This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Government Finalizes Plan for Four Rivers
Incheon-Seoul Canal Finally Being Made Reality Korea-US Summit Brings Allies Closer
VOL. 11 / NO. 7
Publisher Kim He-beom, Korean Culture and Information Service Chief Editor Ko Hye-ryun Editing & Printing JoongAng Daily Cover Photo a panoramic view of the Nakdong River and scenic river areas E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Design JoongAng Daily
06 12 20 22 26
News in Focus
• Government Finalizes Plan for Four Rivers • Incheon-Seoul Canal Finally Being Made Reality
• • • • Summit Brings Allies Closer Korea, ASEAN Look Ahead First Lady Promotes Cuisine, Scenic Beauty Uniting Asia Through Music
• Exquisite Relics of a Kingdom Now Long Lost • 100 Years of Ups and Downs for Korean Manhwa Artists
48 56 58 62 66
• • • • Boat Race Nurtures Local Water Sports Korea’s Quiet Judo Dynamo Universiade Returns in 2015 Athletes Conquer Nature in Asia’s Longest Bike Race
• Haegue Yang: Exploring Neglected Corners
Korea through the Lens
• The Crested Ibis Comes Home
• Aid from Korea Earns Thanks from Mexico
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from Korea and the Korean Culture and Information Service. The articles published in Korea do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. The publisher is not liable for errors or omissions. Letters to the editor should include the writer’s full name and address. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space restrictions. If you want to receive a free copy of Korea or wish to cancel a subscription, please e-mail us. A downloadable PDF file of Korea and a map and glossary with common Korean words appearing in our text are available by clicking on the thumbnail of Korea on the homepage of www.korea.net.
38 42 45 46
• Kim Hye-soon: Pushing Poetic Limits
• Exploring a Prince’s Heaven on Earth
• Local Nuclear Technology at Core of Energy Policy
• Harnessing Mother Nature to Power the Future
• Scholar-Priest Sees Lessons in Dialogue • A Hunt for a Challenge Took Her to Korea — and Baduk
• From Casinos to Malls, Kortex Is Everywhere
• Mounted Warriors of Legend Revealed • Korean Wave Engulfs Theatre • Preserving Korean Tradition, But Fighting For Modernity
• One Small Step for Korea’s Dream of Space Exploration
• Equality for Women Key to Birth Rate
4 korea JULY 2009
JULY 2009 korea 5
News in Focus
Government Finalizes Plan for Four Rivers Revitalization
22 trillion won set aside to prevent natural disasters, raise quality of life
President Lee Myung-bak, fourth from right, discusses the four-river restoration project at a recent Cabinet meeting held at Cheong Wa Dae.
The Han River meanders through Seoul from east to west.
6 korea July 2009
The four rivers project is designed to resolve water supply issues and provide new bases for green industry and tourism.
hen the Korean government billed it as the country’s largestever hydro-engineering project, it wasn’t kidding. Last month, the Land Ministry announced the final blueprint for its project to revitalize the country’s four major rivers. The tab: 22.2 trillion won ($17.7 billion) by 2012. That’s as much as 8.3 trillion won added to what the government initially planned for the project. In an interim plan announced April 27, the government said 13.9 trillion won will be spent refurbishing four of the nation’s major rivers the Nakdong, Han, Geum and Yeongsan. In the final plan, the government earmarked 3 trillion won more. “The main reason for the increased budget is that we expanded the size of some small-scale projects at the request of local residents,” said the Land Ministry. “Also, we needed more budget for improving water quality.” The other 5.3 trillion won will be spent on renovating tributaries to the rivers, which was newly included in the final plan. The Seomjin and 13 other smaller rivers and streams linked to the four rivers will be developed, the ministry said. The government said it will break
ground for the projects in October, and until then cultivating the land around the four rivers will be forbidden. A total of 1.5 trillion won is earmarked for compensation to local farmers. The river project is meant to solve waterrelated problems. The government estimates Korea will suffer a shortage of 800 million tons of water by 2011, while floods cause several trillion won in damage every year. To change that, the government plans to build two multipurpose dams and 16 reservoirs by 2012. Improving water quality and developing riverside areas are other reasons behind the projects. The government seeks to purify around 86 percent of the four rivers into second-class water, or water whose biological oxygen demand is less than 3 milligrams per liter. Such water is capable of sustaining most aquatic life and can be used for recreational purposes. As of 2008, roughly 76 percent of the water in the four rivers was second class. The government hopes the project, a centerpiece of the Lee Myung-bak administration’s Green New Deal, will create 340,000 jobs, pumping 40 trillion won into the economy. The government plans to spend 50 trillion won ($39 billion) on the Green New Deal over
July 2009 korea 7
News in Focus for leisure and rest, positively contributing to citizens’ quality of life,” Professor Kang said. He compared the positive impact of the four-river project to that of the Han River development project of the 1980s. Those efforts, he said, were initially met with skepticism, as people worried they might ruin the river’s water quality and ecosystem, leading to more natural disasters. “But now that the Han River has been developed, water quality has been dramatically improved, and animal and plant species that had once left the polluted river have returned,” he said. “Today, the Han River provides a pleasant space for recreation and leisure for citizens.” The Seomjin River, included later in the program as a tributary, is actually longer than the Yeongsan River at 173 kilometers compared with 112 kilometers for the Yeongsan. The Seomjin River flows through three Korean provinces — South Jeolla, North Jeolla and South Gyeongsang — and passes through 15 cities and counties. Some wondered why it was not named in the initial blueprint. According to the government, this was because the river had experienced less environmental damage than the four that were selected. It was during a meeting with President Lee at Cheong Wa Dae that officials from Gwangyang, South Jeolla, proposed the Seomjin be included. Now, after a series of public hearings and consultations with related ministries and agencies, the government has announced a final plan with the Seomjin River included. The government says that most of the planned construction under the four-river refurbishment project is expected to be done by 2011, although the building of dams and reservoirs will not be completed until 2012. The other agencies participating in the project are the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Environment.
4-river restoration project
Dredging Reservoir Ecological river section Empowered bank section Water storage basin Flood control revervoir Newly built dams Bike trail 570 million cubic meter 16 537 kilometer 377 kilometer 4 2 2 1,206 kilometer
Ipo Reservoir Yeoju Reservoir Gyeonggi Province Gangcheon Reservoir North Chungcheong Province
North Gyeongsang Province
South Chungcheong Province Geumgang Reservoir Geumnam Reservoir Buyeo Reservoir
Sangju Reservoir Nakdan Reservoir Gumi Reservoir Chilgok Reservoir
The photos in the above row are recent photos of the four rivers, from left, Han, Yeongsan, Geum and Nakdong. The photos in the below row are the image photos of the four rivers what the government expects to be after the project.
Gangjeong Reservoir North Jeolla Dalseong Reservoir Province Hapcheon Reservoir
Daegu Ulsan Haman Reservoir Busan
the next four years. A further 1 trillion won was recently announced in the supplementary budget. Seoul hopes that the environmentally oriented venture will help the country overcome the ongoing economic crisis and boost future growth. According to the government, the four rivers were chosen in part because they are the nation’s economic arteries, flowing through major industrial and farming areas. The Han River is located in Seoul, the Geum in Chungcheong and North Jeolla, the Yeongsan River in South Jeolla and the Nakdong River in the Gyeongsang provinces. Land Minister Chung Jong-hwan, who is at the helm of the river project, said it will eventually save massive amounts of government funds. Korea has suffered from repeated and worsening cycles of drought and flood every year over the past decade, with summer rainfall suddenly increasing and winter precipitation decreasing. The worst drought in Korean history hit last year, with people in southern Gangwon still suffering water shortages. In a report published in 1990 by Population Action International, a United States-based private research group, Korea was designated a “waterstressed” country. “In a nutshell, their functions have yet to be maximized,” said Minister Chung in a statement, referring to the four rivers. “Moreover, the average cost for restoration after a disaster is 4.2 tril8 korea July 2009
lion won, whereas the investment in prevention was one trillion won for the past five years. That means we are using funds that could be saved otherwise.” The ministry created a vice minister-level position to oversee the project in May. Kang Jun-mo, a professor of urban and civil engineering at Hongik University, says the work is “timely.” The imbalance in rainfall is an atmospheric phenomenon caused by reckless development and consequent environmental damage, he said, and without an effective solution, the imbalance is likely to worsen, threatening the entire country and the lives of its people. “Flood control on the four rivers will resolve the water shortage and contribute to permanent disaster prevention and water quality improvement,” he concluded. To enhance the country’s flood-control capacity, the government said it will dredge the rivers of 540 million tons of sand. Along with other plans including replacing old embankments, this will secure 890 million tons of additional water, the government said. Some critics see the project as a replacement for President Lee Myungbak’s failed plans for a “grand canal.” A former CEO of a construction firm, Lee pledged during his campaign in 2007 to build a canal across Korea, but the idea soon fizzled in the face of public opposition. Critics argued that building such a
canal would bring catastrophic damage to the environment, not to mention its questionable usefulness for transportation. After the poor experience with the canal project, many have recommended the government make a sincere effort to build a national consensus on the river project before launching construction. In fact, the Land Ministry plans to complete a survey on the possible environmental effects of the project by around October, when construction work is scheduled to begin. Supporters, on the other hand, say the focus needs to be placed on the positive effects of the renovations. On top of the benefits for the national water supply, they say, cultural tourist attractions can also be developed by utilizing riverside space in nearby cities and maintaining local ecosystems intact. The government plans to build 1,728 kilometers (1,073 miles) of bicycle paths that will link the four rivers. Construction of an artificial lake is also included in the plan. According to Land Minister Chung, the ministry will also hunt for historical and cultural heritage sites near the rivers that can be used to develop tourist attractions. He said the ministry will also build water sports facilities to support leisure activities and develop scenic river areas for other uses. “The river project will not only boost local tourism but also offer places
Seomjin River South Gyeongsang Yeongsan River Province Gwangju Seungchon Reservoir Juksan Reservoir South Jeolla Province
Dredging Reservoir Ecological river section Empowered bank section Water storage basin Flood control revervoir Newly built dams Bike trail 50 million cubic meter 3 127 kilometer 75 kilometer 2
50 million cubic meter 3 124 kilometer 71 kilometer
30 million cubic meter 2 73 kilometer 17 kilometer 2 2 220 kilometer
440 million cubic meter 8 213 kilometer 214 kilometer 1 2 549 kilometer
Source: Land Ministry
“We expect damage from natural disasters to be prevented and the quality of people’s lives to be enhanced,” said Land Minister Chung. “The rivers, the arteries that cut across our territory, will also become a developmental foundation for local governments.” Kang at Hongik also praised the creativity of the plan, saying people need to think inventively and ensure “the restoration project becomes a comprehensive land management system for the future development of the country, not just a conventional civil engineering project like past ‘river improvements,’ which have simply involved building
dams and artificial structures.” Kang said the scope of the project can still be expanded into other Korean regions for an even more significant outcome. Experts also say newly created sites along the four rivers project will be used to generate pollution-free reusable energy such as solar power and play the role of an advance base for green industry. “We can expect considerable job growth in manufacturing and service industries, as well as in construction, if cities near the rivers are used as the core of local economic development,” Kang By Moon Gwang-lip said.
July 2009 korea 9
News in Focus
This rendering shows how the canal will appear, stretching from the sea in Incheon to the Han River in western Seoul.
New Incheon-Seoul Canal Finally Being Made Reality
Korean leaders have attempted to connect Seoul to the sea for a thousand years. Now, with investment of nearly $2 billion, the new waterway is set to open in 2011
10 korea July 2009
or the first time in more than 800 years, a new canal will cut across the capital city of Seoul, when the Gyeongin Waterway project is completed in 2011. The Korea Water Resources Corporation recently announced that it will invest a total of 2.25 trillion won ($1.78 billion) to build the 18-kilometer waterway by December 2011. Work began in March. Major construction companies including SK E&C, GS E&C, Daewoo E&C and Samsung C&T will help build the canal, which will be 80 meters wide, 6.3 meters deep and three times the length of Cheonggye Stream in Seoul. The new waterway from Seo District on the coast of Incheon to Gangseo District in western Seoul looks as though it may succeed where other attempts to build a canal to Seoul have failed. During the Goryeo Dynasty (9181392), Choi Chung-heon, the son of a famous military official, set out to dig a similar waterway, but was stopped by a heavy rock layer. In the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Kim Ahn-no, a high government official, failed in his attempt for the same reason. Every presidential administration since 1995 has tried to revive the project as a part of public investment, only to be foiled by the 1997 Asian economic crisis and protests from environmental groups. Now, at last, the canal is on schedule, snaking its way toward Seoul. “With the completion of construction, the waterway will become a landmark of the western metropolitan area,” said Kim Hyeon-sik, vice head of the Korea Water Resources Corporation. According to the Korea Transport Institute and the Korea Water Resources Corporation, in 2005, 55 percent of container traffic in the Seoul-Incheon area came from Busan Harbor or Gwangyang Harbor, hundreds of miles south. The government expects the completion of the Gyeongin waterway to bring more efficient water transportation to the capital region. The government body predicts that 930,000 20-foot containers, 60,000 cars, 570,000 tons of steel and 10 million tons of sea sand will pass through the water-
President Lee Myung-bak, ﬁfth from right, listens to an explanation of the plans for the canal.
way in 2030. The capital city will also be transformed into an international port, with goods entering from Japan and China. Despite these high expectations, however, some experts say few people will be interested in traveling on the waterway as an alternative to faster land transportation. Critics also worry about pollution and damage to local ecosystems due to the construction process. But the government bodies in charge of the project are confident in their costbenefit analysis, which they say verifies the feasibility of the canal. Those agencies expect the new waterway to contribute to the creation of nearly 250,000 new jobs as productivity increases, boosting economic growth. To share expected benefits with locals, the government plans to build a variety of cultural facilities, including a 36-kilometer bicycle path running from Incheon to Gangseo. The waterway will also be divided into a total of eight sections, each with a different theme. In the first, near Incheon, a marina will be built for water leisure activities. A 2.84 million-square-meter water terminal will open in section two, capable of serving 500 people, with a 1000-space parking garage and a theme park next door. The cultural amenities
are expected to attract international tourists during the 17th Asian Games, to be held in Incheon in 2014. Five kilometers east, a bridge will be built in section three, with a rest stop and boardwalk. Another kilometer east, a riverside park, including an artificial waterfall and an observatory, will open in section four. Section five will feature a traditional marina and garden. An ecological park will be built in section six, with a port for cruise ships and water buses and taxis. Section seven will host a 198-squaremeter terminal near Gimpo, including two docks, capable of handling 1,000 passengers per day. Another theme park and marina will also be built there. Even though a detailed plan for the last section along the Han River in Seoul hasn’t yet been decided, the government has confirmed that the area will focus on water sports and leisure activities, with a theme park for water skiing and yachting. “The Gyeongin waterway will definitely improve the quality of life for the people,” said Kuen-ho Kim, 64, CEO of the Korea Water Resources Corporation. “This waterway will also become a famous brand representing Korea around the world.”
By Park Sang-woo July 2009 korea 11
Summit Brings Allies Closer
outh Korea and the United States adopted a new vision for their alliance on June 16, stipulating the provision of “extended deterrence including the U.S. nuclear umbrella” amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship. President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House for a summit to discuss the Korea-U.S. alliance, North Korea and economic cooperation as well as global issues including climate change and the financial crisis. The 50-minute summit was the second of its kind. But where the meeting between Lee and Obama in London on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in April was brief, the June meeting was a chance for the two leaders to discuss issues between the two nations in depth. Following the summit, Lee and
Obama addressed journalists in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We had very substantive talks,” Lee said. “We, of course, talked about the security situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula, but also about the future of our Korea-U.S. alliance and our joint vision for this future. “Now, the future in this new era is about not only strengthening our mutual partnership but also working together side by side to tackle issues of global concern,” Lee said at the conference. “And in that regard, I am extremely pleased to note that today is a meaningful and very significant day for the Korea-U.S. alliance, which is being upgraded to a new plateau for our relationship and partnership.” President Lee added, “President Obama reaffirmed his firm commitment to ensuring the security of South Korea
through extended deterrence, which includes the nuclear umbrella, and this has given the South Korean people a greater sense of security.” A statement adopted at the summit, titled “The Joint Vision for the Alliance of the Republic of Korea and the United States of America,” also addressed the North and bilateral economic cooperation including ratification of the U.S. free trade agreement. Noting that the South Korea-U.S. mutual defense treaty remains the cornerstone of the countries’ security relationship, the statement said the bilateral alliance will accommodate the changed security environment of today. “We will maintain a robust defense posture, backed by allied capabilities which support both nations’ security interests,” it read. “The continuing commitment of extended deterrence, includ-
Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Barack Obama address journalists in the Rose Garden of the White House after the summit meeting.
ing the U.S. nuclear umbrella, reinforces this assurance.” The two leaders also agreed that South Korea will take the lead role in the combined defense of the nation, supported by U.S. military forces. At the press conference, both Lee and Obama said they will not tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea under any circumstances, promising robust implementation of the sanctions put into effect by the recently adopted UN Security Council resolution to stop its nuclear and missile development. As a way to push forward the six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, Lee said he and Obama agreed that the five countries except for the North would discuss “new measures and policies that will effectively persuade North Korea to irrevocably dismantle all their nuclear weapons programs.” While Seoul, Washington, Beijing, Tokyo and Moscow have tried to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arms program, the North has ratcheted up tensions through a series of provocative acts, including a rocket launch in April and a nuclear test in May. At the press conference, both Lee and Obama said in the past North Korea had been rewarded with food, fuel and other benefits for belligerent behavior. “The message we’re sending -- and when I say ‘we,’ not simply the United States and the Republic of Korea, but I think the international community -- is we are going to break that pattern,” Obama said. At the Rose Garden, Lee also said South Korea wants to maintain the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint venture between the two Koreas that has been in jeopardy since the North detained a South Korean worker about 80 days ago for alleged political crimes. Lee said Seoul wants to keep the Kaesong project not only because it is a channel for dialogue but also because it employees 40,000 North Korean workers. The president expressed concern about the North’s detention of two U.S. reporters convicted of political crimes. “Once again, I urge in the strongest terms that they release these two American journalists, as well as the Korean worker being held,” Lee said. Lee said he and Obama also talked about the free trade agreement now waiting on ratification in both countries’ legislatures. “We welcomed the initiation of working-level consultations to make progress on the issues surrounding the KORUS FTA and agreed to make joint efforts to chart our way forward on the agreement,” Lee said. “I also took time to invite President Obama to visit South Korea. And I conveyed to him our warmest gratitude on behalf of the Korean people to the people of America. Once again, I’m very pleased to note that he and I engaged in very constructive discussions, and I’m very pleased with the results.” According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Lee Dongkwan, Lee and Obama talked for about 50 minutes,
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets Korean President Lee.
In Washington the president met with chief policy makers in the Obama administration and Congress.
accompanied only by interpreters. The spokesman said a luncheon followed the conference, where they were joined by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and chief White House economic adviser Larry Summers. “The two leaders mostly discussed environmental issues during the luncheon,” the spokesman said. “Because both Korea and the U.S. emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide, Lee and Obama agreed that they should cut back on fossil fuel consumption and work for low-carbon green growth policies.” Following the summit, President Lee paid visits to leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, where he thanked Congress for its continued support of the two countries’ alliance and discussed measures to resolve the North Korea nuclear crisis. Lee and the U.S. lawmakers also talked about cooperation to overcome the financial crisis, and the Korean president expressed his wish to strengthen the two countries’ economic relations, including through the free trade agreement, according to Cheong Wa Dae. Lee arrived in Washington June 15 for a three-day visit. He met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the first day, and also U.S. trade envoy Ron Kirk, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “The talks between Lee and Obama were smoother than any before,” said spokesman Lee. “The meeting certainly upgraded the strategic partnership By Ser Myo-ja declared last year.”
July 2009 korea 13
12 korea July 2009
Provided by Cheong Wa Dae
Diplomacy to spur regional growth. ASEAN leaders also appreciated Korea’s proposal to establish an “Asian Forest Cooperation Organization” for green growth and to fight climate change. The Lee administration’s vision of low-carbon green growth was also promoted at the summit. “Green growth and fighting climate change are not a matter of choice. They’re a matter of survival,” Lee said at the May 18 meeting with journalists from ASEAN nations ahead of the event. “Korea will cooperate with ASEAN in this matter. Korea has contributed $200 million to the East Asia Climate Partnership.” The Green Technology Exhibition was also held at the lobby of the International Convention Center in Jeju from May 31 to June 2. The event was designed to promote Korea’s low-carbon green growth vision to visiting officials and businessmen from ASEAN nations. Southeast Asian leaders also joined South Korea in pressuring North Korea to comply with nuclear disarmament agreements, suggesting that the international community use an upcoming regional security forum to address Pyongyang’s recent actions. In addition to the first statement at the summit, a separate joint statement devoted solely to North Korea’s nuclear test last month was issued on June 2. Despite the international community’s efforts to deter North Korea from developing nuclear weapons, Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test on May 25, following up one it performed in 2006. “The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue in a peaceful manner is essential in maintaining peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region,” the statement read. Participants in the summit said they are hopeful that the upcoming ASEAN Regional Forum, to be held in July in Thailand, will contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The forum is the premier security conference for the region and typically involves the 10 ASEAN member countries plus the participants of the six-party nuclear talks: the United States, Russia, South Korea, China, Japan and North Korea. “All the ASEAN member nations have traditionally maintained a close relationship with North Korea,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said after the commemorative summit. “It is a fruitful achievement of the South’s diplomacy that the ASEAN nations united their voices and condemned the North’s nuclear test during the summit.” The spokesman also said, “The commemorative summit opens a new era in South Korea’s ties with ASEAN. Until now, economic exchange was the primary nature of the ASEAN-Korea relationship, but it will expand to diplomacy and security cooperation in the future.”
By Ser Myo-ja July 2009 korea 15
Korea, ASEAN Look Ahead
arking the 20th anniversary of the relationship between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a commemorative summit took place June 1 and 2, where President Lee Myung-bak promoted his New Asia Initiative through a series of bilateral summits. Leaders of the 10 ASEAN member nations — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — gathered on the resort island of Jeju for the summit, under the theme “Partnership for Real, Friendship for Good.” Most of the events focused on regional and global issues including climate change, energy security and cooperative measures to recover from the financial crisis. Leaders also addressed concerns about the escalated threat posed by North Korea, including its recent nuclear test. The summit was also seen as a key opportunity for President Lee to strengthen his New Asia Initiative. Announced in March this year following visits to Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, this diplomatic campaign seeks to upgrade Korea’s role as a power
14 korea July 2009
player in Asia by engaging the region and attempting to create stronger ties. The initiative also represents a shift in Korea’s foreign policy focus from the global superpowers of the United States, Japan and China to regional neighbors. In addition to the Korea-ASEAN summit, Lee’s presidential diplomacy to engage Southeast Asian leaders began before he even left for Jeju. The president held bilateral meetings in Seoul before and after the event and also met with ASEAN leaders bilaterally on Jeju on the sidelines of the commemorative event. During the summit proper, President Lee announced an ambitious plan to increase support for the Korea-ASEAN relationship by expanding official development assistance to the member nations while pushing for cultural exchanges. In his keynote address, Lee praised the 20-year relationship between Korea and the association. “To support this cooperative relationship, Korea created the Korea-ASEAN Cooperative Fund and has raised $39 million,” he said. “With the fund, 190 projects have been completed successfully, particularly focused on providing information on the region and youth exchanges.”
The expansion of ties is key to Korea and ASEAN’s future, Lee said the two sides should increase trade from $90.2 billion in 2008 to $150 billion by 2015. Lee also said the Korea-ASEAN Cooperative Fund will raise $5 million every year starting 2010, with $2 million of that to be used to improve cultural exchange. As part of this effort, Korea will invite 7,000 students and workers from ASEAN countries to visit here by 2015 for vocational training, while sending 10,000 Korean volunteers to Southeast Asia to share advanced technology in the IT and telecommunications sectors. Lee also promised that Korea would share its development expertise with ASEAN nations and provide assistance to fit each country’s unique needs. The president announced a plan to double Korea’s official development assistance to the association to $400 million by 2015, another part of the New Asia Initiative. Korea’s pledges to upgrade ties with ASEAN were put on paper in a 40-point joint statement released at the end of the summit. The two sides also signed a free trade agreement on investment on June 2, expected to boost trade by removing tar-
iffs and improving transparency. Korea and ASEAN now have three separate FTAs for merchandise, services and investment. The deals on merchandise and services were ratified in June 2007 and April of this year, respectively. Trade between Korea and ASEAN last year totaled $90.2 billion, with Korea’s investment in the region at $5.9 billion. Korea is ASEAN’s third-largest trading partner, while the group is Korea’s fifthlargest trade partner. The leaders agreed that they will try to increase trade between Korea and ASEAN member nations to $150 billion by 2015 through bilateral free trade agreements and complementary measures, according to the joint statement. ASEAN also welcomed Korea’s decision to contribute $5 million from 2013 to 2017 for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration, aimed at narrowing development gaps among ASEAN nations. Leaders also supported the strengthening of the Asian Bond Markets Initiative, an issue raised by President Lee at the summit. The plan aims at expanding regional bond markets through the mobilization of savings for productive investments, particularly infrastructure development,
‘Green growth and fighting climate change are not a matter of choice. They are a matter of survival.’
Pledges to upgrade cooperative ties between countries participating in the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit were put down on paper in a 40-point joint statement.
Enthusiastic First Lady Promotes Korea’s Cuisine, Scenic Beauty
Summit a chance to show off the best in local food
ast month, Korea’s first lady Kim Yoon-ok hosted a series of events to accompany the summit that commemorated 20 years of diplomatic ties between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian nations, where she promoted Korea’s scenic beauty, tourist attractions and cuisine. On June 1, Kim and a group of Southeast Asian students studying in Korea participated in a Jeju “olle” hike. Olle is a regional Jeju word for a narrow pathway that connects the street to the front gate of the house. Suh Myung-sook, retired chief editor of a weekly news magazine, created the hiking trails around the resort island, inspired by an 800-kilometer (500-mile) pilgrimage in 2006 from France to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Suh and a team of volunteers restored the secluded pathways across Jeju, and the first trail opened to the public in September 2007. There are now 200 kilometers of olle walkways, and 11 routes are now open. Kim, 15 Korean students and 20 students from ASEAN member nations walked the seventh Olle trail for an hour. The students came to Jeju to attend the ASEAN Campus Summit on the sidelines of the state leaders’ meeting. During the hike, Kim and the students learned about the Jeju Olle program and local myths and legends. The trail overlooked the rocky coastline and pine tree forests. “I came to Jeju for my honeymoon, but it is my first time walk-
Elaborate Korean meals like this one were served at the ofﬁcial welcome dinner during the ASEAN summit meeting.
Kim Yoon-ok, the ﬁrst lady of Korea, second from right, walks down a narrow path (olle in Korean) on Jeju island with students from ASEAN member nations.
16 korea July 2009
ing on this trail,” Kim told the students. “Please promote Korea’s natural beauty and culture in your home countries.” Kim also invited visiting dignitaries at the ASEAN-Korea summit for a tour on June 2. The first ladies of Cambodia and Vietnam, along with wives of cabinet members and ambassadors, joined Kim at some of Jeju’s popular tourist venues, such as the Cheonjiyeon Waterfall and the Jeju Folk Village Museum, which features a collection of traditional artifacts from Jeju. According to Cheong Wa Dae, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Kristiani Herawati praised the scenic beauty of Jeju Island during their meeting with President Lee Myung-bak and the first lady. Lee and Yudhoyono agreed to promote Jeju and Bali together to the international community, said Lee Dong-kwan, spokesman for the Korean president. Another highlight was the food served to the Southeast Asian leaders and dignitaries during the summit. Though North Korea’s recent nuclear test, Korea-ASEAN cooperation and the global economic crisis dominated many of the conversations at the summit, officials of the Lee administration successfully made room on the plate for another topic: Korean cuisine. Under the direction of first lady Kim, the special summit, attended by leaders
The first lady ensured the summit was a chance for Korean food to show its best face to the world.
of the 10 ASEAN member states, was used as a venue to showcase some of Korea’s famous dishes in a bid to raise awareness of hansik, the vernacular word for the local food. The Lee administration announced in May an ambitious plan to globalize Korean food, hoping to position it among the world’s top five cuisines, an elite group that it said currently consists of Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Thai. The Task Force for Korean Cuisine to the World, launched on May 4, is part of the government’s efforts. The first lady, who serves as honorary chairwoman of the task force, has stressed that globalization of Korean food will be crucial to economic growth and the spread of Korean culture worldwide. “Korean cuisine has great potential to be well-received by foreigners as it meets one of the prevailing conditions of the current world food trend - being healthy,” Kim said at the inauguration ceremony of the task force. “But there are many [challenges] that lie ahead.” To get Korean food on the plates of people across the world, a strategic promotional approach is a must, Kim said. “We need to find the foods that foreigners will like,” she said. “To make it suit their taste buds, we need to make some adjustments. It is also urgent and vital to increase the number of places and occasions where foreigners can experience Korean cuisine.” In light of these comments it’s only natural the presidential couple didn’t miss the opportunity to captivate the palates of the Southeast Asian leaders. Korean delicacies were served for the official welcome dinner on June 1 and at both the state leaders’ luncheon and the first ladies’ luncheon on June 2. According to the Blue House, it is customary at an international summit to serve the host nation’s tradiJuly 2009 korea 17
Diplomacy tional cuisine for one special meal, with leaders often dining on Western-style dishes for the rest of the event. But the Lee administration officials said they went the extra mile, serving local specialties on both days of the commemorative summit. For the welcome dinner, leaders from ASEAN member nations were given a choice of one of three variations. The special dinner menu included pan-fried Jeju abalone with sweet soy sauce and broiled Jeju beef rib with ginseng. Seafood and vegetarian options were also available, Cheong Wa Dae said. Throughout the dinner, Korean liquor was also served. Leaders participated in a toast with maesil (Asian apricot) wine. Clear strained rice wine and Jeju’s traditional heobeokju were also served at the dinner. The Blue House said modern variations on traditional dishes, including vegetarian and halal options, were also served at the luncheons on June 2 with pear wine. Because some ASEAN countries have large Muslim populations, no pork was served, Cheong Wa Dae said. Lee, wearing an apron, personally handled the barbeque at the luncheon. Beef, lamb and abalone were grilled by the Korean president and served to the ASEAN leaders to showcase Korea’s delicacies. The ASEAN leaders, particularly Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, enthusiastically welcomed Lee’s friendly gesture, according to the presidential office. During Lee’s summit with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand on the sidelines of the KoreaASEAN meeting, the two leaders discussed the globalization of Korean food. “I am very much aware of the Korean government’s efforts, led by first lady Kim Yoon-ok” to expand the
‘When the world knows about these tasty [Korean] dishes, they will be loved by everyone.’
reach of the country’s cuisine, Vejjajiva was quoted as saying by Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Lee Dong-kwan. “Thailand had a similar campaign to become the kitchen of the world, and we will share our experience and know-how with Korea.” Lee said that he will visit Thailand’s Tourism Authority during his scheduled trip to the country in October to learn about its food promotion campaign and medical tourism programs. On the sidelines of the commemorative summit, Cheong Wa Dae also hosted a tasting event for journalists from around the world to promote hansik. The same luncheon served to the state leaders was served, with slight variations, to journalists from Saveur, a food magazine from the United States; Le Monde and L’Express of France; the Asahi Shimbun of Japan, and KTV and the JoongAng Daily of Korea.Ahn Jeonghyeon, the chef who created the menu at the event, explained each dish to the journalists. “The world knows little about Korean food, and when they think about the cuisine, they think about heavy, meaty dishes,” said Beth Kracklauer, a senior editor of Saveur. “But the dishes served here are so fresh, light and healthy. When the world knows about these tasty dishes, they will be loved by everyone.”
By Ser Myo-ja
The ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra consists of 80 members playing 52 different instruments, a ﬁrst for the region.
Uniting Asia Through Music
ASEAN-Korea orchestra brings together 52 traditional instruments from 11 nations
t’s a musical journey across Asia.” That is how Ngo Tramy, a musician from Vietnam, described the “orchestra without borders” that performed at the Jeju Convention Center on Jeju Island to commemorate the ASEAN-Korea Summit June 1 and 2. Traditional sounds from across the continent combined to create a literal cross-cultural harmony to match the strengthening threads of international cooperation. The ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra, consisting of 80 members from 11 nations speaking a variety of different languages, performed 12 pieces of folk music including “Kwaejinachingching” from Korea and “The Life of Rice” from Thailand on 52 different instruments. No one could quite be sure what these divergent instruments would sound like played together. They included the Korean daegeum bamboo flute and stringed haegeum, the Malaysian rebab fiddle and the Filipino tongal, a wind instrument. From Indonesia came the xylophone-like gambang, from Vietnam the dan tranh plucked zither, and from Myanmar the saung (the “Burmese
Jeju’s olle trails lead from the rocky coastline into the island’s beautiful pine tree forests.
18 korea July 2009
harp” made famous in a story by Michio Takeyama). The khloy flute arrived from Cambodia and rounding out the Korean contingent was the 12-stringed gayageum. The orchestra performed during the two-day summit for heads of state from seven countries including Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines. “We were all curious about how the instruments would sound. When played together, it was amazing because they sounded at once familiar and yet unfamiliar,” said Hong Jun-hui, a representative of the organizers. The story of the orchestra begins in 2008, when the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism suggested to ASEAN member nations the idea of using traditional music to promote friendship and understanding across borders. “Asian folk music has not been able to adapt to shifting times and has been pushed aside by Western popular music,” said composer Park Bum-hoon, the codirector of the orchestra. Park founded a pioneering Asian music group, the Orchestra Asia, in 1993. “Today, traditional music is used primarily in special ceremonies or is performed for tourists.”
But, he says, it is time for traditional music to take its rightful place on the world stage. “Asian music has unique features with historical significance, artistry and popularity. It in no way lags behind Western music.” But putting together such a diverse orchestra wasn’t easy, with organizers working long hours to recruit performers and the musicians themselves practicing for more than 10 hours a day during their paltry rehearsal time. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” says Anant Narkkong, a musician and composer from Thailand who studies ethnomusicology. Though performers from different countries and backgrounds mean different ways of thinking about music, Narkkong says overcoming these differences is what life’s all about. “Music is a harmonic connection between all living beings.” And the story won’t end here, with the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra set to perform at the Asia Culture Complex when it opens in Gwangju in 2012. The complex will be the anchor of the Hub City of Asian Culture, a government-sponsored project designed to provide a focal point for pan-Asian culBy Lee Eun-joo tural exchange.
July 2009 korea 19
A man stands in front of a thermal camera set up to screen outgoing passengers for inﬂuenza at the international airport in Mexico City June 10.
A boy wearing a face mask as a precaution against the ﬂu rides the subway in Mexico City June 11.
Aid from Korea Wins Thanks
from Stricken Mexican Public
Korean and U.S. governments were very mature diplomatic actions that exemplify their goodwill towards Mexico. He also said that he hoped more of the Mexican public would learn about the two countries’ contributions. “Our contribution can’t compare to the massive aid from China, but a lot of Mexican officials are expressing their thanks for our pushing ahead with scheduled events and actively supporting the Mexican government without being intimidated by the flu scare,” said one Korean government official who declined to be named. As of early June, there were more than 19,000 confirmed cases of the new strain worldwide, and the virus was responsible for 117 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Most of the cases have been reported in the United States, Mexico and Canada, but Mexico has the most casualties, at about 100. Korea is no exception, as the country’s public health authorities have confirmed 42 cases of the flu so far, although most of the patients have recovered and no deaths have yet been reported. Korea’s aid efforts certainly bore diplomatic fruit. During a visit to Mexico last month, Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kwon Jong-rak met with his counterpart, Aranda, who again expressed deep gratitude for Korea’s contributions. The two discussed ways to deepen ties between their countries, including starting preliminary steps for a Korea-Mexico free trade agreement. The two also discussed the establishment of direct flights between Korea and Mexico, and deeper ties in energy and infrastructure. Mexico has also expressed a keen interest in taking part, at Korea’s request, in a series of upcoming events in Seoul aimed at strengthening diplomatic relations with Latin American countries, including a conference for senior government officials to be held in October or November and a Latin American cultural festival to be held across Korea in July and August.
By Jung Ha-won
he handful of Korean companies that operate in Mexico have never been more grateful to the government of their mother country. When the Influenza A H1N1 scare prompted many panicked countries to halt all flights in and out of Mexico and even quarantine Mexicans entering their territory, the Korean government immediately reached out to help the stricken country. After the flu hit in early May, Seoul offered emergency aid worth $500,000 to help it cope with the public health crisis. This move impressed the government and people in Mexico so much that Korean entrepreneurs operating in the country say their local business partners have expressed gratitude for Korea’s aid efforts, leading to better relations with the locals. Meanwhile, Korean expatriates in Mexico stress that now is the best time for them to forge a closer relationship with the local business community and improve the reputation of Korean companies. According to officials at the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency branch in Mexico City, many Mexicans applaud Korea’s latest aid efforts, with such words as “Korea is a country of
gentlemen.” Such gratitude is rarely expressed to Korean companies operating in Mexico. Rather, they have often been criticized for giving little back to the community. The help from Korea came in the form emergency aid packages, including 10 refrigerators for storage of blood packs, 500 pairs of gloves and countless masks, waste bags for contaminated items and ear thermometers, which made headlines in Mexico for days. Some 50 Mexican reporters crowded the cargo terminal with their camera crews at Benito Juarez International Airport on May 6 to cover the arrival of the items and to interview Korean Ambassador to Mexico Cho Hwan-bok, who went out to check the items flown from Korea and later handed them over to Mexico’s Deputy Foreign Minister Maria de Lourdes Aranda Bezaury. “The Korean government will actively support the Mexican government and the Mexican people in order for the world to cooperate based on science and solidarity rather than disintegrate in the face of this global health crisis,” said Cho. The news gave Korea an image boost
at a time when many other countries had quickly turned their backs on Mexico at the news of the epidemic. In other Asian countries, Mexican travelers were often quarantined indiscriminately at local hotels and hospitals for days, while some nations’ negotiations for visa waiver programs with Mexico suddenly came to a grinding halt. Even fellow Latin American countries offered little solace during one of the biggest public health crises in Mexican history. After the outbreak of the flu, many of the country’s neighbors were among the first to stop all of their flights in and out of Mexico. “Mexicans felt very disappointed and shocked when their so-called ‘brother countries’ turned their backs on Mexico,” said Park Dong-hyung, KOTRA’s Korea Business Center director in Mexico City. Park said Seoul’s well-timed aid efforts helped improve Korea’s image among ordinary Mexicans a great deal. Even Mexican President Felipe Calderon publicly expressed his gratitude for Korea’s aid packages. Calderon, during his May visit to Torreón in Coahuila state, said the swift aid efforts of the
A Korean doctor listens to a patient describe symptoms at his clinic in Mexico.
July 2009 korea 21
20 korea July 2009
Provided by Korea’s foreign ministry
orea, one of the world’s biggest energy consumers, is now making efforts to become a global leader of green industry, building an eco-friendly economy that conusmes less energy and emits less carbon. At the Korea-ASEAN Commemorative Summit held on the resort island of Jeju in early June, President Lee Myungbak emphasized that his country and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations need to make joint efforts to fight climate change, particularly in the areas of renewable energy and eco-friendly technology. During the summit, leaders of ASEAN member nations praised Korea’s efforts to support green growth in East Asia, such as the East Asia Climate Partnership, which the Lee administration announced last year at the G8 Summit. Under the partnership, Korea will invest $200 million over the next five years in projects to help Southeast Asia’s emerging economies reduce their emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases known to contribute to global warming. On the eve of the summit the Green Growth Exhibition was held in Jeju. Some 30 businesses from Korea and South-
east Asia participated in the exhibition, which took the theme, “Green Growth, Green Asia.” The exhibition included 27 displays including one on polysilicon, a key component of solar photovoltaic cells, and a replica of a “smart grid” electrical delivery system. At a forum held alongside the ASEAN Summit, business leaders met and agreed that one of the big challenges companies face today is striking a balance between economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability. Angela Cropper, deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, mused, “We realize that economies based on the burning of carbon-emitting fossil fuels have powered economic growth over the past 50 years at a huge cost to the environment, the ecosystems and the natural capital that form the very basis of wealth creation and human security.” Since Korea imports almost all of its fossil fuels, development of alternative, renewable energy is vital here not only for the environment’s sake but also for the sake of stable economic growth. As part of those efforts, Korea completed the
Jindo Uldolmok Tidal Power Plant, the first of its kind here, on an island in South Jeolla in May. The plant will initially generate enough electricity to power 430 households. About 12.5 billion won ($9.9 million) was spent to build it, and all the technologies it uses were locally developed. Uldolmok, the setting for a famous sea battle between Korea and Japan during the Joseon Dynasty period (13921910), is known for its swift tides. Thirteen ships led by Admiral Yi Sun-sin defeated some 330 Japanese ships here during the 1592-98 Imjin War, partly helped by smart use of the fast currents, according to historical documents in Korea. The Uldolmok Tidal Power Plant, which makes use of these same currents, will see its capacity expanded by 2013 to provide electricity for around 46,000 households, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs. The expanded plant will have a 90-megawatt capacity, compared to 1 megawatt at present, the ministry said. When the expansion is complete, it will be the world’s biggest tidal power plant, according to the Land Ministry, and it will save Korea 200,000 barrels of crude oil every year.
The government wants the plant to help Korea achieve its goal of generating 5,260 gigawatt hours of electricity from tidal power by 2020. The ministry is also conducting feasibility surveys in the sea near Jindo on sites for two additional tidal power plants. “Low-carbon green growth is a solution to the fast depletion of fossil fuel energy and climate change,” said Vice Land Minister Choi Jang-hyun at the completion ceremony for the Uldolmok plant in May. “That’s the reason we are focused on the development of the sea, which is rich in renewable energy sources.” According to some Land Ministry officials, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has asked to partner with Korea on tidal power technology. Korea is also set to roll out its first wave power plant, with a 25.4-kilowatt capacity, in Sihwa, Gyeonggi, by the second half of next year. The country is even speeding up development of new technologies for solar power, a classic example of renewable energy. A team led by Lee Kwang-hee at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology said in April that it had created a
Harnessing Mother Nature to Power Korea’s Future
Korea hopes the Jindo Uldolmak Tidal Power Plant will be the world’s [JoongAng Ilbo] largest when its expansion is complete.
Renewable energy, eco-friendly autos and a national bike path system are just the beginning of the country’s path to green leadership
July 2009 korea 23 July 2009 korea 23
22 korea July 2009 22 korea July 2009
Green Growth highly efficient plastic-based power cell. According to the team, the cell is designed to mimic the photosynthesis of plants, and reached an unprecedented efficiency of 6.2 percent. “This is the world’s highest number ever reached by any single-layer plastic, organic photovoltaic solar cell,” Lee said. “It will greatly help commercialize power generation using sunlight.” Though energy think tanks such as Lux Research have warned since early 2008 that the “solar bubble” would burst this year, with supply far exceeding demand, they also say that those with a higher level of technology will survive, making higher margins. Another alternative energy is hydrogen fuel cells, which produce electricity using hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel cells can be applied in individual vehicles or huge power plants. Installed in homes and buildings, they produce heat and power directly where they are needed, avoiding the energy loss that occurs during transmission from power plants. They also cause lower carbon dioxide emissions than thermal power. POSCO Power, an affiliate of POSCO, the world’s fourth biggest steelmaker, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government opened a new 2.4-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell power plant in Nowon, northern Seoul, in May. They
A bike rental program like Paris’s Vélib’ will let citizens borrow bikes at automated stations.
jointly invested 15 billion won in the development of the plant, the first in the country. It can generate enough power to supply 3,200 households with electricity and 1,000 households with heat. Such eco-friendly projects were also discussed at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in Seoul in midMay. There, municipal leaders from across the globe mapped out strategies to combat climate change. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said in the summit’s keynote speech, “We know that if we don’t reduce greenhouse gases by somewhere [around] 80 percent by 2050, bad things are going to happen.” Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said, “Climate change is already an undeniable phenomenon. Depending on how we deal with it, it could turn into a disaster that will destroy us, or an opportunity that will take human civilization to the next level.” Before the opening of the summit, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding called the Climate Positive Development Program. The program supports the development of large-scale urban projects that demonstrate cities can grow and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. Sixteen cities in 10 countries have either signed or plan to sign on to the CPDP. Seoul hopes to turn the Magok area into an “ecotown” with minimal emissions by using fuel cells. The Korean capital already pledged in 2007 to become a greener city by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent and energy use by 15 percent. But what about vehicles, sometimes considered the main culprits of air pollution? The Korean government is trying to encourage consumers to go green by
Left, President Lee Myung-bak leads a pack of bicyclists. Above, a user rents a bicycle from a station in Changwon’s Nubija program.
24 korea July 2009
offering tax breaks of up to 3.1 million won on new hybrids. The benefits are expected to be available from this July until December 2010, officials said. The benefits will come just in time for Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. to release the first locallydeveloped hybrids. The former is unveiling a hybrid sedan that runs on liquid petroleum gas, the Hyundai Avante, in July, while a hybrid from Kia will hit the market two months later. They will compete with Toyota Motor’s Prius, the world’s first and bestselling hybrid model, which will be introduced in Korea in October. Meanwhile, LG Chem Ltd. broke ground last month on Korea’s first electric-car battery plant at the Ochang Scientific Industrial Complex in North Chungcheong. Construction began after LG Chem earlier this year signed an agreement with General Motors to supply batteries for the U.S. automaker’s plug-in vehicle the Chevrolet Volt. The Korean company will also provide batteries for hybrids to Hyundai and Kia. The production line should go online by next year, and LG Chem plans to invest 1 trillion won until 2013 to turn Ochang into the center of the world’s next-generation battery industry. But it’s not just cutting-edge technology that’s helping Korea go green. Korea’s also looking back at what was once regarded as an antiquated means of transportation here: the bicycle. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security plans to spend more than 1.25 trillion won by 2018 to create a nationwide bike path network. To protect the safety of bicyclists, more roads will have speed limits under 30 kilometers per hour, and the length of exclusive bike lanes will increase from 9,170 kilometers nationwide to 17,600 by 2012. A public bicycle rental program, modeled after Changwon, South Gyeongsang’s “Nubija” program, will be introduced to provide ready access to bikes across the country. The Nubija program is the Korean version of Paris’s Vélib’, which allowssubscribers to take bikes from one automated station, using a card, and return them to any other station. Nubija, which
Korea plans to overcome its dependence on imported fossil fuels with advanced solar power and fuel cell technology and conservationist policies.
LG Chem hopes to build the hub of the world’s nextgen battery industry right here in Korea.
started in October 2008, now has more than 3,000 users a day, with over 7,700 subscribers as of May 10. “To encourage people who hesitate to take a bicycle because they believe them to be dangerous, our city took out bicycle insurance policies to cover all 500,000 of our citizens,” said Changwon Mayor Park Wan-su. Encouraged by Changwon’s success, the central government aims to increase the percentage of people who use bicycles for transportation nationwide from the current 1.2 percent to 5 percent, and to raise bike ownership from 16.6 percent to 30 percent by 2012. In Changwon, 7 percent of peoples are bicycle riders, but that’s expected to rise to 20 percent by 2020. The central government will also designate eight areas as pilot zones for a “U-bike” program, which will link bicycles and other forms of public transportation. That initiative will involve discounted public transportation fares when riders transfer from bicycles. Han Seok-kyoo, director of regional development policy at the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, said the ultimate goal is “to enable a journey across the nation by using a single card to transfer between bicycles and buses.” The Ministry of Knowledge and Economy said in May that it will establish a high-tech bicycle research and development network in Daedeok, South Chungcheong. And manufacturing complexes exclusively for bicycle parts and materials will also be erected in Suncheon, South Jeolla, and Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang. The complexes in Suncheon and Yeongcheon will specialize in new materials and parts to make bicycles lighter and stronger. President Lee recently said about the program, “Korea was a latecomer in automobile manufacturing, but after 20 years Korea has become one of the world’s top five auto manufacturing countries. Korea may be depending mostly on imported bicycles, but in fewer than five years Korea will likely be one of the three major bicycle countries in the world.”
By Koh So-young July 2009 korea 25
Mounted Warriors of Legend Revealed in Ancient Tomb
Scale armor from the ﬁfth century was recently unearthed in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang, the ﬁrst such discovery in Korea.
he warriors’ bones have long since decayed into dust. But the armor that protected them from the enemy’s swords and arrows has survived, and now, 1,600 years later, it has been unearthed. This unique find sheds light for the first time on the cavalry of the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. - A.D. 935), a favorite subject of Korean folklore, fiction and art. Though not quite as impressive in scale as the terracotta warriors of ancient China, it is certainly comparable in magnitude for Korean archaeology. The sets of armor, believed to have been used during the fifth century, were discovered in a tomb in Hwango-dong, Jjoksaem District in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang. Jjoksaem has the largest concentration of ancient Silla tombs. It is the first time such a vast array of cavalry armor from the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C. - 668 A.D.) has been found in decent condition. That era refers to the time when three separate regimes, Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, dominated the country. In June, archeologists at the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage opened the site to the public. The relics on display included scale armor, horse armor and harnesses. “It’s the first discovery that confirms the existence of Silla’s heavily armed cavalrymen,” said Lee Geon-mu, head of Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration. “[These] provide an important clue as to how Silla adopted the use of heavily armed cavalrymen from Goguryeo and used them to beef up its national defense capabilities to the extent that it later conquered Goguryeo and Baekje and ushered in Korean unification.” Silla conquered Baekje in 660 and Goguryeo in 668. Thereafter, Unified Silla occupied most of the Korean Peninsula. The capital of Silla was Gyeongju, and a significant number of the kingdom’s tombs can still be found in the city. In 2000,
the area was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the academic world, the surprise find is a breathtaking breakthrough that solves a decades-old mystery. Archeologists at the Gyeongju institute dug up some horse armor in Haman County, South Gyeongsang in 1992, and have found plain metal armor as well. But they have never been able to recover scale armors except in tiny pieces, presumed to be simple accessories. Scale armor was made by intricately connecting hundreds of small metal pieces. It is much easier for warriors to move in than ordinary plate armor. Korean historians were aware that their ancestors used scale armor during the Three Kingdoms period based on murals from the era, but without any hard evidence they could only guess as to what it might have looked like. One reason this armor was so hard to come by for such a long time was the burial traditions of the time. “In Goguryeo it was customary to leave the belongings of the dead outside the tombs so that passers-by would take them. This tradition made it extremely hard to preserve those relics,” said Lee of the Cultural Heritage Administration. “Scale armor is known to have been used in other countries like China, but it only existed in rock paintings here and we never actually saw it,” he explained. The site where the collection of armor was found, dubbed Tomb C10, showed all the typical characteristics of early Silla tombs, with a coffin where the body was laid and next to it another box where the belongings to the dead were kept. The coffin and the box were made of wood, and placed in a pit dug to fit. It was in the coffin, which measures 440 centimeters long and 220 centimeters wide, that the archeologists found the armor, horse armor at the bottom,
Stunned archaeologists discover, for the first time, ancient horse and scale armor from the 5th century, solving a mystery that had dogged Korean historians.
scale armor on top of that. “It seems the bodies were laid on top of the sets of armor,” said Ji Byeong-mok, the director of the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. “This arrangement flattened the armor.” Ji and the archeologists surmise that if the dead had been buried wearing their armor, or if the armor had been laid on top, it would have been uncovered in an uneven fashion, due to the variable decay of the bodies and wood. Once the institute completes the excavation, it plans to preserve and exhibit some of the findings. But their work in Jjoksaem is anything but over. The 384,000-square-meter area, full of relics from Silla’s royal families, is still an untapped treasure trove. The area was damaged when people began building houses there in the 1960s, but in 2002 the Cultural Heritage Administration purchased the area, and began its excavation in 2007. The archeologists have also recovered about 150 tombs and 3,000 relics including golden jewelry and saddles. The city of Gyeongju hopes to develop Jjoksaem into a public park for ancient tombs. It’s expected to take at least 20 more years to finish the investigation By Kim Hyung-eun into the area.
The existence of the heavily armed Silla Dynasty cavalrymen, which have such a hold on Korean folklore, was previously known only from paintings like this one.
July 2009 korea 27
26 korea July 2009
Korean Wave Engulfs Theatre
pare pamphlets in foreign languages English and Japanese - which include a more detailed synopsis of the play so that they can have advance knowledge of the piece and enjoy it despite language barriers,” said Yu Seung-jeong, a manager at M Musical Company, which produces “The Three Musketeers.” “The Three Musketeers is a wellknown story, so the language barrier does not seem to be as high,” she added. According to Yu, the solid fan base of Korean singers and actors seems to play a key role in boosting the popularity of their shows. “Shin Sung-woo has a large number of Japanese fans due to his long singing career in Japan, while Park Geon-heong is also a rising Hallyu star with the airing of his TV dramas in Japan,” Yu said. Yu said the M Musical Company even decided to subtitle another of its famous musicals, “Singing in the Rain,” better known in its Korean incarnation as “Sabita,” in Japanese and English because of “the increasing number of foreign viewers.” “The musical’s popularity among Japanese in particular can be attributed to its presentation previously in Japan,” Yu said. In fact, “Sabita” is something of a bicultural marvel. M licensed the musical to Japanese entertainment behemoth Toho Co. in 2007, with Japanese actors performing on the original Korean sets with just a few changes. It was the first time Japanese actors had performed a Japanese version of a Korean musical. Toho premiered the show last July at Toramo, a theater in Tokyo. “It was a success,” Yu said. “We had almost a full house, though it was a small theater with about 250 seats. And it is now expected to make a tour of Japan next year, which reflects its popularity in that country.” Japanese spectators on Hallyu “expeditions” book seats at performances in
Despite the language barrier, more Japanese fans are making the trip to Seoul to see their favorite stars in musicals and concerts.
Japanese actors perform in the Japanese version of the Korean musical “Singing in the Rain,” more widely known as “Sabita.”
n the early evening on the second Saturday of June, the lobby of Chungmu Art Hall in Jung District, central Seoul, was packed with hundreds of people, all eager to see “The Three Musketeers,” a Korean adaptation of the Czech musical. But there was something unusual about this audience for this famous story, which recounts the adventures of d’Artagnan as he becomes a guard of the musketeers - many of the seats were filled by Japanese women. And they didn’t look like residents, either. Did they just happen to be in Seoul and decide to drop by? No. In fact, they were here for the cast. “I’ve been a fan of Shin Sung-woo since 2005, and I’m here just to see him performing in the musical,” said Masako Arakawa, 39, referring to the famous Korean singer-actor who appeared as Athos in the play. “Though it is a musical all in Korean
28 korea July 2009
and I don’t understand Korean, it doesn’t matter if only I can see him and his performance,” she effused. Masako and her four companions, all around her age, introduced themselves as members of Shin’s fan club in Japan, and said they came to Seoul on a four-day tour to attend his performances on Friday and Saturday. In fact, many of Shin’s fans make the trip from Tokyo regularly to see the show, the group said. But Shin has a rival for the affections of Japan’s middle-aged ladies in Park Geon-heong, another Korean actor starring in the musical whom another group of Japanese women in their 30s was there to see. “It costs about 40,000 yen (500,000 won) to make this trip to Seoul, but I don’t regret spending the money at all,” said a woman who identified herself only as Tomoko, and confessed that this is already the fifth time she’s seen the
show. “I understand little Korean, but I just enjoy watching Park’s performances. Korean actors, including Park, act so well that I hardly have any difficulty following the story even though it is narrated only in Korean,” Tomoko said, adding that she had already seen other Korean musicals, including “Dracula,” “On Air” and “The 200-Pound Beauty.” They may disagree on their idols, but these groups do have in common an infatuation with the “Korean Wave,” or Hallyu in Korean, that developed after they saw the hit 2002 TV drama “Winter Sonata,” starring Bae Yong-joon, the breakout star whose popularity in Japan earned him the vernacular pet name “Yon-sama.” “As far as we know, a number of Japanese tourists who come to see Korean performances have some knowledge of Korean. However, for foreign viewers who may lack Korean skills, we also pre-
Korea through several different methods. A Web site called “Seoul-Navi” is a well-known spot for Japanese who visit Korea, and local tourist agencies are now jumping on the Hallyu bandwagon, coming up with package tours that include concerts or performances here. The Chungmu Art Hall, which hosts a variety of performances including the open run of The Three Musketeers and concerts starring famous Korean singers, confirmed that it has received e-mails from a number of Japanese fans booking seats for themselves. “We are currently holding a series of concerts titled ‘Stars on Stage’ featuring 12 K-pop singers, including Kim Tae-woo and Son Ho-young, both of whom came of the idol group G.O.D., and many e-mails [from Japanese fans] ask how they can get an advance ticket for Son’s performance,” said Shin Ye-jin, a manager in charge of planning performances at the venue. “And there were not only individual reservations, but also group reservations where a tourist agency reserved dozens of seats in advance for a group of Japanese visitors.” Shin added, “In Son’s case, about 5 percent of all the 320 seats, that is 20-30 seats, for each of his seven concerts have already been reserved by Japanese fans, the majority of whom are regulars rather than one-time visitors. “It is interesting now that not only non-verbal performances such as Nanta and Jump, which are free from language barriers, but those with Korean actors speaking only in Korean are drawing more foreign By Park Sun-young viewers.”
Provided by M Musical Company
A group of Japanese women from Korean actor Shin Sung-woo’s fan club in Japan pose in front of the poster for the musical “The Three Musketeers,” starring Shin, at the Chungmu Art Hall in central Seoul.
July 2009 korea 29
Preserving Korean Tradition, But Fighting For Modernity
he offices of the Space Group, an architectural firm, occupy a landmark building. In fact, it’s two buildings in one — an older, ivy-covered red brick structure designed by the firm’s founder, Kim Swoo-geun (1931-1986), one of Korea’s top 20th-century architects, and a more modern edifice of glass, concrete and steel designed by Chang Sea-yang (19471996), the firm’s second head. In the center courtyard stands a small hanok, or traditional Korean house. At first glance, the headquarters look as though they have traveled through time. That’s appropriate, since the Space Group itself is a big part of Korean architectural history. The firm was involved in shaping Seoul’s urban landscape,
The firm’s founder hoped to create ‘a record of fading traces of culture.’
from high-profile projects like the Olympic Stadium in Songpa District to the Seoul Central Post Office building in Chungmuro, central Seoul. The witness to this history is the Space monthly magazine, the country’s leading architectural journal, which publishes its 500th issue in July. Since Kim launched the magazine in November 1966 under the name “Gonggan,” or “space” in Korean, it has made invaluable contributions to Korean culture. Kim described Gonggan’s mission thus: “We need to make a record of fading traces of culture.” So the magazine initially covered not only architecture but also art, dance, theater and music. It was the first such general arts magazine in the country. Gonggan was the first publication in Korea to cover the video artist Paik Nam-june and the dancer and choreographer Hong Sin-ja, and the first to give serious consideration to samulnori, the traditional percussion ensemble associated with Korean farming com-
The modern headquarters of the Space Group in Wonseo-dong, Jongno District, central Seoul, is brightly lit at night.
munities. The Space Theater, located in the basement of the firm’s headquarters, was a companion to the magazine, giving a forum to artists it had introduced in print. Paik presented his work here in 1974, and the magazine released a special report on Paik’s video art in the July 1982 issue. This was the first venue for Kong Ok-jin’s dance and for Kim Deok-su’s samulnori. “Breaking down genre barriers is a common theme these days, but at that time, the magazine’s attitude was something unprecedented and very progressive,” said Park Gil-ryong, a former editor of Space and professor of architecture at Kookmin University. The magazine also had an important social agenda. In December 1979, it proposed making the Demilitarized Zone a natural preservation area. It criticized the Park Chung Hee administration’s authoritarian architectural policy in the late 1970s and disapproved of the construction of a hotel in front of City Hall. Beginning with the July 1994 issue, the magazine included articles in both Korean and English. In mid1997, it narrowed its focus to architecture, offering a place for domestic and foreign architects to express their views. That same year, the magazine adopted its English-language name. “We concluded that it was more meaningful to do something that not everyone can do or does, so we turned it into an architectural magazine,” said Lee Sang-leem, current chairman of the Space Group. “Now, we focus on promoting Korean architecture and architects around the world.” To mark the 500th issue, the Space Group is holding special events in front of its headquarters on July 7. Just as the group tried to incorporate traditional images into modern Korean architecture, these ceremonies aim to integrate the past, present and future. In a solo pantomime performance, folklorist Sim Woo-sung will use paper dolls to portray the lives of the people who once lived in the area near the Space headquarters. After that, Tacit Group, a multimedia performance group that plays synthesizers, will present a work using computer-generated images projected on the wall of the new headquarters building.
By Limb Jae-un
Top, sample covers of Gonggan (later Space) magazine. Center above, Space Group’s old ivy-covered headquarters were designed by its founder, Kim Swoo-guen. Above, an old photo documents the ﬁrst poetry reading at the Space Theater.
July 2009 korea 31
30 korea July 2009
Strong illumination raises contrast on the third ﬂoor. The one in the front is a celadon ﬂowerpot. Those in the back are celadon bottles.
Provided by Horim Art center
Top: Celadon bottle with inlaid chrysanthemum drawings. Black surface is attributed to iron clay. Bottom: Celadon jar, the biggest Goryeo celadon piece ever shown to the public.
Exquisite Relics of a Kingdom Now Long Lost
Goryeo’s celadon artifacts on display include pots, plates and even drums
oryeo celadon, the first kind of porcelain developed by Koreans, has been praised for its unique beauty, often characterized by intricate inlays and jade-green hues. The inlay technique, called sanggam, is not only celebrated in Korea, but also in China, where porcelain is generally believed to have originated. You can now get your fill of Goryeo celadon at the Horim Art Center, which is hosting a large exhibition displaying 200 such works. A highlight of the exhibit is the “Celadon Jar,” which is the biggest piece of Goryeo celadon ever shown to the public. It measures 48 centimeters (18.9 inches) high and has a diameter of 50 centimeters. It is also the first time this particular piece of celadon has been put on display for the public. “There are few Goryeo celadon
pieces as big as this one,” said Yu Jinhyeon, curator of the exhibition. Another notable piece is the “Celadon Gourd-shaped Lidded Ewer” from the 12th century Goryeo Dynasty — one of six nationally recognized treasures on display. The work, which is listed as treasure No. 1540, is considered a typical example of jade-green celadon, both in shape and color. Another treasure — No. 1451, from the 13th century — is the “Celadon Bottle Table Ewer” created with the famous inlaying technique. “Scholars excavated Goryeo kilns and they found only a small number of inlaid celadon pieces,” Yu said. “This shows that inlaid celadon was rare and precious even in the Goryeo Dynasty.” The exhibit also shows celadon inlaid with iron-rich clay drawings. The clay was diluted with water and then
applied to the celadon with a brush. Because of the high iron content, the painted area turned black. The exhibition shows that celadon was used for a variety of purposes other than serving food. There are celadon drums, plates, tiles and poles, among other types of pieces. The Horim Art Center, located in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam District, in southern Seoul, is a branch of the Horim Museum — which is one of the country’s three major private museums. The other two are Gansong Art Museum and the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art. The art center is a site in itself, surrounded by concrete layers that make it look like a lotus in full bloom. It is part of a 15-story office building that looks like upside-down earthenware, which has made it a landmark. The tower has a metallic dark brown
tone and slit windows. To enter the Horim Art Center, visitors need to go through a dark corridor with tiny lights sparkling on the ceiling. The exhibition at the Horim Art Center starts on the fourth floor. It opened on June 24 and continues through Sept. 20. The exhibit is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sundays and Chuseok holidays. It has extended hours on Wednesdays, when it is open until 8 p.m. Guided tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tours of the entire center are offered at 3 p.m. Ticket prices range from 5,000 won ($3.90) to 8,000 won. Admission is free on the last Thursday of each month. To get to the museum, go to Gangnam-gu Office Station on line No. 7, exit 3, and walk 10 minutes south. For more information, call 02-541-3523 or visit www.horimmuseBy Limb Jae-un um.org.
July 2009 korea 33
32 korea July 2009
100 Years of Ups and Downs
for Korean Manhwa Artists
orean comic books, or manhwa, have certainly come a long way. Once viewed as an evil distraction to Korea’s young students, banned in schools and even subject to book burnings in the 1970s, today they enjoy a huge fanbase on their home soil, and they’re even one of Korea’s key cultural exports — a major player in the Korean Wave. Korean manhwa have been licensed or exported in countries including Algeria, France, Japan, Germany, Thailand, China and the United States. To commemorate the ups and downs of Korean manhwa — and the 100th birthday of the art form in June — the National Museum of Contempo34 korea July 2009
rary Art decided to organize an exhibition titled “100 Years of Korean Comics.” According to the museum, the exhibition is the biggest ever to look back at the history of the colorful entertainment, with 1,500 pieces by 250 artists including rarities such as the nation’s first comic and others published in early days of the 1930s and ’40s. In addition, 60 manhwa-inspired pieces by contemporary artists will be on display as well. These offbeat works borrow humor and wit from their creators’ childhood favorites. For example, Seong Tae-jin’s Hunting Scene features Taekwon V, a Korean fighting robot, and parodies Suryeopdo, a depiction of
a hunting scene during the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C. - A.D. 668) by inserting the robot character into the Korean classic. “Today’s manhwa are more than publications. They give inspiration to diverse art genres and cultural content,” said Lee Seung-mi, head of the education and culture department at the museum. In fact, Korean manhwa has become an important influence on many genres of entertainment, including TV dramas and films, in recent years. The film rights to the manhwa Priest by Hyung Min-woo have been sold to a Hollywood studio for a live-action adaptation, while other manhwa have
been made into popular TV dramas here at home. “Gung” or “Palace Story” by Park So-hee is now available in 13 countries including Japan and Taiwan. The exhibition touches upon manhwa history in three sections: The first section starts from the very first satirical cartoon, published in the Daehan Minbo, one of Korea’s first newspapers, back in June 2, 1909, and moves forward to modern manhwa, which are easily accessible online. In the second section, the different genres of manhwa are explored, and the third section shows how manhwa and other artistic genres have fused with one another. Along with the exhibition, side
events such as a manhwa storytelling session, a comic drawing demonstration and free screenings of animated films will be available. The exhibition runs through August 23 at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi, after which it will head to Jeju Island, south of the peninsula, from September 5 to Oct. 31, at the Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art. For more information, visit www.moca.go.kr or call (02) 21886232. Meanwhile, other manhwa-related events are also being held in the capital, such as the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival.
By Sung So-young
Opposite: Clockwise from top left, rare watercolors by Korean cartoonist Kim Sunghwan are displayed, the cast of the manhwa Yeolhyeolgangho, and visitors to the exhibit at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi. This page: Clockwise from left, Hunting Scene by Seong Tae-jin inserts the ﬁghting robot Taekwon V in an ancient Korean hunting scene, children enjoy the exhibit. The hit Palace Story by Park So-hee.“Untitled” by Oh Young-won.
July 2009 korea 35
Exploring Neglected Corners
t the 53rd Venice Biennale, Haegue Yang will become the first woman to represent Korea. And in her project for the Korean pavilion, called Condensation, the artist explores private spaces that might be considered marginal or insignificant, and builds from them a narrative of greater social meaning. In her video essay, Yang uses light, wind and scent to provoke nostalgia. “Art is essentially about translating agony,” says the Berlin-based Korean installation artist. “Making art is about seeing agony as a companion rather than as something to overcome.” It’s also the first time a non-Korean national has served as Korean Pavilion commissioner — Eungie Joo, curator of the New Museum in New York. Condensation fits into the biennale’s overall theme, “Making Worlds,” curated by Daniel Birnbaum, director of the Staedelschule international art academy in Frankfurt. The main event will spotlight artists from 77 countries. The Korean exhibition comes in three parts: sculpture, video and installation. Each reflects Yang’s concern with the potential of marginalized spaces and how the public can engage with them. The video essay “Doubles and Halves — Events with Nameless Neighbors” forms the cornerstone. In it, Yang integrates footage shot in the deteriorating neighborhood of Ahyeon-dong in Seoul where she used to live and the site of the biennale itself, abandoned during the off-season. Voices speak in three different languages over the lingering traces left by the residents and activities that once occupied these sites. This work is part of Yang’s continuing attempt to create and add meaning to her personal narrative and restore authority to neglected subjects. In “Sadong 30,” the artist’s installation from 2006, Yang used an abandoned house that her grandmother used to live
36 korea July 2009
Haegue Yang (Seoul, 1971) received her B.F.A. from Seoul National University's Fine Arts College in 1994, and her Meisterschüler from Städelschule Frankfurt am Main in 1999. Her works have been exhibited at many international events including the Anyang Public Art Project 2007; BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht; the 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh; the Cubitt Gallery, London; the Kunsthalle Hamburg; the Portikus; REDCAT, Los Angeles; the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennial; the 2008 Turin Triennale; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and most recently at the Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, and the Power Plant in Toronto. Yang lives and works in Berlin and Seoul.
Below, the installation artist Haegue Yang is the ﬁrst Korean woman invited to exhibit at the Venice Biennale.
‘There is something profoundly genuine about household machines... I feel very close to appliances.’
in on the outskirts of Seoul as the setting for her work. Yang demanded the active participation of her audience, installing her work far away from downtown Seoul and providing maps and invitations with a password needed to gain entry. Inside, the artist added certain objects and left other traces of her grandmother’s life behind, such as a mirror, origami, a lamp and a fan. The work was unique in that the space was deeply personal to the artist, but it also conveyed a social memory of the lives Seoul residents once lived. In the second part of her exhibit at the Biennale, called “Sallim,” which roughly translates as “running a household,” Yang presents a full-scale reproduction of her Berlin kitchen. Influences that can be spotted in this work include Martha Rosler’s “Semiotics of the Kitchen” (1975) and other feminist artists of the 1960s and ’70s, who protested the low value placed on “women’s work.” By joining Rosler, Yang explores potentially radical values in the domestic sphere of the kitchen. The kitchen, lit by bare incandescent lights, generates the savory smell of food in some places, but a rotting stench in others. Both speak of everyday domestic nurturing. “I believe that I have a particular tendency to personalize not only historical figures and events but also machines and objects that are largely domestic,” Yang said in a conversation with Joo, the show’s curator. “There is something profoundly genuine about household machines. They seem to me so dedicated and committed to what they are supposed to do, which moves me deeply.” Yang added, “I feel very close to appliances, maybe even enough to be similar to them in terms of attitudes, their silent presence, supportiveness, loyalty, understatement and substance.” The last part of Condensation is “Series of Vulnerable Arrangements? Voice and Wind,” a display of Venetian blinds that stretch from the ceiling to the ground. While the partitions define private spaces, they also suggest the connection people have with the outside world. A vent enhances the visual impact, adding movement, evoking a light, flowing dance. Scent emitters infuse the work with sensuous moments. “When I was pondering over the exhibition title, I came across ‘condensation’ in my video essay,” Yang explained in a recent interview with the Korean newspaper the JoongAng Ilbo. “It was the metaphorical condensation of a disposition in the hidden spaces and marginal sites, making us feel solitary, seemingly intiBy Park Soo-mee mate, but ultimately vulnerable.”
Above and below, through her installation Condensation, shown at the Venice Biennale, Haegue Yang explores hidden and marginal spaces, making viewers feel solitary, and ultimately vulnerable.
Provided by Yang Haegue, JoongAng Ilbo
July 2009 korea 37
Pushing Poetic Limits
Poetry collections From Yet Another Star (Tto dareun beolaeseo, 1981) My Father’s Scarecrow (Abeojiga seiun heosuabi, 1985) Hell in a Certain Star (Eoneu beolui jiok, 1987) Seoul, My Upanishad (Naui upinishadeu, Seoul, 1994) Poor Love Machine (Bulssanghan sarang gigye, 1997) Look, Calendar Factory Manager (Dalyeok gongjangjangnim boseyo, 2000) A Cup of Red Mirror (Hanjanui bulggeun geoul, 2004)
‘Women still live under colonial conditions. Colonialism is not merely a social condition, but a psychological factor.’
Source: Korea Literature Translation Institute
im Hye-soon (born 1955), who began writing poetry as a student of Korean literature in college, credits Kim Su-yeong as her biggest influence, the one who showed her what it means to free oneself from the conventions of form. As a poet, Kim has endeavored to move beyond restrictions, creating unique and unlikely imagery by experimenting with language. Her writing progresses swiftly and often disfigures the accepted order of events, forcing the reader to experience the world from a new perspective. Kim defines poetry as “a method of reading the world while living in it,” and uses not abstract ideas but the sensual body as the starting point for her writing — particularly the female body. Through her poetry she contemplates feminine modes of experience. With an imagination worthy of fairytale, Kim breathes new life into varieties of expression that were perhaps suppressed by a patriarchal society.
Motherhood and womanhood, always “white” in Kim’s work, suffer under male chauvinism and patriarchal oppression, symbolized by the color black. Kim says, “Women still live under colonial conditions. Colonialism is not merely a societal condition, but a psychological factor engraved into our DNA.” In order to destroy this colonial mentality, deeply entrenched in the female psyche, Kim often utilizes exaggerated and bizarre images distinguished by the color of blood, as in “red baby,” “red embryonic fluid” and “red dew.” By raising her voice in protest against the violence and artificiality hidden under the tranquil surface of social order, Kim urges us to reevaluate our passive acceptance of the status quo. The gravity of her message, however, is often offset by her supple language, resulting in the creation of an idealistic yet seductive poetic world.
38 korea July 2009 June 2009
July 2009 korea 39
Poor Love Machine
(Bulssanghan sarang gigye)
This poetry collection was awarded the Kim Suyeong Literature Prize in 1997. Seductive, torturous and unsettling, the poems collected in this volume take ordinary objects from everyday life and transform them into entirely new and unfamiliar entities through microscopic dissection and selective magnification. In particular, Kim explores the subject of femininity and female sexuality with daring openness. In “Bright Rag” the poet writes, “I want to lay between the legs of women carrying water jars/ I want to lay between the legs of women who fill their jars from the well down below / And carry them on their heads up the hillside / Women who draw up the fresh nutrients from deep in the earth … I want to touch them between their legs.” Using these earthy images, Kim describes the female sexual organs with vitality. The impulse to “touch them between their legs” expresses the poet’s desire to affirm her own womanhood and at the same time is her attempt to interpret and embrace the world through the bodies of women.
Look, Calendar Factory Manager
(Dalyeok gongjangjangnim boseyo)
The poems collected in this volume make up the poet’s struggle with sterile and corrupt city life. Noted for her ability to impress and move without descending into sentimentality, Kim utilizes her childlike imagination to explore the suffocation and oppression that afflict the female psyche. In the foreword, the poet addresses “the managers of all the calendar factories in the world.” The calendar factory manager is soon revealed to be God, the ultimate embodiment of the father figure: “To the one who made day and night and steers this earth for all eternity / To the father-manager who never once neglected his duty of supervising us / Us, the laborers caught in the cogs of time in the world of numbers / I would like to present this volume of poetry.” The poet’s hostility to the oppressive father figure is apparent in this foreword and continues throughout the collection. Mothers who toil their entire lives in suffocating domesticity and the fathers or the “calendar factory managers” who impose this prison sentence on their wives constitute the main focus of the collection.
Kim Hye-soon: A Poetics of Transformations
In the poem that bears the title of Kim Hyesoon’s remarkable book Mommy Must be a Fountain of Feathers (elegantly translated by Don Mee Choi), motherhood blooms outward until the private world of her children is transformed into a vast feathered incubator: “At mommy’s house, the floors are also mommy, the dust that floats around the rooms is also mommy, when you open the door of mommy’s house I’m under mommy’s feathers like an unhatched egg.” By blurring the lines between human and animal consciousness and experience, Kim complicates the intimacy of the private, often domestic space of mothering by revealing how such spaces feed into a larger and often shockingly violent historical or social machinery. “Uncle who lives next door and checks the sex of the chicks killed all the males and sent them to a food stall where roasted sparrows are sold All the female chicks were sent to a boarding house He says the female chicks will be raised to be eaten later.” Yet the aperture of the poem opens exponentially wider to reveal the slightness of these societal conditions in the cosmic birth of all existence from within mother. “Beneath sleep there are stars that have not hatched yet Stars that call me desperately Below the stars, far below I, another mommy, have many cold stars in my embrace” From such assemblages of exquisitely disjunctive images and narrative swaths, shimmering shamanic, philosophical, surreal, magical, and at times brutally materialist portraits of a vast samsara sea inhabited by countless sentient beings in various forms of death and rebirth appear on page after page. While only some of the poems deal with explicit Buddhist themes (“Why Can’t We”), one finds oneself reaching for the specific tone and breadth of Buddhism to house Kim’s determination to challenge subject/object dichotomies, inhabit and speak from non-human forms of sentience, and continually return her readers to the underlying flux that results in our endless suffering. While less than 100 pages in its English translation, it can be a difficult read, because one wants to read nearly every poem, to open up the bristling variety of richly textured readings waiting within each one. The poem “A Hole,” for instance, is a complex aggregate of feminist, corporeal, existential, and comical elements, which collide to create an ambivalent reading of “the hole” as orifice, genitalia, suture, void, absence, epithet, and origin. The reader is taken around, through, and back out of the paradoxical space of the “hole” which shifts from absence to presence depending upon the alwayschanging position of the viewer. The “hole” “makes good steamed rice,” has “babies pop out of it” is indifferent, idiotic, open, frightened, made up, pleasurable. “The hole intensifies when it stays in bed too long In other words the hole becomes deeper and deeper When I get up in the morning I see a mark on my pillow from the tears of the hole.” From transfigurations of dust mites into microscopic kittens and kitchens into infernos that conjures Ezra Pound’s “Hell Cantos,” the poems within this volume return the reader again and again to the sometimes sublime but often brutal fact that we, like all animals, dwell within transient, vulnerable bodies. “I am my prison I am my prisoner My eyes are my prison’s guard posts The pain that escapes my body Is no longer pain But I still want to step outside The ribs tonight.” These poems not only reveal how dynamic and vital Korean poetry is today, but the translation of this book into English has enriched English poetry as well, and will no doubt catalyze greater interest in contemporary Korean literature more broadly.
By Jonathan Stalling, assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma and assistant editor of World Literature Today
A hole walked in just as I was wiping oﬀ my makeup I looked at the hole as I sat on the sofa and took oﬀ my stockings The hole was about one meter and sixty centimeters wide I hear the hole makes good steamed rice and on some days babies pop out from it However the hole isn’t certain whether someone is spitting into it or not and even when a black cloud sits leaning against its thighs for decades it doesn’t care A fool, like a hell that keeps on walking I poured left-over seaweed soup into the hole Really the hole is nothing an idiot but it’s deep When I took out my wisdom tooth a one-meter-and-sixty-centimeters-wide hole opened up However the problem is that a hole falls into the hole endlessly whenever it can Where’s the hole’s end? The hole remains a hole even if the water from all the ponds of the world is poured into it Do people know that the hole puts on makeup? That it cries when it is hit by lightning? That a red tongue that detests the hole hides inside the hole’s mouth and kneads an ohohoh sound? The hole intensiﬁes when it stays in bed too long In other words the hole becomes deeper and deeper When I get up in the morning I see a mark on my pillow from the tears of the hole
40 korea July 2009
July 2009 korea 41
Local Nuclear Technology at Core of Energy Policy
Korea’s goal is to export nuclear plants on a ‘turnkey’ basis — ready for immediate use.
08 New Growth Engine Industries
42 korea July 2009
July 2009 korea 43
A financial crisis is sweeping the world, giving rise to fears of a global economic depression. To overcome this global crisis, close cooperation between countries is needed more than ever before. Beyond that, there is another imminent global crisis that requires the collaboration of the international community: climate change. As part of global efforts to reverse global warming, the Korean government has announced its green road map, which is intended to cultivate new growth engines by adopting lowcarbon green growth as the national agenda. On this green road map, nuclear energy plays the core role. Nuclear energy is a low-emission energy that can greatly contribute to creating jobs in many key industries. Nuclear energy can lead to greener industry and contribute to the recovery of the domestic economy through the export of plant construction technologies and the creation of related jobs. Korea’s nuclear technology has advanced to the level where it can export nuclear power plants on a turnkey basis — involving the construction and transfer of power plants to the client in ready-to-use condition. The local industry, led by Korea Hydro Nuclear Power Co., is endeavoring to export APR1400s, advanced reactors developed by
Korea. The domestic industry is also pushing ahead with the APR+ Technology Development Project, with support from the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy. The APR+ project is designed to overcome export constraints by localizing essential designs and technologies for potential buyers. If this project is completed successfully, Korea will ultimately be able to export nuclear power plants on a turnkey basis. Main issues The strategic goal of the Lee Myung-bak administration is to maintain economic growth momentum by developing renewable energies, that is, green, low-carbon energy sources. The new government published its green road map, called the National New Growth Engine, on Aug. 22, 2008. The road map includes various innovative programs to foster green growth until 2012, thereby developing the economy and creating more jobs. The national green growth engine program selected nuclear power as the most workable source of renewable and low-carbon energy. And by fostering the nuclear industry as a key exporter, the Korean government will be able to contribute to the development of the global economy and job creation across the world.
The APR+ Technology Development Project focuses mainly on exporting homegrown nuclear power plant designs on a turnkey basis. The project aims to advance Korea’s existing nuclear technologies such as essential design tools, nuclear plant designs and construction and operation know-how to the level of major nuclear vendors. By introducing sophiscated and competitive nuclear technologies to the global market, Korea will be able to contribute to the recovery of the global economy. The Korean government’s nuclear technology development strategy, called Nu-Tech2015, consists of two main components. One concerns the localization of key technologies such as software for nuclear reactor design, reactor coolant pumps and man-machine interface systems. The other component is the APR+ Technology Development Project, aimed at developing globally marketable nuclear power plant designs by making reactors safer and more economically efficient. The success of the APR+ project is essential for the success of the NuTech2015 strategy. If it succeeds, Korea will be able to emerge as the best nuclear reactor exporting country by 2015, when these technology development projects will bear fruit. The APR+ Technology Develo-
Nuclear powerplant at Uljin, Gyungbuk province.
Exporting nuclear plants requires concerted efforts by government, industry and research institutes.
From Casinos to Malls, Kortex Is Everywhere
08 New Growth Engine Industries
ment Project was launched on Aug. 1, 2007. It will lead to development of a sort of Generation III+ reactor type, with improved safety and economic efficiency. The project will be carried out in three phases and completed by 2015. It will take a long time for Korea to develop replacement technologies for all the areas on which Korea still relies on foreign companies. To attain its new green growth vision, Korea is determined to execute its energy strategies and complete development of proprietary nuclear technology as soon as possible. By doing so, Korea will have the capability to compete with foreign nuclear vendors in emerging nuclear reactor markets. This project is being promoted nationally, with the joint participation of most of Korea’s nuclear-related organizations under the leadership of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. and with the active support of the government. The APR+ project will boost the national economy and the export capability of the domestic nuclear industry. To achieve the goal of exporting nuclear power plants, support from the government, industries, universities, and research institutes across the country is essential. Major nuclear vendors, empowered by advanced technology and national support, are striving to secure
turnkey reactor export contracts in emerging nuclear power markets. It is possible to achieve the national goal of exporting nuclear reactors by 2015 only if each participant in the project — the government, industries, universities and research institutes countrywide — does its best in performing its share of the duties, bearing in mind that we all must be dedicated to exporting our own nuclear reactors. The strategy of exporting nuclear reactors should be set up at the government level. Formulating an export plan by the Korean government alone is good, but multilateral cooperation based on a shared management philosophy will be much better. It would be more efficient to export reactors in cooperation with foreign nuclear reactor vendors or utilities, considering that each country has its own safety regulation and inspection system. Therefore, the future export plan should be formulated through collaboration with foreign utility operators who know and understand the business. The strategy of exporting nuclear reactors and the justifications for local technology development were described here briefly. It is not easy to export reactors, which are part of national infrastructure and are a huge industry consisting of millions of components. Exporting nuclear power plants requires considerable
time and concerted efforts by government, industry, universities and research institutes. As a new growth engine, the nuclear industry will revitalize the national economy and create high-end jobs. We hope readers will understand that exporting nuclear power plants is the first step to an even bigger dream.
Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Huh Seong-chul is manager of the nuclear technology team at Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Huh received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Pusan National University.
[Provided by HJC Helmet]
The display ﬁrm is the world leader in gaming displays.
He received the Knowledge Economy Minister’s Award in September in recognition of his development of advanced electric technology. E-mail: email@example.com
ortex, a display solution company, holds the largest share of the global market for casino game displays. The company was established in 1987 and is considered small, with only around 160 employees even now. In the beginning, it mainly manufactured computer monitors, but it began developing TFT-LCD displays, touch screens and multimedia games in 1999. Over 40 percent of Kortex’s sales come from touch screens, with TFTLCD coming in second. The firm may hold the top position for gaming displays, but it has been expanding into other areas, particularly focusing investment on so-called digital information displays, or DIDs. A DID is a large LCD monitor that shows advertisements to customers at department stores and other retail venues. In 2008, Kortex signed a contract to supply DIDs to Japan’s NEC and inked an OEM contract with Germany’s Loewe. Another deal, with Barco from Belgium, was signed earlier this year. The revenue of Kortex’s DID division, which was 6 billion won (about $5 million) last year, is expected to shoot up to more than 40 billion won in the future. The company also expects sales of medical monitors including those for ultrasound machines to increase 40 percent this year. Kortex began developing these products in 2005, and signed a deal to supply them to Siemens
in March 2006. Kortex has even been expanding into education, developing electronic blackboards, a high-tech industry the government hopes to promote for future growth. With its diversified businesses and aggressive marketing Kortex now has a wide-ranging client list totaling 70 companies. One of its biggest customers is International Game Technology, the world’s largest slot machine manufacturer. Kortex supplies 70 percent of IGN’s displays. The Korean manufacturer has two overseas offices, one in the United States, established in 2001, and the other, in Europe, opened a year later. CEO Lee Dong-hun says the reason behind the company’s success is its competitiveness. “Korea has the No. 1 spot in the world in display competitiveness,” Lee said. “Through aggressive investment in research and development to produce top-quality products and differentiated technology, we plan to grow into a global company.” Despite the economic downturn, the company has enjoyed record performance. Last year its revenue was 138.6 billion won with an operating profit of 20.2 billion won, up from revenue of 84.8 billion won and operating profits of 7.3 billion won in 2007. This year the company hopes to achieve sales of over 160 billion won, with an operating profit of 25 billion By Lee Ho-jeong won.
44 korea July 2009
July 2009 korea 45 July 2009 korea 45
One Small Step for Korea’s Dream of Space Exploration
Members of Korea’s young astronauts club run in front of Korea’s ﬁrst space launch facility.
46 korea July 2009
orea’s long held dream of freely exploring the universe is now one step closer as the country’s first space launch facility has officially opened Thursday (June 11). The Naro Space Center, located in Goheung, 485 kilometers south of Seoul, and covering 5.11 million square meters, unveiled itself after nine years of construction at a cost of 312 billion won (US$248.6 million). The vast center has a state-of-the-art mission director center, launch and flight safety control facilities, launch pad, meteorological observatory and both radar and optical tracking systems to follow the trajectory of all rockets launched. With the establishment of the center, Korea becomes the 13th member of the so-called “space club” comprising countries that operate space centers and can send satellites into orbit. As of today, there are 26 space centers worldwide in 12 countries including Russia, US, France, China and India. The opening ceremony for the Naro Space Center was held Thursday afternoon attended by President Lee Myungbak, government officials and about 1,000 Goheung residents. In a speech marking the opening of the country’s first space center President Lee said the Naro Space Center symbolizes the country’s bright future. “Up until the last century, countries that controlled the sky and the sea led the world, but in the 21st century, the ones that advance into space will control the world,” said President Lee. He also added that Korea must step up efforts to develop its space technolo-
President Lee Myung-bak attending the opening ceremony for the Naro Space center tries to simulate facility.
‘In the 21st century, [the countries] that advance into space will control the world.’
gy and must become the world’s seventh largest space developer within the decade. The first domestic satellite launch from Korea’s soil is scheduled on July 30. President Lee Myung-bak (center) makes a fist with researchers who will work at the Naro Space Center on June 11. The rocket called Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) or Naro-1 is to be launched from to carry a small scientific satellite into Earth’s orbit. Following the successful launch of the KSLV-1, work is to begin on the construction of the KSLV-2 that could be launched around 2018. Although the KSLV-1 was built in cooperation with Russia, the KSLV-1 will completely be made domestically without foreign assistance. Korea is also set to put efforts to send an unmanned probe into the Moon’s orbit in 2020. Korea has previously launched 10 satellites all from By Han Aran outside the country, mainly Russia.
July 2009 korea 47
Boats await the competition a day prior to the starting gun of the 2009 Korea Match Cup on June 2.
Boat Race Nurtures
Local Water Sports
many of whom are not yet familiar with them. The companies that exhibited at the show numbered 281 in total, with 115 of them domestic and 166 foreign. That was a 17-percent increase from last year’s 240, with the number of foreign companies that participated in the event increasing by 37 percent. The most interesting figure from the show involved exports. The number of contracts signed at the show to export products from Korea rose 46 percent. Despite the drop in attendance, organizers were pleased with the event, saying it did a good job of increasing interest in boating and yachting, and formed a solid step towards improving Korea’s marine leisure industry. Gyeonggi Province’s plans for the future include completing a marine industry complex in Hwaseong by 2012. The complex will host retailers of boats and yachts as well as service centers for repairs. The all-in-one center in Hwaseong is expected to solidify the region’s efforts to make its mark as an essential tourist stop to enjoy the waves off Korea’s west coast. But the show wasn’t the only exciting event to take place on Korea’s waters in June. The five-day Korea Match Cup came to a climax on the same day as the show,
July 2009 korea 49
he International Boat Show was a forum for industry insiders to see the latest in boating and marine technology firsthand, but it was also a chance for curious visitors to take a dip in the world of water sports. According to organizers, this year’s event drew 250,000 visitors, 100,000 short of last year’s numbers and 150,000 behind their target. But it’d be hard to
discern any drop in the mass of people crowding the venues the day before closing. Even families found ways to stay entertained, with children trying out the “kid bike” one-seat paddle boats at the Jeongok Marina in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi. Plenty of other activities were also available for visitors outdoors, including canoes, kayaks and bumper boats. Near the stately boats and yachts on
display, fashion shows, concerts and other performances kept the atmosphere upbeat on an outdoor stage. The number of visitors from overseas fell short of 1 percent of the total at about 2,000. The sluggish economy and unstable relations between North and South Korea were just two of the reasons organizers cited for the decrease in numbers, but the boat show continues to showcase water sports to the public,
48 korea July 2009
Sports show: June 7. On the final day, Italy’s Paolo Cian of Team Shosholoza defeated Britain’s Ian Williams and his Bahrain Team Pindar. Cian, who cruised into the finals as the reigning International Sailing Federation World Match Racing Tour champion, lived up to his reputation against Williams, who got there the hard way. Although Williams and his Bahrain liams; they were considered favorites heading into the fiveday competition. The World Match Racing Tour is recognized by the ISAF as a high-level competition, and it draws some of the top teams in sailing. However, it’s not quite as prestigious as the America’s Cup, with smaller yachts and crews. America’s Cup yachts are significantly bigger than the 36-foot yachts used in World Match races, which have about a quarter of the team members on board. An international event that draws attention around the world, the Korea Match Cup semifinals and finals were broadcast live on ESPN in 155 countries. Partially thanks to this publicity, the competition and the boat show was an important step toward improving Korea’s marine leisure industry, still in its infancy compared to other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, which are more developed due to their colonial heritage. “Despite being a prosperous and developed country, Japan’s marinas and yacht clubs pale in comparison to some other countries,” said Kim Joon-yeon, the secretary general of the Korea Sailing Federation. “Korea is the same way, and this is due to cultural and political reasons. We do not yet have top facilities, while military zones restrict water activity, and both have hindered development of the marine leisure industry.” According to Kim, that is part of the reason some Koreans treat water with caution. Marinas are also costly to build, while restrictions in waters near the North serve as further limitations for those interested in investing. “In order to dispel such thoughts, it is important to build marinas and clubs with top-notch facilities, which in turn can attract people to the sport and increase the level of play,” Kim said. Despite lacking the basic necessities, Korea has fared well in regional competition. Considered among one of the top Asian countries in sailing, the national team has won two consecutive sailing titles at the Asian Games. The team has yet to compete against top teams from Europe, Oceania and North America, since it currently lacks the funding necessary to do so. “Our athletes cannot continue to train in Korea alone; they need to participate in international tourneys to improve,” Kim said. Seoul, the capital and the economic and cultural center of Korea, does not have the resources for top notch marina facilities. Conditions on the Han River are not optimal for yachting. But Kim believes the Korea Match Cup and the International Boat Show are very positive signs for the sport. “The interest they have created and the economic effect they will bring to the country are some of the positives of the Korea Match Cup and the International Boat Show,” he said. “If we focus our advanced resources and skills on the marine leisure industry, it can serve as a new mechanism that can boost our economy,” said President Lee Myung-bak in a video message during the opening ceremony. “The Korea Match Cup and the International Boat Show will serve to improve our marine leisure industry.” By the looks of things, Gyeonggi Province firmly believes in the positive effects that can result from continuing to develop the Jeongok Marina in Hwaseong, and with the national government’s support, sailing fans can expect bigger and better things in the future.
By Jason Kim
The Korea Match Cup is vital if Korea is to overcome obstacles to developing its marine leisure industry.
Team Pindar had won the first Korea Match Cup last year, the Italian crew, which ranked fourth then, topped the field this year. It was sweet revenge for Cian, who lost the 2006-07 ISAF World Match Racing Tour semifinal to Williams. A total of 12 teams from eight nations — France, England, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Sweden and Korea — participated in the annual event. Cian and his crew took home the 300 million won ($224,700) cash prize, the highest among WMRT competitions. A total of six America’s Cup teams entered the second World Match Racing Tour held at the Jeongok Marina in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, heating up the competition over last year. Some of the most recognizable names in the sport participated, such as Sebastien Col of France, who took first place last year, and Britain’s Ben Ainslie, along with Wil-
Park Byeong - ki
Park Byeong-ki, the skipper of the Korean crew that participated in the Korea Match Cup this year, didn’t fare well, but said it was a good experience for his squad. The 46-year-old skipper and coach of the Geoje City Hall team has been competing globally since the Seoul Asian Games in 1986. Park got into the sport as a college freshman after he followed his friend to a practice. “It looked great, so I signed up for my school’s yacht club the following day,” said Park with a laugh. Many of the races in Korea revolve around a skipper (solo) or skipper crew (two-man). But the Korea Match Cup and some of the other international races involve ﬁve or more. “A ﬁve-man crew requires a considerable amount of teamwork,” Park explained.
“Our crew had merely 10 days to train and prepare for the Korea Match Cup..” But the contest had its good side. “The race was held fairly close to the dock, so the crowd gathered to cheer for the crews, adding excitement to the race.” By contrast, at the Japanese competition, “there were hardly any spectators,” Park said. “The weather was also good and did not pose any problems for our team.” Park says the idea that yachting is only for the wealthy is something of a myth. “Most who participate in the sport are sponsored or do so through a school club or program. Of course some buy yachts, and doing so is costly but for that is not the case for most competitors n Korea,” he explained.
A team participating in competition on July 7.
50 korea July 2009
July 2009 korea 51
Coaxing Korea Into the Sea
Universiade Returns in 2015
Come 2015, Korea will host its third Universiade games, with the southern city of Gwangju winning the rights to host the summer tournament, an Olympics-like multi-sport competition for university athletes. City officials hope this coup will lead to bigger and better things not only for the city but for the entire South Jeolla region. After failing in its bid to host the 2013 Summer Universiade, also known as the World University Games, Gwangju made a few changes for its second bid. “In our previous bid, we focused solely on hosting the games in Gwangju, but [this time] we decided to include the surrounding areas,” explained Kim Junyoung, head of the city’s marketing planning division. Gwangju edged out Edmonton in Canada and Taipei in Taiwan in a vote at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) in Brussels, Belgium, in late May. The city has the basic infrastructure in place from national leagues and athletic competitions but will work to upgrade some venues and facilities to match FISU standards. The aggressive campaign by the city, with the support of its citizens and Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak, was the driving force behind the winning bid, Gwangju’s first for an international sporting event. To promote his home, Mayor Park Gwang-taek went on 13 overseas trips, notching up 91 days abroad in talks with FISU officials over the past two years. In its final presentation, Gwangju showed a message from President Lee offering the full support of the Korean government and the promise of a unified Korean team. That might seem optimistic given the icy relations between South and North Korea lately, but city officials still hope to field a team of college athletes from both sides of the DMZ for the games. “We were finally able to win the bid due to the unity and hard work of the residents of Gwangju over the past two years,” Mayor Park told Yonhap, a Korean news agency, at the FISU convention in Brussels. “The hard work of the people of Gwangju and the full support of President Lee Myung-bak played a significant role in winning the bid,” he added. The benefits of hosting a global sporting event are many, and go beyond publicity and revenue. “Hosting the Summer Universiade is good for Korea, and in globalized times, it can serve to upgrade the city’s image,” said Kim, the marketing official. “Our city has the fourth-biggest municipal economy in Korea behind Seoul, Busan and Incheon. Although it’s still too early to speak of future goals at the moment, we hope to attract further investments and boost tourism by successfully hosting the Universiade.” It will be the third time Korea has hosted this competition, after the 1997 Winter Universiade was held in Muju, North Jeolla, and the 2003 summer games By Jason Kim took place in Daegu.
Provided by Gwangju City
Korea’s Quiet Judo Dynamo
t has been a long time coming, but Kim Soo-hwan has finally emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the top weight division for Korea. Exactly 20 years ago, Cho Yong-chul — a two-time bronze medalist at the 1984 and ’88 Olympics — ranked among the top heavyweight judoka in the world. Korea has traditionally produced smaller and lighter judoka, strongest in
Kim Soo-hwan and his teammates tug on rubber tubes to practice their
Kim’s politeness befits a master of judo, which means ‘gentle way.’
the 73-kilogram division. But Jang Sang-ho, three-time Olympian and silver medalist in Beijing, did compete in the 100-kilogram division. “Having competed in the 100-kilogram division, I have a special fondness for Kim and other players in the heavyweight divisions,” says Jang, who retired from competition after Beijing to became a national team coach. In judo, all the hard work that goes into three or four practices a day pays off
52 korea July 2009
in a split second. Solid techniques and conditioning are vital, but most important is the ability to read one’s opponents. And Kim’s glad to have someone who already knows those opponents as a coach. “Coach Jang knows me well,” the athlete says. “He’s competed on the biggest stage against some of the opponents I now have to face and often gives me tips and guidance from his experience.” The Yongin University junior recently won the over 100-kilogram and open weight divisions at the Asian Judo Championship in Taipei, to help the Korean team take home its second overall win at the tournament in history. Kim not only won all his matches in the heavyweight division, but he did so by ippon, meaning a decisive victory — as remarkable as a perfect record of shutouts in a team sport. Kim even won by ippon in the final match against Seiji Suzuki, a 2004 Athens Olympics gold medalist. The Korean went on to win most valuable player, and helped his country take home a total of six gold, three silver and three bronze medals. Kim was a fan of many sports grow-
ing up in Mokpo, South Jeolla, but at first judo wasn’t one of them. “I was always into sports and took taekwondo for years until a coach at my middle school approached me about joining the judo team. I started taking judo when I was 13 years old,” says Kim in his quiet, polite voice — befitting a champion of an art whose name means “gentle way.” Kim can come across as a bit shy off the mat. But in competition and training, he’s a completely different person. Although he’s quick to admit that it wasn’t easy to get accustomed to team manager Jung Hoon’s tough schedule at the Korea National Training Center and that it’s still tough to handle every now and then, Kim doesn’t show it. “Kim is a good kid,” Jung says. “He’s quiet and steady. He never complains and he does everything asked of him.” After dominating the Asian championships, Kim is busy preparing for the Summer Universiade Games in Belgrade from July 1 to 12, then finally for the biannual World Judo Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands at the By Jason Kim end of August.
Gwangju had to make two bids to win Korea’s third University Games.
Volunteers and residents of Gwangju gather to show their support for the Gwangju Universiade bid in April 2009.
July 2009 korea 53
Park Seon-ho raises his ﬁst in celebration after crossing the ﬁnish line of the ﬁnal leg of the 2009 Tour de Korea.
Third Tour de Korea stretched 1,500 kilometers across the peninsula
American cycling legend Lance Armstrong rides with cyclists near Olympic Park in southern Seoul during the opening ceremony of the very ﬁrst Tour de Korea event in 2007.
54 korea July 2009
Athletes Conquer Nature in Asia’s Longest Bike Race
he longest cycling race in Asia, measuring approximately 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) in length, was held in Korea for the third time from June 5 to 14. A total of 210 cyclists representing 21 teams (seven domestic and 14 from overseas), including Japanese and Kazakh national teams as well as club teams from South Africa and Australia, participated. Roger Beuchat of Team Neotel took home the yellow jersey with an overall time of 34 hours, 51 minutes and 21 seconds. The top Korean cyclist was Park Sung-baek, the winner of the inaugural Tour de Korea, who this time finished fifth overall at 34 hours, 53 minutes and 3 seconds. Kong Hyo-seok and Yoo Kihong ended up behind Park in sixth and seventh. The Tour de Korea is a part of the Asia Tour of the International Cycling Union, or UCI, and is sponsored by the Korea Cycling Federation. The race started at Olympic Park in southern Seoul and arced across the southern half of the peninsula. The toughest portions of the race are the mountain courses. The best climber in a race of this type is distinguished from the others with a polka-dot jersey and the title of “KoM,” or King of the Mountains. Kong, who finished sixth overall, claimed that jersey, appropriate for the cyclist widely considered the strongest climber in the country. In this year’s race, the mountains were saved for the latter half, with the Mount Jiri climb between Yeosu, South Jeolla, and Gochang, South Gyeongsang, pushing the cyclists up a steep incline totaling 171.2 kilometers in length. On June 10, the participants turned toward Gimcheon, North Gyeonsang, passing summits small and large along the way. Then it was back to climbing, as competitors forced their way up the Sobaek and Taebaek mountains and headed towards Chuncheon, Gangwon. The ninth leg, covering a stretch of 197.2 kilometers between Yangyang and Chuncheon, Gangwon, was said to be the toughest of the entire race, requiring both mental and physical toughness. The tournament took on the name Tour de Korea in 2007, when Lance Armstrong participated in its opening ceremonies. Last year, when the event started in Japan and finished in Seoul, it was called the Tour de Korea-Japan 2008. In 2007, Park Sung-baek won the race, but last year Sergey Lagutin of Uzbekistan took first place. Kong, the strong climber, was the highest ranked Asian cyclist that year at fifth overall. Unlike the first two years, when riders had to struggle through rain, weather did not pose much of a threat in 2009. Like the Tour de France, the Korean race uses different colored jerseys to differentiate leaders in different legs. The overall leader is given a yellow jersey, while a white jersey is given to the leader of the individual leg. The top cash prize at the tour is 10.8 million won (about By Jason Kim $8,700).
July 2009 korea 55
Korea through the Lens
Above: Where no Korean vessel has gone before — The Araon, the ﬁrst Korean-made icebreaking research vessel, set sail from Hanjin Heavy Industries’ Yeongdo dockyard in Busan on June 11 after ﬁve years of construction. The 6,950 -ton vessel will be used for research activities in the Antarctic or Arctic. Above right: Welcome home — A crested ibis rests after hatching in an artiﬁcial incubator set up by a Kyungpook National University research team at the Crested Ibis Restoration Center in Upo Wetland in Changnyeong, South Gyeongsang. The crested ibis, which disappeared from Korea 30 years ago and is on the verge of extinction, was designated the country’s 198th Natural Treasure. Right: Korea’s got Britain’s talent — Paul Potts, a British tenor who grew popular through a TV show in Britain two years ago, performs at Seoul Plaza in front of an audience of tens of thousands June 15.
Right: Still marching — The changing of the guard ceremony held every day in front of the Deoksu Palace gate is a big draw for foreign tourists interested in the pomp and circumstance of Korea’s monarchy.
Exploring a Prince’s Heaven on Earth
The valley a Joseon artist used as the model for a painting of paradise is still a tranquil haven amidst bustling Seoul
Baeksasil valley in central Seoul was selected by the government as one of the most beautiful scenic areas in Korea. The ruins of a villa belonging to the then-renowned prime minister under the Joseon Dynasty show the luxuries the ruling class enjoyed.
nside the borders of metropolitan Seoul hides a pristine little valley where salamanders wriggle, minnows swim and crawfish crawl. For a long time, people paid little attention to this secret garden, but mountain climbers began to explore it in March 2005, when the ruins of a villa there belonging to Lee Hang-bok, a renowned prime minister under King Seonjo, the 14th king of the Joseon Dynasty (13921910) who reigned from 1552 to 1608, were designated the nation’s 462nd historical site. Lee, whose pseudonym was Baeksa, even gives the valley its name, Baeksasil. In January 2008, the valley was selected by the central government as one of Korea’s most beautiful scenic areas. Unlike the valley it overlooks, Mount Baekak, also called Mount Bukak, has been recognized as an anchor of Seoul for more than 600 years, ever since the founder of the Joseon dynasty selected the city as his capital. Baekak means “white rock,” after the glittering granite
that tops the peak. The mountain, along with Mount Inwang, is rich with Joseon history. More famous than the valley itself is Segeomjeong, or the pavilion of washing swords, where legend has it the supporters of King Injo, the 16th king of Joseon who reigned from 1623 to 1649, cleaned their weapons after eliminating their patron’s rival claimants to the throne. Climbing from Segeomjeong in Buam-dong north of Mount Baekak, you’ll pass the ruins of Baeksa’s villa, which sat near a pond, with spectacular mountains and valleys spread out before it. It’s simply stunning to contemplate that this scenic landscape could possibly remain so unspoiled even with 10 milJuly 2009 korea 59
58 korea July 2009
Provided by by Oh Sang-min
Travel lion people living in its backyard. The cornerstones and foundations of ancient houses sit under grand old trees, undisturbed for centuries, stirring the imagination. Climb down from the peak and you’ll come across a huge rock surrounded by a grove at the upper mouth of the valley. On the rock the four characters Baekseok Dongcheon are engraved. Baekseok means Baekak, and Dongcheon refers to the landscape of mountains and valleys. Together the four characters evoke a beautiful and mysterious utopia. Why does this welcome sign stand in the upper part of the valley and not at the mouth near the foot of the mountain? One imagines the influential figures who built their villas and pavilions in the valley might have lived at the foot of Mount Inwang or Mount Baekak on the western side of Gyeongbok Palace. Therefore, they carved the sign at the upper part of the valley, as they would have needed to climb over the ridge to reach it. The hike from Sajik Park through the Hwanghakjeong archery field to Jahamun, the small northern gate to Seoul’s ancient fortress wall that still remains intact, and then into Baekseok Dongcheon amid the trees of Mount Baekak seems to be the same path that Prince Anpyeong dreamed of and that the artist Angyeon used as the model for his Mongyudowondo, which depicts a paradise on earth. Prince Anpyeong was the third son of Sejong the Great, the fourth king of Joseon who reigned from 1418 to 1450. He had a villa called Mugyejeongsa in
The area’s name evokes a beautiful, mysterious utopia.
Buam-dong just outside Jahamun, and was known as one of the four master calligraphers of Joseon. He was also a skilled poet and painter. On April 20, 1447, Prince Anpyeong dreamed he walked through a beautiful, mysterious village of peach blossoms where mythical hermits made their homes. He called upon the renowned artist Angyeon and explained the dream to him. In three days, Angyeon completed the painting Mongyudowondo. Prince Anpyeong pursued this Taoist utopia for his entire life. But here on earth, the closest he could come was Mount Baekak and Mount Inwang.
less than three-hour walk from the park to the community center. If you’re looking for something more challenging and have more time on your hands, you might want to keep hiking up Mount Inwang, then over to Mount Baekak, which was recently opened to the public. Both mountain paths are closed after sunset, and you must submit your identification card at the security office prior to hiking up Mount Baekak, which overlooks Korea’s presidential residence, Cheong Wa Dae.
Restaurants and coffee shops nearby
* Jaha Handmade Dumpling (www.sonmandoo.com Tel: 02-379-2648) This typical Seoul steamed dumpling shop offers ﬁllings including chopped beef, brown mushrooms and cucumbers, lightly seasoned and fresh. A three-colored dumpling stew is good for groups of more than two people. The soup used for the stew is delicious, containing boiled and sliced beef, egg-shaped rice cakes, dropwort, mushrooms and several kinds of vegetables. Jaha is located right behind the Club Espresso coffee shop through the right entrance to Buam-dong from the Jahamun ridge. * Club Espresso (clubespresso.co.kr, Tel: 02-391-8719) Club Espresso is a well-known premium coffee shop, open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day except on the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) and Lunar New Year holidays. Fresh roasted coffee beans are available here, with 30 different types of coffee including espressos and hand-brewed coffee imported from Latin America, Africa and other Asian countries. Cookies and pastries are also served, making this a good stop for a snack between hikes up Mount Inwang and Mount Baekak. * Café Sanmotoonge (www.sanmotoonge.co.kr, Tel: 02-391-4737) Café Sanmotoonge is best known as the shooting location for a popular TV drama, “The First Shop of the Coffee Prince.” It is situated right at the entrance to Baeksasil Valley and is popular among young couples for the beautiful views of the Pyeongchang-dong area, Mount Baekak and Mount Inwang that its terrace offers. Coffee, tea, wine and beer are served.
Mount Inwang forest path
Sajik Park is located 3-4 minutes from exit 1 of Gyeongbokgung Station on subway line No. 3. Inside the park sit memorial tablets for the Joseon kings, making a stroll through it like a trip through 600 years of Korean history. An altar in the corner near the main gate honors the gods of soil and grain. The hiking path begins just past Hwanghakjeong, a pavilion that was once a shrine to Dangun, the mythical founder of Korea, and the national archery field. Most of the Mount Inwang forest path is now the Inwang skyway, a paved road along the mountain. Hikers typically stray from the asphalt to visit small peaks along the way, but the most beautiful part of the walk is the view from Mount Baekak at the mouth of Cheongun Park, which encompasses the city with Mount Namsan in the distance, and Gyeongbok Palace and the Blue House in the foreground, while the fortress wall that connects Cheongun Pavilion and the Jahamun Gate stands out sharply along Bohyeon Peak on Mount Samgak.
Provided by Oh Sang-min
Hiking from Inwang to Baekak
The forest path from Sajik Park in Jongno to the Seongbuk District Community Center via Palgakjeong and Jahamun Gate offers excellent views of Mount Samgak. This beautiful path overlooks the spectacular Seoul skyline and the mountain itself, which surrounds northern Seoul like a folding screen. With the path lined in wooden decking along the contours of the mountain, at an elevation of 200 to 300 meters, everyone young and old can enjoy the
Mount Baekak forest path
A paved road stretching about 1 kilometer travels along a ridge from the Jahamun gate to the Mount Baekak trail. Along the way, consider a stop at the Whanki Museum. Baeksasil Valley can also be reached from here, via a 400-meter path past Eungseon Temple. Sanmotoonge Café offers views of both Mount Inwang and Mount Baekak, while the ridges of Mount Samgak stretch from Hyangno Peak to Bibong and Bohyeonbong. The fortress wall that stretches up a ridge to the top of Mount Baekak can be seen clearly from the trailhead, while the west portion of the Baekak forest path, parallel to the Bukak highway, offers views of Mount Inwang. The lovely southern ridges of Mount Samgak to the north are another highlight. A path branches off down to Baeksasil Valley just before Palgak Pavilion, beyond which a side road leads to Jeongneung, Sukjeongmun Gate and Seongbuk-dong. Take this road 200 meters to reach Gilsang Temple. Palgak Pavilion is an excellent place to stop and rest, equipped with a restaurant, coffee shop, kiosk, restroom and parking lot. A shuttle bus runs here to and from the Kyobo Building on Sejong-no in central Seoul.
By Kim Woo-seon July 2009 korea 61
Mount Samgak Hyuntong Temple Baeksasil Valley
Cafe Sanmotoonge Whanki Museum
Jaha Handmade Dumpling Club Espresso
Left, the hikes offer views of the urban landscape ﬁltered through the forests of the hills. Top, the Inwang forest path is lined with wooden decking. Above, Gilsang Temple is one of Mount Baekak’s hidden treasures.
60 korea July 2009
Scholar-Priest Sees Lessons in Dialogue Between Religions
egardless of what religion one follows, each has its own unique and special philosophy and lessons on seeking the truth of life. But too often most religious believers think only of their own faith, neglecting those on the outside. In the words of Father Bernard Senécal, 56, a professor in the department of religious studies at Sogang University in Mapo, northwestern Seoul, a focus on one’s own religion without attempting to understand others carries the risk of a narrow worldview. Professor Senécal, or Seo Myeong-won in his Korean name, is a Roman Catholic priest with the Society of Jesus, but he also studied Buddhism, ultimately becoming a scholar in that field. He was born in Quebec, Canada, where he lived until he was 19. That year he moved to France. Senécal studied medicine for six years and earned his bachelor’s degree at the Université de Bordeaux in Paris in 1979. But he grew disillusioned with the discipline, disappointed that it did not attempt to explain why human beings get sick and why they die, focusing instead only on treatment. So he decided to become a priest and religious scholar. Senécal’s monastic life began with the study of theology at the Centre Sevres Paris in early 1984. In the summer of that year, Father Senécal had the chance to visit Korea for the first time, touring the country for seven weeks. During that period, he was impressed with the beauty of its nature, the kindness of the Korean people and especially the Buddhist temples. His interest grew, and he eventually considered moving to the country. After earning a bachelor’s degree in theology in 1985, he was dispatched to Korea as a missionary with two other colleagues. While in Korea, Senecal took three years of Korean language courses at Yonsei University’s Korean
Language Institute. He returned to France in 1990 and earned master’s degrees in theology and literature in 1993 and 1995, respectively. Fascinated by Buddhist meditation, Senécal flew back to Korea to conduct research on Korean Buddhism. In 2004, the priest earned a doctorate in Korean Buddhism at the Université Paris. He says that his ancestors were Vikings, and that their frontier spirit endures in him, leading him to push himself beyond all limits to attain a broad and balanced view. Senécal was interested in what people do not know, and wanted to challenge human nature. One of the conclusions he came to as he sought the ultimate meaning of life was that a shortcut could be found by building a bridge of understanding between Christianity and Buddhism. But for that to take place, and for these two very different faiths to share disciplines and teachings, a great deal of dialogue must take place. “Recently, several Korean monks stayed in an abbey in France for two years to learn about Christianity. Both priests and monks have to know and understand each other. Each ought to view the other side in an earnest manner,” the priest says. “Both Christianity and Buddhism are religions that have long traditions. Both have contributed much to humanity. So both still have to exist throughout human life,” said the professor. “Jesus and Buddha did not live in the same age. But they both can exist within our minds and hearts and manage our way of life. There are a lot of characteristics that can be exchanged and shared.” According to Senécal, there are two areas where Buddhism and Christianity can come together. First, Christians can learn from Buddhist spiritual training. Buddhist meditation can also find applica-
tions in Christianity as a way to explore one’s faith. On the other hand, Buddhists should take lessons from Christianity’s involvement with society. Korean Buddhism has maintained a tradition of isolation from the outside world for hundreds of years and is therefore, the priest says, not accustomed to communicating with human society. Senécal says, “It is inappropriate to think that one’s own religion is superior to others. Everyone’s efforts to seek the authentic truth of life have to be pushed forward at the same time. Communication with another religious group with even a small hidden agenda of conversion is improper.” For this scholar-priest, religion plays a crucial role in forging connections between God and human beings, awakening one to enlightenment by helping one learn the purpose of life and its meaning. It is only upon reaching that status that people can enjoy true freedom. One of the unique characteristics of Buddhism is its radical quest for the truth. Such efforts lead humans to overcome their hardships and their agonies, Senécal says. In order to do so, three behavioral elements — morality, meditation and wisdom — are necessary, and among them, the priest singles out meditation as the most important. In other words, Senécal says, Buddhism is the doctor of reality, or the true doctor of medicine.
Father Bernard Senécal, who has sought ultimate truth as a Catholic priest and a scholar of Buddhism, asserts that the teachings and disciplines of both religions should be shared.
‘Jesus and Buddha did not live in the same age. But they both can exist within our minds and hearts.’
“Anybody can have a religion. And people will naturally get interested in not only other religions but also the history of religions. But we should try to be cautious not to lose our identity,” Father Senécal said. “I am a Christian. Also I am French. I can learn a second foreign language since I have a mother language. The same goes with my religion. I can research Buddhism because I have my own religion — Christianity.”
By Lee Min-yong
62 korea July 2009
July 2009 korea 63
A Hunt for a Challenge Took Her to Koreaand Baduk
aduk, better known in the West as go, has a reputation in Korea. It might share some similarities with chess - both are played on square boards with one player controlling white pieces, the other black - but in the parlors dedicated to it here it’s almost the exclusive province of enthusiastic middle-aged male Koreans. Don’t try to tell that to Diána Kőszegi, who is 26, female, Hungarian and a professional baduk player. Kőszegi officially became a pro in January 2008 after undergoing rigorous training with the Korea Baduk Association. The group says she is the third European to go pro here, after two Russians. As a recently minted player, Kőszegi is still ranked at the lowest professional level, first dan. The ranks of baduk players go up to the ninth dan, equivalent to a grand master. New pros start at first dan. “I always like difficult things. I don’t enjoy it if there is no challenge or something is too easy to reach,” Kőszegi says. “I think it was same with baduk. I think I liked it because it’s difficult. Learning more and more about Baduk, I started to realize how deep a game it is, so I started to like it more and more.” Born in Budapest in 1983, Kőszegi says she studied the game in an “interesting way.” When she was nine years old, she loved to watch her father Sán-
Diána Kőszegi, 26, a professional baduk player, hopes to promote Korean-style baduk to the world.
dor Kőszegi play baduk with her older brother. She insisted he teach her, but her father refused because, Diána says, “He thought this game is not for girls.” But she didn’t give up. “Though he didn’t teach me, I watched them playing and I showed him that I really wanted to play. My father told me that I had started to ask him good questions, so he could see that I had learned the game just by watching them play,” Kőszegi says. “From that time they started to play with me as well. “I reached my brother’s level pretty fast, and I was playing with my father every day. After I finished school, I went out to play sports, and in the evening we played go. It was a really nice time.” Her skills improved, and in 1997, when she was 14, she came in fourth at the first World Women’s Amateur Baduk Championships, held in Seoul. In 1998, Kőszegi placed ninth at the World Amateur Go Championships in Japan, after which she received a mountain of invitations to Asia to study the game. She trained briefly in Korea and Japan and intended to stay longer, but her parents were nervous about her living so far from home at such a young age. Her parents told her she would have their full support after completing high school in Hungary. “Giving up is definitely not my style, so I wanted to find a way to come back,” Kőszegi says. In 2005, she was admitted to Myongji University in Seoul on a full four-year scholarship to study baduk, thanks to support from Professor Nam Chi-hyung. “I like Korean baduk more than Japanese go because baduk is more aggressive,” she says. “It has a fighting style better suited to European tastes.” Kőszegi keeps close tabs on the
‘I like Korean baduk more than Japanese go because baduk is more aggressive.’
local baduk scene. “My favorite Korean Baduk players are Choi Cheol-han and Mok Jin-seok, and the late Japanese go player Kato Masao,” she says. Learning the Korean language at Myongji sharpened her baduk abilities, and she spent her summer vacations studying the game at private academies. She played in yonguseng tournaments for aspiring professionals on weekends. “But I still needed more,” Kőszegi says. Finally she ended up at the Korea Baduk Association, practicing about 10 hours a day to go pro. Since earning her first dan, she’s toned down her regimen - but only slightly. “Recently, I have other things to do as well, so unfortunately I don’t have that much time to study, but on average I would say [I play] about five or six hours.” So what could be more important than sharpening her baduk skills? How about a trip home to promote the game? In March, Kőszegi went back to Budapest to teach baduk with fellow pros Kim Seung-jun and Mok Jin-seok, both ninth dan. “The popularity of baduk is increasing in Europe. It’s the same in Hungary. I think there are about 200 active players, but of course there are many people who know about the game but are just not playing actively,” Kőszegi says. Kőszegi taught baduk to elementary school children at a private academy for a year. Though she’s fluent in Korean, Kőszegi taught the classes in English so that they would double as language practice for her young charges. The young Hungarian is even in the publishing business, translating a book by fourth-dan baduk pro Kim Seong-rae called “21st Century Openings” into English. The tome explains new “joseki” strategies for players. Kőszegi has recently finished work on the second volume, and plans to translate more in the future. “In Korea, I feel challenged. Because of my personality, this is the place I want to stay. Even if sometimes it really hard, there are times when it’s the it’s best,” sh says. “I guess ‘no pain, no gain’ is right.” best,” she Wh asked about her goals, she says the future’s When wide open. op “I h have been a professional player for just a little more th a year. Definitely, I would like to improve more than more. I also trying to forge connections between I’m Korean baduk and other countries’ baduk federations,” Kőszegi says. “I’m planning to attend all the K tournam By Kim Mi-ju tournaments in Korea as well.”
64 korea July 2009
[Korea Baduk Association]
July 2009 korea 65
Equality for Women Key to Birth Rate
Today, Korean society is facing a challenge that threatens to undermine the foundations on which the Miracle on the Han was based: a low birth rate.
Bjørg Skorstad is the wife of the Norwegian ambassador to Seoul. She has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oslo and wrote her master’s thesis on Work and unemployment: impact on self-esteem. Her bachelor’s degree was in sociology at the University of Oslo, and she has worked as a lecturer at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies since 2007. From 1988 to 2005 she was a lecturer at the St. Sunniva Catholic School in Oslo, and from 1982-84 she was an assistant professor at the University of Vienna.
66 korea July 2009
ﬁrst-time visitor to Korea will be struck by its rapidly developing modern society, where economic growth is a major preoccupation. Everywhere are testimonies to Korea’s achievements: all types of infrastructure, culture, art and a social safety net that encompasses practically all layers of society. Behind this incredible success story is the willingness of two generations of Koreans to work extremely hard while sacriﬁcing their own free time for the beneﬁt of future generations. Today, however, Korean society is facing a challenge that threatens to undermine the foundations on which those achievements were based. Over a long period of time, Korea’s birth rate has been one of the lowest in the world, far below the level necessary to maintain a stable population. So unless something is done to reverse this trend, Korea will soon be faced with a rapidly aging society with fewer workers to support itself. In a situation like this there are several options. One is increased immigration. From a Korean perspective, however, the most obvious solution will be to encourage women to join the labor market after ﬁnishing their education, and, most importantly, to push for their timely return to the labor market after giving birth. Today women account for around half of all graduates at Korea’s universities. This valuable pool of human capital is going to waste, however, as many of them never seek work or leave their jobs permanently after having children. I can only speculate as to the reasons for this. I suspect, however, that many Korean women feel burdened by the expectations of having multiple roles to play. There are good reasons women should participate in the labor market. One is obvious: to remedy labor shortages. Just as important, however, is that greater female participation in the labor market will increase female self-esteem. Our high-tech modern societies need more female values and inputs to balance a culture dominated by men. In Norway we witnessed a strong positive correlation between fertility and women’s
participation in the labor market due to a series of governmental incentives to encourage young mothers to work, while countries with little government support for child care have low fertility rates. To help Korean women work while increasing the birth rate, changes will have to be made at many levels. Much will depend on the government’s willingness and ability to implement change. First and foremost, better ﬁnancial incentives are needed for parents. Recently, measures to encourage women to have a third child have been introduced. But since most couples in Korea are likely to have only one child, perhaps similar incentives should be given for second children. Also, women should have the unconditional right to return to their places of work after maternity leave. After a woman returns to work, her child needs to be taken care of properly. A generation ago, couples could often count on their families — particularly grandparents — to help raise the kids. But today there is no guarantee that grandparents will live anywhere nearby. So as Korea rapidly transforms into a society of nuclear families, the number of kindergartens need to be expanded. Otherwise many women will not be able to go back to work after their maternity leave. Also, the government will need to subsidize these kindergartens so that parents with less money can afford them. Closely related to this is the lack of public care for the elderly. Since care for seniors traditionally has been the responsibility of women, in particular the wife of the eldest son, more institutions for the elderly need to be built. This will help relieve the burden on women’s shoulders.Then comes perhaps the most difﬁcult part. Traditional male attitudes need to change. For instance, many industries have long work hours, often coupled with obligations to socialize at the end of the day. Such lifestyles promote neither productivity at work nor happy marriages. All Western societies have gone through major changes in gender relationships. Somewhat optimistically, I sense that perhaps similar changes are taking place among young men in Korea.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.