The national flag of the Republic of Korea, symbol of Korea’s modern history
Travel Land of Mystery, Jinan
Special issue The Jangchung Gymnasium
태 극 기
The Taegeukgi, the Spirit of the Korean Nation
Mullae-dong: A New Artist Village
The Do-It-Yourself Craze
Reviving Long-Forgotten Golden Glow, Koo Young-kook
A True Act of Heroism, Lee Seung-seon
Chinese Minister of Defense Visits South Korea
Helping Migrants Settle, Li Haiying
Land of Mystery, Jinan
Preparing for a Unified Korea
Footballer Cha Du-ri
How Healthy Is Your Brain
Spring Greens: Healthy Taste Sprouts From the Earth
Catching Up Fast
From Recipient to Donor
A Storied Sports Arena, The Jangchung Gymnasium
Dr. Hyun Bong-hak, an Unsung War Hero
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Cover Story korea / March
the Spirit of the Korean Nation
A national flag is a country’s noble symbol that represents its history, traditions and ideals. The national flag of the Republic of Korea is the Taegeukgi. An early version of the Taegeukgi became modern Korea’s first national flag in the 1880s.
WrIttEn by Kim myeong-Jin (head of Culture and SCienCe, newS room, SBS) PHOtOGraPHED by hong ha-yan referenCeS: “SymBol of Korea, taegeuKgi,” a worKBooK for the national muSeum of Korea’S SpeCial exhiBition in CeleBration of the 60th anniverSary of the founding of the repuBliC of Korea in 2008; “everything we Should Know aBout the taegeuKgi -- the yeSterday & today of the taegeuKgi,” hyungSeul puBliShing networKS, 2008.
korea / March
and their translator, Lee Eung-jun, visited the USS Swatara on which the U.S. repre- sentative, Robert W. Shufeldt, was staying.
Commodore Shufeldt recommended that the Koreans create a national flag which could symbolize the independence of Joseon. Kim Hong-jip ordered Lee Eung- jun to immediately make one right there aboard the ship. Lee Eung-jun’s creation on the USS Swatara is the prototype of the Taegeukgi.
In the same year, Park Yeong-hyo also made one of the first versions of the Tae- geukgi to be used as a Joseon national flag.
However, according to an article, “The Oldest Taegeukgi,” run by the Chosun Ilbo on January 27, 2004, Lee Eung-jun’s Tae- geukgi precedes Park Yeong-hyo’s by a few months.
KING GOJONG ORDERS
THE MAKING OF A NATIONAL FLAG In June 1882, some military units mutinied.
In the wake of the mutiny, Park Yeong-hyo initiated many reforms. He was the son-in-
law to King Cheoljong (r. 1849-1863) and advocated Joseon opening up to the world.
In the process, Park stayed in Japan from August to November 1882 as a representa- tive of a diplomatic delegation. Before embarking on his mission to Japan, Park was entrusted with the promulgation of a national flag by King Gojong (r. 1863- 1907). Park and his entourage reportedly sailed on the ironclad ship Meiji Maru, and it was aboard that ship that Joseon’s national flag, bearing the taegeuk symbol and the four trigrams, was created. Park wrote an account of the episode in his collection of diaries and memoirs entitled “Sahwagiryak.”
“We tied the national flag we had just created to a flagpole and set it up on the roof of our lodging. The flag is rectangular, and its height is less than two-fifths of its width. At the center is a taegeuk symbol, colored in blue and red, and in the four corners were drawn the four trigrams of geon, gon, gam and ri, as commanded by His Majesty.”
Park hoisted the flag at various events
taegeukgi flags from the late Joseon period are displayed by the national Museum of Korean Contemporary History.
LEFT Fourteen postage stamps from 1884 to 1905 bear the taegeuk symbol as their primary motif. © the Postal Museum RIGHT the gate to the Hall of Eternal Peace (the yeongnyeongjeon) at the Jongmyo Shrine bears the taegeuk symbol. across northeast asia, the taegeuk pattern has long been believed to represent the basic elements of the universe and everything in it.
The Taegeukgi is the national flag of the Republic of Korea. It bears at its center a symbol called a taegeuk. King Gojong (r.
1863-1907) proclaimed the Taegeukgi as Joseon’s national flag on January 27, 1883.
Later during colonial times, the exiled Pro- visional Government of the Republic of Korea (1919-1948) set standards for the production of the Taegeukgi and adopted it as its flag. The country was liberated in August 1945 and three years later, the Republic of Korea was officially founded.
The government declared the Taegeukgi to be the budding government’s national flag on October 15, 1949.
The Taegeukgi has five symbols on a white background. The round taegeuk symbol at the center is in red and blue, and at the four corners are four trigrams in black: geon, gon, gam and ri(refer to p8).
Across Northeast Asia, these symbols have
blamed Joseon for the incident, stating,
“Our warship was flying the Japanese national flag and the Joseon forts opened fire on it. Why?” Joseon was still tightly closed to the outside world at the time and had no interest in Western civilization, so the Koreans were unfamiliar with the con- cept of a national flag: what a national flag is and what it means. The Koreans knew only the royal standard, which symbolized the king, and military banners.
After the battle, Joseon finally began to forge diplomatic ties with other countries and open up to the outside world, espe- cially to Western nations, and naturally felt the need for a national flag.
Six years later, Joseon entered into a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States. Before the 1882 Korea-U.S.
Treaty was signed, Kim Hong-jip and Sin Heon, the heads of the Korean delegation, long expressed the basic principles of the
universe and everything in it and are believed to signify vitality, bring good for- tune and expel evil.
THE EARLIEST VERSION OF THE TAEGEUKGI
The taegeuk symbol has long been impor- tant in East Asian philosophy. How, then, was this symbol adopted as the flag of modern-day Korea? Before answering this question, let us look at the history of the flags of Joseon (1392-1910).
In 1875, a Japanese warship intruded into Korean territorial waters off Gang- hwado Island, at the mouth of the Hangang River, near the capital, Seoul. The defend- ers opened fire and a battle began. After- ward, the two countries signed the Treaty of Ganghwa in February 1876. At the negotiation table, the Japanese delegation
korea / March
in Japan and it became internationally rec- ognized as the Joseon national flag.
On January 27, 1883, King Gojong proclaimed Park’s Taegeukgi as Joseon’s national flag.
THE NAME TAEGEUKGI
For years, the national flag was not called the Taegeukgi. The chapter in the “Annals of the Joseon Dynasty” (Joseon Wangjo Sillok) about King Gojong makes mention of the national flag created by Park Yeong- hyo, but does not refer to the flag as the Taegeukgi.
“Taegeukgi” became the well-known name for the flag during the March 1st Independence Movement during which people rose up against Japanese colonial rule on March 1, 1919. King Gojong’s funeral was slated for that day, as the former king had lived 12 years after his abdication in 1907. People yearning for independence gathered together in Tapgol Park in Seoul at noon. A declaration of independence was read aloud. People started shouting for independence. It was planned that people would take to the streets with flags bearing the taegeuk symbol. In order to prevent the colonial rulers from learning what was going on, the people decided not to call it the “national flag,” but the “Taegeukgi.”
Thus, it came to pass that thirty-seven years after King Gojong’s proclamation, the flag, designed by Lee Eung-jun and first used as Joseon’s national flag by Park Yeong-hyo, was finally called the Taegeukgi by people yearning for freedom and independence.
The Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan exhibits a Taegeukgi tainted with the blood of an independence activist, showing the relationship between the independence movement and the Taegeu- kgi. The Joseon government designed and promulgated the Taegeukgi as a national flag for diplomatic and political purposes, but it was the independence movement that made it widely known among the people, rendering it an authentic symbol of Korea.
police burned 47 churches, two schools and 715 homes, and they detained nearly 47,000 people.
Months later, the independence move- ment seemed to end without any positive results, but, in fact, the movement exerted enormous influence on both the Korean people and on neighboring countries.
Through the movement, the nation dem- onstrated its determination for indepen- dence. More people became involved in the effort for national independence, and they became more organized. The public became more aware of their national iden- tity and more interested in politics. All these developments laid the foundation for numerous social movements and organiza- tions in the 1920s. The Samil Movement also had far-reaching impact abroad. It even helped spark off the May Fourth Move- ment in China in the same year, and it influenced the nonviolent civil disobedi- ence led by Mahatma Gandhi in India, the anti-British Egyptian Revolution in 1919 and national movements in Turkey.
The Samil Movement is also signifi- cant in that it offered a new direction for the nation’s independence movement and gave it renewed impetus. Nationalists, including independence activists, had over
many years assumed a compromising stance. They generally pleaded with the international community for assistance in winning independence. They pinned their hopes on the principle of national self- determination as advocated by U.S. Presi- dent Wilson and attempted to obtain inde- pendence through the application of for- eign pressure rather than via the people themselves. Many in the independence movement firmly believed that upholding the ideal of nonviolence would help them gain sympathy from Western countries.
They resorted to peaceful means, such as petitioning the Japanese government for independence.
In contrast to this, however, the Samil
FIFA’s 2002 World Cup was a watershed in the history of the Taegeukgi.
Through this event, the Taegeukgi
assumed a friendlier and more dynamic image, a symbol of a great party.
THE SAMIL MOVEMENT
The independence movement—the March 1st Independence Movement or Samil Movement—is very important in the his- tory of the Republic of Korea. It was the largest movement during colonial times.
For months, people stood up for indepen- dence across the country. The indepen- dence movement was the first of its kind in any colony in the post-World War I world.
Behind the movement was a complex interworking of many external and internal factors. Two of them were the principle of self-determination that U.S. President Wilson espoused at the 1918 Paris Peace Conference, and secondly was the Febru- ary 8 Declaration of Independence that Korean students studying in Japan pro- claimed in Tokyo on February 8, 1919.
The Samil Movement spread rapidly from Tapgol Park in Jongno to the rest of the country and beyond. The Japanese colonial rulers responded by swiftly and brutally quelling the demonstrations.
According to Japanese statistics recorded at the time, in the first three months, more than 7,500 people were killed in the pro- cess of suppressing the movement. Those injured numbered almost 16,000. The riot
1 - the Korean flag is being hoisted by two marines at the Capitol Hall on Sept. 27, 1950 after the reclamation of Seoul. © yonhap news 2 - President Park Geun-hye walks up the ramp
to a plane that bears the taegeukgi on official presidential trips overseas. © yonhap news 3 - People in red t-shirts cheer for the men’s national
football team with a gigantic taegeukgi during the 2002 World Cup. © yonhap news
4 - today, people consider the taegeukgi to be exciting and friendly, and they are quick to rally behind it.
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The Meaning of The Taegeukgi PaTTerns
the taegeukgi has five symbols on a white, rectangular background: one circular taegeuk symbol in the middle and four black trigrams called geon, gon, gam and ri in the four corners. the white background signifies brightness, purity and peace. In the trigrams, a bar broken in the middle signifies yin, and an unbroken bar signifies yang.
the taegeuk symbol means harmony between the yin (blue) and the yang (red). It embodies the belief that the universe and everything in it form and develop through interactions between the yin and the yang. In the upper left corner is the geon, a set of three parallel yang bars that represents the sky. In the right lower corner is the gon, a set of three parallel yin bars that represents the earth. In the gam trigram, which means water, there is one yang bar between two yin bars. In the ri trigram, which means fire, there is one yin bar between two yang bars.
the taegeuk pattern has been loved for centuries and has been used to decorate everyday items, such as handheld fans. the taegeukgi, with the taegeuk symbol at its center, embodies the people’s aspirations for endless creativity and prosperity as part of the universe.
Last year, the Independence Hall of Korea hosted the “taegeukgi trees” exhibition, yearning for national unity and reunification. © yonhap news
The Taegeukgi ThroughouT The Years
1) The Prototype (1882) the national flag of Joseon had a taegeuk symbol and the four trigrams of the geon, gon, gam and ri on a white background.
this is the earliest version of the taegeukgi.
2) First-Ever Directive on Dimensions (1900)
the flag was officially recognized as the nation’s first national flag in 1883, but there were no official dimensions. In December 1900, the government issued a directive on the dimensions of the national flag. according to a news article dated December 8, 1900, the directive stated that the flag should be a white rectangle of approximately 61 centimeters in length and 55 centimeters in width, and that the taegeuk should be a red and blue circle of about 21 centimeters in diameter.
3) Dimensions During Japanese Colonial Times (1910-1945)
In June 1942, the Provisional Government set new rules on the national flag, but the rules were almost entirely ignored. People made the taegeukgi in any dimensions they pleased.
4) The Taegeukgi of the Republic of Korea (1945-present)
a law on the production of the national flag was enacted in 1949, and other laws have been passed and amended regarding the taegeukgi since. today, the act on the Flag of the republic of Korea, promulgated in 2007, and its enforcement decree, are in place for the comprehensive management of the taegeukgi.
King Gojong (r. 1863-1907) gave this early taegeukgi to Owen n. Denny, his diplomatic advisor. Denny returned to the U.S. with this flag and handed it down to his relatives. this so-called “Denny taegeukgi” is in the collec- tion of the national Museum of Korean Contemporary History.
Dongnimmun Gate built in 1896-1897 bears two taegeu- kgi carvings. In those times, there were no fixed dimen- sions for the taegeukgi, and many different versions were made.
DIMENSIONS AND ELEMENTS OF THE TAEGEUKGI
Circle diameter (CD) CD = H/2
Yin (음) Yang (양)
geon (건) gam (감)
ri (리) gon (곤)
CUrreNt KoreA iNterview korea / Marchkorea / March
It started with a simple idea. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Taegeukgi flew at every home on any given day, not just on national holidays? Wouldn’t it be g reat if the national flag became part of daily life?
In June 2011, Choe Ju-won retired as head of the Agricultural Industry Division of Daegu city government after several decades as a civil servant. He had always been interested in “patriotism in action”
rather than simply paying lip service to patriotism. While working for the city gov- ernment, a pine tree in Pyeonggwang- dong caught his attention. It had been planted in 1945 by a citizen in celebration of national liberation and is now a national monument. It has great meaning to the nation and is also a sight to behold in and of itself. However, few people seemed to give it the respect that it deserves, he felt, so Choe himself gave the tree a name: Libera- tion Pine (Gwangboksong).
In retirement, he has joined forces with like-minded nationalists to publicize and protect the Gwangboksong. Two years ago, they launched the Gwangsamo, a group of people passionate about the Gwangbok- song. In the belief that patriotism starts with love for the national flag, in August 2014 members also gave out the Taegeukgi free to more than 200 homes in Pyeongg- wang-dong. They went to the Daegu Vol- unteer Expo in October 2014 to promote
their activities, including their production and provision of free national flags.
UNTIL THE TAEGEUKGI FLIES NATIONWIDE
“We felt a sense of mission, to tell the story of the Taegeukgi,” says Choe.
The Gwangsamo held an exhibition on the Taegeukgi from January 2 to 7.
“We sent letters to various organiza- tions, including the Cultural Heritage Administration, the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and to the Indepen- dence Hall of Korea,” says this patriotic retired civil servant. “It required a lot of preparation. We studied the history of the Taegeukgi and had frames made for Tae- geukgi flags. Our love of country became even greater in the process.”
The members funded the exhibition out-of-pocket. The head of the Dong-gu District Office, Choe’s most recent work- place, gladly permitted them to use their lobby for the exhibition.
The exhibition didn’t just include a
few trivial artifacts or casually-written paragraphs of information. Some 20 Tae- geukgi flags registered as cultural assets since 1983 were on display, including the so-called “Denny Taegeukgi,” which King Gojong (r. 1863-1907) gave his U.S. diplo- matic advisor, Owen N. Denny (1838- 1900), and a Taegeukgi bearing notes and signatures of student-soldiers fighting in the Korean War (1950-1953) that testifies to their determination. In addition to the history and meaning of the Taegeukgi, the exhibition meticulously demonstrated the proper way to hoist the flag and how to use it in everyday life.
“We’ve just taken the very first steps,”
says Choe. “Another exhibition is slated for March 1 at the Daegu Culture & Arts Center, where a ceremony will take place in commemoration of the March 1st Inde- pendence Movement. We plan more Tae- geukgi exhibitions for Children’s Day, National Liberation Day and other special holidays that may create synergies with our flag exhibition.”
WrIttEn by Kim hyeon-tae
Movement of 1919 imbued more people with the idea that the country could achieve independence on its own. Inde- pendence activists opted for arms over petitions, and they started to invest in edu- cation to raise national consciousness. To establish leadership to guide the indepen- dence movement in this new direction, they founded the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai in 1919. They abandoned their dream of restoring the monarchy and instead began to march forward with the new aim of founding an independent, democratic republic.
THE TAEGEUKGI: A WITNESS TO THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA Since the Samil Movement, the Taegeukgi has been present at every decisive event in the history of the Republic of Korea. The flag has served not only as a national flag but also as a social, cultural and political symbol in different places at different moments. World War II finally came to an end in August 1945, and people poured out onto the streets with the Taegeukgi in their hands. They shouted, “Long live Korean
the Taegeukgi was there as a symbol of democratization and freedom.
In 2002, the Taegeukgi hit a watershed in its history. Each and every major square and street across the country was filled with people waving the Taegeukgi and rooting for the Korean men’s national football team during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The country was a sea of Taegeukgis. The public had for decades rallied around the flag over political or social issues. In 2002, the flag raised the public’s expectations again. The street-cheering gave the Taegeukgi a new face as it took on a younger, friendlier and more exciting aura.
The government took action to build on the public’s rekindled love for the Tae- geukg i by amending the law on the national flag so that people could use the flag and its symbols in various designs and patterns. Now, even further discussion and agreement are called for on how to use the Taegeukgi and on educating students on it including its history. There can be no doubt that the Taegeukgi will forever be with the Korean people, whether they are in sorrow or in joy, and it will fly with vigor at every important juncture in the future of Korea.
independence!” at the top of their lungs.
This was a prelude to the birth of the Republic of Korea. On September 28, 1950, the South Korean Army hoisted the Taegeukgi over the Capitol Building when they recaptured Seoul from the North Korean army, three months after losing it within the first three days of the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-1953). When stu- dents rose up indignantly against dictator- ship on April 19, 1960, the Taegeukgi was waving in their hands. When students and the public took to the streets demanding direct presidential elections in June 1987,
Students are drawing the taegeukgi.
after winning the 2009 ISU Grand Prix Final in tokyo, figure skater Kim yuna gazes upon the taegeukgi from the podium.
the symbolism in this photo touched the hearts of many Koreans. © yonhap news
Love your Nation, Love your Flag
An exhibition on the Taegeukgi, the Korean national flag, was held in the city of Daegu last Jan- uary. Let us meet the person who made the exhibition possible, Choe Ju-won, a man who loves the Taegeukgi and his country.
WrIttEn by Kim hyeon-tae
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1 3 PeoPLe
palace of Ming and Qing dynasties in Bei- jing.
“The best aspect of hwangchil is its golden color with an elegantly subdued glow. Its golden hue has a noble and elegant shimmer, unlike the glittering glare of metals. That is why it has been treasured. It even has a delicate scent of wood,” says Koo.
When the native hwangchil tree nearly went extinct, the craft of lacquerwork almost disappeared. After nearly 200 years, the traditional craft has been recently revived thanks to the discovery of several wild hwangchil trees. The Natural habitat of the tree is along the southeastern coast of the Korea Peninsula and on Jeju Island.
“Lacquer is said to last 1,000 years, but hwangchil lasts 10,000 years. It is regrettable that such a sophisticated craft had nearly fallen into total oblivion while lacquer painting was still so widely recognized.
During the Japanese occupation (1910- 1945), any Korean who even tried to pull the leaves off of a hwangchil tree was arrested. I suspect that the artistry would have been taken to Japan at that time,”
added the master.
BRINING hwANGChIL INTO DAILY LIFE
Koo has been working hard to create works decorated with the golden lacquer for sev- eral decades. He even earned a doctorate in it for extensive research and experimenta- tion. His efforts to resurrect the skill of making and painting with lacquer has been recognized by international art lovers.
Golden-lacquered artworks have been dis- played at various international exhibitions and are found in the first lady’s reception room at Cheong Wa Dae. Koo is endeavor- ing to bring hwangchil closer to the public by applying it to items such as dishware and even golf putters.
“Crafts are not just for display and appreciation. They are for daily use. Works of art that can be part of our daily lives can be loved and appreciated for a long time.”
reviving a Long-Forgotten Golden Glow
Master Koo Young-kook breathes new life into hwangchil.
WrIttEn by hong hea-won PHOtOGraPHED by hong ha-yan
Golden lacquer, hwangchil in Korean, is paint from a natural source with a mysteri- ous golden hue. It has been used since the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C.–A.D. 660). The skills to make the lacquer and apply it to craftwork have long been forgotten. Mr.
Koo Young-kook is one of a few masters who are reviving these skills and bringing the lacquer back into daily life. Koo’s studio is filled with shimmering golden jars, cups and other works of art.
HANDICRAFT WITH PRECIOUS MATERIAL
“I visited the School of Engineering at Kyushu University in Japan in 1990. I was astonished at the thorough research on hwangchil that had been done by a Japanese professor. Hwangchil was a unique tradi- tional handicraft of Korea, and the Japanese professor had researched it more deeply than anyone in Korea.” At that time, Koo had been making lacquer handicraft and lacquerware inlaid with mother-of-pearl since graduating from high school in 1978, but he decided at that moment in 1990 to begin exploring it much more extensively.
Golden lacquer has an impressive elegance, is remarkably resistant to heat and water and is very durable. This is why it was widely used in ancient times to decorate the surfaces of craftworks. The oldest known record of it is in the “History of the Three Kingdoms” (1145) or Samguksagi in Korean. Baekje was one of three kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula at the time, and the Samguksagi states that Baekje sent armor bearing the golden lacquer as tribute to the king of Goguryeo (37 B.C.–A.D.
Golden lacquer is made from the sap of the hwangchil tree (Dendropanax morbifera Lev.). The sap is milky-white upon extrac- tion and gradually turns yellowish-amber in color when exposed to air. The sap has long been considered precious because it can only be extracted from a tree that is at least 15 years old and one tree can yield only 8.6 at a time, just enough to fill a
Koo Young-kook is the first Korean who was designated as World Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Koo young-kook has dedicated himself to making and researching the golden lacquer.
small cup. Then, the sap must be refined.
This species of tree nearly went extinct during the Joseon period (1392–1910) as it was over-exploited to meet the demand for tribute offerings to China during the Ming and Qing dynasties, as well as to the king and the royal family of Joseon. After the Second Manchu Invasion (1636-1639), the use of the lacquer was banned, even by the royal family. It was only allowed for emper- ors in the Forbidden City, the imperial
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A true Act of Heroism
Common man rescues 10 people from burning apartment.
WrIttEn by hong hea-won PHOtOGraPHED by moon duK-Kwan
January 10, 2015 was just another Satur- day for the residents of Daebong Green Apartments in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi Province). Like any other weekend, some were sleeping in and others were doing household chores. Peace soon gave way to chaos when a spark from a motorcycle in the parking lot started a fire at 9:15 a.m. The fire claimed four lives and injured 124.
In the chaos of the fatal accident, a middle-aged man managed to save 10 people with his bare hands. A sign-maker, Lee Seung-seon was driving by the area when he noticed thick, black smoke ema- nating from an apartment building. He turned his car around and went to see if he could do anything to help.
An Uijeongbu local, Lee at first simply helped firemen extinguish the fire, which was spreading to nearby buildings, because he knew the area well. Lee heard people trapped inside their apartments crying for help and decided to try to rescue them himself. He took a 30-meter rope he kept handy in his car and climbed up a gas pipe outside the apartment building to get to the third floor. He tied one end of the rope to the pipe and made a loop with the other so that a person could put it around his or her body. Balancing his body on the pipe with his feet on a windowsill in front of him, Lee rescued three people from the
“Some people were urging me not to go in, but I had a different idea. I was confi- dent that I could save people with my rope because I knew it was long enough to reach the first floor from the rooftop. When I bought the rope, I actually asked for 27 meters, but the owner of the store was feel- ing generous and gave me three extra meters. It was just the right length to reach the ground from the rooftop.”
After bringing 10 people to safety, Lee himself had to be rescued by helicopter because he had succumbed to toxic gases. “I wish I could have helped more people.
Nonetheless, I did everything I could, and I have no regrets.”
TURNING DOWN A LARGE DONATION Lee’s act of heroism made headlines, and the public dubbed him the Uijeongbu Fire Hero. Five days after the fire, an anonymous philanthropist offered him KRW 30 mil- lion (approximately USD 27,000). Lee politely turned it down, and this was also reported in the news.
“He told me he was the president of a well-known company. He promised to never publicly reveal himself, but I could not accept his money when so many people lost their loved ones and their homes in the fire. My motto is to never take any money for nothing. My paycheck is enough for me. I still would have turned third floor by slowly lowering them one at
a time to the ground with the rope. He then went onto the rooftop, tied the rope around a railing and similarly lowered seven more people to the ground from the upper floors of the ten-story building. By the time everything was over, he had multiple cuts and abrasions on his hands. “I think it was fate that brought me there, and I’m grateful that people followed my directions even in the dire situation,” said Lee.
SCARS TESTIFY TO HIS STRUGGLE I met Lee Seung-seon at a small restaurant in Uijeongbu. He has worked as a sign- maker for the past 20 years, so he is practiced at climbing a building and handling rope.
He showed his scarred hands and humbly shared his experiences of January 10.
the money down even if he had offered KRW 300 million.”
“I WOULD DO THE SAME THING AGAIN”
Lee was initially overwhelmed by the attention he received, but said he is now grateful for it.
“I had never taken an interest in social media, but I started reading what people were saying about me on the internet.
Many people wrote encouraging com- ments for me, and I shed a few tears when I read them. The comments made me feel that I was not alone. Helping other people in an emergency is nothing special.”
Lee said he would do the same thing again in a similar situation. He seemed to assume a noble aura when he said he would not have regretted dying that day rescuing people.
“I have always believed that it is better to live a day doing the right thing than to live a long life making a fool of myself.
Many people worry about national or global issues, but I am more concerned about smaller things that are closer to me. I will continue to do what I can to help others.”
People like Lee Seung-seon show us that there is hope in this world. By rescuing 10 people from fire, he may have ultimately saved the lives of many more.
He seemed to assume
a noble aura when he
said he would not have
regretted dying that
day rescuing people.
korea / March trAveL
Land of Mystery, Jinan
Jinan County in North Jeolla Province is home to some of the most amazing scenery in the country.
WrIttEn by Kim nae-on PHOtOGraPHED by moon duK-gwan
1 7 1 6
korea / March
In the springtime, cherry blossoms festoon the 1.9 km-trail that runs from the parking at the southern foot of the mountain to Tapsa Temple.
clouds often cover the valley, adding to the mystical atmosphere. One of the most magnificent views is offered by the Jeomjin Waterfall. It is satisfying, both visually and aurally, as water cascades down over stair steps of wide rocks. To find relief from the summer heat, visitors enjoy hiking up the valley to enjoy the water’s cool breeze.
There is also a bathing spot in the forest near Baegundong, an ideal place for spiri- tual renewal and relaxation.
Upon arriving at Gubongsan Mountain,
one cannot help but ask, “How did Mother Nature create such a thing?” The mountain has nine peaks and is notoriously unyield- ing to hikers. The rocky crags of Gubong- san Mountain make hiking a challenge, but the steep, zigzagging trail offers an impres- sive view at each peak. At the summit, hikers can take in a sweeping panorama of the nearby Deongnyusan and Jir isan mountains.
MEDICINAL HERB TOWN
Jinan sits on a plateau between the Sobaek Mountains and the Noryeong Mountains.
At 200 to 400 meters above sea level, it is suitable for growing medicinal plants because the temperature remains relatively low, even during the summer. Jinan special- ties include ginseng and red ginseng; pep- permint, purple bracted plantain lily, daylil- ies and thistle are also commonly found.
Jinan’s Medicinal Herb Town, located on the northern side of Maisan Mountain, sells some 150 plants that grow naturally across the region. It is an excellent place to learn about the benefits of medicinal plants, the best plants for each body type, and how to distinguish them from poisonous plants.
Every year, the last of the cherry blos- soms finally bloom on the slopes of Maisan Mountain in Jinan-gun (Jinan County) in Jeollabuk-do (North Jeolla Province), making it an ideal location for those who wish to enjoy the warmth of spring a while longer. In the springtime, cherry blossoms festoon the 1.9 km-trail that runs from the parking at the southern foot of the moun- tain to Tapsa Temple. The spring scenery along the trail is glorious. Jinan gives off a surreal, mysterious vibe that oscillates between both natural and man-made beauty. Jinan’s authentic heritage was cre- ated over hundreds of years. The twin- peaked Maisan Mountain boasts distinct rocky peaks, the nearby Gubongsan Moun- tain displays the grandeur of its nine beau- tiful peaks, there is Yongdamho Lake that offers some beautiful scenery and then there is Tapsa Temple that welcomes visitors with its 80-odd stone pagodas. Photo enthusiasts won’t know where to start.
Maisan Mountain means “Horse Ear Mountain.” It was named by King Taejo (r.
1392-1398), the founder and first king of
Reservoir has a spectacular reflection of the mountain and should not be missed.
Maisan Mountain’s otherworldly aura is accentuated by Tapsa Temple. Some 80 hand-stacked stone pagodas scattered around the temple grounds were erected in the late 1800s or the early 1900s by retired scholar Lee Gap-yong. He had moved to the temple and spent several decades there to cultivate himself. One can only wonder how a single person could build so many pagodas of loose stones which have stood tall all through the years, even against howling winds and storms. Behind the temple’s main sanctuary building stand Cheonjitap, twin pagodas three times the size of a human. The view over Tapsa Temple from the entrance of the main sanctuary is breathtaking.
If Maisan Mountain and Tapsa Temple are a place to be in the spring, the Baegundong Valley is a great destination for the summer.
Meaning “White Cloud,” Baegundong is an entirely appropriate name because white Joseon (1392-1910). He beheld the moun-
tain’s two rocky peaks separated by 20 meters, and penned a poem of which one line reads, “How have eunuchs only taken the horse’s body and left the ears?” The pointy twin peaks of Maisan Mountain were formed by eons of weathering and erosion, but they suggest an inexplicable energy that is greater than Mother Nature.
Maisan Mountain’s peaks are referred to by different names each season. In the spring, they are called Dotdaebong, mean- ing “Mast Peaks,” because they seem to stand like the masts of a sailing ship when surrounded by fog. Their summer name is Yonggakbong, or “Dragon Horn Peaks.” In autumn, the peaks are called Maibong, or
“Horse Ear Peaks,” like the name of the mountain. In winter, they are called Mun- pilbong, meaning “Ink Brush Peaks,”
because they resemble writing brushes dipped in black ink. Maisan Mountain is home to Korea’s one and only cheongsilbae tree, an extremely rare species of pear tree endemic to Korea. The tree was planted as a seed by King Taejo at Eunsusa Temple to commemorate the place where he prayed for 100 days. On calm days, the Tabyeongje
LEFT Stone pagodas add to the feeling of mystery of tapsa temple. RIGHT Maisan Mountain is cloaked in colorful blossom. © Jinan County Government
a scenic view over a lake. © Jinan County Government
WHAT TO EAT When in Jinan, one must not miss out on a local delicacy called aejeojjim, or steamed baby pork. Aejeo means baby pork, and the dish is made by steaming two to four-week old pork legs for many hours in a broth. the meat is incredibly soft and tender, and the soup is rich and mild. the restauarant Jinangwan (t. 063-433-2629; 282-5, Gunsang-ri, Jinan-eup, Jinan- gun, Jeollabuk-do) has been in business for over 50 years and is known far and wide for excellent aejeojjim. a two-person serving costs KrW 40,000.
aejeojjim is served with an array of side dishes.
WHERE TO STAY there are a number of great bed & breakfasts near Maisan Mountain Provincial Park and Demisem natural Forest, surrounded by beautiful places to walk. the Jinan red Ginseng Spa & Villa is both an excellent hotel and a red ginseng- themed spa. Visitors can enjoy spa treatments designed specifi- cally for their body types, based on a yin-yang analysis and on the five elements of Oriental medicine.
GETTING THERE Jinan is a three-hour bus ride from the Seoul Express bus terminal. Make sure to check the departure time because there are only two buses a day connecting Seoul and Jinan. Local buses operate between the Jinan bus terminal and Maisan Mountain. Hikers can take buses bound for the southern side of Maisan Mountain, and others can take those bound for the northern side.
korea / March
2 1 SPortS
Footballer Cha Du-ri
WrIttEn by Kim hyeon-tae
Much of the credit for Korea’s second-place finish in the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup on January 31 goes to retiring defender Cha Du-ri.
June 2002 is unforgettable in Korean football. During the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Korea and Japan, the entire nation joined the “Red Devils,” the nick- name for Korean football fans, in cheering for the national team. With throngs of people dressed in red T-shirts passionately rooting them on, the men’s national foot- ball team made it to the semi-finals, Korea’s
best result in any World Cup.
Cha Du-ri was the youngest player on the national team in 2002. Most people in Korea, and football fans in Europe, only knew Cha as the son of a famous former footballer. Cha Du-ri’s father is Cha Bum- kun, the legendary forward who played in Germany’s Bundesliga from 1979 to 1989.
During his career in the Bundesliga, Cha
Bum-kun earned the nickname “Cha Boom” for his remarkable striking ability.
He was one of the world’s best players at the time, winning the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Cup for both teams he played on in Germany, Ein- tracht Frankfurt (1980) and Bayer 04 Laverkusen (1988). As the son of this well- known figure, Cha Du-ri naturally attracted
a great deal of interest when he joined the national team.
Cha Du-ri’s career, however, has not been as stellar as his father’s. Following in his father’s footsteps, Cha moved to Ger- many to play in the Bundesliga immedi- ately after the 2002 FIFA World Cup. In 2010, Cha signed with Glasgow’s Celtic and has played on the team for two years.
Though he was a talented athlete, Cha Du-ri always found himself in his father’s shadow. Some even said he was only able to play in Germany because of his father’s reputation. Cha left Europe after an undis- tinguished career of over a decade and joined FC Seoul to play in the Korean football league in 2013.
AN ENERGIzER BUNNY
If this were the end of Cha Du-ri’s story, people would only remember him as merely another athlete whose father was a sports legend. Although football fans do not chant his name across the stadium as they did for his father, Cha Du-ri genu- inely enjoys football. Even when his team loses, he never fails to congratulate the winning team. Giving his best in the match is enough for him. Of course, this does not mean that he is not competitive. After a defeat, he simply trains harder in prepara- tion for the next match. Cha also knows how to be grateful in every situation.
“There was a time when I did not like my father’s name following me around. Now, I know that I would not be here if it were not for my father,” says Cha Du-ri.
In May 2014, Cha was left off the final roster for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil despite people’s high expectations. Instead of dwelling on this, he decided to participate in the games as a commentator for a TV net- work. Any other athlete would have been dispirited for not being able to play, but Cha maintained his positive energy and poured it into the broadcasting booth. During his match comments, he encouraged fans to continue cheering for the national team even when they were not doing well.
PERSISTENCE IS KEY
When Cha Du-ri became a TV commen- tator, people thought he would soon retire.
Instead, he went back to the field after the 2014 World Cup and became one of the best defenders in the Korean football league. In December 2014, he was called up to the national team by the new German manager, Uli Stielike, to play in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup tournament in Australia. The national team at the time was facing public opprobrium for its poor per- formance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Moreover, many athletes were injured, and the new manager had only been with the
1 - Son Heung-min scores after receiving the ball from Cha Du-ri in the quarterfinal of the aFC asian Cup against Uzbekistan on Jan. 22, 2015. © yonhap news
2 - Cha Du-ri waves to the fans after a game in the 2002 FIFa World Cup. © yonhap news 3 - after retiring from the national team, Cha Du-ri will continue to play for FC Seoul.
© yonhap news 2
team for four months. The team was under even greater pressure because Korean foot- ball fans were intent on seeing the nation win its first AFC Asian Cup in 55 years.
The fans’ worries quickly dissipated when the national team performed bril- liantly, winning every match before the final without giving up a single goal. In the final match against host Australia, Korea was defeated 2-1 in overtime. Although the team missed the opportunity to win, no one criticized them for the loss. Instead, the people gave a rousing applause to Cha Du-ri, who is retiring from the national team. Cha’s smile never left his face throughout the Asian Cup games. He was relishing every moment in his last interna- tional event. On the field, he was surpris- ingly agile and strong for a 35-year-old athlete. His man-to-man marking was well executed, and his crosses were sharp. Cha’s overall performance was nothing short of amazing. Thanks to Cha Du-ri, January 2015 was equally as memorable and as happy as June 2002.
korea / March eNtertAiNMeNt
Korean pop is increasingly popular around the world and is dominated by the three big entertainment companies:SM, YG and JYP. Girls’ Generation, EXO, Big Bang, 2NE1 and Wonder Girls are products of strategic planning and thorough execu- tion by these nose-to-the-grindstone talent agencies. They put idol groups at the fore- front of the entertainment industry, making waves in the broader Korean music indus- try. They are quick to set new trends and to bring to the market the pop stars that are part of it.
w r o t e “ W h a t ’s Yo u r N a m e ? ” a n d
“WhatchaDoin’ Today,” both sung by 4Minute. The five-member girl group 4Minute, Cube’s best-known idol group, is trendier, more freewheeling and unhin- dered compared to their counterparts at SM and JYP.
Starship Entertainment is another newcomer to the entertainment market. It produced girl group Sistar and boy group Boyfriend, and is firmly establishing itself in the market. Sistar garnered a huge fol- lowing because the members are consid- ered to be more vocally and musically tal- ented than members of other groups. The group has effectively set itself apart from its peers. Its soulful songs have attracted people in their 30s who generally do not favor idol groups’ songs. Sistar has also done a series of collaborations with other artists, appealing to a wider demographic.
A third management agency, LOEN Entertainment, is famous for its singer songwriter IU. Then under DREAMT Entertainment, girl group Girl’s Day suc- cessfully built a favorable and popular image of young idol singers growing into adults. Finally, FNC Entertainment built up boy bands CNBLUE and FT Island.
These new entertainment companies have fresh, new ideas and plan things in innovative manners. They’ve made the most of their niche in the entertainment market. Now, they are challenging the big three big players SM, YG and JYP to explore new possibilities and to help make- pop music more diverse.
LATE MOVERS CHALLENGING THEM- SELVES
These late movers do more than just dis- cover talent and manage glittering idol groups. They participate in the production of soap operas, since idol group singers are now acting in TV dramas. They can secure a steady stream of revenue by selling the soap opera licenses to broadcasters in Japan, China and across East Asia. By having their idol groups sing the songs played on TV
programs, they can even further broaden their revenue streams. With Korean pop music enjoying such huge popularity across East Asia, investing in movies and television dramas starring these idols is not very risky.
The companies can sell licenses to air their content even during the initial production phase.
The companies are going all out to establish themselves as content businesses that offer more than just saccharine pop music. LOEN Entertainment is deeply involved in the music industry. It owns Korea’s largest digital music service plat- form, Melon, and produces albums, too.
Cube Entertainment is known for its so- called “Music Cube, ” a group of more than 700 musicians, including producers, song- wr iters and lyr icists. What is more, it recently went public, laying the foundation for yet another leap forward.
However, important new players have recently emerged in the industry. A number of late movers have jumped on the idol group bandwagon. They are not only fol- lowing in the footsteps of the major players, but are trying hard to catch up with them.
These new players are diversifying the mainstream entertainment industry.
CUBE AND STARSHIP
One of the late movers is Cube Entertain- ment. It was founded by Hong Seung-sung and has produced 4Minute, a girl group,
and Beast, a boy group. Hong previously co-founded JYP Entertainment and served as a director at Daeyoung AV, which played an important role in Korean pop music in the 1990s. Cube Entertainment started working with new and trendy songwriters such as Shinsadong Tiger, who wrote “Hot Issue, ” sung by 4Mintute, and “Trouble Maker, ” sung by Trouble Maker, the duo made up of Hyuna, a member of 4Minute, and Jang Hyun-seung, a member of Beast.
Another songwriter who recently joined hands with Cube is Brave Brothers. He
Catching Up Fast
The entertainment industry widens its spectrum as latecomers challenge SM, YG and JYP.
WrIttEn by nah Ji-un 1 - Produced by Cube Entertainment,
4Minute is one of the most popular idol groups around these days.
© yonhap news
2 - CnbLUE recently completed a successful tour of asia. © yonhap news 3 - IU, a pop star signed to LOEn
Entertainment, acts in soap operas and sings & writes songs.
korea / March
2 5 SPeCiAL iSSUe
A Storied Sports Arena
The Jangchung Gymnasium was built in 1963 and later became Korea’s first domed arena. It was recently reopened to the public after more than two years of renova- tions. The arena could easily have been demolished, but it has been given a new life.
WrIttEn by Kim nae-on PHOtOGraPHED by Seoul metropolitan faCilitieS management Corporation
In the Jung-gu district at the center of Seoul, the Jangchung Gymnasium has again become a center of activity since Jan- uary 19, 2015. On that day, it hosted a pro- fessional women's volleyball game between the GS Caltex and Korea Expressway Cor- poration teams. This was the first sports event held at the stadium since March 14, 2012, when the old arena was closed for two years and eight months for badly needed renovation and remodeling.
A second basement level was added and the floor of the main arena was length- ened from 36 to 46 meters, enough to accommodate most indoor ball games. The dome, the signature feature of the gymna- sium, was remodeled. It was designed with motifs from traditional dance performances such as the fan dance (buchaechum), the circle dance (ganggangsullae) and the mask
dance (talchum). The helical pattern of the dome, for example, symbolizes the slanted circular formation of fans presented in the fan dance. The windows at the base of the dome represent the circle dance and the pattern on the wall embodies the dyna- mism of the mask dance. A new under- ground passageway connecting to Dong- guk University Station on Seoul's Subway Line No. 3 allows easier access to the facil- ity, too.
RETAINING THE PAST
The stadium could have been pulled down.
It was the country's first indoor arena, opened in February 1963. The second, Jamsil Gymnasium, was built in southern Seoul in 1979. The Jamsil Gymnasium became an even more popular sports venue after 2000. In that year, the city of Seoul
announced its plans to demolish the Dong- daemun Baseball Stadium, built in 1925, and erect the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in its place. Some people suggested that the Jangchung Gymnasium should also be demolished. Others argued that it should be preserved for its historical and cultural value. It was eventually decided that the arena would be renovated in a way that could integrate the old with the new. That is why artist Kim Shin-il used the sculp- tures from the old gymnasium to create his work of art, “History,” outside in the stadi- um's front plaza. Some of the old flooring and seating were preserved, as well.
Photographs of the old arena hang on the walls that run from the second base- ment level to the subway station. They include pictures of professional wrestling legend Kim Il and of Korea’s first world
boxing champion Kim Ki-soo in some of their most-famous matches.
PART OF SPORTS AND ARCHITECTURE HISTORY
The Jangchung Gymnasium hosted numerous sensational sporting events throughout the years. In 1966, Kim Ki-soo, Korea's first professional boxing champion, won by decision over Nino Benvenuti, the welterweight gold medalist at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. The gymnasium was overcrowded when Kim Il, master of the head-butt knockout, defeated Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1975.
The gymnasium hosted basketball and volleyball games, boxing matches, weight- lifting competitions, wrestling matches, Korean traditional wrestling matches (ssireum) and other such events. Countless athletes became heroes here, and people came to revel in the excitement and forget about the worries of life. This was where the judo and taekwondo matches were held during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In the 1980s, basketball fans flocked to see star players such as Lee Chung-hee and Kim Hyun-jun go head-to-head. In 1983, pro- fessional ssireum wrestler Lee Man-ki,
barely 20 years old, won the Cheonha Jangsa Ssireum Competition and rose to stardom.
The gymnasium is an important archi- tectural example, too. It had originally been built as a gymnasium for soldiers. It later came under the management of the city of Seoul, which decided to build a dome on top of it for night games. Newspapers reported that the remodeled stadium could host games day or night. It was designed by the late Kim Joung-su, who also designed the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) building in Jong-ro, St. Mary`s Hospital in Myeongdong (now in Yeouido) and the Korea National Assembly Building in Yeouido. The dome is an assemblage of steel trusses 80 meters long and was a great technical challenge to build at the time.
The late architect Choi Jong-wan designed the dome.
People cheered, laughed and enjoyed themselves at the Jangchung Gymnasium for 50 years. The renovation has given new life to the historic gymnasium, transform- ing it into a multi-purpose complex for sports and performances alike. It is now ready once again to bring people great excitement and laughter.
1 - the Jangchung Gymnasium was renovated after 50 years.
2 - the tongilSsireum Competition was held at the Jangchung Gymnasium in 1991.
© yonhap news
3 - a professional league all-star volleyball game is held at the renovated Jangchung Gymnasium.
korea / March CUrreNt KoreA
The intersection of Dangsan-ro and Dorim-ro boulevards, near Mullae Station on Seoul’s Subway Line No. 2, might seem a bit odd. There are art studios here and there scattered between old iron and steel plants and shops. Far-out murals in vivid colors create an interesting contrast with the dark, deteriorating walls of the old metal shops and sawmills. You can find something artistic in places you least expect, including the neighborhood’s narrow alleyways. Take a second glance at the bench that you just passed, and you will see that it is actually a work of art. Numer- ous works of art in the neighborhood are made of iron and steel.
ARTISTS MOVE INTO IRONMASTERS’
The area was nothing like this even a few years ago. Nearly a century ago, the area was home to textile factories. The Gyeong- seong Spinning and Weaving Company opened there in 1919. Soon after, other textile makers also established themselves in the area. There is some speculation that the name “Mullae-dong” itself derives from mulle, a traditional spinning machine. In the 1960s, the area became the center of the iron and steel industry. It played an impor- tant role in the nation’s industrialization process, and there were a significant number of iron and steel workshops and
A New Artist village
The neighborhood of Mullae-dong in Seoul, once bustling
with iron workshops, was nearly abandoned after industrialization swept across the nation. It has risen again, however, as a thriving district for artists.
WrIttEn by Kim nae-on PHOtOGraPHED by mullae art SpaCe
factories up until the 1980s.
The neighborhood of Mullae-dong began to fade in the 1980s and 1990s. It suffered during a transition period when industrialization was no longer considered the country’s highest priority, and was widely blamed as a major source of air pol- lution in Seoul. The city of Seoul eventu- ally decided to move the workshops and factories to the outskirts of the city. Many actually did move, and others simply shut down. Mullae-dong was left largely aban- doned, but the deserted buildings testify to the thriving place it had once been, and to how far such a place could decline.
After 2000, a group of artists settled in
Small iron workshops coexist with artists’ studios.
2 8 2 9
korea / March
the old houses and buildings in the area.
They had had studios or residences near Hongik University, a hip and artsy area popularly known as Hongdae. Mullae- dong was close to Hongdae and offered much lower rent. Soon afterward, cafés and art galleries started to pop up. Now, more than 250 painters, installation artists, sculp- tors, musicians and other artists call Mul- lae-dong home.
ART MAKES COMMUNITY STRONGER The revival of Mullae-dong began entirely with the artists. It is likened to East Berlin or Detroit, where poor artists moved in and established a community in the factory and department store buildings that had sur- vived. They breathed new life into the area by working together with the residents and completely changed its ambiance. East Berlin could easily have been left to deteri- orate into a slum after its failure to keep up with the new world, but artists brought it back.
Now that more artists are moving to Mullae-dong, grassroots organizations have sprung up to help them integrate into the community. They support artists’ work by helping host art festivals on the streets and at community hangouts for artists and the public. They have established walking tours along the alleys and other places in the neighborhood. The city government joined
the efforts and built the “Seoul Art Space Mullae” in 2010 on a site where metal shops once stood. The center financially supports the art village and coordinates programs where artists can exchange ideas with international colleagues. In 2012, the center held the “Common Ground Proj- ect” exhibition, which presented iron and steel sculptures made by artists who learned metalworking from ironmasters in the neighborhood.
It was the low cost of rent that first attracted artists to the neighborhood. Now, they have become an important part of its economic ecosystem. In November 2014, the artists in Mullae-dong took part in Creative Korea 2014, an exposition on bringing innovation to different areas of the economy, at COEX a convention center in Seoul. They held an exhibition titled “Mullae-dong Creative Art Village.”
There, the artists reproduced the alleyways of Mullae-dong that are packed with old, deserted steel shops and welders’ shops.
They used steel products and scrap from the ironmasters’ work in addition to pieces of fabric, wood and posters that can be found easily in the area. The artists partici- pating in the exhibit, Yoo Ji-yeon, Kwon Jeong-jun, Yun, Yeong-pil, Park, Dong-ju and Park Mu-rim, said that they wanted to show how art can change a backwater neighborhood. These kinds of activities will help Mullae-dong revive, and without outside support. The more the artists get involved, the more likely they can truly become part of the neighborhood. That, of course, is another way of protecting their homes and studios over the long term.
WHERE INNOVATAION BRINGS CHANGE
Artists have not only brought newfound vitality to Mullae-dong but have boosted the neighborhood economy. A case in point is the Mullae Small Business Support Center that opened in November 2014.
Seoul city government saw the potential of the area with its specialty in dealing with
Artists revitalize the neighborhood of
Mullae-dong and give a boost to its economy.
the Seoul art Space Mullae hosts performances for many artists based in the neighborhood. the artists’ village in the neighborhood of Mullae-dong
is unique in many ways.
Murals make the neighborhood more beautiful.
iron and steel products and the great posi- tive change artists brought to the neighbor- hood. The support center helps small busi- nesses by passing on expertise and by train- ing owners and workers. It also helps finance purchases of expensive equipment that small businesses would otherwise be unable to afford. The city government expects both ironmasters and artists to bring tremendous innovation to Mullae-dong.
President Park Geun-hye visited Mul- lae-dong in November 2014. She likened the industry of making parts and materials with steel to a root, a backbone helping uphold other industries. Recognizing the area as an important “root,” she emphasized the neighborhood’s singular character. The president said that applying information technology to the area’s manufacturing and fusing it with cultural industries would bring even more creativity and innovation
to Mullae-dong. The government plans to do its part by helping nurture talented young people, improve the manufacturing environment, explore new business models and support artists’ collaboration. President Park, in a session with artists and those who are working in steel manufacturing, said,
“With you, I would like to revive the economy of Mullae-dong so that it can give dreams and jobs to the young, as it did in the past. I will strive to help the neigh- borhood come back to the forefront of the national economy with creative and inno- vative ideas.” Manufacturing and art are converging in the alleyways of the steel and welders’ shops that once made everything needed to fuel the nation’s industrialization.
In Mullae-dong, laborers and artists live and work in a community, making the neigh- borhood of traditional manufacturing ready for the 21st Century.
artists in the neighborhood of Mullae-dong show off their iron and steel sculptures.
korea / March BiLAterAL tALKS
of 10 million people in 2014, a goal the two leaders did not plan to accomplish until 2016, and are working closely together to increase trade volume to USD 300 billion.
President Park emphasized the impor- tance of close bilateral cooperation by firmly declaring that South Korea will strive to establish a substantive and concrete basis for the unification the Korean Penin- sula in 2015 and asserting that unification will enable cutbacks in defense spending and further the development of Northeast Asia. Regarding her remarks, Minister Chang gave a positive evaluation of the offers made by the two Koreas toward each other and vowed to help the South realize peaceful unification. In addition, he expressed hope for the six-party talks to resume as soon as possible in the interests of peace on the peninsula and for a resolution to the North’s nuclear weapons situation.
STRENGTHENING DEFENSE COMMUNICATION
Earlier that day, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan visited Seoul’s Defense Minister Han Min-koo for the countries’
first top-level defense talks since 2011.
They agreed to bolster working-level dis- cussions to establish a military hotline between the two ministries during the first half of this year, emphasizing the impor- tance of mutual trust and closer strategic cooperation. The direct communication channel between Seoul and Beijing would allow the two countries to respond quickly to any serious threat from the North and other security issues regarding the Korean Peninsula.
Both defense ministers Han and Chang reaffirmed their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Penin- sula and agreed to cooperate in dealing with the North’s nuclear weapons issue.
With regard to improving regional peace and security, Minister Han briefed Minister Chang on South Korea’s Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative, a plat-
form to foster regional cooperation, and the two ministers recognized that close relations between South Korea and China are crucial.
Ministers Han and Chang also agreed to develop the two countries’ strategic cooperative defense partnership, acknowl- edging that the development of bilateral defense relations, in addition to political, economic and cultural ties, has brought South Korea and China closer together since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992. In this regard, they discussed cooperation in cyber defense and peace- keeping missions, including United Nations peacekeeping operations and combating piracy.
South Korea and China agreed to set up a
military hotline between their defense ministries in the near future.
MINISTER CHANG MEETS PRESIDENT PARK
South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Minister Chang at the Office of the President at Cheong Wa Dae on Febru- ary 4. President Park welcomed the visit by an outstanding field commander and an expert in mainland China’s space develop- ment program, and expressed her hope that the first visit in nine years by a Chinese minister of defense would strengthen strate- gic communication between the defense author ities of the two countr ies and enhance defense exchange and cooperation.
Minister Chang delivered warm greet- ings and best wishes to President Park from Chinese President Xi Jinping. He said his visit is part of an effort to further substan- tialize the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries, as agreed upon by the two heads of state, and to strengthen communication and mutual trust between their defense authorities. The Chinese Defense Minister said that the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership between South Korea and China has deep- ened through frequent exchanges between senior officials, clearing the way for the two countries to maintain a close partnership and exchange their views about issues of mutual interest. The minister added that the two countries saw bilateral travel flows
Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan shakes hands with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo during their meeting on Feb. 4, 2015. © yonhap news
Chinese Minister of Defense visits South Korea *
On February 3, Chinese Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan visited South Korea to discuss bilateral relations.
ExCErPtED FrOM Korea.Kr
Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan (left) shakes hands with South Korean President Park Geun-hye during their meeting on Feb. 4, 2015.
© yonhap news
* although Korea's official name is the republic of Korea, it is referred to as South Korea in this article with respect to north Korea and the unification on the Korean peninsula.