People & Culture
a natural wonder
seoul flea markets
saving money and the environment
korea’s fans go wild for the stars of the diamond
may 2011 VOL.7 NO.05
Professional baseball, one of Koreans’ favorite pastimes, celebrates 30 years in Korea.
pen & brush
Novelist Shin Kyung-sook’s English-translated Please Look After Mom finds world-wide fame.
Korean scientist Ryoo Ryong builds a reputation for his achievements in chemistry.
Meet Syngman Rhee or Yi Seung-man, the first president of South Korea.
Sarangchae at Cheong Wa Dae is one of Seoul’s most unforgettable tourist destinations.
Jejudo Island is an ecological treasure.
publisher Seo Kang-soo, Korean Culture and Information Service editing HEM KOREA Co., Ltd e-mail email@example.com printing Samsung Moonhwa Printing Co.
Hampyeong hosts the Butterfly Festival in May.
now in korea
Seoul’s got some thrifty flea markets in town.
Dokdo: A peek at Korea‘s easternmost point.
All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from KOrea and the Korean Culture and Information Service. The articles published in KOrea do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. The publisher is not liable for errors or omissions. If you want to receive a free copy of KOrea or wish to cancel a subscription, please e-mail us. A downloadable PDF file of KOrea, and a map and glossary with common Korean words appearing in our text are available by clicking on the thumbnail of KOrea on the homepage of www.korea.net. 발간등록번호 11-1110073-000016-06
Malaysia’s Prime Minister visits Korea.
Universities abroad feature Korean studies.
Temple Stay: A peaceful slice of Korean culture.
KOREA’S FAVORITE GAME
Professional baseball in Korea began with a slam — a grand slam, that is. Lee Jong-do’s grand slam on the opening day of the first professional baseball season in 1982 proved to be a good omen, as pro baseball would grow into the nation’s most popular sport. Today, fans turn out in droves to see the titans of Korea play ball. by Park Kwang-min | photograph by Kim Hong-jin
Jamsil Stadium was a packed house on April 9 for the Doosan Bears vs Kia Tigers game.
It all started on March 27 in 1982— that was the day professional baseball began in Korea. This year, Korean professional baseball celebrates its 30th year, and it has only become more popular with time. In its inaugural year, there were only six teams with 141 players in the professional league, compared to the current eight teams with three times the number of players. This year, a ninth team, NCsoft, is set to make its debut. There are also rumors of further expansion that could see the start of a two-division professional league within the next few years. Last October, Steven C Rockefeller Jr, a world famous oil baron and a fifth generation member of the Rockefeller family, visited Seoul’s Jamsil Stadium to watch Game Four of the playoff series between the Samsung Lions and the Doosan Bears. Rockefeller fully immersed himself with the Korean style of cheering, smiling at fans screaming from the top of their lungs, and never taking his eyes off every play on the field. When the Doosan shortstop Son Si-heon came to the plate, Rockefeller
clapped to the beat of his so-called fight song, and took pictures of the home fans along the first base. When the Bears clawed back with five runs in the seventh after trailing 7-2, Rockefeller gave a standing ovation and high-fived people around him. Calling himself “an avid New York Yankees fan,” Rockefeller says he was “deeply impressed” with the way Korean fans kept cheering on their favorite teams for the entire game. “I don’t know much about Korean baseball but I’ve just started to learn, and I want to find out more,” he says. “And the culture of fans of a team all becoming one is surprising. It’s full of energy. It’s passionate. I want to take this culture to the Yankee Stadium in New York.”
hiSTory of BASeBAll in KoreA
Philip Gillett, an American missionary, was dispatched to Korea in 1901 and founded the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) two years later. In 1905, he started teaching baseball, then a Western ball game, to members of the YMCA, and that was the birth of baseball in Korea.
The professional league was launched in 1982, and now in its 30th season, baseball is the nation’s most popular sport. It has captured the imaginations of not just Koreans but also foreigners living in Korea. Marking its 30th season, the Korea Baseball Organization decided to expand with a ninth club, and looks to make it a 10-team, two-division league by 2014. This year, the league hopes to draw more than six million fans a season for the first time, and the players have worked hard themselves to keep people in their seats. The 2011 season kicked off on April 2, with all eight teams in action. Fans who had been dying for some baseball over the long winter flocked to the four ballparks in Jamsil of Seoul, Gwangju, Busan and Incheon. Each team will play 133 regular season games, and the top four teams will reach the postseason, with the champion determined in October. The opening day was as wild as had been expected, with all four games sold out for the third-straight season. Pro baseball here was founded with six original clubs: Samsung Lions,
(from opposite left to right) Korean traditional fan dance performance before the opening game of Korea’s first pro baseball league in 1982; The haitai Tigers celebrates its eighth victory, tossing the coach into the air in 1996; lee Seung-yeop is cheered after his 56th home run, Asia’s best record, in 2003; A reception to commemorate the 30th season of Korea’s professional baseball league on march 28, 2011.
Haitai Tigers, Lotte Giants, Sammi Superstars, MBC Blue Dragons and OB Bears. Over the ensuing three decades, the Superstars franchise went through ownership changes, with the Chungbo Pintos (1985-1987), the Pacific Dolphins (1988-1995) and the Hyundai Unicorns (1996-2007) before being reborn as the Woori Heroes in 2008. The MBC team was sold to become the LG Twins in 1990, while Haitai became the Kia Tigers in 2001. The
Tigers have won 10 championships, more than any other franchise, and they’re the Korean equivalent of the New York Yankees. In 1986, the Binggrae Eagles joined the league as the seventh team and became the Hanwha Eagles in 1994. In 1991, the Ssang Bang Wool Raiders became the eighth team, and in 2000, SK bought out the team to turn it into the SK Wyverns. Korea has steadily developed into a world baseball power. Starting with the bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Korea finished third at the inaugural World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2006, second at the 2009 WBC, and won gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, going undefeated in nine and five games, respectively.
“Since its inception, professional baseball has been beloved by people all over the nation,” says You Youngkoo, commissioner of the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization). “We had some down periods in the 1990s with the foreign reserve crisis, but thanks to the passion of the teams and fans, we’re experiencing a renaissance again. Entering our 30th year, pro baseball in Korea is at a crossroads,” You adds. “We will work even harder for fans who love our game.” The KBO is trying to look back on its 30 years, holding a special photo exhibition in commemoration of the anniversary. At the reception to mark the start of the 30th season, the KBO laid out five major objectives: to introduce a two-division league with 12 clubs by the year 2020; to draw 10 million fans
KoreA’S profeSSionAl BASeBAll TeAmS (2011 SeASon)
© Yonhap News Agency
DooSAn BeArS Basement City : Seoul Established Year: 1982
KiA TigerS Gwangju 1982
SK wyvernS Incheon 2000
nexen heroeS Seoul 2008
loTTe giAnTS Busan 1982
SAmSung lionS Daegu 1982
hAnwhA eAgleS Daejeon 1986
lg TwinS Seoul 1990
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to ballparks; to start turning profits; to restructure the minor league system and to support youth baseball; and to open a baseball museum and hall of fame. In addition to Gwangju, the KBO pledged to build new ballparks in Daegu and Daejeon - currently home to downtrodden stadiums - that can
The KBO will also reorganize its minor leagues, the main source of young talent, and support independent leagues, while helping youth clubs set up across the nation. Lastly, the KBO will determine sites for the baseball museum and hall of fame in 2011, with plans of opening doors in 2012.
break away from the right-handed batter, Sun’s slider broke down vertically, almost like forkball. Sun had such an aura about him that he could scare his opponents just by warming up in the bullpen. Splitting his time as a starter and a closer in 11 seasons in Korea, Sun helped his Tigers to six championships,
majors, Chris Carpenter of the St Louis Cardinals pitched 22 quality starts in a row from May 13 to Sept 9 in 2005. Bob Gibson, also of the Cardinals, had 22 consecutive quality starts in 1968. Ryu has been the ace for Korea at the WBC and the Beijing Olympics. At the plate, Lee Dae-ho, slugger for
Hee-seop, “Big Choi” formerly with the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers, has returned home, along with former New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Seo Jae-weong (Kia), and ex-Washington Nationals pitcher Kim Sun-woo (Doosan), much to the delight of Korean fans.
hold at least 30,000 people, and to have seven stadiums with at least 25,000 seats nationwide by 2017. The KBO turned in 40 billion won (US$3.6 million) at the gate last year, and wants to raise the revenue to 90 billion won by 2020. With improved infrastructure, the KBO predicted its total revenue, from the gate, marketing and other sources, would reach 300 billion won by 2020. To help meet its goals, the KBO will establish KBO.com in 2015 and open its own broadcasting channel to generate revenue online and offline. Modeled after MLB.com in the majors, the new channel could also help push up the revenue of KBOP, a marketing affiliate of the KBO, to 100 billion won by 2020.
(from left to right) one of the biggest Korean stars Sun Dong-yeol pitches at a KS (Korean Series) game in 1995; hanwha’s ryu hyun-jin is well-known for his nickname “monster,” because of his excellent pitch; A dynamic scene from Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium, home of the lotte giants; Slugger lee Dae-ho hit his 200th home run on April 11, 2011.
STArS of KoreAn BASeBAll Korea
has seen its share of stars over the past three decades of pro baseball. Among the best, Sun Dong-yeol, former Samsung manager, is by far the greatest pitcher. He made a splash as a super rookie with the Haitai Tigers in 1985. His arsenal included a four-seam fastball reaching 155km/h and a slider. Unlike normal sliders, which often
putting up 146 wins, 40 losses and 132 saves with a 1.20 earned run average. Sun also pitched for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan and earned the nickname “Sun of Nagoya.” Then in 2005, Sun won the Korean Series in his first year as manager and defended the title in 2006. After 417 wins, 340 losses and 13 ties in six seasons, Sun resigned, months after finishing runner-up in 2010. The Korean league last year saw two world records. On the mound, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Hanwha Eagles, nicknamed the “Monster,” put together 29 straight quality starts (at least six innings and three earned runs or fewer allowed) dating back to 2009. In the
Lotte Giants, homered in a record nine games in a row. He began his streak on Aug 4 against Doosan and set the record against Kia on Aug 14. In the majors, Ken Griffey Jr and two other players have hit home runs in eight straight games, but Lee topped them all. Last year, Lee also led the KBO in an unprecedented seven offensive categories. He has been in the heart of the order, the cleanup trio, for Korea in international tournaments like Olympic Games and WBC. The league has more impressive stars. Lefty Kim Kwang-hyun of the SK Wyverns and right-hander Yoon Sukmin of the Kia Tigers are both fixtures in the national team rotation. Choi
whAT To looK for in 2011 Aside
from these Korean stars, foreign players with Major League experience have joined the KBO. Radhames Liz, a starter for the LG Twins, wowed the crowd with his 160km/h fastballs. Dustin Nippert, pitcher for Doosan Bears, has been firing fastballs from his 203cm frame. “Korean baseball is very fast and dynamic,” Liz says. “Hitters have great techniques and there’s not much difference from the major leagues.” Nippert was also impressed, saying, “I’ve not so much experienced Asian baseball before, but baseball players here have tremendous passion and talent. I am having an unusual experience in
Korean baseball.” Fans have been packing stadiums from early on, hoping to get their glimpse of stars such as Ryu Hyun-jin and Lee Dae-ho. Group cheering is one of the major features of Korean baseball. Ryan Sadowski, who re-signed with Lotte Giants, says, “I think the ‘Ma! [a unique cheering word catered to the Lotte team]’ cheer for Lotte is fun. I stayed put in Korea for the fans’ passionate cheers.” Travis Blackley, a new starter for Kia Tigers, mentions, “This is my first season in Korea and the fan support is awesome. I am experiencing things that I’ve never had before.” All eight teams have traveling cheering squads for road games. Their ThunderStix and amps blasting loud music fire up the fans. With baseball’s surging popularity, Little League baseball has also grown exponentially. Kids who would kick around soccer balls on playgrounds are now picking up gloves and baseball bats, breaking a few windows here and there. And amateur club baseball has exploded in recent years. There are 200 officially registered leagues with about 10 teams each. And counting unofficial clubs, there could be around 5,000 teams around the nation. Though pro baseball is just 30 years old, the league has ushered in a renaissance with eight teams duly catering to their local fans. For its part, KBO has set up an executive committee to handle development of the sport and implement necessary policies. Players are improving by the day, and quality foreign players are coming to the Korean league to add new twists. And with the support of enthusiastic fans, the Korean league has already transcended Asia to become among the top competitors in the world.
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© (From left to right) Yonhap News Agency; Hanwha Eagles; Lotte Giants (2)
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he joined the New York Yankees, but was traded mid-season to the Pittsburgh Pirates after an injury-plagued first half. In 17 major league seasons, Park pitched for seven clubs, throwing 1,993 innings in 476 games. He posted a record of 124 wins, 98 losses with an earned run average (ERA) of 4.36, 1,872 hits and 1,715 strikeouts. Park’s 124 wins are the most by an Asian pitcher in the majors, one more than Nomo Hideo of Japan. After mulling over another season in the majors or joining the Korean league, Park decided to go to Japan to experience a new country and league. Though he failed to win a World Series, Park, the “Korean Express,” left a huge mark in the majors. Choo Shin-soo signed with the Seattle Mariners for US$1.3 million in 2001. A prototypical five-tool player, Choo made his major league debut on April 21, 2005. But despite all his talent, Choo rarely got to play in Seattle and was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2006. In Cleveland, Choo began to live up to his expectations and has developed into the team’s offensive leader. Last year, Choo batted .300 with 22 home runs, 90 runs batted in and 22 stolen bases. He also put up a .401 on-base percentage for a new career high. Despite a thumb injury suffered during the season, Choo
Korea’s Baseball Ambassadors
In the Global Spotlight
From former Major League All-Star Park Chan-ho to the “Choo-Choo Train” Choo Shin-soo in Cleveland, Korean baseball players are making a name for themselves abroad. These men are promoting Korean athletics as “baseball ambassadors” and picking up hefty paychecks along the way.
© Multibits Image (above); Yonhap News Agency (opposite)
While slugger Lee Dae-ho and fireballer Ryu Hyun-jin capture the hearts of fans in Korea, “baseball ambassadors” have served Korea well in the US and Japan. Leading envoys have been Park Chanho, a 37-year-old pitcher for the Orix Buffaloes, Choo Shin-soo, a 28-year-old outfielder for the Cleveland Indians and
Lim Chang-yong, a 34-year-old pitcher for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Park is a pioneer among Koreans playing ball abroad. He became the first Korean in the majors in January 1994, signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers for US$1.2 million. On April 7, 1996, he picked up his first Major League
victory against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. During his heyday with the Dodgers, Park regularly clocked in at 99mph (159km/h) on his fastball and fooled hitters with breaking balls. Park was a key member of the bullpen for the World Series runners-up Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. In 2010,
enjoyed the best season of his career. In the majors, only two other players - Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies and Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins - had a .300 batting average with at least 20 home runs and 20 steals. In 110 years of history of the Cleveland franchise, Choo is the very first player to put up back-to-back seasons of .300 average plus 20 homers and 20 steals. After the Major League season, Choo donned the Korean national uniform to represent the country at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, and led Korea to the gold medal. Choo had been exhausted after playing in 144 games in the majors in 2010. But he came to Korea right after the season ended and started getting ready for the Asian Games. People couldn’t help but love the man who gave everything he had for the national team. Coming off the most productive season
(Clockwise from opposite) Choo Shin-soo rounds third base after hitting a home run against the Boston red Sox on April 6, 2011; lim Changyong pitches at Japan’s All-Star game in 2010; park Chan-ho records his 124th win on oct 2, 2010, with the pittsburgh pirates.
of his career, plus the military service exemption in the offseason, Choo just hit a jackpot at the salarynegotiating table this time. He signed a one-year deal worth US$3.9 million dollars, a ninefold increase from his previous salary. This season, Choo is back in the heart of the team’s offense. During the team’s spring training in Arizona last February, Choo said, “I am feeling great, and I have high expectations for the club since we have a lot of good prospects. I am proud of being a Korean playing baseball in the majors.” Choo says he will gun for a season of at least 30 home runs and 30 steals this year. “My goal is to get better and better every year,” Choo says. “I want to put up better numbers this year than the last, and I also want to play in the postseason too.”
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Korea’s First Foreign Manager
American baseball manager Jerry Royster is a great leader. After taking over the Lotte Giants in 2008, he guided the team to three straight postseasons. Today, he’s back in the United States, providing commentary for Major League ballgames. But he says he’d like to manage again in Korea someday. Is there a place for Royster in future Korean ball teams?
batteries. Though he’d been a position player, Royster also stressed aggressiveness to his pitchers. He preferred guys who could throw inside, and he came down hard on those who got away from the inside part of the plate. Royster ultimately emphasized confidence. Asking pitchers to go inside was designed to help them develop more confidence on the mound. And pitchers and position players alike all bought into his “No Fear” baseball. As a result, Lotte reached three straight playoffs and got stronger each season. Over three seasons under Royster, the Giants put up 204 wins, 185 losses and three draws for a winning percentage of .520. On top of that, the Giants had more fun playing baseball than any other team. But the lack of playoff success ultimately did in Royster. Though the Giants made three playoffs in a row, they also lost in the first round in all those three years. Following the latest defeat, Royster returned to the United States. When rumors surfaced late last season that Lotte would not re-sign Royster, Giants’ fans started putting up signs to support their manager and even paid out of their own pockets to run newspaper ads. Royster thanked his fans, saying, “You can’t imagine this kind of support even in the majors. This
In the history of Korean baseball, only one manager has ever walked on a red carpet all the way from the ballpark to the parking lot after every home game. It’s Jerry Royster, a former manager of the Lotte Giants and the first foreign manager in Korean professional baseball. He became the manager of the perennial underachievers in 2008 and led them to the postseason for three straight years. A former Major League manager, Royster ran his club on excellent strategies and communicated openly with his players. Currently
working as an analyst for Major League games, Royster would like to return to Korea to manage again. He won over players by running efficient practice regimens that gave players some leeway, rather than indiscriminately grueling routines. As befit a former major leaguer, Royster pursued a daring brand of baseball and asked his charge to never fear anything. Under his watch, Lotte became the most aggressive team in the eight-team league. Hitters started swinging at the first pitch, and they became more aggressive on base paths, putting fear into opposing
was a monumental moment of my life. I am really, really grateful.” When asked why he thought fans had remained supportive, Royster says, “While managing Lotte, I stayed in close contact with fans. I exchanged e-mails with them and sometimes invited them to games. It’s important to instill in kids hopes and dreams.” After the Korean postseason last fall, Royster reflects on his experience: “Just as the three years in Korea went by quickly, the past six months in the US have been very hectic too. I am finally spending some great time with my family,” he adds. “I love being around my two daughters. They’re both aspiring actresses and they’re going to be in films soon.” Royster later quips, “I made my film debut before my daughters in the Korean film Haeundae or Tidal Wave [where a Lotte baseball game was included in an early scene].” Royster said his three seasons in Korea were “unforgettable,” and that he would like to manage again in Korea if an opportunity arises. Royster has been mentioned as a future potential manager for an expansion Korean team, owned by game company NCsoft. Royster can offer a lot to a new club. He is a trusted man among Korean fans and has already proven his leadership by guiding Lotte, formerly a doormat, to three postseasons in a row. He is a players’ manager who reaches out to his charge and has a wide network in baseball that includes major league coaches. As an expansion team, NCsoft will be able to acquire four foreign players and place three on the active roster, one more than existing teams. And when scouting overseas talent, perhaps it’d be better for the team to rely on Royster and his network than to employ Korean scouts to do the work. Lotte’s pitcher Ryan Sadowski, who joined the team
last year, says he signed with the Giants because of Royster. Looking back on those three seasons, Royster says, “When I first took over, the team was not that strong. But I tried to find out more about each individual player and tried to customize lessons for each player rather than teaching all of them the same thing. More than anything, I stressed that they had to have the right attitude as baseball players.” By having Royster, NCsoft could sign some big-name foreign stars to draw fans early and quickly establish its identity. Royster would have an edge in that respect over all other managers in Korea. And he still loves the country, saying, “I still miss my time in Korea.” Royster adds, “I think I can demonstrate
my talent on an expansion team.” Interestingly, the first general manager for NCsoft is Lee Sang-goo, a former Lotte general manager who brought in Royster in 2008. That connection has fueled rumors that Royster would be the team’s inaugural manager. Royster says he had a “good relationship” with Lee while with the Giants. “We know each other well and I think he is a capable general manager,” Royster says. “But I haven’t heard anything
(Clockwise from opposite) Jerry royster at his house in lA; royster cheers his team players during a game in 2009; lotte giants fans hold up a banner inscribed with “we want Jerry.”
from their camp. I’d like to become a manager if I receive an offer. If not NCsoft, then I’d like to manage any Korean team.” On Korean baseball, Royster says, “Korea was the runner-up at the second World Baseball Classic in 2009 and won every game it played to win the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, beating the US, Cuba, Japan and Canada in the process. Korea has transcended Asia and it’s world class in baseball.”
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© Park Kwang-min; Yonhap News Agency (opposite)
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pen & brush
The Soul Behind Please Look After Mom
Please Look After Mom is capturing the hearts of readers all over the world. Author Shin Kyung-sook’s novel is a tribute to mothers and the many ways in which they sacrifice themselves for their families. With the release of the book’s English edition in April, a generation of Westerners is getting their first taste of Korean literature.
by Oh Kyong-yon | photographs by Park Jeong-roh
Please Look After Mom, a novel by Shin Kyung-sook, has been a steady seller since hitting Korean bookstores in 2008. In early April, the novel became the first book by Shin to be translated into English. The book was a hit, with 100,000 first edition copies selling out in the United States. Moreover, the book’s publication rights have sold in 24 countries all over the world. Please Look After Mom received rave reviews in US newspapers, including an unusual two glowing reviews in The New York Times. The newspaper’s March 30 review headlined, “A Mother’s Devotion, a Family’s Tearful Regrets,” noted, “Penitence is, after all, this book’s whole point. Characters’ eyes begin watering, pooling with tears, brimming over, etc., as each one has the chance to realize that Mom was a treasure.” A second piece in The Times on April 1 added that the book wasn’t simply a story about a missing mother. “In this raw tribute to the mysteries of motherhood, only Mom knows,” wrote the reviewer. Geraldine Brooks, an Australian journalist and author who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel March in 2006, gave an impressive review that is cited on the English edition of the book. “Here is a wonderful, original new voice, by turns plangent and piquant. Please Look After Mom takes us on a dual journey, to the unfamiliar corners of a foreign culture and into the shadowy recesses of the heart. Shin penetrates the very essence of what it means to be a family, and a human being.”
A UniversAl story So what is it about this novel that has overcome ethnic and cultural divides and touched readers in different parts of the world? While the book takes place in Korea and involves distinctly Korean cultural practices, the book’s theme of a mother’s sacrifice is universal. The powerful love the family in the novel feels toward their mother can be easily understood by anyone who has a kind and giving woman in their life. “It’s been one week since mom went missing,” the book begins. In four chapters and an epilogue, Please Look After Mom follows the tragedy of a family whose 70-something ailing mother is lost in the middle of Seoul. Shin examines the near indescribable grief
© Shin Kyung-sook
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felt by each member of the family, including the mother herself, and how each person deals with the situation. In her trademark restrained prose, Shin shows how the family misses the mother when she’s not around and how their feelings change with the passing of time. Readers will easily get sucked into the emotional roller-coaster of the family’s regrets and disappointments over losing their mom and their anxiety over whether they will get a chance to make up for their past mistakes. In order to write Mom, Shin says she thought about her own relationship with her mother. In an interview with the literary magazine The Quarterly Changbi (Creation and Criticism), Shin says that early on in writing the book, she switched from the formal “mother” to the friendly “mom,” so that she could better relate to the family in the book. She also projected herself into Chi-hon, the eldest daughter in the novel. Readers will grasp that extra level of intimacy as they strive to understand each character’s actions. Shin mentions the fourth chapter, “Another Woman,” in which the novel’s missing mom soliloquies at her own mother’s knee in a flashback, “Does she know that I have also needed my mom my entire life?” The exchange flows with a natural, maternal cry of grace and the author says that upon completing the scene she thought to herself: That’s it. That’s just enough for the novel. “It’s like my Mom wrote the book with me,” Shin says. Ultimately, Shin has painted a tribute to mothers in Please Look After Mom that reminds readers of the many ways in which our mothers influence our lives, whether they are with us or not. Shin has said that her book contains all the love, passion and sacrifice that everyday moms give their children. Shin’s writing style is moving. In one part of the book, the younger sister in the family writes a letter to her older sister to say how much she misses their mother. The desperation
and regret she feels is palpable. “Sister, Do you think we’ll be able to be with her again, even if it’s just for one day? Do you think I’ll be given the time to understand Mom and hear her stories and console her for her old dreams that are buried somewhere in the pages of time? If I’m given even a few hours, I’m going to tell her that I love all the things she did, that I love Mom, who was able to do all of that, that I love Mom’s life, which nobody remembers. That I respect her ... Sister, please don’t give up on Mom, Please find Mom.” - from Please Look After Mom
sorrow Driving her to write Shin is a 27-year veteran, who
PleAse look After MoM
Language English Published 2011 Publisher Alfred A Knopf, US An elderly couple takes a trip from their countryside home to Seoul to see their son and daughter-in-law, but the husband loses his wife in a crowded subway station. The family members make leaflets to try to find the wife and mother, who is ailing and illiterate, as they realize how important she’d been to their lives. The oldest daughter, a novelist, is upset with herself that she hadn’t taken care of her sick mother. The oldest son, an office worker, hates himself for not living up to his mother’s expectations. The husband also looks back on his past to when he’d failed to care for her. After nine months, unable to locate her mom, the daughter travels to the Vatican and purchases the rosaries her mother had wanted. She prays before the Pieta, by Michelangelo, and asks God to please take care of her mom. The essence of the novel is intricately complex. At first, the writer describes the mother’s love itself and then moves to other, tangential emotions like devotion, sacrifice, regret and more. The family is ultimately unable to find their mother or even determine if she’s alive or not. While it may seem a sad ending for the novel, it allows readers to capture the message that it’s never late to realize maternal love.
has published seven full-length novels and seven collections of short stories. Her style is eclectic and her works cover a broad range of genres. A Lone Room is at once a coming-of-age tale and labor novel. Yi Jin is a historical piece of work based on a real person from the 19th century, taking place in the Joseon Dynasty and in France. From Somewhere Afar the Phone Keeps Ringing for Me, her most recent work, is a novel that follows a group of youths in the 1980s. Shin has also contributed to various anthologies and continues to expand her horizons as a writer. Shin says that while her novels appear to differ greatly in subject matter, each book has part of herself in them. Interviewers note that Shin speaks as she writes, a tad slow at times but with an innocent trust in the world she’s living in. She also says that she writes to heal the sad. “Why do you ever need to read novels when you are perfectly happy in your own, real life? I really hope my books can help people move through their feelings.” She once defined the novel as “a tool of communication” Perhaps this is why readers can’t wait for the next novel by the writer with a delicate soul they so adore.
koreAn literAtUre exPAnDing worlDwiDe Readers around the world now have the opportunity to experience Korean literature. The Korea Literature Translation Institute (KLTI), which supports programs to translate and publish Korean literature, has helped translate 463 Korean literary works into 27 different languages as of December 2010. Last year, a total of 111 translations were introduced in 14 different languages, while in the first quarter of 2011, 30 literary works were translated and published in 11 different languages. Many Korean writers are also starting to promote their poems and novels abroad. The controversial novel Please Look After Mom and Jo Kyung-ran’s novel Tongue were published in eight countries including the United States and Netherlands in 2008 and 2009. Critics abroad are taking note of the influx of Korean literary works. In 2002 Han Sung-won’s novel Father and Son was selected as one of Kiriyama Pacific Rim Notable Books and in 2003, Oh Junghee’s novel The Bird was awarded the LiBeratur Literary Prize in Germany. Shin Kyung-sook, the author of Please Look After Mom, was awarded the Prix de l’Inaperu in France for her novel A Lone Room. Korean poets are also getting recognition, with Ko Un, Shin Kyong-rim and Moon Chung-hee receiving the Cikada Prize in Sweden in 2006, 2007 and 2010, respectively. Mainstream media outlets from all over the world are also paying attention to Korean writers. Hwang Sok-yong’s novel Shim Chong was chosen as the No 1 “literary work to take on summer vacation” by Le Monde in 2010. And Kim Young-ha was introduced as an Asian author to take note of in 2010 by The Wall Street Journal for his novel Your Republic is Calling You. Recognizing that Korean books have to compete with a wide variety of literature abroad, the KLTI intends to improve the quality of translated literary works by maintaining the vivid essence of each Korean literary work. The KLTI has set its sights on English-language translations in particular. “The focus on English speaking regions is not because of the language but the universality of English,” explains Yoon Bu-han, the head of the planning department at the KLTI. He added that “the institute’s intent is to focus translations, publishing and exchange on English speaking regions as a shortcut for Korean literature to expand internationally.” Readers can easily obtain information on Korean literature through the Internet. Both the Korean Books Publishing Project website (www. koreanbooks.or.kr) and the KLTI website (www.klti.or.kr) provide a variety of information on Korean publishing companies and Korean literature.
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From Country Boy to World-Class Scientist
From an early age, Ryoo Ryong was fascinated with the natural world. He studied birds in his free time and dreamed of becoming a scientist. The one-time country boy is now one of Korea’s most eminent chemists and has been recognized for his work by UNESCO and the IUPAC. by Seo Dong-chul | photographs by Park Jeong-roh
Ryoo Ryong has come home. After beginning his career as a student at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), he now directs the institute’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials and is a distinguished professor of chemistry there. His research at KAIST has been in nano microporous materials, that is, materials with tiny holes through which molecules can pass. Nano microporous materials play a key role in chemical processes. Zeolite, for example, is a type of mineral that is microporous and it is used as a catalyst in gasoline production. Ryoo’s team discovered a method of directing the growth of zeolite, and they were able to grow ultra-thin zeolite sheets that were only two-nanometers thick. A nanometer is onebillionth of a meter. “My research is to synthesize materials packed with tiny nanometer-level holes,” Ryoo explains. “Nano microporous materials are used as an absorbent to separate certain materials - as gases prefer sticking to surfaces flying in the air - or as a catalyst to promote chemical reactions.” He adds, “Even though people have used such nano microporous materials before, my job is to make holes dense and systematic.” The thinness of the zeolite sheets Ryoo has created allows reactant molecules to easily enter the tiny holes in the mineral and allows product molecules to get out quickly. This increases the efficiency of microporous materials and increases their lifespan. Ryoo’s creation has been hailed as environmentally friendly and cost saving for the petrochemical industry. This year, both UNESCO and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) honored Ryoo for his work. They selected him as one of the world’s 100 best chemists in a rigorous evaluation of research theses published by chemists over the last decade. Only one other Korean scientist - Hyun Taek-hwan, professor of biochemical engineering at Seoul National University - was selected for the honor. “I found out that I was selected as one of the top 100 chemists while reading a newspaper,” Ryoo says. “My total theses amount to about 200 and I have been quoted about 13,000 times. I feel proud about that because I think that I contributed to enhancing the status of the Korean science world as my research results were quoted in countries around the world, and I was invited to deliver lectures at chemical academic meetings. But I don’t have a big interest in it. My calling is to study, research and teach students.” In addition to the UNESCO/IUPAC award, Ryoo won the Research of Future Award at the American Chemical Society Symposium on Nanotechnology in Catalysis in 2001, the Academic Award from the Korean Chemical Society in 2002, and the Top Scientist Award from the Korean government in 2005. In 2007, the Korean government designated Ryoo as a national honor scientist. Last year, Ryoo became the first Korean to win the Breck Award administered by the International Zeolite Association, for his contribution to zeolite research.
Professor Ryoo Ryong at his lab.
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chemistry and biology, most top students at the time went to law school, to be a lawyer. His family pushed for him to study engineering, not science, so that he could get a good job after graduating. And in the end, he decided to go to an engineering college to follow his family’s wish. “I entered Seoul National University in 1973, the best university with the smartest students in Korea at that time,” Ryoo says. “But I did not imagine becoming a scientist in the future. As my family was poor, the first thing was to make money after graduation. I did not even think about going to graduate school. At that time, graduate students had a lot of trouble paying for their tuition and even buying research materials. Now graduate schools receive a lot of financial support, but at that time, it was hard for students to study at graduate schools unless their families were rich.” But opportunity had knocked. In 1971, the Korean government founded KAIST to develop high-quality scientific and technological human resources to support industrialization while implementing its economic development plan. KAIST was a dream come true for Ryoo as students of KAIST did not need to pay tuition, could receive stipends every month and were exempt from military service. After graduation, Ryoo entered KAIST without hesitation. Ryoo obtained a master’s degree in chemistry, a field he had always wanted to study. He went on to get a PhD at Stanford University in the United States, and then returned to Korea in 1986 to teach at his former graduate school. “It was in 1977 that I entered KAIST. If KAIST had not been founded at that time, I would be an ordinary salaried employee today,” Ryoo says. “I think that the establishment of KAIST was quite a significant part of the government’s science and technology promotion policies during Korea’s economic development. As the nation spared no efforts to support, truly excellent scientists could be born in Korea.”
Syngman Rhee Building a Nation
Few men have played a larger role in modern Korean history than Syngman Rhee. Born at the end of the Joseon Dynasty, Rhee was raised during the tumultuous era of the Japanese occupation and played a role in the independence movement both in Korea and abroad. After World War II, Rhee became the first president of the newly democratic nation. And while his presidency was far from perfect, Rhee will always be remembered for his patriotism. by Seo Dong-chul | photographs by Kim Nam-heon
HumBle Beginnings Ryoo grew up in Maebong-myeon,
Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do Province. While the town is part of the Seoul metropolitan area today, it was quite rural when Ryoo was a child. The poor electric supply there meant that Ryoo studied by candlelight. But he didn’t let that stand in the way of his learning. Ryoo crafted high performance lanterns using steel bottle caps, pipes and wicks so he could study long into the night. “When I was young, I liked to make things and tease my brain,” Ryoo recalls. “As I lived in a rural town with almost nothing, I had to make everything. I made toys such as a slingshot and even a chair and a desk for myself. One of my hobbies was to observe nature and, in particular, I liked birds. By the age of 5, I knew what birds ate, where they built nests, how many eggs birds laid and how long it would take for the eggs to hatch. Even now, I can tell the species of a bird just by seeing it fly.” Ryoo was an outstanding student and won honor prizes in elementary and high school. When it came to go to college, though, he was torn on what to study. While he was interested in the natural sciences like
BRief PeRsonal HistoRy 1977 BS degree from Seoul National University 1979 MS degree from KAIST 1985 PhD degree from Department of Chemistry at Stanford University 1986 KAIST Professor of the Department of Chemistry 2001 KAIST Head of the Functional Nano Material Research Team / Research of Future Award at ACS Symposium on Nanotechnology in Catalysis 2002 Academic Award from Korean Chemical Society 2005 Top Scientist Award by Korean government 2007 National Honor Scientist by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Korea 2010 Breck Award from the International Zeolite Association 2011 Selected as one of the World’s 100 Best Chemists by UNESCO / IUPAC
Professor Ryoo reads in his own office in Kaist, his alma mater (above). Ryoo says it was his dream since he was a young boy to be a scientist (left).
Syngman Rhee was born on March 26, 1875 in Pyeongsan, Hwanghae-do Province, in what is now North Korea. He grew up in the waning years of the Joseon Dynasty, when Emperor Gojong ruled the peninsula and Japan was beginning to flex its muscles in the region. As a toddler he moved to Seoul, where he eventually studied the Chinese classics. Rhee began attending Pai Chai Hakdang, Korea’s first modern secondary education school, in 1894. He earned money to pay for his tuition by teaching the Korean language to Americans, and he later worked as an English instructor at Pai Chai Hakdang. But his career as an English instructor was short-lived, as he became swept up with his nation’s future. In 1895, the country was shaken by the assassination of Empress Myeongseong, the first official wife of Emperor Gojong. Japanese assassins killed the empress because she was an obstacle to Japan’s colonization of Korea. Rhee was outraged by the incident and began protesting the Japanese government and those who supported it. He became involved
in the independence movement through the All People’s Congress and the Independence Club that Philip Jaisohn, a noted champion for Korea’s independence, had founded. Rhee also worked as the editor of the Hyeopseonghoebo and Maeilsinmun newspapers, inspiring readers to protest against Japan.
indePendence tHRougH diPlomacy In 1897, Rhee was
imprisoned along with the other leaders of the Independence Club for trying to overthrow the government. Upon his release seven years later, Emperor Gojong sent Rhee to the United States to appeal to Washington for help in warding off Japan. Rhee met with US President Theodore Roosevelt and gave him Emperor Gojong’s message, but Roosevelt refused to assist Korea in its fight. As it became clear that Japan would colonize Korea, Rhee decided to stay in the United States and support the independence movement from abroad. He continued his education in the US, earning a BA from George Washington
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University in 1907, an MA from Harvard University in 1908 and a PhD from Princeton University in 1910. While Rhee was studying, the situation in Korea was getting worse. Japan won the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 and set its sights on the Korean Peninsula. In August 1910, Japan coerced the Joseon government into agreeing to annexation. Rhee returned to Korea in September of that year and became involved in the Korea YMCA’s pro-independence youth education activities, but was arrested by Japanese officials shortly thereafter. With the help of some American missionaries, Rhee was released and he decided to return to the United States. From the US, Rhee began his diplomatic lobbying for Korean independence. In the Korean Pacific magazine, which he founded in Hawaii in 1914, Rhee argued that in order for the peninsula to gain independence, Korean communities overseas must use diplomacy to gain the support of Western powers, including that of the United States. In 1917, he sent a representative along with Ahn Chang-ho, an independence movement leader, to the World Conference on Small Nations in New York, campaigning for the independence of Korea. On the other side of the world, Koreans began to rise against their Japanese occupiers. The March 1st Movement in 1919
served as a rallying call against discrimination by the Japanese and led to more than 1,000 demonstrations. That same year, the major pro-independence factions came together to form the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. Rhee was elected its president and he established a US and European office in Washington, DC. While some members of the provisional government favored violent rebellion, Rhee insisted that the government support the independence movement through peaceful diplomacy.
estaBlisHing a democRatic goveRnment On August 15,
1945, World War II came to an end with the surrender of the Japanese, and Korea greeted a new era. Though Korea broke free from Japanese rule, it still had to establish an independent government. Rhee recognized the importance of unity in the post-colonial years. At a ceremony celebrating his return to Korea on October 16, Rhee warned his fellow countrymen, “United we live, divided we die.” Yet, the peninsula was divided by the United States and the Soviet Union at the 38th parallel, close to today’s DMZ, shortly after the end of World War II. In December 1945, world powers convened in Moscow and decided to arrange a five-year trusteeship administration.
Many Koreans, including Rhee, opposed the trusteeship and demanded true political independence. With the details of the trusteeship still in question, the United Nations decided to step in. On November 14, 1947, the UN passed a resolution declaring that free elections should be held on the peninsula and that a new UN commission for Korea should be established. However, Cold War tensions made a unified, democraticallyelected Korean government unfeasible. In February 1948, the UN passed a resolution saying that an independent government could be established in regions where elections could be held, paving the way for a general election in South Korea. That summer, the National Assembly elected Rhee as South Korea’s first president, and on August 15 Rhee took over power of the country from the US military. Koreans celebrated the establishment of the first democratic government on the peninsula, a feat so many independence activists, including Rhee, had spent years fighting for. Yet, the greatest challenge for Rhee and his new government still lay ahead. Independence was simply the beginning.
The peninsula remained divided at the 38th parallel, and the two parts were quickly growing distinct in their political and economic world-views. While President Rhee focused on establishing a free democracy and market economy in the South, Communism was the government’s dominant philosophy in the North. On June 25, 1950, these differences came to a head with the start of the Korean War. As UN forces and the Communist Chinese army joined the fighting, the battles seemed to drag on with no end in sight. After three long years, an armistice was signed that allowed for the coexistence of South and North Korea. Rhee strongly opposed the agreement and insisted on a unified Korea. In defiance of the United Nations and the US military’s wishes, he released 27,000 North Korean antiCommunist prisoners of war who refused to return to North Korea. Only when the US agreed to sign a mutual defense pact with South Korea did Rhee relent and agree to the truce.
a tainted PResidency Syngman Rhee’s 12-year presidency after the establishment of South Korea was controversial, and historians have criticized him for his often-dictatorial methods. While Rhee was elected to his fourth term as president in 1960 with 90% of the vote, he was forced to step down only one month later when protests erupted across the country. Rhee and his family fled to Hawaii and he died there only a few years later. Today, historians prefer to focus on Rhee’s involvement in the independence movement rather than his tainted four terms as president. Yet, his achievements at the helm of the nation should not be forgotten. As South Korea’s first president he helped establish an independent country based on the principles of self-determination and democracy. After the Korean War, he also arranged for the ROK-US Mutual Defense Agreement to be signed, an agreement that strengthened national security. “President Rhee soothed the sorrows of the Korean people when they had no country and exerted his efforts in establishing a free democratic country at a time of great tribulation,” says Lee Gi-soo, president of the Syngman Rhee Memorial Foundation. Rhee’s adopted son, Rhee In-soo, also sees evidence of his father’s legacy throughout today’s Korea. “Dr Syngman Rhee regained the country that had been taken away from us, and established a country according to the rules of the foundation of modern states,” Rhee explains. “He did not simply establish a nation, he defended free democracy and established the structure for economic development.”
ehwajang, the Korean traditional house that was the residence of syngman and francesca donner Rhee, exhibits several posessions by the deceased inside the building (opposite, below). ehwajang displays memorial pictures on its exterior (bottom).
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Do you have questions about Seoul or the history of Korea that aren’t answered in tourist brochures? Then your next trip should be to Sarangchae at Cheong Wa Dae, or the Blue House, presidential office. Located in a corner of the Cheong Wa Dae garden, Sarangchae is a center that shares with visitors Korea’s history, modern attractions, traditional customs and the president’s vision for the future of the country. The exhibition area of Sarangchae extends for 2,386.85sqm and includes two above-ground floors and one basement level. On the first floor are the Korea Hall and Hi Seoul Hall, in addition to a café, souvenir shop and traditional demonstration space. On the second floor are the Presidential Hall, Green Growth Hall and G20 Lounge. Korea Hall, on the first floor, is the very perfect starting point for a tour of Sarangchae. The hall welcomes you with a screen of colorful images that capture the beauty of the country. In this spacious hall, you can learn more about the history of Korea, UNESCO World Heritage sites located on the Korean Peninsula, the Korean language, food and traditional architecture. Hi Seoul Hall, on the opposite side, is a place where you can view all of the attractions in Seoul at once. If you haven’t decided where you want to travel in Seoul yet, the exhibit on the city’s top 100 best-loved destinations may help you reach a decision. Visitors can see a panoramic night view of Seoul’s skyline, as well as the natural splendor of Mt Namsan and the Hangang River. You can also learn about Hallyu, or the Korean wave, which has spread Korean TV dramas and pop culture across the world in recent years. Also on the second floor, an exhibit on traditional craftwork is not to be missed. In the lobby, a total of 38 crafts that were awarded either the best craftwork prize or presidential prize are on display. These unique pieces are something you can’t see even on Insa-dong’s art and antique street. The Presidential Hall, on the second floor, will help you better understand the history and development of democracy in Korea. Exhibits outline the achievements of the country’s former presidents and depict a timeline of major democratic and industrial events. Are you more of a hands-on learner? The Presidential Experience Hall, next to the Presidential Hall, features a mock presidential office where you can take souvenir portraits. In the blue screen photo studio nearby, you can take a photo with the Korean president and the first lady in a background of your choice. The photo of yourself with the country’s leader will make an unforgettable memento of your visit to Sarangchae.
The Presidential Hall, which gives you a glimpse into the timeline of the former presidents, shows the history of democracy in Korea (above). Visitors can mark their tour to Sarangchae with the commemorative stamp (below).
Tour inFormaTion admission fee Free opening hours 09:00-18:00 (closed on Mondays) getting there The center is a 10-minute walk from Gyeongbokgung Station, Line 3, exit No 4. information +82 2 723 0300 or http:// cwdsarangchae.kr/eng/main/main.php
Sarangchae at Cheong Wa Dae
Sarangchae at Cheong Wa Dae is more than just a history center. From touring a mock presidential office to learning about the Korean wave, or Hallyu, Sarangchae offers visitors a chance to increase their knowledge about Seoul. Its location in the garden of the presidential office makes it the perfect place to spend a bright afternoon. by Lim Ji-young | photographs by Choi Ji-young
In the Shadow of Presidents
The G20 Lounge, meanwhile, recreates last year’s G20 Summit in Seoul. You can sit on a chair at the G20 Summit roundtable in the hall and imagine that you are a head of state having an official meeting with the likes of US President Barack Obama or German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After you are done looking at the second-floor exhibits, head back down to the first-floor lobby to experience some of Korea’s traditional culture. Events include the transformation of the lobby into a tearoom, where women in hanbok, or Korean traditional clothing, serve fermented green tea on a wooden floor. It’s a great place to rest before heading to the Samcheong-dong neighborhood, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun Square and other nearby attractions.
ForEign LanguagE guidES Tours led by a cultural heritage expert are available in three languages English, Japanese and Chinese. Reservations are required. The tour takes between 40 minutes to an hour. English/Chinese tours 10:30am, 12pm Japanese tours 2pm, 4pm
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Jejudo Island was formed from five separate volcanic eruptions, and evidence of its explosive past can be observed throughout the island. In 2007, UNESCO named the volcanic island and its lava tubes as World Heritage sites, calling Jejudo’s lava tube system of caves some of the finest in the world. Jejudo is nicknamed “Samdado,” meaning an island abundant with three things. According to folklore, these three things are wind, rocks and women. Jejudo’s strong winds originate from far across the East China Sea. The winds help blossom the fields of yellow rape flowers, but also prevent the flowers from growing very high. Likewise, Jejudo’s gusts are said to lift the spirits of all they come in contact with, be it trees or humans. Seopji Koji is a cape that extends 2km off the eastern shores of Jejudo Island. The word seopji comes from the Korean word hyeopji, meaning narrow way, while koji is the local word for cape. Just past the windy hills of Seopji Koji, the ocean awaits you. An idyllic white lighthouse stands against the jade waters, and you can see the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak in the background. The peak was formed by volcanic activity during the Great Ice Age and features a large crater at its summit and marine cliffs on three sides. Although not steep, the peak stands 182m above sea level and requires a decent hike to reach. However, the panoramic scenery of Jejudo and its surrounding waters at sunrise are well worth the trip up.
TAkIng In The VIew Jejudo’s volcanic
past has given the island dozens of rock formations, including several mountains. In addition to Seopji Koji cape and Seongsan Ilchulbong on the eastern coastline, the island has Mt Sanbangsan on the southern coastline, and Manjanggul Cave and Mt Hallasan inland. Mt Hallasan is the tallest mountain in South Korea and has been designated as a national park. A visit to the dormant volcano’s summit to see
Earth, Wind and Fire
Sitting at the southern edge of the Korean Peninsula, Jejudo Island is the premier tourist destination in the country. From its picturesque peaks to winding coastal roads, the volcanic island offers visitors awe-inspiring sights that they are unlikely to forget. by Chung Dong-muk
© Korea Tourism Organization
A lush grassland near Seongsan Ilchulbong, one of the most famous craters in Jeju.
kilometer of the cave is open to tourists due to safety concerns, visitors can easily feel the overwhelming scale of this underground palace. Stalagmites and stalactites decorate the walls at every turn like natural works of art, and if you’re lucky you may even run into some of the cave’s residents: bats.
roAd TrIp One of the best ways to see
Baengnokdam, a volcano crater located on the top of mt hallasan (above). manjanggul cave is one of UneSco’s world natural heritage sites in Jejudo Island (left). Jusang Jeolli cliff was formed when lava flowed from the volcano, hardened and cracked in the sea (below).
the 3km-circumference Baengnokdam crater lake is highly recommended. From the summit, you can see the entirety of Jejudo Island. Secondary volcanoes, called oreum in the local dialect, can also be found throughout the island. Ranging from 100m to 1300m high, there are around 370 oreum tourists can choose to climb. The most popular oreum are located on the eastern side of the island. One of the more challenging oreum to hike is Wollangbong, which peaks at 382m above sea level and has a circumference of 3,300m. While the trail is steep, intrepid trekkers are rewarded with beautiful views of the island’s rolling hills at the volcano’s summit. Visitors to Jejudo should not miss the 7.4km-long Manjanggul Cave, a natural
lava tunnel located in Gimnyeongri, Gujwa-eup. The cave was formed between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago when lava from Mt Hallasan flowed toward the ocean. While only the first
all that Jejudo has to offer is by traveling down some of the island’s coastal roads. Car rental is available at Jeju International Airport, and the island’s simple layout makes getting around easy. Springtime is especially beautiful on Jejudo, and drivers can enjoy the jade-colored ocean on one side and endless fields of yellow rape flowers, violet cherry blossoms and red camellia flowers on the other. The many ports and beach-side restaurants off the coastal roads offer some of the island’s traditional cuisine such as galchijorim (broiled hairtail fish), galchi-gui (grilled hairtail fish), jeonbok mulhoe (raw abalone water salad) and obunjak ttukbaegi (baby abalone soup served in an earthenware pot). If you’re not a fan of driving, another popular way of touring the island is on some of the Olle foot trails. Olle is
a local word meaning a road between the main gate of a house and a town’s main roads. There are 18 different Olle courses in Jejudo, including one that connects Siheung on the eastern side of the island with Gwangchigi and another that connects Dongmun Rotary in Jejudo with Samyang. Each course takes five hours to trek and offers visitors a chance to take in the lovely scenery at a natural pace. Trekkers who buy the Jejudo Olle passport will receive stamps for each trail they complete and receive discounts at many hotels and restaurants. If you need a break from nature, Jejudo offers a variety of museums, botanical gardens and theme parks. The Haenyeo Museum, in particular, is well worth the trip. The museum explores the history of the island’s famous haenyeo, or local female divers, who explore the ocean to gather shellfish without using any underwater diving equipment.
new SeVen wonderS Jejudo Island
Airplane Korean Air (+82 1588 2001) has an average of 20 flights daily from Gimpo Int’l Airport in Seoul to Jejudo Island starting from 6:30am to 9:30pm. Asiana (+82 1588 8000) has an average of 25 flights daily to Jejudo. Passengers can also access Jeju directly from Japan, China and Taiwan.
Boat Generally, visitors will take the KTX to mokpo Mokpo and then a ferry from the Mokpo Ferry Terminal to Jejuhang Port. Seaworld Express Ferry Jejudo Island (+82 061 243 1927, www.seaferry.co.kr) has three ferries daily at 9am, 2pm and 2:30pm. A new sea route to Seongsanhang Port in Jejudo Island from Noryeokhang Port in Jangheung, Jeollanamdo Province, was recently opened. There are two ferries daily at 8:30am and 3:30pm, with the ferry ride taking an hour and 50 minutes. The Noryeokhang route is popular because visitors can also transport their cars on the ferry.
The most traditional cuisines in Jeju are made from galchi (hairtail fish). The Pogu Restaurant (+82 064 739 2988) located in Beophwanpogu on Olle Course No 7 has galchi-jorim (broiled hairtail) and galchi-gui (grilled hairtail), but is famous for its galchi-guk (hairtail soup). Galchi-guk is a traditional Jejudo dish that is spicy and clean while also very colorful, with the silver-colored galchi mixed with yellow pumpkin, red peppers and green boiled lettuce. Sammu-Guksu (+82 064 711 5656) in Yeon-dong, Jeju serves special noodle dishes that should not be missed. The gogi-guksu (meat noodles) broth is made from boiling the leg bones of Jeju pigs and pork pyeonyuk (slices of boiled meat) is added on top of the noodles. This dish is popular for not having the typical smell of fat that is associated with many pork dishes. The noodles are made-to-order and always fresh. The owner’s handmade Jeju bingtteok (white radish wrapped in a buckwheat dough) is also highly recommended as a snack.
is in the running to be named as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in a competition organized by the New7Wonders Foundation. The island has been recognized by the foundation for its well-preserved natural habitats and unique volcanic formations. “Jejudo Island is the only place on earth with three environmental designations by the UNESCO Natural Science Center [as a biosphere reserve in 2002, UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 2007 and geopark status in 2009], a wetland added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance and will host the WCC [World Conservation Congress] in 2012,” Jeju Governor Woo Keun-min said. “If Jejudo Island is named as one of the New7Wonders of Nature, Jejudo Island will become the center of the global
Downtown Seogwipo offers convenient and fun hotels such as the Shilla Hotel Jeju (+82 064 738 4466, www.shilla.net/jeju/) and Lotte Hotel Jeju (+82 064 731 1000, www. lottehotel.com). There are also many beach side condos with good facilities. The Eurohouse (+82 064 739 2522, www.eurohouse.co.kr) on the southeastern coast is recommended for its owners’ great hospitality and the marvelous views of Beomseom Island in the distance. The Phoenix Island Resort (+82 064 731 7000, www.phoenixisland.co.kr) located in Seopji Koji is another good resort for visitors in search of relaxation.
© Topic Photo (right); Korea Tourism Organization (middle, far right)
© Korea Tourism Organization (middle, left)
Galchi-jorim (broiled hairtail)
Shilla hotel Jeju
Jeju Stone museum
environment.” Among the 452 applicants for the New Seven Wonders of Nature competition, Jejudo Island was the only Northeast Asian location to be selected as a finalist
candidate. The final round of voting is open until November 10, 2011, and voting can be done by phone (+001 1588 7715) or through the Internet (www. new7wonders.com).
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The Hampyeong Butterfly Festival offers many family-friendly activities (opposite). The fountain plaza is a main attraction with its cool jets of water (above). A variety of butterfly species can be found in Hampyeong (below, right).
A Butterfly Paradise Hampyeong
Spring is in the air and festivals across the country are celebrating the beauty of the season. If you want to experience the full bounties of spring, head south to Hampyeong in Jeollanam-do Province. During the region’s Butterfly Festival, Hampyeong will dazzle with vibrant fields of yellow rape blossoms and colorful butterflies that flutter right before your eyes. by Lim Ji-young
The season of blossoms and butterflies is upon us. But how often do city dwellers get to enjoy a stroll through a field of flowers or the flight of a butterfly in a concrete jungle? Not to worry. Just four hours south of Seoul, the county of Hampyeong, Jeollanam-do Province, holds an annual Butterfly Festival where you can see countless winged beauties embroidered across the spring sky. Hampyeong Butterfly Festival is one of the most popular events in Korea, with nearly 13 million people visiting the county for the festival alone over the years. The festival has transformed Hampyeong from a small town with less than 50,000 residents in 1998, to a county recognized across the country for its excellent tourist activities. In the late 1990s, Hampyeong residents decided to promote the region’s
diverse butterfly population as a way of bringing tourists to the area. With the advent of industrialization, it was becoming more and more difficult to see even a single butterfly in cities such as Seoul. Since the first Butterfly Festival opened May 5, 1999, Hampyeong has dazzled city dwellers with the beauty of butterflies every spring. The festival has expanded and improved upon its events every year, and was picked by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as the best regional festival in Korea for four consecutive years. To accommodate all of the festivalgoers, the KTX train will make special stops at Hampyeong Station during the event. The fields carpeted by blossoms greet tourists as they step off the train. The festival spread out across Hampyeong Expo Park, Natural Ecology Park and Hampyeongcheon riverside features dozens of species of butterflies and flowers. Beyond the designated festival spots, visitors can also enjoy the Hampyeong Living Relics Exhibition Center that depicts ancient life in the region; Yongcheonsa Temple nestled in a quiet mountainside; and the irresistible Dolmeori (Stone Head) Beach. Wherever you head, spring blossoms, butterflies and the blue sky will follow you.
There’s a Korean saying that goes, “A loaf of bread is better than the song of many birds.” Well, in Hampyeong, you can enjoy both bird songs and mouthwatering cuisine made from fresh, healthy ingredients. Visitors should be sure to try the local specialties - Hampyeong Cheonji Hanu beef, fragrant herbs and mudflat octopus. The highlight of the festival this year is the Fly a Butterfly outdoor event, which gives visitors a chance to touch actual butterflies. The event will be held in the traditional flower garden within the Hampyeong Riverside Park if weather permits. Be sure to check the schedule once you have arrived to find out more information. This year, the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival will be held for 12 days from April 29 to May 10. Festival organizers are issuing more discount coupons TIckeT InFO than ever for visiting families, making this year’s festival especially Online Ticket Link affordable. The price of a general (www.ticketlink.co.kr) In person Purchase at the adult ticket is 7,000 won (US$6). Festival Management Office For children, a general admission or get a 10 percent discount ticket costs 3,000 won. with advance reservations.
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© Hampyeong County
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now in korea
Seoul Flea Markets Saving Money and the Environment
Between the luxury stores of Gangnam and the wholesale markets of Dongdaemun, Seoul offers some of the best shopping in Asia. But the city’s latest shopping trend has more to do with frugality than big-name retailers. Flea markets have become economical shopping meccas that help people recycle, reuse and reduce. by Lim Ji-young | photographs by Kim Nam-heon
If you think flea markets are chaotic places that have only damaged or dirty goods, think again. From chic vintage items to uniquely designed handicrafts and international designer wares, flea markets boast stylish goods at affordable prices. People on a budget love these local bazaars, where their money stretches farther and can even be made by selling items. And now, many flea markets provide entertainment for the whole family with music and dance performances. Seoul hosts five major flea markets, including Ttukseom Market that supports those in need; the Seocho Saturday Flea Market, the oldest market in Seoul; the Hongdae Free Market and the Mapo Huimang Flea Market, which feature original artists’ works; and the Dongmyo Market that offers everything from shoes to electronics.
Seoul‘S oldeSt and largeSt flea market The Seocho
Hongdae free market is a bazaar that features only handmade works.
Saturday Flea Market was established in 1998. It is not only the oldest, but also one of the largest flea markets in Korea, with sellers’ mats spread out for a kilometer along the restored Sadangcheon Stream. The market is a popular place for second-hand merchants, and sellers must endure a long waiting list in order to show
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their goods. Here, you can find everything from fashion items like apparel, shoes and bags to antiques, imported goods and home decorative items. Experienced shoppers, like 32-year-old An Won-kyung, say that the key to any flea market is finding the hidden gems in the heaps of goods. With that goal in mind, An came to Seocho to buy designer brand clothing. “I used to get lost in the enormous piles of items,” An says. “But not anymore. After some mistakes, now the things I am looking for seem to pop out from the stacks. So shopping at flea markets became easier and more enjoyable. Since I found out about this place, I don’t like shopping elsewhere.” Part of the allure of flea markets is the chance to save money. Prices are often negotiable, with vendors willing to give a 10% to 20% discount on any given item. “The Seocho Saturday Flea Market is fun and a great place
(clockwise from right) an artist-and-seller shows one of his handmade crafts at Hongdae free market; a variety of antique items await buyers at Seocho Saturday flea market; a sticker promoting mapo Huimang flea market designed by the mapogu office.
to meet and interact with people,” says 30-year-old vendor Moon Min-jeong, who is manning a table with her Save the Children colleagues. In front of their table, a group of women have gathered to buy T-shirts and blouses for only 1,000 won (US$0.9) each. “We offer them good items at a pretty reasonable price and I can see that that makes them happy.” The flea market has become more foreigner-friendly this year, offering a special booth reserved for foreigners who want to sell their items at the market as a vendor. To apply for the booth, visit the Seocho-gu Office website between Monday and Wednesday of the week you would like to participate. Seocho Saturday Flea Market opens and closes earlier than the others in Seoul, so be sure to set your alarm clocks so you don’t miss out on the market’s bargains.
SHopping to do Some good Ttukseom Market is an event hosted by the philanthropic Beautiful Store. At this market, vendors can sell the goods cluttering their stores or homes while supporting charity, as 10% of all sales go to Koreans in need. Competition to sell is fierce and would-be vendors often form long lines ahead of the market’s noon opening. However, savvy sellers can reserve a spot at the market through the Beautiful Store’s online reservation system. Unlike other markets, smaller vendors with less than 40 items are welcome. But be sure to prepare your vendor stand early, because the market is only open for four hours.
1 Seocho Saturday flea market location Sadangcheon-ro Road, Isu Station, Line 4, exit No 5 or No 6; or Sadang Station on Line 2 or Line 4, exit No 11 opening hours 10am-3pm on Saturdays contact +82 2 2155 6692 Website www.seocho.go.kr 2 dongmyo market location Dongmyo-gil Road, Dongmyo Station on Line 1 or Line 6, exit No 3 opening hours 10am-5pm on Sat / Sundays 3 ttukseom market location Ttukseom Resort Station, Line 7, exit No 2 opening hours 12pm-4pm on Saturdays contact +82 2 732 9998 Website www.flea1004.com
Seoul’S art-friendly market Along with the Hongdae
Free Market, Mapo-gu Office offers the Mapo Huimang Flea Market. In this market you can purchase second-hand items including household goods and affordable artwork. On the first and fourth Saturdays of each month, art workshops are held for children that feature recycled goods. Meanwhile, on the second and third Saturdays of each month, young artists hold performances for the community. If you want to participate in the market as a seller, you can apply through the market’s online message board.
everytHing but tHe kitcHen Sink Dongmyo Market is
Seocho Saturday flea market is the largest flea market in Seoul (above). many events engage vendors and shoppers. finding unexpected items is another perk of fleamarket shopping (below).
4 mapo Huimang flea market location Mapo Artcenter Plaza, Ewha Womans University Station, Line 2, exit No 5; or Daeheung Station on Line 6, exit No 2 opening hours 12pm-4pm on Saturdays from March to November contact +82 2 325 8553 Website http://mapomarket.cafe24.com
Hongdae free market
it’S not flea but free!
While Hongdae Free Market’s catchphrase is “Free Market is not a flea market,” the market does offer some of the fun of Seoul’s other unique bazaars. The market sells original items that are often one-ofa-kind, handcrafted pieces. Every Saturday, the cozy playground outside of Hongik University is packed with people looking for colorful clay jewelry, finger puppets, magnets and original self-portraits. Lee Seul, a 29-year-old clay designer, says that people come to the Free Market for things they cannot purchase elsewhere. “Most visitors are young people,” Lee says. “And despite the relatively higher price range, people do not hesitate to buy unique craft items.” Vendors must be pre-approved artists, but don’t let that deter you from checking out the market. Each Saturday, there are musical performances and plenty of wares to choose from. location Playground in front of Hongik University. Hongik University Station, Line 2, exit No 9 opening hours 1pm-6pm on Saturdays from March to November contact +82 2 325 8553, 8251 Website www.freemarket.or.kr
the result of the combination of the indoor Pungmul Market and outdoor vendors that gathered around Dongmyo Station. Today, elderly crowds gather at the three-way intersection between the subway station and Pungmul Market every weekend to buy and sell almost anything you can think of. The market’s older clientele has earned it the nickname of “Hongdae for Middle-aged People.” The market often feels like a national recycling center. One man’s useless item is reborn as a valuable good at Dongmyo. Need a pair of shoes? If you wade through the trucks full of second-hand shoes and can find a matching pair, you will pay between just 2,000 won and 5,000 won per pair. Dongmyo Market is like a living history museum, and many families transform a simple visit to the market into an enriched educational experience. Parents describe to their children the purpose of old items like antiquated record players or outdated lanterns, while at the same time explaining the importance of taking care of your possessions.
In modern society, we are accustomed to throwing things away whenever a newer version of a product makes its debut. People run out to stores to buy the latest cell phones, laptops or other gadgets, even when there is nothing wrong with their current ones. While older brothers and sisters used to pass down clothing to their younger siblings, today we throw out almost anything that is out of style. Flea markets offer us a chance to reclaim some of those nostalgic items abandoned by our modern, consumerist society. And in that way, they offer new life, new opportunity to our used possessions.
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Environment. The black-tailed gull is the main resident of Dokdo. In addition, the island plays home to birds like the stormy petrel, osprey and dusky thrush. The wood pigeon, flycatcher and gray-tailed tattler spend time on the island while migrating down the coast. The government has protected the breeding places of these birds since November 1982 when the area was designated as Natural Monument No 336. Warm and cold currents meet in the ocean waters surrounding Dokdo, resulting in rich populations of planktons and fertile fishing grounds. Squid, cod, trout, mackerel and salmon provide fishermen with their main source of income, while the area’s abalone, turban shell and crab are extremely profitable in the markets. Dokdo’s main purpose today is to serve as a shelter for these fishermen and their ships. The government has built various facilities on the island to support the fishing and tourism industries. Dongdo, a southeastern islet with an area of 73,297sqm, has a dock that can accommodate 500-ton ships. The islet serves as a welcome area for tourists, and each day up to 1,880 visitors put their first steps on the island here. Dokdo is equipped with a desalination facility that uses rain and ocean water to produce 1,500 liter of drinking water every day. The island also features accommodation for the Dokdo Guards, a heliport, lighthouse, weather observatory, mailbox and more. The lighthouse was first built as an unmanned facility in 1954 for the ships passing by Dokdo, but today boasts three beacon managers from Pohang Local Maritime Affairs office. The island’s guard post is occupied by one of six platoons of Ulleung Garrison that take shifts guarding the island every two months. Meanwhile on Seodo, located northwest with an area of 88,740sqm, there is lodging for fishermen, which can be used as a shelter in case of emergencies. The building was originally a house for Dokdo residents, but was remodeled in 1997 to be a fishermen’s lodge that could accommodate up to 25 people. In recent decades, several Korean civilians have called Dokdo their home. The first person to register as a Dokdo resident was Choi Jong-deok. He came to the island on 1965 and lived there until he passed away in 1987. While the island has had seven permanent residents in its history, at the moment, 71-year-old Kim Seong-do and his wife Kim Shin-yeol are the only official residents. The couple came to Dokdo in the mid 1960s with the financial support of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, and they made their living catching fish with the 1.58-ton ship Dokdoho, bought with nationally-raised fund money.
Rape flowers, one of the symbols of springtime, are in full blossom in Dokdo.
The Eastern End of the Korean Peninsula, Dokdo
Located at 131 degrees east longitude, 37 degrees north latitude, Dokdo is the easternmost point of South Korea. This small, yet beautiful island is a precious shelter for rare species and migrant birds, a rich source of marine resources and a strategic military base. by Lee Se-mi
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© Ulleung Gun
Dokdo Island lies approximately 90km southeast of Ulleungdo Island in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. With a total area of 187,554sqm, Dokdo is composed of Dongdo, Seodo and 89 other islets, and is surrounded by Candle Rock, Elephant Rock and Cheonjang Cave, among others. Being a windy island with an annual average temperature of 12C, most of the island’s vegetation are well adjusted to harsh sea winds. Plants found on Dokdo include the common mugwort and purslane, but also more rare plants like seomsiho and keundurikkot, which are protected by the Ministry of
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A 1531 entry about Uljin-hyeon in Dongguk Yeoji Seungnam reads, “Usando [Dokdo] and Ulleungdo ... are on the ocean due east of the prefecture.” The book’s appendix includes the oldest national map printed in Korea, known as Paldochongdo, which shows Usando as part of Ulleungdo. From the Joseon era, the 1808 administrative document Mangiyoram says “Ulleungdo and Usando [Dokdo] are both territories of Usan-guk, and Usando is called Songdo by the Japanese.” Records from the same era indicate that Dokdo was called “Liancourt” in France and “Hornet” in England. The island’s current name of Dokdo has been used since 1882. The residents of Ulleungdo originally called the island “Dolseom,” and this name later transformed into “Dokseom.” Using Chinese characters, the name of the island changed once again to Dokdo. In October of 1900, the Korean Empire announced Imperial Order No 41, which gave the governor of Ulleungdo jurisdiction over the main island of Ulleungdo along with Dokdo. The word Dokdo first appears on paper in a report from 1906 written by Shim Heung-taek, the governor of Ulleungdo. Using the expression “Dokdo belongs to our district,” he made it clear that Dokdo was part of Ulleung-gun County. The term Dokdo can also be found in Maecheonyarok, a book from the era of Emperor Gojong (r. 1863-1907), in an entry written by poet Hwang Hyeon. In addition to providing a home for wildlife and fishermen, Dokdo is a strategic military post. The Korean government has set up a high performance air defense raider post on Dokdo, that observes the movement of Russia’s Pacific fleet as well as the navy and air forces of Japan and North Korea. In this way, the island is providing the government with the key military intelligence necessary to maintain the security of the Korean Peninsula as well as Northeast Asia.
HistoRy of DokDo The people of Ulleungdo Island have
pop music concert held on Dokdo. Last year, Seo and Kim ran a commercial titled Visit Dokdo on CNN’s digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square. It was played twice an hour for a total of 48 times, and also aired on digital billboards at the Empire State Building and in Manhattan’s 32nd Street Korea Town. This past February, Professor Seo and Kim Jang-hoon ran another Times Square ad with the tagline, “Visiting Korea will be an extraordinary experience you will not regret.” The ad highlighted Dokdo and Ulleungdo as tourist vistas where you can enjoy the “beautiful landscape and sample fresh seafood to satisfy your palate.” With the help of strong supporters promoting Dokdo locally and abroad, perhaps we will see the day when this small, eastern island becomes an international tourist attraction.
the sea near Dokdo is guarded by korea coast guard ships (opposite). the Dokdo festival, organized korea pR expert seo kyoung-duk and pop singer kim Jang-hoon, was held on march 1 (below). several rare species reside in Dokdo, including the white heron (bottom).
long considered Dokdo as part of their territory. Dokdo is first mentioned in Korean historic records in 512. Samguksagi, an official chronicle of the Three Kingdoms era written during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), states that, “In June of the 13th year of Silla King Jijeung’s rule, Usan-guk located at Ulleungdo was conquered by General Kim Isabu of Silla’s Haseullaju to become Silla’s territory and it was decided that Usan-guk will offer tribute every year.” Usan-guk was an ancient tribal state composed of Ulleungdo, Dokdo and other small islets around Ulleungdo. Dokdo has had many names throughout Korean history. During the early the Joseon era, Dokdo was called “Usando,”
or “Sambongdo,” and was considered part of Uljin-hyeon in Gangwon-do Province. An excerpt of the Sejong Sillok Jiriji from 1454 reads, “There are two islands called Dokdo and Mureungdo [Ulleungdo] located in the center of Uljin-hyeon’s eastern sea. These two islands are not very far apart and when standing on one it is possible to observe the other on clear days.” In fact, from the Seonginbong Peak on Ulleungdo you can see as far as 149km. Seongjong Sillok, a record book from Seongjong’s reign (1469-1494), also provides concrete evidence of the existence of Dokdo as a Korean island separate from Ulleungdo. During that time period, Dokdo was called Sambongdo and was visited by no one. But according to Seongjong Sillok, in the seventh year of Seongjong’s reign in December of 1476, “Kim Ja-ju and 11 men arrived at Sambongdo [Dokdo] after 10 days of journeying, but as doll-like creatures stood along the island in between rocks we could not get on the island out of fear but instead returned after examining the shape of the island from afar.” The shape of Sambongdo described in this record matches that of Dokdo. The doll-like creatures that scared the men are believed to be sea lions.
koRea’s Visit DokDo campaign Currently about 40
people including Korean police and civil servants reside on Dokdo. And more than 100,000 people from around the world visit the island per year. These visitors have shown their appreciation for the island through environmental initiatives. While trees do not grow naturally on Dokdo because of the strong ocean winds and barren land, thanks to the efforts of social organizations more than 10,000 trees have been planted on the island. Of these, 500 have successfully taken root. The Make Dokdo Green group in particular has been planting trees on the island since 1989, and is responsible for the majority of camellia and pine trees visitors can see on Dokdo today. This past March, the Dokdo Festival was held on the island. Organized by Korea PR expert and professor Seo Kyoungduk of Sungshin Women’s University and pop singer Kim Jang-hoon, the festival was attended by 350 people, including members of the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK) and the Dokdo Expedition crew. Festivalgoers were chosen from a pool of college student volunteers and those who submitted applications through the festival website. The festival took two years to organize and included the first-ever
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© Ulleung Gun (above); Yonhap News Agency (right)
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Korea and Malaysia investing and growing together
Through over a half century of diplomatic relations, South Korea and Malaysia have become important economic partners. Leaders from the two countries met in Seoul in early April to find ways to expand upon trade and investment. With the support of both President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister Najib Razak, a Korea-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement seems more likely than ever. by Jo Yeong-ju
From April 4 to 6, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Haji Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak visited Korea. While Prime Minister Najib had previously come to Korea in June 2009 to attend the KoreaASEAN Summit held on Jejudo Island, this was his first official bilateral visit since taking office in April 2009. During his visit, Prime Minister Najib met with President Lee Myung-bak on issues ranging from the economy and trade to science and energy technology. Through a series of summits and banquets, the leaders worked to deepen their countries’ relationship and lay the foundation for future cooperation on the local and international level. High on the agenda was the possible Korea-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement. The leaders were briefed on the progress ministers of trade in the two countries had made in researching the elements of a potential agreement, and they welcomed the positive consensus on the benefits of an FTA. Trade between Korea and Malaysia stood at US$15.6 billion last year. At a summit meeting held in Kuala Lumpur last December, President Lee and Prime Minister Najib predicted that trade volume between the two nations would double within five years. The two leaders also agreed at that summit to actively push for a bilateral FTA. In April’s Seoul meeting, President Lee gave high marks to the Malaysian government’s efforts to attract foreign investment, and encouraged Prime Minister Najib to continue to support Korean investors in Malaysia. Lee also stressed the importance of bilateral cooperation in investing elsewhere around the world. He pointed to the collaboration between the Korea National Oil Corporation, Korea Gas Corporation and Malaysia’s Petronas on third country oil fields as an example of relationships to come. Prime Minister Najib reminded the Korean president that Malaysia is the
there was an enlargement summit meeting for Koreamalaysia at cheong Wa Dae, or the Blue house on april 5 (opposite). President Lee myung-bak and malaysian Prime minister haji mohd najib bin tun haji abdul razak pose for a photo before the summit on the same day (right).
financial hub of the Islamic world, and as such is capable of playing the role of financial mediator when Korea starts investment projects in other Muslim countries. He added that the Malaysian government will soon announce development plans for a northern submarine gas field, and he hoped that Korean companies would be interested in participating in the project. Learning from each other Both President Lee and Prime Minister Najib agreed on the importance of investing in new technology and applauded the uptick in cooperation between the two countries’ energy departments. They also noted that the biofuel and
solar energy industries had great growth potential and were places where both countries could collaborate in the future. Other industries in which the leaders saw potential for cooperation were biotechnology, defense, nuclear power, finance and tourism. Prime Minister Najib requested Korea’s expertise in river management, education and expressway development. The Malaysian leader praised Lee’s Four Major Rivers Restoration Project and Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project, and said that he wished to create similar projects in his own country. The two leaders signed memorandums of understanding on both education and expressways, with the hope of sharing
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© Yonhap News Agency
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knowledge and technology in these areas. Not everything was pomp and circumstance, however. During banquets and less formal meetings, the two leaders were able to bond on current affairs and trade compliments, cementing their relationship. “We were able to have conversations covering a wide range of fields including economic cooperation between the two countries as well as the situation in the Middle East and the nuclear emergency in Japan,” President Lee said of their time together. “Thanks to Prime Minister Najib’s visit, the two countries have become close in every field, including the economy.” President Lee described Malaysia as “a model country achieving a stable economic growth” and noted that “such success is very much supported by Prime Minister Najib’s philosophy that puts the people before everything and values action.” President Lee also praised Malaysia’s
Vision 2020 plan that aims for an annual growth rate of 7% through 2020, saying that “it is a very realistic and positive plan and a plan that will surely come true. It will be realized through the excellent leadership of Prime Minister Najib.” Korea’s groWing infLuence While the Prime Minister Najib had originally planned to stay in Seoul longer, he had to shorten his trip because of the regional elections in Malaysia. “The visit this time was too short and [the Prime Minister] must come again,” President Lee said at the end of Najib’s trip. The Korean president, too, had to shorten his visit to Malaysia in December when North Korea attacked Yeonpyeongdo Island. At the time, President Lee Myungbak had expressed his regret for having to leave Kuala Lumpur early and said that he would like to return to the city for a more informal visit.
“[President Lee] had expressed his wish to spend his vacation at Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia, and I will make sure he receives all that is needed,” Prime Minister Najib said. “We could at least play a round of golf together.” Prime Minister Najib seemed satisfied with the discussions in Seoul and saw many areas for future partnerships. “I am deeply impressed by the economic growth and diligence of Korea,” Prime Minister Najib said. “Looking into the future, the two countries have much more new sides to offer to each other and Malaysia too is adopting new technology and innovations,” the Malaysian leader added. “Korea’s development has greatly stimulated Malaysia, and the country is a model Malaysia aims to be by 2020.” In 1982, Malaysia introduced the Look East Policy and since then has sent a large number of Malaysian trainees to Korea to
work. They have returned to Malaysia and spread the knowledge and technology they acquired in Korea. Najib explained that through such processes, the world famous diligent work culture of Korea has been transferred to Malaysia, helping stimulate the country’s economic growth. But Korea’s influence in Malaysia does not end there. “Korea’s perseverance and ‘never-say-die spirit’ are evident in sports as well,” Prime Minister Najib said. “In the 1960s when I was young, Malaysia used to beat Korea almost always but now Korea surpasses Malaysia by far. Also, Korean songs are now famous too. Even my wife is fond of the Korean girl group Wonder Girls’ song Nobody.” Korea established diplomatic relations with Malaysia in 1960. Last year, Korea exported US$6.1 billion worth of computers, semiconductors, vessels, steel plates and automobiles to Malaysia, while importing US$9.5 billion worth of LNG, crude oil, semiconductor components and lumber. In addition, Korea has invested a total of US$4.85 billion in Malaysia over the years, sending US$1.71 billion in investments last year alone.
historY of Korea-maLaYsia reLations
The diplomatic partnership between Korea and Malaysia is strengthening by the day. The two nations celebrated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with a summit in Malaysia last Dec 9 and 10. The Seoul meeting between Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in April helped strengthen economic ties between the two countries. In a joint statement issued after the meeting, both leaders agreed to work toward exchanges of minister-level government officials and upgrade defense cooperation. Lee and Najib also agreed to establish a Korea-Malaysia business association to discuss advancing partnership between state-funded corporations in order to deepen trade and economic exchanges between the two nations. The Korean presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae or the Blue House, seemed optimistic about the likelihood of signing a free trade agreement with Malaysia in the near future. “Korea has already signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN member countries, which has strengthened economic and trade relations between the two countries,” a Blue
first Lady Kim Yoon-ok and malaysian first Lady Datin Paduka seri rosmah mansor have a chat on april 5 at cheong Wa Dae (left). Korea and malaysia signed the mou, for the management of expressway and cooperation of development, during the malaysian Prime minister’s visit (opposite).
House spokesman said. “A separate FTA with Malaysia will progress economic and trade relations between both countries.” In the April meeting, Korea and Malaysia agreed to cooperate in a variety of sectors, including green industries like biofuels and nuclear energy, IT, communication, transportation and energy, including the joint development of oil and gas exploration and production. President Lee’s efforts to strengthen ties with major Asian countries including Malaysia and Indonesia are part of a new diplomatic policy called the “New Asia Initiative.” First launched in 2009, in President Lee’s second year in office, the initiative represents a shift in South Korea’s foreign policy focus from the big four — the United States, China, Japan and Russia — to other Asian countries. The New Asia Initiative seeks to conclude free trade agreements and expand economic relations with all nations in Asia, play a leading role in global issues including climate change, establish economic cooperation policies tailored to each Asian country, and increase Korea’s role and contributions to Asia. One of the main countries President Lee Myungbak is focusing on with his New Asia Initiative is Malaysia. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad led Malaysia’s Look East Policy in the 1980s, and the policy helped Malaysia become one of the fastest growing and most industrial countries in the world. President Lee has said he admires the rapid advancements Malaysia has made under the policy, and Lee’s New Asia Initiative is partially inspired by the Look East Policy. Korea first established diplomatic relations with Malaysia in February 1960. The Malaysian Embassy in Korea was built in May 1962 and the Korean Embassy was built in Malaysia in April 1964. Many Korean officials have visited Malaysia over the years including former Korean President Kim Young-sam in 1996, Prime Minister Goh Kun in 1997, former Korean President Kim Dae-jung in 1998 and current President Lee in December 2005. Malaysian officials have also visited Korea including Prime Minister Mahathir in 1993 and 2000, Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in 1996, Minister of Foreign Affairs Syed Hamid Albar in 1999, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah in 2001 and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2004.
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© Yonhap News Agency (above); Cheong Wa Dae (opposite)
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from hangeul to hanbok the world is learning about korea
In 1897, St Petersburg State University opened the first Korean studies department outside of the peninsula. Today, over a century later, Korean studies programs have taken root in more than sixty countries. Riding on the back of Hallyu, or the Korean wave, that brought Korean TV dramas and pop music to the world’s attention, interest in learning about the Korean language and culture has skyrocketed. by Lee Se-mi
A survey conducted at the end of 2006 found that 735 universities in 62 countries had Korean studies programs that covered everything from the Korean language and society to its history and politics. That marks a five-fold increase from the 151 programs in 32 countries that were operating during the 1990s. While today Korean studies programs can be found everywhere from Thailand to the UK, the most respected programs reside in the United States. Programs at esteemed universities like Harvard, Columbia and Stanford offer students courses in Korean economics, anthropology and, of course, language and history. Today, Korean studies programs can be found in more than 140 US universities. Many of the early Korean studies researchers from the US were stationed on the peninsula as military or Peace Corps personnel. James Palais (1934-2006) — the so-called “Godfather of Korean studies” — was one of these men. After getting his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1955, Palais enlisted in the army where he studied the Korean language. Palais then spent two years researching documents at Kyujanggak, the Joseon Dynasty’s royal library, before receiving his PhD from Harvard. While teaching in the United States, Palais actively supported the pro-democracy movements in Korea of the 1970s and ‘80s. After a celebrated career at the University of Washington’s Korean Studies Program, Palais returned to Korea to be the dean of the international studies program at Sungkyunkwan University between 2002 and 2004. Palais left behind a number of important works, including the 1,500page Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions: Yu Hyongwon and the late Choson Dynasty, published in 1996. The book is a comprehensive overview of the late Joseon Dynasty and modernization period between the 14th and 18th centuries,
In 2008, the 4th World Congress of korean Studies was held in Seoul and saw the attendance of 135 korean studies’ specialists from more than 20 countries (opposite). Students in korean cultural classes partake in activities (above, right).
offering readers an in-depth understanding of the class structure and various land, military and finance reforms that were undertaken during that period. As the chairman of the University of Washington’s Korean Studies Program, Palais trained many of the current authorities on Korea in the United States, including Carter Eckert of Harvard University, John Duncan of UCLA, Michael Robbins of Indiana University and Clark Sorensen of the University of Washington. Another early influential Korean
researcher was Edward Wagner (19242001). From 1946 to 1948, Edward Wagner worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs of the US Army Military Government in Korea. He earned his PhD at Harvard in history and East Asian languages after returning to the United States. In 1981, Wagner founded Harvard University’s Korea Institute and became its first director, holding the position until 1993. Today, a new generation of scholars is following in Wagner’s footsteps, including the Korean Studies Institute Director David Kang at
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© The Academy of Korean Studies
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Students try to write Hangeul characters with a brush during their korean studies class at the university of rouen in France (left). the academy of korean Studies hosts cultural classes every august, which target sophomore students who major in korean studies (below left). Seminars from the World Congress of korean Studies (below right, opposite).
Korea University in their sophomore year. After studying for a full year in Korea, students spend their junior and senior years researching Korean novels and essays in preparation for their final thesis paper. The SOAS currently offers a master’s and PhD program in the Korean language, literature, arts, politics, economics, musical traditions, media and movies. In Germany, interest in Korean studies is growing rapidly, with the University of Bochum, Free University of Berlin, University of Frankfurt and University of Tübingen all offering courses on Korea. The University of Tübingen was the first to open a Korean studies Master’s program in 1979, and currently has the largest Korean
the University of Southern California, who studies North Korea, and Theodore Hughes of Columbia University, who researches modern Korean history. US universities have seen a steady increase in the number of professors and students studying the Korean Peninsula. While up until the early 2000s, 90 percent of students in Korean studies programs were of Korean descent, today a much wider range of demographics are attending these programs. In the case of a 2009 fall semester Introduction to Korean Studies course at Columbia University, more than half of the 60 students attending were of non-Korean descent. Universities with East Asian programs have traditionally focused on Japan and China, but this too has been changing. The Association for Asian Studies, the largest organization of Asian scholars in the world, elected Robert Buswell, the founding director of the Center for Buddhist Studies and Center for Korean Studies at UCLA, as its president in 2008. Buswell was the association’s first president who specialized in Korean studies since the association’s founding in 1941. UCLA currently offers 55 Korea-focused undergraduate courses and 22 graduate courses, and has 28 students working on
communist and socialist ideologies. Up until 1991, when South Korea established diplomatic relations with Russia, most Korean studies programs focused on North Korea. Today, many South Korean courses are part of Russian universities’ Asian studies programs. The Far Eastern National University located in Vladivostok, Russia, is the only institution to have a College of Korean Studies. Around 250 students, with 50 to 60 freshmen each year, are enrolled in the five-year program offered at the college focused on Korean history, economy and language. In 2008, Lithuania became the first country in the Baltic region to establish a Korean studies department. Thanks to the influx of Korean TV dramas and pop music as part of Hallyu, or the Korean wave, 15 students are currently studying Korean culture, history, politics, economy and language at Vytautas Magnus University. an aCademIC hallyu In China, the popularity of Korean dramas like Winter Sonata and groups like Girls’ Generation has led to an interest in the Korean language. Forty-two universities in China now have Korean studies courses, including Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, the Beijing International Studies University, Minzu University of China, Beijing Language and Culture University and Jilin University. In 2009, Peking University created an independent department for Korean studies, which was previously part of the East Asian Language Department. Korean studies are also blossoming in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. Many of these Korean education centers have been established as countries in those regions grow politically and economically closer to South Korea. The increase in business between Korea and Chile and the 2004 Korea-Chile Free Trade Agreement has created an interest in Korean studies in that country. In 2004, Universidad Marítima de Chile became
© Korea Foundation (far left); The Academy of Korean Studies (above, opposite)
their PhD in the fields of Buddhist studies, Korean history, philology and literature. korean StudIeS In europe While US researchers often study Korean politics and governance, European universities have traditionally focused on Korean language, culture, history, folklore and art. The first Korean studies courses were held in the United Kingdom in 1953 at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. William Skillend, a scholar of ancient Korean literature, created the university’s Korean studies curriculum, which became offered as an independent major in 1989. All SOAS students majoring in Korean studies must complete a Korean language program at
studies library in Germany. Dieter Eikemeier was the first Korean studies professor brought onboard by the university, and he mentored around 50 Korean studies students until his retirement in 2004. The university’s Korean studies program went through a rough period after Eikemeier left, but is now being confidently led by You-jae Lee. The graduate curriculum has been expanded to include a concentration in modern Korean history. Russia had the earliest Korean studies program outside of the peninsula and has been a leader in academic research. The first Korean studies courses were opened in 1897 at the St Petersburg State University’s Department of East Asian Studies. Interest in Korea expanded with the rise of
the first university in Chile to offer Korean language courses. And in 2006, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile established Korean culture and language courses. In Mongolia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Institute of East Asian Studies started holding Korean language classes after the country established diplomatic relations with South Korea in 1990. In 1991, the National University of Mongolia was the first to establish a Korean studies department, and graduates are actively participating in diplomatic, economic and academic relations between Mongolia and Korea. Vietnam began offering Korean studies courses in 1993, one year after diplomatic relations was established with South Korea. Vietnamese students can now study the Korean language, culture, history and more at 10 universities, including Hanoi University, Vietnam National University in Hanoi and Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City. Both Thailand’s Prince of Songkla University and the National University of Malaysia also have Korean studies departments, while Cambodia and Laos offer Korean language education programs.
ChangeS oF numberS
unIverSItIeS WIth korean StudIeS
Countries Japan United States China Russia Germany France United Kingdom Taiwan Thailand Vietnam Mongolia Australia Kazakhstan Uzbekistan 1990 64 35 3 5 9 5 3 2 1 0 0 5 0 0 2006 335 140 42 42 10 7 3 9 16 10 12 7 10 5
Total universities (worldwide): 151–>735 *reference White Paper on Korean Studies Abroad, Korea Foundation (December, 2006) The Korea Foundation published the White Paper on Korean Studies Abroad in December, 2006, after surveying every country worldwide for universities holding Korean studies courses in 2005 and 2006.
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I try to be a healthy and calm person. I exercise three times a week, eat lots of vegetables and avoid fatty foods when I can. But after living two years in Seoul, one of the largest metropolises in the world, I find myself becoming impatient and sliding into bad habits. I overindulge in alcohol and fried chicken during after-work parties, I eat discount ice cream from Family Mart almost every day during the summer and I frequent some of Seoul’s thousands of coffee shops more than I really should. Worse than my dietary choices, however, are some of the ways my personality has changed here. In a city that seems to shove you in every direction, I now unabashedly push back when the crowds seem bent on smothering me against the metal doors of the subway car. But Seoul isn’t all just hustle and bustle. It’s also home to a dozen or so mountains and even more Buddhist temples and retreats. So after a particularly hard-hitting evening spent at a Doosan Bears baseball game, indulging in KFC, nacho chips and cheap beer, I decided to put aside my worldly attachments and spend the weekend in a Buddhist Temple Stay program. My husband and I arrived at Geumsunsa Temple early on a Saturday afternoon. The temple was established on Mt Samgaksan in Bukhansan National Park over 600 years ago. And while it is just a short bus ride and walk from Gyeongbokgung Palace in central Seoul, it’s worlds away from the pressures of city life. When we first arrived at Geumsunsa, we changed into monk’s garb and learned basic temple etiquette such as how to prostrate in the ceremonial hall and hold our hands while we walked. We then went on a tour of the temple grounds led by the female monk that was to be our guide during our stay. Like most temples, Geumsunsa’s grounds are broken into several buildings including a hall for ceremonies, living and dining quarters and a memorial building for the ashes of the dead. Men and women sleep in separate buildings, though everyone dines and worships together. The monk introduced us to the three outdoor meditation areas at the temple. She explained the importance of slow, methodical breathing during meditation and listening to the world around you. Below a 200-year-old pine tree near the front of the temple, for example, one could hear the wind rustling through the ancient tree branches. On a grass platform below the main ceremonial hall, we were encouraged to try a walking meditation. Taking tiny steps and breathing deeply, we listened to the mewing of the temple cats and singing of the magpies. In the final outdoor meditation area, a mountain spring, we heard the water flowing down Mt Bukhansan from the Bibong and Hyangnobong peaks. After the tour, the monk explained some of the sutras that would be recited at that evening’s yebul (ceremonial service). Before attending the Temple Stay program, my interactions with Buddhism had mostly been as a tourist. I’ve seen the Seokguram Grotto and stone-carved Buddhas in Gyeongju, attended Buddha’s birthday lantern parade in downtown Seoul and enjoyed the fall harvest feast at Buryeongsa Temple in Uljin, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. But through all that sightseeing I still didn’t have a clear understanding of the tenants of Buddhism or the meaning of various rituals. So I was looking forward to spending the weekend learning more about one of Korea’s most practiced religions. Unfortunately, while the Geumsunsa Temple Stay program was advertised as English-friendly, no translators were provided for the monk’s lectures. I was left piecing together the Korean phrases I understood with the abbreviated interpretations of my fellow Temple Stay participants. This often led to comical exchanges where the monk asked us typical Buddhist questions such as “Where is your life?” only to have the foreigners in our group answer “at home” or “at work.” (The answer, the monk explained, is that our life is located in the time between when we inhale and when we
When someone asks me what I think of Seoul, I usually say that it’s crowded and people always seem to be running from one place to the next. Whether it’s riding on the subway, taking in a baseball game or shopping at a department store, it can be hard to find room to breathe in the city. Korea’s Buddhist Temple Stay program allows city dwellers a respite from the din of the metropolis while at the same time introducing visitors to a slower, more peaceful Korea.
Finding Room to BReathe
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exhale, since if we can’t exhale we die.) For dinner, we gathered in the temple dining room where we ate on the floor with the other monks and workers at Geumsunsa. As expected, we ate healthy vegetarian food - rice, kimchi, wild greens salad and miyeokguk, or seaweed soup. The food was simple, but tasty, and the tteok rice cakes served with fruit after the meal were some of the best I’ve had in Korea. After eating, we climbed the 108 steps up the hill to Vairocana Buddha Hall for the yebul service. As the monk had instructed us, we bowed three times upon entering the hall to the three Buddha statues representing the Buddha, his followers and teachings. As the head monk began the sutra chant, we prostrated on the ground, bowing once at the waist and then again on the ground with our hands palm up. While I didn’t understand the words of the prayer, I tried to take in the beauty of the moment. The candles glowed softly against the golden statues and prismatic paintings of the guardians of Buddhism. The chanting was mesmerizing and it was easy to lose yourself in the systematic act of prostrations. The meditative prostrations continued after the service in Paramita Hall. Keeping time with a tape recording, we bowed 108 times for the different kinds of delusion described by the Buddha and our efforts to change negative thoughts into positive energy. We asked for forgiveness through the prostrations for such wrongs as not remembering the people who built our homes and made our clothing. This was a world away from the Seoul I knew in the packed stores of Myeong-dong and bustling offices of Gangnam. After the prostrations, we did some light yoga that warmed up our bodies for a period of meditation. The monk instructed us to clear our minds and once again focus on our breaths. Easier said than done. Only minutes into the exercise, my mind was running with all the phone calls and e-mails I had to send when I got home and worries about upcoming work projects. When my mind finally calmed down, I was overcome by an extreme fatigue and had to try hard not to fall asleep. Before turning in for bed, my husband and I walked back up the steps to the top of the temple grounds to get a view of the city. The dark woods along the mountainside stood in stark
contrast to the lit-up metropolis below. Above the temple we could make out a handful of stars ringing the night sky, while beneath us all we could see were the glowing clusters of cement apartment buildings and offices flooding the valley. I was woken up at 5am by the sound of a moktak, or wood block instrument. We quickly dressed and folded our yo (Korean traditional floor mattress) before going to the 5:30am yebul and reading of the sutra. For breakfast, we had Barugongyang, a traditional Buddhist meal with bowls. In an orderly fashion akin to the Jewish Seder, we took turns serving each other juk (rice porridge), kimchi and water. After eating the kimchi and juk, we used water and a danmuji (yellow pickled radish) to clean the juk and kimchi bowls. To teach us both cleanliness and the importance of being frugal, the monk then instructed us to drink the water we used to wipe clean the bowls. Some of the Temple Stay participants balked at this, but the water simply tasted like rice and kimchi. Next came the community work, which consisted of sweeping the temple grounds, washing dishes and our rubber shoes and shaking out the bed sheets. I was tasked with sweeping away pine needles near the small stream that ran beside the mountain spring. The weather was perfect and it was nice to have a break from spending so much time inside my head. As our final activity together, we hiked up Mt Samgaksan to a rock platform overlooking the temple. There, we enjoyed lotus leaf tea and mini Snickers bars as we took in the scenery. With the cool wind swirling around us, we tried PROFILE meditating once again. And to my Nissa Rhee is an American pleasant surprise, journalist who has been living as I breathed in the in Seoul for two years. Her work has appeared in The mountain air, I felt Christian Science Monitor, calm and at peace. Radio Netherlands
by Nissa Rhee | illustrations by Jo Seungyeon | photograph by Kim Nam-heon
Worldwide and the Korea JoongAng Daily, among other media outlets. In her free time, she enjoys hiking on Mt Bukhansan with her husband.
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Gangneung Danoje Festival In the town of Gangneung, in eastern Korea, an annual event features shamanistic rituals, traditional music and oddokttegi folk songs, gwanno mask performances, oral narrative poetry and various games. Held for four weeks between May and June, this festival was inscribed in 2008 on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005).
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