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People & Culture
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PRELUDE
The Beauty of Korea Salterns, or salt farms, are
spread along Korea’s west coast. Sinan (pictured on this
page) and Yeonggwang in Jeollanam-do Province are
especially well-known for cheonilyeom, or sun-dried salt,
famed for having the best in taste any salt produced in
Korea. Korean salterns, dating from the late Joseon Dynasty
in the 19
th
century, were included on UNESCO’s Tentative
List of World Heritage sites in January 2010.

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CONTENTS
SEPTEMBER 2010 VOL. 6 NO. 9
COVER STORY 04
With no language barriers between cast
and audience, “non-verbal performances”
Jump and Nanta have taken Korea’s tradi-
tional rhythms into the global mainstream.
PEN & BRUSH 16
Though in her early 40s, Ha Sung-ran is as
youthful a writer as ever. Using delicate yet
detailed prose, she evokes feelings of loss
and love with extraordinary vivacity.
PEOPLE 20
Three decades overseas haven’t dimmed
Kim Young-hee’s love for Korea. Her
artwork displays a formidable talent,
inspired by a sharp sense of nostalgia.
-=±=¯ ´('(E´( ´´¯ [| =D7 ' |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
PUBLISHER Seo Kang-soo,
Korean Culture and Information Service
EDITING HEM KOREA Co., Ltd
E-MAIL webmaster@korea.net
PRINTING Samsung Moonwha Printing Co.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may
be reproduced in any formwithout 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.
÷?-E-¯ . 11-111((7´-((((1E-(E
PEOPLE 24
Earlier this year, women’s football was
virtually unknown in Korea. One success-
ful tournament later, and the national
team have entered the limelight.
TRAVEL 26
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
Hahoe Folk Village shows a Korea long
gone: old-style houses, mask dances, and
the guiding hand of Confucianism.
SPECIAL FEATURE: 36
G20 REPORT
In the first of a four-part series, KOREA
examines the significance of hosting the
forthcoming G20 Summit in Seoul.
GLOBAL KOREA 40
Whether inspired by the desire to do good
or just to see the world, young Koreans
are volunteering overseas in ever greater
numbers — and making a big difference
along the way.
NOW IN KOREA 44
Often imitated but never bettered, Heyri is
Korea’s most vibrant artists’ village. With
an enchanting mix of artworks, nature and
architecture, Heyri is a true oasis of art.
www.korea.net
MY KOREA 32
As Thanksgiving is to Americans, chuseok
is to Koreans. For one foreign resident, the
ancient rituals opened a window to the
country’s soul.
-=±=¯ ´('(E´( ´´E [| =D7 ´ |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
KOREA’S
NON
VERBAL
COVER STORY
In the late 1990s, a new genre was born in
Korean theaters. Though the name initially
sounded, within 10 years “non-verbal
performances” grew up to become a central
pillar of Korean theater. It introduced the
world, and much of Korea, to the dynamism
of the people and modern culture. Now, a
successful decade later, non-verbal
performance continues to expand the
possibilities for performing art. by Jang Say
PERFORMANCE
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A typically boisterous scene from Nanta.
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It can last anywhere between an hour and 90 minutes. For
that time, all you can hear from the stage is the sound of
heavy breathing, Korean words and occasional shrieks. Some
of the words are then translated into English for the benefit
of foreigners in the audience. But as for dialogue, that’s pretty
much it. All the rest of the hilarity comes via the actors’
motions, outlandish facial expressions, and interaction with
an invariably game audience.
In what has come to be known as “non-verbal
performance,” the actors communicate in a wordless
language, making it possible to reach out to all cultures and
appeal to audiences around the world. Because the
performances are inspired by elements of traditional Korean
culture, that communication retains the ability to teach
foreign viewers about Korea itself.
Here, we meet the people who took this distinctly Korean,
yet profoundly universal form, beyond national borders. We
also get a sneak peek of upcoming non-verbal shows and
delve into what the future is.
THE LEGEND OF NANTA In Korean, nanta means “to strike
violently,” but today, the word has become synonymous with
the smash-hit show of the same name. Before Nanta debuted
in 1997, the most popular Korean shows among foreigners
were pansori, or traditional narrative song, and gugak, Korean
classical music. There were, of course, successful modern
plays or other non-musical performances, but thy were
almost entirely limited to speakers of Korean.
So when Nanta came along, it caused a sensation. Apart
from conventional dance performances and mimes, shows
without dialogue were completely unknown in Korea. For
this reason, neither the producers nor the audiences really
knew how it would go across. But within just a few perform-
ances, word of mouth about Nanta had reached fever pitch,
and the show became a smash hit.
From the beginning, audiences marveled at this enthralling
new genre, with many returning to see it time and again. “I’ve
never seen anything like this,” became the standard refrain. If
you asked them what it was about, they’d often reply that the
story wasn’t really the point.
The main characters in Nanta are a master chef who can’t
face up to his manager, a male chef who tries to rely on his
sex appeal rather than his cooking, and a female chef whose
youthful looks belie a deep inner strength. While working in
their kitchen one day, the manager bursts in and gives them
just one hour to prepare for a previously unannounced ban-
quet. Worse, he saddles them with his troublemaking nephew.
Cast members from Nanta play with fire (opposite top). It doesn’t
take long to work out why this show is called Jump (opposite
bottom). Nanta’s spirit comes from rhythms played in unlikely
settings – even on chopping boards (above, below). Jump keeps
the audience laughing from the beginning to end (bottom).

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A scene from Jump features dynamic martial arts performances
(above). Fanta-Stick combines non-verbal performance with Korean
classical music, gugak (opposite).

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In the ensuing melee, the chefs dash around the kitchen,
clattering pots, banging drums, and chopping food in time to
pulsating rhythms. Through it all, as they rush to get every-
thing done, the nephew causes all sorts of mishaps, bringing
the three chefs no end of comic anguish.
Throughout the action, hardly a single word is uttered. Yet
the audience is often doubled up with laughter, a sense of
tension growing palpable as the deadline nears. With only
five actors on stage, Nanta packs all the dynamism of a show
with a cast 10 times its size.
With rhythms borrowed from the traditional Korean
percussive form samulnori, Nanta’s drumbeats provide the
energy underpinning this live-wire show. The wonderful
choreography, the pulsating interplay between the cast, and
the seemingly irregular rhythms all serve to keep the
performance compelling from beginning to end. Though
based on traditional rhythms, the backing track is so joyful
and accessible that even first-time listeners can’t help but be
carried away by it. And this is precisely why Nanta has
08
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
proved such a hit wherever it has played.
PMC Production, which produced Nanta, says that it had
international markets in mind from the outset, and the show
continues to play to packed houses overseas. To satisfy
enthusiasm, PMC now plans to build a resident theater for
Nanta somewhere else in Asia, as well. None of this has
detracted from a focus on the domestic market. PMC says
it’s trying to make more use of its own theater in Seoul, while
also commissioning a new score for the whole production.
Using this background music, a renowned Korean musical
director added stronger beats and accentuated the Korean
sounds. Highlights of the show, such as the striking of the
chopping boards, the cooking elements and conclusion, have
been rendered richer and more colorful.
Having taken Nanta around the world, PMC is now
gearing up for a second act. As with Nanta, the company is
looking close to home for inspiration. TAAL, a visual per-
formance, draws on the Hahoe Masks of Andong, where the
show is being staged this month. Produced in collaboration
with the Korean musical company, Creative Team, TAAL
shows there is plenty of inspiration left in PMC yet.
JUMP INTO ANOTHER WORLD Jump, the other great non-
verbal success, combines the comedic, live-wire action seen
in Nanta, with Korean martial arts. As with Nanta, the tradi-
tion has been given a distinctly theatrical spin. Drawing on
taekwondo and the lesser-known martial art taekkyeon, Jump
throws in acrobatics, dance moves, and slapstick to create a
form that producers refer to as “extreme martial arts.” The
fluid, creative yet graceful, nature of these moves is a
constant throughout the entire show.
“In the middle of the night, two thieves climb over the
fence of a home, only to discover that they’ve run into a
family of martial artists,” runs the tagline for Jump, covering
the whole plot. Within this simple framework, however, can
be found a doddery grandfather with hidden strengths, and a
seemingly ordinary middleaged couple with slick moves of
their own. In one scene, the couple begins dancing a tango
and ends up fighting a battle, neatly showing just how flexible
and inventive the show is. Also inside the house, an uncle
grabs a bottle of booze and gives his best impression of Jackie
Chan in Drunken Master. Each character toys with the others,
showing off masterful skills in the process. By combining
extraordinary physical action with moments of suspense,
Jump manages to keep you laughing and on the edge of your
seat at the same time.
Yegam, the company behind Jump, came up with the idea
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after mulling how they could incorporate taekwondo into a
stage performance. In early versions of the show, convention-
al acting played a big part, but as time progressed, martial
arts came to the fore.
Success came quickly, but Yegam wasn’t prepared to sit
back and relax. It began changing and improving the show
almost immediately, and has continued to do so ever since. In
practically every show, the actors ad-lib lines and try out
slightly different moves. This keeps the performance fresh
and interesting, prompting spectators to return for repeated
viewings.
In its early days, Jump received numerous and often unfa-
vorable comparisons with foreign martial arts shows, but as
time went by, it gained recognition for being something
entirely unique. In a run that has continued virtually unbro-
ken since its debut, Jump has played in 40 towns and cities
around Korea and, after being named an “excellent perform-
ance” by the Korea Cultural & Arts Centers Association, it will
tour more than 40 more venues this year. Jump now has two
dedicated theaters in Seoul alone, and two more each in
Busan, Korea and New York, the US. It has filled theaters in
Britain, Greece, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and
Australia. Last year, Jump played its 5,000
th
show, a feat for
which it was awarded the 2009 Korea Contents Awards.
As with Nanta, what makes Jump’s success particularly
gratifying is that it embraced Korean cultural sentiment and
took it around the world. The hope now is that people who
danced to these ancient samulnori rhythms will go on to take
a wider interest in Korean culture. Whether they do or not,
Nanta and Jump have shown that Korean shows can have a
universal appeal, a crucial stepping stone for Korean compa-
nies as they spread out into the world.
THE GROWING VOICE OF NON-VERBAL PERFORMANCE
Following in the footsteps of Nanta and Jump, Ballerina Who
Loves B-Boy played 30 shows at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival
Fringe. A huge success, it was designated the top production
among that year’s 2,050 shows by The Scotsman newspaper.
The show has since enjoyed an illustrious, if short, history: it
has played 40 times on Broadway, drawn more than 800,000
viewers in four years; and will take up residency in a special
theater in Beijing this October.
Initially derided as little more than coarse street culture, b-
boys are now at the forefront of Korea’s performance culture.
Ballerina Who Loves B-Boy took this critical rehabilitation
even further by melding breakdancing with ballet, a combi-
nation that sent shockwaves through theaters in Korea and
around the world. It was a breath of fresh air for a dance
world that had, in some countries, seemed to run out of new
ideas. It became a social and commercial phenomenon that
even business figures and politicians paid attention to.
President Lee Myung-bak, the prime minister, cabinet minis-
ters and legislators have all attended the show, as have leaders
in education and religion.
The plot is very straightforward. On a street where a ballet
hall is located, some breakdancers set up a square where they
can practice, leading to friction between the b-boys and the
eponymous ballerina. As time passes, however, the ballerina
falls for one of the b-boys and chooses to become a street
dancer instead. Though choosing life on the opposite end of
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2010
the spectrum and giving up something she had been doing
since childhood, the ballerina achieves genuine happiness.
The story is designed as a wake-up call to the many of us who
don’t recognize just what it is our loved ones want, as well as
those of us who forget out true dreams.
In stark contrast to the b-boys, ballet has long been the
preserve of the cultural elite. The genius of Ballerina Who
Loves B-Boy was that it brought these two disparate genres
together, opening each up to the other’s audience. Yet in mar-
rying breakdancing and ballet, Ballerina Who Loves B-Boy
didn’t just showcase the two styles, it created a new one.
Producing a kind of Jekyll and Hyde hybrid, the show man-
aged the fine balance between ballet and breakdancing, and
enjoyed a hugely successful run as a result.
More recently, Fanta-Stick, a live music show incorporating
gugak, is another hugely enjoyable non-verbal performance.
Mixing the ancient Korean fable Jamyeonggo Tales with
Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, Fanta-Stick delivers a
riveting re-interpretation of traditional forms, including
pansori, violins and percussion.
The excitement in Fanta-Stick is built around the live
music performances. Virtuosos in percussion, pansori and
the violin all have key roles in the show, and all the music is
performed right before the viewers’ eyes. In addition, Fanta-
Stick covers all genres — from pop to gugak — meaning there
is something for every kind of music fan.
Drawing Show, a so-called “picture concert,” is a non-verbal
performance detailing the magical process of how a piece of
art comes to life. Combining art, theater, and musical, it
introduces original artistic concepts, including sculpture,
frottage and marblework. During the creation of the art
work, an image in the painting might change into something
completely different, or a new picture may be added. At one
point, a crying statue of Korean military hero Yi Sun-sin is
used to convey Koreans’ anguish over the fire that engulfed
Namdaemun, an ancient gate in Seoul. The high-speed
drawing and changes to the pictures occur right before the
audience’s eyes, letting imaginations run riot. All the draw-
ings have an element of magic to them.
With its long and rich history, Korean culture offers a
wealth of material that can be channeled into stage
performances. Samulnori in Nanta and taekwondo and
taekkyeon in Jump are only two examples. The genre of non-
verbal performance in Korea is blessed with a sea of other
sources from which to choose, spanning music, dance,
martial arts and art. Finding out where it will be go next will
be just as exciting as attending one of the shows.

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“Masterpiece Drawing,” one of many artistic moments from
Drawing Show (top). Ballerina Who Loves B-Boy is a compelling
combination of non-verbal performance, ballet and b-boy dance
(above, opposite bottom). A scene from Fanta-Stick (below).
“Light Drawing,” one of the performances of Drawing Show,
features several dazzling scenes (opposite top).
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12
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From the beginning, Nanta was created with overseas mar-
kets in mind. In the mid 1990s, when Nanta was written, the
home market was fairly small and success was far from cer-
tain, so it is made sense for an ambitious producer to create a
work with something with international appeal. Still, there
were no guarantees with an untried genre like non-verbal
performance. But Song Seung-hwan, the producer of the
show, overcame potential difficulties with originality, deter-
mination, and an excellent storyline.
“We wanted to create a drama where we could clearly deliv-
er our story,” Song says. “Thanks to the perfect performances
of our actors, we were able to overcome the disadvantages of
non-verbal performances. Because there is no dialogue, any-
one can watch our show and laugh.”
Jump faced similar problems, but Kim Kyung-hun, CEO of
Yegam Inc., turned those challenges into strengths by focus-
ing on motion.
“Motions aren’t constrained by language. Actually, move-
ment is a form of language in which everyone in the world
can communicate,” says Kim. “But it’s still very difficult to do
PIONEERS OF
KOREAN
NON-VERBAL
PERFORMANCE
Song Seung-hwan, head of PMC
Production and creator of the mega-
hit show Nanta, and Kim Kyung-hun,
CEO of Yegam Inc., the company that
produced Jump, recently sat down
with KOREA to discuss the success of
Korean non-verbal performance, their
vision, and where, after years of huge
success, they plan to go next.
COVER STORY
Song Seung-hwan, head of PMC Production
(´¬'F co\=i sìoi\ ´('(E´( ´'( [| =D7 - |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
comedy without dialogue using just martial arts, acrobatics,
gymnastics, and straight acting. By doing Jump, we realized
actions were what brought us closer to the audience.”
Both Nanta and Jump incorporate non-verbal elements of
traditional Korean culture. For its show of chefs banging out
pulsating rhythms using kitchen utensils, Nanta drew inspira-
tion from a traditional Korean percussive form samulnori.
Jump uses elements of the Korean martial arts taekwondo
and taekkyeon with joyous Korean music in the background.
With the exception of taekwondo, none of these forms are
well known outside Korea, but all were crucial in creating the
shows’ successes.
Besides their embrace of traditional Korean culture, the
other key part of the shows’ long-term success, Song says, has
been their decision to open up their own resident theaters.
“We opened the theater in 2000 and we’ve been performing
there ever since,” he said. “I think that was the biggest key to
our success. The show itself is important but stability from
the specialized theaters has produced synergy effects. We can
host foreign tourists at the same venue and we’ve been able to
maintain partnerships with many travel agencies.”
The huge success of Nanta and Jump has done much to
heighten the profile of Korea overseas. This hasn’t necessarily
led to increased knowledge of the country’s culture, as Song
discovered when pitching Nanta to a foreign buyer a few
years ago.
“He said to me, ‘You perform in Korea?’ There are three
things I know about Korea: North Korea, South Korea and
the DMZ,’” recalls Song. “And things aren’t that much differ-
ent today. According to a 2009 study by Korea Brand and the
Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, people in
America and Europe still mostly associate Korea with the
Korean War and North Korean nuclear issues.”
“If you look at Asia, it’s more encouraging,” Song adds.
“There are still remnants of Hallyu [the “Korean Wave” of
popular culture that swept across the region] in Asia. If we
keep our focus on countries where people are more positive
about our culture, then it could ultimately have a great effect
on Korea’s national brand and recognition.”
The first step to further enhancing Nanta’s standing over-
seas, Song says, is to open specialized theaters in Asia, and
then to try and elevate the show to the level of long-running
Broadway hits such as The Lion King. Jump is also trying to
reach more foreign fans. Through the second half of 2010,
Yegam has planned 25 shows in 13 Chinese cities. They are
also hoping to open up specialized theaters — in the US,
Japan, China and Singapore.
Both companies are also working on follow ups to their hit
productions. PMC has been trying out several new shows,
including The CAR and TAAL. Later next year, Yegam plans to
tour a new martial arts blockbuster a similar to Jump. Called
Break Out, the show, which incorporates elements of b-boy
dancing and hip hop music, has already previewed to good
reviews.
“As with Nanta and Jump, we have to keep developing cre-
ative and original content,” Song says. “Rather than going
with what’s hot at the moment, you have to develop new con-
tent and keep making necessary changes to pursue a long-
term project. If you stick only to what’s distinctively Korean,
you may not win over too many fans outside the country. So
it’s important to have some universal values.”
“Quality and originality are essential elements,” says Kim,
echoing Song’s ideas. “You also have to find a common sensi-
bility that everyone in the world can relate to.”
With Nanta and Jump, Song and Kim achieved exactly that.
Wherever they go next in search of those universal values, it
promises to be an exciting ride.

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Kim Kyung-hun, CEO of Yegam Inc.
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COVER STORY
FOR KOREAN
SHOWS,
ALL THE WORLD
IS A STAGE
Nanta, which kick-started the genre of
“non-verbal performances,” wowed audi-
ences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in
Scotland, before taking New York by
storm. Jump also played to packed houses
in Edinburgh and now has its very own
resident theater on Broadway. This is the
story of two boisterous shows born in
Korea, but now very much a part of the
world stage.
When Nanta first traveled to play the Edinburgh Festival
Fringe in Scotland in 1999, the company felt an equal
measure of excitement and concern. Though a huge hit in
Korea since debuting in 1997, Nanta hadn’t played outside
the country before, and no one could be sure that its
live-wire mix of acrobatics, and percussion — all set in a
Korean kitchen — would capture the imagination of foreign
audiences.
In order to perform in Edinburgh, Song Seung-hwan, the
show’s producer, had reached deep into his own pockets, in
addition borrowing 100 million won (US$85,000) from a
friend. Though proclaiming his confidence that Nanta would
be a hit, he kept the loan a secret from his wife. Song had
everything riding on the success of the show. In the end, he
needn’t have worried.
Nanta was an instant smash at Edinburgh, drawing reviews
that were as ecstatic as the crowds who came to see it. Deals
were signed to take Nanta to other theaters, and Song was
soon able to repay his debt. Such was its success that the next
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year, tour groups of Japanese students were traveling to Korea
specifically to see it. Within months, Nanta had opened its
own purpose-built venue.
Nanta was performed during the opening ceremony for the
14
th
Asian Games in Busan in 2002, instantly elevating it to
the status of Korea’s signature show. The following year,
Nanta’s astonishing run of success continued when it became
the first ever Asian show to have its own theater off-
Broadway. To date, Nanta has been staged in 250 cities in 40
countries, becoming one of the most successful ambassadors
for Korean culture that the country has ever seen. Its travels
have taken it across Asia, Europe, the United States, South
America, and Oceania. In visiting Tunisia in 2009, Nanta had
played all six continents.
Despite Nanta’s success, it
didn’t inspire an immediate
legion of imitators. But just as
people began to think the
appeal of the non-verbal
performance was a flash-in-
the-pan, along came Jump.
Arriving seemingly from out of
nowhere, Jump — a frenetic
show about a family of martial
arts experts defending their
home fromburglars —followed
a similarly astronomical
trajectory, from debuting in
2003 to opening its own theater in Seoul in 2006 and another
on Broadway in 2007.
Today, Jump has two venues in Seoul and one each in
Busan and New York. In a first for this kind of show, the 500-
seat New York theater was opened under license to CAMI
(Columbia Artists Management Inc), one of the world’s
largest show management companies, which pays royalties to
Jump’s creators.
On first performing in New York, Jump soon caught the
attention of The New York Times, The New York Post and CBS.
It has played during halftime at an NBA basketball game, and
it counts Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie among the thousands
of people to have seen it. In March 2003, the Broadway show
marked its 200
th
performance.
In 2005 and 2006, Jump played the Edinburgh Festival
Fringe, where it received a Sell-out Show Award — given to
all productions that sell out every performance — and
became the first Korean show to win the Comedy Award and
Cavalcade Best Walking Group prize. Jump later became the
first Asian show to perform at the Royal Variety Show, an
annual performance put on for Britain’s royal family. If any-
thing, Jump’s success exceeded that of the wildly popular
Nanta, and confirmed non-verbal performance as a major
international attraction.
From mid-2006 to mid-2007, Jump was performed in 16
cities in 12 nations, raking in US$1.1 million. In an unprece-
dented event for a theater production, Jump also won the
Export Tower Honors, awarded by the Korea International
Trade Association to highly successful exporters, along with
US$1 million in prize money.
In 2003, when the Korean theater market was growing,
Jump embarked on wildly successful world tours — taking in
Israel, Spain, Japan, Singapore, China, Thailand, South Africa,
Russia, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and France — and
opened purpose-built theaters on its way to becoming a
bona-fide cultural phenomenon. As it continues to entice
crowds around the globe, the future for Jump and its produc-
tion company Yegam can only get better.
15
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010

Y
e
g
a
m

I
n
c
.

(
o
p
p
o
s
i
t
e
,

a
b
o
v
e

l
e
f
t
)
;

P
M
C

P
r
o
d
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c
t
i
o
n

(
t
o
p
,

a
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v
e

r
i
g
h
t
)
Jump’s resident theater in New
York (opposite). Festival-goers in
Edinburgh check out a poster
advertising Nanta (above). A Jump
actor goes airborne (far left). A
seasonal poster for Nanta (left).
(´¬'F co\=i sìoi\ ´('(E´( ´'( [| =D7 '´ |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
PEN & BRUSH
AMAZING
STORIES
ABOUT TRIVIAL
THINGS
In her 15 years as a novelist, Ha Sung-ran
has looked to catch her readers off-guard
with stories about ordinary people facing
extraordinary events. Yet in taking nine
years to publish her most recent work, A,
she says she merely wanted to use “stan-
dard tactics.” KOREA met with Ha to find
out just what her standard tactics are.
by Chun So-hyeon | photographs by Kim Nam-heon
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H
a

S
u
n
g
-
r
a
n
'(¬'- j=¬1Iiis| ´('(E´( ´'¯ [| =D7 '¯ |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
18
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
With 15 years of writing experience under her belt, Ha
Sung-ran is one of Korea’s best-known novelists. When
asked where she puts herself in the Korean literary
firmament, she replies, “Me? I’m just a young writer.”
For Ha, being called “young” is the highest compliment
you can pay an author because it signals, she says, a dash
of unpredictability and the power to question the most
basic tenets of life.
“When a writer considers herself old, she can’t write
anything more.” Though now in her early 40s, Ha acts
more freely, retaining that liberty of youth.
DISCOVERING HER FREEDOMYet for one so “young,” Ha
has had more than her share of life-altering experiences.
In 1996, after 10 years of writing, the 29-year-old Ha had
her first child and also officially rid herself of the tag
“would-be writer” after winning the Seoul Sinmun (daily
newspaper) Annual Spring Literary Contest for her short
story Grass.
With this success, Ha also became prolific. In the
following years, she won a string of awards, including the
Dongin Literary Award, the Hankook Ilbo (daily
newspaper) Literary Award and the Contemporary
Literature Prize (or Hyundae Munhak Award), for works
such as Rubin’s Glass, Girl Next Door, and Heroine of My
Movie. For people suddenly thrust into fame,
the challenge of finding new material can be
overpowering. Throughout her career, Ha has somehow
managed to retain her striking knack for portraying
special takes on stories from everyday life.
Many consider Ha’s latest work, A, to mark a turning
point in her career. Quite apart from taking her nine years
to complete, Ha says that her first book since turning 40
does convey a new, inner maturity.
“The motif for this novel was the ‘Odaeyang Incident,’
which I had been planning to write for 13 years. But if I
had written the novel back then, when I was more
preoccupied with generating attention for my work, I
would have focused on the plot alone, and I wouldn’t
have been able to get a proper feel for the characters,”
says Ha. “Now I feel as if I’m completely free from the
gaze of others. That is what I have been doing for the
past 15 years, freeing myself.”
Taking place in1987, the Odaeyang Incident was the
mass death, officially deemed suicide, of a group of over
30 members of a religious cult. Ha’s novel A draws
parallels between the Odaeyang Incident and a female
'(¬'- j=¬1Iiis| ´('(E´( ´'¯ [| =D7 'E |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
19
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
community raising their children free from the
institutions of marriage and traditional family structures.
In using an incident that so shocked her, Ha is issuing a
stinging critique of the problems of marriage and
communities of women.
ELABORATE DEPICTIONS However, Ha delivers her short
stories in a rather different vein from her novels. Ever
since studying writing and entering the annual spring
literary contest at her high school, Ha has made it a habit
to closely observe the people and fleeting situations she
encounters. To adapt Descartes’ classic formulation, Ha’s
motto could be “I see therefore I am.”
With short stories such as Mold Flowers and Girl Next
Door, we can see why Ha’s style is sometimes called
“micro-depiction.” Mold Flowers, a short story about a
man who goes through the trash of his apartment
complex neighbors, describes the garbage in such detail
that readers with a weak stomach may need to pause
before proceeding. Girl Next Door depicts the destruction
of an ordinary housewife’s life using the present
continuous form, giving readers the feeling that they are
witnessing the process first-hand.
“I needed a new writing style. Not a descriptive style
of writing, but a more unfamiliar style to deliver the
problems of solitude and the difficulty of communica-
tion,” says Ha.
“A present continuous form with a micro-managed
style of writing actually hinders reading. However, an
unpleasant and detached style of writing is effective in
getting your point across. Rubin’s Glass was where I
experimented with this style of writing, depicting each
scene independently, as if each was a photograph.”
Though Ha may always be best known for her micro-
depiction, she is acutely aware of her image and doesn’t
want to be pigeonholed. Repeating an experiment she has
undertaken before, she is currently serializing a new
version of her novella Fox Girl, which was first
published 10 years ago. In the updated story, Ha has
changed the novel into a description of Korean history
through the eyes of the legendary Gumiho (a 500-year-
old fox with nine tails).
“You have to live about 500 years to write a novel,” Ha
says, her words showing a remarkable intuition and a
thirst for insight. For all her experience, Ha Sung-ran
believes herself to be a work in progress, still looking for
the novel with “eternal life,” just like Gumiho.
SAPPORO INN
> Language Chinese
> Publisher Shanghai Literature Publications
(Shanghai, China)
> Published 2009
Serialized online 10 years ago, Sapporo Inn has distinct
shades of Ha Sung-ran’s style in that the characters are
faced with detachment and are described indifferently,
yet with an undertone of sympathy and warmth. The
writer does not try to help the reader understand the
work, instead of offering a meticulously lifelike telling
of the main character’s journeys. In this novel, after
losing her younger twin brother Seonmyeong in a car
accident, Jinmyeong starts hearing the voice of
a man named “Goske.” Before his
death, Seonmyeong hid four
small bells, which Jinmyeong
sets out to find the last bell at
the Sapporo Inn. On her way, by
coincidence or fate, she meets
people associated with her dead
brother, such as his girlfriend.
These meetings eventually guide
Jinmyeong to the Sapporo Inn,
where she happens to meet her
dead sibling’s penpal: a man
named Goske.
'(¬'- j=¬1Iiis| ´('(E´( ´'¯ [| =D7 '- |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
PEOPLE
20
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
THE
ART
SHE
BREATHES
If you only judge Kim Young-hee by her diminutive stature and her age,
then prepare to have your expectations dashed. Though well into her 60s,
she doesn’t mind working 10-hour days. She adores her family, but is almost
equally passionate about flowers. When asked what words would best describe
her, this artist, best-selling writer, and mother of five says simply, “Kim Young-
hee is Kim Young-hee.” by Oh Kyong-yon | photographs by Park Jeong-roh
´(¬´´ j=oj|=' ´('(E´( ´'E [| =D7 ´( |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
21
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
Kim Young-hee in front of her painting, A Demonstration with Peace, at Chosun Ilbo
Gallery in Seoul, where she held a solo exhibition in August.
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22
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
Kim Young-hee besides her sculpture Ballet, which was also on display at her Seoul
show (top). With Kim’s sculpture Mom Reading to a Child in the foreground, some
spectators take in the Seoul exhibition (above).
In making dakjongi dolls, one of Kim’s most common
pieces, she builds frames with hardwood and then wraps
wires around them. She wraps dozens of sheets of paper
around them to create the shape of the doll, which she then
colors and paints. Every step requires countless little touches,
and every doll is rich in Kim’s own emotion. Imbued with the
kind of memories of home that only a long-time expat
knows, Kim’s dakjongi pieces that she makes in Germany
embody elements of Korea that are actually now quite hard
to find there. Just how do such peculiarly Korean works of
art go down with European audiences?
“I don’t stick just to Korean topics,” says Kim. “For
instance, at first glance, my dolls seem to be dressed in
hanbok (Korean traditional dress), but I actually try and
take out the specific features so that they will be more
culturally neutral, and so more natural and abstract.”
“My sculptures include children who are reading or
drawing, or mothers who read to their kids. You can easily
see what they are doing. I don’t think there’s much difference
in how European audience interpret my work and how
Koreans do. Art itself is more fundamental than that.”
INSPIRATION FROM WITHIN Throughout her career, Kim has
dabbled in many different genres, so just where does she get
her inspiration? “All sources of inspiration and creativity
come from within,” she says. Three decades into her career,
that inspiration remains as strong as ever, pushing Kim to an
output that is as prolific as it’s ever been.
“When I was younger, I had to raise my children and
barely had time to do any creative work,” she says. “But my
kids have all grown up now, meaning I have plenty of time
to do creative work and prepare for exhibitions.”
Even now, Kim doesn’t have a studio of her own, preferring
to work at home. She doesn’t really care for travel, feeling it
interferes with her concentration. For Kim, to work is to play.
Kim Young-hee is a Korean artist living in Germany. She
moved there in 1981, when she was 37, meaning she has spent
nearly half her life in this far-off land. Kim’s distinctly Korean
works, including traditional papers called hanji and dakjongi,
have made her well-known as an “Asian” artist to European
audiences. To date, she has held 70 exhibitions in Germany,
France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Kim’s love for her homeland informs everything she does
as an artist. She made her artistic debut in Korea in 1978 with
dakjongi works that made such an impression, her name
become synonymous with the form. Painting has been Kim’s
forte of late, but for a solo exhibit she held in Korea from July
to August this year, she included many works made of
dakjongi, much to the delight of the spectators. Even with her
regular paintings, she insists to use hanji as her canvas.
“You know how people take down hanji from the frames
of hanok every year?” says Kim, referring to the practice of
changing the paper glazing on doors of old Korean homes.
“When I was a child living in the countryside, I lived in a
hanok and I played with sheets of hanji at that time of year.
You can say my artistic pursuits began right then and there.”
´(¬´´ j=oj|=' ´('(E´( ´'E [| =D7 ´´ |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
just now,” she says. “I’ve built my career in Europe, and my
children and grandchildren are all living in Germany. But
when I go, I want to be buried in Korea.”
Her periodic Korean exhibitions, held every one to two
years, present precious opportunities for Kim to visit her
native land. She still loves the beauty of hanok, and whenever
she travels to Korea, she makes sure to go to Deoksugung,
Changgyeonggung, and Gyeongbokgung palaces in Seoul.
The chance to taste Korean cuisine on her home soil is
another great joys she looks forward to. When her Korean
exhibit ended in late August, she was thrust right back into
grueling preparations for her next show in Germany. Her
time in Korea, despite the work, had been as comfortable and
soothing as the most languid of summer vacations.
“My dakjongi pieces have portrayed children,
but my larger sculptures of late are depict mature,
adult women,” Kim says. “In my paintings, I freely
blend in elements of photography and sculpture.”
As her continuing thirst for experimentation
shows, Kim’s career is still in high gear. And thanks to her
undying passion and love for life and art,
her fans are always counting the days until
Kim’s next exhibition.
23
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
Summertime in a Gallery, a painting on hanji with mixed materials (top left). Still
Life, a painting on hanji with mixed materials (top right). Sounds of Spring’s Coming,
a sculpture of painted dakjongi paper (above left). Butterfly Spell, a sculpture of
painted dakjongi (above right).

G
a
l
l
e
r
y

H
y
u
n
d
a
i
She lists gardening as her only hobby. But even then, she says,
“Beautiful flowers enrich my artistic sensibilities and so help
my career.”
With each being so unique, she says, raising flowers is very
similar to creating works of art. When she’s home, Kim
checks on every one of her plants, making sure they’re well-
watered, and even conversing amiably with them. “I’ve
planted about 200 of them in my garden and every season
brings its own beautiful colors. People in the neighborhood
see me as a gardener first, not an artist.”
Though she’s known more as an artist overseas, Kim takes
on yet another title – that of “author”. Her first essay, The
Woman Who Makes Babies Well, offered a candid account of
her up-and-down personal history. It sold more than 2
million copies, turning Kim into an instant celebrity. She
followed with an autobiographical novel and a picture book.
“For me, literature and art are complementary,” Kim says.
“Writing is an act in the two dimensional world: writing
words, black, on a sheet of paper, white. As an artist, I tried
to give colors to these words. On the other hand, when I am
trying to deal with all these brilliant colors in art, I apply the
black-and-white motif from literature.” Over the years, this
most versatile of writers has also authored a mystery novel
and a love story. She said for her next work of fiction, she
wants to write an autobiographical novel about something
close to her heart: displaced people.
KOREA, MY SPIRITUAL HOME Kim, in her own words, is
“100% Korean.” When asked if she ever plans to come back
to Korea, Kim says, “Just as my move to Germany seemed
like destiny, my return home would also depend on destiny.”
“As an artist and mother, it would be difficult to go home
´(¬´´ j=oj|=' ´('(E´( ´'E [| =D7 ´´ |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
PEOPLE
THE
ROAD TO
24
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
Though few people can completely escape
the brouhaha of the FIFA World Cup, even
keen sports fans may not know too much
about the women’s game. And so it was in
Korea — until one woman changed all that
with an astonishing performance at the
recent Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
by Guk Yeong-ho
In a country where most people probably didn’t even know it
existed, the Korean under-20 women’s football team recently
sent shockwaves through Korea’s football establishment.
Following a round of 16 finish by the men’s national team in
the June World Cup in South Africa, the women’s team
proceeded to go one better, finishing third at the under-20
event, held in Germany from July through early August. Not
only was it the best ever finish for the women’s team, it was
the highest finish of any Korean team in a FIFA event.
Given that there are just 1,404 registered female football
players in the entire country, Korea’s achievement at the
under-20 World Cup was little short of miraculous. Though
every player made an enormous contribution, one had a
bigger hand in this miracle than any other. Scoring eight
goals in the tournament, Ji So-yun won both the Silver Shoe
Award (given to the second-best scorer), and the Silver Ball
Award (for being second-best player) as she powered her
team to third place in the tournament.
In tribute to her lightning-quick dribbling and superb
passing, Ji has earned the nickname “Ji-Messi,” a nod to both
Barcelona star Lionel Messi and French football legend
Zinedine Zidane. Just as Park Ji-sung became a figure of
inspiration for the Korean men’s game, Ji now has the weight
of the nation on her young shoulders, with Koreans looking
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taxes, it still dwarfs the 30 million she would receive as a
rookie in the WK League.
Aother reason Ji wants to play in the US is to show that
Asian players can be a force in the toughest league in the
world. Although Ji So-yun herself is not the biggest of
players, being 160cm tall and weighing 50kg, she proved at
this year’s World Cup that her skills are easily sufficient to
outweigh any physical constraints.
“I have heard from female Korean football players in the
German league that life there can be extremely disappointing.
Despite having similar levels of skill, the other nationalities
usually get picked first [because of their size],” she said. “If I
get accepted to the American league, I want to prove that
Korean players can hold their own with players from any-
where else in the world.”
That Ji is now eyeing up a career in America shows just
how much her life has changed. As further confirmation, Ji
was invited to meet President Lee Myung-bak at the Blue
House, where the president asked her to act as a “ambassador
for women’s football.” Lee further asked Ji for her “coopera-
tion and support for women’s football in the creation of new
teams.” Though not someone who feels naturally comfortable
in the limelight, Ji agreed to the request of the man she
respectfully called “president grandfather,” and is now
learning about promoting the sport in Korea.
President Lee is far from alone in expecting a great deal
from Ji. After her herculean efforts at the under-20 World
Cup, Ji now represents the hopes of a nation, as it looks for
further success from its female football stars.
forward to seeing her at the forefront of women’s football for
many years to come.
“I only have pleasant memories,” Ji said of her time at the
tournament. “We would have dance battles during training to
brighten the atmosphere,” she said. “After we advanced to the
semi-finals, we transformed the locker room into a nightclub,
flashing the lights on and off while dancing and celebrating.”
In truth, however, Ji has never so much as stepped foot in a
nightclub. “I’d rather be practicing and playing football than
spending time at a nightclub,” she said.
After her World Cup heroics, Ji has since had to settle back
into her more humdrum daily routine. Training at the foot
of the tranquil Songnisan Mountain in Boeun,
Chungcheongbuk-do Province, Ji was set to take part in the
Tongildaegi Women’s Football Tournament in the town of
Gangneung. The most immediate evidence of her changed
status was the hordes of interview requests she received when
she came back to Korea. With the media interest now having
subsided somewhat, Ji is again placing her focus on training.
As a senior at Hanyang Women’s University, Ji should, like
most of her classmates, be busy looking for jobs. Since her
showing at the under-20 tournament, Ji has found herself in
the enviable position of being scouted by a host of
professional women’s teams. All of the teams in the WK
League would like to sign Ji, but they will have to wait until
the November Rookie Drafts to follow up on their interest.
Overseas, teams from the German league and the Women’s
Professional Soccer (WPS) League in the US are said to be
keeping a close eye on her too.
Understandably, Ji is enticed by the prospect of playing
with the world’s best. “I have always wanted to compete in
the American women’s soccer league, where the world’s top
women players compete,” she said. “No Korean player has
ever played in the WPS League, and this makes me all the
more determined. I want to show the world that there are
top-class female football players from Korea, too.”
For a woman who was brought up in difficult circumstances
— with divorced parents and her mother’s long struggle with
cancer — the financial lure of the US is a big factor too. One
American team has reportedly offered Ji 100 million won
(US$85,000) a year, and though this shrinks a fair bit after
25
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
In a game against Mexico, Ji So-yun celebrates her 6
th
goal at the 2010 FIFA U-20
World Cup (opposite). The Korean national footballers including Ji, second from left,
are running at a game against Mexico (above).
VICTORY

Y
o
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a
p
n
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A
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c
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´´¬´F j=oj|=´ ´('(E´( ´'- [| =D7 ´' |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
Where the Past
Still Lives
TRAVEL
If Seoul is a vessel for Korea’s future, Andong, a city in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province,
opens the door to its past. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in Andong’s Hahoe
Folk Village. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in this past August, Hahoe
is an essential part of Korea’s traditions, and to visit it is to take a journey to the
country’s spiritual capital. by Seo Dong-cheol | photographs by Kim Nam-heon
´(¬´' ìia\=| ´('(E´( ´´( [| =D7 ' |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
From atop Buyongdae hill, a panoramic view of Hahoe Folk Village opens up before you.

C
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t
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r
a
l

H
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t
a
g
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A
d
m
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n
i
s
t
r
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28
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
Travelers learn about the history of Hahoe Folk Village in Yangjindang (above).
Yangjindang, a traditional hanok building, is suffused with the greatness of a noble
old Korean family (opposite top).
Affording an exceptional view overlooking all of Hahoe Folk
Village, Buyongdae hill is the perfect spot to begin your visit.
Climb this cliff for about 10 minutes from the Hwacheon
Seowon, one of the old Confucian academies in Andong, and
Hahoe, the S-shaped Nakdong River waterway, and a
beautiful mountain range opens up before you.
In times past, Koreans would take feng shui into considera-
tion when building their homes. It would help decide on the
sites for houses, graves, temples, cities, and even the capital
according to the water and mountains. With mountains to its
rear and water flowing around it, Hahoe, which means “river
winding,” is located in a particularly auspicious spot, giving it
a reputation for happy, peaceful living throughout much of
the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
Climbing down from Buyongdae, take the small boat
across the river and enter the village. This is where the real
travels begin. Follow the dirt road by the stone walls, and in
every corner stands a traditional hanok house, its old-
fashioned eaved roofs swooping outward like the wings of
an exotic bird.
A single look makes plain that these hanok house some
particularly distinguished residents. With a history stretching
back over 600 years, Hahoe was formed by a collection of
distinguished clans, foremost of whom were the Ryu of
Pungsan. Spawning many illustrious scholars of the Joseon
era, the Ryu clan still lives in Hahoe today, making the village
one of the few anywhere in Korea to have maintained these
unbroken links with the past.
Hahoe today contains 127 hanok, of which 12 have been
designated Treasures and Important Folklore Materials by
the government. Hwagyeongdang, one of the grandest, gives
a real feel of the prestige this family would have felt at the
height of its powers. Covering 5,600sqm and with 72 kan
(rooms), this majestic complex includes the swankier anchae
and sarangchae, where the aristocracy, known as yangban,
would reside, as well as the haengrangchae, near the main
gate, where servants lived in small, simple surroundings.
Yangjindang dates from the 14
th
century, and the very first
ancestor of the Ryu line. Even today, descendants of the
Pungsan Ryu have family meetings here, discussing a range of
issues related to the clan. Chunghyodang is said to have been
the home of Ryu Seong-ryong, a famous Confucian scholar
from the Joseon era. Compared with Yangjindang and
Hwagyeongdang, this dwelling is decidedly humble, as befits
a man of upstanding Confucian integrity.
In front of Chunghyodang stands a Korean fir tree planted
on April 21, 1999, to celebrate the visit of Britain’s Queen
Elizabeth II. Near the village’s entrance is an exhibition area
showing photos of the queen’s visit, along with a recreation of
the special meal served to mark her 73
rd
birthday, which fell
on the same day. The queen’s visit boosted tourism to the
area and remains a moment of pride for the locals here.
Mesmerized by the majesty of these old houses, it would be
easy to overlook a great natural beauty in your midst. Called
the Holy Tree of Samsindang, a zelkova tree has been stand-
ing here for six centuries, witnessing the history of this grand
old village. Surrounding its enormous trunk are thick sheaves
of white paper on which visitors write down a wish, and then
tie it to the rope around the tree. The tree is said to be as
beneficent to outsiders as it is to locals, so be sure to make a
wish before moving on.
NATIVE SPIRIT On August 1 this year, UNESCO announced
the addition of Hahoe Folk Village to its list of World
Cultural Heritage sites. As you take a stroll around Hahoe,
there is no denying its enormous cultural value as a remnant
of a long-gone way of life. Yet as beautiful as the village is,
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Some travelers from Iran try out the souvenirs at Hahoe Folk Village (middle). A boat
crossing the river fromBuyongdae to Hahoe Folk Village adds to the rustic charm(above).
that value doesn’t reside only in the architecture or the natu-
ral surroundings. Much of Hahoe’s charm, and the reason it
has retained inhabitants through the centuries, lies in the tra-
ditions and spirit that have been handed down from genera-
tion to generation and continue to thrive today.
Along with Buddhism, Confucianism is the bedrock of East
Asian philosophy. Beginning in China, Confucianism spread
throughout Korea and Japan, affecting both countries’
societies enormously and picking up big local variations
along the way. The basic spirit of Confucianism comes from
the concept of in, a benevolence and reciprocity based on the
ethics of family ties, and hyo, or filial piety, which further
develops to embrace the notion of reverence for one’s
ancestors. In the political realm, the Confucian ideal extends
to the king himself, who should, as with parents, receive the
loyalty and obedience of those below him, but must also
reciprocate with benevolent and wise rule.
A key element of Confucianism was the practice of
elaborate rituals, which became a central part of clan culture.
To this day, Korea is scattered with shrines that were part of
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An apostate monk harasses a lady during a scene from the Hahoe Mask Dance Drama
(top left). A performer wears baekjeongtal, representative of a butcher (top right).
those rituals, yet few still carry the importance of the ones
in Hahoe. Their frequency may be much diminished every-
where, but jesa, the memorial services carried out for
ancestors, are still a major part of life in Hahoe, and yet
another reason why this village is such a cherished part of
Korea’s heritage.
Another cultural treasure here is the Hahoe Mask Dance
Drama, which has roots stretching back 800 years. While
Confucianism was the domain of the cultural elite, mask
dances such as the one in Hahoe were the preserve of the
common man, providing an outlet for his joys and hardships.
The masks all represented important characters of the
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Performed on an outdoor stage, the Hahoe Mask Dance Drama takes place very
close to the audience, ensuring a lively atmosphere and even a bit of audience
participation (above left). Famous for its subtle and healthy taste, heotjesabap is
one of Andong’s best-known foods (above right).
time, such as the fierce-looking butcher, the stooped old lady
and the aloof yangban. In the drama, which is still widely
performed today, the characters act out witty takes on scenes
from everyday life, poking fun at the hypocrisy and self-
importance of religious figures and the ruling class.
Intriguingly, though class structures were rigidly enforced
in the Joseon era, in Hahoe the ruling yangban seemed to
recognize the value of this commoners’ entertainment and
either helped to fund it or even take part. By enabling the
yangban to have some understanding, however shallow or
intermittent, of the working man’s lot, the Hahoe Mask
Dance Drama helped bridge the vast class differences, and
perhaps contributed a measure of stability over the centuries.
Like almost all regions in Korea, Andong has local delica-
cies for which it is renowned. The food, unsurprisingly, has
its roots in the area’s strong Confucian traditions.
With memorial services for ancestors — jesa — being such
an integral part of local custom, the food served on those
occasions passed into regular local cuisine. To distinguish the
food, or bap, from that served at the rituals, the prefix heot, or
fake, was added, with bap, meaning cooked rice, attached to
the end. Hence heotjesabap, which remains one of Andong’s
best known dishes. Served in brass dishes and including
vegetables, beef and shark meat, hoetjesabap is a delicious and
subtly flavored dish. Have a seat and relish the taste of tradi-
tion in a setting where the past never really died.
HOW TO GET TO ANDONG HAHOE FOLK VILLAGE
> By Car Head south on the Gyeongbu Expressway from
Seoul and transfer onto Yeongdong Expressway at Singal
JC and again onto Jungang Expressway at Manjong JC. Exit
through Seoandong IC and continue for about 15km to
reach Hahoe Folk Village. Leave your car at the parking lot
at the village entrance proceed the village on foot or by
shuttle bus. Alternatively, you can take the boat from
across the river near Buyongdae. The entire journey takes
about 3 hours.
> By Bus Buses run from Seoul Central City Terminal to
Andong. The fee is 15,600 won (US$13.5), and they
depart every 1-2 hours. From downtown Andong, buses to
Hahoe run frequently. The journey takes about 3.5 hours.
<Information>
Hahoe Folk Village
Visiting Hours Summer 09:00-19:00, Winter 09:00-18:00
Entrance Fees Adult 2,000 won (US$1.7), Students 1,000
won (US$0.9), Children 700 won (US$0.6)
Shuttle Bus Fees Adult 500 won (US$0.4), Junior/High
School Students 400 won (US$0.3), Elementary Students
250 won (US$0.2, one way, Parking Lot-Village Entrance)
Hahoe Mask Dance Drama (Standing Performance)
Every Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday Until 2-3pm.
Free performances of the Hahoe Mask Dance take place at
Inheritance Hall, near the village’s entrance (March-
December, No shows from January-February).
Inquiries Andong Hahoe Folk Village +82 (0)54 852 3588,
www.hahoe.or.kr
Free culture tourism guide (English, Chinese, Japanese)
+82 (0)54 840 6974
Andong Maskdance Festival 2010
The 13
th
Andong Maskdance Festival 2010 will take place
for 10 days from September 24 at Hahoe Folk Village and
surrounding venues in Andong. Held under the theme of
masks and mask dancing, the festival offers a fine
opportunity to see the Hahoe Mask Dance, as well as
other mask dances and performances from around the
world. This year’s participants include seven teams from
overseas and 11 Korean teams performing mask dances
and other original shows. On September 25 and October 2,
Seonyu Julbulnori, a traditional firework show said to be a
favorite of Hahoe’s yangban class, will take place, and the
various teams will stage street performances.
Inquiries +82 (0)54 841 6398, www.maskdance.com
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KOREA
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2010
MY KOREA
Besides the gorgeous fall weather, the arrival of
September 22(15
th
day of August of the lunar calendar)
in Korea also mean only one thing: chuseok, the
“Korean Thanksgiving.” In a country where so much
tradition has been lost, chuseok offers an intimate
reacquaintance with the ways of old, and rituals that
solidified one expat’s affection for his new home.
AUTUMNAL
SWEETEST
THE
CONNECTION
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To me, few sights in this world are as stunning as a persimmon tree against a
brilliant blue autumn sky, its branches sagging under the weight of swollen
orange fruit. This is a common sight across the Korean countryside, but one
that I never tire of seeing. By tradition, when the fruit is plucked from the
boughs a few persimmons are left behind for the magpies, heralded in Korean
folklore as the bearers of good news. This act typifies Koreans’ connection to
nature, the harvest, and their agrarian roots. Those who have visited Seoul,
with its bustling streets, endless crowds of people, skyscrapers, and bright
lights might laugh, but I would argue that Korea is still largely rooted in its
agrarian past and the countryside.
Korean society and culture continues to revolve around the consumption of
food and drink, and emphasis is always placed on using the freshest and
healthiest ingredients. It goes without saying
that to a people so deeply intertwined with
their agrarian past, celebrating the harvest
would be of the utmost importance. Chuseok,
sometimes referred to as hangawi, is a
Korean harvest festival that lasts for three
days around the Autumn equinox. Every
chuseok, the crowded metropolis of Seoul
becomes a ghost town as people leave en
masse for their ancestral hometowns in the
countryside. Buses and trains are sold out
months in advance, and even the relatively
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The cakes are then loaded on a bed of pine needles and steamed into a
delicious treat.
Traditionally songpyeon was exchanged between neighbors, reminiscent of
the American tradition of exchanging sweets during the Christmas season. All
of this food, however, serves a greater function than to just be eaten. Before
anyone even touches the food, it is given as an offering to the ancestors in a
ceremony called charye. The food and rice wine are arranged in an impressive
display on a table in front of the ancestral burial mounds or in the family’s
home. The family gathers together in front of the table and recites prayers
while offering the rice wine. Then, family members make full bows,
prostrating on the floor, offering thanks for the blessings received and
memorializing their deceased family members.
After the ceremony is finished, the family sits down together and partakes
of the bountiful feast. During this three-day reunion, cousins, uncles, aunts
and grandparents spend a great deal of time together. Traditionally families
took part in folk games like tug-of-war, archery, or ssireum, a form of
traditional Korean wrestling. However, in more recent times, it’s much more
likely that family members will share beers while munching on squid and
peanuts, watch TV or play Go-Stop, a popular Korean card game played with
hwatu cards.
FAMILY REUNION From start to finish, the holiday emphasizes the connec-
tion between people and their hometowns, families, ancestors and the Earth.
Sin-to-bul-i, a common Korean idiom often used to say that the agricultural
products of one’s hometown are the best, is literally translated as “the body
and the earth cannot be separated.” This typifies Koreans’ attitudes when it
comes to chuseok. Koreans’ respect for their traditions is only trumped by
their passion and desire for sharing them with others.
During my seven years in Korea, I have had ample opportunities to
participate in Korean traditions with my friends and acquaintances. I first
encountered this hospitality as a young man living in the small town of
Gunsan. One of my coworkers, Mr Yu, was so concerned that I would be
lonely or go hungry during the extended holiday when shops close that he
invited me to spend the holiday with him and his family. While never having
experienced chuseok, nor understanding fully what it would mean to a
Korean to be alone on such an important day, I was touched by his concern.
On the first morning we rose early, packed our lunches, and headed to the
mountains to trim the grass around his family’s tombs. With four
generations of the Yu family sprawled on the side of the mountains,
by grass-covered mounds and stone pillars, there was a lot of
ground to cover. Armed with weed eaters, each of us took
painstaking care to trim the grass to a uniform level in the brisk
autumn air. Coming from a land where we pay a cemeteries to
look after the remains of our loved ones, this somehow felt
more intimate.
When we were finished and the sun began cresting on the ridge of the
mountain adjacent, we sat down beside the graves and ate our lunch, while
low demand for domestic air travel skyrock-
ets. Cars pack the highways and slowly snake,
bumper-to-bumper, out of Seoul and to
every remote locations throughout the
peninsula. Drive times quadruple and
hawkers freely walk between traffic lanes
selling their wares to Korean wayfares
engaged in this yearly exodus.
The final destination on this journey is
the keun-jip, literally translated as “big
house,” but referring to the residence of the
oldest living male family member. All
immediate family members gather at the
keun-jip to celebrate the harvest and to pay
thanks to their ancestors by preparing and
sharing a great feast.
Foods traditionally eaten on this day tend
to vary by household, but commonly one
can find meats like bulgogi or galbi, two
traditional meat dishes, japchae, a dish
prepared with various vegetables, meats and
cellophane noodles, jeon, a pancake like side
dish prepared by pan fried vegetables, fish
and meat, coated in a batter of flour and
eggs, and of course a wide variety of fruits,
nuts, and herbs. The food most commonly
associated with chuseok, however, has to be
songpyeon. This delicious dessert is made
from tteok, or glutinous rice cake, filled with
a sweet mixture of sesame seeds, honey,
sweet red bean or chestnut paste placed in
the middle as filling. The flattened rice is
folded around the mixture making a half-
moon shape.
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PROFILE
Joel Browning is an
American living in
South Korea. He has
spent the past 7 years
in Korea, received his
MA in Korean studies
from Seoul National
University and currently
works as the Star
Alliance Liaison at
Asiana Airlines. He
likes chilling and taking
long romantic walks
along the Han River
that runs through the
center of Seoul.
taking in the fall landscape. Mr Yu took great pride in telling me the
history of his ancestors and explaining the auspicious location
where their burial mounds were placed. He said that the
location, flanked on either side by a mountain and
overlooking a small stream, was built under the
optimum conditions in feng shui (pungsu in
Korean). He informed me that as a result of
this auspicious positioning, the spirits of
his ancestors were resting in peace and
could pass on more blessings to his family.
The next day, when we visited with his
family in tow, I watched as his wife took
care to set up a small wooden table at the
base of the mountain where she
arranged the food. This was
followed by a few recited
prayers to the ancestors, the
pouring out of a few shots
of a rice wine that smelled
heavily of herbs, the cutting
and offering of fruit, bowing, and a few
informal words imparted from a father to
his children about the importance of
family.
After the ancestral rite finished, we gath-
ered together on a shiny silver mat and began
to eat and talk and laugh with one another. As I gripped
a fried pepper between my chopsticks and began raising it to my
mouth, it occurred to me that I was seated there with six generations of this
family. This was a family reunion that spanned hundreds of years. Never in a
million years before I came to Korea could I have imagined such a gathering.
As we were preparing to leave, I saw the brilliant orange of the persimmons
with the wide blue fall sky behind it stretching into eternity for the first time
in my life. Mr Yu, sensing my gaze, began reciting a poem entitled,
“Persimmon Tree, Food for Magpies.” The poem is a tale of the ripe sweet
fruit growing on the branches of a persimmon tree. It goes on to describe
how the tree offers this fruit as food for the magpie to share with his family
as they prepare for the winter, and how the branches, recently lightened of
their fruit, reach into the sky.
He went on to relate the tradition of leaving a few persimmons on the tree
and it was then that I first realized that Korea is about connections.
Connections to others. Connections to the past. Connections to the earth.
Thanks to the experience of that chuseok and all the others that followed,
when I was invited to participate with friends’ families or brought left-over
food, I now understand this and feel connected as well. In a sense I am the
magpie and Korea has been my persimmon tree. by Joel Browning | Illustrations by
Jo Seung-hyeon | photograph by Kim Nam-heon
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LOOKING TO
LONG-TERM
COOPERATION TO
ACHIEVE GLOBAL
GROWTH
The G20 Summit in Seoul is just two months
away. In the first of a special four-part series
that will take a look at the leaders, the event
and stories, KOREA this month discusses the
significance for Seoul in hosting the Summit.
SPECIAL FEATURE : G20 REPORT
The Significance of Seoul Summit <September 2010> ; Preparations for
the G20 Summit <October 2010> ; The Summit’s Agenda and Schedule
<November 2010> ; The Outcome of the Summit and Untold Stories
<December 2010> will appear on these pages.
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KOREA
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C
h
e
o
n
g
w
a
d
a
e

President Lee Myung-bak speaks at the G20 Sherpa
Meeting opening ceremony in Seoul, on July 20
(opposite). G20 Seoul Summit PR ambassador Han
Hyo-ju, an actress, Sakong Il, Chairman of the
Presidential Committee for the G20 Seoul Summit,
and Kim Yu-na, a world-champion figure skater and
ambassador for the G20 Seoul Summit, pose in front
of the press (above, from left).
From November 11 to 12, the eyes of
the world will be on Seoul. US
President Barack Obama, Chinese
President Hu Jintao, German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, British
Prime Minister David Cameron, UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing
director of the International Monetary
Fund, are among about three dozen
heads of state or leaders of interna-
tional organizations who will travel to
the Korean capital for the Group of 20
(G20) Summit. About 10,000 officials
in total are expected to attend the
summit, making it the largest interna-
tional conference in history.
After the United States financial cri-
sis in 2008 turned into a full-blown
global recession, interest in the G20
Summit has perhaps never been
greater. Amid fears of a downturn as
severe as the Great Depression, G20
members from both advanced and
developing economies have displayed
unprecedented solidarity. As the glob-
al economy has stabilized, G20 meet-
ings demonstrated once again how
closely linked individual countries are
with the global economy.
Against this backdrop, the world is
counting on the Seoul Summit to pres-
ent a lasting solution for avoiding a
recurrence of the global financial cri-
sis. Specifically, G20 leaders have set
the Seoul meeting as the deadline for
settling all the main issues that have
been discussed as means to stabilize
the global economy. If the leaders at
this summit successfully agree on
ways to consolidate the recovery, the
G20 is likely to become the world’s
leading regular forum for discussing
international economic cooperation.
BEING THE BRIDGE Comprising 19
countries and the European Union, the
G20’s membership includes tradition-
al economic powers such as the
United States, Japan, Germany and
Britain, and emerging economies such
as Korea, China, India, Brazil, and
Indonesia.
“The G20 comprises the 20 most
economically influential countries
among the 192 members of the UN,”
said an official with the G20 organiz-
ing committee in Seoul. “Essentially,
the G20 is a community of the leaders
of the world.”
The inaugural G20 summit was held
in November 2008, two months after
the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a
US investment bank. Though that
summit was a direct response to the
financial crisis then engulfing the
world, it has since become a regular
event, which many economists say
marks a major turning point for the
world economy. Compared to the G7
or G8, which only involved the tradi-
tional, predominantly Western eco-
nomic powerhouses, the G20 meet-
ings ushered in a far more internation-
al era, signaling the growing economic
power of Asia in particular.
The G20 nations account for two-
thirds of the world population. Their
combined gross domestic product rep-
resents about 90% of the world’s
total, and about 80% of all internation-
al trade is done by these 20 nations.
For this reason, the G20 forum is
sometimes referred to as “the mini-
United Nations.”
Since the first meeting, the G20
Summit has convened twice a year.
From what was initially a narrow eco-
nomic focus, the summit now address-
es issues related to overcoming the
global economic crisis, reforming inter-
national agencies, tackling the global
economic imbalance, banks’ financial
health, building financial safety nets,
and strengthening financial trans-
parency.
Over the last two years,
Washington, London, Pittsburgh and
Toronto have all hosted the event.
With this up-coming November sum-
mit, Korea will become the first emerg-
ing economy to hold the meeting. And
if the leaders achieve most of what
they’ve set out to do, the Seoul sum-
mit could turn out to be the most sig-
nificant one yet.
Seoul stands to oversee some of
the body’s most crucial decisions in
its short life. Discussions about sus-
tainable and balanced growth, the
importance of which has grown expo-
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38
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
nentially since the financial crisis, will
take place there. Changes to IMF quo-
tas and new standards for the health
of financial institutions could also be
announced in Seoul.
Korea’s role is also crucial in that
perhaps more than any of the hosts
so far, it has great credibility as a
bridge between advanced and emerg-
ing economies. One of the major
items on the agenda this November is
the establishment of global financial
safety nets that would soften the blow
of international crises on less devel-
oped nations. Korea is a champion of
this cause, and has also proposed
providing more development aid for
less privileged countries.
Issues such as these, as well as
more extensive measures to aid eco-
nomic growth in developing countries,
are on the agenda largely at the
behest of Korea in its role as host.
Apart from their primary goals, these
proposals are aimed squarely at show-
ing non-G20 members that the forum
represents their interests too. Should
these measures be adopted, Korea is
hoping that they will become known as
the “Korea Initiative,” so that the
country can become more closely
identified with major international
efforts to help with the growth of
emerging economies.
The top priority at the G20 Summit,
the framework for sustainable and bal-
anced growth will take a more con-
crete form in Seoul. Based on the con-
clusions of the Toronto Summit in
June, when countries began by under-
taking assessments of their
economies, leaders have agreed to
push forward with plans to take collec-
tive action on finance, banking, curren-
cy and industrial structures.
In Toronto, the leaders in atten-
dance agreed only on general princi-
ples; rich countries said they would
halve their deficits by 2013, and
developing economies promised to
strengthen social safety nets and
make their currencies more flexible.
The Seoul Summit will provide a forum
to reflect on how far they’ve come in
implementing those goals, as well as
wide-ranging consultations on how the
process can be speeded up. Among
other more specific deals, the leaders
will produce agreements on reforms to
the banking sector and international
financial institutions.
In the declaration issued in Toronto,
G20 leaders agreed to come up with
new international standards on capital
flow to improve banks’ transparency.
These measures, to be finalized in
Seoul, are being prepared by the Basel
Committee on Banking Supervision.
Also in Seoul, the Financial Stability
Sakong Il and the children’s press corps hold the
group of 20 member countries’ flags, wishing suc-
cessful hosting of the G20 Seoul Summit (top).
Participants of the campaign “I Myself am Korea,”
which works to improve the dignity of the nation,
arrive at the Incheon International Airport on August
3, 100 days ahead of the launch of the G20 Seoul
Summit (above).
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39
KOREA
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2010
what may be known as the “new nor-
mal” era.
Global safety nets, a key part of
Korea’s proposals, is based on the
IMF’s new liquidity support system,
tentatively called the Global Stability
Mechanism (GSM). Instead of focus-
ing on individual countries, GSM takes
a global approach, looking to counter
financial risks that arise in several
nations at the same time — exactly
the situation that occurred in the
recent global financial crisis. The GSM
was set up to counter the problems
inherent in individual countries receiv-
ing funds from the IMF — namely, that
they risked being singled out as vul-
nerable by investors and world mar-
kets. In addition, the Flexible Credit
Line (FCL), another IMF mechanism for
receiving assistance, is in practice lim-
ited to countries that are in reason-
ably good economic health; so far,
only Mexico, Colombia and Poland
have signed up.
The key difference between GSM
and the IMF’s previous support sys-
tem is in how the help is initially
given. Under the previous arrange-
ments, countries in need of support
Board plans to tackle problems
caused by financial companies
deemed “too big to fail.” In addition,
reforms to the IMF and other interna-
tional financial agencies will be up for
discussion. The IMF plans to modify
its quotas so that at least 5% of
shares owned by developed countries
will be redistributed to emerging
economies. They also plan to offer
more seats on the IMF board to devel-
oping countries, and to make appoint-
ments to top positions both more
transparent and meritocratic.
Some of the most pressing econom-
ic issues facing the world today will be
up for discussion in Seoul. The fate of
these talks could very well determine
just how important, the G20 will be in
determining the course of the world
economy.
THE KOREA INITIATIVE “The
Framework for Strong, Sustainable
and Balanced Growth,” the biggest
topic of discussion at G20, has previ-
ously been discussed between two
blocs: developed and developing
nations. At the Seoul Summit, individ-
ual nations will put forward proposals
of their own. Considering the impor-
tance of the issues on the table in
Seoul, any agreement could mark the
beginning of a new economic order, in
appealed directly to the IMF. With
GSM, the IMF itself proposes setting
up credit lines to countries it deems
to be facing liquidity risks. In other
words, the IMF will go from being the
“firefighter”— attempting to tackle
damage after the fact — to being a
“vaccine,” offering preventive steps
before the situation gets out of hand.
To improve the FCL, the IMF is look-
ing at increasing the loan period from
its current six months as well as mak-
ing it more widely available. It is also
considering setting a Precautionary
Credit Line (PCL) for countries with
lower credit ratings. All these meas-
ures could be confirmed at the Seoul
Summit. Yet they are not without their
detractors: developed economies such
as the US, Germany, and Canada
have all raised questions about mak-
ing such major changes to the IMF.
They have also pointed out the risks
of moral hazard among emerging
countries if it becomes too easy to get
financial support from the IMF.
When the IMF wishes to make major
changes to its operations, it must
obtain 85% support from its share-
holders, of whom G20 members
account for about 70%. For this rea-
son, the success of these new pro-
posals is far from assured. However,
Korea has at least managed to put
the idea up for discussion by arguing
that liquidity problems are, big enough
disincentives to prevent emerging
economies from pursuing reckless
economic policies. Further progress is
expected in Seoul.
On development aid, another pillar
of the Korea Initiative, Korea and the
co-chair South Africa recently launched
a working group and are finalizing a
multi-year action plan that will be
endorsed in November.
Summit discussions about develop-
ment will center around food security
and human resources projects by the
World Bank and other development
banks. They will also touch on civilian-
led growth and infrastructure support,
and the switch to a green economy.
President Lee Myung-bak hosts a regular meeting
on the G20 Seoul Summit at the Presidential
Committee for the G20 Seoul Summit on July 29.

S
e
o
u
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´(¬´- C´( i=joiì ´('(E´( ´´´ [| =D7 ´ |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
GLOBAL KOREA
KOREAN VOLUNTEERS
TAKE TO THE WORLD

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Young Koreans are looking out toward the world. Through a wide range
of overseas voluntary programs, Korea’s youth are helping people less
privileged than themselves, while learning all about their cultures in the
process. To them, the term “we” is no longer confined to family or
compatriots, but extends across borders. by Seo Dong-cheol
40
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
´(¬´´ c|oIa| loi=a ´('(E´( ´´F [| =D7 ' |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
with her father, who is in the
import/export business, have given
her a taste for travel, she says, and
her volunteering has convinced her of
the work she’d like to do.
Where once Kim knew little about
India beyond the Taj Mahal and curry,
now she knows it as a country where
she made a difference, a country that
is her friend.
“I do regular volunteering at a local
rehabilitation hospital,” she said. “But
I would like to serve not just Koreans,
but our global neighbors too.”
GROWING UP Kim Da-som, a Hanyang
University sophomore majoring in pub-
lic policy, had a slightly different sum-
mer break than her friends. Since stu-
dents in this major generally spend
any spare time preparing for the civil
service exam, most of Kim’s friends
devoted their summer to studying.
Kim, however, felt the call of volun-
teering and decided to do it overseas.
Many of her friends were bemused
by Kim’s decision. They asked why she
was paying hard-earned money to
spend the summer doing hard physical
work, but Kim was undeterred.
41
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
Last summer, Kim Hye-ryung, a fresh-
man at Gyeongnam Foreign Language
High School in Yangsan, Gyeongsang-
nam-do Province, flew to India. After
trying to come up with meaningful
ways to spend her summer break, Kim
learned about a two-week overseas
voluntary program, andsubmitted her
application immediately. Though Kim
had vague notions of the country, on
arrival in India, everything — from its
rickshaw-crammed streets to its pun-
gent food to its colorful clothes —
were entirely new to her.
After a two-day crash course in
Indian culture in Dehli, Kim was back
on a plane, then a train, and finally a
bus. At the end of the journey, Kim
arrived in Ruchi, a mountain village in
the north of the country. Coming from
Korea, Kim was above all impressed
by the sheer size of India, and how
isolated she was from any big cities.
“I was worried about the water sup-
ply since the town was halfway up a
mountain,” she says. “The first work I
had was to install water tanks at each
house so that they could use rainwa-
ter. We were divided into three groups,
and twisted wires, made bricks and
planted bamboo because their wide
roots help prevent landslides.”
This grueling work went on for 10
days, but the warmth expressed by
the townspeople and the sense of sat-
isfaction after were enormously
rewarding. “An Indian lady served us
chai [Indian milk tea] and it seemed
like the sweetest thing I’d ever tast-
ed,” Kim says. “I can’t even begin to
describe the exhilaration I felt looking
at the finished water tanks.”
Following another trip last year to
Mongolia as part of volunteer medical
team, Kim says she now wants to
become a doctor who offers free med-
ical services in poor countries around
the world. Numerous overseas trips
Young Korean volunteers host an educatinal
program with local students in Indonesia (left).
Korean teenagers construct the base of a water
tank in India (below).
´(¬´´ c|oIa| loi=a ´('(E´( ´´F [| =D7 ´ |ac¬´ |¬ 1 ( | Y K
42
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
“I chose to go volunteer because I
thought it would turn the long break
into something truly valuable. I felt I’d
develop a broader perspective and
have some ideas for the future once I
came back,” she says. “As I attended
the training workshop, I had my share
of doubts and fears about going to a
new place, but that anxiety turned into
excitement as my time approached.”
Kim went to Samrong, a small town
near Siem Reap in Cambodia. The vil-
lage didn’t have washing machines,
so Kim had to wash her clothes with
her hands using water she pumped
from a well. There were nightly battles
with heat, but looking back, Kim says
these were only minor discomforts.
“Whenever it rained, the bugs had a
field day,” she recalls. “But the times
I spent with schoolkids in Samrong
gave me a sense of reward and happi-
ness that overwhelmed any inconven-
iences. Through singing, dancing, and
working with them, I really grew fond
of the kids. On the day I left, I couldn’t
stop crying.”
“In Cambodia, I learned how to
appreciate my life, to live together
with people from around the world and
to think positively,” Kim continues. “I
also met precious people that I
wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t made the
trip. I just gained so much. I grew up a
lot through this whole experience.”
Kim Jong-ho, a junior at Baeksin
Middle School in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do
Province, went to Taiwan this summer
on what was his first trip overseas. On
arrival, he found streets dotted with
signs in Chinese, with locals speaking
a language he had no understanding
of. This initial sense of confusion
soon faded after Kim took the four-
hour drive to Taishi, where he was
introduced to fellow volunteers from
other countries around the region.
Practically none of them spoke the
same language, but they quickly
became friends nonetheless.
“Taishi was really no different to
Jeollabuk-do Province, where my
grandmother lives,” Kim says. “I had
flown a long way but the surroundings

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A Korean student plays with children in Nepal
(above). A volunteer with a black belt gives young
Cambodian students a taekwondo lesson (right).
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43
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
were so familiar that I was at once
surprised and happy.”
Part of the program was a
“Taiwanese Night,” which provided an
excellent chance to learn more about
Taiwanese culture. Kim discovered
that with Korean culture having so
many roots in China, the commonali-
ties with Taiwan were striking.
“In particular, Taiwanese people
also observe the Lunar New Year and
chuseok [Korean Thanksgiving], and
that made me feel closer to Taiwan,”
Kim says. “There were also some fas-
cinating differences in cuisine, charac-
ters, and languages, and I was able to
experience things that they didn’t
teach us in classrooms.”
In Taishi, as part of an “educational
art performance,” Kim painted murals
on a 150m-long wall. At first, he was
daunted by the scale of the work, but
as he painted and chatted with the
local volunteers, the four days just
flew by.
“I did some picture book renditions
of Korean fairy tales, and wrote some
English and Chinese words,” Kim
says. “During my volunteering, I
helped translate Korean children’s
songs into Chinese and danced for
young students. I got to learn a differ-
ent culture, and teach others about
my own country. It was great.”
FROM KOREAN TO COSMOPOLITAN
More young Koreans are gaining a
broader view of the world through over-
seas volunteering. The International
Workcamp Organization (IWO), Korea’s
leading agency for international volun-
teering, now sends about 3,900 young
Koreans to foreign countries each
year. In its inaugural year in 1999, the
non-governmental, non-profit agency
sent 49 young people, a number that
swelled to 1,000 in 2005, and 3,500
in 2008.
The IWO runs many programs cover-
ing an array of different regions and
themes. Among the most popular are
the International Workcamp, an
exchange program with youths from
70 countries; Environmental
Volunteering, which takes place in the
United States or Australia; and YESiA
International Volunteers, which sends
young Koreans to 10 nations around
Asia. Government agencies, compa-
nies, and schools also run joint pro-
grams with the agency. The Ministry of
Gender Equality and Family operates
the Into Dreams and People Youth
Volunteering Group, which is run dur-
ing summer and winter breaks in five
Asian nations.
Aside from the International
Workcamp Organization, Copion
(www.copion.or.kr), the Asia Exchange
Association (www.asiaea.or.kr), and
the Korea Overseas Volunteers
Association (www.kova.org) are among
a host of other NGOs and religious
groups that manage volunteer pro-
grams. Officials estimate that, tens of
thousands of young Korean volunteers
now go abroad each year.
“A growing number of young
Koreans are learning the meaning of
volunteering, as they interact with
locals and youths from around the
world,” says Ahn Hyun-mi of the
International Workcamp Organization.
“Though it’s only for a short time, they
feel their outlook on the world really
expands after meeting international
friends and taking an interest in differ-
ent countries and cultures. As I watch
these young Koreans becoming true
cosmopolitan, I feel genuinely confi-
dent that we’re helping Korea and the
world toward a brighter future.”
Korean volunteers teach English to children in
Cambodia (above left). A Korean volunteer shares a
tender moment with a Nepalese child (above right).
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44
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
NOW IN KOREA
A WORLD OF
Starting from a get-together of artists in 1998, Heyri Art Village
has grown into Korea’s biggest art community. Now home to
nearly 400 artists, Heyri’s influence has been sharply felt in Seoul
— whose people flock to visit it — and, increasingly, in the
provinces, where inspired artists have taken Heyri’s mission into
the countryside. by Lim Ji-young | photographs by Kim Hong-jin
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SEPTEMBER
2010
The white and black façades, the red sculpture and the blue sky combine to form an
enticing backdrop at Heyri Art Village.
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46
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
Looking at the profoundly quirky but immaculately kept
buildings of Heyri Art Village, it’s hard to believe that it’s
already celebrating its 10
th
anniversary. The most famous
artists’ community in Korea, Heyri’s roots stretch back to
1998, when a group of cultural figures – who had met to plan
a settlement – decided on this 495,800sqm area of land in
Paju, Gyeonggi-do Province. After extensive planning, the
village officially began to take shape in 2001, with galleries
opening to the public from 2003 (the 10
th
anniversary is based
on the traditional Korean system for counting years).
The response was emphatic. Visitors to this cozy outpost
hailed the galleries and performance halls that were so
removed from their counterparts in the big city. Over the last
nine years, the number of inhabitants rose from 100 to 380.
Today, as befits a real community, they often meet to discuss
issues affecting them, or just to drink tea together. They host
club activities such as painting and literary discussions. Heyri
was, and remains, a place where people who love arts and
culture can share and live together. “Artists from various
backgrounds learn from each other here, as we’ve sought to
preserve Heyri’s original mission of becoming a mecca for
culture and the arts,” says Jeon Hee-cheon, Heyri’s chairman.
Public perceptions of Heyri have gradually changed. Where
once visitors would drop by, take a few pictures and leave,
today they will make a day of it, strolling around the grounds,
visiting a selection of galleries, and stopping off for a coffee
or lunch in one of the village’s pretty cafes. During Paju
Heyri’s Pan Festival, which runs every September, the village
is thronged with visitors who come to appreciate its art and
to share in the wonderful artistic spirit that the inhabitants
have done so much to nourish. This year, the festival runs
from September 4 through 12.
THE SCENTS OF ART AND CULTURE Comprising 150
buildings or so, Heyri is no longer a place that can be seen in
a single visit. The village actually began with a single building
— the piano-like Book House — which still occupies a prime
central location in this bohemian settlement. Though it is
difficult to choose highlights, Book House remains one of
the most interesting spots in Heyri, along with a string of
distinctive galleries and studios that should be high on any-
one’s list of places to see while in the village.
Camerata, established by broadcaster Hwang In-yong,
hosts classical recitals and concerts. Hanhyanglim Museum
houses ceramics ranging from the traditional to the modern.
With its experimental spirit, Gallery Jireh is a hit with fans of
modern art. Its first floor is also home to an excellent cafe
Heyri has its share of nostalgia, including this reproduction of a bus stop from the
1980s (top). In his residence and studio in Heyri, Lee An-soo carves a sotdae pole,
with which Koreans once prayed for a good harvest. A true renaissance man, Lee was
inspired to try his hand at writing and painting after coming to Heyri (above).
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47
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
In the Toy Museum, traditional dolls welcome visitors with smiles (top). Children and
adults will find plenty to amuse them at the museum’s Wow Place (middle). Offering
much more than just art, Heyri also boasts a series of amusement parks. At Motnani
Amusement Park, visitors can rediscover the lost innocence of childhood (above).
with a full view of the artworks on display.
Gallery MOA, an architectural treasure, is a work of art in
itself. Keumsan Gallery, a winner of the Korean Architecture
Award, contains an 80-year-old oak tree that has been incor-
porated into the building. As with much else in Heyri,
Keumsan takes full advantage of its surroundings by creating
a compelling harmony between man and nature.
There are about 20 exhibition halls in Heyri, offering space
to artists, but more than just the galleries, the ambiance here
in itself a great sources of inspiration. Novelist Jeon Gyeong-
rin, who moved office from Seoul to Heyri, says, “It feels like
I’ve escaped from a convoluted maze.”
Craftsman Lee An-soo, who manages “creative residence”
Motif#1, adds, “Heyri is a place where artists from various
backgrounds influence each other, and can extend their
knowledge and experience.” Lee himself is living proof of this.
Before coming to Heyri, he was a photographer. Today he
writes, draws and even makes the traditional “prayer poles”
with which Koreans of yore used to which for good harvests.
Of course, a great part of Heyri’s appeal today is not just in
its artists, but in the “laymen” who come to share in the
village’s charms and creative energy. “I often come here with
my daughter. I think it’s a great place to help nurture her
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THE JOYS OF HEYRI
1. Toy Museum
A favorite with children and young couples alike, this feast of
nostalgia houses a big collection of stories and toys from Korea
and around the world.
2. Motnani Amusement Park
Offering the chance to step back in time, Motnani (“ugly children”)
has reproductions of a barbershop from the 1960s, a photo studio
from the ‘70s, and a stationery vendor from the ‘80s. The restau-
rant even lets Koreans relive culinary memories, with the old
favorite of ham, fried kimchi, and a fried egg.
3. Motif#1
Although mainly a residence for artists who needs room to work,
Motif#1 is also open to the public, who can, if they choose, stay
the night. Studios with various themes make the place feel vibrant
and fresh.
emotional growth,” says Yu Eun-jin, a dyed-in-the-wool
Seoulite. “There are so many attractions for children here.”
The art village is a huge draw for families or couples who
come to appreciate the artworks or just kick back in one of
the cafes or restaurants. In 2009, the village office estimates,
about a million people came to spend some time in Heyri.
A COUNTRY OF COMMUNITIES Heyri’s success has
inspired a spate of other art communities to try and set up
around the country. While some remain at the planning
stage, several have gone on to thrive.
Gungtteul Dokkaebi Art Village in the Jangsu, Jeollabuk-
do Province, was founded in 2002 by local craftsmen who
wanted to preserve traditional Korean culture. In a rural,
unpolluted environment, visitors can learn such time-
honored crafts as calligraphy, natural dyeing, fan making
with bamboo, traditional woodcraft, and ceramics.
Housed in an old schoolhouse in Seongju, a county in
Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Kumsu Art Village is an arts
studio funded by the local and national governments to help
develop culture in the area. Studios 1 and 2 are devoted to
theater and traditional Korean percussion, while other rooms
offer space for painting, ceramics, and an architectural
museum. The large trees surrounding Kumsu create the
perfect mood for quiet painting or reflection.
Since its completion in 2007, Jeoji Art Village has turned
the Jeoji-ri from a quiet border area of Jeju into a hotspot for
the island’s culture. A small village that only reveals itself after
a 45km drive from Jeju Airport, Jeoji Art Village houses a cul-
ture and art hall, a group work office, an outdoor exhibition
hall, a traditional culture space, and a private work room. “I
would never have imagined that something like this would
end up in our village,” says local resident Byeon Han-bong.
On the foot of Seungdalsan Mountain in Muan, Jeollanam-
do Province, Wolseonri Art Village was formed when ceram-
ics craftsman Kim Moon-ho moved to the area in 1990. Two
decades on and there are about 20 resident artists there work-
ing in various fields, including ceramics, calligraphy, sculp-
ture, and literature. In contrast to Heyri, which was actually
built from scratch, Wolseonri was formed when artists moved
into empty houses in the area. For that reason, it is more like
a real country village, which is Wolseonri’s greatest charm.
Thanks to these arts communities, rural villages that once
saw only different shades of green are now being painted in
red, blue, yellow, and a rainbow of other colors. With the arts
villages proving so durable and popular, we can only expect
more to appear in the years ahead.
48
KOREA
SEPTEMBER
2010
Oversized pencils line up to form a colorful fence in front of Dalki Space at Heyri
(top). Down on Jeju Island, Jeoji Art Village forms an enclave of artworks for islanders
and visitors alike (above).

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