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KOREA magazine [AUGUST 2011 VOL. 7 NO. 8]

KOREA magazine [AUGUST 2011 VOL. 7 NO. 8]

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COVER STORY - Though often called the“Hermit Kingdom,”Korea’s rich trade history enabled the exchange of cultural customs and technology. From the ancient days of the Three Kingdoms period to the most recent Joseon Dynasty, traders explored the depths of the world beyond Korea’s borders.
COVER STORY - Though often called the“Hermit Kingdom,”Korea’s rich trade history enabled the exchange of cultural customs and technology. From the ancient days of the Three Kingdoms period to the most recent Joseon Dynasty, traders explored the depths of the world beyond Korea’s borders.

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People & Culture

august 2011

How ancient korea connected to tHe world
Nature’s thrills

Winds of Trade
Yeongwol Summer Swimming
riverside relaxatioN

ISSN: 2005-2162

www.korea.net

Contents
august 2011 VOL.7 NO.08
02
cover story
Cultures meet in Korea’s ancient trade history.

12
pen & brush
Lee U-fan speaks volumes with his minimal art.

16
people
The UN’s Ban Ki-moon epitomizes calm, logic.

18
great korean
Queen Seondeok’s wisdom still survives today.

20

seoul
Fortress walls continue to protect the capital.

22

travel
Head to Yeongwol for the exciting outdoors.

02

26

festival
Pay tribute to Korea’s renowned celadon.

27

flavor
Unwind with a cup of surprisingly sweet sikhye.

28
now in korea
Take a dip at the Hangang River’s water parks.

publisher Seo Kang-soo, Korean Culture and Information Service

32
entertainment
Move over melodramas, it’s time for the stars.

22

editing HEM KOREA Co., Ltd e-mail webmaster@korea.net printing Samsung Moonhwa Printing Co. All right 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. 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. 발간등록번호 11-1110073-000016-06

34
sports
The IAAF World Championships are underway.

36
special issue
PyeongChang readies its engines for 2018.

38
summit diplomacy
Lee Myung-bak visits Africa to bolster new ties.

42
global korea
People head to Korea for business, language.

46
my korea
A German rediscovers the greens of the land.

28

cover story

talking Past:

the art of ancient trade
Buddhist sculptures depicting both Korean and foreign influences line a gallery room at the National Museum of Korea.

Though often called the “Hermit Kingdom,” Korea’s rich trade history enabled the exchange of cultural customs and technology. From the ancient days of the Three Kingdoms period to the most recent Joseon Dynasty, traders explored the depths of the world beyond Korea’s borders.
by Lee Sun-min | photographs by Kim Nam-heon

and Ningxia Hui Autonomous regions), before arriving at the Korean Peninsula in 372 AD. Although the birthplace of Buddhism is now dominated by Hinduism and Islam, in countries like Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Tibet and Korea, the religion is still prevalent today. Accordingly, the abundance of Buddhist relics here and its integration in local history make it impossible to discuss Korean ancient art without Buddhist sculptures and other related artifacts. Similarities can be found among religious artifacts from China and Southeast Asia, demonstrating a certain level of cultural exchange. Among these, the 7th century Pensive Bodhisattva (National Treasure No 83) is considered one of the most representative examples of foreign influence on Korean designs. Similar to Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker, the statue is characterized by its contemplative pose, legs half-crossed and a lowered head accented by the light touch of its hand on its cheek.

Brothers iN BuddhisM The rise

of Buddhism in Korea is the simplest way to see how widespread trade was among Asian countries. Buddhism,

the ten-story stone Pagoda, housed in the National Museum of Korea, depicts influences from tibet (above left). Chinese coins from the late Goryeo and early Joseon period were the first currency of its kind in Korea (above right). A Korean sculpture of Buddha (right) shows similarities to an indian counterpart (far right). A view of the National Museum of Korea, which holds many of the country’s most prized artifacts (opposite).

04 | korea | august 2011

© National Museum of Korea (above, opposite above right); Topic Images (opposite bottom right)

The oldest artifacts found in Korea’s national museums delineate the history of trade between the peninsula and the outside world from as early as the 5th century. By land and sea, Korea was greatly affected by its surrounding countries and also served as a conduit to others. Though it is reputed as a “Hermit Kingdom,” the peninsula had access to a variety of trade routes, opening the country to boundless new cultures and helping shape the country as it is today.

which originated in India, first spread to Southeast Asia and then to countries bordering western China (currently China’s Xinjiang Uyghur

The making of Pensive Bodhisattva statues began in the 3rd or 4th century. This form of Buddhist sculpture was developed in the Gandhara region of India and spread to China in the 5th century along with the religion’s dissemination through Central Asia. The sculpture style came to Korea in the late 6th century and was introduced to Japan by the early 7th century. The crown on the figure’s head consists of three half disks connected side by side, and its relatively simple is unique. Modeled after those worn by kings and princes, the crowns in Buddhist sculptures were used exclusively for bodhisattva statues, and are not found on works from India and China. The figure’s eyes are half-closed and the faint smile on its lips gives the statue an aura of sublime contemplation. Upon closer inspection, the inner corners of the eyes reveal a trait known as the “Mongolian

fold,” revealing the statue’s race. At Koryuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, there is a wooden statue so similar to the Korean gilt-bronze sculpture in design and posture that it is often mistaken as its twin - in fact, many art historians believe they were made by the same artisan. “There is no doubt that the Baekje Kingdom helped spread Buddhism to Japan,” says Heo Hyeongwook, a curator at Gyeongju National Museum in Korea. However, as monks spread the word of Buddha, invariably, other cultural items and ideas were also transferred between traveled countries. “It would have been common for monks to bring their personal belongings to other countries, where exchanges would occur. It’s not just by coincidence that there are foreign and foreign-style artifacts buried in Silla-era tombs,” Heo adds. The curator refers to a glass artifact

found in the Hwangnam Daechong, or the Great Tomb of Hwangnam, which is evidence of the active traffic amongst countries. The piece, which was designated National Treasure No 193, was estimated to have been ancient Roman, from a Western European or Mediterranean country. The light, bluegreen colored glass has a golden thread wrapped around its handle, which experts believe was used to strengthened the glass. They say the bottle is shaped similar to a Greek oinochoe, a type of wine pitcher with a curved structure and a handle attached perpendicularly to the body of a bottle. “It’s hard to tell how this glass bottle was brought to the Korean Peninsula,” says Park Nam-su of the National Institute of Korean History. “It could have come through China during trade, or it might have been made here in Korea by a foreigner.”

www.korea.net | 05

FroM LANd to seA The Silk Road

connected Asia and Europe, serving as a vital link between Eastern and Western civilizations. Though there are not many accounts of Korean merchants actually trading products on the road, the 8th century monk Hyecho wrote an account of his journeys via the Silk Road that serves as evidence of the outward reach of the Silla Kingdom. Called the Wang Ocheonchukguk Jeon (Memoir of the Pilgrimage to the Five Kingdoms of India), the first Korean travelogue is a highly-valued cultural relic today.

the style of the 7th century, bronze-gilt Pensive Bodhisattva was later exported to Japan through trade (right). A family makes their first trip to the National Museum of Korea (below). A traditional Greek oinochoe (opposite left) shows similarities with National treasure No 193 (opposite right). A large celadon dish shows influences from the Middle east in its broad design (opposite far right).

Goryeo, also took a role in modernizing the country. To help spur the fast-paced trade industry, Goryeo introduced the first coin currency in the nation during King Seongjong’s reign. “It was the first time ancient Korean countries had an item that was used solely as currency,” says Oh. “Currency then became more widespread in the Joseon Dynasty.” The trade of Goryeo could be categorized into two types, though they were not mutually exclusive. One was tributary trade with the Song Dynasty, which included precious items such as Goryeo celadon, jewelry, gold, jade and other luxury products. The other category of trade was the more diverse items exchanged between commoners. Goryeo merchants would sell paper, ink sticks and ink stones, and seek out items rare to the peninsula, such as tea, spices, musical instruments, and sometimes ivory or glass products. “Tributary trade was sometimes categorized as civilian, since foreign messengers and envoys

The base of all trade during this time was Byeongnando port at the western mouth of Yeseonggang River near Gaegyeong, which is now Gaeseong in North Korea. The Yeseonggang River was considered advantageous because of its deep waters, which enabled large vessels to dock. The Gaoli Tujing, a record written in 1123 by a Song Dynasty envoy to the country, states that one of the most popular items of choice for trade was Goryeo celadon. Its pale green color, similar to the color of jade, helped its popularity among outsiders. This is reflected in the stores unearthed in a sunken Chinese merchant vessel discovered near Sinan, Jeollanam-do Province, in the 1970s. Believed to have gone down in the early 14th century after being abandoned near Korean shores, the ship was found to have been filled with Goryeo celadon wares. Other artifacts, such as the Ten-Story Stone Pagoda from

marble, show signs of Tibetan Buddhist influences in its lower levels, while the upper stories are classically Korean. The intricately crafted roof, however, does not fit into any single style. “Imagine your handwriting. Even if you try to copy someone else’s handwriting, your own style will be mixed in with the imitation,” says Heo Hyeong-wook of the Gyeongju National Museum. “That’s how it is with Buddhist artifacts.”
triLAterAL trAde Trade grew even

Another example of Silla presence on the Silk Road is reflected in local statues made in the image of foreigners. At Heungdeogwangneung, the Royal Tomb of King Heungdeok, statues of soldiers stand guard near the entrance, wearing hats and outfits that match the appearance of Sogdians, ancient Iranian soldiers that were known to travel the Silk Road. The imitation shows familiarity with foreign cultures, indicating a certain level of interaction. Similar, smaller statues dressed in the Sogdian style were also found in tombs around Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province in the 7th century. The Silk Road began to decline in the late 9th century, as sea routes came into prominence. The historical icon Jang Bogo helped establish water trade

© National Museum of Korea (above, opposite far right); Topic Images (opposite far left)

routes, as he saw the need for a new hub of exchange with China and Japan. “Jang was in charge of taking envoys to the new world,” says Park of the National Institute of Korean History. Jang set up a garrison on Wando Island on the southern coast and also protected the commercial activities of Silla merchants and envoys to China and Japan. The new trade hub opened opportunities for more diverse trading. “Before, it was only possible to trade between two countries at a time: The Tang Dynasty (618-907) traded with Silla and Silla traded with Japan. With the new sea routes, multilateral trade helped boost economic activity,” says Park.
deMoCrAtiC Growth Experts debate whether or not civilians actively

engaged in inter-country trade during the Silla era, as trade was largely limited to tributes. However, civilian trading became much more vibrant with the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and the rise of sea routes, which in turn spread the word about the country. This growth helped shape Korea in an interesting way. As more and more people across the world heard the name Goryeo, it was eventually translated into other tongues before evolving into its modern-day variation. “We believe that ‘Korea’ originated from ‘Goryeo,’ since the pronunciation is very similar,” says Oh Young-sun, a curator at the National Museum of Korea. Along with Goryeo’s efforts to expand through trade, China’s Song Dynasty (960-1279), the largest trading partner of

would exchange their own belongings and purchase local goods to take home,” says Lee Mi-ji of the National Institute of Korean History.

Gyeongcheonsa Temple, show direct influence from countries outside of the Song Dynasty. The structure, which was also the first pagoda to be made of

more during the 18th century of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and was the peak of trilateral trade between China, Japan and Joseon. Korea (Joseon) mostly exported wild ginseng, while China’s Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) put silk on the market and the Japanese traded silver. An ancient document from the time states how abundant overseas trade was, and the scholar Lee Junghwan’s Taengniji writings read that, “The richest men in Joseon are all merchants who do overseas trade.” Besides trading tangible products, China’s Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was also active in literary exchanges. Envoys of the Ming Dynasty exchanged handwritten poems with Joseon scholars, including Jeong In-ji, and Seong Sam-mun in 1450. Collection of Poems by the Ming Envoys and Joseon Academians, Treasure No 1404, shows that trade embraced new thought and opinion as well, helping open Korea to the rest of the world.

06 | korea | august 2011

www.korea.net | 07

cover story

Pieces of the Past
Twenty artifacts were designated representative relics of Korea in celebration of the G20 Summit in Seoul last year. The country’s craftsmanship can be found in these pieces of history..
National museums in Korea are some of the most prominent places where cultural legacies are kept alive. Among the vast variety of centuries-old cultural and historical artifacts, the National Museum of Korea highlighted 20 of the most significant masterpieces in the national collection last year, in preparation for the international visitors arriving for the G20 Summit in Seoul. The selected few, dubbed the “M20,” serve as the perfect guide to the museum novice, who might not know where to begin in Korea’s long history. “The selected masterpieces represent different periods, ideologies and forms of expression in the formative arts, but nevertheless, they are characterized by a consistent artistic sense,” the museum said in a release about the artifacts, some of which are dated as far back as the 4th century Three Kingdoms period. “They are imbued with the Korean spirit.” A sophisticated skill in crafts can be seen in earlier pieces such as the Baekje Incense Burner, National Treasure No 287. The relic, regarded as a prime example of Korea’s ancient metal crafts, was once used in royal court ceremonies during the Baekje Kingdom (18 BC-AD 660). The flower-shaped bowl supported by a stand is designed to look like a dragon attempting to devour a lotus bud. The incense burner’s lid depicts mountain ranges, demonstrating the maker’s artistic sense. A phoenix sits at the top with its wings spread wide, as five musicians surround the bird below. The artifact is on display at the National Museum of Korea and was first excavated from an ancient temple site in Neungsan-ri in Buyeo. It is estimated to have been made in the early 7th century, right after Baekje designated Buyeo as its new capital. A crown from the Silla Kingdom (57 BC-AD 935) shows the country’s time of prosperity and peace that enabled artisans to refine their craft. The Gold Crown was found in the Great Tomb of Hwangnam and is National Treasure No 191. The delicately formed relic is regarded as the most elaborate of all Silla crowns discovered. The headpiece is comprised of a circular band with five upright peaks. The headband and vertical sections are embellished with a dazzling array of finely crafted gold spangles and jade. These numerous additions were woven onto the main

© National Museum of Korea; Kim Nam-heon

band with thread-like gold wires, and were designed to shimmer elegantly with every slightest move and breeze. The exquisite crown is kept on display at the National Museum of Korea’s Archaeological Gallery, along with its accompanying gold belt and ornamental crown attachment. Along with the works of Baekje and Silla, Goguryeo (37 BC-AD 668) also contributed to the cultural heritage of the nation. A statue from the year 539 is one of the oldest depictions of the Buddha in Korea, and is unique for its inscription and location of excavation. Though created in Goguryeo, National Treasure No 119 was found in Silla territory, showing that trade allowed for movement beyond political borders. The inscription of the date is rare, as many statues did not include a year of production. The statue depicts a smiling Buddha, a robe draped over him and a halo that resembles a whirlpool of fire behind him. The statue can be found at the National Museum of Korea, in the Fine Arts Gallery. During the Goryeo Dynasty (9181392), artistic and creative skills were

applied to diverse types of ceramic, expanding the designs beyond what were dedicated to the royals. Ritual Ewer, National Treasure No 92, is a pitcher used by monks to keep fresh water for religious rituals. Its overall design is based on similar pitchers once used by Brahmans and later by Buddhist monks in ancient India. The ewer has inlaid silver details on top of a bronze surface, showing a scene of fishermen as they set their rods. Reed and willow branches appear to sway gently as a wet fog rises above the hills, and the rusted bronze hue creates a sense of tranquil harmony. Willow trees frequently appear on ritual ewers, depicting a myth from Buddhist scripture that says the Goddess of Mercy cures the sick with clean water and willow branches. The bottle can be seen at the National Museum of Korea’s Fine Arts Gallery. Simple designs continued through to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). A piece of white porcelain with rope designs is Treasure No 1060, and represents the typical characteristics of Joseon porcelain in its solidity and curvatures. Iron-brown glaze paints a strand of

rope that twines around the narrow neck of the bottle and hangs down to its bottom, coiling into a twist at the end. Though the design is simple, it strikes an impression in its minimalist qualities. The fall of the painted rope carries both power and moderation in its movement, as it carefully divides the jade-hinted white porcelain in half. The coil at the bottom also portrays a sense of lightheartedness, as if the painter wanted to release his self-control and allow the rope to drop. Characters in Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, are written in a glaze inscription on the bottom of the bottle. It is unclear what it says and why it was printed, but its history can be traced to after the invention of the Korean alphabet. This porcelain is shown at the National Museum of Korea, Ceramics Chamber in Fine Arts Gallery. The other artifacts each carry a significant moment of Korean history, whether they are in their inherent originality or the clear depiction of contemporary influences. From simple items to intricate paintings, the M20 can be appreciated not only by locals, but those looking for a peek into Korea.
From top to bottom, left to right: Comb-pattern Pottery; stone dagger; duck-shaped Pottery; Mural Fragment of an equestrian Figure; Baekje incense Burner; horse rider-shaped Vessels; Gold Crown, Belt and Crown ornament; Pensive Bodhisattva; Maitreya Bodhisattva and Amitabha Buddha; reliquary from the east Pagoda of the site of Gameunsa temple; ritual ewer; Metal type of the Goryeo Period; Print Made with tripitaka Koreana; Maebyeong Vase; ten-story stone Pagoda; Jar; Bottle; Paintings by Kim hong-do; endless rivers and Mountains; Album of a Journey to songdo Joseon; Complete Map of the eastern state.

08 | korea | august 2011

www.korea.net | 09

cover story
“For my father, it was an office, but for me, it was the perfect playground.” Kim first began her career as an archeologist and art historian, teaching at Seoul National University and working at the school’s museum. After being selected as the National Museum of Korea’s director in February, Kim set into motion plans to re-create the atmosphere she had known as a child. A vibrant, comfortable space and exciting exhibit line-up has dominated her time as director, as Kim paid special attention to the facilities from the eyes of the viewers. The museum relocated to its current home in Yongsan in 2005, and Kim’s touch has further lent a sense of vibrancy to the venue. Natural lighting filters in through the lobby, radiantly shining sunlight into dark corners even on cloudy days. An open lobby greets the visitors, a lounge area provides respite for the elderly and an open cafe has space for public computers. The museum’s biggest change has been an increase in tours and educational programming, which has led to an influx of school visits. The permanent collection lures in new visitors with rotating exhibits of its stores, and a third floor gallery includes national artifacts from countries across Asia - showing how vital the neighboring countries have been in each others’ histories. In the adjacent building, a special exhibition gallery showcases famous international works, providing visitors with rare opportunities to see parts of the world from right within Korea. On display now is “Princely Treasures,” which features the royal collection from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. According to the UK’s Art Newspaper, the national museum here surpassed the number of visitors to the Musée d’Orsay in France last year. “The National Museum of Korea is ranked among the top then most visited museums in the world. We aim to diversify and invigorate the museum by activating international exchanges while meeting visitors’ needs through multifarious and polished exhibitions,” Kim says. In recent news, the biggest issue for the museum has been the long-awaited return of the Uigwe, a collection of royal annals of the Joseon Dynasty. The texts, which were looted 145 years ago by French troops, were lent to the national institution on a permanent lease and returned to Korea for the first time in more than a century. Just thinking about the moment she first saw the royal protocols on their homecoming, Kim still feels a surge of excitement. The director was deeply impressed at how well-preserved the Uigwe have been, with the colors and letters of the books still vivid. “It felt like the Uigwe was an old friend, not a thing or an object. When I first saw it, it felt as though I was being reunited with a long lost friend.” A special exhibit celebrating the return of the ancient texts opened in July and will run through Sept 18. Kim has had the opportunity to be inspired by museums across the world, such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She hopes to push the benchmark even higher with the Korean museum and feels confident it has yet to reach its full potential. As an expert herself, the director demands only the highest quality for the viewers, as she understands the power of a wellorganized exhibit. Kim knows how good curation can attract tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people, if done well and, although she is no stickler for figures, she hopes to increase the number of new visitors to the museum. It’s one of the few tests that she feels will truly determine whether or not she has succeeded as a director. “You know, as a professor, you can’t expect to see the results of your teaching right away. It took a long time to figure out if I was a good teacher or not. But as the director of a museum, it takes shorter, much shorter time. It’s a good thing that I’m able to see if I’m doing right, and I’m doing things correctly before I start something new.” As the director of the museum, however, Kim does more than simply manage the inner operations of the organization. She networks with foreign organizations to further cultural exchanges and promote future

history’s home
Kim Young-na, the director of the National Museum of Korea, finds a balance between her youthful heart and sharp insights to create an inviting space for all.

While some people might think of the National Museum of Korea simply as a place for school field trips, Kim Youngna has always been fascinated by the institution. Kim, the newly appointed director of the museum, has been acquainted with the cultural site since her childhood. Her father, Kim Jae-won,

was the first director of the national institution, and she inherited his passion for art and history. “I have memories of the Seokjojeon building at Deoksugung Palace where I spent most of my childhood observing the pond in front,” she says, referring the museum’s original location within the traditional palace.

Kim Young-na, the director of the National Museum of Korea, hopes to bring in new visitors to the institution (opposite). A view of the children’s museum (top right). A cafe for museumgoers offers refreshments and snacks (above right). A traditional pavilion and bell outside of the museum (above).

exhibits, and also works to strengthen government support for her work. But, she refuses to get too caught up on the funding side of things, instead maintaining her focus on the museum’s mission to the people. Kim hopes to continue developing the sophisticated modernism of the museum in combination with the preservation of exquisite Korean traditions. She hopes more plundered relics and scattered art pieces will find their way back to Korea, so that she may show them to the rest of the people here. And above all, she hopes visitors will discover new insights into the culture of Korea through their interactions with the exhibits and programming.

10 | korea | august 2011

© National Museum of Korea; Kim Nam-heon

www.korea.net | 11

pen & brush

Exploring the Emptiness
Lee U-fan is a renowned painter, sculptor and philosopher who founded the Japanese Mono-ha movement and pioneered monochrome paintings in the Korean art scene. His philosophical and thought-provoking artworks are acclaimed throughout the world.
by Park Min-young

From Line (1977) by Lee U-fan is made of glue and mineral pigments.

A large stone sits patiently atop the concrete floor, placed just so. Passersby take in the image, walk around the rock and continue on their way to the next stone, and then the next and then the next. This is no garden — it’s Lee U-fan’s retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Five decades worth of artwork lines the spiraling space of the six-floor New York gallery, and rocks, nearly bare walls and a few paintings have been luring in visitors, art aficionados and critics since the exhibit’s open in June. “I was confused to confront not a white cube but a space where the paths were tilted and the walls uneven. Eventually, though, it turned out to be the kind of space I was hoping for, where I can show my work in a more lively way and have viewers actually experience and ponder them,” says Lee. It is the artist’s first solo exhibit in North America, though he has shown extensively in Japan, France, Germany and other countries. Known for co-founding the contemporary Japanese art movement Mono-ha, the artist has created a name for himself with his minimal works and is only the second

Korean artist to hold a solo exhibit at the prestigious museum, following video artist Paik Nam-june in 2000. His installations typically feature rocks and metals in their raw state, while his paintings fade from rich to faint with each stroke of his brush. “In Asia, there is a philosophy that says the universe starts from one dot and ends at another. That idea can be seen in my works… which are organized into a dot or two, and reveal more in the echo of the blank spaces between,” says the artist.
LocaL to GLobaL Born in Haman, Gyeongsangnam-do

Province, in 1936, young Lee enjoyed studying calligraphy, poetry and painting. He enrolled at Seoul National University’s College of Fine Arts, but dropped out a few months later to move to Japan in 1956, where his uncle lived. Once there, he earned a degree in philosophy at Nihon University, Tokyo, creating art in his spare time. At the start of his career, Lee was better known as an art critic and philosopher rather than an artist. A series of strong written works published between 1958 and 1971 helped spark

© Lee U-fan (opposite); Yonhap News Agency

12 | korea | august 2011

Lee U-fan

© Lee U-fan and Lisson Gallery, London (opposite below); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (opposite above, right)

own experiences with the West. By 1971, he introduced the Mono-ha movement to Europe at the Paris Biennale, before teaching at the Tama Art University in Tokyo from 1973 to 2007. In 1997, he was invited to serve as a visiting professor at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During the rise of Mono-ha and as his world travels began, Lee started to focus on his artwork and held his first solo exhibit in 1967 at Tokyo’s Sato Gallery. Besides his influence in Japan, Lee also became a major figure in Korean modern art, rising as an icon in monochromatic paintings. As he progressed, he began to receive recognition for both his written and visual work, including the UNESCO Prize at the Shanghai Biennale in 2000, the Ho-Am Prize of the Samsung Foundation in Korea in 2001 and Japan’s prestigious Praemium Imperiale prize for painting in 2001. Japan established the artist’s first eponymous art museum in 2010 on the Benesse Art Site on the island of Naoshima. Designed by Japanese architect Ando Tadao, the museum is a popular destination for Japanese and foreign tourists who are looking to explore Lee’s oeuvre. Daegu Metropolitan City in Korea is also planning to open a museum commemorating the artist. Lee and Ando visited the city’s Duryu Park and Duryu Reservoir in July, where the 8,250sqm museum is expected to be constructed on a 3,300sqm plot of land. These distinctions and recognitions are not without merit. At auctions, Lee’s paintings sell for six-figure sums on average, and the artist is one of the best-selling Korean artists worldwide. However, he distances himself from the economics of his work, preferring to stay true to his passion. “Art cannot help but be a form of merchandise, but it is honestly shameful that my artworks are being used as a tool for moneylending. I am very skeptical that the value of an artwork is decided by its commercial value,” he says.
Provocative PositioninG Though appearing simple,
an installation view of Dialogue — Space at the Guggenheim museum (top). With Winds (1989) by Lee is an oil on canvas (above).

developed into his even more minimal Correspondence (19912006). In these latter works, most paintings were comprised of one or two grayish-blue hued brush strokes — striking a contrast with the broad, white surfaces of the background. As much of a revelation his techniques were in their simplicity, each proved to be carefully orchestrated masterpieces, with some paintings taking as long as a month to complete. His sculptures take on an even more drastic approach: Stones are set in place amid steel, glass and other industrial materials. These sparse installations boldly confront the viewers, forcing them to reexamine their position and explore the relative connections between each object. Known to undergo a careful selection process that takes Lee to rock quarries the world over and has him painstakingly select specimens, the final results are stunning series such as the representative Relatum (1968-present). “At first they looked casual and unintended and without interest for me,” says sculptor Richard Serra, who first encountered Lee’s works in the 1970s. “They’re passive. But I walked by them every day for months, and over time they became much more meaningful to me than some works that
Lee paints a wall at the Guggenheim museum in new York (above right). “Lee U-fan: marking infinity” runs through sept 28 (below).

major exhibitions Lee U-fan held his first solo exhibition at the Sato Gallery in Tokyo in 1967. In 1971 he participated in the 10th annual Japanese contemporary art show at the Metropolitan Art Museum in Tokyo and the 7th Paris Biennale where he was invited to represent Korea. In August 1972, he debuted in Korea at the Myeongdong Gallery in Seoul. 2009 2007 2006 2005 2003 2001 1997 1994 1992 1977 1969 Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels Venice Biennale, Italy Kunst Situation, Germany Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan; Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Étienne Métropole, France Leeum, Samsung Museum of Modern Art, Korea Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, France National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea Tate Liverpool, UK Documenta VI, Germany São Paulo Art Biennale, Brazil

intend so hard to elicit a response. You could think these objects always existed together. They’re timeless in that way.”
movinG Forward Today, Lee’s works can be found in the

the beginnings of Mono-ha, an antiformalist, materials-based art movement that developed in Tokyo in the late 1960s. Combined with his well-received theories, Lee’s respected work at Nihon earned him a role as the movement’s spokesman. Mono-ha emphasized the elements of art itself, focusing on relationships and perceived realities, and rejecting Western forms of expression. The young Lee, living in post-war Japan and having come from post-war Korea, was inspired by his

Lee’s work takes time to digest and appreciate. Building from the philosophies depicted in his essays, the artist creates new boundaries for his artwork by ignoring precedent and reshaping spatial dimensions. As per Mono-ha principles, Lee seeks to bring focus to the raw materials of his art, concentrating on allowing each element to stand on its own. In his early painting series, From Point and From Line (19721984), the artist used a mixture of ground minerals and glue, moving his paintbrush slowly, deliberately. Though each line would be layered and thickened with multiple brushstrokes, Lee would rarely go over the same line more than three times. Famously called his “art of emptiness,” the series later

world’s largest museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Korea. At the Guggenheim exhibit, visitors peer through translucent partitions, strategically located to allow people to glimpse Lee’s work through a filter. The partitions let viewers experience the pieces in what Lee calls a philosophy of “encounter” — seeing the bare existence of what is actually before us and focusing on the world as it is. “Lee U-fan is an artist of extraordinary creative vision,” says Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “Admired, even revered, abroad, Lee is surprisingly little known in North America, and this late-career survey, which we offer to the public as part of the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Initiative, is overdue.”

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people
I have been at the forefront.” He also pledged to support a reform at the UN Security Council (UNSC), to better reflect the power shift that the organization has seen in the decades since its establishment. “Reform of the UNSC is one of the most important issues in the UN,” he said. “All member countries agreed that the UNSC should be reformed to be more transparent, representative and democratic.” In Korea, Ban has become a role model for the nation’s youths since he was sworn in as UN Secretary-General in 2007, following his tenure as foreign minister for the Korean government. His biography, Work like a Fool, Dream like a Genius, sold hundreds of thousands copies at home, becoming a bestseller and must-read for college students pursuing careers at international organizations like the UN. Ban’s early life can be characterized by his goal-oriented devotion to his dream career as a diplomat and honing his foreign language skills to help achieve that dream. Born on June 13, 1944, in a small countryside village in Chungcheongbuk-do Province, Ban is the oldest of six children and worked hard to reach his ambitious goals. Though his father had to relocate the family several times due to work, Ban was able to attend school in a time when few could afford education. Growing up in an economic and socially chaotic society in the wake of the Korean War (1950-53), Ban and his family were considered part of the elite, but Ban made sure to work hard to earn his position. At school, Ban was a diligent student who would save his allowance for months at a time to buy Time Magazine. Later, Ban recalled that the weekly was difficult to understand at first, but patience and an eagerness to be fluent in the foreign language motivated

Ban is Back
Ban Ki-moon began his second term as UN SecretaryGeneral in June, bringing to his leadership both wisdom and a characterstic calmness that help him continue the organization’s progress forward. by Kang Hyun-kyung
“You could say that I am a man on a mission, and my mission could be dubbed ‘Operation Restore Trust.’ Trust in the [United Nations] and trust between member states and the Secretariat,” Ban Ki-moon said in 2007. “I hope this mission is not ‘Mission: Impossible.’” In June, the members of the UN unanimously reelected Ban to his second term as Secretary-General after global support rallied for his nomination. The soft-spoken native Korean first joined the international organization four years ago and has since been an influential spokesperson for green

growth and the fight against poverty. As Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, said in her speech at the UN General Assembly meeting the day of the election, “No one understands the burdens of this role better than Ban.” Those who know the veteran diplomat say his personality, work ethic and extensive experiences in global affairs helped him win the hearts of the UN members. In his first term as SecretaryGeneral, Ban spearheaded “a global green revolution” as his signature initiative by placing a priority on ecofriendly growth. In an interview with Korean media last November after the G20 Summit in Seoul, Ban said, “The UN has been leading this campaign, and

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon takes his oath at the UN headquarters in New York in front of an assembly on June 21 (opposite). Ban walks with representatives from the Republic of South Sudan, who joined the UN in July (top). Ban speaks at a conference (above).

the middle schooler to keep tackling the complicated articles. His determination paid off, as in 1962 Ban won an English competition sponsored by the Red Cross — the prize: a trip to the US. The 18-year-old boy was one of four Korean students who went on the trip, during which Ban had an

opportunity to meet with US President John F Kennedy. After delivering a short speech before scores of teenagers from all around the world, Kennedy noticed the tall and lanky Korean teenager. The president asked Ban what he would like to do for a career and, without hesitation, young Ban answered clearly and with confidence that he wanted to become a diplomat. His life continued on his dream path, as he entered Seoul National University, received a bachelor’s degree in international relations in 1970 and passed the diplomatic exam. His hard work, strong interpersonal skills and linguistic affinity put him on the fast-track to the top job at the foreign ministry, and he became the minister in 2004. The position acted as a springboard to his election as the 8th UN Secretary-General in 2006, a position he will fill until 2016. “Asia is a region where modesty is a virtue,” Ban once said. “But the modesty is about demeanor, not about vision and goals. It does not mean the lack of commitment or leadership. Rather it is quiet determination in action to get things done without so much fanfare.”

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© Yonhap News Agency

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great korean
fondness for the queen. When he heard that Queen Seondeok would be passing through near his village, he went to the area to await her but fell asleep. Seondeok was so moved at the sight of Jigwi’s sleeping form that she removed one of her gold bracelets and left it on his chest. Queen Seondeok’s progressive wisdom is evident through Cheomseongdae, the oldest surviving astronomical observatory in East Asia, one of the world’s oldest scientific structures and Korea’s National Treasure No 31. Constructed in Silla’s capital of Seorabeol (present-day Gyeongju), Cheomseongdae is 9.17m high and was used to observe the skies above. Cheomseongdae, in Korean, means a star-gazing tower. At the time, astronomy was critical to the agricultural economy, as observers calculated the seasons based on the stars. Today, Cheomseongdae remains as a symbol of Seondeok’s and the civilization’s technological advancements. Queen Seondeok also played a significant role in encouraging Buddhism in Silla, and Bunhwangsa and Yeongmyosa temples were built during her reign. She is also remembered for sending Jajang, a renowned Buddhist monk, and other students to study Buddhism in China, whose culture was then seen as more advanced. When Jajang returned to Silla in 643, he asked to have a wooden pagoda built. Queen Seondeok agreed and had a nine-story wooden pagoda erected at Hwangnyongsa Temple. Although
Though no actual portraits remain of Queen Seondeok today, this painting is a depiction of Silla’s 27th queen (opposite). Cheomseongdae, East Asia’s oldest surviving astronomical observatory, was built during Seondeok’s reign (left above). Queen Seondeok’s tomb is in Gyeongju, the old capital of Silla (left).

A Woman’s Wisdom
Queen Seondeok of Silla, one of Korea’s ancient kingdoms, is the first female monarch in Korean history. Today, she is greatly respected not only as the nation’s first queen, but for her benevolent governance and cultural development of Silla. The wise ruler is also credited with laying the foundation for the unification of Korea’s three kingdoms. by Seo Dong-chul

From the 4th century to the mid-7th century, three kingdoms vied for power on the Korean Peninsula — Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla kingdoms — hence the era’s called as the Three Kingdoms period (57 BC-AD 668). While Baekje and Goguryeo developed into more modern nations by the 4th and 5th centuries respectively, Silla didn’t begin to progress until the 6th century. However, the three kingdoms waged bloody battles along their borders for hundreds of years, and played shrewd diplomatic games at the same

time. By the time the Three Kingdoms period ended, Korea’s first queen had emerged. When the 26th king of Silla, Jinpyeong (579-632), died without a male heir, his daughter, Deokman (Queen Seondeok’s birth name), ascended the throne. With conflict still raging between the three kingdoms when Queen Seondeok became Silla’s ruler in 632, public sentiment was largely unfavorable. Upon taking the throne, the queen, whose reign lasted until 647, sought to bring social stability to the land and

eventually unite the three, long-warring nations through peace and a cultural revolution. She sent envoys to each region of Silla and distributed grain to those who had difficulty surviving rough times, such as widows, orphans and the elderly. She even exempted those in greatest need from paying taxes. The degree to which Queen Seondeok loved her subjects is demonstrated in the legendary tale of Jigwi. While many of the queen’s subjects loved their ruler, one man named Jigwi had a particular

construction of the temple had begun in 553, it was only completed a century, during under Seondeok’s reign, with the wooden pagoda serving as its pièce de résistance. Though the wooden structure was burnt down in 1238 by an advancing Mongolian army, the remaining ruins show that it was a surprisingly large pagoda. With estimates putting the length of one side at 22.2m and the height at 80m, it is thought to have been the biggest wooden pagoda in East Asia. It is believed that Queen Seondeok most likely undertook the daunting project as its scale equaled her ambitious desire to unite the three kingdoms and also cemented the role of Buddhism within the nation. Indeed, the structure seems to contain the queen’s dreams and to stand as an icon of Silla’s progress. After a 16-year reign, Queen Seondeok’s final days ended in tragedy. A rebellion arose in 647, and while it was eventually suppressed, the queen was killed in the midst. Still, her longing for the unification of the three kingdoms was passed down to the next generation. General Kim Yu-sin and Kim Chun-chu, the 29th king of Silla (r 654-661) and Seondeok’s nephew, had been appointed to high ranks under her reign and would together one day achieve the unity the queen dreamed of. Queen Seondeok governed with benevolence, relieving the people’s hardships while advancing the region’s culture and laying the foundation for future peace. Widely considered one of the most ambitious and wisest figures in Korean history, her model helped the Silla Kingdom live on for nearly 300 years after her death. Once a small kingdom, Silla is now looked back upon as a giant in Korean history, supported with the spirit of Queen Seondeok.

© Silla Art and Science Museum (above); Topic Images (opposite above); Yonhap News Agency (opposite below)

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© Woo Jang-choon Memorial Hall

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seoul
Dynasty’s capital. It was designed to completely encircle the city and run along the tops of the four major mountains surrounding Seoul: Mt Bugaksan in the North, Mt Inwangsan in the West, Mt Namsan in the South and Mt Naksan in the East. This feat of engineering was completed by 200,000 enlisted laborers in just 98 days, although at this stage the wall did not appear as grand as the segments which remain today. The fortress wall underwent two major renovations, the first of which occurred in 1422 during the reign of Sejong the Great, and the second, more ambitious modification completed in 1704 by King Sukjong. Attesting to the technological A view of Seoul from on top of the fortress wall (opposite). Changuimun gate sits on Mt Bugaksan advances of the time, construction began (above). A stag is on the move near the north end of the fortress wall on Mt Bugaksan (below). to incorporate a stronger, interlocking stone design. Despite the wall’s formidable nature - up to 12m mountain peak, where the structure has a more modest appeal, hidden beneath a forest canopy and a coat of moss. in places - it suffered heavy damage throughout the Japanese After making your way back down the ridge, the wall picks occupation and the Korean War, and was almost entirely up again at Dongdaemun gate before moving onto the eastern obliterated outside of Seoul’s four guardian mountain peaks. section of Mt Naksan. The area has an urban park feel and the Only 10km of the original 18km route remain, but it’s towering bulk is reminiscent of European castle battlements. possible to trace the wall through the city, gaining a unique The northern portion, which follows the wall from Waryong insight into Seoul’s history along the way. Though most Park to Changuimun (the small north gate) over Mt Bugaksan, residents of Seoul interact with the fortress wall only through its legendary gates of Dongdaemun and Namdaemun (daemun is perhaps the most striking, and includes the great north gate Sukjeongmun. Designed for ceremonial usage, the great literally meaning “great gate”), which lie in the middle of gate feels more intimate than the surviving inner city gates. major urban thoroughfares, the best way to take in the wall is Finally, the Mt Inwangsan area in the west directly adjoins Mt in its entirety. Originally, there were four great gates for each Bugaksan and the wall, supported by a more rugged terrain. of the cardinal points, with smaller entranceways between The northern sections of the fortress wall are perhaps the them. Though the west and southwest gates were destroyed best known. Sheltered in the dappled shade of overhanging over time, three of the great gates can still be seen. branches on Mt Bugaksan, the ancient wall is accompanied by To explore the Seoul Fortress Wall, Mt Namsan, the center a more recent addition of watchtowers and patrolling soldiers. point of the city today, serves as an ideal starting point. The The history behind the military presence is well summarized southernmost segment of the wall trails all the way to the by an otherwise modest tree to the side of the path: bullet holes scar the bark from a skirmish with North Korean forces Tip! in 1968. From then until 2007, this section was off-limits to civilians, and today it is still necessary to go through an For a shorter hike, take Subway Line 4 to Hyehwa identity checkpoint to gain entry. Inadvertently, this security Station, exit No 1. Take the is responsible for the unique environment around the wall, green No 8 bus to the end of which has an abundance of wildlife. It was a shock to meet the line, which will lead to steps toward the northern a handsome stag grazing among the brush upon summiting wall. Check out Changuimun Mt Bugaksan. His large antlers and fiery amber coat was a and Sukjeongmun gates. Don’t pleasant surprise set against the urban trough beyond. forget your passport or ID!

The imposing mountain ridge, flanked by steep granite and a patchwork of thick leafy foliage, naturally forms a formidable defense. Crowning the ridge like a powerful jaw of thickset teeth, a fortress wall winds its way through the mountains, guarding Seoul from above.
by James Hooper | photographs by Choi Ji-young

Standing sentinel over the northern half of the capital, the panoramic views from Mt Bugaksan seem to affirm Seoul Fortress Wall’s importance. The city sprawls out below, the buildings like ripples emanating into an ocean of teaming urban life. Gyeongbokgung Palace, the royal seat of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), is a vision of serenity separated from you only by a towering crest of rock beneath your feet. The scene is punctuated by a spire in the distance where N Seoul Tower pierces the sky and Mt Namsan sweeps across the valley to form the southern defense of a Korea past. The fortress wall, also called Seoul seonggwak-gil, was first constructed in 1396 by King Taejo to protect the Joseon

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© Topic Images

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travel
The water is strong, violent, like the waves of a typhoon-hit sea. Heavy rains have disturbed the banks, churning the river as the momentum of each wave culminates in a thunderous crash. Uprooted trees dot the waters, dancing alongside brightly-colored rafts on the Donggang River in Yeongwol. The key to a good rafting experience depends on the water’s flow, and stormy weather can change the river’s direction unexpectedly. Rather than downstream, a river can stop, turn and even flow backwards, sometimes causing rafts to capsize. “I haven’t seen the river this high before. On days like this, people can drift downstream faster than rafts,” guide Cheon Seong-eun warns. “The valley between these mountains is deep as well, so there’s no cell phone service. Everyone should take extra caution to stay on their boat.” Rafters look at each other in alarm, but nevertheless grip their paddles with determination, ready for the thrill of the ride. After all, it’s why they chose to come to Yeongwol: for the excitement of the outdoors.

Encountering
Rafters journey down the Donggang River in Yeongwol.
© Timespace

The lush mountains and wide rivers of Yeongwol, Gangwon-do Province, is just the place for the exhilarating outdoors. Rain or shine, those looking for a day out in nature can head to this haven for river rafting, paragliding and off-roading. by Chung Dong-muk | photographs by Park Jeong-roh

the Extreme
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EaRth anD WatER The slick riverbed

rocks are hidden beneath the moving waters while a wet fog overtakes Eorayeon Valley, which encloses the Donggang River. Known for its natural beauty, the valley typically boasts clear waters and schools of fish, making it one of the most popular spots in Gangwondo Province. Despite the stormy weather, the valley welcomes brave rafters with an aura of mystique, like a traditional landscape from ancient Korea, with mountains on either side accentuated with rocks and pines. It is only through the sister Donggang and Seogang rivers that people can truly appreciate the beauty of the surrounding land. The source of the 65km-long Donggang River can be found at Odaecheon Stream in PyeongChang, the city of the 2018 Winter Olympics, and flows onward to meet the Joyanggang River at Taebaeksan Mountain. The Donggang joins with the Seogang before concluding at the Namhangang River, and the area is well known for its extreme sports scene. The rivers’ winding paths prove diverse in its offerings, and the terrain provides a space for a bit of everything

Gangwon-do Province, discovering the underbelly of the land, one cave at a time. “Yeongwol offers unique leisure and sports activities that can be discovered right within nature itself. People can enjoy a wide array of experiences year-round,” says Hong Gilrae of local rafting company.
Past anD PREsEnt After a day of adrenaline-pumping intensity, wind down at the tranquil Byeolmaro Observatory. The main observation room sits at the top of Bongnaesan Mountain and houses the country’s largest reflecting telescope, which has a diameter of 80cm. Looking through the eyepiece of the massive piece of technology, Saturn and numerous stars can be seen in the sky. There are 11 small telescopes in the observatory that can be used to peer at constellation formations, as well as an astronomy gallery, an audio and visual materials room and more. The observatory was placed in the spotlight in 2006, with the release of Radio Star. The movie, which was shot in Yeongwol, follows the story of a washed-up singer who ends up DJ-ing at a small town radio station. The hit film brought new stardom to Yeongwol, and several attractions and hole-in-thewall cafes featured in the movie can still be visited today, such as the charming Cheongrok Coffee Shop. From a historical perspective, Yeongwol is known for Cheongnyeongpo peninsula and Jangneung tomb. The former is the site of the young King Danjong’s banishment. The child king (1441-1457), who was crowned when he was 11 years old, was exiled to Cheongnyeongpo by his uncle King Sejo, who sought the throne for himself. Though not completely isolated, the landmass is surrounded on three sides by the river and blocked by a cliff face

tRavEl inFoRMation

hoW to GEt thERE

tourists looking to explore the hilly terrain of Yeongwol cross the county on rented quads (top). Rafters brave the choppy waters of the popular Donggang River (top right). those looking for a tranquil experience in nature can visit the Byeolmaro observatory, which houses the country’s largest telescope at 80cm in diameter (above). a view of Donggang River in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do Province (below).

- from off-road four-wheel drives to mountaintop paragliding. Renting a quad from a local company, tourists can discover the region through an exhilarating ride on nature’s bumpy roads and hilly paths. Paragliding can be enjoyed from the top of Bongnaesan Mountain, which overlooks the Donggang River. Jumping from a peak, paragliders are rewarded with a sight of fellow rafters, trekkers, off-roaders and picturesque panoramas. Yeongwol also has an extensive network of limestone caves formed roughly 450 million years ago, with about 256 known caves. Spelunking is another experience many enjoy in

airplane A few hours from Seoul, Gangwonseoul do Province boasts beautiful mountains, valleys and rivers. International visitors can first fly into Korea through the Incheon International Airport Yeongwol or the Gimpo International Airport. Bus From the two international airports, buses to Yeongwol, Gangwon-do Province, depart at 11:30am, 3:30pm and 7:30pm daily. From Seoul, buses leave for Yeongwol 13 times a day from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (+82 2 453 7710) and four times a day from Seoul Express Bus Terminal (Central) (+82 2 6282 0114). train Trains depart from Seoul’s Cheongnyangni Station seven times a day. For more information about the Yeongwol Station, call +82 33 374 7788.

What to Eat

As Yeongwol is a region of rivers and mountains, local cuisine is known for its fresh water fish, wild greens and vegetables. Cheongsan Hoegwan Restaurant (+82 33 374 2141), famous for being a celebrity hot spot, in downtown Yeongwol specializes in boiled gondre herb rice. The plant is known to grow 700m above sea level on mountains.

WhERE to staY

hotels The Donggang Cistar Condominiums (+82 33 905 2000, www.cistar.co.kr), which was constructed with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Mine Reclamation Corp and Kangwon Land, is a popular place to lodge. The new development has a great view of the Donggang River and facilities include a golf club and walking path.

FinD out MoRE

The popularity of rafting at the Donggang River has seen the explosion of river guides in recent years, with roughly 57 different tour companies to choose from. One of the most famous and largest options is Donggang Rafting (+82 33 375 1114, www.explor.co.kr). For those looking for something off the beaten path, off-roading, paragliding, spelunking and other activities can be explored. If the indoors is more to your taste, Yeongwol also has a number of art galleries and museums. The Joseon Folk Painting Museum (+82 33 375 6100) is recommended.

© Korea Tourism Organization (top right, bottom); Yeongwol County (middle)

Donggang Cistar Condominiums

Gondre herb rice

Jangneung tomb

on its fourth - making it impossible for the young king to escape. Though six of Danjong’s loyal subjects tried to return him to his rightful title, Sejo sentenced them all to death, including the 16-year-old Danjong. He was buried at Jangneung and every year since 1967, an eponymous festival called

Danjongje is held in celebration of his memory. Though Yeongwol has a turbulent history, the county today lures in tourists and locals alike with its river waters and mountain peaks. Whether you’re in search of a nighttime stroll or a thrill, Yeongwol has just the right balance.

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festival

flavor

Festivalgoers try their hand at the wheel at the Gangjin Celadon Festival (left). Larger-than-life lanterns light up tents (top). A work of finished celadon (above left). A young girl makes her own pottery (above right).

You’ve seen it before, the pale jade sheen on pottery, intricate designs detailing an elaborate display of artistry. Gangjin, the geographical heart of Korean celadon, celebrates the traditional craft. by Ines Min

© Yonhap News Agency (above left); Gangjin Celadon Festival

The Grace of Gangjin

The most celebrated pieces of celadon, a type of ceramics characterized by its glaze, come from Korean tradition, though the pottery originated in China during the 5th century. Brought into the country during the 8th and 9th centuries, celadon celebrated a 500-year golden age in Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), during which the techniques were refined. In particular, sanggam (inlaid work) came into vogue during the 12th century as clear glazes were developed. With the increase of celadon’s popularity, Gangjin became a major source of the craft, with nearly half of the country’s 400 kilns found within the county. A transportation system well-developed for trade, suitable earth composition, excellent water quality and climate all contributed to the rise of ceramics in Gangjin, which continues to produce more than 80% of the world’s finest celadon. The tradition lives on with 16 of the original kilns still fired up today. The county held the first Gangjin Celadon Festival in 1996, and last year drew more How to Get tHere than 810,000 visitors from across the country and abroad. This year’s Take a bus from Seoul Express festival will run from July 30 to Bus Terminal (Central) to Gangjin, which departs six Aug 7, and visitors can explore the times a day from 7:30am. evolution of Korea’s craft and create Travel time is 5 hours. their own masterpieces. General For more information, visit www.eng.gangjinfes.or.kr. admission is 7,000 won.

Though its ingredients are simple and few, sikhye (a sweet rice drink), is impressionable in its nectarous taste and health benefits. The most characteristic trait of the drink, and perhaps the most surprising to those unfamiliar with it, is the softened rice grains left floating in the misty haze of the serving bowl. Sikhye is a fermented beverage made from shortgrain white rice, barley malt, water and sugar - with sliced ginger and pine nuts sometimes added for taste. The popular drink can be found tucked into people’s refrigerators, served in earthenware bowls after a filling meal or even sold by the can in convenience stores. The ubiquitous drink has a long history that dates back several hundred years, with roots found Hot SpotS in similar Chinese predecessors - chilled drinks that were Ga Hwa Dang This hip enjoyed by the upper class. The location specializes in first written record of sikhye in Korean traditional teas and innovative new drinks. Korean history is found in the 35-103 Samcheong-dong, Sumunsaseol (Book of Knowledge Jongno-gu, Seoul for Daily Living), written in 1740, Phone: +82 2 738 2460 with several mentions found in traditional cookbooks from the 1800s. Fermented foods and drinks are popular in Korea for their properties as a digestive aid, and sikhye is no exception. Made by soaking cooked rice with barley malt, the latter activates the amylase enzyme in the fermentation process and contains antioxidants, which help the body’s internal systems digest and increase blood flow. Though fermented, sikhye’s alcohol content is negligible, while the resulting malt sugar provides a sweet taste. There are a range of regional varieties, including Andong’s savory sikhye, which includes finely chopped radishes, gingers and gochutgaru (crushed red pepper). The fermentation process lasts longer than that of the more prevalent sweet sikhye and usually lasts for several days, but the vegetables retain their crisp and crunchy texture. While sikhye is more often appreciated as a sweet dessert with slight health benefits, Andong sikhye is known more for its digestive properties. To make a batch of refreshing, soothing sikhye, mix barley malt powder with water and then leave it to separate for a few hours. Meanwhile, cook the white rice, then add the clear malt liquid when finished (discard the deposits). Add sugar and warm the entire mixture for about five hours, allowing the malt to slightly ferment. Strain the rice

Soothing Sikhye
Dessert in a Korean establishment or home usually helps satiate one’s sweet tooth or provides a nutritional benefit. For both, try this cooled rice beverage.
by Ines Min | photograph by Kim Nam-heon

Chill out with a sweet cup of sikhye, a refreshing rice beverage.

and wash with cool water, and boil the liquid with sugar. After cooling, pour the malt liquid back into the rice, then serve chilled. Mix before drinking, so the soaked grains don’t all sink to the bottom.

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now in korea

Co

ol Ci

ty Oasis

As the long and gray rainy season winds down, the sultry days of summer are upon us, and those unable to wait any longer for that first refreshing dip are heading to the Hangang River. A bevy of waterfront parks was renovated to create modern, multifunctional leisure centers throughout the city, as the Hangang River Renaissance Project transformed the banks to accommodate swim-starved residents. Now, six pool-equipped parks open yearly to crowds of excited families, groups of friends and couples of all ages. Kids first learn to swim at the parks, waddling, floating, and grasping for their parents’ hands as flushed teenagers run for cannonball jumps and couples suntan on reclined chairs. “It’s cool here and saves us from running the air conditioner at home. Ttukseom Hangang Park is only 15 minutes away from our house by bus, and it’s a nice way to spend our weekend,” says Kim Ja-young, a young mother who arrived at the pool with her 3- and 5-year-old girls.
RiveR ReNAissANCe Hangang parks were first built between 1982 and 1987, stretching from Hail-dong, Gangdong-gu, in the east to Gaehwa-dong, Gangseo-gu, in western Seoul. In 1992, the park was divided into nine smaller parks: Mangwon, Yanghwa, Yeouido, Ichon, Banpo, Jamwon, Ttukseom, Jamsil and Gwangnaru. Though the last two were combined into a single park in 2003, they were once again separated a few years later to accomodate larger crowds. The Hangang River Business Headquarters manages each of the parks, and six of the 12 are equipped with swimming pools. Originally, most of the parks were fenced in by stern, concrete walls, with the waterside parks taking on a plain appearance. However, the facade of the river began to undergo a drastic change with the implementation of the Hangang River Renaissance Project in 2006, a 30-year plan to improve the aesthetic, functional and environmental aspects of the landscape. Under the project, the parks were divided into four specialized districts (Banpo, Ttukseom, Yeouido and Nanji) that reach across the city, connected by the water and new bike lanes. As each of the parks was renovated into urban oases, a public yacht facility was established and a new era of swimming, water sports and outdoor culture bloomed. The Seoul Marina yacht facility opened last April near the National Assembly on Yeouido Island, and is the highlight of the long-term renovations. The club, the third largest in the nation following the Suyeongman Bay Yacht Marina in Busan and the Jeongok Harbour and Marina in Hwaseong, can accommodate up to 90 yachts at any given time. Since the four specialized districts reopened in 2009, the number of annual

It’s during midsummer that we begin to get that itch for blue ocean views and the cool shadow of palm trees under a blazing sun. But in case you can’t fit a trip to the tropics into your schedule, Museum enjoy directors explain an artwork at the National the breeze of an outdoor swim at the water parks along the Hangang River. Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung.
by Lim Ji-young | photographs by Kim Nam-heon

Families and groups of friends indulge in the cool waters of Ttukseom Hangang Park on a hot day in July.

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visitors jumped to 59 million in 2010 from 39 million in 2009. The number of people who visited the outdoor pools was more than 600,000 last year, and the nearby Hangang River Love Reports Festival, an annual summer concert, sold out in two days. The citizen satisfaction survey conducted last year at

Water revelers make their way down a the parks showed that winding pool at Ttukseom Hangang Park 35.5% of Seoulites come (top). An experienced teenager dives off the pool’s side into the welcoming waters for the water-related (above). A father stands as a lookout for his kids in the waters of a pool at facilities. “We’re seeing Ttukseom Hangang Park (above right). more and more people visit the parks to enjoy the swimming pool. The pools and tanning beds are full of visitors even on weekdays,” says Park Ae-kyung, a spokesman for Seoul Tourism Marketing. This summer, brand new outdoor pools at the six Hangang parks, including Yeouido and Ttukseom, are attracting more visitors than ever. These two are at the forefront of the swimming movement while the Jamwon and Jamsil pools were also recently renovated and reopened in July. Gwangnaru’s pool has become well known for its laidback and tranquil vibe, while Nanji, which opened its swim season late due to heavy rain, is also gearing up for the months ahead.

along the river. Opened just last summer, the new facility is opened year-round for seasonal activities, and amenities include tanning spots that look over the water and a thrilling air bounce for children. Slides, fountains, mazes and a variety of themed pools can be found in this resort-level park with an affordable ticket price. The swimming pool in Yeouido, which is a part of the Supia theme park project, has a sleek design to target an older crowd, such as office workers and couples. Kids are not to be left out, however, as fun pools shaped like animals and plants also dot the park, designed by a local resident who won an open design contest. Pristine sun beds sit on a wooden deck and white parasols look idyllic against the bright blue hue of the swimming pools. The Nanji swimming pool, located near the Sangam World Cup Stadium, is known for its Mirror Fountain, which stands at the front of the iNFoRMATioN bridge that connects to Pyeonghwa (Peace) Park. 1 Ttukseom Park Jet streams erupt from the Jayang-dong, Gwangjin-gu Tel +82 2 452 5955 broad, 12,300sqm fountain, open 9am-8pm but create a perfect mirror 2 yeouido Park image of the sky when still. Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu A kiddie pool that levels Tel +82 2 795 0478 off at 80cm is perfect for open 9am-8pm families with children, and a 3 Mangwon Park musical fountain that sings Maponaru-gil, Mapo-gu Tel +82 2 3780 0601 four times a day (nine times open 9am-6pm on weekends), adds to the 4 Jamwon Park festive atmosphere.
Jamwon-ro, Seocho-gu Tel +82 2 3780 0531 open 9am-6pm
5 Jamsil Park

HigH Five With a 5,000

Hangaram-ro, Songpa-gu Tel +82 2 3780 0511 open 8am-9pm
6 Nanji Park Hangang Nanji-ro, Mapo-gu Tel +82 2 3780 0611 open 9am-6pm

LuxuRy FACiLiTies Ttukseom boasts an all-encompassing

theme park, Supia, that houses some of the best swim facilities

won (US$4.75) admission fee, a person can be at ease all day. Though the main activity at waterfront parks is swimming, much more can be enjoyed at the Hangang River, where concerts,

camping and an entire day’s worth of activities can be had for just the cost of admission. At Ttukseom, an inch-worm shaped building called Jabeolle serves as a culture complex and houses exhibits, a cafe and an observatory. The curved, eye-catching structure brings in a bit of educational fun after a day at the pool. Alternatively, visitors can take in a night view of Cheongdam Bridge, which crosses the river right next to the park. A 15m-high fountain draws ooh’s and ahh’s with its water jets and colored lights. Jamsil Park, adjacent to Jamsil Stadium and Lotte World, is popular not just for its pools but for its Nature Field, where visitors are entranced by the garden landscaping. An underwater tunnel provides ample opportunity for adults and children alike to learn about water ecosystems. In Yeouido Island, the main attraction is the Floating Stage, where concerts and festivals are held throughout the year. The versatile venue can combine multimedia programs with LED landscape lighting and images. “We usually come to this cafe after swimming or biking along the river. We cool down with a glass of beer and sit back to appreciate the view,” says Goh Young-chan, visiting the nearby Cafe Rainbow. The cafe, located at the end of Hannam Bridge, is a hidden attraction of the Jamwon Hangang Park

and upwards of 400 visitors seek it out on weekends. At the park in Nanji, one can enjoy camping after a soak in the cool water. Nanji is the only park along the Hangang River where you can both grill a meal of samgyeopsal (pork belly barbecue) and pitch a tent for the night. Gwangnaru Park in the east and Mangwon in the west also provide extra activities, such as in-line skating, tennis and cycling.
WHiCH PARk is FoR you? For families Ttukseom has some of the most family-friendly facilities, with kiddie pools and the educational Jabeolle center. Nanji also offers a chance to learn about ecosystems and whole families can fish, bike, yacht or camp. For couples Gwangnaru provides a spacious alternative for those looking to get away. Mangwon is also less crowded and has a large grass field for picnics. For friends No doubt, Yeouido is the place for groups. It’s exotic and hip, with plenty of performances held on the Floating Stage and a great view of the city from afar.

A bird’s eye view of Ttukseom shows the cityscape (top). A lifeguard sits on watch (above).

30 | korea | august 2011

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entertainment
workplace to screen while appealing to anyone who ever felt insecure about their looks. Then, after a brief, two year lull, Korean dramas returned with Clockwise, from opposite: a scene force, as Coffee from the new drama You’ve Fallen for Me; Jang Geun-suk has become Prince (2007) popular in Japan; Actors from The reopened the Greatest Love speak at a conference; the all-star cast from Dream High. field with a combination of strong directing and a story that was unafraid to approach subjects like homosexuality. From that point on, the industry began to change its strategy, and a move toward music and pop culture has seen the rise of young singers entering the small-screen industry. Kim Hyun-joong from the pop group SS501 became an instant celebrity with the runaway hit Boys Over Flowers in 2009, and Jung Yong-hwa of CNBlue and Lee Hong-ki of FT Island starred in He’s Beautiful (2010). They were soon joined by others in the field, such as 2PM’s Taecyeon in Cinderella’s Sister. Considering the genealogy of romantic dramas, it’s easy to pinpoint the reason behind the explosive popularity of Secret Garden and The Greatest Love, which aired earlier this year. These two shows demonstrated fresh, fantasy-based approaches. Secret Garden’s main plot point was a body-switch a la the original Freaky Friday, whereas The Greatest Love pivoted its tale on a scientifically impossible artificial heart. What differentiated the two works from previous shows was that their subject matters closely dealt with pop culture, furthering the integration of the current entertainment scene. In Secret Garden, the supporting male character is playboy musician Oska, played by Yun Sang-hyun (who actually released an album in Japan last year), and the female lead is a film stuntwoman. Their occupations deal directly with popular culture and give viewers a behind-the-scenes peek into the entertainment world. In part due to Hallyu’s ever-extending reach, people are growing ever more curious about the hidden side of Korea.

From melodramatics to celebrity-studded casts, Korean TV shows are learning to hone in on what audiences are looking for - that is, more Korean pop culture. by Jeong Deok-hyeon
Korean television dramas have always been at the heart of Hallyu, or the Korean wave. Winter Sonata (2002), which helped catalyze Hallyu, demonstrated the potential of domestic dramas, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to lay part of that cultural influence on the smile of its lead actor, Bae Yong-joon. The actor’s characteristic grin caught the attention of Japanese women, while the romantic plot enabled viewers to rediscover the nostalgia of their youths. It was these two aspects that gave Korean dramas an edge over the “cool” American TV shows or even Japanese dramas. Melodramas here radiated passionate, uncensored emotions that complemented the mix of fresh faces, youthful scenarios and enviable lifestyles. Soon afterward, the show Full House (2004) caused a sensation not only in Korea, but also in Southeast Asia with its story of love and happiness between a young couple. The 2005 My Lovely Sam Soon brought the

32 | korea | august 2011

© Y-Tree Media (above, opposite top); Yonhap News Agency (opposite middle and below)

Romance and Stardom

This interest in pop culture initially began to show in the TV industry several years ago, but continues to grow today. Most recently, the latest Jang Geun-suk (Mary Stayed Out All Night, 2010) craze in Japan was based on interest in Korean idols, incited by the accessibility of K-pop music. Additionally, shows such as Dream High (2011) succeeded in relating dramas with K-pop in a much more concrete manner. The show follows a class of recruits at a K-pop training institute, and depicts what it takes to rise as a star in Korea. Actor Bae Yong-joon and entertainment industry giant Park Jin-young joined forces to produce the show, and a host of young singers joined the cast, including the popular female singer IU, Taecyeon and Wooyoung from 2PM, and Suzy from Miss A. The trend continues to spread to new shows today. You’ve Fallen for Me or Heartstrings, though not quite as successful as its predecessors, is holding its own with singers Jung Yonghwa and Kang Min-hyuk of CNBlue, along with a talented production staff well known in the industry. The formula’s success is evident, and we only have to sit back and wait to see the next step for Korean dramas.

www.korea.net | 33

sports
a successful event in Daegu would contribute in expanding the horizons of the sport.” More than 2,400 athletes from 207 countries have committed to compete in Daegu this month, making this year’s event the largest world championships ever. The city is also expecting more than 20,000 international tourists and press members during the week of competitions. An impressive showing by Korean athletes will help draw large crowds at Daegu Stadium, a state-of-the-art facility that obtained the IAAF Class 1 certificate earlier this year. The Korea Association of Athletics Federations has set the target of a “double-10,” or producing top-10 finishers in 10 competitions, a goal it says will be difficult but not impossible. Kim Deok-hyeon, a standout athlete in the men’s triple-jump, and Ji Youngjun, Korea’s next big hope in the men’s marathon, shoulder the largest of expectations. Eyes are also on Park Taekyong, who has an outside chance at joining the finalists in the men’s 110m hurdles, having set a personal best of 13.67 seconds this season. Lee Yeon-kyung, the reigning Asian Game gold medalist in the women’s 100m hurdles, will attempt to keep pace with the world’s top talents, and Choi Yun-hee will be looking to best her national record in the women’s pole vault in Daegu. The rivalry between Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay in the men’s 100m and 200m sprints has been the biggest drawing card for track and field fans in recent years. However, a hip injury had Gay withdraw from the US trials. Despite the absence of his archrival, Bolt can’t afford to be complacent in his defense of the 100m title. Recovering from back and Achilles’ tendon problems, Bolt, the world record holder in the men’s 100m with 9.58 seconds, has not been in his top form this season. That makes room for Bolt’s compatriot Asafa Powell, the former world record holder, who now appears as a serious threat to dethrone him. Powell clocked the fastest time of the year at 9.78 seconds in a track meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, in early July. The men’s 110m hurdle finals scheduled for Aug 29 is garnering rapt attention as it may double as a comeback party for Chinese star Liu Xiang. The reigning Olympic champion has suffered several injuries in the past and failed to prevent Cuba’s Dayron Robles from rising to No 1 in 110m hurdles. Liu has been looking healthier of late, winning the Diamond League Shanghai in May with a record of 13.07 seconds. The anticipated showdown in the women’s pole vault competition between Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva and American Jenn Suhr is also expected to attract a large audience. “The final weeks heading into the event will be crucial, and we will be cranking up our promotional efforts to help boost the excitement level. We believe this is as significant as a sporting event as the Olympics, and, hopefully, the buzz generated in recent weeks indicates that more people are beginning to agree with us,” Cho says.

Dreaming of Sports
The essence of sports, whether as a form of leisure, entertainment or business, lies in the pleasure of the game and its ardent fans. Organizers in Daegu are taking this belief to heart as they prepare to host the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships from Aug 27 to Sept 4. Despite some high-profile no-shows like American sprinter Tyson Gay, the city will have a cast of star athletes from home and abroad. As media coverage grows and the opening ceremony fast approaches, officials at the Daegu 2011 Organizing Committee are focused more than ever on promoting the event. Track and field was never a hugely popular pursuit in Korea, where the majority of the sports-viewing public gravitated toward a few professional leagues such as baseball, football and basketball, the same games they played and watched growing up. However, recent years have seen the rise of

Rock-star athletes? Check. World-class facilities and services? Check. Organizers in Daegu are confident that the World Athletics Championships this month will deliver its share of dramatic moments. by Kim Tong-hyung
golf and figure skating, thanks to the emergence of superstars like Pak Seri and Kim Yu-na. But the country still awaits its first transcendent athlete in track spikes, and domestic athletes are gearing up to do their best this month. Cho Hae-nyoung, former Daegu Mayor and president of the World Championships’ Organizing Committee, admits that the top priority of his job is convincing the public that the event doesn’t start and end with the popular

men’s 100m finals on Aug 28. The veteran politician, however, is inspired by the growing buzz in local communities, which fuels his confidence in ticket sales. “The World Championships will serve as the ultimate preview for next year’s Summer Olympics in London and virtually every top-tier athlete who isn’t injured will be in Daegu to compete and secure a spot in the Olympics. Regardless of the type of competition, people will react positively to world-class athletic performances and Daegu will have plenty of that,” Cho says. “Our goal is to achieve a sellout event from day one to the closing ceremony. Germany and Japan, which hosted the previous two World Championships, benefited from their rich traditions and popularity in track and field, but

© IAAF World Championships

Left to right, from opposite left: Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt; Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva; Korean jumper Kim Deok-hyeon; a view of the newly renovated Daegu Stadium.

34 | korea | august 2011

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special issue
“The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in 2018 are awarded to the city of PyeongChang,” said Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in Durban, South Africa, on July 6. The announcement, one that Korea had waited nearly a decade to hear, led to an eruption of cheers from the Korean contingent in Durban, which included President Lee Myung-bak and figure skater Kim Yu-na. The moment was emotional for many as it followed years of hard work and two previous disappointing rejections. The margin of victory was overwhelming, with 63 of the 95 ballots going to PyeongChang. After bids for the 2010 and 2014 games failed by the thinnest of margins, the consensus was that it was PyeongChang’s time. “Koreans have been waiting for 10 years to host the Winter Games,” said bid leader Cho Yang-ho. “We have finally achieved our dream. I believe that all the IOC members understood our message. They understood it was the right time, right place.” IOC members congratulated PyeongChang, and spoke of the significant cultural impact it will have on the country. “They have tried very hard and they have done everything that we told them to do, and I think that a lot of people felt that they really deserved it,” said Norwegian IOC executive board member Gerhard Heiberg. “And they will have a really good legacy for the whole of East Asia.” The countdown has begun for the opening ceremonies on Feb 9, 2018. Over the next seven years, PyeongChang will see the construction of several venues, two Olympic villages and a number of infrastructure projects, all of which, it’s hoped, will leave a lasting positive legacy on Gangwon-do Province. Organizers said the games will be the most compact ever held, with all venues within 30 minutes of the Alpensia Resort. The Alpensia Cluster will host most of the outdoor events: biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, the technical alpine skiing events and sliding. All of these facilities, with the exception of the sliding center, are in place now and have hosted international events. The Coastal Cluster in Gangneung will host the indoor events: figure skating, short track, speed skating, hockey and curling. Separate from the main areas are Bokwang Phoenix Park, which will host the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events, and the Jungbong Alpine Venue will host the alpine skiing speed events. The sliding center, Jungbong Alpine Venue, the Gyeongpo Ice Hall (figure skating, short track), the Science Oval (speed skating) and the Youngdong University Gymnasium (hockey) are all among the permanent facilities that will be built by 2018, while Bokwang Phoenix Park and the Gangneung Indoor Ice Rink (curling) will be renovated. The only temporary facility, the Union Hockey Center, will be packed up and moved to Wonju after the games. The Youngdong University Gymnasium and the Science Oval will be converted to better serve the local communities, by providing worldclass facilities for training. Olympic villages for the attending athletes and officials will be built at both clusters. The Alpensia Olympic Village will accommodate 3,500 participants and be converted into tourist accommodations after the games, while the Coastal Olympic Village will hold 2,300 and be converted into community housing. Beyond PyeongChang, infrastructure projects are set to upgrade transportation to Gangwon-do Province. A new high-speed rail will make it possible to travel from Incheon International Airport to Alpensia in 70 minutes. Central to PyeongChang’s “New Horizons” theme was that this Olympiad will boost interest in winter sports in Asia. President Lee Myungbak told reporters before the winner was announced that hosting the games will have a positive and lasting economic impact on Gangwon-do Province. “If we succeed, what we can expect is that the regional economy will be vastly revitalized,” he said. Jacques Rogge announces Lee added that he envisions PyeongChang’s winning bid (above). Alpensia Resort will be the PyeongChang as a future location of a cluster of Olympic winter sports hub in Asia. facilities (opposite top). President Lee Myung-bak, third from left, Korea will make extra celebrates in Durban alongside efforts to help Korean supporters (opposite bottom). athletes own the podium. “The government is committed to developing winter sports in Korea and that’s why we launched the new ‘Drive the Dream’ program - our promise to invest US$500 million from 2012 to 2018 to develop winter sports athletes,” said Choung ByoungGug, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Korea has already made great strides in becoming a winter sports powerhouse, taking home a total of 14 medals, including six gold, from the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Perhaps one of the most exciting things for Koreans in the lead up to the games is potential for those iconic moments when Korean athletes become heroes around the world, and on home soil.

Korea Starts Olympic Countdown

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are coming to PyeongChang. The Province of Gangwondo finally won its bid to host the games, and now the countdown is on to prepare the country to host what promises to be one of the best Winter Olympics yet. by Matt Flemming
© Alpensia Resort (opposite top); Yonhap News Agency (opposite bottom, right above)

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summit diplomacy

SportS and Support
Diplomatic ties are still growing between Korea and Africa, and President Lee Myung-bak’s July trip to the continent helped strengthen the connection. During his visit, Lee celebrated PyeongChang’s win to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and supported Africa’s economic development by sharing Korea’s experiences. by Ser Myo-ja

In order to support PyeongChang’s bid for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and promote Korea’s ties with Africa, President Lee Myung-bak visited three African nations from July 2 to 11. The presidential trip was marked a success as the Korean alpine city won an overwhelming victory in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote, which took place in Durban, South Africa. Lee also held summits with his counterparts of the Republic of South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and discussed ways to improve bilateral relations and promote economic cooperation. PyeongChang’s CamPaign Before leaving Seoul, the presidential jet was redecorated with emblems and flags supporting PyeongChang’s third consecutive bid to host the Winter Olympics. The cars used by staffers were also decorated with the city’s slogan, “New Horizons.” Known for winning popular support for many major projects in the past, Lee began practicing for his presentation in front of the IOC during his 17-hour flight. “Normally the president has meetings with staffers on the plane, but he paid special attention to prepare for the English-language presentation and to review the specific interests of the IOC members,” presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha said.
President Lee myung-bak shakes hands with adolphe muzito, the prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after arriving in the nation on July 7 (opposite). Lee speaks during the PyeongChang presentation in south africa on July 6 (top). Lee, left, stands with first lady Kim yoon-ok at Veterans’ War memorial in ethiopia on July 9, to honor Korean War vets (right).

Competing against Munich and Annecy, France, Lee and members of the PyeongChang Bid Committee, as well as sports celebrities and top businessmen in Korea, managed to persuade the IOC members with their campaign of determination and effort. The reigning women’s figure skating champion Kim Yuna, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kunhee and Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yangho were among the many contributors. Lee also contacted IOC members individually to help persuade them throughout his stay in South Africa. He met with dozens of IOC members in separate

meetings and luncheons, the Blue House said. His trip was the finale of a tireless campaign, but Lee’s endeavor first began when he declared PyeongChang’s bid a national priority in 2009. For years, he used every opportunity to promote PyeongChang whenever he met with foreign leaders and IOC members at home and abroad, according to the Blue House. One of the highlights of Lee’s campaign was sending letters to IOC members ahead of last month’s vote. The customtailored letters were hand delivered by special envoys and Korea’s ambassadors in the IOC members’ homelands, discussing both the Olympics and friendly matters. Each member received the Koreanlanguage letter and their native language translation. “Many IOC members said they were impressed by the president’s personal letters,” said Park. “They strongly expressed hopes to meet with the president in Durban.” In June, Lee even made phone calls in order to personally speak with the IOC. “We tried tirelessly… we reached one IOC member only on the 10th try.” The years of efforts paid off in South Africa on July 6, when IOC President

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© Yonhap News Agency

www.korea.net | 39

Jacques Rogge announced PyeongChang as the host of the 2018 Winter Games. “This is a victory for the people of Korea. My fellow Koreans, thank you!” Lee said shortly after the announcement. Ninety-five IOC members cast ballots and PyeongChang received 63 votes, followed by Munich with 25 and Annecy with seven. The victory made up for the prior defeats in 2003 and 2007, and Korea became the sixth nation in the world to host four major international sporting events — colloquially called the “Grand Slam”: the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup and the IAAF World Championships. BoLsteRing ties In addition to his success in demonstrating the Korean people’s determination and the government’s unwavering commitment to assist PyeongChang’s bid, Lee’s visit to Africa also contributed in expanding Korea’s cooperation with the continent. During

Lee puts in a hard day’s work volunteering in an ethiopian village (top). Lee receives an honorary degree from the adis ababa University (above).

his trip to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia, Lee discussed bilateral relations with the three nations in separate summits with his counterparts. He also attended other events to strengthen Korea’s friendship with the countries. South Africa is the only African member of the G20 and the continent’s largest economy. During his summit with President Jacob Zuma, Lee focused on ways to expand Korea’s cooperation with the nation blessed with natural resources. Promoting trade and investment and expanding collaboration in nuclear energy, minerals and other energy-related fields were among the key topics. The summit took place on July 5 at the South African presidential residence King’s House in Durban. “During the summit, the two presidents highly appreciated the reinforced foundation of the two countries’ collaboration in the nuclear energy field following the bilateral nuclear power cooperation agreement, which took effect in February this year,” a Blue House official said. The two leaders agreed to further their cooperation in the construction of nuclear power generation reactors and joint research programs for nuclear energy. Promoting the export of Korea’s nuclear plant technology has been a major project of Lee’s, after winning a landmark deal with the United Arab Emirates in December 2009. South Africa is the only country in Africa with a commercial nuclear power plant, and its expansion policy seeks to build more reactors by 2025. Korea has been seeking lucrative deals in the country’s project. The two leaders also discussed other global issues such as green growth policies and efforts to fight climate change. Support for regional issues was exchanged. “I understand President Zuma’s efforts to bring stability to the African region, including Libya and Cote d'Ivoire,” said Lee. “The Korean government will also support

the stability and humanitarian aids for Africa.” Zuma replied that he supports the Korean government’s efforts to bring peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula and backs South Korea’s policy to denuclearize. afRiCan DeVeLoPment Wrapping up his trip to South Africa, Lee traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from July 7 to 8. He is the first Korean head of state to visit since the two established official relations in 1963. The trip was also in response to the 2005 and 2010 visits to Korea by President Joseph Kabila. “Through the visit, Seoul hopes to bolster friendly and cooperative bilateral ties while substantially contributing to the development efforts of this African country,” the Blue House said. During his stay, Lee met with his counterpart Kabila, and discussed the two countries’ efforts to promote cooperation in energy, resources development, infrastructure construction projects and agriculture. “President Lee expressed his hope to share Korea’s economic development experiences with Congo… And he also promised cooperation to help President Kabila’s development vision by transferring agricultural technology, providing training and supporting the national development strategy establishment, including efforts to advance [the Congo’s] tax system.” The two leaders also discussed a plan to support Korean companies’ participation in major construction and resources development projects in the Congo. Korean firms have looked into taking part in the construction of water purification plants, ports and copper mining. A series of agreements such as a plan to have a joint oil exploration was also signed. Lee attended a business forum held by Korean and Congolese business leaders to encourage the reinforcement of bilateral economic cooperation. “The Korean government showed significant efforts to back the Congo’s all-out drive for nation

building launched after the end of the civil war in the early 2000s,” the Blue House said. “Through bilateral consultations, Korea is confident in helping the African nation effectively formulate plans for economic development and other pertinent matters. At the same time, the two governments are expected to come up with some concrete measures concerning the development of the Congo’s rich mineral resources and related projects.” RePaying aiD Ethiopia was Lee’s last destination in the trip. “The visit is particularly meaningful because it is the first Korean presidential trip to the country,” the Blue House said. “And this year marks the 60th anniversary of Ethiopia’s participation in the Korean War to support South Korea.” During his summit with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Lee showed his commitment to supporting economic development of the African nation that fought on the side of the South during the Korean War (1950-1953). He promised to share Korea’s development experience and agricultural know-how to assist Ethiopia’s five-year economic development plan. At a press conference, the Ethiopian leader said his country is eager to learn from Korea’s model, calling for grants and loans from the Korean government and investments from Korean companies. An economic policy workshop, attended by Lee and the Ethiopian prime minister and top policymakers, also took place. During his visit, President Lee participated in volunteer work in a symbolic gesture to repay Ethiopia’s aid six decades prior, wrapping up his African trip with a working weekend. During the Korean War, 122 Ethiopian soldiers were killed and 536 injured. On July 10, Lee spent five hours working on a project to build a public lavatory and community center in a poverty-stricken village near the capital of Addis Ababa. A day earlier,

first lady Kim yoon-ok visits the national museum of Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

the president, wearing a mask and carrying a tank on his back, sprayed disinfectant into sewage and public toilets in Kebena, a less-developed village nearby. First lady Kim Yoon-ok joined Lee in some of the volunteer work during the weekend. Wrapping up his trip to the three African nations, Lee returned to Korea on July 12. “With this African tour, President Lee completed his government’s goal of engaging all the major actors through presidential summit diplomacy,” the Blue House said. “So far, the president has established a solid international cooperative network through summit meetings with leaders of major countries in Latin America, Oceania, Asia, Europe and the Middle East in addition to the heads of such major powers as the United States, China, Japan and Russia.”

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© Yonhap News Agency

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global korea

Korean Learning experience
From businessmen to linguists, people are able to gain new experiences and knowledge through the myriad of programs and online resources available in country and online. by Lee Se-mi

A bit of business know-how

In early June, businessmen from the EU visited Seoul on the heels of a visit by buyers from China’s top distributors. Recently, more and more foreign companies are coming to Korea in order to build local partnerships through initiatives like the EU Gateway Programme and the China Premium Export Plaza. With the Korean market now seen as strategically important for new business opportunities, the expansion of trade through these programs is presenting chances for growth. The Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement officially went into effect in July. With the signing of the FTA, tariffs and nontariff barriers in the fields of products, services and investments were reduced in

A visiting participant from europe walks through the eu Gateway programme conference in seoul in early june.

the world’s biggest economy, while the scope of trade between the two regions is expected to increase by 30% to 40% in the future. Korean companies now have a unique opportunity to seize upon new growth momentum in Europe because of the trade agreement, and will most likely forge closer ties with the EU. Since 2006, trade between the EU and Korea has increased by an average of 10.8% annually. In the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector, the EU has been the biggest investor in Korea since 2005,

making up 40% of total foreign investment in Korea. In that sense, the EU Gateway Programme is useful both for European and Korean companies. The Korean program launched in 2009 and is meant to support the promotion of trade. Every year, the program introduces EU companies with leading technologies and products in three major industry sectors: construction and building, environment and energy, and healthcare and medical. The EU Gateway Programme supports European companies at every step of the way when they want to enter the Korean market. From 2009 to 2014, the program aims to enable over 450 European companies from 27 EU member states to visit Korea and cooperate with domestic companies from industries with the highest growth potential. Companies that want to participate in the program are selected through a screening process that examines their technical expertise, the possibility of their success in Korea, and the relevance of their business strategy to the local market. Once chosen, companies can take courses about the Korean market and receive consulting services in advance. This year’s Programme was held from June 7 to 8, at the COEX convention center in Seoul, bringing together 50 top SMEs from Europe and local companies. The third annual event included a business mission consisting of 22 companies from 10 countries in the environmental and energy-related technologies sector, as well as 29 companies from 13 countries in the construction and building technologies sector. About 30% of all participating

companies were in Korea for the second year in a row; a good indication of Europe’s current interests in the Korean market. A main event of the conference is to share cutting-edge technology between companies. With an increasing need and interest in natural disaster prevention solutions, European companies displayed their advanced technology in construction and building technology related to shock, vibration and seismic resistance. They also had high quality interior and exterior construction materials and buildingrelated solutions produced in Europe on display. Furthermore, companies in the environment and energy field showcased new and renewable energy solutions, water treatment systems, energy-saving devices, and other advanced technologies and products that all comply with international environmental policies and standards. During their stay, the European companies also explored ways to enhance cooperation through meetings with locals. They visited Samsung’s Green Tomorrow, a zero-energy, eco-friendly building; the Suji Respia, a wastewater facility; and took in other environmentally-friendly sites and facilities for a firsthand glimpse of Korea’s industries. Additionally, 40 companies were selected by the EU to visit Korea for the 2011 Healthcare & Medical Technologies

Business Mission in September. In China, some of the country’s largest distributors are showing high demand for Korean products, with China now representing Korea’s biggest import and export market. In fact, Korea’s exports to China increased to 126 trillion won (US$119.9 billion) in 2010 from 75 trillion won in 2006. From June 2 to 4, some of China’s largest buyers, those on the Fortune 500 list, took part in the China Premium Export Plaza, which was held in Seoul and Jeju Island. Organized by the Korea International Trade Association, the event attracted China’s largest distributor, CR Vanguard; its biggest food group, COFCO; its top foreign-affiliated distributor, RTMart; Sir Li Ka-shing’s supermarket chain, PARKnSHOP; and CP Lotus, a leading distributor that operates under a Chinese company in Thailand. Over 65 Korean companies, including Nongshim, CJ, Orion, Haitai Confectionary and Food, Koreana and Somang Cosmetics, also participated in the event. A forum about how Korean companies can enter China’s rapidly growing domestic market was also held. Chinese buyers believe Korean goods are consistently competitive in terms of safety, hygiene, quality and price. With the expanding size of the Chinese market and

mAjoR pARticipAnts in 2011
RZ-HolZindustRie, AustRiA A manufacturer specializing in the production of creative items that are sturdy and appealing using fir and pine trees from Austria. 1 dynAset oy, FinlAnd A company with the industry’s highest level of technologies in the field of water pressure generators, power washers and compressors. 2 BsW (BsW GmBH), GeRmAny A manufacturer specializing in flooring materials for sports facilities and products related to running tracks. 3 AnkeRsmid sAmplinG, BelGium A leading provider of gas substance test equipment. 4 deiF (deiF A/s), denmARk For the past 75 years, it has developed and supported the sale and service of main control units and pitch control systems for wind power generation around the world. 5 BAnnoW expoRts ltd, iRelAnd A builder and manager of patented eco-friendly wastewater treatment facilities. 6

european and korean company representatives show off new products at the conference this year (above). event attendees discuss business at the coex in seoul (below).

the average income level growing each year, the demand Chinese consumers have for premium Korean products has also been increasing. In addition, Jeju Island has become a popular tourist destination for wealthy Chinese. Part of that has to do with the beauty of the southern island, but in part also has to do with the relatively competitive prices on the semi-tropical landmass. At the export plaza for Chinese businesses held in Jeju, the total amount of products signed to be exported from Jeju reached 75 billion won (US$71 million), and included items such as seafood, dried laver, yuzu citruses and tangerines. As globalization continues to open up new markets, a number of business relationships between foreign companies and Korean companies are expected to rise.

42 | korea | august 2011

© Newsis (opposite, right); EU Gateway Programme

www.korea.net | 43

self-tAught linguists

For people learning a foreign language, online resources are always an appealing option. Forget about going to the country where the language is spoken; all you need is an Internet connection, allowing you access to a virtual world of learning. These days, people choose Korean as their second language for a variety of reasons, from a desire to learn more about the culture

to a love for K-Pop, while others still are looking to get a job at a Korean company. The number of people interested in learning Korean is increasing, and anyone who wants to tackle the language is just a click away from doing so. Most people who want to learn Korean or who are learning it now have never been to Korea. For those who find it tough

to study because of time constraints or a lack of money, the best choice is an online class. Though the results vary depending on age and ability, mastering at least a basic level is possible with a variety of online resources. From organized websites to more informal outlets such as social networking sites, Korean students can even form study groups on the web. KoreanClass101.com has the largest number of subscribers for Korean language education podcasts on the Internet, according to the site’s statistics. To date, the site’s lectures have been downloaded more than 100 million times, with over 500,000 downloads a month. Signing up is a simple process, and once you have a membership you have access to more than 700 video and audio lessons for free. For an extra fee (the amount depends on the level of study), you can also gain access to even more learning materials. You can subscribe to regularly updated files in the form of podcasts or audio clips; compare Korean expressions and English translations; examine vocabulary and grammar points for each lesson; correct your pronunciation by recording your own voice through a microphone; and listen to each sentence line by line, study vocabulary or take part in quizzes related to Korean. The site is especially popular with beginners because every lessoon — from the word bank, grammar quizzes, flashcards, pronunciation guides and composition — is presented in a fun and easy way. Content is updated three to four times a week, and one of the most popular parts is the lesson the Picture Video Vocab, as it captures real-life situations in Korea, such as using the subway, being in a classroom and going out to eat. You can ask questions, make new friends and gain valuable insights into Korean life and culture through the online experience. Another helpful, free site that uses both audio and video lessons through podcasts is talktomeinkorean.com. More than just

a simple language site, it is a veritable gateway to understanding Korean culture. The manager of the site, Sun Hyun-woo, has seen the site’s popularity explode in Korea with language learners. His name became known among Korean-language learners when his quirky educational videos hit YouTube. Sun has been running talktomeinkorean.com since 2009, and according to the website, 200,000 people have visited and there have been more than 2 million downloads. On average, one person watches three to four lessons on each visit. Although user numbers vary depending on location, people from 167 countries have visited his website. As of December 2010, the countries with the largest number of downloads were the United States (550,000 users), Singapore (150,000 users) and the Philippines (120,000 users), followed by Malaysia, Japan, China, Indonesia and Australia. Also, expats residing in Korea even tune in to listen to the site’s podcasts. The website allows users to listen to lessons that look at subjects encountered on a daily basis and download e-books in MP3 or PDF format. Every week, three audio files and two video files are uploaded. Plus, the website works in association with a blog to promote Korea. Sogang University’s Korean Language Education Center also has its own site, korean.sogang.ac.kr, which offers audio content, animated videos and other lessons for free. This website is particularly known for its learning materials and post-course quizzes, which help people retain what they’ve learned. In addition to a wide range of information on Korean history, economics, politics, philosophy, literature and art, there’s also a beginner’s course that deals with the pronunciation of the language’s consonants and vowels, as well as lessons on how to read and write. It explains the structure of Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) syllables, while elementary and intermediate levels of

© Yonhap News Agency; TalktoMeinKorean.com (opposite top); KoreanClass101.com (opposite middle, opposite bottom)

show’s 20 unit chapters, situational Korean dialogues are taught with explanations on vocabulary and expression, and users are given access to flash animation videos and audio files as well. Lang-8.com is a unique site where users help one another with their writing skills through social networking services. Currently, members are from 180 countries, and they all write in the language they are learning. Native speakers of each language then take the time to correct any errors. For example, Korean users correct written passages in Korean by foreigners. Like Facebook, you request to become friends with someone, after which the content of what you’ve written will be displayed on your friends’ main page, allowing you to have your writing checked more quickly. The number of resources is endless for Korean-language learners, and many will combine the use of several educational outlets to become fluent.

ResouRces

podcAsts
students take the topik exam in seoul (opposite). From top: a screenshot from talktomeinkorean.com; koreanclass101.com provides a beginner’s guide to korean; a screenshot from korean class 101.

Korean conversation lectures deal with key expressions, grammar, vocabulary and reading and listening comprehension. “Let’s Learn Korean” is a show broadcast on world.kbs.co.kr by KBS and provides a number of practice dialogues at a beginner’s level, all of which are based on situations visitors to Korea may encounter. The best part is that it’s offered for free in 10 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. In the

Podcasts are digital media files that can be downloaded via the Internet. They can come in audio or video form, and subscribers can select what they want and automatically download updated content. Digital media files like MP3s provide users with an RSS feed icon, which then indicates the web feed for a certain podcast. The word “podcast” is a combination of “Pod” (from iPod) and “broadcast.” Subscribers usually replay the files on their computer or on a portable digital player (MP3, PMP, PSP). Unlike radio broadcasts, podcasts are a much more convenient and personalized form of media that you can listen to anytime and anywhere. korean language learning sites: http://www.koreanclass101.com http://talktomeinkorean.com http://korean.sogang.ac.kr http://world.kbs.co.kr

44 | korea | august 2011

www.korea.net | 45

my korea
When I first moved to Korea, I was quite hesitant to try Korean cuisine. Ten years down the road though, and it’s hard to believe that was once me. Spicy sauces, pickled vegetables, soybeans, fish, barbecue, seaweed, garlic - could it really have been the case that I didn’t like all that? But Korean cuisine quickly lured me in, and what once seemed unfamiliar quickly became addicting. Now, life without hansik (Korean food) seems very undesirable, indeed. Something I took to from the very beginning, though, was the various vegetarian side dishes. When eating out, there would always be so many varieties of vegetables I had never seen. The produce section in the supermarket was a totally new experience, with items I would never even have guessed were edible - but they obviously were, and I soon became curious. On closer inspection of all these new foods, I realized that the local greens are called namul. They include various sprouts, leafy plants like spinach, herbs and even tree leaves. Though I’m not a particularly skilled cook, if I really like a certain dish, I try to re-create it at home. So with the help of my Korean mother-in-law, who proved to be a very patient and knowledgeable teacher, I first experimented with the three standard namul - spinach, fernbrake and soybean sprouts. These vegetables are traditionally prepared for charye (ancestral rites), which are performed during the two major holidays: Seollal (Lunar New Year) and Chuseok (a harvest festival). On those days, an opulent meal is prepared for the deceased (though it is eventually eaten by those still well alive and hungry). Not only are the three namul, with their green, brown and yellow colors, indispensable for charye, but they are generally basic dishes in Korean traditional cuisine. As a matter of fact, they are so basic that Koreans don’t often get very excited about them. I soon learned that proudly presenting these three seasoned vegetables to guests didn’t kindle much enthusiasm. It might have been the equivalent of serving mashed potatoes to Westerners: You eat it, and maybe you even like it, but it’s not something a host wins laurels with. Every Korean I have met so far loves, needs and craves kimchi, but my three humble namul don’t get a lot of recognition and tend to be overlooked. Being an avid fan of the dishes, I wondered why this was but, having learned my lesson, I stopped offering them to guests and prepared them mostly when cooking for myself. Several years after learning this first lesson in namul, my husband and I decided to buy a small, traditional farmhouse and moved to the countryside. This decision, as it turned out, was a huge change in our lives. When we came to Korea in 2000, we lived always in, or just near Seoul. But being from a small German town, I couldn’t help but feel constantly overwhelmed by the metropolis: Seoul was just too much. No matter how interesting the city was, I couldn’t handle all the buildings, cars and people. It was an endless jungle of streets and high-rises, all speed and constant change. Living in Seoul was somehow beyond me and I knew, in the long run, that I didn’t stand a chance - I was too slow-paced. So when my husband wanted to move to Gangwon-do Province, where he had grown up, it didn’t take much to convince me. And what a relief it was. After seven long years in Seoul, Gangwon-do Province was heavenly. The clear blue East Sea, the breathtakingly beautiful mountains with woods filled with the scent of pine trees, and the little villages nestled in the valleys. Suddenly, it came to me all at once, how much I had missed nature. Why on earth hadn’t we moved earlier? Having all this beauty surrounding me changed my feelings towards Korea literally in one day. Looking back, I now realize that I was quite unhappy living in Seoul. No matter how much I tried to adjust, no matter how much I tried to like it, Korea didn’t seem to be the place for me. Somehow I just didn’t seem to fit. Was it the culture, the different mentality or was it my introvert temperament, my own inflexibility? At the time it was hard to pinpoint, but now I know that it wasn’t Korea or Koreans, it was the enormity of Seoul that wasn’t for me. Here, in Gangwon-do Province, things fell into place. Living in Korea was suddenly so easy. With a feeling of surprise, I realized that I wasn’t secretly longing to go back to Germany any more. For the first time since I’d arrived, I started to make Korean friends. And I wanted to stay. Here in this place, I finally felt at home. After moving to the countryside, I also learned a lot about Korean traditional life. It wasn’t that I had been ignorant of how locals used to live before industrialization swept them into modernity. In Seoul, I had dutifully been to museums and read books about Korean history. But when we started to renovate and live in our little farmhouse high up in the mountains, I had a chance to experience firsthand the old way of life. Of

If kimchi is the only side dish that comes to your mind when you hear the words Korean cuisine, you need to think again. For the savvy cook, the country’s outdoors offers a wide variety of vegetable delights.

46 | korea | august 2011

www.korea.net | 47

course, we changed a lot of things in the house to make life more comfortable and adapted it to our modern needs. But we tried to keep the original structure of the house as much as we could. We still use ondol, Korean traditional floor heating system, with the fireplace; the big kettle over the fireplace is our source for hot water; in winter we get our natural water with a traditional pump; and year-round our favorite spot is out on the maru, the wooden floor that surrounds part of the house, providing a sheltered, sunny place to sit outside in the winter, and a cool breeze in the hot Korean summers. Living in the countryside also gave me ample opportunity to learn more about Korean traditional cuisine. I watched our neighbors make tofu and experienced a gimjang (the communal process of preparing large amounts of kimchi for the coming winter months). And, something which pleased my vegetable-loving heart most, I also found out that the elderly grandmothers in the neighborhood are highly adept gatherers of sannamul. San means “mountain,” and sannamul are the wild namul found in Korea’s woods and meadows, usually in early spring. While I had thought that early spring was a season where not much happened outdoors, our neighbors quickly enlightened me. Many of the greens that I had thought were weeds were actually fragrant, tasty ingredients for a healthy meal. I quickly found that sannamul are definitely not the Korean equivalent of mashed potatoes: This was a whole new league. First, I learned when to gather wild fernbrake, how to look out for poisonous snakes while doing it and how wild fernbrake is so much better straight from nature than the ones I used to buy at the supermarket. My next lesson was in meowi, or bog rhubarb. I first discovered it when weeding our flowerbeds, as it seemed to be

everywhere in our garden. To cook, the stems of the rhubarb are peeled, boiled briefly in salted water, then can be mixed with garlic, sesame oil, salt, leeks and soybean paste, and served as a side dish. Another quick dish can be made from Korean day lilies. These local wild flowers have a fresh taste when they’re just sprouting, and can be parboiled before tossed with garlic, sesame oil, red pepper gochujang paste, a dash of vinegar and sesame seeds. But, as with every food, the spices can vary, depending on the cook’s personal tastes. Other wild greens to try are dollamul, a stonecrop that can be eaten as a salad, which has a fresh, almost lemony taste. Naengi, or shepherd’s purse, adds a deep, earthy flavor to the popular doenjang-jjigae (fermented soybean paste stew). However, my absolute favorite are the shoots of the dureup tree (Aralia elata) which are also first boiled and then mixed with garlic, sesame oil, soybean paste and any other seasonings as desired. If you have a chance to get a hold of them at a traditional market, try them, as they are a delicacy. The list of sannamul I would like to recommend is long, including dallae (wild chive), gondre (Cirsium setidens), ssuk (mugwort) and many more I just haven’t learned about yet. While in most Western countries, such wild edible plants or herbs are usually only known about by botanists or experts, in the Korean countryside this knowledge is still very much alive. After all, it was just a few generations ago that wild plants were common ingredients in daily cooking. Fortunately, there are still many who know that sannamul are a unique, healthy and tasty part of hansik that should be preserved, explored and above all - eaten. So if you think that Korean cooking means only kimchi and bulgogi (seasoned meat), you’ve missed out on something that is just as delicious, and just as Korean. Why not visit a traditional market and try sannamul? They are worth it, I promise. by Judith Quintern | illustrations by Jo Seung-yeon | photograph by Lee Hee-won

PROFILE After seven years in Seoul, German native Judith Quintern now lives with her husband in a Korean traditional house, hanok, deep in the mountains of Gangwon-do Province. When not teaching German at Gangneung-Wonju Nat’l University, she works on her book of experiences in Korea and hones her skills as a novice farmer.

48 | korea | august 2011

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korean heritage

Tripitaka Koreana This collection of Buddhist scriptures carved on 81,258 wooden blocks, also known as the Palmandaejanggyeong, is the world’s oldest intact version of Buddhist canon written in Hanja (Chinese script). The text on the blocks is characterized by its immaculate 52,382,960 characters-carved without a single mistake-and is kept at Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do Province. The scriptures were included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2007, and a festival commemorating the millennium of the Tripitaka’s earliest version will be held from Sept 23 to Nov 6 at the temple.

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