roles. She co-starred with Jet Li and Jackie Chan in the Hollywood blockbuster “The Forbidden Kingdom,” which was released in April. Reflecting her popularity among Chinese, she also participated in the Olympic torch relay for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games. s


Pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin during the final game against the Cuban team

Korea’s Olympic baseball players and coaches celebrate after beating Cuba



The dolphin at right is dying and is being raised for air by other dolphins on Korea’s east coast on June 27

Five dolphins team up in groups of two and three to bring the dying dolphin to the surface

The dying dolphin stops moving as its companions keep lifting it up above the water

The rest of the dolphins swim for another hour around the area where the dead one disappeared

Dolphin Funeral in Korea

dolphin funeral was recently documented by a national research team on Korea’s eastern coast, providing valuable information to cetacean studies. On June 27, while on a routine whale watch, the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) found a school of five common dolphins, 18 kilometers off Jeongja Port in Ulsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. The marine mammals were helping a dolphin breathe by bringing it to the surface. The researchers took photos and video footage of this behavior. Researchers said this behavior continued for over an hour — until the dolphin finally died. The dolphin, some 2 meters long, is believed to have died of natural causes since


it showed no signs of injuries. The Cetacean Research Institute, which is under the NFRDI, said dolphins’ altruistic behavior is common. “Dolphins tend to establish strong bonds with each other. This behavior of bringing a dying individual to the surface to help it breathe is similar to a human funeral procession,” said Kim Jang-geun, the director at the institute. “Such altruistic behavior had only been observed in man-made fish tanks. The video footage and photos provide precious data to reaffirm the unique social behavior of dolphins,” he added. More information can be found at NFRDI’s website at www.nfrdi.re.kr. s


World’s Top National Theaters Perform in Korea
The Korean traditional performer An Suk-son in a scene from “Cheong” by the National Changgeuk Company of Korea Russia’s State Academic Maly Theatre’s “Three Sisters”


“The Scent of Spring” by the National Dance Company of Korea

he National Theater of Korea, the first of its kind in Asia when it was established in 1950, has been staging a wide variety of affordable performing arts pieces to the public for over half a century. Last year, it tried something broader. It hosted the world’s one and only festival dedicated to stepping up cultural exchanges between the national theaters of different countries to provide the audience with opportunities to experience the unique cultures and trends in the international arts scene by inviting representative performers from several national organizations. At the same time, it promoted prominent Korean performing arts troupes to the world’s top theaters. Offering a wide selection of performing arts — theatrical drama, dance and folk music — the National Theater

of Korea holds the 2nd annual International Festival of National Theater from Sept. 5 to Oct. 30. The festival features 18 prestigious theatrical performances from eight countries — Korea, Germany, Russia, Thailand, France, Moldova, Norway and China. Russia’s State Academic Maly Theatre presented “Three Sisters,” written by 19th century Russian playwright Anton Chekhov from Sept. 25 to 27. The play, which deals with the fall of the Russian aristocracy and finding the meaning of life in the modern world, was directed by Russia’s famous actor and director Yuri Solomin. It presented the life and dreams of a family of three sisters and a brother. Another performance that is garnering great interest is “Peer Gynt,” which is regularly performed during

Norway’s famous Peer Gynt Festival. It was written by the country’s greatest playwright Henrik Ibsen in 1867, and this time it will be directed by Svein Sturla Hungnes and performed in Korea from Oct. 24 to 26. It has been the leading performance at the Peer Gynt Festival of Norway for 20 years, and has traditionally been performed on open stages but this time has been modified for indoors. “Raise the Red Lantern” by the National Ballet of China will close the festival. It is a ballet production based on the award-winning 1991 ChineseTaiwanese film directed by Zhang Yimou. The National Theater of Korea also takes part in the festival, with a repertoire staged by its four resident companies: “Terrorist Hamlet” by the National Drama Company of Korea, “Cheong” by the National Changgeuk (a unique style of Korean traditional opera) Company of Korea, “The Scent of Spring” by the National Dance Company of Korea and “Four Rivers Flowing to The Sea” by the National

“Four Rivers Flowing to The Sea” by the National Orchestra of Korea

Orchestra of Korea. These Korean performances have made inroads overseas as well. For one, “Four Rivers Flowing to The Sea” is a combination of four orchestral musical pieces representing the different spiritual worlds of Korea — Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and shamanism — and has been invited to a Korean festival to be held in Brussels in November. Furthermore, “Cheong” by the National Changgeuk Company of Korea will be staged in Norway and the United States next year. For more information, visit the festival’s official website at www.kfnt.kr. s
(Photos courtesy of the National Theater of Korea)
“Raise the Red Lantern” by the National Ballet of China




Korean Traditional Performing Artists Encounter India

Novelist Commemorated Amid White Buckwheat Blossoms

Scenes from the Korean traditional performance “Miso”

group of Korean artists will visit India to stage traditional performances Oct. 1-8, aimed at increasing cultural exchanges between the two countries. Chongdong Theater, the organizer of this tour, has gathered the nation’s top traditional performers and upgraded the “Miso (smile in Korean)” program, which was shown in India 2006, receiving a positive response from locals. Themed around a love story, the show will present traditional music and dance performances for about 70 minutes both in India’s Mumbai and New Delhi. The joint performance of classical orchestral music and traditional percussion quartet, called “samulnori,” will open the show. Various programs and dynamic performances are prepared for Indian audience. For more information, visit the theater’s official website at www.chongdong.com. s
(Photos courtesy of Chongdong Theater)


People visit the Bongpyeong buckwheat field in Bongpyeong, Gangwon-do

round this time every year, Bongpyeong in Gangwon-do is dotted with buckwheat gardens where the white flowers are in full bloom, looking just like sprinkled salt or snowflakes. Every September, Bongpyeong hosts the Hyoseok Culture Festival to commemorate the late writer Lee Hyoseok (1907-1942), who was born in nearby Pyeongchang, and who has been praised for his unique realismbased aestheticism. The flowers of Bongpyeong were made famous in his short story “When Buckwheat Flowers Bloom,” a masterpiece of the Korean literary canon, set in Bongpyeong and published in 1936.


Now in its 10th year, the Hyoseok Culture Festival, which is unique in combining literature with tourism, was held from Sept. 6 to 15 with the blossoming of the white buckwheat flowers. The festival offered excursions to places mentioned in the story as well as experiences of the rural lifestyle, food-sampling and other literaturebased events and performances. In the marketplace, you can savor various kinds of dishes such as acorn jelly, Korean-style pancakes, bibimbap and noodles, all made of buckwheat. Even if you don’t know anything about the writer or his works, you can enjoy yourself just strolling along a

narrow path through the seemingly endless buckwheat fields, especially the one near the house of Lee’s birth. In addition, performances were put on to entertain you and there will also be traditional folk programs — including making meals with buckwheat, farming, and riding on horse or oxdrawn carts. Other programs include tasting meals made of buckwheat, cockfights, and dyeing fingernails with garden balsams. The Bongpyeong buckwheat field, measuring about 500,000 square meters, is also magnificent when seen in the moonlight. For more information, visit www.hyoseok.com. s



The red carpet for the 2nd Chungmuro International Film Festival leading to the entrance of the National Theater of Korea

The closing film, “I Am Happy”


A scene from the opening film, “The Gift to Stalin”

Chungmuro Film Festival Links Past and Present

Pusan Film Fest Aims to Be the Best Yet
rganizers of the 13th Pusan International Film Festival have taken some major steps to address past criticisms and ensure maximum convenience for guests and participants this year. “The means of purchasing tickets have been updated. One example is the ability to buy tickets by using your cell phone,” said Hur Nam-sik, the festival director, at a press conference on Sept. 9. “We’ve also done our very best to ensure that commuting to and fro around the festival venues and various sites hosting special events will be as hassle-free and convenient as possible.” In terms of the national origin of the films, organizers of this year’s competition have gravitated towards


Central and Southeast Asia, in addition to inviting more selections from non-Asian countries. Previous editions of the PIFF were mainly for East Asian films, with selections outside of the region premiering out of any competition. “We noticed that other major film festivals around the globe were neglecting the Central and Southeast Asian regions,” said Jay Jeon, the deputy director of the festival. “The quality of the films that were submitted from Southeast Asia convinced us that it’s a region which has been unjustly neglected, so we decided to reach out. It is also a way for us to truly distinguish ourselves from the rest of the festival organizations.” A Kazakh film, “The Gift to Stalin,” directed by Rustem Abdrashev, was

picked to open the festival, which will run Oct. 2-10. During that time, 315 films from 60 countries will be screened. “We felt that this film deserved as much exposure as it can possibly get because it moved us to the core. What better way for it to get that exposure than for it to be the opening film?” said Kim Ji-seok, who is the executive programmer of the festival. Yoon Jong-chan’s “I Am Happy,” starring Hyun Bin and Lee Bo-yeong, has been chosen to close the festival. For more information, go to www.piff.org. s
(Photos courtesy of the Pusan International Film Festival)

hungmuro in central Seoul used to be the heart of the local film industry, with the landmark Daehan Cinema, one of Korea’s first movie theaters. However, as film production facilities and movie studios have moved out to other areas as well as multiplexes mushrooming in Seoul, it is now more remembered as a historic or symbolic center of Korean cinema. Efforts have been underway to counter the phenomenon and an international film festival was launched last year to restore the fame of Chungmuro as the center of Korean filmmakers. This is the annual Chungmuro International Film Festival. This year’s festival featured 170 films from 40 countries at the Daehan Cinema, ChungAng Cinema and Myeongbo Theater in Seoul. The festival opened with Higuchi Shinji’s “Hidden Forest: The Last Princess.” The film is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film, “The Hidden Fortress,” which is widely known to


have been an inspiration for George Lucas’ “Star Wars.” To focus more on current films that have the potential to become classics someday, the festival added a competition section this year in a bid to expand its coverage and attract more foreign movies for local moviegoers. American filmmaker Michael Cimino led the jury for the international competition section, along with four other jurors. Among the 11 finalists including Johnnie To’s “Mad Detective,” Antonello Grimaldi’s “Quiet Chaos,” and Amos Kollek’s “Restless,” and “The Mermaid” by Anna Melikyan, the $30,000 grand prize went to Serbian killer thriller “The Trap,” which was also shown at the closing ceremony of the festival. Besides Higuchi’s remake and the International Competition winner, other movies were screened for public viewing of course. The movies ranged from international classics such as Fred Zinnemann’s

The poster for “The Trap,” the grand prize winner

“From Here to Eternity” and Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull,” to more contemporary titles such as Kim Hyunseok’s “Scout” and Yoon Seong-ho’s “Milky Way Liberation Front.” For more information, visit http://office.chiffs.kr/eng/. s



The opening ceremony of the Gwangju Binennale on Sept. 5

Gwangju Biennale Fuses Art and Spectacle

ne of the nation’s biggest fine arts events, the Gwangju Biennale, kicked off on Sept. 5 and runs through Nov. 3 at the five venues in the southwestern city of Gwangju. The venues are Biennale Hall, the Gwangju Museum of Art, the Uijae Museum of Korean Art, the Daein Traditional Market and the Cinema Gwangju. Titled “Annual Report,” artistic director Okwui Enwezor’s congregation of exhibitions challenges viewers’ perceptions of fine art. The biennale’s “Bokdukbang Project,” in particular, blurs the line between art and spectacle. Enwezor lauded it for being “conceptually interesting but significant,” saying, “Bokdukbang Project has taken on the logic of the city of Gwangju,” at a press conference in Gwangju. Located inside the putrid and gritty Daein Traditional Market, Park Sung-hyen’s exhibition hides within a winding series of stalls selling everything from pigs’ heads — snout and ears intact — to skatefish. Even the market vendors find themselves fascinated by the works of art, masquerading as stalls, lined up next to their own fleshy wares. This exhibition is not for the faint of heart. The combination of the scent of raw pork, chicken and fish mingles with the fragrance of ginseng and herbs to create a malodorous combination. Within the Uijae Museum of Korean Art, there is a definitive note of pensive gravitas, save for Venezuelan artist Mariana Bunimov’s gleefully edible sculpture. The moment you step inside the museum, Bunimov’s work will greet you with its rich chocolaty scent. Visitors may attempt a lick or a bite at Bunimov’s “Rancho (Chocolate Shack)” (2008). Made out of approximately 100 kilograms of chocolate, it is meant to change over time, either



“Bokdukbang Project” by Park Sung-hyen

Visitors check out the Biennale Hall

by melting into decay or by being nibbled to death. American artist Bruce Conner’s collaged photographs of bands from the 1970s are distinctly less delectable. Tinged in silver and frayed by the passage of time, a powerful scent of stale memories pervades his works. Praneet Soi, an Indian artist currently living in Amsterdam, depicts the horrors of the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib by U.S. military personnel through his pristine miniature paintings. The sight of distorted, hooded figures is nothing less than disturbing. In a nod to the great master of traditional Korean painting to whom this museum is dedicated, Enwezor and his team saw fit to leave several of the painter’s works on display. Uijae Huh Baek-ryun’s paintings exude a vigorous energy that evokes the verdant beauty of the surrounding Mudeung mountains. His blossoms and birds in flight enchant. The core of the biennale, however, remains firmly lodged within the Biennale Hall. The proportions of the five galleries that make up the space are warehouse-worthy. A bottle of water and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are a must when confronted by this

much art. At times stunning and at times less than lackluster, the uneven body of work reverberates with themes of ethnicity, immigration and displacement. Enwezor himself noted that, “By keeping our minds open, a cluster of themes emerged.” Though the artistic director refrained from cluing the press in on what those themes were, one cannot escape the overall sense of an underlying fascination with this trio of topics. It is evident from the moment you set foot inside Gallery 1. There, in a profuse range of sculptural glory, stands Kerry James Marshall’s recreation of the environment of a black neighborhood. Right behind Marshall’s works, a series of photographs of AsianAmerican male models posing in full Civil War regalia captivates. The odd pairing of classic American history and Asians makes viewers do a double take. In Nina Fischer and Maroan El Sani’s “Spelling Dystopia,” a split screen video of Japanese students and an island play out a dark and strange tale. Alluding to the gory Japanese flick, “Battle Royale II” that was filmed on the island in question, the students

run around forming the Japanese words: solid rock, coal mine and greenless island. But the tour de force of this biennale is Isaac Julien’s five-screen video installation “WESTERN UNION: Small Boats.” In a bold and beautiful stroke of cinematic artistry, he melds luscious scenes of the Sicilian seaside village of Agrigento with opulent shots of the Palazzo Gangi — the location for Visconti’s 1963 masterpiece “The Leopard” — and fuses them with his tragic plot. Referencing the thousands of Africans and Asians who escape terrible economic and human rights conditions by traveling from North Africa to the southern coast of Sicily, he recreates the horrific journey, painting a tale in which refugees are transferred to small, overcrowded fishing boats and left to drift on their own until they are rescued or they sink to a watery death. “The core of the biennale was to take contemporary art and place it offcenter,” said Enwezor. Judging from the dispersed body of work on display, he accomplished his goal. For more information, visit www.gb.or.kr. s




Make Some Noise at Seoul Drum Festival

Korean Heritage
Publisher: Cultural Heritage Administration Pages: 45 Not for Sale

The T-shaped Shrine, where the ritual ceremony for dead royal family members was performed


he Seoul Drum Festival will be held from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5 in Ttukseom, eastern Seoul, attracting drummers and percussion artists both in and out of the country. This year marks the festival’s tenth anniversary since the city of Seoul started the event to celebrate the new millennium in 1999. The annual event has been an exciting opener for important events such as the AsiaEurope Meeting in 2000 and the 2002 Korea-Japan Soccer World Cup. During the three-day festival, a

variety of percussion performances will be put on stage by Korean and international drum musicians. Other programs such as the Percussion Art Market will offer a good opportunity for participants to share information and communicate through music. Ordinary visitors can learn playing percussion instruments from around the world and join surprise performances at the festival venue. For more information, visit the festival’s official website at www.drumfestival.org. s

The Cultural Heritage Administration, a state-run organization which is dedicated to the preservation and introduction of Korea’s cultural properties, has released its quarterly magazine’s autumn issue. Containing writings by experts and colorful photos, this book will be helpful for overseas readers to better understand Korea’s precious cultural heritage. In an article on the Sungnaemun, which was destroyed by an arson attack in February, the author explains the history and restoration process of the No. 1 landmark of Seoul, popularly known as the Namdaemun. The Photo Gallery section features the royal graveyards of the Joseon Dynasty. Located in Seoul and its environs, the royal tombs are harmonized with modern buildings. And one can find Korean ancestors’ sense of humor in their drawings of animals, a unique art genre called “minwha,” or Korean folk paintings. The on-line version of the magazine is also available on http://english.cha.go.kr. s
(Photos courtesy of Cultural Heritage Administration)

A royal tomb in Seoul




Quarterly Launched on Korean Books for Expats

A New National Strategy for Korea
Edited by The Korea Herald Publisher: Jimoondang Pages: 335 Price: 20,000 won

Photo Collection on Korean Folkways

Kim Su-yeong, the managing chief editor of Moonji Publishing and head of the quarterly’s editorial committee, said the magazine covers mostly notable books published in the past year, but also includes steady sellers. “Striking a balance in terms of genre, publication date and publishers was one of the key issues,” Kim said. The content of the quarterly will be reviews by leading Korean critics, and topnotch English and Chinese translators. The quarterly’s editor-in-chief, Kim Haeseung, said the publication team took great care to ensure a high level of translation, targeting foreign publication experts and critics. “Although it was a very complicated The state-run Korea Literature Translation Institute introduced “List_Books from Korea,” a quarterly magazine focusing on Korean books and authors, in a project aimed at offering foreign readers wider access to Korean literature. “The first-ever quarterly about Korean books comes in English and Chinese, and this project is part of the Government’s efforts to promote the export of Korean intellectual property,” said Yoon Ji-kwan, president of the KLTI, at a press conference in August. Featuring some 100 titles, the quarterly provides special feature stories about leading authors and publishers, while offering brief book reviews so that foreign publishers and agents can know about the latest literary trends in Korea. The quarterly’s Chinese version has already been released, and an English version will come in early September, Yoon said, adding that an electronic version in PDF form will be available soon. process, we have checked all the names and spelling by talking to authors and publishers,” Kim said. The quarterly’s attempt to ensure accuracy comes as a welcome move. There are many different ways to spell an author’s name, creating confusion among foreign readers and critics. The KLTI is currently working on a new database that offers standard spellings of Korean authors and their titles. Some 3,000 copies of the English version will be sent to major publishers around the world, and 1,500 copies of the Chinese version will be mailed to publishers in China and other Asian nations. The 84-page quarterly features an interview with leading novelist Hwang Sokyong and top comics artist Huh Youngman, as well as introductory articles about 14 up-and-coming Korean writers such as Kim Ae-ran, Lee Ki-ho, and Park Min-kyu. For further information about the quarterly, visit www.klti.or.kr. s

The Korea Herald has published “A New National Strategy for Korea,” a book designed to help the nation chart a course to a more secure and prosperous future. The book offers 36 essays focusing on the key elements of Korea’s new strategy to safeguard national security, promote democracy and spur economic growth. Written by prominent Korean and foreign scholars, the articles were all published in The Korea Herald between February and April of 2008. The authors analyze the challenges facing the Lee Myung-bak Government and suggest ways to address them. Collectively, they delineate an overarching strategy that can ensure Korea’s security and prosperity. The scholars seek to formulate a new national strategy which takes into account the changes that have occurred domestically and internationally since 1987, the year Korea embarked on a path toward democracy. The approach they suggest differs not only from the developmental-state model followed by President Park Chung-hee in the 1960s and 1970s, but also from its variants pursued by the succeeding governments. “A New National Strategy for Korea” is the fourth book in the “Insight into Korea” series published by The Korea Herald. Launched in June 2007, the series is designed to produce English-language books that can help readers better understand the transformations in Korean society since 1987. The three previous books were “Insight into Korea,” “Social Change in Korea” and “Political Change in Korea.” s

The National Folk Museum of Korea has launched a set of DVDs containing over 40,000 photographs of Korean folkways and a guidebook. The photographs were captured by the museum’s employees during their field trips across the nation in preparation for the publication of the Korean folkway dictionary, which was released early this year. As valuable folkways records, this collection will be useful for teachers to educate young students about old customs seen in every part of the country, and for ordinary users it can be an interesting material to trace the forgotten tradition. This collection is not for sale and will be distributed to public organizations including national universities and libraries. The online version is also available on the museum’s website at www.nfm.go.kr. s

The photo collection of the National Folk Museum of Korea contains over 40,000 photographs of Korean folkways taken across the country




Diplomacy in the Internet Age
In February 2008 I returned to Seoul to start my assignment as British Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Upon hearing that this is my third posting to Seoul, Koreans often ask me what have been the biggest changes here. There are many to choose from but the most striking change for me has been the dramatic rise of the internet and online culture in Korea. It was a Briton, Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the worldwide web, so it should be no surprise that the UK rapidly developed a love affair with the net. Most British families have a computer with internet access, 7.4 million Britons visit at least one of the top 10 daily newspaper websites every day and demand for W3G mobile phones continues to rise. Thanks in part to our history of creativity and innovation, the UK has Europe’s fastest growing ICT sector. Many Korean online gaming companies have established offices in the UK for these reasons, taking advantage of the growing market for their products and the creativity and technical excellence of British game designers. The outward signs of a thriving internet culture in Korea were immediately apparent to me on arrival. From the ubiquity of the neighbourhood “PC bang” to the sight of people watching television on their mobile phones on public transport, in Seoul at least, one feels that the internet has become a central part of Korean life. Perhaps this was inevitable given the “ppalli ppalli” culture of quick service. The Korean people’s demands can be satisfied by the instant access to information the internet provides. For both governments and diplomats like myself, this provides exciting opportunities. The ease of placing information online means that everyone has the opportunity to directly engage with the public in ways previously unimaginable. The British Embassy’s two websites — www.uk.or.kr and http://ukinkorea.fco.gov.uk — are visited by some 60,000 people every month, vastly extending our outreach. In addition websites come with the luxury of being able to decide what content the reader will see, without the fear that your message will be filtered out by a newspaper editor. It was because of this that on arriving in Korea I was keen to start my own blog (www.uk.or.kr/blog). This allows me to reach out to Koreans (and Britons) from all walks of life. I can talk about the issues I believe are important, and equally valuably, it offers a way for my readers to share their views, concerns and ideas with me. It is the ease of this twoway exchange that is really striking, enabling the public, not just politicians and diplomats like me, to play a role in the debates that shape national and international opinion and eventually policy. The internet also enables us to approach old problems in a new way, using new technology to involve netizens in key issues. In a recent first, the Embassy and the British Council held a competition encouraging Koreans to think about how they can reduce their carbon footprints and then create UCC clips to express their ideas. The results are a sign of Korea’s electronic creativity and the recognition of the need for action on climate change. Some other countries have gone further in their e-diplomacy. Last year Sweden opened an Embassy online in the internet virtual world “Second Life,” providing information to avatars. However, we also have to remember that many other countries are not as well connected as ours. In June, I attended the OECD


Ministerial meeting on the “Future of the Internet Economy.” It was held, appropriately, in Seoul. It was a forum in which a number of senior figures from governments, industry and civil society exchanged thoughts and ideas on what lies ahead. The conference reinforced my view that the internet will continue to change many facets of our global society, including the way we conduct diplomacy. But it was also clear that internet-advanced countries — such as Korea and the UK — need to work harder to reduce the information gap that exists between the well-connected and the millions around the world who still have no access to the net. So is this the future of diplomacy? Certainly there will always be a place for “traditional” diplomacy in Korea. No website has yet found a way to replace the face-to-face meeting or the trust that a handshake can build. But at a people-to-people level, the internet has huge potential to increase and extend the links between the UK and Korea in a way that traditional diplomacy could not. In addition, the internet is a great way of encouraging public dialogue, participation and action on big issues like climate change. For two countries as connected as ours, that is a huge opportunity for us all. s


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