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KOREA [2012 VOL.8 No. 6]

KOREA [2012 VOL.8 No. 6]


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The Living Ocean and Coast, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea
The Living Ocean and Coast, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea

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Published by: Republic of Korea (Korea.net) on Jun 01, 2012
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june 2012

june 2012

The Living Ocean and Coast

Jump to the Sky

Korean B-Boys Rock the World
Peace to All Suffering Creatures

Buddha’s Birthday


Learn korean

W h a t did you do last Weekend?
A: 주말에 뭐 했어요?
What did you do last weekend?

What did you do last weekend? Talk about your weekend activities in Korean!

B: 친구하고 영화를 봤어요.
I saw the movie with my friend.

C: 정말요? 저도 극장에서 영화 봤어요. 무슨 영화 봤어요?
You did? I also went to the theater. What did you see?

jumalae mwo haesseoyo?

chinguhago yeonghwareul bwasseoyo.

-았/었/였‘-았/었/였-’ is used to construct the past tense of the verb and adjectives. When the ’ final vowel of the verb or adjective stem is ‘ㅏ ‘ ’, or ㅗ it takes ‘-았-’. When the final vowel of ’ the verb or adjective stem is other than ‘ㅏ or ㅗ, it takes ‘-었-’. When combined with the ‘ ’ verbs or adjectives ending with ‘하다’, it makes either ‘하였어요’ or ‘하였습니다’ or ‘했어요’ or ‘했습니다’ as an contraction. In spoken Korean, ‘했어요’ or ‘ 했습니다’ is more often used.

jeongmaryo? jeodo geukjangeseo yeonghwa bwasseoyo. museun yeonghwa bwasseoyo?
form hada meokda gada past tense *하 + 였 + 어요 → 했어요 haesseoyo *보 + 았 + 어요 → 봤어요 bwasseoyo 먹었어요 meokeosseoyo 갔어요 gasseoyo
* When a verb or adjective stem ends with a vowel, vowel omission or contraction occurs.

basic 하다(do) 먹다(eat) 가다(go)

보다(see) boda

Let’s practice

Try to make a conversation with the following vocabulary.
화요일 수요일 목요일 금요일














book store







A: 밍밍 씨, 지난 수요일에 어디 갔어요? (mingming ssi, jinan suyoile eodi gasseoyo?) B: 친구하고 공원에 갔어요. (chinguhago gongwone gasseoyo.)

june 2012 Vol.8 no.6

Cover Story


Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea
Global Marine Festival Weighs Anchor for a 93-Day Voyage

The Living Ocean and Coast
12 Pen & brush novelist Lee Seung-u 16 People Robert J. Fouser hanok Village Keeper 18 Great Korean a Great Lady Kim man-deok 20 Seoul a Guide to Seoul’s nighttime 22 Travel how Deep have You been in Yeosu?

Working for a Human-Oriented Expo Being Green and Academic

27 Now in Korea peace to all Suffering Creatures on buddha’s birthday

30 festival Rainbow Island 2012

32 Entertainment Korean b-boys Rock the World

36 Sports Ready to Lift the World

38 Global Korea the 5th apeC education ministerial meeting

40 Summit diplomacy Significant moves of president Lee myungbak in beijing & myanmar.

42 Special Issue South Korea, the mecca of e-Sports

45 flavor tteokgalbi Grilled minced beef patties

46 My Korea Sharing the Unforgettable taste

49 Learn Korean What did you do last weekend?

publisher Woo Jin-Yung, Korean Culture and Information Service editing the booK CompanY e-mail webmaster@korea.net printing Jeonkwang printing&Information all rights reserved. no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from KOrea and the Korean Culture and Information Service. the articles published in KOrea do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. the publisher is not liable for errors or omissions. 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

Cover story

The Living Ocean and Coast

Yeosu, a city on the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula, is now in the international spotlight. This beautiful port city is hosting the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012 (Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea) under the banner “The Living Ocean and Coast.” In light of the ever-increasing contamination of the planet, especially the sea, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea has significant implications. Being the world’s first-ever offshore international exposition, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea highlights the important roles of the sea and coasts and the need to preserve them and calls on the international community to use them more wisely.

2 korea JUNe 2012

Cover story

ing Open

yu n g - b a k d e c l a r e d ident Lee M ld, Pres the fe Yeosu Expo were staged. e onto a ting th ntries celeb r 4 cou nce s m 10 forma fro per dees r io u s atten o and va e of E xp anc os u entr e Ye the fter of th 1. A in g ay 1 e open on M th ony cerem

Global Marine Festival Weighs Anchor for a 93-Day Voyage
The International Exposition, alongside the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, is widely considered one of the three most important international festivals. This year, the festival takes place on the sea off Yeosu and its coast under the theme “The Living Ocean and Coast.” Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is shedding new light on the value of the sea and coasts to awaken the international community to the issues of climate change, resource depletion, and ecological destruction.
by Lee Jeong-eun, Kim Min-seon, and Julianna Chung / photographs by Lee Min-hee


declare the opening of the International Exposition Yeosu

media companies such as the Xinhua News Agency of China, the Japanese broadcasting company NHK, the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun, the international news agency Reuters headquartered in London, and the French news agency AFP have been keen to cover the Yeosu Expo. AFP reported, “Tens of thousands of people flocked to South Korea’s 2012 international expo Saturday on the first day of the three-month show… .” The French news agency also indicated great Chinese interest in the expo by saying, “Chinese visitors have snapped up more than half of the tickets in advance sale… .” China’s Xinhua News Agency praised the Yeosu Expo by reporting, “The highlight of the ceremony came with an enormous round-shaped structure in the water called the Big-O, a water screen that is a landmark of the Yeosu Expo, firing off lasers, lights, and hologram images.” Japanese media outlets reported that the first person patiently waiting in the long cue for admission was a Japanese visitor and that Vice Minister Yasuhiro Nakane of Economy, Trade and Industry delivered a brief speech at the opening ceremony.

A GLOBAL FESTIVAL WITH A NEW PARADIGM FOR THE SEA The theme of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is “The Living Ocean and Coast.” Living in the 21st century, we need to pursue sustainable growth and preserve natural resources. The theme of the Yeosu Expo urges the international community to look at the sea in the context of harmony with the planet, life, and humanity. There are three subthemes: coastal development and preservation, new resource technology, and creative maritime activities. With the subtheme of coastal development and preservation, the Yeosu Expo will call on the international community to better cooperate in the fight against climate change, present a new paradigm for the use of the sea, and drive home the message to global villagers that keeping the sea clean is ultimately a way to help keep humanity happy and healthy. The subtheme of new resource technology underlines the fact that the sea is a treasure trove of resources for the future as well as the only solution to address such major issues as the lack of space on land, depletion of resources, and pollution. The Yeosu Expo will


Korea 2012 themed on the harmonious co-existence of nature and humanity.” On May 11, 2012, the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012, weighed anchor for a great 93-day journey with the declaration of its opening by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The two-hour opening ceremony featured parades, orchestral performances, Korean traditional performances, K-pop performances, and a multimedia show. The 1998 Lisbon World Exposition in Portugal, Expo Zaragoza 2008 in Spain, and other expos have also been about the sea, but Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is the first that is not only about the sea

In cooperation with the Organizing Committee of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea

but also takes place on the sea. “Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is not of huge scale, but is more beautiful than any other expos,” said Secretary General Vicente González Loscertales of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). “The way it looks, as well as the theme it addresses, is very forward-looking and expresses the sea very well. South Korea’s cutting-edge technologies are well incorporated into the exhibition.” Being a global festival, major foreign

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Lots of spectators are visiting the Yeosu Expo. The Auar

i um is t

he mos

t popu

lar ex

h i b i ti o

n. M


fore i

gne rs h ave had a ple asan t time .

showcase major achievements made in the 21 century in the field of marine

planet’s surface. It is the source of life, a rich provider of food, and the future of humanity. The sea and its coasts are the theme of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea. Visitors to the Yeosu Expo can experience cutting-edge marine technology and equipment developed in many countries, see an undersea human habitat that may come true a century later, observe the mysterious marine ecology as if they were in a submarine, and understand the history of man’s challenges in exploring and using the sea. It is also the first expo that takes place on the sea off the coast of the host city.

see and experience energy facilities and programs to better understand the meaning of green growth, including a solar power plant, energy maze games, water cannon bicycles, recycled rockets, and an electric bus that is wirelessly powered.

UNCOMMON ENjOyMENTS AT 77 PAVILIONS AND FACILITIES Tens of thousands of people are coming to Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea each day, and higher numbers are expected. An admission ticket allows a visitor into 77 pavilions and specialized facilities. The most popular is the Aquarium. It has 34 tanks, large and small, containing 6,030 metric tons of water. It houses Baikal seals, sea dragons, sea horses, and other rare species. Expectations of the Aquarium had naturally been running extremely high even well before the opening of the Yeosu Expo. The Theme Pavilion, which looks like a breaching sperm whale, is also a popular draw. Upon stepping into the pavilion, you will be greeted by a dugong, a large endangered sea mammal, which appears on the 20meter (65.6-foot) three-sided screen and has a witty conversation with you. The Korea Pavilion has the world’s largest

dome screen. It features videos of salt fields, Suncheon Bay, a ritual to pray for rich catches, and ganggangsullae, a traditional Korean folk dance. The facility is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system, making it the world’s first zero-carbon-emission building. There are many unusual exhibits, too. When you step through Gate 3 of the Expo site, you will hear the sea above your head from the digital sea on the ceiling of the main passage. An enormous LED panel display of 218 meters (715 feet) by 30 meters (98.5 feet) on the ceiling that is 27 meters (88.6 feet) above projects extremely realistic images of marine fauna and flora swimming and swaying in the seawater. In the DSME Marine Robot Pavilion, visitors can see, touch, and feel a future world where the sea, people, and robots coexist. Robots guide the visitors, play soccer, dance, and even swim. This

pavilion is a must-see for visitors with children. The International Pavilion features many things to see and enjoy, and the best of them is an ice core from a 400year-old glacier from the Swiss Alps in the Swiss Pavilion. The Belgium Pavilion can be detected from afar by its chocolate aroma. A chocolatier from Belgium makes chocolate at a carousellike table and gives it to visitors. The one thing you absolutely cannot miss at the Yeosu Expo is the signature Big-O Show. Water screen equipment within the 47-meter-high Big-O creates a water curtain for projection of images. Water jets, mist generators, flame generators, light fixtures, and lasers installed on the outer rim of “The O” create a variety of special effects. The Big-O was designed by Mark Fischer, a world-renowned stage artist from the UK, and the multimedia shows presented on the water curtain of the Big-O are created and directed by ECA2, a company that has been involved with worldwide events and shows such as the opening and closing ceremonies of the France FIFA World Cup and the Eiffel Tower Millennium

science and technology, point to its future prospects, and underscore its importance as a new driver of growth. The third subtheme of creative maritime activities involves a variety of cultural and artistic activities that express exchanges between the sea and humanity. Works of literature and art, movies, performances, and other events express the sublime encounter between the sea and humanity to propose a new marine citizenship and culture. Ten international organizations, 104 countries, and seven companies are holding exhibitions on their efforts to bring new life to the sea and coasts. As the Yeosu Expo is the largest international event to be held in the Republic of Korea in the ten years since the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the festive mood is palpable not only in the city of Yeosu but also throughout the country. THREE REASONS WHy THE yEOSU EXPO IS SPECIAL

Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea boasts state-of-the-art information and communications technology. Customized information on ticket reservations, transportation, accommodations, and tours is provided over the Internet—wired or wireless—and the so-called Expo App provides easy access to information on the Expo. Visitors from around the world have been impressed with the cuttingedge technology made available for their convenience. A gentleman who introduced himself as Yamada from Japan said, “It was much more convenient to reserve admission tickets using touch screens found in many corners of the site than waiting in a queue to buy tickets.”

Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea does not simply exhibit technology, but proposes solutions to climate change. It is the first international expo to offer environmental guidelines, and the expo site is a model city for lowcarbon, green growth. In Sky Tower, which is made of repurposed cement silos, visitors can drink water made from sea water at a large desalination facility. In Energy Park, visitors may

The sea covers 70 percent of the
6 korea JUNe 2012

Cover story

raw crab). He was more than happy to come back to Korea to volunteer for the Yeosu Expo. At the Singaporean and American Pavilions, you can spot many foreign college students who speak Korean fluently, guiding both English-speaking visitors and Korean natives throughout Show. The fountain on the sea off Yeosu will stage a fountain show by WET, a US company that planned and directed successful international fountain shows including fountain shows at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and the artificial volcano shows at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. EXCITING CULTURAL PERFORMANCES Some of the most exciting events of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea are the offshore shows at the Big-O. One of them is The Blooming Sea, the theme performance of the Yeosu Expo. It is an extravaganza featuring 153 performers and many genres of performing art including street performances, gwangdae noreum (a traditional Korean clown play), offshore stunt performances, and circus performances. In this show, the protagonists, a girl named Badakkot (lit. Sea Flower) and a boy named Yeonan (lit. Seashore), perform on a gigantic stage 11 meters (36 feet) above the sea together with other performers acting as different sea creatures. The show is a thrill for everyone. An exciting series of offshore performances is the Offshore Performance Festival, which features an offshore floating stage called Ieodo that submerges and resurfaces during performances. The repertoire includes France’s Ocean Opera, the US’s Ocean Blast Fever, and South Korea’s The Sea and a Girl, Ballet Simcheongjeon, and DJ Dance Show. There are also many exciting street performances. Over 100 Korean and foreign teams will present over 6,500 street performances during the Yeosu Expo, more than 70 a day. They include traditional Korean performances such as Ugeumchi, Gaetdol, and Deulsori; physical art performances such as Acrobatic Ensemble and trampoline circus shows; puppet plays; bubble shows; and bellydancing performances. The more fevered the festive mood, the greater the number of foreign visitors. They are especially interested in traditional Korean weddings and K-pop. A Chinese visitor who introduced himself as Xu Lai expressed great curiosity and said, “I enjoy South Korean period dramas, and now I can finally see traditional Korean costumes in person.” Ruba, an Israeli visitor who has studied Korean, said that she was more than excited for the K-pop performances. Volunteers of different nationalities are working at the Yeosu Expo. One of them is Brian, who serves at the Australian Pavilion. He came to Busan, the largest port city of Korea, two years ago and worked as an English instructor for one year. During that time, he fell in love with Korean food including kimchi and gejang (fermented all the programs. THE FIRST EXPO TO ADOPT A DECLARATION Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea underscores the important role of the sea and coasts and drives home the need for the international community to preserve and use them wisely. It also points to a new marine paradigm for humanity to prosper with the sea and coasts. “The international community decided to adopt the Yeosu Declaration in order to jointly address issues of the sea and environment,” said President Lee Myung-bak. He emphasized the theme of the Yeosu Expo repeatedly, stating, “The ocean is the birthplace of all life forms on Earth. About 90 percent of all living things inhabit the ocean. The ocean also functions as the Earth’s lungs, generating 75 percent of the oxygen and absorbing 50 percent of the carbon dioxide. Such an instrumental role notwithstanding, the ocean now faces a serious crisis due to
Mo re tha n7 0 sh ows arou nd th e

Visitors from Abroad David Sanford Hesler (25), Andrew Payne (24), and Zachary Yokel (25) from Washington, D.C. David Sanford Hesler, Andrew Payne, and Zachary Yokel visited Yeosu for two days to enjoy the Expo. Hesler, who also went to the 2010 Shanghai China Expo, was impressed by the overall layout and architecture of the Yeosu Expo. Payne and Yokel were excited to attend such a grand international exposition The three were pleased with the free goody-bags handed out by South Korean regional governments at the Expo and are looking forward to visiting the Swiss Pavilion, which reportedly offers visitors an interactive and emotional experience about water. Volunteers from Germany Peter Fischer (74) and Haengja Fischer (70) from Germany volunteered for the Yeosu Expo Peter and Haengja Fischer flew in from Germany to participate in the Expo. As part of the first rotation of volunteers, the couple guided visitors and provided interpretation services at Gate 3 of the Expo site from May 11 to May 18. Peter, a former technical high school director, was impressed by the architecture and technology of the exhibitions. Haengja, who is currently the chairperson of the Korea-Germany Nursing Association, was amazed by the meals and clean accommodations provided for the volunteers.

The Kanakovs, an Acrobatic Team Mikhail Kanakov, Vassily Kanakov, and Sergej Mazurin from Russia They turn round and round and jump up and down, not on the ground but on a thin pole. Their performance is so intense that watching them makes you sweat. The Kanakovs are a group of street performers from Russia. Brothers Mikhail and Vassily Kanakov hold the pole, and Sergej Mazurin performs acrobatic feats on the pole. Having worked together for 14 years, they communicate merely by sight and coordinate their bodies as if they were one. They won the Japanese Daidogei World Cup in 2008. “This is our first time in South Korea,” said Mikhail Kanakov. “People are very kind and enjoy our performances. We feel so rewarded. Thank you for inviting us to the Expo.”

s Yeo the ing dur nted prese s are world in cluding Korean traditional performance



hd eac


pollution and overfishing.” Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is the firstever international green expo that is themed on the sea and environment, and the Yeosu Declaration is an instrument to call for more international cooperation on the sea and coasts. The declaration will be officially adopted just before the closing of the Yeosu Expo on August 12 in the presence of international guests such as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations.

Student Ambassadors for National Pavilions George Vourderis (22) and Ji-won Park (19) from U.S.A George Vourderis and Ji-won Park will be working at the USA Pavilion from May to August as Student Ambassadors representing the United States. They will interact with Pavilion guests in Korean and English while providing administrative, protocol, and programming support. Both Vourderis and Park are impressed by how many countries around the world are participating in the Expo and are proud to serve as a bridge between the United States and South Korea and other countries. Vourderis and Park are two of the 40 Student Ambassadors for the American Pavilion 2012.

8 korea JUNe 2012


Cover story

Working for a Human-Oriented Expo
The International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012 finally greeted its first visitor last month, five years after winning the bid to host the Expo. Let’s hear from Kim Keun-soo about the uniqueness of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea and what visitors think about it. by Lee Jeong-eun

Being Green and Academic
Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is not just a festival of things to see and enjoy. It is an eco-friendly, green expo that impresses upon you the value of the environment, and it is an academic venue for 45 international conferences discussing global issues such as climate change, declining biodiversity, and famine. by Kim Min-seon

EXPO 2012 yEOSU KOREA HAS FINALLy OPENED TO THE PUBLIC. HOW DO VISITORS LIKE IT? We had set objectives while preparing for the Expo, and ever since Day 1 of its opening, the objectives have been achieved one after another. The four special facilities are the Big-O, Expo Digital Gallery, Sky Tower, and the Aquarium, and they are extremely popular. The over 100 individual national pavilions are all so wellconceived that there are long queues in front of them every day. HOW IS THE yEOSU EXPO DIFFERENT FROM PREVIOUS ONES? WHAT ARE THE GREATEST DIFFERENCES? The Yeosu Expo is the first offshore expo. The 1998 Lisbon World Exposition in Portugal, Expo Zaragoza 2008 in Spain, and other expos were themed on the sea, but none of them took place on the sea. The entire Expo site is along and on the sea. It stretches along a substantial length of seashore where people stroll and go out to the sea. It even includes Odongdo, a small beautiful island. The Theme Pavilion and the main stage are both on the sea. Around 90 cultural and art events are scheduled to every day. WHAT IS THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE’S ASSESSMENT OF THE yEOSU EXPO? The Organizing Committee worked really hard. The guests to the opening ceremony all say that it was spectacular. We believe that the visitors’ opinions on
10 korea JUNe 2012

Kim Keun-soo, Secretary General of the Organizing Committee

it are more important than our own, and we will do our best to maximize their convenience and inspire each and every one of them. WHAT IS THE SECRET TO THE SUCCESS OF THE yEOSU EXPO? We attempted to break from the standard expo paradigm that focuses heavily on buildings and technology and instead focus on people and content. In other words, we envisioned a humanoriented expo. Many of the exhibitions and performances are not just meant to be seen and heard, but felt by all five senses. For instance, while you watch a video in the Theme Pavilion, you will suddenly encounter the performer from the video in person, and in the Korean Pavilion, you dance the ganggangsullae, a traditional Korean folk dance, together with the performers and other visitors. The Expo Digital Gallery is an electronic art gallery that uses a huge LED display, but you as a visitor will be invited into

the communication; that is, you may leave your message on the screen or download an image. We went out of our way to make everything as convenient, comfortable, and interesting as possible. We arranged for people to reserve admission tickets to the Expo site and individual pavilions as well as accommodations via their mobile phones and the Internet. We also seriously considered the restrooms, rest areas, and food services. We have installed more toilets than required by international standards, especially for women and persons with disabilities. Over 40 percent of the entire site is shaded from the strong summer sun. More than 70 performances take place near the queues of individual pavilions every day. We call them “reach-out” performances. Visitors may temporarily leave the crowded Expo site to have a break in downtown Yeosu to sightsee or eat because each admission ticket comes with a one-time leave permit. MANy FOREIGNERS ARE HELPING OUT AT THE yEOSU EXPO AS STAFF MEMBERS AND VOLUNTEERS. WHAT WOULD yOU LIKE TO SAy TO THEM? First of all, I would like to say thank you to all of them. I hope they will be proud because they are the ones who do the most to help visitors enjoy the cultural and artistic performances and events of countries from around the world. Certainly, they are one of the reasons that CNN placed the Yeosu Expo at the top of its list of must-visit places for 2012.

PROGRAMS ON DIFFERENT GREEN THEMES On the vast site of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea are numerous different exhibitions and facilities that remind visitors how important it is to develop green technology and protect the environment. Here, KOREA recommends green and academic theme-based routes for the Yeosu Expo visitors. A / Marine Ecology The planet Earth faces a serious environmental crisis. In order to overcome this challenge, we need to understand the value of the sea, which is the source of life for all of us, and find ways to better use and protect it for generations to come. If you are interested in the future of humanity coprospering with the sea, take this route:
Theme Pavilion → Climate Environment Pavilion → Energy Park → Marine Civilization and City Pavilions

B / Green Technology Green technology enables us to achieve three important objectives simultaneously: to protect nature, to maintain strong economic growth, and to improve quality of life. This route may be the best way to observe cutting-edge environmental technology developed worldwide:
Korean Pavilion → OCBPA (Ocean and Coast Best Practice Area) → Sky Tower → Marine Industrial and Technology Pavilion

C / Children’s Education in the Environment Children will one day use and further advance the technologies on display. At the Expo, children should learn about the diverse marine creatures, appreciate their value, and become inspired to value the sea. The following route is best for children’s education:
Marine Life Pavilion → Aquarium → Fisheries Experience Zone → DSME Marine Robot Pavilion

SOME 45 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES The Yeosu Expo isn’t just about exhibitions and performances; it is also about rich knowledge and in-depth discussion of the sea. As many as 45 academic conferences are being held during the Expo, dealing with global challenges including climate change, loss of biodiversity, and famine. The first was a climate change symposium held for six days from May 15 on the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans. Professor Corinna Schrum of the Geophysical Institute University of Bergen in Norway, an expert in forecasting marine ecological changes by climate change, chaired the conference. Dr. Peter Brewer, an authority in ocean acidification and a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and other experts emphasized the importance of academic research and discussion. Presentations were given on genetic and physiological changes in marine ecosystems caused by climate change, comprehensive ocean observation systems, etc. Other conferences scheduled include an international symposium for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on the alleviation of hunger and poverty and making a difference with fish (August 7 to 9) and the World Fish Barcode of Life Conference (June 12 to 14), which will discuss DNA barcoding of fish around the world.



Explorer of the Essence of Life and the Human Condition

Novelist lee seuNg-u

Korean novelist Lee Seung-u chooses peculiar subjects, but writes novels and short stories with universal resonance. He ceaselessly contemplates life and the human condition, and he talks to his readers with a more-than-real life story, which most people want to simply shrug off or deny.
by Im Sang-beom / photographs by Lee Min-hee & The Daesan Foundation

12 korea june 2012



MorE PoPuLar ovErsEas He has lived as a novelist for over 30 years. He has walked the path of metaphysical exploration and written novels of idealism with idiosyncratic perspectives and style. His works have been recognized by literature awards, but not by popularity. He isn’t a best-selling author, but he does have a loyal fan base at home and abroad. In fact, his works are more deeply appreciated outside of Korea. “I don’t think such terms ‘idealism’ and ‘metaphysics’ have profound meanings. Rather, they seem to suggest a lack of specifics about the real lives of real human beings who have flesh and blood. By the way, I often hear nowadays that I write with the language of the earth, not the language of Heaven. I take that as a compliment.” Foreign publishers recognized the value of his works years ago and have published his books overseas. Les Editions Gallimard, France’s representative publisher, included Lee’s The Private Life of Plants in its Folio collection series (French title: La Vie Rêvée des Plantes). Another

his novel as a “moving, weighty novel gushing out from a serene and serious soul,” and Le Figaro, another French daily, praised the novel as a “great novel where ample and powerful images underscore the mythical dimension of love.” “The French people’s world views are rooted in Christianity, and they tend to delve deeply into personal souls. It seems that my novels meet their expectations. And my style is deprived of uniquely Korean sentiments and flowery phraseology. This helps ensure precise communication with foreign readers. A professor once said, ‘Lee Seung-u’s writing loses nothing in translation’.” When he wrote The Private Life of Plants, he intended to do something universal without damaging the literary nature of the work. He employed a plot of mystery stories to achieve

as if he were telling somebody else’s life story. In this novel, he employed techniques that were uncommon in 1990s Korean literature. Lee wanted to portray the protagonist, Park Bu-gil, as a real person, and he succeeded. Some readers have attempted to find the novelist Park Bu-gil, assuming he was a real person. QuEstion aftEr QuEstion on LifE Lee Seung-u considers himself blessed since he is a talented writer and can continue to write. He also reckons that he is going through change. “My previous works were dogmatic. Now, I am more interested in psychological and emotional aspects. What is love? What is
1 The Private Life of Plants was published in the French Folio collection series where only the works by the world’s top writers are presented. 2 The Reverse Side of Life, one of Lee’s favorite works, was published in Japan last year. 3 The Reverse Side of Life, revered by the French press, contains the writer’s inner spirit. 4 Mysteries of the Labyrinth is a collection of short stories that left a strong impression on German readers.

remembers being dissatisfied with his lot and trying to improve it by immersing himself in virtual worlds that books created in his mind. Books brought him satisfaction and later became his livelihood when he became suspicious about the value of absolutes and his long yearning to write finally nudged him to be the novelist that he seemed destined to be. In 1981, when he was a student of Seoul Theological University, Lee made his literary debut with Portrait of Erysichton and was awarded the New Writer Prize from the literary monthly Hanguk Munhak. After graduation, he entered the United Graduate School of Theology at Yonsei University but later dropped out. The virtues and qualities expected of religious leaders including tolerance and sociability did not seem appropriate for him, whereas the world of literature constantly beckoned him. The balance of his life vision tilted toward literature.
14 korea june 2012


ee Seung-u (1959-) turns to childhood memories for inspiration in his writing. He

French publisher, Zulma, introduced Lee’s Wherever Here Is in April this year to French readers (French title: Ici Comme Ailleursi). In Japan, The Reverse Side of Life and The Private Life of Plants were published last year and this year respectively (Japanese titles: 生の裏面 and 植物 の私生活). Readers in the UK, Germany, Mexico, and Spain can also buy his books in their own languages. His works have been especially well received by the literary community in France. JeanMarie Gustave Le Clézio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, is one of Lee’s fans. Le Clézio personally regards Lee as one of the three Korean authors worthy of the Nobel Prize in Literature along with Hwang Sok-yong and Anatoly A. Kim. When Lee’s novel The Reverse Side of Life (French title: L’envers De La Vie) made it to the final shortlist of the candidates for Le Prix Femina Étranger, the foreign novel category of Le Prix Femina, he received positive critical acclaim. The French daily Le Monde described
1 2 3 4

the goal. In fact, he isn’t fully satisfied with this highly acclaimed work because he feels that he weaved a love story and a universal sense of guilt with South Korea’s political situation, but the love story stands out so much that it overshadows the other aspects of the novel. The Reverse Side of Life is written in the style of a critical biography where the narrator “I” traces the life of another novelist named Park Bu-gil and reconstructs his life. This reads like his autobiography in a sense. Lee’s own experiences are told in the story. Revealing himself was uncomfortable and embarrassing, so he attempted at some mental sublevel to cover up certain things up by altering and fabricating details. This allowed him to pretend

man? What explains that person’s behavior? Expressing a character’s psychology and sentiments in writing leads me to reason. I reason not philosophically but microscopically, and this helps me discover ideas that can be generalized.” The mental exercise of wading into a new idea not only brings him agony but also the joy of discovery, which motivates him to go on as a novelist. Lee wants to write good novels that inspire readers, help them reason, and put them in a contemplative mood. He believes these are the purposes of novels. Lee today writes without resorting to fantasy but delving into the truths of life.



ne of his favorite foods is bibimbap, a bowl of steamed rice mixed with a variety of

Seochon (lit. Western Village) is a neighborhood west of Gyeongbokgung, the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), composed of over ten smaller neighborhoods clustered together. It may seem somewhat surprising that a foreigner should be at the vanguard of the movement to preserve Seochon, which retains in its ambience the memories and history of the Joseon Dynasty. When your reporter for KOREA asks him why he is so interested in Seochon, his eyes light up with passion. “The older you get, the more you yearn to communicate with old memories and the past,” says Fouser. “I like Seochon since it is still as I saw it in the 1980s, when I came to Seoul for the first time. Old signs, narrow alleys, detached houses with gardens, and all those things make me feel the Koreans’ warm and generous affection for fellow human beings known as jeong.” In recent years Seochon was threatened by reckless development. Fouser’s heart broke at the thought of old Seochon being bulldozed to the ground ostensibly in the name of redevelopment and progress. This prompted him to roll up his sleeves to keep Seochon intact. He could not just sit idly by and watch the charms of the past be destroyed. The Seochon Neighborhood Society mainly comprises residents of Seochon. They hold biweekly meetings to collect information on their village and discuss ways to preserve it. This June marks the first anniversary of the founding of the society. Its members plan to publish a historical map of Seochon and explore every corner of the neighborhood. They will also get the society registered as a nongovernmental organization (NGO). Fortunately, Seoul City has instituted protections for some Hanok districts. tHE MaGiC of tHE HanoK MaDanG Robert J. Fouser lives in a Hanok, not in Seochon but in the Bukchon Hanok Village, a neighborhood between the two palaces of Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. He had lived in Seochon for one year, but left three years ago due to his disappointment with

the myopic development of the area in a craze to make money through real estate. Bukchon has been subject to more rigorous zoning regulation than Seochon, so its Hanoks are better preserved. His Hanok has three rooms and a courtyard of a sort in the middle called a madang. A Hanok in the Seoul area is usually in a ㄷ-shape or ㅁ-shape, and the enclosed space is a madang. Not found in Western houses, the madang in the middle is a third space that has seemingly magical qualities about it. In a Western house, indoor and outdoor spaces are clearly divided, but a madang can be both an indoor and outdoor area. This affords great convenience in many respects. He uses his madang to grow trees and greens and keep a dog. “I used to live with another person in the same house with the madang between us,” recalls Fouser. “Since a madang is a shared space and divides the house into two independent spaces, we lived together comfortably. When my foreign friends come to Korea, I invite them to stay at my place, and they love it.” Saying he knows every nook and cranny of Seochon like the back of his palm, he guides your reporter here and there through the neighborhood, pointing out its quaint charms. He sometimes stops in front of a house and boasts that friends live there. When he says he is moving back to Seochon later this year, his face beams with a broad smile.

namul (greens) and red gochujang (red pepper paste). His eyes were glued to the TV when he watched the made-for-television period drama The Deep-Rooted Tree, which deals with how Sejong the Great (the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty) created the Korean writing system called Hangeul. His evenings are often spent chatting about this and that with neighbors over makgeolli. This is the life of an average Korean middleaged man today, and also the life of Robert J. Fouser (51), a native of Michigan. In 2008, he became the first foreign professor of the Department of Korean Language Education at Seoul National University to instruct undergraduates and graduates in methods of teaching Korean. “What is wonderful about Hangeul is that it’s extremely easy to learn,” says Fouser. “It’s a bit difficult to combine the letters, but the letters themselves are really a piece of cake. If you know the consonants and vowels, there are no words you cannot read even if you have no idea what they mean. I mastered Hangeul in three days, but learning Chinese characters or the Japanese writing system takes a long time.” MEsMEriZED BY sEoCHon

Fouser fell in love with the warm and generous affection that Hanok houses reflect, and decided to become a ‘Hanok village keeper’.

HanoK viLLaGE

Hanok village Keeper

What brought him deep into the heart of Korea? He earned his bachelor’s degree in Japanese language and literature from the University of Michigan (1983) and lived in Japan for about a decade (1995-2006). In between, he studied Korean intensively at Seoul National University for a year (19831984). Some years later, he found himself teaching English at Korean colleges, and some years after that, teaching Korean in Japanese at Japanese colleges (2006-2008). He finally came back to Korea to settle in 2008. Fouser is equally as intrigued by Hanok as he is by Hangeul. He founded the Seochon Neighborhood Society a year ago to launch a campaign to preserve the Hanok village.

RobeRt J. FouseR
Robert J. Fouser is the first foreign professor to teach Korean language teaching methods at Seoul National University. He also leads a campaign to preserve Seochon Hanok Village.
by Kim Min-seon / photographs by Lee Min-hui

16 korea june 2012


a Great Lady Giving Back to the Community

everyday necessities from mainland Joseon were unloaded for distribution all over the island and Jeju’s local specialties were shipped to the mainland. She managed to establish ties with merchants from every corner of the country and developed an excellent grasp of trade and national distribution routes. She also showed a knack for accurately forecasting demand for specific goods based on her experience as a gisaeng. As a result, she accumulated an enormous fortune in a short period of time. Kim lived by three principles in business. First, sell in high volumes at thin margins. Second, don’t overprice goods. Third, always be honest and credible. She believed that the ultimate purpose of doing business was not to earn money but to facilitate the distribution of goods and provide convenience to their users. As a logical extension of this, she believed that helping people acquire and use goods easily was the right thing to do even if it meant thin margins. She built warehouses to store goods and, when necessary, used the goods for bartering. savinG LivEs BY GEnErous Donation Jeju Island did not have vast swaths of arable land, and the soil was not suitable for rice farming. In 1795, the 19th year of the reign of King Jeongjo, Jeju was struck by a huge storm that severely reduced what would already have been a paltry harvest. Exacerbating the situation, a government ship loaded with relief supplies capsized. The authorities had nothing else to offer the people, and over 10,000 starved to death. Kim rose to the occasion and procured
In cooperation with Kim Man-deok Memorial Society

an audience with the king and permission to tour Geumgangsan (one of Korea’s best-known mountains). King Jeongjo duly rewarded her for her deeds by granting both wishes. The residents of Jeju at the time were permitted little freedom of movement. Men could not leave the island without a permit, and women could never leave. It was also unprecedented for a non-yangban woman to see the king face to face. The king temporarily gave her a government position as chief royal female doctor in order to make it possible to summon her to the royal court. Her generosity was so great and so moving that she became the first female Jeju commoner to be granted a royal audience. One possible interpretation of this is that Kim attempted to break the normal restraints imposed on her class and sex. The king’s recognition of her good deeds did not affect her integrity and humility. She continued to engage in business and lived very frugally. She gave clothing to those in rags and rice to the hungry. In her later years, the people of Jeju lovingly called her Grandma Man-deok. Kim Man-deok was laid to rest in Mochungsa in what is today’s Geonip-dong, Jeju City in 1812, and a monument stands there in her honor. Every year, the Kim Man-deok Memorial Society awards the Man-deok Service Awards to women from Jeju who render distinguished services to society.
The Mandeokgwan inside Mochungsa in Jeju was built to keep the spirit of Kim Mandeok alive.

Kim maN-deoK

The great merchant Kim Man-deok donated her entire fortune to bring relief to the starving multitudes on Jeju Island, the southernmost part of Joseon. She was, and still is, a model of selfless devotion to the community. by Kim Min-seon

philanthropist on the island of Jeju during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). She remains worthy of recognition and admiration to this day. She lived on Jeju Island at a time when the residents were subject to heavy-handed control and discrimination. During the Joseon Dynasty, Korean society was extremely patriarchal and ruled by the yangban, the highest class of Joseon’s highly stratified society below the royal family. In 2010, KBS produced a drama entitled The Great Merchant Kim Man-deok in commemoration of her noblesse oblige, and other projects are under way to keep her spirit alive. Kim was born on Jeju Island to a poor yangban family and had two older brothers. She lost her parents to an epidemic when she was only 12 years old and became an errand girl to a nearby gisaeng house. (Technically belonging to the lowest class, gisaeng were highly trained female entertainers for male yangban, usually talented in arts.) The gisaeng who hired Kim noticed how smart she was and took her in as a foster daughter. Consequently, Kim’s name was put on the gisaeng register. Kim became a highly celebrated gisaeng, but when she learned that her relatives had also fallen into the lowest class because of her avocation, she left the world of gisaeng. This move allowed her to rise to the status of commoner. She then established a gaekju, a brokerage and inn for merchants, near Geonip Port, which today is Jeju Port. She was then only 23 years old. Her gaekju became a commercial hub where
18 korea june 2012


im Man-deok (1739-1812) was a very successful businesswoman and

millions of kilograms of rice from the mainland and doled it out to the hungry. She believed this was a way of repaying the help she had received when she was a helpless orphan years before. Word of her philanthropy and saving countless other lives spread all over the country, even into the court of King Jeongjo in the royal palace of Changdeokgung in Seoul. King Jeongjo sent messengers to Jeju to inquire of her wishes, and Kim answered that she wanted


Music Under the Stars

A Guide to Seoul’s Nighttime
The warm early summer in Seoul is the best time to enjoy a nighttime stroll, a midnight shopping spree, or just a relaxing night out on the town with friends. It is also the best time to hear music performances on the safe streets of the city. These free cultural performances are one of the many small benefits of being in Seoul.
by Dayoung Chung / photographs by Kim Min-gu


ne of the things that most impresses foreign visitors to Seoul is the vibrant

this cultural area feature performances by young indie bands experimenting with music. But the underground clubs aren’t the only places where you can enjoy music. Musicians from all backgrounds perform on the streets around Hongdae, and the most popular spot is Hongdae playground, the small courtyard just off the campus of Hongik University. Throughout the week, musicians and singers perform after dark in the playground, but it’s on Friday nights when popular indie bands gear up and fill the night air with live music. Passersby are free to stop and listen to the performances and enjoy the free spirit of Hongdae. There are other great venues all across the city where people can enjoy free music. KOREA happily guides you to just a few of those places.

nightlife of the city. Seoulites proudly say that it is the safe streets of Seoul that make this possible. Stores and restaurants remain open until the wee hours of the morning, and makgeolli bars and street food stands are filled with late-night shoppers and other locals. Night street performances in June also bring new animation to the city’s nightlife. SEOUL’S MIDNIGHT GROOVE The neighborhood of Hongik University, or simply “Hongdae,” is popular for its entertainment and nightlife among young people. Music fans tired of the same old commercial music flock to Hongdae in search of unique and talented indie bands. The underground clubs in

Namsangol Traditional Music Night
Visitors to the Namsangol Hanok Village at the northern foot of Namsan (Mt. Nam) will be able to see Hanoks, traditional Korean houses from the Joseon Dynasty, amid the harmony of traditional Korean music. On the weekends in June, Namsangol Traditional Music Night will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. with performances of pansori (a genre of traditional Korean music where a vocalist sings and chants a story), taepyeongmu dance (a traditional dance performed to wish for peace of the nation), and traditional concerts of gugak (traditional Korean music).

Spring Lawn on the Stage of 2012 Gwanghwamun Madang
The Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Seoul presents outdoor cultural performances every year. A small stage is set up in front of the main stairs of the Sejong Center, and the stairs serve as a great amphitheater for spectators. This year, the center has arranged concerts for each season. During “Spring Lawn—Open and Beginning,” the first of the seasonal series, people will be able to enjoy variations of all types of music performed live: jazz, pop, classical, fusion gugak (traditional Korean music), and more.

Deoksugung Pungnyu Pungnyu The Cultural Heritage Administration and
The Cultural Heritage Administration and Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation are hosting Korea Cultural Heritage a cultural performance Deoksugung Pungnyu, Foundation are hosting Deoksugung Pungnyu, a cultural Deoksugung event at Jeonggwanheon Hall of performance event atonce the resting area for Deoksugung Palace, Jeonggwanheon Hall of Emperor Palace, of thethe resting area for Emperor to Gojong once Joseon Dynasty. From May Gojong of the Joseon of traditional Koreanto September, maestros Dynasty. From May September, maestros of traditional evening music will perform every Thursday Korean music will perform every Thursday Palace is from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Deoksugung evening from 7 p.m. to 8in Seoul that opensPalace is to the only palace p.m. Deoksugung its doors the only palace hours, and this is one of those public after in Seoul that opens its doors to the public after when you can enjoy traditional rare occasions hours, and this is one of those rare occasionsat Jeonggwanheon Hall. The Korean music when you can enjoy traditional Korean music at Jeonggwanheon visitors to event will be open to the first 100 Hall. The event will be open to the first a first-come,to the palace of the evening on 100 visitors firstthe palace of the evening on a first-come, firstserve basis. serve basis.

In cooperation with Namsangol Hanok village, sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Deoksugung

When every Saturday and Sunday during April 14 to June 30 at 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Where Cheon Wu Gak Stage in Namsangol Hanok Village Inquiries: 82-2-2264-4412266-6923, 4

When every day except Mondays between May 5 June 30; performances begin at 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and 4:00 p.m. on weekends Where main stairs of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts Inquiries: 82-2-399-1143 or www.sejongpac.or.kr

Information When every Thursday from May 10 to Sep 20 at 7:00 Information
p.m. When every Thursday from May 10 to Sep 20 at 7:00 Where p.m. Jeonggwanheon Hall at Deoksugung Palace Where Jeonggwanheon Hall at Deoksugung Palace Inquiries: 82-2- 3011-2155 or www.chf.or.kr Inquiries: 82-2- 3011-2155 or www.chf.or.kr

20 korea june 2012



Meandering Coastlines Beckon Travelers

How Deep Have You Been in

Yeosu, the host city of the 2012 Expo, has long been renowned as a tourist destination in Korea for its otherworldly beauty, bluish sea, and mouth-watering cuisine. Let’s explore some of the tourist attractions in Yeosu and its vicinity. by Lee Jeong-eun / photographs by Lee Min-hee

22 korea june 2012



photographs by Kim Tae-su

photographs by Lee Chul-gyu



city a wonderful place to visit. Many cities and towns in South Korea meet these conditions, but Yeosu is arguably at the top of the list this spring and summer. Not only is it because of its scenery and food, which have long been famous, but because it is playing host to the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012. The first things that come to mind for most Koreans when thinking about Yeosu are sipgyeong (ten scenic locations) and simmi (ten tastes). The ten scenic locations are Jinnamgwan (a historic building), Odongdo (Odong Island), Hyangiram (a hermitage), Dolsan Bridge, Baekdo (Baek Island), Sado (Sa Island), the lighthouse on Geomundo (Geomun Island), the Yeosu National Industrial Complex, Yeojaman (Yeoja Bay), and the colonies of azaleas on Yeongchwisan (Mt. Yeongchwi). Jinnamgwan is an especially important historic site. It was first built in 1599 during
24 korea june 2012


reathtaking scenery, delicious food, and all sorts of attractions. These are what make a

the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and had been used as a guesthouse for the navy command of western Jeolla for over 400 years. It was rebuilt in 1718 after a fire. Odong Island is frequented by many tourists, particularly in winter when it is covered with camellia flowers. Hyangiram is a hermitage from which you can enjoy the sun over the horizon of the sea, graced by the tolling of the temple bell and beautiful scenery. footprints. The island is taking steps toward inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Curious-looking rocks and sedimentary layers show how the stratigraphy has changed over tens of millions of years. Yeoja Bay is well known for its mud flats, which stretch as far as Suncheon City and Boseong County. The glow of the bay under the setting sun is a nearly ineffable sight to behold. Every autumn, a festival takes place to celebrate the beauty of the evening glow on the mud flats of Yeoja Bay. On Sado are more than 4,000 dinosaur

Suncheon City, Boseong County, Goheung County, Jangheung County, and Gangjin County are all tourist destinations with heavenly beauty, all found within one to two hours from Yeosu by the sea called Dadohae. Here, more than 1,700 islands and islets form a picturesque archipelago. The pristine waters,
In cooperation with the Organizing Committee of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea

of shipmates were sailing to Japan when they were shipwrecked on Jeju, the largest island of Korea. He lived in Korea for 13 years—in Seoul, Gangjin, Yeosu, and other locations. Seven of those years were spent in Gangjin. In commemoration of Hamel, Gangjin County forged a sisterhood relationship with the municipality of Gorinchem, Hamel’s hometown in the Netherlands, in 1998, and a monument was erected in his honor. In the immediate vicinity of Gangjin is Jangheung. It has no

mudflats, and bathing resorts here and there along the seashore beckon tourists with their irresistible charms. Maryang Port in Gangjin is a two-hour ride from Yeosu and exudes the feeling of a typical rustic village of old Korea. Driving as directed by the mileposts, you will encounter the open, turquoise sea. Midway, you will even see a sign that reads “Scenic Road” in Korean. There is, surprisingly enough, an exhibition hall in memory of Hendrick Hamel (1630-1692), the Dutchman who wrote a book on his first hand experience with the Joseon Dynasty in

gorgeous attractions to speak of, but does have a long-standing traditional culture that thrives amid the rustic life of the countryside. The township of Yuchi in Jangheung is a Slow

photographs by Sung Nam-hun

1 There are many clams in the Beolgyo mud flats in Boseong as the lands have many nutrients. 2 The beautiful rias of the coast of Goheung 3 Fish and seafood are abundant in the waters of Yeosu, Goheung, Boseong, and Gangjin. A local is buying fish at the fish market. 4 Elderly women pick tea leaves from the Boseong green tea plantation.

the mid-17th century. He was an TRADITIONAL CULTURE AND BUCOLIC VILLAGES employee of the Dutch East India Company, and he and a number





photographs by Sung Nam-hun

1 The traditional residential areas of the past are well preserved at Nagan Eupseong of Suncheon. 2 Lotus lanterns are lit at the historic and famous temple Hyangliam of Yeosu to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.

of Deungnyang. Goheung County brings many things to mind. Among others, you will consider the fathomless universe at the Naro Space Center, the primary spaceport of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. South Korea became the 13

Peace to All Suffering Creatures on

BuDDHa’s BirtHDaY
by Lee Jeong-eun / photographs by Ha Ji-young

country to have its own space center when Naro was completed in 2009. Visitors can have virtual experiences through the center’s space traveler course, astronaut course, space explorer course, and space leader course. Another attraction in the area is Suncheon, the city nearest to Yeosu. It is famous for the Bay of Suncheon with its vast wetland, Nagan Eupseong (a village preserved as it was 600 years ago, and Songgwangsa (a temple whose name literally means “temple of spreading pines”). Suncheon Bay is ensconced by the Yeosu and Goheung peninsulas. The bay reveals

This year, Buddha’s Birthday was May 28. Buddhists in South Korea celebrated the day with lotus lantern festivals and other events across the country.



the bottom of an S-shaped stretch of waterway at low tide where women on slime boards catch cockles, making for an idiosyncratic scene. Songgwangsa is considered to be the greatest of the three jewels of Korean Buddhism. Built in 867, the temple has been home to many great monks throughout the ages.

City certified by Cittaslow International. It is a special place where you can experience what a traditional rural Korean village feels like. JADE SEA AND MUDfLATS RICH IN LIfE Boseong is famous for its green tea. The tea fields unfold endlessly into a swelling scene of idyllic happiness. Leading through Daehan Dawon, Korea’s largest green tea plantation, is a path through a thick cedar forest. The area is so attractive that it is frequently used as a setting for movies and TV commercials. The path stretches for about 500 meters (1,640 feet) through the forest of 20-meter-tall (65-foot-tall) cedars, and the walk is refreshing for both the body and soul. The greatest charm of Boseong is that you can relax and be refreshed wherever your feet take you. There is a seawater green tea bath next to Boseong’s Yulpo Beach. It is similar to a natural hot spring, but not exactly. It is fed by natural bedrock seawater pulled up from 120 meters (394 feet) under the sea. Green tea leaves are added to the water and it is then heated. You can bathe in this special hot spring while enjoying views of the beach. After bathing, you may also want to walk along the seashore and take in the tranquil coastal scenery of the Bay
26 korea june 2012


autama Buddha, or

kyamuni, was born

to King uddhodana and Queen Maya

of Sakya (M y dev ) at sunrise on April 8 by

the lunar calendar in 563 BC. Many different places claim to be his birthplace, but according to UNESCO, his birthplace was Lumbini in Nepal. India, where Buddhism started, and many other countries celebrate April 8 on the lunar calendar as his birthday. In South Korea, it is a public holiday. It is the most important holiday for Korean Buddhists, and Koreans in general have enjoyed it as a day of festivities for 1,000 years. Buddhism came to Korea over 1,700 years ago and has markedly informed the nation’s philosophical world view and culture to this day. In the days leading up to Buddha’s Birthday, also called Chopa Il in Korean, a festive mood fills the country in anticipation of the great saint’s arrival into this world. The celebration culminates with the lotus lantern festivals in every corner of the country. The main lantern festival takes place in downtown Seoul. It is called Yeondeunghoe and dates back to the Silla Kingdom (57 BC-935). It was firmly established as a national event in the Goryeo Dynasty (9181392), when it was held in the capital city of

traveL infomation
What to eat
Fermented Raw Crab Restaurants There are many types of gejang (fermented raw crab). The difference is mainly in the spices. Some types of fermented raw crab are yangnyeom gejang mixed with red pepper paste-based spices, ganjang gejang marinated in soy saucebased spices with a lot of vegetables, doenjang gejang in fermented soybean paste-based spices, and chil gejang made from ground crab. Among the gejang restaurants that the Organizing Committee of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea recommends are Soseonu (Tel. 82-61-642-9254), Yeoseong Sikdang Gejang Baekban (Tel. 82-61-642-8529), and Yeosu Dolge Sikdang (Tel. 82-61-644-0818).

Broiled Belted Beard Grunt The belted beard grunt is also called the “fish of secret love” because it is so delicious that a wife having an affair would give it to her secret lover instead of her husband. The bones are thick and strong because belted beard grunts live at great depths of the sea. It is a lot of fun to bone and eat the flesh. Samhak Jip in Jungang-dong (Tel. 82-61-662-0261) and Hwangto Bang under Hyangiram (Tel. 82-61-644-4353) are renowned for this dish.

For a two-day, three-night trip

A Route to Enjoy Yeosu Expo and the Coast Day 1 Maryang Port in Gangjin → Hamel Monument in Gangjin → Slow City in Jangheung Day 2 Green tea fields in Boseong → Naro Space Center in Goheung → Sorokdo in Goheung Day 3 Songgwangsa in Suncheon → Suncheon Bay → Site of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea


country and downtown Seoul began to hold events on May 7. Yeondeunghoe was especially meaningful because it was designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 122 by the Cultural Heritage Administration of South Korea earlier this year. Yeondeunghoe this year took place on May 19. More than 100,000 Buddhists bearing lanterns marched from Dongguk University on the slope of the mountain of Namsan to the temple of Jogyesa in Jongno District. The lanterns were of different types including the haengryeol deung (lit. parade lantern) and the jeontong jangeom deung (lit. traditional majestic lantern). All the streetlamps in the district of Jongno were turned off for maximum effect. Just watching the Buddhists march, let alone participating in the parade, was an overwhelming experience. Many of the participants were foreigners. Last year, the number of foreigners in the parade topped 30,000, and there were likely even more this year. The Tapgol Park intersection and Supyoro were designated areas for foreign spectators, and announcements were made in four languages. When asked of their impressions of Yeondeunghoe, most foreigners responded that they were most impressed by the intangible aspects, such as the mood and energy they felt in the air, the participants’ passion, and the festival’s excitement.
1 1 Different types of lanterns were displayed on the waters of the Cheonggyecheon. 2 Dongjaseung (a boy who has become a Buddhist monk at a young age) 3 Many foreigners came to enjoy the lotus lantern festival.

iun uisik (a ritual held when Buddhist paintings and ritual tools are moved), gwanbul uisik (a ritual of washing a tanjõ butsu, that is, a statue of the infant Buddha), performances by Buddhists from Tibet and Mongolia, sachal hakchum (a Buddhist crane dance), seonmudo (a Korean Buddhist martial art), bukcheong sajanoreum (a lion mask play that originated in Bukcheong), percussion performances, and a dance competition. The food fair presented North Korean food, traditional Korean food, temple food, and environment-friendly food, all of which were a big hit. Vegetarians especially appreciated the temple food since in addition to being meatfree, they were rare specialties. The festival featured a variety of hands-on activities such as making pipes, incense, lotus petal candles, lotus flowers with Hanji (a type of traditional Korean paper), pagoda models, and traditional Korean masks with creative variations, dyeing fabrics with natural dyes, drawing on fans trying traditional Korean needlework, seonmudo, barachum (a Buddhist ritual dance), moktak (a wooden percussion instrument used for chanting in Buddhism), facepainting and a form of puppeteering called manseok jung nori. People who came to the festival, especially those with their children, enjoyed these activities regardless of how unskillful they were. There was also a Buddhist service for children and a presentation on Palman Daejanggyeong (the Tripitaka Koreana). TRADITIONAL LANTERNS IN NEw LIGHT There were special exhibitions at Bongeunsa (Bongeun Temple) and on the waters of the Cheonggyecheon, stream in downtown Seoul. Scores of traditional Korean lanterns were made according to directions in old documents for these exhibitions, depicting dragons, oriental phoenixes, tigers, fish, and drums. These lanterns used to be lit by Koreans in past ages as expressions of their wishes, and they studded the temple grounds and Cheonggyecheon with glittering beauty like stars in the night sky. The exhibition at Bongeunsa was held from May 18 to 28 and displayed over 30 types of lanterns representing a three-story stone pagoda, Mago the Great Goddess, fish, and haechi (the mythical creature that is the symbol of Seoul). Alongside the exhibition, expert lantern makers gave demonstrations on how to make lanterns, and visitors were invited to try making their own. The exhibition on the waters of Cheonggyecheon, which was held from May 15 to May 28, attracted Seoulites and tourists with 20 types of grand lanterns portraying Nio the guardian, Sudhana the truth-seeker, a statue of the infant Buddha, lotus flowers, and paired carp. On Buddha’s Birthday this year, the celebratory ceremony of Bongchuk Beobyosik was held simultaneously at all the temples throughout the country. During the ceremony, a monk of great virtue is invited to preach on Buddhist teachings, and gwanbul uisik and gwandeung nori (a ritual of bowing before a Buddha image and lighting a lantern) are conducted. This year’s Bongchuk Beobyosik focused on sharing of love with those in need. The Bongchuk Committee invited the underprivileged to participate in the ritual of giving offerings to the Buddha.


It was energetic and amusing.
Prashant Pac por(India) India also has a festival to celebrate Buddha’s birthday, but Korea’s festival is more animated. It is more dynamic and energetic, and there is much to see. The drummer dancing while beating the big drum was especially memorable. My twoyear-old child also liked it very much. We even made a paper lotus lantern for him.

TRADITIONAL CULTURE fESTIVAL A traditional culture festival took place the next day, May 20, featuring an international Buddhism fair, a food fair, various activities for visitors, and performances. Contingents from ten countries joined the fair, each opening a booth about its own Buddhist culture. Buddhists from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, Myanmar, India, and

Gaegyeong on January 15 or February 15 by the lunar calendar. But during the Joseon Dynasty, Koreans in provincial areas also began to hold the festival on Buddha’s Birthday. The Korean name of the festival, Yeondeunghoe, literally means a gathering to light lanterns. According to Buddhist doctrine, a lantern symbolizes wisdom, shedding light on foolishness and darkness. This year, Buddha’s Birthday fell on May 28 by the solar calendar, and temples across the

Mongolia were not new to this festival, but Buddhists from Japan

and Bhutan participated for the first time. There were demonstrations of rituals, performances, and competitions, too, including

28 korea june 2012

Music lovers relax and enjoy the music.

rainBow isLanD 2012
Music and Camping
The Rainbow Island Festival will take place on the island of Namiseom for two days in June. This is the only time of the year when visitors can enjoy live music and came outdoors on this beautiful island. by Chung Da-young / photographs provided by PMC Production festivaL information
Place and Time Namiseom, June 9-10 (Sat-Sun)

in the province of Gangwon-do. Free from car exhaust and the noise of the city, the island is a natural preserve for wildlife and animals, and it is a favorite spot among Seoulites for a romantic weekend getaway. This peaceful island will soon be rocked by live music and young campers. fESTIVAL The Rainbow Island Festival will take place on the island from June 9 to 10 for a weekend of music and camping. This will be the second year of the festival. Last year’s festival, the Rainbow Music Camping Festival 2011, was a major success. More than 10,000 people came to enjoy it, and the festival is already gaining popularity among music lovers and young South Koreans. They see it as a trendy, new outdoor cultural event where people can get away from the city and indulge in a weekend of music and campfires. MUSIC Ever since the festival was first announced, its line-up of artists featuring musicians and singers from home and abroad has created a buzz. The highlight of the first night will be a performance by Jason Mraz, who will be visiting South Korea as part of his 2012 World


amiseom is a half-moon-shaped island in the middle of the Bukhangang, a river

Tour. The performance will present his biggest hits as well as a number of other songs from his latest album Love is a Four Letter Word. American singer-song writer Christina Perri will also perform. The rising star with her romantic dreamy voice is gaining popularity in Korea after being featured in the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1. Fans are also looking forward to a diverse line-up of popular domestic musicians. The ever-popular 015B and Lee Seung-hwan are scheduled to perform, and Busker Busker, runner-up from the local audition program Super Star K, will perform their greatest hits. CAMPING The Rainbow Island Festival is the only time of year when the island is opened for outdoor camping. For the rest of the year, the grounds are off-limits for camping. For KRW 55,000, festival visitors can rent a tent, floor mats, sleeping bag, and a lantern with batteries. Indulging yourself in an afternoon of live music and later enjoying a night under the stars on a “forbidden” island is just too good to miss. The staff and equipment will make the experience a lot easier for first-time campers. Those who are looking for other accommodations can go to pensions and motels near Gapyeong Wharf.

Festival Tickets Day ticket for Saturday (June 9) KRW 110,000 Day ticket for Sunday (June 10) KRW 88,000 Two-day ticket KRW 165,000 Camping Fee (including admission fee for campsite and gear rental) 2 people KRW 55,000 3 to 5 people KRW 77,000 • For more information on tickets, camping, and artists, visit www. rainbowfestival.co.kr. How to get to Namiseom Subway Get on the Gyeongchun Line at Sangbong Station (Line 7) and get off at Gapyeong (Nami Island) Station. The walk to Gapyeong Wharf is 25 minutes. Take the ferry from the wharf to the island. Taxis are also available from Gapyeong Station. Shuttle Bus A shuttle bus service to the island from Insadong and Jamsil Station is available by reservation. • For more information on transportation, visit www.namisum.com.

30 korea june 2012



Jump to the Sky Korean B-Boys Rock the world
South Korean b-boys are sweeping international competitions with powerful moves and incredible technicality. Being incorporated into gugak (traditional Korean music) and musicals, b-boying is nowadays becoming a major part of South Korean culture.
by Kim Min-seon

32 korea june 2012



popular b-boy crew in the world, especially for their spectacular performances. The Extreme Crew is well known for the musical The Ballerina Who Loves a B-Boy. They also won at BOTY 2007 in Germany. These wins were all noteworthy, but the most surprising was when the Expression Crew won at BOTY in 2002 as this was a first for an Asian team. A crew called Project Soul has been especially strong in the UK B-Boy Championships. They were ranked first three times and second once. Never before had a crew won the competition for two consecutive years. Individual b-boys have also fared extremely well. Kim Heon-u, the leader of the JinJo Crew, won the Red Bull BC ONE, an annual one-onone battle competition, in 2008. Kim Hyo-keun, a member of the Rivers Crew and formerly

any sign of fatigue, but were beaming with joy. I could see how much effort they must have poured into it, and it was beautiful.” She and her company said in unison that the time had gone by so quickly. B-boying is expected to continue evolving to become a significant part of Korea’s signature cultural performances. And competitions will also continue. The sixth R-16 Korea 2012 is slated for July 7 and 8 in Seoul. This international competition drew over 60,000 spectators last year. This year, crews from 24 countries will compete in the preliminary rounds of seven regions to dance for the final triumph in Seoul.

Project Soul, is better known overseas by his nickname Physicx. He won both the team and solo titles in the UK B-Boy Championships in 2004. DANCING IN THE CULTURAL fRONTLINE Supported by one palm on the floor, their bodies bounce high up in the air. Muscles quickly contract and relax to create waves by the body. It’s more than dancing, and just watching it makes you want to groove with excitement. In Korea, b-boying is not simply defined as a genre of dancing, but it is becoming a broader artistic genre. This change was catalyzed by the musical The Ballerina Who Loves a B-Boy in 2004. This was a major watershed. Since then, non-verbal performances that are amalgamated with b-boying have diversified. Such new attempts include b-boying to traditional Korean
In cooperation with Korea Tourism Organization and Showboy

non-verBaL musicaLs witH B-BoYs
The Ballerina Who Loves a B-Boy The musical The Ballerina Who Loves a B-Boy premiered in 2005 and has since been staged more than 4,000 times. In the musical, a ballerina falls in love with a b-boy, gives up her dream of becoming a prima ballerina, and becomes a street dancer to become his love. The musical has inspired 1.5 million theatergoers in 130 countries. People who were at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe probably remember this musical since it was dubbed the best of the 2,050 performances that were staged. When it hit Broadway, New York, it was so successful that it was staged 50 times. Website: www.showbboy.com Bibap This must be the most delicious musical in the world. The musical Bibap was produced to introduce bibimbap , one of the most representative Korean foods, to the world. The performance involves four cooking battles of b-boying, martial arts, beatboxing, and singing a cappella . To chop ingredients, they b-boy; to sauté and roast them, they beatbox; and to mix them, they sing a cappella . If you still cannot figure out what is happening, go to the theater and see it yourself. The title Bibap is from bibimbap , beatboxing, and b-boying. Slapstick is also an ingredient of this spectacular, tasty musical, which the audience can enjoy seeing, hearing, and eating. An exclusive theater cooks this scrumptious musical every day. Website: www.bibap.co.kr Tal The musical Tal is truly out of the box. It consolidates taekwondo demonstrations with dramatic elements such as a story and characters, percussion performances, traditional Korean dances, and b-boying. The main theme of the music is taken from Arirang, Korea’s most loved traditional folk song, and human conflicts and confrontations, love and hatred, and other diverse emotions are expressed in Tal . The musical has been seen by roughly 120,000 theater goers in over 20 cities in ten countries on four continents starting in the United States in 2010. Its powerful dancing and sophisticated demonstrations have garnered enthusiastic responses from all audiences. Website: www.taekwonin.com Kung The b-boying musical Kung is simply fantastic. There is a theatre that exclusively stages Kung in Hongdae, Seoul. Gorillas, a crew that has been invited to Japan, China, the UK, and many other countries, come onto the stage to dynamically dance out the story of a dancer who finally realizes his dream of becoming a b-boy after overcoming challenges. Website: www.sjbboys.com

1 The musical The Ballerina Who Loves a B-Boy was the first musical to successfully bring b-boys on stage. 2 Korean b-boy teams perform at the R16 Korea in 2011.

performances have been an integral part of Korean culture for centuries. Whenever there was a village event, samullori (a.k.a samul nori; a traditional Korean percussion music genre featuring four percussion instruments) or a mask dances were staged for all to see and to build solidarity. Today, South Korean b-boys are recognized around the world, and b-boying is an important part of Korean culture. It was in the early 2000s that Korean b-boys came into the limelight in the world of b-boying. It was rather surprising


t seems that Koreans have traditionally had rhythm in their blood. Street group

group was formed under the name People Crew. Before then, they were dancing in clubs in Itaewon, the foreigner district of Seoul. In their footsteps, DMC, Expression, T.I.P, and many other b-boy crews formed. These groups have performed extremely well in international competitions, and the South Korean public began to notice them and the genre of b-boying. Korean b-boys are good at creating new moves by adding creative elements to existing ones. They are also appreciated for their balancing power and ingenious techniques. SwEEPING COMPETITIONS ACROSS THE wORLD Worldwide, there are five major international b-boy competitions: the Battle of the Year (BOTY) which is dubbed b-boy’s World Cup, UK B-Boy Championships, Red Bull BC One, Freestyle Session, and R-16 Korea. They are the stages for Korean b-boys to dance on and rock the world. When the JinJo Crew won the BOTY 2010, they emerged as one of the hottest b-boy crews in the world. The team also won R-16 Korea in 2010 and again in 2011. The Gamblers formed in 2002, and won BOTY 2004 and R-16 Korea 2008. They are the most

instruments played on the traditional Korean pentatonic scale, and musicals featuring taekwondo and b-boying together. B-boys who used to dance on the street are now dancing on the stage and creating a new cultural phenomenon. “I saw a performance about b-boys, and I was impressed by how the Korean b-boys danced,” said Tsukiko, a Japanese tourist aged 28 after seeing The Ballerina Who Loves a B-Boy at Lotte World Arts Theater. “Their faces didn’t show

since b-boying had been introduced relatively late in Korea. B-boying is a kind of hip-hop dance that originated in the United States. It was in the late 1980s when b-boying, also called break dancing, became known to South Koreans. In 1997, the first South Korean b-boy

34 korea june 2012



Training Center is filled with short, pointed shouts and grunts by the weightlifters and thuds of barbells falling to the floor. The weightlifters representing South Korea have just competed at the 2012 Pyeongtaek Asian Weightlifting Championships, and they are rebuilding their form while sweating profusely to improve their techniques and strengthen muscles. Less than two months remain before they fly to London. In Olympic-style weightlifting, the rankings are based on the combined scores of the “Snatch” and the “Clean and Jerk”. This requires a balanced performance from the weightlifters in both events. South Korean weightlifters have long been successful in many international competitions including the Olympics. Their counterparts are also great athletes. Weightlifters from China, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Iran are formidable rivals. As to who will stand on the podium is anyone’s guess. Lee Hyeong-geun (coach of the men’s team) and Kim Gi-ung (coach of the women’s team) anticipate three or four medals in the London Olympics. Ten athletes will compete in London this summer including Sa Jae-hyouk (men’s 77 kg), Won Jeong-sik (men’s 69 kg), Kim Min1 2


n a day in May, the weightlifting gymnasium in the Taereung National

94 kg division in the Pyeongtaek Championships last month, and it was South Korea’s first-ever gold medal in the division in a major international competition. Kim is now under intense public scrutiny as a dark horse. In the women’s division, Jang Miran stands out. With her victory in the Pyeongtaek Championships, she achieved the weightlifting grand slam of winning medals at the Olympics, Asian Games, World Championships, and Asian Championships, a first for any female South Korean lifter. She seems to have achieved everything a weightlifter could dream of, but she remains determined to press on and challenge her own records. The weightlifters concentrate and concentrate during the training. Iced water is their partner to chase away the heat of their lonely battles against themselves. In a sense, they seem to be solitary fighters, and when they stand before the barbell on the Olympic stage, they may feel even more lonely. When they hold the barbell and catch their breath in the arena, their families, friends, and fans will only be able to hold their breath and root for them in their hearts, silently shouting words of encouragement about their courage, passion, and perseverance.

jae (men’s 94 kg), Jeon Sang-gyun (men’s 105 kg), Jang Mi-ran (women’s 75 kg), and Im Ji-hye (women’s 75 kg). Sa Jae-hyouk impressed the world at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he lifted a total of 366 kg (Snatch: 163 kg; Clean and Jerk: 203 kg). He was the first male South Korean lifter to win an Olympic gold medal in 16 years. He had been weak in the Snatch, but he set a new personal record of 167 kg in it in last month’s Pyeongtaek
In cooperation with JANGMIRAN Foundation

South Korean weightlifters
Ready to Lift the world
The 2012 London Summer Olympics is just around the corner. The South Korean national men’s and women’s weightlifting teams have clinched ten Olympic berths together, which is the limit for one country. Let’s meet the South Korean weightlifters, whose hearts burn like the Olympic torch.
by Im Sang-beom / photographs by Ha Ji-yeong

3 1 Sa Jae-hyouk (men’s 77 kg) who is going after his second gold, continues to fight his inner battle. 2 The weightlifting gymnasium is heated with practicing athletes. 3 South Korean fans are hoping Jang Mi-ran will excel at the London Olympics.

Asian Weightlifting Championships. His previous personal record in the Snatch was 165 kg. Sa has suffered frequent injuries and says, his face beaded with perspiration, he is honored to be able to compete in the Olympics a second time. He has two clear goals: another Olympic gold medal and a new personal record. Kim Min-jae won a gold medal in the men’s

36 korea june 2012

GloBAl KoReA

assist them. Minister Lee is extremely eager to share smart learning technology with more countries to make Korea the global leader in the promising, new field of smart education. Minister Lee has been extremely busy since taking office in August 2010. He has taken bold steps to reshape the Korean education system including the establishment of so-called Meister High Schools (vocational high schools for young would-be “meisters,” that is, engineers and technicians who are highly skilled in their own field) and the activation of afterschool programs at elementary and secondary schools. Among minister Lee’s many ambitious initiatives, the Smart Education Initiative is undoubtedly at the top of the list. Under this innovative policy, Korea’s entire school curriculum will be digitalized by 2015. Smart education will be based on cloud networking that will enable students and teachers to download digital textbooks and utilize educational content and information from the cloud servers. Such information will be accessible on a variety of web-connected devices such as tablets, smartphones, PCs,
1 2

and smart TVs. Teachers will teach by e-learning, smart learning, and digital textbooks with wireless Internet access. Students will listen attentively to their teachers while looking at the animated information presented on their personal tablet PCs. There will be no hardcopy textbooks, chalkboards, or heavy backpacks in this classroom. The Smart Education Initiative is an aggressive response to the educational challenges of the 21st century. It breaks away from uniform, standardized education to more diversified, creativity-driven learning and overcomes much of the time and space constraints. This initiative is designed to bolster students’ creativity, to improve their problem solving, communication, and group work abilities, and to ensure quality education for all students nationwide. Teachers expect these digital education tools to facilitate selfdirected learning in which students do not


The 5 APEC Education Ministerial Meeting
The 5th APEC Education Ministerial Meeting was held from May 21 to 23. The meeting considered the continuous and creative growth of education and the plan for nurturing talent students on the topic of ‘education challenging for the future’. South Korea presented the major policies of IT practical education and vocational education. by Julianna Chung

Korean Education Goes Smart

from May 21 to 23, Lee Ju-ho, the minister of Education, Science and Technology of South Korea, presented the vision of smart classroom to many education ministers, policymakers, and experts from around the world. Just like minister Lee’s vision of the future classroom, the APEC forum was also a paperless affair. Participants checked discussion topics and related information through tablet PCs. Visitors also had the opportunity to experience various smart learning solutions at a booth at the meeting site, which deeply impressed them. Many countries have shown interest in Korea’s smart learning technology, and none more so than developing countries. They realize that education has been instrumental to Korea’s rapid economic growth, and Korea is ready to


t the fifth APEC Education Ministerial Meeting held in Gyeongju, South Korea,

simply follow what teachers teach them, but search for information and knowledge that is of interest to them. The South Korean government plans to spend more than KRW 2 trillion to build the new system over the next three years. The government aims to digitalize hardcopy textbooks, reference books, dictionaries, and other teaching materials for elementary schools by 2014. By 2015, all elementary and secondary schools in the country will have access to cloud-based educational services. Students will have their own tablet PCs at school and have unlimited access to information stored on a central server. Already, 63 schools nationwide have been designated as pilot schools by the Ministry of Education to use digital textbooks before all the other schools adopt them in 2015.

1 Students operate the smart devices for their studying in the classroom. 2 The teacher conducts a class using a smart TV and tablets. 3 Education ministers, policymakers and experts attend the welcoming ceremony of the 5th APEC Education Ministerial Meeting.

38 korea june 2012



South Korea, China, and Japan Meet for the Fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting
South Korea, China, and Japan agree to start official free trade agreement talks.
by Julianna Chung

South Korea Pledges to Help Myanmar Achive Democracy and Economic Development
President Lee Myung-bak makes a landmark visit to Myanmar.
by Julianna Chung

Lee Myung-bak, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda gathered at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 13, 2012, to promote trilateral cooperation in various areas including foreign policy, trade, and security.
President Lee Myung-bak (left), Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (center), and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (right) pose prior to the annual trilateral summit in Beijing.


outh Korean President

the first-ever economic deal that pledges stronger protection of intellectual property rights, security guarantees for foreign investments, and conferral of national and mostfavored-nation status among the three countries. The deal will enter into force one month after the three countries notify one another that they have completed the necessary domestic procedures such as parliamentary ratification. North Korea was at the top of the security agenda amid growing concerns surrounding Pyongyang’s ongoing provocations. North Korea’s failed launch of a long-range missile in April prompted the UN Security Council to put forth a statement urging Pyongyang to refrain from further provocations. The three leaders pledged at the summit to work together to keep North Korea from escalating tensions. President Lee stressed that a new and effective measure was required to deter North Korea’s provocations and that the three countries should cooperate closely to address the issue. After the annual talks, the three heads of state attended a business summit and a ceremony to launch Campus Asia, an exchange program of university students from the three Northeast Asian countries modeled after the ERASMUS Program—an acronym for the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. Campus Asia is a joint initiative by the education ministries of the three countries to allow shared university curricula and degrees.

of Myanmar, for a summit talk with Myanmar’s President Thein Sein. Since President Thein Sein took power late last year, Myanmar has taken considerable steps toward democracy after decades of military rule and has won international praise for its efforts. President Lee’s visit to Myanmar was the first by a South Korean President in 29 years since Chun Doohwan 1983 visit which was disrupted by an alleged North Korean assassination attempt. At the summit, the Myanmar leader agreed to free a North Korean defector detained for illegal border crossing and pledged to honor a UN Security Council resolution that bans any engagement with North Korea that could facilitate its nuclear and long-range missile programs. Lee promised to help Myanmar develop and modernize its economy by providing grants and loans and sharing South Korea’s economic development experience. Seoul will also help Myanmar establish a state economic research institute modeled after the Korea Development Institute. “(South Korea) is expected to contribute to the international efforts to support Myanmar’s reform and opening,” stated Cheong Wa Dae (the South Korean presidential office and residence also referred to as the Blue House) in a press release. Both parties also agreed to expand cooperation in energy and resources


n May 14, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited Naypyidaw, the capital

development and to improve cultural, sports, and personnel exchanges. President Lee also had a separate meeting with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has long been a symbol of Myanmar’s democracy movement. She had been placed under house arrest for much of the past two decades by Myanmar’s military rulers, who considered her a threat to their autocratic rule. After the meeting, President Lee voiced South Korea’s support for Suu Kyi’s campaign to promote human rights and democracy in Myanmar. “South Korea achieved both industrialization and more importantly, democratization, simultaneously,” said President Lee during a joint press conference with Suu Kyi in Yangon. “The people of South Korea take Myanmar very seriously and stand ready to lend a helping hand.” Cheong Wa Dae hopes the president’s visit will help further solidify bilateral relations between the two countries.
President Lee Myung-bak (left) talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein (right) during their meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

The three leaders agreed to begin official negotiations on a trilateral free trade agreement (FTA) by the end of 2012. The FTA, once implemented, will most likely add to Asia’s already considerable weight in the global economy. “South Korea, China, and Japan account for one-fifth of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and one-sixth of global trade,“ said President Lee. “Together, we have become a core economic power alongside North America and the European Union. The trilateral FTA talks will not only further the economic development of the three parties involved, but also help boost the global economy.” During the summit, the leaders also signed

40 korea june 2012




ou may not know StarCraft, but surely you must know who Lim Yo-hwan is,

This may at first not ring true. StarCraft is a real-time strategy video game that has captivated gamers around the world since its debut in the late 1990s. Lim, known as the Terran Emperor or BoxeR, is one of a number of professional gamers who has gained fame through the game. However, those who know of his tremendous feats and fame in the field of professional gaming are also well aware that the remark holds a great deal of truth. In his prime, numerous foreign fans came to Korea to watch him play. There were even people who called themselves “Lim Yo-hwan’s kids” and looked up to him as a role model. As a result, they jumped into the world of professional gaming with both feet. Lim is past his prime, but there are many South Korean professional gamers who follow in his footsteps and continue to enthrall gamers around the world. Among them are Hong Jinho (YellOw), Lee Yun-yeol (NaDa), Lee Junghoon (Marine King Prime), and Han Lee-seok (FnaticRC aLive), to name a few. Early this April, fans of competitive gaming from across the world flocked to Las Vegas with the same single aim of watching South Korean gamers compete in the StarCraft II IGN Pro League (IPL) 4 tournament and the finals of the 2012 Global StarCraft II Team League (GSTL). It was the first time for any
1 2

What is it about Korean professional gamers that game enthusiasts go so crazy for? The answer is their pure skills and strategies, which amaze, entertain, and thrill the spectators. Even when defeat seems inevitable and a player can be expected to type “gg,” which stands for “good game” and expresses that he is conceding, that player will in many cases stubbornly keep up the fight and turn the game around to clinch an incredible, come-from-behind victory. Such dramatic turnarounds are not uncommon in matches involving Korean professional gamers. Another question: What is the secret to their astute performance? The answer is South Korea’s social environment. It is especially conducive to professional game players. The country truly lives up to the moniker “Mecca of e-Sports.” Professional gaming teams can thrive in this country, and they sweep the honors at all sorts of e-sporting matches. DOMinAnT LEADEr in E-SPOrTS Last December, Busan, the city of Korea, attracted the attention of game lovers around the world. The port city hosted the 2011 World Cyber Games (WCG) Grand Finals, dubbed the e-Sports Olympics, the largest competition of its kind in the world. The 11th WCG was joined by over 600 players from 61 countries. “I enjoyed the fantastic matches,” said John Pauls from the US. “Korean gaming is never a bore; it is always fascinating.” Cheonan, a city in the province of Chungcheongnam-do, will host the IeSF 2012 World Championship in October this

1 The final battle of WCG had the entire world watching. 2 Lots of time and efforts are required to be a pro-gramer.

South Korean gaming league to be held in Las Vegas, the center of the sports universe. IGN, which is North America’s most representative entertainment media and service provider focused on video games, had reportedly asked GomTV of South Korea to hold the event in Las Vegas, testifying to the rising stature of South Korean gaming leagues and gamers. Fans around the world who watched the matches— online or offline—were all enthusiastic, boisterously cheering and chanting. Fans from more than 140 countries who could not be in Las Vegas watched the GSTL finals and the StarCraft II IPL 4 tournament on the Internet.

South Korea, the Mecca of e-Sports
The World Goes Wild Over Korea’s Electronic Sports Stars
South Korea is perhaps best known around the world as a leader in IT with the best Internet infrastructure. Yet, the country is increasingly becoming known among gamers as the Mecca of e-sports. by Lee Sang-won / photographs by Greetech, WCG

42 korea june 2012




to the early 2000s and were dubbed “Blueeyed Fighters.” They developed as professional gamers in South Korea and won many league competitions, and they, too, recommended South Korea as a country that professional gamers should visit, which is still very true even today. E-SPOrTS COnTinuES TO GrOW The South Korean government supports e-sports as a popular leisure-time activity in a number of ways. On December 13 last year, the government launched a council that seeks mutual development of both the gaming industry and


Grilled Minced Beef Patties
Tteokgalbi is a minced beef patty grilled over charcoal. Meat from the rib is minced and shaped into a square patty. It is then grilled over charcoal while occasionally brushed with a sauce made from soy sauce, minced garlic and onion, Asian pear juice, and ginger. Minced pork can be added to the ingredients to enhance the flavor and chewiness. The traditional way to make tteokgalbi is to reattach the marinated beef back onto the rib bone to present the look of the original rib, but these days, the beef patty is served without the bone. Tteokgalbi was made for the kings and queens of the Joseon court so they could gracefully enjoy beef ribs without having to hold their food with their fingers. It is a signature dish of the Damyang area in the province of Jeollanam-do, where restaurants serve tteokgalbi with bamboo shoots, the regional specialty. The key to well-made tteokgalbi is to retain the flavor and chewiness of the beef, with the sweet salty taste of soy sauce.
by Chung Da-young / photographs by Moon Duk-gwan food and style by Kim Young-bin with assistance from Noh Shin-young

e-sports. The council involves the government, e-sports groups, the gaming industry, the media, and academia. Before then, business alone had led the e-sports industry, but now the public and private sectors and academia have all joined hands to push the country’s e-sports culture to the next level. On the 30th of the same month, the National Assembly of South Korea enacted legislation for the promotion of e-sports to lay a foundation for the e-sports culture and industry and help raise their competitiveness. Now that the act has passed the floor of the National Assembly, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism will devise medium and long-term plans to advance e-sports and will formulate annual action plans for each area in order to support e-sports more systematically. The act mandates the ministry to develop human resources for the promotion of e-sports and designate training institutes. It also enables the government to fund organizations such as the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) and carry out overseas PR campaigns to spur international exchange and Korean businesses’ forays into foreign markets. President Kim Jun-ho of the Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA) says, “Related agencies’ efforts should be coupled with government support for the development of e-sports.” He and other experts see the act as paving the way for the rebirth of the e-sports industry, and express their high expectations for the outcome with the government’s full support.

year. The event is held by the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF), which has 33 member countries including China, the US, the UK, and Germany. What is striking about
2 1 A scene from the popular StarCraft II game. 2 Lee Jung-hoon holds the team flag after winning at the GSTL finals in Las Vegas.

these two events is that the leading country is not the US is well established, but the

or another advanced country where the gaming industry small country of South Korea. StarCraft (which reshaped global villagers’ perception of video games), Angry Birds (which is the most popular mobile game), and other games that enjoy global popularity including World of Warcraft (WoW), Diablo, Winning Eleven, and League of Legends were all developed in advanced countries such as the US and Japan. However, it was the Koreans who enjoyed them the most and created a whole new culture out of them, making South Korea the Mecca of e-sports. “Do you want to become a pro-gamer? South Korea is naturally the best place to cut your teeth in the field. The country is a veritable e-sports Holy Land.” So said Krzysztof Nalepka (Draco) from Poland when he took his first step in South Korea as a professional gamer in 2006. Guillaume Patry (Grrrr…) from Canada and Bertrand Grospellier (ElkY) from France ruled the world of StarCraft from the late 1990s

44 korea june 2012



Sharing the Unforgettable taSte
Daniel Gray, a true foodie, talks about his love for Hansik and how he shares his passion with foreigners through his company’s food tours. by Daniel Gray / illustrations by Pang Sena

our love for Korean food was innate; that it was built into our DNA. My guest was adopted when he was 3 years old and the primary cook was his German-Polish mother. He said, “the food was bland and heavy. I later made friends with Asians in the hopes that I would get to eat what they ate.” I think I did the same, but where I grew up there weren’t many other Asians. I was adopted when I was 5 years old and my American mother served up hearty fare with extra servings of meat and potatoes and big glasses of whole milk. I was picky at first, but adjusted mentally to the food, even though my body didn’t seem to want to. I was often woozy, bloated, and nauseous. My body was just not used to the butter, the dairy, and the amount of meat. Instead of making me tall, it grew me quite round. Back in the 80s, Chinese food started to become popular and I asked for it all the time. I would ask for extra portions of white rice because I would eat them as a snack later. In Boy Scouts, there was another Korean boy and we quickly became friends and soon I was over at his house enjoying Korean food. My friend, he was my gateway to Korean food. I soon found out where the Korean grocery stores were


conversation that I was having last night with a fellow Korean adoptee was that

and I would buy all manner of sauces, snacks, noodles, rice, and kimchi as an eight-year-old. I would then look at the containers of chili pastes, soy sauce, vinegars, and shelves of meats and vegetables and tried to re-imagine the food into being. This wasn’t successful. My early experiments with Korean foods were essentially inedible. My simple go-to Korean meal would be kimchi, roasted seaweed laver, and Korean rice. This I could cook, and it was my (and later my sisters’) go-to snack after school. MY FirST HAnSiK I would have Korean food again periodically, but I didn’t taste real Korean food until I arrived in Gyeongju, South Korea in 2005. I arrived late at night so I didn’t have my first meal til the morning. I woke up at 6 a.m. thinking that I would be able to get some sort of breakfast like at a diner in the United States. Almost every restaurant was closed except for one and it had a couple of older gentlemen drunk on soju and still drinking at 7 a.m. Since nothing else was opened, I sat there and looked into my Korean phrasebook and asked for a menu. The lady there looked at me as if I was crazy. I made a motion like I was spooning something into my mouth and she just left. The two older men, looked at me and yelled something. I just sat

46 korea june 2012



ExCiTinG, rOBuST, AnD SOCiAL Food and alcohol is one of the most intimate, legally enjoyable activities tourists can do while traveling. Our food tour experiences take tourists to local restaurants and explain Korean food culture, explaining the process of eating and giving insight into the history and the culture. It is essentially hosting an entertaining dinner out. Travelers to Korea find the food here to be exciting, robust in flavor, and social. During one of our night dining tours one guest said in a joking manner, “Korean food is extreme cuisine!” Soon this became the catchphrase for the night. There is some truth to the comment. Where else do you get hot coals set at the middle and felt lost. Minutes later, a portable burner filled with bones and hot soup appeared before me. She also laid out an assortment of kimchi, some raw garlic and peppers, and a mysterious red paste. The woman turned the burner on and I looked into my Korean phrasebook and said, “kamsahamnida (thank you).” I waited for awhile. The older gentlemen were drinking and talking with the lady. The soup kept bubbling away. Since there was a stove and raw garlic and chili I thought I was supposed to cook my own food. I added the garlic, chili, kimchi, and red paste to the soup. I found some peppers on the table and added them as well. I took out the pork bones and pulled off the meat and added it to the soup again. I tasted periodically (it tasted very hot and strange) and later turned off the soup and enjoyed it with rice. (And received many strange looks from the Koreans while doing it).
Daniel Gray is a Korean adoptee who returned to Korean in 2005 because he wanted to find his birth mother and to learn about Korean culture. He started a restaurant review blog in 2007, www.seouleats.com, which became a local and international hit. He now is Marketing Director of O’ngo Food Communications which is a culinary tourism and consulting company that offers Korean cooking classes and restaurant tours to travelers.

of your table, bubbling soups, meat wrapped with raw vegetables and leaves, and you get an array of many different fermented and cooked vegetables? It is a bit extreme. Having done the food tours for over two years, we have met all manner of travelers. Almost every one of them has been a pleasure to show around. Now, when you have many mixed groups from all over the world, there are bound to be some cultural miscommunications. At a jjimdak restaurant (braised chicken) they serve little cups of chilled turnip soup before the meal. While other guests were waiting for the food, there were a few guests once that used the soup to wash their hands! I now explain what the soup is as soon as guests sit down. Floor seating is sometimes difficult for westerners, so when this happens we often stack 20 cushions or so on the floor and let guests sit on them. This gets a few odd looks from Korean diners and I once had a Korean table call our guest, “wang (king).” This garnered quite a few laughs at our table and we soon were having drinks with them. It’s usually when the locals see foreigners enjoying the food and drink that they start interacting with them. Koreans are naturally social. On one food tour, we had our group of 12 and a table of 8 Koreans all singing “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond while drinking rice wine. That was an unforgettable food tour.

Korean food is mysterious and difficult to approach. I mean how was I supposed to know that I was to eat the garlic and chilies raw dipped in the red paste, the kimchi was to be eaten with the meal, and that the soup was a hangover cure. I think having learned the hard way by eating Korean food and understanding both cultures is what has helped me work at the food tour and cooking school company, O’ngo Food Communications.

48 korea june 2012

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