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october 2012 Vol.8 no.10
Korean Literature Reaches Out to A Wider Audience
Key Themes in Korean Literature book Recommendations by four Ambassadors to Korea
12 Pen & brush a maestro in Korean oriental painting Song Soo-nam
16 People help Forest the World Dr. mun heung-kyu
20 Great Korean Cartographer Kim Jeong-ho
22 Seoul myeongdong Seoul’s #1 Shopping District
26 Travel Colored in autumn beauty Chungjuho Lake
30 festival CIoFF® World Folkloriada 2012 in anseong
32 Now in Korea K-pop Dance and music Classes for overseas Visitors
34 Sports a Legendary handball Scorer Yoon Kyung-shin
36 Special Issue the 2012 Korea Festival in brazil
38 Global Korea Cultural partnership Initiative
National Foundation Day of Korea
October 3 is the day when Koreans celebrate the foundation of Gojoseon, the first state of the Korean
Peninsula. Gojoseon was founded by Dangun on October 3 by the lunar calendar in 2333 BCE. The Korean name of this day is Gaecheonjeol, which literally means “the day when the heavens opened.” According to myth, Hwanung, son of Supreme Deity Hwanin, came down to Earth and founded Sinsi, the City of God, at the top of Mt. Baekdusan. Hwanung begat a son and named him Dangun, who became the progenitor Sinsi, the first human settlement, which was destined to become Gojoseon.
40 Summit Diplomacy South Korean Leader Visits the arctic Region
42 Entertainment the Globe’s Gone with “Gangnam Style” pSY
45 flavor Sogeum Gui Salt-Grilled Shellfish
46 My Korea Rules of Love
49 Learn Korean I think he dances well.
of the Korean nation. Originally, gaecheon (opening of heavens) symbolically referred to the foundation of The Republic of Korea promulgated the Act on National Holidays on October 1, 1949, stipulating that
publisher Woo Jin-Yung, Korean Culture and Information Service editing the booK CompanY e-mail email@example.com 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.
Cover Chaekgado045P Archival Pigment Print 120cm×100cm 2010 Soosik Lim
National Foundation Day shall be commemorated on October 3 by the solar calendar. Koreans refer to the year’s Gaecheonjeol is the 4344th.
era starting with Dangun’s ascension to the throne as Dangi. So, this year, 2012 CE, is 4345 Dangi, and this On Gaecheonjeol, households and public offices hoist the Taegeukgi, the national flag of the Republic of God of Heaven, is held at the summits of Mt. Manisan and Mt. Taebaeksan.
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.
Korea, while the government holds a ceremony. In addition, Cheonje, a ritual of worship for Cheonsin, the
Korean Literature Reaches Out to A Wider Audience
The turbulent history of the last century and the rapid road to modernization sculpted the unique characteristics of modern Korean literature which is depicted by three distinct themes: ‘history and memory’, ‘family’, and ‘love’. These themes are universal in other literary traditions worldwide, but within Korean literature they are the values that reflect the innate sentiments of the Korean people and the phases of society. KOREA will guide you through the sentiments and ideology of Korean literature with notable works by Korean writers that represent each theme.
Collaboration between Korean Culture and Information Service and Literature Translation Institute of Korea / photographs by Lee Jin-ja
Korean Literature: Unique but Universal
they have only recently emerged as issues worthy of concrete and practical discussions. In the
lthough such terms as ‘Korean literature in the world,’ ‘Korean literature as world
literature’, and ‘Globalizing Korean literature’ have been in existence for some time,
twentieth-century’s quest for modernity, Korean literature welcomed a variety of stimulations
and influences from diverse literary traditions in the West. Twentieth-century Korean literature the realm of modernity induced by the shock of Western literature. Korean literature of today rejects categorization as unfamiliar works from one particular corner of East Asia, but keenly seeks to communicate with a wider audience worldwide.
depicts a dramatic conflict between the legacy of Korean traditional literature and ventures into
and its significance in terms of national identity, it is crucial to note three overriding themes found across the works of Korean writers from the previous century: ‘history and memory’, ‘family’, and ‘love.’
In order to understand the ongoing globalization of Korean literature
These thematic concerns served as a vehicle for transporting Korean modern literature from the domain of traditions to can be found in most other literary traditions, have been distinctively illustrated within the sphere of twentiethcentury Korean society, and thus reveal more about modernism and postmodernism. The three themes, which
both the universality and the distinctiveness of Korean literature than any other matter. Literary expressions through exploring ‘history and memory.’ ‘Family’, as the smallest unit of community, successfully encapsulates Korea’s dynamic social changes. In addition, readers witness that ‘love’ has been a and tribulations of Korean modern society. unique central emotion in the midst of all the trials of Korea’s turbulent history have been made possible
their efforts to give voice to many universal
In the future, Korean writers will continue
concerns of human existence, thereby further in the global literary firmament.
affirming the rightful place of Korean literature
2 korea october 2012
Key Themes in Korean Literature
HISTORY AND MEMORY
now this act has gone further, enabling people to enjoy the inventions of writing itself. While some novels redeem history, some parts of history serve as great fiction.
now? Yi Mun-yol's The Heroic Age (Minumsa, 1984) recounts the contemporary and modern history of Korea, including the Korean War, our most gruesome historical tragedy. In What kinds of historical novels have Koreans read up till fiction is appropriate. How can one reproduce individual, rather than collective, memories? A Skate Fish opens with a somewhat dreamy atmosphere of
What History Has Forgotten, Novels Have Remembered
by Cho Yeon-jung
snow falling on a mountain village, focusing on the extremely confined space of a house with just a mother and son. Historical background is irrelevant in this cramped space,
historical events, however, it does not have to do so in a heavy and sober fashion. In some cases, historical fiction can be a literary detour or kind of laboratory. While surveying the
s novels redeem the past, they gain the ability to save
where time itself appears to have stopped. The characters in the temporal and spatial background, characters, and
our present as well as our future. When fiction evokes
the story wait endlessly for someone to arrive. Kim simplified narrative events so he could focus in detail on the individual psychology of longing. The epic narrative known as history inevitably confuses chronological relationships with causal ones, leading to cases in which falsehoods are accepted as truths. At the same time, history makes the mistake
those pages, he gave voice to the fallen many. The tragedy of by neither the U.S. nor the Soviet Union, but by the mirage of ideology. In this novel, Dong-young, a strict adherent to socialist realism, sacrifices his widowed mother, wife, and and who are the victims? At the end of the novel, Dong-
the fratricidal war befell the stateless and was brought about
rather short history of Korean fiction, one discovers the wellknown fact that during chaotic periods in Korean history, many authors began writing historical novels. Although
some historical fiction used the past as a medium for opining on the future direction of the present day, other works chose historical eras far removed from the present to avoid conflict with dominant ideologies. Writing
four children to his lofty ideals. But who are the perpetrators, young becomes enamored with the idea of death while his wife Jung-in falls into another notion known as religion. They are all just victims of ideology.
of erasing personal, fragmentary, and sensory memories
from our collective remembrance. The stories of the humble such an epic version of history.
history anew had been a way to reveal the fallacies of memory, but
characters in Kim Joo-young's novels were written to combat What are historical novels? In the novels we've looked at,
1 Le piquet de ma mère, Park Wan-suh, Actes Sud, 1993 2 Please Look After Mom, Shin Kyung-sook, Knopf, 2011 3 Run, Pop, Run!, Kim Ae-ran, Changbi Publishers, Inc. 2005, 268p, ISBN 9788936436902 4 Das Haus am tiefen Hof, Kim Won-il, Iudicium, 2000
a tragedy that ultimately caused people to cease being human on their own accord. More accurately, human history is one of humans sacrificed to ideology. Throughout all of human
Yi Mun-yol's The Heroic Age shows that the Korean War was
while historical fiction sheds new light on past events, in the end they illuminate the relationship between remembrance of novels themselves. and forgetting, the meaning of human existence, and the role
history, there has been but one hero: the illusion of ideology
itself. In his youth, author Yi Mun-yol considered the Korean War to be the most visible example of humans sacrificed to doing so, the author perhaps dreamed about an age when humans, not ideology, would become the real heroes. Kim Joo-young's autobiographical novels including A ideology, and decided to write a novel about this period. While
new one, and saying goodbye to each member as we grow older and die. The coining of the term, “single-person family” is a testament to how quickly the concept of family is changing today. As the institution of family begins to shrink and disintegrate, people develop and yearn for increasingly it appears as though the family is disintegrating, family is still the most basic building block of society, as well as a source of literature from which literature is born. romantic and idealistic conceptions of happy families. While
The Decline of the Patriarch, the Rise of the Matriarch
by Jung Yeo-ul
Skate Fish (Munidang, 1998) and Anchovy (Munidang, 2002),
are concerned with a boy's recollection of simple individuals far removed from the grand narratives of history. These two novels contain accounts of a wife awaiting to meet his missing sister and mother. The author himself says he wrote these novels her husband's return, and a boy who longs
their core. A mother’s worldview and the values she instills in her children play a defining role in a child’s life. What is the image that comes to mind when we think of mothers? one who will sacrifice everything for me. We have been
think it is no coincidence that the most notable Korean
novels on the theme of family have the mother narrative at
One who protects me, one who will stand by me to the end, harboring so many selfish prejudices and unjust fantasies of what a mother should be. People often forget that a mother is also a woman, a human being, someone’s daughter, and reciprocal relationships in this world by expecting to take and not give back in mother-child relationships. Our lives consist of being born into a family, creating a
Park Wan-suh’s Mom’s Stake is set in the distant past when people bought into the idea that anyone who tries can succeed. We see a mother who sees her child’s success as her own success. The mother, who received no education herself dreams come true through her daughter. This novel depicts an uncanny portrait of motherhood as a symbol of control and lost her son in the war, seeks to vicariously make all her
from reflections on his childhood, so calling
them personal rather than collective historical
1 Le chant du sabre, Kim Hoon, Gallimard, 2006 2 Sardellen, Kim Joo-young, Peperkorn, 2007 3 The Heroic Age (2 Volumes), Yi Mun-yol, Minumsa Publishing Group, 1984, 386p, ISBN 8937400359 (Vol. 1) 4 洪魚 , Kim Joo-young, 上海译文出版社, 2008 5 Les Romans Meurtriers, Kim Takhwan, Éditions Philippe Picquier, 2010
someone’s wife. People tend to seek relief from the duties of
and oppression and well of frustrated dreams. The maternal instinct rears its head in the worst form as the mother forces her daughter to be an educated woman and marry a rich
4 korea october 2012
One of Park Wan-suh’s talents is her stark uncovering of the unexpected yet fatal wounds and filthy desires hiding behind the happy façade of the middle-class family. The ugly selfishness and materialistic desires lurking behind the perfect housewife façade keeps the tension taut in Park’s novels, which always revolve around the mother figure. Park seems to be gifted in depicting
her ambivalent feelings toward her mother who grew up too soon in the throes of war and then lost her husband and son grandmother was much longer than her life as a free, young lady. Mom’s Stake is a story of a daughter who belatedly only a mother can understand. to yet another war. Her life as a lonely widowed mother and
new desires and anxieties to her life. The romance of love is gone, but love remains a subconscious desire. Ha-suk’s subconscious desire is that love will be her most basic salvation or destiny.
Reinventing Romantic Love
by Kim Dongshik
understands her mother by enduring the same pains, which
one best-selling Korean novel of the past decade. A story
Shin Kyung-sook’s Please Look After Mom is the number
modernism. An affirmation of individual freedom, along with romantic love, was more widely recognized, and a new order was built on the freedom of sentiments. People started to yearn for purely romantic relationships based on emotional connections, rather than class, power, or other external factors, and in the process a new theory of subjectivity called “affective individualism” emerged, giving rise to the passionate romance -> marriage -> home sweet home model. After romantic love, individual lives became open projects that allowed room for new desires and new anxieties, and love became a fateful process of enchantment on the way to a complete life.
A Gift from a Bird is Eun Hee-kyung’s first novel. In this
omantic love was a new freedom that emerged with
of Volkswagen’s new Beetle in the 90s symbolizes all the aspirations of Yuri, the protagonist. She desires money,
Jung Yi-hyun’s Romantic Love and Society. The introduction
“I don’t wear lace panties.” This is the first sentence in
fame, and style in life, but all she really has is her body— her virginity, to be exact. Laceless panties represent and allows them her hands, a kiss, or her breasts, virginity in this story. She meets various men
currency. But no one gets into her panties. She finally meets
depending on their status. She uses her sexuality like
the man of her dreams, and they agree to buy her social
status with her virginity. But for some reason, she does not bleed. The man gives her a Louis Vuitton bag and leaves the hotel, and she comes home wondering whether the bag is a fake.
about a mother who disappears one day after a lifetime of sacrificing herself to keep the family together, Please Look the issue of defining “family” on the table. Lately, Korea has seen an increase in the number of people who wage After Mom created a “Mother Syndrome” in Korea and put
book, Eun offers a scrupulous portrayal of Korean lives
the title to Romantic Love and Society. Yuri strategically plans
1 鸟的礼物 , Eun Hee-kyung, 人民文学出版社, 2007 2 Romantic Love and Society, Jung Yi-hyun, Moonji Publishing Co., Ltd. 2003, 251p, ISBN 9788932014487 3 Voleur d’oeufs, Yun Dae-nyong, L’Harmattan, 2003
The message of the novel becomes clearer if you change
and customs in the 1960s when Korea first entered the era
to satisfy her desires born of capitalism by taking advantage of the male-centered society. For Yuri, love is a process of cashing in her physical capital. Without capital to maintain on a purely sentimental relationship that is not swayed by of romantic love and its perfectly happy ending is made and at the same time re-romanticized by capital.
of industrialization. The novel opens with the scene where landing was a great scientific accomplishment, but it was
lonely battles to protect themselves as the societal safety
people are watching the moon landing in 1969. The first moon also the end of mystified and romantic notions of the moon.
it, the romanticism of love falls apart. Romantic love is based factors such as money. But Yuri is aware that the continuation possible through capital support. Love is de-romanticized
net begins to disintegrate. Welfare has taken a turn for the
worse, and a general anxiety that “no one is looking out for us” continues to rise. Fathers, to make matters worse, have proven unable to overcome obstacles in the face of various subconscious message that “mothers are our only hope.”
The romantic belief that a rabbit sits under the laurel tree on
the moon was shattered when man landed on the moon and
his memory. He happens to meet a woman of short stature named Seo Ha-suk who spends all day on the computer and moves in with her. Ha-suk recommends a memory
financial crises in recent decades, further disseminating the Though Please Look After Mom is a controversial novel that
discovered that it was a just a dry, rabbit-less, desolate place. moon.
Love in Eun’s novel is not very different from the demystified The protagonist is a nice, average, 12-year-old named
transplant method for him that connects information by dots, resembling the movement of beetles. Seong-ho gets a memory transplant from a man named Yi Myeong-gu and as proof, he gets a beetle tattoo on his shoulder. Seong-ho is increasingly overcome with the desire to murder Cha Su-jeong, Myeongwanting to kill Su-jeong for being unfaithful. Later, SeongSu-jeong’s memory.
draws a moving picture of a sad, unsettling neo-matriarchal society, some pointed out that Please Look After Mom failed to break free from a hyper-mythologized and sanctified idea of motherhood. If everyone turns to mothers for help, whom should mothers turn to? Please Look After Mom reminds us of the fact that a woman who has spent her life sacrificing
Jinhee who believes: “I don’t have to grow past the age of
12.” For the adolescent girl, life is just a joke. Why does she wounds inflicted by her mother’s suicide and her father’s
not feel the need to grow? Beneath Jinhee’s cool exterior are absence. For Jinhee, life is just a succession of scars. If love is a part of life, romantic expectations will also someday become a scar. For her, romantic expectations of love are as clichéd as They’re not married, and they don’t have children together. Jinhee does not see love as an object of desire or a fate she coincidence, humor, and cynicism. has to follow. It is nothing more than a show that involves Yun Dae-nyong’s Beetle Woman is about love in the
gu’s ex-lover. Seong-ho had received Myeong-gu’s memory of ho finds a beetle tattoo on Ha-suk’s shoulder. She had bought
herself for the family has another life we do not know about, and that mothers also need mothers and someone’s tender, loving care. Even the most ardent critics of the traditional idea of motherhood confess that they read Please Look After
romanticized and de-romanticized. Love is fate, salvation, other faces of love. We live in a time when novels about
If novels in the past functioned as a generalized medium of romantic love, novels today are mediums of de-romanticized love. On the one hand, we are continually inundated by TV shows that affirm and reaffirm the myth of romantic love and on the other hand, disillusioned by novels that speak of the impossibility of love in contemporary society. Love is constantly re-
life is boring. As an adult, Jinhee lives with her uncle’s friend.
salvation and fate. Why did Ha-suk buy Su-jeong’s
In Yun Dae-nyong’s novel, love takes the form of
a big joke, and a means of exchange. There are likely many disenchanted relationships are as pedestrian as ones that
Mom with a tissue in hand. The mother is still very much a
memory when it could have killed her? What she bought of love, which gives Ha-suk the sense of assurance that
figure of pathos and the only one we can count on in a world where no one is to be trusted. Please Look After Mom is one of the best novels of the 21st century to explore the limits and possibilities of the Korean family.
wasn’t simply Su-jeong’s memory but also the possibility she has a destiny. She’s already too jaded to believe that
insist romance is alive. The symbolic chaos associated with love in itself reflects contemporary society. But one thing is sure: humans are incapable of living a life devoid of romantic entanglements. As long as novels continue to reflect human the novel. beings, the subject of love will continue to be fundamental to
information and digital era. Yi Seong-ho wakes up at a
subway station on Christmas Eve and realizes that he has lost
love can be a fateful process of enchantment that brings
one’s life to perfection, but the possibility of love will add
6 korea october 2012
Book Recommendations by Four Ambassadors to Korea
Ambassadors from Germany, Sweden, and the Czech Republic to Korea share their favorite literature from Korea and their native countries to our readers.
DR. HAns-ULRicH seiDT, FORmeR AmBAssADOR OF GeRmAny
A book on Korea I recommend to Germans – and restraining him and dampening his energy.
Der Yalu fließt – eine Jugend in Korea by Li Mirok
The Guest by Hwang Sok-yong
mR. LARs DAnieLssOn, AmBAssADOR OF sWeDen
What is it that makes a book worth reading and being translated? that question is The answer to fanaticism and extremism. In the book, Hwang
A very telling episode in his book depicts the persecution, makes him flee Korea and tells him: “You are not faint-hearted. You were just
others in Europe – is Der Yalu fließt – eine Jugend in Korea
moment his mother, concerned about Japanese
describes what happens when Christianity and Communism are used as pretexts for atrocities. Even though many people sympathize with these very different concepts (more so with the former than the latter), their core message can be distorted and used in dangerous ways.
Youth in Korea) by Li Mirok. Li Mirok, often cited as the single most important mediator between Korea and Germany (and, in a broader sense, in what is today North Korea. He had to flee
(The Yalu Flows – A
frequently disheartened, but you have remained faithful to your way. I have great confidence in you.”
individual. We all have different requirements
of course highly
and expectations when it comes to what we like which gives me a new perspective, a new
between East Asia and Europe) was born in 1899 the country in 1919 after having participated in a student demonstration against the Japanese occupation. He fled across Yalu River to China and arrived in Germany in 1920 on a Chinese passport. He passed away the Korean War broke out and without ever having seen his home country again.
often small events in Korea, but this is less of
In this book Li Mirok describes life and
to read. But for me, good literature is something thought but also something which challenges me and deals with important aspects of our societies, preferably from a critical point of view. Hwang Sok-yong is a writer who produces
old truth that rulers always want to control how history is written. “Seek the truth from facts” was uttered by Deng Xiaoping
Hwang Sok-yong also elaborates on the age
an autobiography and much more of “a youth manner and through the eyes of a young boy gradually approaching adulthood.
in Korea” that depicts realities in an exemplary
in a completely different context but it also me with The Guest is the very
applies to Hwang’s work. What also impresses consistent language and format.
in March 1950, only a few months before
20th century, but also a key to understanding and society as a whole. It is not only a most
It is not only a grand literary work of the
work that satisfies all these criteria. His book The Old Garden has just been translated and published in Swedish with great success, but my own language is The Guest (Sonnim).
Hwang’s twelve chapter novel is
modeled after an exorcist ritual of Hwanghae-do Province of North present and past in a sometimes a very clear purpose and with a in its composition. Korea. The author travels between dizzying way, but he does so with language that is almost meticulous
Korea and – beyond that – Far-Eastern culture enlightening book about Korea for foreigners, in Korea to which these times appear all-
the work that I would love to see translated into
character, full of empathy for the needs did not use his real name – Eui-kyeong – often as a poet, but rather Mirok, Buddhist benefactor, Bodhisattva Maitreya. the Korean name of the most popular
Li Mirok had a tremendously subtle
but also an eye-opener for the young generation too distant. Li Mirok mastered the German book in German.
and feelings of others. It is telling that he
story. It portrays a dark chapter in Korean
The Guest is in many ways a very somber
language so perfectly that he actually wrote this
history, one of the many atrocities that were
committed during the Korean War. The overall message I read in the book is: We must strive must deal with our history first. for reconciliation but in order to achieve that we
languages, including Korean, and can be found the German-Korean Society in Germany and the Korean-German Society in Korea jointly
This book has been translated in many
deemed controversial by many in
I know that Hwang Sok-yong is
Korea. That is good. Great authors
fact that he always longed for his
There is a certain tragedy in the
in bookshops easily. To commemorate Li Mirok,
The Guest is a very Korean book, dealing
This is a universal message. Even though
should be controversial, they should and reflect. I hope that a Swedish
annoy us – thereby making us think audience soon will be able to read great authorship.
home country but could not muster
the courage to return, his poor health
honour eminent personalities by awarding the Li Mirok Prize for outstanding achievements.
with specifics of Korean history, tradition
and culture, it also transcends borders. It also
contains a very strong warning of the dangers of
in Swedish this important work of a
8 korea october 2012
The Seven Churches (Sedmikostelí) by Miloš Urban
mR. JAROsLAv OLšA, JR., AmBAssADOR OF THe czecH RepUBLic
displayed in public in the ghastliest fashion
mR. HOcine sAHARAOUi, AmBAssADOR OF ALGeRiA
reading in their French translation, Shin Kyungsook and her novel Li Chin, Kim Hoon and his novel Le Chant du Sabre (Song of the Sword), or vendue (Sim Cheong, the way of the Lotus). Hwang Sok-yong and his book Sim Cheong, fille
imaginable. An ex-police officer will work with a billionaire obsessed with the history of the city and his cohorts to reveal the truth. In front To Koreans, the Czech capital Prague is one of Prague comes to life in the seven churches,
of the readers’ eyes the distant past of medieval while the not-so-distant past of the Communist days which ended in 1989 are being killed off in a political conspiracy. And of course there police officer.
the best known European cities and perhaps the most famous among the Central European ones. For years KoreanAir has been flying to Prague Koreans visit my country every year, many you haven’t been there you may remember and taking advantage of this, more than 100,000 of them with a book in their pockets. Even if the beautiful – albeit not too realistic – view of the city from the 2005 drama Lovers in Prague starring Jeon Do-yeon. Many Koreans thus romance, and love in their minds.
What are your impressions of the Korean
people in general? Are you enjoying Korean make it attractive in your opinion?
popular culture? What aspects of the country
you of pericles of ancient Athens during a
you mentioned that King sejong reminds
is a beautiful woman, but too bad she is also a
recent conversation with Director Woo Jin-
young. can you elaborate more on what made you think so? How did you get to know about King sejong?
far different from that in Lovers in Prague or Jan in Korean. It has mystery and intrigue, and
It is a unique story. It gives an image that is
in a number of foreign countries and, believe
In my long career as a diplomat, I have resided
it or not, it is in your country that I felt most at ease. The reason is simple; I feel like I’m in my place. When I was very young, my grandfather, had taught me quite a number of moral values or behaviors that I thought were only proper in Algerian society, before coming to Korea.
Neruda´s Tales of Malá Strana recently published an unusual kind of true love for the city and its history. It presents the magnificent but at is a real master of modern gothic literature. times fearsome Prague. Its author, Miloš Urban After graduating with a degree in languages,
have an image of Prague as the city of beauty,
a peasant from a mountainous region of Algeria,
place I visited was the palace of King Sejong the Great, simply as it is situated near the residence of Algeria. I was immediately captivated by this character and began to know him more
When I arrived in Korea, the first touristic
towers, castles and churches dating back from stories of the people and their lives. And
But Prague is also a city of history. The
Respect for elders, respect for the spoken word, in the family and so many other aspects. All this, I found here to my great surprise.
by reading several writings dedicated to him. adjective “the Great” has been attached to his
the medieval times will attest to the interesting there is a book that will lay out these stories, in the most fascinating way.
he became a book editor at the age of 25. Now, black knight of Czech literature”.
and full respect for the mother and her key role
Throughout my reading, I understood why the name. I actually found another Pericles under bordering the Mediterranean, the Greek
with six novels to his credit, he is praised as “the
the Asian skies. For me, coming from a country king Pericles was a reference when it came to
intertwining the past and the present of Prague
take you to the streets of Prague. It will show you the gloomy sky of the city in November and the
The Seven Churches by Miloš Urban will
has been translated into a dozen languages, as it is a great book when you want to go beyond the clichés of the typical tourist guidebooks and travelogues. It is a chance to see Prague from Find out the intricacies of the majestic city. And get a good thrill in addition.
It is not a surprise that The Seven Churches
any publications or writers you would like to recommend to Korean readers? And are there any Korean literature or writers that you would encourage Algerians to read?
i heard that you write poetry. Are there
speaking of a wise king and innovator who led his people to greater progress, and here I was discovering another who has done as well, if
not more, in the person of King
Sejong. From this point of view, I consider that King Sejong would gain fame worldwide for his
magnificence of medieval churches under it. And it will hit you with murder and mayhem. You could walk through the city´s lanes
a different and distorted angle.
readers read these two Algerian
I would recommend Korean
countless accomplishments as the not solely as a Korean king, but common heritage of humanity, just as his alter-ego Pericles.
authors, among all. Kateb Yacine
fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty, as a character who belongs to the
trying to solve the author´s puzzle as architects around the city are being attacked, murdered, and
and his book entitled Nedjma, in
particular, and the lifetime oeuvre by Yasmina Khadra. For Algerian Korean authors that I enjoyed readers, I would recommend some
10 korea october 2012
PEN & BRUSH
A Maestro in Korean Oriental Painting
The curt and blunt remarks he raps out feel strangely warm and humorous. Painter Song Soo-nam reinterprets the spirit of Oriental painting. The tip of his brush moves freely, and he left behind his life in Seoul to satisfy his passion for painting in his hometown.
by Im Sang-beom / photographs by Lee Min-hee
Flowers (130 x 162 cm2, 2010) is full of flowers in acrylic on canvas.
ong Soo-nam is a representative Korean painter. His artistic career has been rich
in 1995, a first for any Korean painter. He has had more than 20 solo exhibitions abroad and participated in group exhibitions at such and the São Paulo Art Biennial. SETTING A NEW TONE
in that he started with ink wash painting but moved on to abstract ink wash painting and acrylic painting. Song has also authored books. The many changes in his painting style over mind never rests, and he refuses to remain made Song Soo-nam what he is today. time bear witness to his experimentalism. His stagnant. It is this unfailing curiosity that has Song was born in 1938 in Jeonju, a city
biennales as the Tokyo International Biennale
FOR KOREAN ORIENTAL PAINTING
In the 1960s and 1970s, Song painted landscapes that only existed in his mind. In the 1980s, painting style. Song was then a professor he attempted to create a modern landscape at Hongik University where he initiated a When the Swedish National Museum of
famous for its countless great artists throughout Korean history. He entered the Department of Occidental Painting at Hongik University, but he moved to the Department of Oriental Painting “There was no special realization that after concluding his mandatory military service. motivated the move,” says the old painter. “I simply wanted to do so. In retrospect, Occidental and Oriental painting are the same in that they are plastic art. The only difference between them is the materials they use.” He is not only known in Korea. In 1975, the
movement for contemporary ink water painting. Oriental Art invited him for a solo exhibition, trapped in authoritarianism and had been
he realized that Korean Oriental painting was reduced to mere decoration, and that Korean of today and tomorrow. This enlightenment went on for more than a decade.
ink wash painting should go the Korean way motivated him to initiate the movement, which
In cooperation with Galerie Gaia
National Museum of Oriental Art in Stockholm, Sweden invited him for an Oriental painting exhibition. In 1981, the Brooklyn Museum in
mainly depict ideal worlds in black and white, while the Japanese usually create colored paintings,” explains Song. “I wanted to discover what is unique to Korean Oriental paintings. People began to call the activities I stirred
“With the same Oriental ink, the Chinese
New York invited him for an ink wash painting exhibition. His painting on porcelain entitled Waterfall was exhibited at the British Museum
12 korea october 2012
PEN & BRUSH
up an ink wash painting movement. Well,
I think the term hangukhwa (literally means Korean paintings, but in actuality refers to Korean Oriental paintings much of the time) is a painting to depict the spirit and emotions of of whatever material he or she uses.”
somewhat strange, but I think if a Korean paints Koreans, the painting is a hangukhwa regardless His efforts started to bear fruit with an
exhibition of contemporary Korean ink wash of Contemporary Art, Korea, in 1981. The
paintings organized by the National Museum exhibition was unique in that it was a large
exhibition for a single group of Korean artists. In 1990, Song became fascinated with straight lines, a sign of a new change in his style. Ideas rather than actual landscapes emerged on the paper. In his painting series, Brush Stroking, Song’s brush freely swims on Hanji (Korean
traditional paper). Thick lines, thin lines, long lines, short lines, dark lines, light lines, those lines are created when his brush and ink,
a stupid question when it meets his eyes, which are no different from those of a young man. For it does not matter whether he uses black ink or colorful acrylic paints. Song Soo-nam may have simply clung to an artist who fills a canvas as his heart requires,
paintings (lit. paintings by literary artists). They are different. I believe there should be a book expounding upon the differences.” He is respected as a great leader among
inspiration, and fleeting moments are all united and express the spirit of scholars of the Joseon incursions for half a millennium. FLOWERS BLOOMING Dynasty (1392-1910), which repelled numerous
Korean artists, but he always says that he will work harder. What a fitting remark for an artist who has constantly experimented
his frank instinct as an artist. His studio is
full of flower paintings. One can almost smell youthful passion of this old painter. A WRITING PAINTER
IN THE HEART OF AN OLD PAINTER
floral scents. Perhaps they are the aroma of the
and attempted new things. The director of a
1 Brush Stroking (130 x 162 cm2, 1997) attempts to find a new style for Korean Oriental painting between traditional ink wash painting and Western abstract painting. 2 Flowers (91 x 116 cm2, 2010) conveys a feel of spring through flowers in acrylic on canvas. 3 Painter Song Soo-nam makes a painting in his studio.
gallery once said it was an immense joy to be would disagree as long as they understand what he is.
Since his retirement from his professorship, Song has been immersed in creating exquisite color paintings with acrylic paints. Going colorful
a contemporary of an artist like him. Nobody
was an unexpected step for him. People initially had difficulty reconciling his past in black-andwhite paintings and his new paintings, which are feasts of color. Is this marked change an
Song is unique as a painter in that he is also
an author. More than ten books have come out in his name. He also ran a series of essays in newspapers. Believing himself untalented in
expression of unsatisfied desire? Well, he out of the blue says something puzzling. “It is flowers that abound immeasurably.”
many things, he regards painting and writing as his only two means of expressing himself. those two avocations as he considers leaving records to be important. Put differently, he is fortunate to be talented in
flowers in color, and the canvas becomes more and more dense with simple beauty. There are no rough sketches; it’s like drawing orchids empty canvas, he paints flower after flower with black Oriental ink. Starting with a white, with undiminishable passion. Your reporter’s
This seasoned, old painter draws flowers over
more books,” says Song. “Many people still do consider sagunja paintings (Four Noble Plants,
“I hope I will be able to publish two or three
not understand Korean Oriental painting. They which are umes, orchids, chrysanthemum, and bamboos) to be the same as muninhwa
question, “Why do you paint flowers?” sinks as
14 korea october 2012
Dr. mun Heung-kyu
Clonal forestry enables mass production of high-quality trees using cloning techniques via somatic embryogenesis. Dr. Mun Heung-kyu of the Korea Forest Research Institute capitalizes on this in transferring forestation technology to Indonesia.
by Yang In-sil / photographs by Lee Min-hee
Help Forest the World
r. Mun Heung-kyu, a research scientist at
Korea Forest Research Institute (KFRI), has just the country. In fact, Mun has been frequenting since the KFRI under the Korea Forest Service
the Division of Forest Biotechnology of the
forestry plantation formed by the KTH, a subsidiary of KORINDO. Back then, the
Early in 2000, Mun first visited an Indonesian
arrived in Indonesia. This is not his first visit to the Southeast Asian country for the past decade (KFS) and KORINDO, a business group founded in 1969 by a Korean entrepreneur in Indonesia, in 2002 on a project to create and manage signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) tropical forests in Indonesia. He’s been involved in R&D, production of high-quality seeds, laboratory management, technical support, provision of equipment and materials, and consulting and training.
plantation relied on a conventional technique called “vegetative propagation by cuttings.” The rooting rate in cuttings was only 40 to 50 testing and professional consulting and
percent. Mun’s team proceeded with scientific succeeded in more than doubling the rooting Mun explains, was his team’s 30 years of experience in clonal forestry.
ratio in less than two years. Behind the success,
in 2008 to share techniques in clonal forestry. He is now busy with a joint research project of the KFRI and Indonesia’s Forestry Research and Development Agency (FORDA), playing tropical tree species and developing new of trees. a critical role in improving Indonesia’s major cloning techniques for the mass production “Clonal forestry is gradually developing,”
Mun stayed in Indonesia for three months
KFS and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) established a tree nursery in to manage and develop tropical tree seeds. Rumpin, Indonesia in 2005 as part of a project Having studied tree biotechnology, Mun
Mun also played a crucial role when the
is an expert in clonal forestry, which is about culling genetically excellent trees, cloning them, and deploying the clones in commercial productivity by 30 to 60 percent. Countries rich in forests like the United States, New Zealand, and Brazil actively employ clonal
says Mun. “In the past, trees were cloned by
the grafting of cuttings, but today, trees can be mass-produced in laboratories throughout the year through somatic embryogenesis, in which in vitro on tissues derived from somatic cells techniques via somatic embryogenesis are
forestation. Clonal forestry enhances forestation
the development of somatic embryos is induced of desired species of trees. Our team’s cloning almost on par with those of the countries in the lead in forestry, and the success rate of cloning
forestry techniques for the massive, commercial loblolly, radiata pine, and eucalyptus.
16 korea october 2012
production of such important tree species as the
1 Eucalyptus in Australia and Indonesia can be cloned and deployed through somatic embryogenesis for mass commercial production. 2 The KFRI under the Korea Forest Service has imparted the clonal forestry overseas.
12 countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand. A recent example involves Bagan in
and technology in forestry can be transferred to developing countries in the form of official development assistance (ODA). Korea’s rise from an ODA recipient to an ODA donor can becoming greener.
Myanmar, which is one of the world’s three
most sacred Buddhist sites. The area had been experiencing desertification due to excessive logging and its tropical arid climate, but the KFS helped restore the nearly bare area to
give them more hope for the future other than What the KFS has done abroad vividly
lushness in a mere two years. Since 2010, a KFS team has planted more than 50,000 trees of local varieties in and around Bagan using its
demonstrates how advanced Korea is in
forestry technology. KFS teams helped plant a forest in a dry area in central Myanmar from 1998 to 2010 and restore a mangrove forest in
advanced reforestation technology and created luxuriant forests on 150 hectares of dry, barren area is green and beautiful again. land. Now that desertification has stopped, the The KFS also initiated the founding of the
Indonesia from 2006 to 2008. The KFS has also been involved in the ten-year Korea Mongolia Greenbelt Project since 2007. Two other KFS
projects are reforestation of mountains in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, and forestation in of yellow dust storms and desertification in inner Mongolia. Since 1987, the KFS has inked MOUs on China’s Kubuchi Desert to deal with the issues
Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCo) between Korea and ASEAN member states held in 2011, the two sides signed the Agreement between the Governments of the ASEAN
to combat climate change. At the 14 summit
Member States and the Republic of Korea on
forestry cooperation with 16 countries including Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay, Tunisia, Russia, Ecuador, and Brazil. Its major
is over 95 percent for the yellow tree (Kalopanax septemlobus).” embryogenesis, which is a and fertilization, somatic Unlike zygotic
poplar and the prickly castor oil
23.9 metric tons a year.
Forest Cooperation, which entered into force on August 5 this year. “This is a strong indication of the global status of Korea in forestry,” says Dr. Lee Uk of the Research Planning and Coordination Division under the KFS.
breakthrough. His team is researching ways to trees. Vegetative propagation of old trees is
Mun’s cloning technology is nearing a
overseas activities involve forestation to prevent desertification, the use of biomass, cooperation on tackling climate change, research on forest biodiversity, sustainable forest management, and investment in wood processing. With its to continue its efforts to preserve forests,
apply somatic embryogenesis in cloning mature generally difficult, but if his team finds a way to clone mature trees via somatic embryogenesis, clonal propagation of trees hundreds of years old will be possible. Cloning of a 600-yearsold Castor Aralia is almost within sight. A success would be good news in light of the
natural method of pollination embryogenesis induces the
following Japanese colonial rule and the Korean War, two tragedies which had almost totally also boasts advanced forestry technology. depleted the entire country of trees. Korea now Lee believes that the country’s rich experience
Korea successfully reforested its territory
top-rate forestry technology, Korea is expected support sustainable forest management, and the globe.
development of somatic embryos similar to zygotic embryos in tissue culture techniques in shape and functionality using laboratories, enabling unlimited production of clones of high2
thereby drive low-carbon, green growth around
damage or loss of storied old trees during recent typhoons. One of them is the 600-year-old pine tree on which King Sejo of the Joseon Dynasty conferred high government official status. The success would also be a major boost for the industry at home and abroad. KOREA REACHES OUT
quality trees that are all genetically identical.
successfully mass-produced clones of a yellow poplar stem cell using embryonic tissues acquired through artificial crossing of highquality varieties of the yellow poplar. This outcome may be used to increase the ability of a hectare of 35-year-old yellow poplar trees to absorb carbon dioxide from 15.4 metric tons to
18 korea october 2012
In 2010, the KFRI biotechnology team
TO FOREST THE WORLD
Korea’s world-class forestation technology is overseas forestation in 1993 and has since
intended to help the entire world. Korea started helped form 254,000 hectares of plantations in
The KFS initiated the founding of the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCo) to combat climate change.
Treading Every Inch of Joseon on Foot
map about 6.7 meters high north to south is
overwhelming. It shows the territory of Joseon in extreme detail. The map in its entirety has bespeaks of the tremendous effort that Kim Jeong-ho poured into it. Every scale mark administrative information. conveys geographical, social, cultural, and Before the Daedongnyeojido, Kim published an air of an artist’s relief work, and every line
CarTograPHer kim Jeong-Ho
Kim Jeong-ho was well aware of the utmost importance of maps to national interest, and he is remembered today as a pioneering cartographer and geographer and one of the heroes of the Joseon Dynasty for his tenacity, determination, and creativity. by Im Sang-beom
in the 1840s, the Cheonggudo (a national map)
such maps as the Suseon Jeondo (a map of Seoul)
1857. He authored atlases and geography books including Dongnyeodoji (1834-1844), Yeodobiji (1853-1956), and Daedongjiji (1861-1864).
in 1834, and the Dongnyeodo (a national map) in
UNKNOWN LIFE OF KIM JEONG-HO We can only surmise at his date of birth, hometown, and the locations where he did Kim Jeong-ho was not of high stature in
his most important work. This suggests that Joseon society. What there is of his biography
is contained in Ihyang Gyeonmunnok (1862), a
collection of biographies of great people from
1 A portrait of Kim Jeong-ho 2 The manuscript version of the Daedongnyeojido. The magnified picture shows Ulleungdo and Dokdo. 3 The current location of Korea on a modern map
connection. A little typing and clicking can
the middle and lower classes, which implies that short shrift to the publication of maps. The Three Kingdoms Period (BCE 57-CE 668), Kim was probably a commoner who achieved It is not clear what motivated Kim to first maps of Korea were drafted before the and the government of the Joseon Dynasty began printing maps immediately after its establishment. An extremely important example
In cooperation with National Museum of Contemporary Art, Woonbo Foundation of Culture, and Research Institute for Korean Studies
oday, all one needs in order to see what a certain area looks like is an Internet
remarkable feats that were widely recognized. preoccupy himself with the production of maps, but it is evident that he transcended the class barriers as a geographer and cartographer by
afford you maps and satellite images on many different scales. In many parts of the world, people commonly use satellite navigation their way with precision, even to remote
devices and handheld smart devices to find locations where they have never been. An
Integrated Map of the Territories and Capitals of the However, nobody would disagree that the
is the Honil Gangni Yeokdae Gukdo Jido (lit. The
inventing new cartographical techniques and thereby pushing the boundaries of his realm. He had no intention of blindly following the
DOKDO ON THE DAEDONGNyEOjiDO
Japan’s claim to sovereignty over Dokdo was partly based on the fact that the wooden block version of the Daedongnyeojido does not indicate Dokdo. However, the manuscript version of the Daedongnyeojido, which a team of the Academy of Korean Studies discovered in 2010 in the collection of the Research Institute for Korean Studies, shows a small island to the right of Ulleungdo named Usan, which was the old name of Dokdo.
entire generation is growing up with these indispensable to travelers.
States; the oldest extant world map; 1.68mx1.58m). cartography of the Joseon Dynasty marked a
conventional methods, nor remaining a map-
technologies, but paper maps were previously The travelers of the Joseon Dynasty (1932-1910)
drawing technical drone. He left distance marks at about every 5.4 kilometers on his maps and presented neatly devised legends that explain geography books.
watershed when Kim Jeong-ho (cir. 1804-1866)
ruling-class yangban and government officials. All these point to his idea of ideal maps: maps are not simple illustrative representations of geographical features, but must serve their
were no exception. The need for accurate and detailed maps must have been great also for
completed the Daedongnyeojido (lit. The Map of the Great East), a national map that he published in and treading every corner of the country for anniversary of the publication of the map. 1861 after studying the available national maps more than 30 years. Last year marked the 150 The Daedongnyeojido was printed with 22
symbols and signs for easier use of his atlas and A case in point is the Cheonggudo, which
the national interest as Korea suffered so many foreign incursions and major invasions during the Joseon Dynasty period. Yet, no maps were accurate enough. Mountains, rivers, and roads were indicated, but the scales were not precise despite the best efforts of cartographers. This did not mean that Koreans gave
users’ purposes—personal or governmental. Jeong-ho, he also did not write much about
was the first map made by Kim. A two-volume and two indications of distance (on-the-map distances and actual distances) with grids. statistics on his maps for users who were
Not only are there few official records of Kim himself. Yet, his maps, atlases, and books shed in the 21st century, he would still be a creative
book, the map came with an easy-to-use legend
wooden blocks. When it is completely unfolded, a grand map of Joseon appears at a scale of about 1:162,000. Standing before this enormous
light on his character and vision. If he had lived pioneer, transcending limits, pushing old boundaries, and setting new rules.
Kim also provided administrative and military
20 korea october 2012
Seoul’s #1 Shopping District
Where would you go to find a pair of the latest Nike running shoes, a sequined purse for under 20 dollars, and a spiral potato all in one street? There is only one place in Seoul. by Chung Da-young / photographs by Hong Sang-don and Lee Min-hee
22 korea october 2012
were built and the area became the commercial center of Seoul. After the Korean War and into the 1960s,
and Chinese shoppers’ lists is Korean cosmetics. As the popularity of Korean dramas and K-pop has grown in neighboring Asian countries, the fashion and makeup style of Korean
the economy boomed and the area flourished as the city was redeveloped. College students to enjoy pop music and dancing, and young assembled in Myeong-dong as it became a place women came to shop at the upscale shops and boutiques. Myeong-dong remains the mecca since the area was designated as a special Tourism Promotion Area in 2000. SHOPPING MECCA for the young and trendy to this day, especially
actresses has had a great effect on many ardent fans, and they are naturally seeking the same Korean cosmetic products that the stars are
using. Nearly every single local cosmetic brand bilingual staff fluent in English, Japanese, or any easier.
operates a shop in Myeong-dong complete with Chinese. Shopping in Myeong-dong couldn’t be Of course a satisfying shopping spree
The charm of Myeong-dong that makes it
wouldn’t be complete without a delicious meal. After 5 o’clock in the afternoon, street vendors pull up their carts along the two main streets
stand out from other shopping areas in Seoul, is the cluster of very different shops, ranging from mid-priced to high-priced retail stores
to sell local street food like tteokbokki (spicy rice
to international brand outlets. Department
cakes), fried fish cakes, and skewered sausages. is the spiral potato made of a potato sliced, More and more visitors are coming to
million visitors for all of last year. Hallyu and
stores offer the high-end global brands, and trendy clothes. Myeong-dong is where you individual shops for global sports brands,
One of Myeong-dong’s most famous street foods skewered, and fried in the shape of a spiral. Myeong-dong every year, and the narrow
eoul has already received ten million tourists this year, which compares markedly with 9.8
other at Lotte Department Store. The streets are lined cheek-by-jowl with fashion brand stores, cosmetics shops, restaurants, and cafes. From late hours of the night when food carts and midday when all the shops are open until the neon shop signs light up the alleys, the streets of Myeong-dong are full of life and buzz from excited shoppers.
Dongdaemun is the place to go for inexpensive can find both. The main streets are lined with Korean cosmetics shops, and international
increased global recognition have made Korea
streets are becoming more congested. The
an increasingly appealing destination for more and more tourists around the world. Where do
retailers like Zara and H&M. And just along the affordable clothes and accessories. The densely packed area jammed with different shops is a shoppers on the go. great attraction for ambling tourists and busy One of the most popular items on Japanese
Seoul City Government decided to close the
iNTERViEW OUT WiTH FRiENDS
Justine, Nada, and Gladys (from left to right) are three friends from France on their holiday in Seoul. “Myeong-dong is a very exciting place with so many people and pretty shops,” says Justine. “I think the small streets come to life when the lights come on at night.”
they all especially like to go in Seoul? According to a recent survey by the Korea Tourism Organization, the answer is Myeong-dong in
next alley, there are trendy boutiques filled with
area off to all cars next year as part of its efforts to create a pedestrian-friendly environment. Cars still drive through the main streets during the day, but the entire area will soon become a pedestrian-only zone. That’s just one more more enjoyable.
downtown Seoul. The survey targeted 12,000
tourists departing Korea, and 55.3% answered dong. One of the all-time favorite shopping to place among tourists as well.
that their major tourist destination was Myeongdistricts for Koreans has become a popular goEvery day, some 500,000 people pass through
Myeong-dong is a wildly popular shopping
factor that will make shopping in Myeong-dong
district today, and the area’s history over the
1 Nearly every single local cosmetics brand operates a shop in Myeong-dong. 2 Myeong-dong Cathedral has been a community landmark for over 100 years. 3 The main streets of Myeong-dong are lined with shops for global sports brands and international retailers.
last 100 years is extremely interesting. During dong was a quiet residential area. When the
the Joseon era up until the 19th century, Myeong-
Myeong-dong. Myeong-dong is the most
country opened its doors to the world in 1885, and settled down in the nearby Chungmuro and Euljiro areas.
popular shopping area for Seoulites, and it has truly become international as there are now more foreigners than local along the streets. Store to Lotte Department Store and along Cheonggyecheon Stream to Myeong-dong Subway Station.
the British, Chinese, and Japanese came to Korea
The area stretches from Shinsegae Department
of the Archbishop of Seoul, was built in 1898. It became a community landmark and is still Japanese colonial period in the early 1900s, such as the Bank of Korea, the Japanese the center of Catholicism in Korea. During the major institutions and commercial buildings Consulate, and Shinsegae Department Store
Myeong-dong Cathedral, which is the seat
streets that intersect at the center of the block. One begins at Myeong-dong Station and the
24 korea october 2012
The heart of Myeong-dong is the two main
Colored in Autumn Beauty
Chung juho Lake
The vast lake of Chungjuho is ensconced far inland, deep in the mountains. At this time of year, it’s at its most beautiful, ringed by glorious autumn foliage. Let’s set out on a trip to Chungjuho Lake, the inland sea. by Lee Jeong-eun
26 korea october 2012
The landscape around the port of Janghoe
Naru (a dock where you can catch a cruise) has traditionally been called Little Geumgangsan for its astounding beauty. From the middle of in allusion to Mt. Geumgangsan in North Korea the lake, you can see the hills of Oksunbong and Gudambong, which afford one of the so-called Eight Scenic Views of Danyang. The leisurely
ride through the exquisite harmony of the lake and the surrounding mountains is a romantic and unforgettable experience.
lake with a soaring cliff, on top of which is a cluster of rocks whose reflection on the lake
Gudambong (lit. Turtle Pond Hill) faces the
looks like a turtle. After a rainfall, the peaks of Oksunbong (lit. Jade Shoot Hill) resemble Oksunbong is Mt. Geumsusan (lit. Silk bamboo shoots against a jade-blue sky. Opposite Embroidery Mountain), which is well-known for its graceful features. The mountain was scholar Yi Hwang of the Joseon Dynasty originally called Baegamsan, but the renowned renamed the mountain Geumsusan when he (54,486 m2) is at the foot of Mt. Mangwolsan.
It has a wealth of heritage from the Megalithic Period such as dolmens (portal tombs) and menhirs (standing stones), as well as private
homes, schools, and government offices from
the Joseon Dynasty. The town is uninhabited,
was the magistrate of Danyang since it looked so fine and elegant, almost as if it were a silkembroidered work.
but the houses still bear witness to how Koreans used to live. A-frame carriers, winnows, straw mats, baskets, porcelain bowls and dishes, brass spoons and chopsticks, and much more, all of which were actually used, sit under the undisturbed for ages. eaves, in the kitchens, and elsewhere, seemingly
A TRIP BACK IN TIME
Created by the Chungju Dam and dubbed an inland sea, Chungjuho Lake is large enough and Danyang and reflect the images of Mt. Woraksan, Mt. Gyemyeongsan, and Mt.
he Namhangang River flows through
A ride through Chungjuho Lake will make you feel like you traveled back in time to the Joseon Dynasty. Set in the dazzling beauty of nature, Chungjuho Lake and the nearby cities are
Chungcheongbuk-do into Chungjuho Lake.
to straddle the three cities of Chungju, Jecheon,
steeped in history. Jecheon has many historical sites and artifacts. It had long been a thriving city well into the Joseon Dynasty, when the city was called Cheongpung. Many of the historical remains and artifacts were under threat of being submerged when the Chungju Dam
what to eat Minmul Maeuntang (freshwater fish stew) On the shore of Chungjuho Lake are restaurants that sell minmul maeuntang and daseulgi guk (marsh snail soup; aka olgaengi guk). Among them, Eoreumgol Matjip (Tel.: 82-43-422-6315) is famous for its minmul maeuntang and mukbap (rice with acorn jelly). If you want to Seoul have some daseulgi guk, you may want to try visiting Gyeongju Sikdang (Tel.: 82-43-423-0504). Chungju how to get there Yeongdong Expressway → Manjong Junction → Jungang Expressway → Bukdanyang Interchange → National Road 5 toward Chungju → National Road 36 at Bukha Intersection → Janghoe Naru
Geumsusan. The lakeside is so breathtaking that it’s widely considered one of Korea’s greatest gifts of nature. The scenery is especially and are reflected on the lake, creating a scene much like an Impressionist painting.
2 1 Hanok (Korean traditional houses) and Jangdokdae (a platform for Korean traditional crocks of sauces and condiments) in the Cheongpung Cultural Heritage Complex 2 The Cheongpung Cultural Heritage Complex 3 Baskets made of straw in the Cheongpung Cultural Heritage Complex
gorgeous in autumn when the leaves turn colors
was built in 1985, but they were moved just in time across the Cheongpung Bridge, where today a replica of a traditional town called
The best way to see the water up close is to
Visitors can enjoy the lake in several ways.
the Cheongpung Cultural Heritage Complex stands. Many local residents call this part of the lake Cheongpungho Lake in memory of the past glory of the city when it was called Cheongpung.
take a cruise. The burning colors of the foliage around the lake reflect on the water and seem to beckon you to reach out and touch them.
The Cheongpung Cultural Heritage Complex
28 korea october 2012
a city in Gyeonggi-do, for a quadrennial global folklore festival from October 1 to 14.
his autumn, dancers and singers from 43
foreign countries will assemble in Anseong,
featuring over 300 Korean performers and it could not match this year’s quadrennial Folkloriada.
320 performers from 13 foreign countries, but
as CIOFF Sector’s Day and International Game must-see event, and visitors can participate in rock-paper-scissors tournaments, shop at an authentic traditional market, try traditional other fun experiences.
Day. The CIOFF World Parade is also an exciting
the flagship event of the International Council Arts (CIOFF), a non-government organization that is in formal consultative relations with UNESCO. Except for 2008, this festival has been held every four years since the first
This is the fourth CIOFF World Folkloriada,
of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk
CONFLUENCE OF TRADITION AND MODERNITY Visitors can expect street performances by
foods from different countries, and have many A special performance entitled A 14-Day New
each participating country and traditional folk dances, among others—Argentina’s tango, polka, and Tahiti’s hula. Brazil’s samba, America’s tap dance, Poland’s Korean performances include Anseong
Anseong Cultural Marketplace is an extremely challenging, modern
1 Jultagi in namsadang nori performances 2 Beona in namsadang nori performances 3 Slovakian violinists in the parade 4 Hungarian folk dance performance
Folkloriada in 1996. Folkloriada was hosted
by the Netherlands in 1996, Japan in 2000, and Hungary in 2004, and now it is Korea’s turn.
performance mingles into
primarily takes place at the culture complex
The CIOFF World Folkloriada Anseong 2012
Matchum Gillori (a parade) by groups
that naturally this traditional artistic festival appeal. with its exquisite
representing individual Korean towns, villages, and others, Namsadang Nori performances (which were traditionally presented by
Anseong Matchum Land, but the excitement of the festival can also be felt in many other parts of the city. Numerous Korean performers and over 2,000 performers in 47 groups from 43 and Gabon will showcase their traditional folklore dances, songs, and other arts.
wayfaring male entertainers), and performances by official masters of Korean intangible cultural properties.
foreign countries including India, Brazil, Russia,
There are also specially designated days such
Pre Festival, which was hailed as a success for helping the performers and visitors experiential events.
the 2011 CIOFF® World Folkloriada Anseong
Before this year’s opening, Anseong hosted
immerse themselves in the performances and
Last year’s festival was also grand in scale,
In cooperation with the Organizing Committee of the CIOFF ® World Folkloriada Anseong 2012
A Global Cultural Exchange Festival
CIOFF® World Folkloriada 2012 in Anseong
by Lee Jeong-eun
Numerous Korean performers and more than 2,000 performers from 43 foreign countries will present their traditional folk dances, songs, and other arts in order to promote understanding and exchange of folklore cultures among global villagers.
30 korea october 2012
NOW iN KOREA
K-Pop Dance and Music Classes for Overseas Visitors
If you’re interested in K-pop culture, come and experience it to the fullest by learning to dance and sing to the music. You’ll find it fun and surprisingly educational.
by Chung Da-young / photographs by Lee Min-hee and Ha Ji-young
choreography for a single song from start to
finish. With the energetic and detailed guidance of the English-speaking instructor, students can master the dance by the end of the class. The K-Pop Music Class teaches all-time
favorite Korean songs that are easy to sing
along with. Students sing along to music sheets with lyrics in Hangeul (Korean language) and the meaning of the lyrics during the class, pronunciation in English. The instructor teaches
-pop music isn’t just for ardent K-pop fans. Anyone can enjoy the catchy songs and
which is a bonus for students studying Korean. classes will continue until the end of October. Season 3 of the K-pop dance and music
dynamic dance moves of K-pop music. So why to dance to a K-pop song while in Seoul? From tourist centers to private dance schools, many different classes are available to tourists and K-pop fans.
not be brave and take the next step by learning
language academies at major universities and
“We first promoted the classes to Korean
the city’s Global Village Centers. At first, most of the students were from China and Japan, but as word of the classes spread, we began to receive
The music class will be held every Tuesday, and the dance class will be held every Wednesday.
students from all over the world, from countries Park Gae-yeon, organizer of the K-pop classes. After the success of season 1 of the classes,
like Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and Argentina,” says
TAUGHT BY PROFESSIONALS
There are also private dance schools in Seoul that provide professional K-pop classes and programs for foreigners. The DEF Dance School near Seolleung Station in the Gangnam area is one of the top dance schools in Seoul. It has a well-structured dance program for amateur dancers and offers a teaching experience for
Korea through the dance video footage of the school’s instructors posted on YouTube. The DEF Dance School YouTube video got over 100,000 hits, and in time, the school gained
The school became well-known outside of
90 MINUTES OF K-POP FUN
The Seoul Global Culture and Tourism Center in Myeong-dong in downtown Seoul has held the free K-Pop Dance Class and K-Pop Music experience program, and both have become
the center continued with season 2 and season 3 this fall. The classes are now one of the center’s most popular programs. The dance classes are the 90-minute class, students learn all of the
a huge international following among K-pop celebrities from Asia including Lollipop F, a
1 Free K-pop dance classes at the Seoul Global Culture and Tourism Center are available every week. 2 Carlson Allen is a student at DEF Dance School learning K-pop and Korean hip-hop dance. 3 Hip-hop students at DEF Dance School pose for the camera.
Class since March as part of the Korean cultural
held twice every Wednesday afternoon. During
fans and dancers. Other popular groups and popular Taiwanese boy band, recently came to of dancing and choreography themselves. Apart from occasional
Korean celebrities and K-pop stars like Big Bang
the DEF Dance School to learn the Korean style
international celebrities, the school of whom are studying or working also has foreign students, many
it makes me feel more confident and Tuition starts at 100,000 KRW, and
the hip-hop dance class. I like how
dancing so much that I also took
K-pop dance,” she says. “I loved
and a half ago with a friend to learn
students. “I first came to DEF a year
the United States is one of those
in Korea. Carlson Allen from
scheduled every day throughout the
and popular girls-only classes are
the K-pop and hip-hop dance classes
32 korea october 2012
A Legendary Handball Scorer
Handball fans around the world voted Yoon Kyung-shin the World Player of the Year 2001 of the International Handball Federation (IHF). Retired from the Korean national handball team, he is now embarking on a new journey into the second half of his life. by Im Sang-beom
hen the national squad of South Korea paraded into the Olympic Stadium
calling him “Torea,” a coinage of the word “Korea.” “Tor” (“goal” in German) and “The most unforgettable
during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, a very tall flagbearer caught people’s eyes. He was Yoon Kyung-shin, a living legend in the world of handball, even dubbed the God of Handball. He was the first Korean who played in the Handball-Bundesliga of Germany, the world’s best handball league.
season was when I set a new league record of more than 300 goals in a single season,”
On September 23, the SK Handball Gymnasium in Seoul heated up with the final match of the 2012 Handball Korea League to determine this place there: the first retirement ceremony for
recalls Yoon. “I was in top form those days. Another especially memorable season was 2008,
year’s champions. An inspiring ceremony took a Korean handball player. Fans celebrated the years and expressed their thanks to him. A GOAL RECORDER IN GERMANY CALLED TOREA Yoon first played handball during a special
when our club won the German I’ve been playing handball for a long time, but it was a rare thing for my club to win a tournanent. Looking back,
Handball Federation tournanent.
phenomenal records Yoon set over the past 27
I played relentlessly to leave a minds of the Germans rather did his utmost to become the
good impression of Korea in the than for my own fame.” Yoon
activity class in elementary school. He was continued to grow as a handball player in
still a small boy until middle school, and he caliber and stature. He did not stop growing until he reached 203 centimeters. As a lefthanded player in the right back position, Yoon became the top scorer in the 1995 World Men’s student. This was when the world first noted Yoon joined VfL Gummersbach, a team Handball Championship when he was a college him for his great potential. After graduation, handball club that competes in the first league of Germany. The club was quite mediocre rather, but he helped his team shoot up to third place that year. It was a brilliant start for his more than a decade.
In cooperation with the Korea Handball Federation
strongest handball player he could possibly
be. He was never satisfied with training only himself mentally through image training.
as much as the other players. He also trained He competed in the Asian Games six times
1 Yoon Kyung-sun played in the qualifying round in the London 2012 Olympics. 2 Yoon was a flagbearer at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
and won five gold medals. He also competed
in the Olympics five times. He became the best
scorer in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. South Korea in the London Olympics, he was a reliable, passionate “big brother” for his is his attitude of doing his best, which is must be like.
He’s now 40 years old, but when he represented
teammates. One of the secrets to his popularity extremely telling of what true sportsmanship Nowadays, Yoon teaches practical skills of
record-setting career in Germany, which lasted The records Yoon set in Germany are literally
jaw-dropping. He became the best scorer in
handball at Kyung Hee University, his alma and support he’s received from his fans. He Whatever he decides to do, it will be about
eight seasons, six of them consecutively. He most ever by a single player in the 42-year
mater. He is pondering ways to return the love may play on a new team or become a coach. handball. Maybe we cannot see this over-twometer-tall sportsman shoot a powerful goal mark in the history of handball. any longer, but he has certainly left an indelible
scored 2,751 total goals in the Bundesliga, the history of the German league. Yoon’s most
dazzling season was in 2007 when he scored a whopping 324 goals. German fans hailed him as a mind-boggling goal recorder from Korea,
34 korea october 2012
Gongmyeong (lit. Resonance) and the Korean Chamber Orchestra.
Joseon Porcelain Meets the Brazilians
The 2012 Korea Festival in Brazil
In celebration of 50 years of Korean immigration to Brazil, the Korea Festival is taking place in seven cities across the South American country from August to November. An important part of the festival is a special exhibition of Korean porcelain entitled The Diverse Spectrum: 600 Years of Korean Ceramics, which opened at the São Paulo Museum of Art on August 16. by Yang In-sil / photographs by the Korea Foundation
1 The 2012 Korea Festival in Brazil began with The Diverse Spectrum: 600 Years of Korean Ceramics, a special exhibition at the São Paulo Museum of Art.
After a long voyage, the ship dropped anchor at the Port of Santos in Brazil on February 12, 1963. This marked the beginning of Korean immigration to Brazil. Half a century later,
n December 1962, 103 Koreans boarded a ship bound for unknown lands in South America.
Brazilians more extensively to Korean culture
and arts. The Korea Foundation, the organizer Korean culture by providing balanced insight into Korea through a range of academic and cultural events and seeks to strengthen the friendship and cultural exchange between Korea and Brazil.
of the festival, states that the festival promotes
there are more than 50,000 Korean expatriates and Korean-Brazilians in Brazil, and Korean Brazilian economy. businesses are already an important part of the Marking 50 years of Korean immigration to
São Paulo, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, numerous events including a Korean film
The festival will run in the seven cities of
Brazil, the Korea Festival is being hosted in
Piracicaba, Recife, and Curitiba and will feature festival, the non-verbal percussion performance and performances by fusion percussion group Nanta, the puppet show The Story of Dallae,
seven cities throughout Brazil from August 15 to November 25. The festival celebrates the history of Korean immigration to Brazil and introduces
36 korea october 2012
THE DIVERSE SPECTRUM: 600 YEARS OF KOREAN CERAMICS The Korea Festival began with The Diverse Spectrum: 600 Years of Korean Ceramics, a special exhibition held at the São Paulo Museum of Art from August 16 to November 25. The exhibition features 96 traditional and modern pieces. Part I exhibits 70 pieces of porcelain from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) on loan from the National Museum of Korea collection. Part II presents 26 works by contemporary Korean artists including ceramics as well as paintings, photos, sculptures, and installations about ceramics. The National Museum of Korea stated that it is a monumental art exhibition for Korea in that it is the firstever display of Korean cultural heritage on the South American continent. It is also something new for the National Museum in that it includes modern works of art. Part I consists of two sections: one features 11 buncheong sagi works, while the other exhibits 56 pieces of Joseon baekja (pure, simple white porcelain developed in the Joseon period). Buncheong sagi is a type of ceramics that was common in the early Joseon period. Made by applying white clay and glaze on grayish-blue ceramics, buncheong sagi is bright grayish blue in color. One of the pieces on display is a buncheong sagi water container bearing a dynamic fish pattern. The Joseon baekja section of Part I is further divided into three segments of Ceramics of a New Era: White Porcelain, Patterns of White Porcelain, and Scholars of Joseon and White Porcelain. The artifacts displayed in the first segment include a jar that was used to contain burned placenta ashes, bowls and dishes buried with the dead, and tableware used for ancestral rites. In the second segment, which focuses on the patterns on Joseon baekja, the exhibited pieces include a jar bearing patterns of ten creatures symbolizing longevity and a bowl bearing Chinese characters representing longevity and
other blessings. These patterns tell us what
Koreans most yearned for during the Joseon
period. The third segment features jars of the
kind that scholars of the Joseon Dynasty loved and stationery that they used including water droppers for calligraphy and brush cases. Part II of the exhibition features works by
2 A performance by fusion percussion group Gongmyeong 3, 4 The exhibition features porcelains of the Joseon Dynasty including a buncheong sagi water container on loan from the National Museum of Korea collection and contemporary Korean art.
11 contemporary Korean artists including Yun Kim Ik-yeong and Hwang Gap-sun’s baekja, Gwang-jo and Roh Gyeong-jo’s Buncheong sagi,
Sin Sang-ho’s patchwork which comprises 75 patchwork quilt patterns, Park Seong-tae’s
ceramic tiles that represent traditional Korean round ceramics bearing images of children’s
faces, Lee Su-gyeong’s innovative work made of types of ceramics, and paintings and photos of Gu Bon-chang.
shards of porcelain and broken pieces of various Joseon Dynasty ceramics by Go Yeong-hun and
Cultural Partnership Initiative
Spreading Korean Culture through International Exchange
Sixty-six young cultural professionals from 31 countries have been invited by the government to learn about and experience Korean culture this year. Through the Cultural Partnership Initiative, the participants will become cultural bridges between Korea and their native countries. by Chung Da-young / photographs provided by CPI Secretariat
organization, the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, every year since then. So far, 704 participants from 72 countries have visited
Korea. This year, 66 participants were invited from 31 countries to take part in the cultural as participants from Asia and Africa where exchange program beginning in June. As well many previous participants were from, this
year’s program reached out to those in far-off
countries in Eastern Europe and Latin America. CULTURAL TRAINING
Tourism Institute cohost a special intercultural exchange program every year to promote Korean culture worldwide. It is the Cultural residency project. The organizers invite
he Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports
and Tourism and the Korea Culture and
in different fields of culture, sports, and tourism take part in programs to learn about Korean
are invited to reside in Korea for six months and culture, receive training from experts, learn the Korean language, and present the cultures of as a pilot program in 2005 by the ministry to with relatively little cultural exchange with cultural leaders. their native countries. The CPI was first initiated project a positive image of Korea to countries Korea by building close relationships between After the success of the first CPI, the ministry
Most of the six-month stay in Korea is allocated for participants to receive training from 16 organizations and institutes under the ministry that are related to their field. Organizations such as the National Theater of Korea, traditional instruments. This July, 12 traditional musicians from seven different countries such in a concert called “Music-made in Asia” at as Mongolia, Vietnam, and Indonesia performed the National Theater of Korea. The audience (an Uzbekistani percussion instrument)
Partnership Initiative (CPI) program, a cultural specialists from other countries in the fields
Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters), and the National Museum of Contemporary Art have taken participants under their wings and are currently training them to help them build their expertise. understand specific fields of Korean culture and Kukkiwon selected seven taekwondo
1 Parcitipants learn and experience Korean traditional culture over six months. 2 CPI participants wore Hanbok at the first day of orientation. 3 Participants are learning the traditional bow.
of culture, art, industry, tourism, and physical in their respective fields.
enjoyed traditional performances of the doira and the Mongolian trumpet, and the finale
education to be trained and educated in Korea Promising young leaders from Asia, the
performance of the Korean folk song Arirang
Middle East, Europe, and Latin America active
has organized the program with its affiliate
practitioners for the program this year, three more than in 2011, with recommendations
that was sung and played by all the musicians.
These 12 musicians are studying gugak (Korean traditional music) from masters at the National Theater of Korea. The 66 participants will finish the program
from the Korea Taekwondo Association
and embassies all around the world. These
participants are undergoing training to become taekwondo instructors when they go back to their countries, and they are practicing for
and return to their countries in November.
They will then become the “bridge between
the upcoming World Taekwondo Hanmadang competition and the joint demonstration with the Kukkiwon demonstration team. CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
Korea and their native countries, and play an
important role in the cultural development of jin said at the welcoming ceremony for the participants in June.
both countries,” as Vice-Minister Gwak Young-
Many different Korean cultural programs are in store for the participants. Special cultural experience programs such as classes in Korean cooking, dado (traditional tea ceremony), and trips to historic sites are exciting parts of learning about Korean culture.
a tradition of the CPI is the staging of a concert by the participants. Most of the participants with a musical background are from their
Another important project that has become
national orchestras or professional musicians of
38 korea october 2012
Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Hu
Jintao of China. Lee and Putin assessed recent developments in their bilateral relations and in a number of areas. discussed long-term strategies for partnership The second leg of the eight-day trip was
450 government and academic officials and students. The president’s last stop was Kazakhstan,
where Lee attended the groundbreaking
ceremony for a coal-fired thermal power plant
Greenland on September 9 and 10. Lee visited
in Balkash, the biggest-ever joint project carried out by the two countries. Lee and Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev remotely watched the start of construction of the USD
Ilulissat, a UNESCO World Heritage site known Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist and Crown
for its famous ice fjord, together with Greenland Prince Frederik of Denmark. Lee witnessed climate change firsthand and observed ice caps melting as a result of global warming.
four-billion project from Astana via a satellite 1,320 megawatts of electricity when it goes
link. The coal thermal power plant will generate online in 2018 and will account for nine percent of the country’s power supply. It is the first Central Asian country. privately funded power plant project in the Ahead of the ceremony, Lee and Nazarbayev
1 President Lee visits Ilulissat, Greenland with Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Greenland Premier Kuupik Kleist to experience firsthand the effects of climate change. 2 President Lee making a speech at the University of Oslo during his state visit to Norway 3 President Lee handshakes with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the groundbreaking ceremony of the thermal power plant.
Lee referred to it as “a scene of tragedy.” In an effort to tackle the issue, Lee championed his signature “low carbon, green growth” policy in environment-friendly technologies and Lee also forged four agreements with
aimed at economic growth through investment industries without releasing greenhouse gases. Kleist calling for cooperation in resources
held summit talks in which they agreed to power plants, resources development, and
continue to expand cooperation in energy and atomic energy. The two sides also shared an understanding on the need for developing all-round cooperation and agreed to push healthcare, and medicine, as well as the maritime and shipping industries. for cooperation in science and technology,
development, a geological survey, and Arctic
science and technology. The agreements are expected to give South Korea a foothold in Greenland’s development.
South Korean Leader Visits the Arctic Region
President Lee Myung-bak visits Russia, Greenland, Norway, and Kazakhstan to expand partnerships with resources-rich regions. by Julianna Chung
and held a summit with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The two agreed to partner up to
From September 10 to 12, Lee visited Norway
tackle climate changes threatening the Arctic
and develop the resources-rich region in ways that do not harm its ecosystem. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding
(MOU) pledging to help Korean and Norwegian shipping firms open new sea lanes over the would shorten shipping time and distance 40 percent. An MOU for cooperation in Arctic. Opening up trans-Arctic shipping routes between Europe and Asia by approximately environment-friendly shipbuilding was also signed. Shipbuilding is the main area of accounting for half of their trade. economic exchange between the two countries, On September 11, Lee visited the University
Greenland, Norway, and Kazakhstan to expand and climate change.
rom September 7 to 14, South Korean
President Lee Myung-bak visited Russia,
price hikes in soft commodities, which he said
have had a more adverse impact on developing
partnerships and discuss resource development The president’s first stop was the 20th Asia-
countries. The proposals included a ban on food export restrictions by food-producing countries, restraints on use of crops for the production of food alternatives for the production of biofuel, prevention of speculation in the international futures markets. biofuel, increased cooperation in the use of nonenhancement of transparency in crop trade, and
Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit
in Vladivostok, where 21 leaders of Asia-Pacific nations gathered to find ways to work together to promote economic growth and fiscal health. At the summit, “Integrate to Grow, Innovate to Prosper,” Lee made a series of proposals to
help APEC member nations combat the recent
40 korea october 2012
bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the APEC forum, including meetings with President
Lee also held a series of official and unofficial
of Oslo to give a speech titled “Korea’s Route
and its New Horizon.” The president explained with his own personal experiences to about
Korea’s policy direction and philosophy coupled
e’s Gone le” The Glob gnam Sty with “Gan
OVER 100 MILLION VIEWS ON YOUTUBE IN 50 DAYS Events are moving so quickly that everything
your reporter writes becomes old news as soon as it is printed. PSY’s “Gangnam Style” creates news story after news story every single day. Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on NBC, he taught Britney Spears how to dance the horse-riding dance. PSY became the first Korean singer to top the US iTunes Chart. According to the Guinness World Records
at and a ctronic be nd w ith an ele tive song g culture a anscendin iting , addic e.” An exc v ideo is tr iding danc ical music s “horse-r fectiou le” is a wacky, com ngnam Sty s w ith its in PSY’s “Ga ge barrier langua usician Korean m ltitalented ang In-sil Mu ation. by Y w ide sens world
(GWR), the music video is not only the most ever viewed on YouTube, but also the most liked. An MTV European Music Award (EMA) nomination for Best Video must have sent PSY galloping. On September 19, the Associated Style” has racked up 220 million YouTube
hen Dodger Stadium hosted a baseball
and San Francisco Giants on August 22, the
game between the Los Angeles Dodgers
stadium looked as it always does, but during unexpected happened. Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style” blasted throughout the stadium and the announcer rallied the
the break following the fifth inning, something
Press (AP) sent out news that PSY’s “Gangnam views. The New York Times, an influential US daily, ran detailed coverage on PSY and his music video under the heading, “Viral Video
THE POWER OF ONE WELL-MADE SONG In addition to the sheer artistry and genius of PSY, there are three major factors for the
1 Psy appreaing on Today Show, CBS 2 Psy’s sixth full album including “Gangnam Style”
spectators to do PSY’s “horse-riding dance.” Over 40,000 spectators got up and started moving their bodies on “invisible air horses.”
Gets Propaganda Treatment,” on September 20. And for quite some time yet, the story of PSY’s meteoric success will continue to unfold too any article. rapidly and too wildly to adequately cover in At the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards held at
phenomenal worldwide response to “Gangnam Style.” The song and music video are in touch with electronic music, which today is the big trend worldwide. Its comical elements help
Coincidentally or not, the multitalented Korean singer PSY was on the scene in the stands. The stadium cameras zoomed in on him just as PSY had stood up and began treating the riding dance moves. The big electronic sensation with his stage name, PSY.
“Gangnam Style” cross national and cultural
cheering spectators to his signature horsevideo board flashed this Korean overnight The same day, Katy Perry, the popular
the Staples Center in Los Angeles on September 6, PSY appeared from below the stage with host Kevin Hart. The two were doing the horseriding dance together. When asked how he felt, PSY answered in Korean, “I feel awesome and this stage someday,” and then shouted also in Korean, “Isn’t it cool?” happy. I’ve been hoping to speak in Korean on
boundaries. There’s also the Internet, which has made the music video globally viewable. This mode of communication came of age just as
Korean pop (K-pop) gained a global following.
popular music world. Such mainstream genres mingle with electronic music since electronic music-based songs are now popular. The many comical and humorous touches
Globally, electronic music is all the rage in the
American singer, songwriter, and actress, tweeted, “Help, I’m in a Gangnam style k hole [sic],” and attached a link to the music video “Gangnam Style.” PSY the very ‘PSY’ of the video [sic].”
as rock, hip hop, and pop constantly attempt to
replied to Katy’s tweet, saying, “Hi…I’m Other celebrity musicians including
PSY, officially announced that PSY had signed a contract on international publishing rights with Universal Republic Records, a label owned by global market excluding Korea and Japan. Universal Music Group. The contract covers the Foreign media outlets such as TIME, The Wall
YG Entertainment, a management agency for
in “Gangnam Style” made the music video
spread like wildfire on the Internet by people a New York City-based humor and gossip
looking for something fun and simple. Gawker, website, spread the wildfire even further before it reached CNN, TIME, and many other media outlets.
T-Pain, Robbie Williams, Josh Groban, and Britney Spears tweeted about the viral song, accelerating its spread.
Another big name who tweeted about “Gangnam Style” was Tom Cruise, who reportedly began following PSY on Twitter.
Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, and
ABC (all of which are headquartered in the United States), Reuters (based in the United Kingdom), “Gangnam Style” has created. and M6 TV (France) noted the sensation that PSY’s
There are neither especially high notes nor
It is easy to sing along with “Gangnam Style.”
difficult rap parts. The lyrics are straightforward and simple, and the chorus is full of the simple
42 korea october 2012
worldwide spread of Hallyu and are showing their formidable power to the fullest in the success of “Gangnam Style.” SNS channels,
During the cool autumn season,
empowered even further by the appearance of smart handheld devices, make it possible for want and wherever they are. LOOKING FORWARD TO global villagers to share content whenever they
Seoulites go on excursions to the beach fresh grilled shellfish. The king prawn, or daeha as it is called in Korean, is in or seaports along the west coast to enjoy
SECOND AND THIRD GANGNAM STYLES The music industry hardly expected “Gangnam Style” to be accepted globally so rapturously. and boy bands. PSY is not a handsome boy, K-pop has been led by extremely attractive girl but a rather chubby 35-year-old father of twin the K-pop girl and boy bands, who have been from Asia to North America, Europe, and
season from September to October, and this is when you can find the freshest full-grown prawns. They are mostly All along the coast, foodies can find
caught in the Yellow Sea, west of Korea. restaurants and outdoor tent bars with clams, and fresh fish.
girls. “Gangnam Style,” however, has overtaken
Psy’s “Gangnam Style” fad leads to various versions of parody and flash mobs all over the world.
grills for cooking king prawns, scallops, Shellfish can be cooked directly over
repetitive phrase, “O! O-o-o Oppan Gangnam easy and repetitive parts of the song without
Style.” Even non-Korean speakers try to sing the thinking about it—yeoja, sanai, nom, to name a
building increasingly fervent fan bases globally, Oceania. It is also much more than a flash in the pan. The world seems to avidly anticipate what “This might indicate that more and more more this talented entertainer, PSY, has to offer. people are becoming less and less attracted to K-pop girl bands. They have been hot for the past four or five years at home and abroad,” says a critic. “Considering that the typical popular music trend lasts four or five years, right now.
fire, but Koreans prefer to grill them on top of a thick bed of coarse sea salt, a method called sogeum gui (lit. salt grill).
few. The Huffington Post, an influential American news website, quoted in an article dated August 1 the music video’s YouTube description: “‘The song is characterized by its strongly addictive
The principle is quite similar to Western salt-baked fish. If the seafood is cooked over direct fire, the delicious juice will seep out, leaving the meat tough. But
beats and lyrics, and is thus certain to penetrate “Quite a statement, but perhaps not too farourselves.”
the foundation of modern philosophy,’” adding, fetched, considering how obsessed we’ve found It may not be an overstatement to say that
with sogeum gui, the prawns and clams will be cooked through the heat of the salt and remain succulent and full of saltiness.
we may be witnessing a significant transition “The music video ‘Gangnam Style’ isn’t
fresh flavor with just the perfect hint of
the essence of “Gangnam Style” is the horseriding dance. The catchiness of riding an invisible horse is readily apparent by the many flash mobs of people doing the dance together as well as the outpouring of parody videos. At this point, we need to duly note that
something that a giant producer could make through systematic planning. Rather, it’s a product of PSY, an individual who is pretty and who has discovered his own strengths over time.” far from the universal standards of beauty
by Chung Da-young photographs by Lee Jin-ha food & styling by Kim Young-bin
were it not for SNS channels, this fascinating
and developed his own style and knowhow This view is also shared by other critics,
“Gangnam Style” would have remained a local draft rather than a global blast. People say that by social networking sites with global reach. Hallyu, or the Korean wave, is driven primarily Represented by K-pop and K-dramas, Hallyu refers to the increasing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture, which started in have contributed enormously to the recent
44 korea october 2012
many of whom believe that now may be the
time to apply new strategies for K-pop, instead
of relying so heavily on attractive girls and boys who dance and sing together. PSY’s “Gangnam Style” has awakened people to the explosive is raising expectations for second and third Gangnam Styles to stratospheric levels. power that one well-made song can have and
Asia in the 1990s. Needless to say, SNS channels
ruleS of love
Matching couple outfits, celebrating 100th day of dating, and group blind dates. The unique dating culture of Korea is sure to keep couples busy as Curtis found out.
by Curtis File / illustrations by Moon Su-min
was still relatively new to Korean culture, much less the dating life, when I stood on
the observation deck of Namsan Tower a year looked out over the city watching the night
and a half ago. As dusk settled in, my girlfriend lights come to life while I fumbled through my bag for the most romantic gift I would give her to date: a red padlock with a crudely drawn maple leaf and a heart with our initials inside, “CF + YH.” Though it looked like cro magnon cave art, she kindly overlooked my lack of thoughtful a gesture it was.
world. For me, it was one of the most surprising romantics and swooning couples, it can seem outrageously cheesy at times. A walk through any neighborhood will
skill in favor of surprise and adoration at how “That’s so sweet!” she squealed. “I didn’t
things about the country. Designed for hopeless
even know foreigners even knew about that!” Thanks to a co-worker, I did know.
almost guarantee you will run into at least
dating, a day that carries special meaning for nearly all young Korean couples who count their time together in sets of 100 rather than
This was the 100 day since we had started
one couple wearing matching shirts, shoes, or entire outfits, as though dating were a team sport requiring uniforms. Some pajama stores even advertise their wares with mannequins donning matching couples underwear. Nothing says “we are committed” quite like matching, pink, animal-print panties.
months or years. It’s a day when couples get
particularly emphatic with their expressions of love, often exchanging couples rings or luxury gifts, or dining out at an expensive restaurant. Following a little advice from Google, I
up throughout the city build their dining
Many of the trendy new euro-bistros popping
experience around a dinner for two, offering
decided to surprise her at Namsan tower where the fence of the observation deck is adorned with thousands of padlocks from couples
discounted combos for young lovers looking to share some pasta and wine. By name alone the café chain A Twosome Place ensures that any
young and old. Decorated with drawings and stickers, each lock is meant to be a symbol of everlasting love and good luck for a long-lasting relationship. A year and a half later, anecdotal I’ve had ample opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of dating culture in Korea.
single patrons feel the sting of bitter loneliness while they sip their coffee. Some traditions are adopted from the West with a few tweaks. treat their men with chocolates and cards. On Valentine’s Day, for example, women
evidence suggests the magic works. Since then,
Some women even go the extra mile to make homemade chocolate treats for their lovers. Men don’t buy their women chocolates until a White Day.
quirky dating ritual. Koreans celebrate
The 100 day celebration is not the only
month later on March 14 when couples celebrate
coupledom quite unlike any other place in the
46 korea october 2012
I thInk he dances well.
A: 크리스 씨, 싸이 알아요?
Have you heard about Hallyu (the Korean wave)? Hallyu refers to the significant increase in the popularity of Korean entertainment and culture starting in the 1990s, first in Asia, and more recently in other parts of the world. Let’s talk about Hallyu stars.
Chris, do you know Psy? Chris ssi, Psy arayo?
B: 네, 알아요. 가수지요? 정말 춤을 잘 추는 것 같아요.
-지요? ‘-지요?’ is used when the speaker wants to verify the listener’s agreement with already-known or assumed fact. In spoken Korean, we usually say the shortened form ‘-죠?’. -(으)ㄴ/는 것 같다. This pattern indicates the conjecture of the speaker. This is often used to express your opinion or thoughts in an euphemistic way. ‘-는 것 같다’ is attached to the stem of the verb and ‘있다/없다’ ‘-(으)ㄴ 것 같다’ is attached to the adjective stem.
basic form 춤을 잘 추다 dance well chumeul jal chuda 재미있다 be funny jaemiitda 예쁘다 be pretty yeppeuda speaker’s conjecture form -(으)ㄴ/는 것 같다 춤을 잘 추는 것 같아요. I think he dances well. chumeul jal chuneun geot gatayo. 재미있는 것 같아요. I think he is funny. jaemiinneun geot gatayo. 예쁜 것 같아요. I think she is pretty. yeppeun geot gatayo.
Yes, I know him. He is a singer, right? I think he dances well. ne, arayo. gasujiyo? jeongmal chumeul jal chuneun geot gatayo.
of showing up for our Valentine’s date with homemade cookies and a bouquet of roses, creatively at that) the following month. For I discovered this when I made the mistake more than happy to set up a meeting between single acquaintances in hopes that love will blossom. Blind dates, referred to sogaeting, are dates. Group meetings, where three or four
C: 맞아요. 그리고 진짜 재미있는 것 같아요.
only to have to repeat the process (and more those unfortunate enough to be single, Black Day is celebrated on April 14. Single friends commiserate over a bowl of jjajangmyeon, a
one of the most popular ways to meet potential members of each sex get together for one date, friends help take the pressure off. Those that don’t trust the judgment of their peers can
Yes, and I think he is really funny. majayo. geurigo jinjja jaemiinneun geot gatayo.
are a more relaxed version of blind dates where
Korean-Chinese noodle dish with black bean sauce, and bars often host Black Day speeddating or blind-dating events.
always take matters into their own hands in one of the many dating oriented bars or restaurants. such bar called Blue Ketchup, a franchise that specializes in helping patrons overcome their shyness. Customers can buy “cupid cards” when they spot someone they are interested in. They write the table number of their interest on the On one occasion I found myself in one
Try to make a conversation with the following vocabulary.
● 인기가 많다 be popular inkiga manta ● 예쁘다 be pretty yeppeuda ● 멋있다 be good-looking meositta ● 춤을 잘 추다 dance well chumeul jal chuda ● 노래를 잘 부르다 sing well noraereul jal bureuda ● 연기를 잘 하다 act well yeongireul jal hada A: 지선 씨, 한지민 씨 알아요? B: 네, 배우지요? A: 맞아요, 정말 예쁜 것 같아요. B: 그리고 연기를 잘 하는 것 같아요.
importance of family and marriage in Korea.
Many of these dating rituals stem from the
Companionship is important and by the time seriously considering marriage.
they hit 30, most Koreans are expected to start When I first arrived in Korea as a teacher,
이름: 한지민 han ji min 직업: 배우 baeu Name: Han Ji-min Occupation: Actress 이름: 장근석 jang geun seok 직업: 배우 baeu Name: Jang Geun-seok Occupation: Actor 이름: 소녀시대 sonyeosidae 직업: 가수 gasu Name: Girls’ Generation Occupation: Singer 이름: 슈퍼주니어 super junior 직업: 가수 gasu Name: Super Junior Occupation: Singer
one of the first questions my new co-teacher
ABOUT THE WRiTER
Curtis File came to Korea with his life packed in two suitcases in 2010. After becoming addicted to Korean BBQ and Smartphones he decided to stay. He has written about travel, culture, and social issues for magazines and newspapers since he arrived. He currently lives in Gangnam in a tiny apartment and wishes he had a cat.
asked was “Do you have a girlfriend?” I later
card and hand it to a waiter who then delivers it to the designated table. If all goes well and the learn more about each other. invitation is accepted, the two tables meet up to After a few conversations in broken English
discovered that this is commonly asked when first meeting someone. If your answer is “no,” it might seem an overly personal question to ask someone back home, here it’s meant as a be single rather than settle down. you can expect a follow up “why not?” Though
and Korean, I managed to arrange a date that
general curiosity as to why one might choose to If the freedom of bachelor life ever loses its
ultimately didn’t go very well. No matter, I met always get it right, but for the time being I am Korea’s dating culture.
my girlfriend a few short weeks later. I may not happy fumbling my way through the ropes of
charm, parents, co-workers, and friends are
48 korea october 2012
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