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Opening a communicative space

between Korea and the world

Nurturing the Spirit

With a Temple Stay
Royal Tombs

ISSN: 2005-2162


 AUGUST 2009

06 16 38 48 54
Kim He-beom,
Korean Culture and
Information Service
06 News in Focus
• UNESCO Recognizes Royal Resting Places

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4 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 5

News in Focus

UNESCO Recognizes
Royal Resting Places
40 storied tomb sites epitomize the ingenuity
and social principles of the Joseon Dynasty
Courtesy of the Cultural Heritage Administration

Mist fills the air near a tomb in Hyeolleung in

Guri, Gyeonggi Province.

6 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 7

News in Focus

Joseon’s code of law. be given to those buried,” Lee said.

For a monarchy that ruled for over Twelve stone animal guardians —
500 years to have maintained the tombs four tigers, four sheep and four horses
so well for so long is remarkable. “It was — keep a vigil over the tombs and their
because the dynasty endured for so long occupants. In front of the horses stand
that the tombs have been so well pre- two stone ministers, each holding a
served,” said Lee Chang-hwan, a profes- document, and two generals bearing
sor of landscape architecture at Sangji swords, their solemn expressions meant
Yeongseo College who was involved in to show their loyalty.
the UNESCO application process. “Like the Taj Mahal in India and the
“Joseon was a Confucian state, and pyramids in Egypt, the tombs were rep-
paying tribute to one’s ancestors was resentative of the architecture and land-
very important,” Lee said. “Ancestral scape design of the time,” Lee said.
ceremonies were held at the tombs twice “In most cultures, humans place the
a year, so the tombs had to be well main- utmost importance on the places where
tained.” their ancestors are buried.”
The typical royal Joseon tomb con- As many tombs around the world
sists of a ceremonial area and a burial are considered architectural monu-
mound. A red gate called a hongsalmun ments, many of them are also listed as
leads into the ceremonial area, at the World Heritage sites, he added.
center of which stands a T-shaped Over the years And the Joseon tombs have been
wooden shrine. The sites also usually preserved so well partly because they
include a place for stone memorial tab- many have were too difficult to loot. They are made
lets, a guard house and a kitchen, used tried to loot of stones bound in concrete, making
to prepare food for the rituals. forced entry virtually impossible. In
Fall foliage surrounds a royal tomb in
Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province. The shrine sits facing the burial the tombs, but fact, many of the grave mounds have
mound, which is typically located high- their thick lay- still not been excavated.
er up on the hillside. Ernest Jacob Oppert, a German
“The burial mounds for ancestors ers of concrete merchant in China, tried to dig up the

eonjeongneung, a combination The 40 tombs are scattered across 18 They were deliberately placed on and the shrines for descendants are dis- thwart would- tomb of Prince Namyeon in 1868.
of the ancient royal tombs Seol- locations in Seoul and Gyeonggi and hills or mountains, designed to follow tinguished by the difference in the levels Namyeon was the father of Heungseon
leung and Jeongneung, sits like Gangwon provinces. There are eight the contours of the land around them, of the ground on which they sit, indicat- be grave Daewongun (1820-1898), who was the
an oasis in the midst of the such tombs in Seoul. Guri in Gyeonggi, unlike counterparts in other Confucian ing [the degree of] respect that should robbers. father of King Gojong. Oppert wanted
busy, commercial district of Samseong- has the most with nine, including the countries. In China, for example, many
dong, southern Seoul. On weekends, tomb of King Taejo, the dynasty’s found- such tombs were built on flat land.
families stroll around the area, push er. Two Joseon tombs in North Korea The tombs symbolize the royal fam-
baby carriages or lie down on the wide were not included on the list. ily’s authority and the values of the time. Mongneung in Guri, Gyeonggi,
green lawn radiating around it. For According to the Cultural Heritage Their locations were determined based is occupied by King Seonjo,
casual visitors, it is more park than his- Administration, the grave sites satisfy on Confucian principles and feng shui, Queen Uijin and Queen Inmok.
toric site. four of the 10 reasons to be placed on usually with one side protected by a hill
But in fact these and 38 other Joseon the World Heritage list. First, they reflect and the other overlooking a body of
Dynasty (1392-1910) tombs have just steps in the development of a single cul- water or a distant mountain ridge.
been named a UNESCO World Heri- ture; second, they are rare and date back They were also placed close to the
tage site. hundreds of years; third, they represent capital to make it easy for kings to hold
The decision to list the tombs came an architectural style that grew out of ancestral rituals on site, though they
at the 33rd session of the World Heri- philosophical, cultural, social, artistic were situated away from residential
tage Committee in Seville, Spain on and scientific progress, and fourth, they areas or farms to maintain the solem-
June 26, Spanish time. represent historic and abstract ideas nity of the surrounding atmosphere.
“The committee concluded that the and beliefs. With the exception of Hureung in
sites along with the beautiful scenery The UNESCO committee singled North Korea, Yeongnyeongneung in
surrounding them create a solemn out for attention the harmony of the Yeoju and Jangneung in Yeongwol
atmosphere and reveal an important tombs with their natural surroundings County, all of the tombs are located
step in the development of tombs and as well as the rituals accompanying within between 4 kilometers (2.5 miles)
ancestral rituals in East Asia,” the Kore- them that have been passed down and 40 kilometers of central Seoul,
an National Commission for UNESCO through the generations, Korea’s Cul- which was once the Joseon capital, as
said in a statement. tural Heritage Administration said. stipulated in the Gyeonggukdaejeon,
8 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 9
News in Focus

It’s a long and rigorous process. The The CHA North Gyeongsang and Yangdong Vil-
addition of the tombs to the list began lage in Wolseong, Gyeongju, North
with a recommendation by the Interna- hopes Hahoe Gyeongsang. The two villages have
tional Council on Monuments and Sites, and Yangdong already undergone preliminary review
or ICOMOS, in April after an extensive by ICOMOS in March and May, and
evaluation in September 2008. ICOMOS villages, home now await official review to take place in
advises UNESCO on global cultural to two Joseon September.
sites, and its judgment has a major influ- At a meeting of the advisory body to
ence on the World Heritage Committee’s clans, will be discuss historic villages from June 22 to
decisions. next on the 24, located, appropriately, in a village
Of the 29 sites in the world seeking north of Rome, Italy, Lee Sang-hae, pro-
the committee’s recommendation at the UNESCO list. fessor of architecture at Sungkyunkwan
time, only 10, including the Joseon University and Korean representative to
tombs, received it. All 10 of those places ICOMOS, made presentations about
were put on the World Heritage list at the Hahoe and Yangdong.
33rd session of the committee in June. Lee spoke about the historical value
Not all the efforts to win interna- and preservation status of the villages,
tional recognition for Korea’s historic stressing that they are examples of Con-
sites have been as successful. The Inter- fucian one-clan communities, with a
national Union for Conservation of shrine to the family ancestors in each.
Nature, or IUCN, ICOMOS’s counter- The Korean Cultural Heritage
part in evaluating natural world heritage Administration already sent an applica-
sites, declined to recommend a Creta- tion to the World Heritage Committee
ceous Period dinosaur fossil site on the for the two sites Jan. 16. Though it is not
coast of South Jeolla and South Gyeong- certain where the next meeting will be
sang, and Korea withdrew its applica- held, the agency hopes the two villages
tion, since a second review is not consid- will be listed at the 34th session of the
ered feasible. World Heritage Committee, to be con-
But Korea’s Cultural Heritage vened next year.
Administration is already gearing up to Families of the Pungsan Yu clan set-
recommend more locations as World tled in Hahoe starting in the 16th cen-
Heritage sites. Next on the agenda are tury, during the Joseon Dynasty.Local
the Hahoe Folk Village in Andong, clan heritage is well preserved, with resi-

to steal the prince’s body and relics and stone wall,” the administration said. was a contemporary imitation.
use them to pressure Heungseon Dae- According to the Joseon Wangjo Sil- “Silla Dynasty [57 B.C.-A.D. 935]
wongun, who then ruled the country on lok, the dynasty’s royal history, the stone tombs contain precious items such as
behalf of his son as regent, to open Korea chambers where kings and queens were crowns, but imitations were placed in
up to the Western world. But eventually laid to rest were covered with concrete, the Joseon tombs to protect them from
Oppert gave up because he could not then coated with a layer of charcoal 15 theft,” said Chung Jae-hoon, a professor
penetrate the stone chamber. centimeters (5.9 inch) thick, protecting of traditional landscape architecture at
In January 2006, a vertical hole was the tombs from insects and humidity. the Korean National University of Cul-
found in Seoreung, a site with five tombs But even if looters had forced their tural Heritage.
in Goyang, Gyeonggi. It was 2.7 meters way into the tombs, they might have
(8.9 feet) deep, according to the Cultural been disappointed. What makes these More heritage sites to come?
Heritage Administration. But the tomb’s sites unique compared to their predeces- These 40 royal tombs are just one
secrets stayed hidden. sors is that they didn’t contain actual rel- part of a push to include more of Korea’s
“Someone attempted a robbery, but ics from the ruler’s life. Everything in the cultural and natural assets on the World
could not dig further because of the tombs (except the bodies themselves) Heritage list.
[Press Q]

Visitors look around Seolleung, occupied by King Seongjong and

10 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 11
Queen Jeonghyeon, in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.
News in Focus

dences of clan heads, a Confucian school ber of magnificent mansions owned by the mansions are listed as national trea-
and many ancient buildings still extant, aristocrats and thatched-roof houses sures.
and local folk arts including the Byeols- that belonged to servants, as well as The homes of the main Son and Yi
ingut mask drama and shamanist rites Wonjijong Temple and Byeongsan Con- families, along with the residences of
still being practiced. fucian School. their descendants, are located on high
Hahoe Folk Village is located on a Yangdong Village in northern Gyeo- ground near the mountain ridges, while
bend in the Hwacheon Stream, a tribu- ngju, the ancient capital of the Silla King- those of commoners sit further down.
tary of the Nakdong River. The site for dom located along the Hyeongsang This spatial differentiation clearly illus-
the village was chosen carefully accord- River, dates back to the 15th century, and trates the highly stratified society of
ing to feng shui. A mountain, Mount it has already been designated Impor- Joseon. The village has even maintained
Nam, is located to the south of the vil- tant Folklore Material No. 189. its tradition of yangban scholarship.
lage, while a cliff overlooks it from the
north. The topographical setting of the
The village has prospered since its
founding, home to the Wolseong Son
But whether these sites are accepted
by the World Heritage Committee or World
village has the shape of “a lotus flower and Yeogang Yi clans. Manors, pavilions, not, they will remain valuable evidence Haein Temple, the depository Jongmyo Shrine (1995)
floating on water,” a most auspicious Confucian schools and thatched-roof of the ingenuity and lifestyle of Korea’s heritage of the Tripitaka Koreana wood-
image. houses of commoners are still preserved past, and are worthy of our study and blocks (1995)
Floating atop the flower are a num- there, as well as folk customs. Some of protection.  By Limb Jae-un sites in
Korea T he temple of Haein on Mount Gaya
is home to the Tripitaka Koreana, Ko- J ongmyo is the oldest and most
authentic of Korea’s Confucian royal
Interview Yi Kun-moo rea’s most complete collection of Buddhist shrines to survive to this day. Dedicated
texts, engraved on 80,000 woodblocks to the forefathers of the Joseon Dynasty

Faithful Custodians of World produced between 1237 and 1248. The

buildings at Haein Temple, dating back
(1392-1910), the shrine has existed in its
present form since the 16th century and

N ow that the 40 royal tombs assets such as rituals that have been In addition to the to the 15th century, were constructed to houses tablets bearing the teachings of
have won World Heritage sta- passed down through the genera- tombs, Korea has eight house this masterpiece. members of the former royal family. Ritual
tus, it’s time to return focus to the tions and their careful preservation other World Heritage The Tripitaka Koreana was compiled over ceremonies linking music, song and dance
restoration and preservation of by the government. sites: Jongmyo Shrine,
a period of 15 years under the command still take place there, perpetuating a tradi-
Korea’s cultural assets, says Yi Kun- The UNESCO inscription on of King Gojong of the Goryeo Dynasty tion that goes back to the 14th century.
moo, head of the Cultural Heritage the tombs, like the ones at Jongmyo listed in 1995; Seok- (918-1392), who sought to solicit the Throughout much of traditional East Asian
Administration. Shrine and Changdeok Palace, will guram Grotto and mercy of the Buddha to expel the Mongol culture, including China and Korea, ritual
“The world has finally recog- be a big draw for tourists to learn Bulguksa Temple invaders. Goryeo adopted Buddhism as has been highly important. In Korean
nized the true value of the Joseon more about Joseon heritage, Yi (1995); Haein Temple,
the state religion, giving rise to a flower- society, preserving these rites was seen

Dynasty’s heritage,” Yi said at the said. ing culture. as vital to maintaining basic social order.
World Heritage Committee meet- According to Yi, after the Jeju the depository for the Known in Korean as Palman Daejang- Two of the most important in protecting
ing in Spain in late June, according Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes Tripitaka Koreana gyeong (“the great collection of scriptures the strict hierarchies of Joseon were the
to Yonhap. became a World Heritage site in review [by ICOMOS, which took woodblocks (1995); the in 80,000 blocks”), the Tripitaka Koreana Jongmyo and the Sajik rituals. Jongmyo
Yi is proud of Korea’s World 2008, the number of tourists visiting place in March and May] and thor- Changdeok Palace
is recognized as the finest of some 30 East is a term used for a place where memo-
Heritage sites, with Jongmyo Shrine, the area increased 20 percent, while oughly prepare for the official Asian versions of the Buddhist canon in rial services are performed for deceased
Changdeok Palace Complex and Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam review.” Complex (1997); Chinese script in terms of comprehensive- kings, while Sajik refers to a place where
the Joseon royal tombs all listed saw exponential growth in the num- Yi also said he would make sure Hwaseong Fortress ness, accuracy, beauty of calligraphic style services for the gods of earth and crops
within a 14-year period. ber of tourists after it was listed in the tombs were never in danger of (1997); Gochang, Hwa- and carving. are performed.
“Ceremonial, living spaces and 1996. being delisted, citing the example of sun and the Ganghwa
The woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana The Jongmyo ritual itself has been des-
tombs of the dynasty have all Yi said he would try to add more Dresden Elbe Valley. have defied time, surviving the ravages ignated a Korean Important Intangible
become World Heritage sites,” Yi Korean assets to World Heritage list, During the 33rd session in June, Dolmen Sites (2000); of war and internal turmoil over the last Cultural Property not only for its historical
said. with the next targets for listing the committee decided to remove the Gyeongju Historic seven centuries. importance but for the splendor of its
“Since they have become the Hahoe Folk Village in Andong, Germany’s Dresden Elbe Valley Areas (2000); Jeju Vol- Its religious significance aside, the massive music and dance.
cultural heritage of all humankind, North Gyeongsang, and Yangdong from the list due to the construction canic Island and Lava
canon preserved in impeccable condition
we now have a bigger duty to pre- Village in Gyeongju in the same of a bridge in the heart of its natural is a testimony to the outstanding achieve-
serve and manage the sites.” province. landscape. Tubes (2007). ments of medieval Koreans in printing and
Yi discussed the three factors Before the official ICOMOS “We will continue restoration of preservation technology.
that convinced UNESCO to list the review of Hahoe and Yangdong, the tombs and complete the remov-
tombs: their unique landscape scheduled for September, Yi said, al of military facilities and a sports
architecture based on Confucian- “We’ll address the problems that complex in Taereung, as we prom-
ism and feng shui, the intangible surfaced during the preliminary ised UNESCO,” Yi said.

12 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 13

News in Focus

[JoongAng Ilbo]
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguk- Changdeok Palace Complex Hwaseong Fortress (1997) Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Gyeongju Historic Areas (2000) Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes
sa Temple (1995) (1997) Dolmen Sites (2000) (2007)

A small but noble pantheon of divini-

ties from Buddhist philosophy and
aestheticism inhabits Seokguram Grotto,
L ocated in Seoul, the grounds of
Changdeok Palace, built during the
Joseon Dynasty, contain more original
E mbracing the busy downtown area of
Suwon, 30 kilometers (18 miles) south
of Seoul, Hwaseong Fortress embod-
T he prehistoric cemeteries at Gochang,
North Jeolla; Hwasun, South Jeolla,
and Gangwha Island, Gyeonggi, contain
T he ancient capital of Gyeongju is
home to many outstanding examples
of Korean Buddhist art — sculptures, re-
J eju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes
together comprise three sites that
make up 18,846 hectares. It includes
a structure of sublime beauty combining buildings than any other palace from that ies King Jeongjo’s devotion to his father many hundreds of examples of dolmens, liefs, pagodas, temples and palaces. Traces Geomunoreum, regarded as the finest
influences from religious belief, science period. Designated as Historical Site No. and his ambition to create a new, more mysterious tombs from the 1st millennium of the glory that flowered during the Silla system of lava tube caves anywhere,
and the fine arts. 122, Changdeok covers a total area of defensible administrative and commercial B.C. constructed of large stone slabs. They Kingdom (57 BC-AD 935). still remain in with its multicolored carbonate roofs
Seokguram is located near the summit of 580,000 square meters (143 acres). capital. It’s the epitome of the achieve- form part of the Megalithic culture found the ruins of Wolseong (“the moon pal- and floors and dark-colored lava walls;
Mount Toham, east of historic Gyeongju, The capital of Joseon was moved south ments of Jeongjo, who led a political and in many parts of the world, but rarely in ace”), huge royal burial mounds, ancient the fortress-like Seongsan Ilchulbong
North Gyeongsang, old capital of the Silla from Kaesong, now in North Korea, in cultural renaissance and often accepted such a concentrated form. Dolmens are wells, bridges and temple and fortress tuff cone, rising out of the ocean and
Dynasty (57 B.C.-A.D. 935). Facing the 1392, but construction of this palace the counsel of young scholars seeking thought to be funerary monuments and sites, including Hwangnyong Temple. creating a dramatic landscape; and
East Sea, past the mountain ridges of the didn’t begin until October 1404, during institutional reforms and the practical ap- are spread throughout Asia, Europe and An outdoor museum surrounding Mount Mount Halla, the highest mountain in
southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, the fourth year of the reign of King Tae- plication of academic theories. North Africa. Nam, Gyeongju is divided into four main Korea, with its waterfalls, multi-faceted
Seokguram stands as proud testimony jong, the third Joseon king. Construction Deeply affected by the tragic death of his The massive slabs are of great archaeo- parts: the mountain itself, the Wolseong rock formations and lake-filled crater.
to Korea’s tradition of classical Buddhist of the main building, Jeongjeon, started father Crown Prince Sado, King Jeongjo logical value for the information that they area, the ruins of Hwangnyong Temple Jeju has distinct value as one of the
sculpture. in February 1405 and was completed in reinstated his father’s title of crown provide about the prehistoric peoples who and the Tumuli Park area, which has a few large shield volcanoes in the
After Silla unified the peninsula in the October. prince in 1777, the year after he came built them and their social and political group of three royal tombs. world to rise over a hot spot on a
mid-seventh century, conquering its rival That was when the palace was given its to the throne to succeed his grandfather, systems, beliefs, arts and ceremonies. Mount Nam, which lies to the north of stationary continental crust plate. The
states of Goguryeo and Baekje, Buddhism current name, meaning “Palace of Pros- Yeongjo. Out of extraordinary filial devo- The Gochang, Hwasun, and Ganghwa Gyeongju, covers 2,650 hectares and Geomunoreum lava tube system, the
not only served a religious function but pering Virtue.” Since it was located east tion, the king ordered his father’s tomb sites contain the highest density and is home to a large number of relics and most impressive and significant series
was also looked upon as a protective of the existing palace, Gyeongbok, it was be moved from the eastern suburbs of greatest variety of dolmens in Korea, and ruins from history and prehistory. Buddhist of protected lava tube caves in the
force. Temples of magnificent scale were often referred to as the “East Palace.” Seoul to Mount Hwa, or Hwasan, about 8 indeed of any country. They also preserve monuments that have been excavated world, includes a spectacular array
erected in and around Gyeongju and were Changdeok was a favorite of Joseon rulers kilometers from the city of Suwon. Then important evidence of how the stones include the ruins of 122 temples, 53 of secondary carbonate speleothems
regarded as supernatural defense against even though Gyeongbok Palace, where all the king ordered the construction of the were quarried, transported and raised stone statues, 64 pagodas and 16 stone (stalactites and other formations), with
external threats and vessels of the national the official functions of the government fortress, which continued from 1794 to and of how dolmen types changed over lanterns. an abundance and diversity unknown
consciousness. Both Seokguram Grotto took place, was larger. 1796. time in Northeast Asia. Dolmens appear Wolseong is home not just to the ruined elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Seongsan
and Bulguksa Temple, the two supreme Uniquely, Changdeok Palace was built With a fortified 5.7-kilometer wall, the to have arrived on the Korean Peninsula in palace but also to Anapji Pond, near the Ilchulbong tuff cone has exceptional
accomplishments of Silla Buddhist archi- to have a minimal impact on the natural fortress stretches over changing terrain the Bronze Age, usually consisting of two remains of Imhaejeon Palace, as well as structural and sedimentological char-
tecture, were built when Silla was at the environment. Its buildings were designed from high mountain ridges, overlooking or more undressed stone slabs supporting the Cheomseongdae Observatory and the acteristics, making it one of the best
peak of its strength in the 8th century. and constructed to blend easily with their a crowded urban center and a bustling a huge capstone. It is generally accepted Gyerim woodlands, which legend says locations to understand Surtseyan-type
surroundings, and the directions they marketplace. It stands out among ancient that they were simple burial chambers, were the birthplace of the founder of the volcanic eruptions.
faced were given careful consideration. fortress walls in this country not only for erected over the bodies or bones of im- Gyeongju Kim clan. Of course, Jeju isn’t just heaven for the
The palace was often used as a private its diverse functions but for the aesthetic portant Neolithic and Bronze Age figures. geologist — it’s also a site of stunning
sanctuary from court life, as can be seen novelty and technical innovation involved natural beauty for any curious trekker.
from the limited number of entrances. in its planning and construction.

14 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 15


recent eight-day visit to Europe by Korea’s
President Lee Myung-bak was a fruitful
one, leading to the conclusion of free trade
negotiations with the EU that had gone on
for more than two years.
President Lee announced the end of negotiations
on July 13 at a joint press conference with Swedish
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Lee met with the
leader of Sweden, which holds the six-month rotating
EU presidency until the end of this year, at a summit
earlier in the day in Stockholm.
“We welcome the final agreement on the Korea-
EU FTA,” Lee said at the joint conference, announcing
the breakthrough for the free trade deal, expected to
boost bilateral exchange by more than $98 billion.
The two leaders “expressed their hope [the agree-
ment] will quickly be signed,” a press release from
President Lee’s office at Cheong Wa Dae read.
The announcement of the trade deal between
Korea and its second-largest trading partner came on
the last day of Lee’s European trip. Lee departed Seoul
on July 7 and returned home July 14.
The deal is expected to open the two markets rad-
ically once it is fully implemented. According to the
Korea International Trade Association, duties on 96
percent of Korea’s imports and 99 percent of imports
from the EU are expected to be eliminated over three
years under the pact. Korea was the EU’s eighth-largest
trading partner last year, with it also Korea’s largest
supplier of foreign direct investment.
The EU’s Article 133 Committee, in charge of the
bloc’s trade policies, approved the final draft of the
FTA in its meeting in Brussels July 10.

Officials at Lee’s office said his European destina-
tions were carefully planned to accomplish the conclu-
sion of the free trade deal.
“We carefully designed the president’s trip to

Lee Announces Close to FTA

President Lee Myung-bak
prepares for the final session, include Poland and Sweden on the sidelines of attend-
focused on food security, of ing the extended G8 summit in Italy after we learned
the extended Group of Eight of the reluctance of Poland and Italy to back the FTA

Negotiations on Europe Trip summit in Italy, July 10. in early July,” a senior South Korean official said. “The
strategy was for Lee to directly persuade the Polish and
Italian leaders, and it worked.”
In his meeting with journalists, Lee explained in
On Korean president’s 8-day visit, he personally convinced holdouts candid detail his efforts to persuade European leaders
to support the free trade agreement.
The first destination on Lee’s three-country trip
was Poland, and he met with Polish President Lech
Kaczynski on July 8.
16 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 17

mate change.
The president urged the leaders to
make the bold political decisions to
conclude the moribund Doha Round of
world trade negotiations and spur trade
Lee also called on global leaders to
take immediate action on climate
change and vowed to spearhead the
efforts through what he called “early
At the Major Economies Forum on

Energy and Climate, Korea was also
named the lead country in the develop-
ment and promotion of an energy-effi- President Lee Myung-bak and Polish President Lech Kaczyński, left, inspect the Polish honor
cient “smart grid.” Lee said South Korea guard at the presidential palace in Warsaw during an official welcoming ceremony July 8.
will offer a detailed plan for the new
technology before the end of Novem- Lee also promoted Korea’s low-car- cooperation on energy security and
ber. bon, green-growth policy to the world fight climate change, while also strength-
The MEF, established last year, con- leaders, according to his spokeswom- ening their cooperation in the energy
sists of the world’s 16 largest economies, an. sector, including on liquefied natural
which account for more than 80 percent On the sidelines of the global sum- gas [LNG] and nuclear and renewable
of greenhouse gas emissions. In a joint mit, Lee also held a series of bilateral energy,” according to Cheong Wa Dae.
declaration, member countries agreed meetings with participating leaders. Lee specifically asked Poland to
that “the increase in global average tem- During his stay in Italy, Lee spoke sepa- grant Korean companies the opportu-
perature above pre-industrial levels rately with Canadian Prime Minister nity to take part in the construction of a
ought not to exceed 2 degrees Celsius.” Stephen Harper and Russian President 440 million euro ($611 million) LNG
Taking up a proposal by Lee, the Dmitry Medvedev. Lee also met with terminal and nuclear power plants in
leaders agreed to begin working-level Australian Prime Minister Kevin the country. The Polish leader said he
dialogue between their finance minis- Rudd. would consider the request.

ters on ways to fund emissions reduc- Another accomplishment of the trip Lee also promoted Korea’s trainer
tion projects that could cost billions of was an agreement with Polish President jets during his meeting with Kaczynski,
During his visit to Sweden, President Lee dollars over the years to come, accord- Kaczynski to widen bilateral coopera- since the eastern European nation will
Myung-bak announces the conclusion of ne- ing to Lee’s spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye. tion in energy and the economy, offi- be in the market for 16 such aircraft at
gotiations on the Korea-EU free trade agree- “After long dialogue, Kaczynski con- compact vehicles, but Lee managed to U.S. President Barack Obama particu- cials in Seoul and Warsaw said. the end of this year or next year.
ment July 13 at a joint press conference with cluded that the Korea-EU FTA would be persuade Berlusconi, the Korean gov- larly hailed Lee’s proposal, Kim said. “The two countries agreed to boost  By Ser Myo-ja
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. positive for the two nations’ economic ernment officials said.
development,” said Kim Eun-hye, Lee’s During his biweekly radio address
President Lee Myung-bak meets with Pope deputy spokeswoman. “Officials of the aired July 13 in Korea, the president told
Benedict XVI at the Vatican July 9. two countries were very surprised by
the changed position of the Polish lead-
er. It was an important outcome,
the nation that he was pleased with the
“When the Korea-EU FTA is imple-
Aso Agrees to Unity Against Nuclear North
although we still have to put more effort mented, the impact on Korea’s trade will Agreeing that North Korea will never be accepted as a Resolution 1874 that urges North Korea to cease all its pro-
into concluding the deal.” be significant because the agreement nuclear power, President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese vocative activities related to nuclear and missile programs.
In his next destination, Italy, will liberalize trade with each and every Prime Minister Taro Aso reaffirmed their willingness to The resolution was adopted earlier in June to impose finan-
Lee again pushed the FTA issue, one of the 27 members of the EU,” Lee take coordinated action against Pyongyang over its atomic cial sanctions and an arms embargo on North Korea follow-
seeking the support of Prime said. weapons programs in their latest meeting. ing its nuclear test in May.
Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Lat- In addition to the Korea-EU free At the Korea-Japan summit held in Tokyo on June 28, During the summit, the two leaders agreed to push for
er, Lee told journalists that his trade agreement, Lee also promoted Lee and Aso also agreed to push forward a meeting among positive discussions for a free trade agreement. Lee said they
discussions with the Italian Korea’s position in the international the five nations in the six-party talks other than North expected “the FTA talks to be moving forward in a mutual-
leader were “dramatic.” community at the Group of Eight Korea. Lee said it is important to have the five dialogue ly-beneficial direction” in the future.
Italy had been reluctant to extended summit. partners of the six-party denuclearization talks other than The June 28 summit was the eighth meeting between Lee
back the liberalization deal At the meeting of top economic North Korea — South Korea, Japan, the United States, Rus- and Aso. After Lee took office, South Korea and Japan
because it feared the impact on powers, Lee called for renewed efforts to sia and China — on the same page. restored their frequent presidential diplomacy program,
the country’s auto industry, fight trade protectionism and promote The two leaders also urged the international community and for the latest summit, Lee flew to Tokyo for a one-day
particularly its production of Korea’s role in global programs on cli- to effectively implement United Nations Security Council visit.
18 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 19

Han Extends a Green Hand the world's major economies came

together at G-20 summits, first in Wash-
ington, D.C., in November and again in
mate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year.”
“It is meaningful that both OECD member states
and non-member countries support green growth,
London in April. They are scheduled to which Korea has promoted as new paradigm for eco-

meet again in Pittsburg in September. nomic growth,” Han told the press in Paris.
overnments around the speech. “I am convinced that investment tion was officially adopted by the coun- The ministers at the council meeting On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the
world must work together in a low-carbon green growth policy will cil meeting after unanimous agreement in Paris discussed how to encourage founding of the Republic of Korea on Aug. 15, 2008,
for a new “green growth” yield a ‘double dividend’ effect.” by all participating states. investment in safe and sustainable low- President Lee Myung-bak proclaimed "low-carbon
paradigm based on low- Han is chair of the Ministerial Coun- The meeting’s participants included carbon growth and how to foster inter- green growth" as the new national vision for the econ-
carbon economic development, declared cil Meeting of the Organization for Eco- ministers from the 30 OECD member national cooperation for the develop- omy. The president hopes to shift industry from its
Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo nomic Cooperation and Development states, five candidates for membership - ment of clean technologies and an inter- focus on quantity and dependence on fossil fuels to a
at the 10th anniversary celebration of the this year, the first time a top Korean offi- Chile, Estonia, Israel, Russia and Slove- national market for green goods. quality-oriented approach based on renewable energy.
OECD Forum on June 23 in Paris. cial has chaired an OECD council meet- nia - and five emerging economies that “We have recognized the importance ‘I believe that In January, the administration announced a 50-tril-
“I believe that low-carbon green ing since the country became a member partner with the OECD: Brazil, China, of well-targeted policy instruments lion-won ($40 billion) project to develop low-carbon
growth can be a paradigm not only for in 1996. India, Indonesia and South Africa. encouraging green investment in con-
low-carbon green growth industries, through which it aims to cre-
Korea, but for the international commu- With the world facing two major Together, these countries represent 80 tributing to both a short-term economic green growth ate over 900,000 jobs. The plan includes a multi-tril-
nity as a whole. In order to achieve syn- challenges – a global financial crisis and percent of the world’s economy. The recovery and a long-term green infra- lion-won scheme to clean up the country's four major
ergy between energy security, climate climate change - the green growth dec- meeting took place from June 23 to 25. structure,” said OECD Secretary-Gener-
can be a par- rivers, the Han, Yeongsan, Nakdong and Geum. The
change mitigation and sustainable devel- laration by Han called for eco-friendly Aiming to discuss ways to strength- al Angel Gurría following the declara- adigm... for scheme is the largest ever conceived by any single coun-
opment, we need to strengthen mecha- investment incentives, sustainable man- en the international financial system tion. “This is a significant signal and try.
nisms for greater collaboration and agement of natural resources and greater and reverse the course of global eco- staging post on the road to what we hope
the entire Although Han’s declaration did not include specific
cooperation,” he said in his keynote protection of biodiversity. The declara- nomic stagnation, the governments of will be an ambitious agreement on cli- world.’ limits on carbon dioxide emissions or other mandatory
guidelines for members, Han said it was “more than
“The green growth declaration will be as meaning-
ful as the likes of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, since it is backed up by OECD members. Mem-
ber states will definitely feel obliged to follow what was
accorded,” he said.
After the council meeting, Han hosted a dinner
party dubbed “Korea Night” to mark his acceptance of
the chairmanship. Top chefs from Korea’s five-star
hotels presented traditional royal cuisine along with
everyday dishes made with ingredients brought direct-
ly from Korea. During the dinner, Korea’s top soprano
Jo Sumi and pianist Kim Sun-wook, who won the pres-
tigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006,
performed. As many as 250 high-profile figures includ-
ing the OECD secretary general and ambassadors from
40 countries were present at the event and “marveled at
the taste of Korean food,” Han said.
The extravaganza was co-hosted by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Trade; the Ministry for Agricul-
ture, Fisheries and Food; the Ministry of Culture, Sports
and Tourism; the Korea Foundation, and the Corea
Image Communication Institute.
“I realized from the event it would be wiser to mod-
ify the serving styles of Korean food to match the taste
of each country. Serving the menu as a prearranged
course seemed much more refined than serving a buf-
Prime Minister Han, second from right, was the first Korean top official to chair an OECD coun- fet on the occasion of this opportunity to introduce

cil meeting since Korea entered the organization in 1996. Korean food to Westerners.” 
By Seo Ji-eun

20 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 21

Global Korea

ernment each added one foreigner to their staff Mayor Ahn Sang-young urging him to employ
in 2009. more foreigners at the city government to help
And expatriate civil servants are having an with English-language publications and teach-
impact in other ways. For example, the city of ing.
Andong, North Gyeongsang, has welcomed a Johnston said it was only last year, during
growing number of Japanese and Chinese tour- the bidding for the 2012 International Water
ists recently. Keiko Ogata from Japan and her Association Congress, that his opinions were
colleague Wang Yu from China both work for considered by the city and reflected in its deci-
the city, and have played a key role in promot- sion-making for the first time. He was produc-
ing its virtues to prospective visitors. ing promotional material and video clips for
Working for the city’s tourism department, the bid at the time.
Ogata essentially handles all Japan-related “It’d be beneficial for Korea to use foreign
tasks: putting out tourists’ guides, scheduling public servants for more practical tasks, not
tours, editing documents and interpreting. She just for English help,” Johnston said.
writes periodically for the Yomiuri Shimbun Paul Lanari, who works at the investment
and appears on a radio show every week. An promotion headquarters of the Busan-Jinhae
official at Andong City Hall said, “She’s done an Free Economic Zone Authority, agreed.
outstanding job hosting Japanese tourists.” “Foreign public servants have different per-
Ogata started working for Andong in spectives than Koreans, and they can offer use-
August 2003. She came to Korea in 2000 and ful advice or information to Korea.”
studied Japanese literature at the Hankuk Uni- The current law on public servants stipu-
versity of Foreign Studies. At the beginning, she lates that government agencies and regional
mostly did translation work, but she gradually governments employ foreign nationals in

[Press Q]
moved to more active tasks. capacities not related to policy making or to
Ogata said her strength is that she knows national security or intelligence. Foreigners,
what the Japanese want. whether part- or full-time can only be hired on

“Japanese tourists are more likely to take contracts, which can be signed for up to five

Government ouglas Binns, who came to Korea from

Los Angeles six years ago, is lucky enough
to hold one of Korea’s most stable jobs —
Douglas Binns teaches
English to fellow civil
servants in Gwacheon,
their time and stay in one place,” she said. “But
Koreans tend to squeeze their stops into a tight-
er time frame. That’s why I set the schedule for
years at maximum.
After the contract runs out, foreign civil
servants must go through the hiring process

Servants in a
civil servant. Gyeonggi. Japanese visitors if possible.” once again, even when they’re returning to the
Binns is among the growing number of foreigners Wang believes foreign civil servants work- same post—in other words, there is relatively
working in the Korean public sector. And they aren’t ing in tourism create a built-in advantage. little job security even in a field known for it.

Strange Land
simply proofreading English-language documents or “Chinese want to experience something Ogata at the Andong City Government said she
helping with translations. Increasingly, they’re taking new, not just get dressed in hanbok [traditional had to do another interview last year and com-
on more hands-on tasks. Korean costume] all the time,” Wang said. “And pete with other applicants for her position after
Binns, for instance, teaches English to Korean civ- Chinese best know what Chinese tourists want her five-year contract expired. She said she is
il servants and other bureaucrats at the Central Offi- to do when they come here.” currently on a two-year deal. Foreign civil ser-
Expats from across the world take cials Training Institute in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi. The As Korea hosts an increasing number of vants are assigned staff levels from the sixth to
school is an agency under the Ministry of Public international events and as more regional gov- ninth rank, with salaries comparable to Kore-
a bigger hand in Korean state affairs Administration. His students include those who plan ernments develop ties overseas, foreign nation- ans at the same level. Jobs are periodically
to study at overseas schools for their master’s degrees als are moving into new areas. Take Andrew announced by government agencies online,
and officials who take part in negotiations with foreign Paul Johnston of the Busan city government, and candidates can apply online.
counterparts. Binns said he tends to focus on English for instance. Today, foreigners are still mostly working in
speaking because Koreans are typically already well- In 2003, Johnston and four others became the trenches rather than helping set foreign or
versed in grammar. the first foreigners to be employed by a local trade policies, for instance. Another area in
Binns pointed to the “energy and enthusiasm” of Korean government. His early tasks included which foreigners could provide help would be
his students as the best part of his job and said he is helping with the publication of pamphlets, in aiding biracial families. While the debate
“fairly happy” to be doing what he is doing. speeches and notices in English. Johnston’s continues on whether to bring in more expatri-
According to the Ministry of Public Administra- background in Korea included teaching at a ates to provide more specialized services, the
tion, there were 23 foreign civil servants employed by government-run English education program number of foreigners in tourism, translation
the central Korean government and regional authori- in 1999 and volunteering in Busan during the and interpretation and English teaching will
ties in August last year, the latest data available. The Asian Games and the FIFA World Cup in 2002. keep rising. 
Busan municipal government and Jeju provincial gov- In 2001, he even wrote a letter to then-Busan By Yoo Jee-ho

22 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 23

Global Korea

financed by the energy conglomerate. In rural areas, However, Kim stressed that renewable energy is
Other participants include Junma over time more economical than being forced to main-
Engineering, a wind turbine supplier; BJ it’s cheaper to tain high-tension wires to deliver electricity to remote
PNS, a security company, and Hoseo
build small areas. In Mongolia, a country of 2.5 million people, the
only place with a population exceeding 1 million is the
A single wind turbine generates 10 generators capital. The rest of the people are spread across the
kilowatts of electricity per hour, while a country in small villages of 500 to 1,000 households.
set of eight 10-meter solar panels gener- than unsightly Thus setting up electrical lines would be even more
ates 80 kilowatts. That electricity is used
to pump eight tons of water each hour
power lines. costly than generating power locally.
Chairman Kim called the Korean government
into reservoirs, which will later irrigate shrewd for investing in rural Mongolia, as it could help
120,000 square meters of orchards and the country win development rights to rich mineral
potato farms. resources such as soft coal and copper.
The Daesung Institute for Clean In addition, the participation of the local govern-
Energy said that in the past Japan and a ment and domestic companies will help improve
few other countries had built diesel- Korea’s image and create new opportunities to export
powered generators for developing renewable energy in the long run.
countries, but these power plants proved The GEEP project has been closely monitored by
difficult to keep running because of the the world energy industry as a new model to prevent
difficulty of delivering fuel, and now desertification while supplying energy to countries
many are no longer operating. like Mongolia that struggle to bring power to all their
The system developed by Daesung, people.
on the other hand, doesn’t require a con- “The economic feasibility of Mongolia’s sunlight
stant fuel supply, since it relies entirely and wind power has been proven,” said Lee Joon-hyun,
on the environment — sunlight and head of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Eval-
wind — to supply electricity and water. uation and Planning. “The GEEP project will be an

Provided by the company

At the opening ceremony for the opportunity to test the technological credibility of
eco-park, Younghoon David Kim, chair- Korean technology in the renewable energy sector.”
Younghoon David Kim, third from left, helps man of Daesung Group, said the GEEP Daesung Group is already in the process of build-
plant a tree near the Green Eco Energy Park would help humanity find solutions to ing another solar-wind hybrid power system at anoth-
in Mongolia. the three impending resource crises: er village, Mandakh, 500 kilometers southeast of the
water, food and energy. capital. A total of 4.2 billion won is being invested into
Kim called Mongolia the perfect site the development of desertification prevention power
to test the business viability of renew- systems. 
able energy technology. Though cur- By Lee Ho-jeong

In the Desert, a Solar Oasis rently the project is operating as foreign

aid, Kim said Daesung would use it to
develop profitable businesses in coming

After the first GEEP in Mongolia,
n a meadow 50 kilometers south- ing rate due to continuing droughts and Mongolian government for free for the Daesung plans to supply renewable
east of the Mongolian capital of burgeoning populations of livestock. next 60 years. Inside the park Daesung energy solutions to countries struggling
Ulaanbaatar, three wind turbines And this isn’t an issue limited to will build a solar-wind hybrid power with electricity and water shortages in
with blades 3.5 meters in length Mongolia. The growing deserts affect its generator to bring to the surface the Central Asia, Africa and South Ameri-
harness a particularly strong gust. These neighbors, too. water flowing 120 meters underground. ca.
machines are changing the way local That’s where Daesung Group, the That water will be used for irrigation, Kim said there are still small villages
people live - and it’s partly thanks to the Korean energy conglomerate, comes which will prevent the spread of deser- with only a few households set in large
Korean Daesung Institute for Clean in. tification. meadows that have no electricity, and
Energy. In June, Daesung opened its first A total of 2.7 billion won ($2 mil- that Daesung will continue to offer sys-

Provided by the company

“Because of the strong wind we can Green Eco Energy Park, or GEEP, in the lion) has been invested in the project, tems to help them generate their own.
draw water from underground and use country after two years of work. The led by Daesung Group and cosponsored The chairman acknowledged that
it to grow potatoes and trees,” says Park project is the world’s first attempt to pre- by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy solar and wind generators are still rela-
Moon-hee, Daesung’s head. vent desertification through use of and the Korea Institute of Energy Tech- tively inefficient from a cost perspec-
Forty percent of the land in Mongo- renewable energy. nology Evaluation and Planning. Two- tive. To set up a single wind turbine costs
lia is sandy and arid. The desertification The GEEP is located on 3.3 million thirds of the investment comes from the roughly 50 million won, a huge financial Wind turbines generate power at the Green Eco Energy Park, developed by Daesung Group over the
of the country is proceeding at an alarm- square meters of land, leased from the Korean government, with the rest burden. last two years to prevent desertification in Mongolia.

24 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 25

Global Korea
Provided by the Korea Rural Development Administration

Aussie Plants in Royal Forest

Arboretum becomes partners with gardens in Sydney and Melbourne
Representatives of the Korea

Rural Development Adminis-
tration and the U.S. Agricul- hen one thinks of globalization, a quiet arbo- KNA has sought out. Its officials have gone as far afield as
ture Research Service pose retum is not exactly the first image that comes China and Germany in search of international cooperation.
with a placard to celebrate to mind. But it’s exactly what the Korea “I think we will have a lot of chances to learn from such
their joint project. National Arboretum hopes to achieve great arboretums.” said Lee Bong-woo, in charge of public
through a recent agreement with two of its finest Australian relations at the arboreteum. “We will continuously try to
counterparts in June. make ties with other advanced arboretums in the world.”

How Healthy is Korean Food? According to the Korea Forest Service, the deals were In honor of its new international siblings, the govern-
signed by Kim Yong-ha, head of the Korea National Arbore- ment-operated garden plans to open a new section to intro-
tum, with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and the Roy- duce Koreans to Australian plants.
al Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. The opening of the new garden in 2011 will also celebrate
New study will show whether local dishes are as wholesome as believed Kim and other public officials made a one-week visit to the 50th anniversary of friendly diplomatic ties between
the two world-class arboretums in June, at the invitation of Korea and Australia.

the Australia-Korea Foundation. “The Australian authorities have promised to send native
orean food is known throughout the world as holding special banquets in Paris or London, where people still The efforts are part of the KNA’s push to become one of plants to us for [our] first foreign garden,” said Lee. “We will
healthy, but based on what evidence? have little knowledge of Korean food, this symposium marked the world’s top 10 arboretums by 2020. continue to make efforts to contribute to the growth of the
In an effort to seek scientific proof for the health the first time anyone had undertaken an international and “We announced our blueprint titled, ‘Top 10 world arbo- arboretum.”
benefits of hansik (Korean cuisine), agencies from systematic study of Korean food. By acquiring scientific proof retum by 2020,’ at the 10th anniversary of the founding [of the With 15 specialized plant gardens, forest areas, a zoo and
Korea and the United States held a joint symposium recently of the health benefits of the Korean cuisine, the government KNA],” said Kim. “This [memorandum a seed bank on its 11.16 million-square-
on the subject “Strategy for Regular Coordination on Home surmised that it would be easier to persuade and promote the of understanding] will help us realize that meter grounds, the Korea National
Nutrition, Food Safety and Function: Food for the Korean food. dream.” Arboretum has attracted researchers
and American Diet.” Local researchers from the Food Globalization Under the agreement, the three gar- and a curious public since 1999.
The event, which took place from June 16 to Department, with prominent nutritionists and dens will cooperate on research into local The site was initially called the
18, was cosponsored by the Korea Rural Devel- other experts from the administration and its plants through regular meetings, person- Gwangneung Arboretum, after its loca-
opment Administration and the Agriculture American counterpart, pondered how Korean al exchanges, information and specimen tion in Gwangneung forest in Pocheon,
Research Service, part of the United States food might be introduced and localized sharing and other joint programs. Gyeonggi, about 50 kilometers north of
Department of Agriculture. Experts inquired abroad. Established in the early 1800s, the Seoul.
more deeply into the health benefits of popular On the agenda at sessions over the three days Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, the larg- For hundreds of years, the 22.38 mil-
Korean dishes, while also dealing with some of the of the symposium were subjects including “Using est of the three major botanical gardens lion square meters making up the royal
possible benefits of Korean cuisine for people from Bibimbap Dietary Intake Survey Information to Assess open to the public in the Australian city, forest of Gwangneung surrounded the
other countries. Dietary Patterns and Health,” “Functional Foods contains 11,000 different kinds of plants, mausoleum of King Sejo of the Joseon
The joint study was part of a concerted effort by the local and Human Health” and “Food Safety Research.” There was including local natives such as the Sydney Dynasty, another tourist attraction.
government to promote Korean food abroad. also a spotlight on some state-run nutritional centers in the Red Gum, Sydney Boronia, Native Fuch- Over the last 500 years, it has been
On May 4, the government established a special task force United States, and Korean and American researchers discussed sia, Waratah, Swamp Oak and Grey Box, constantly preserved in an effort to min-
including government leaders, academics and prominent fig- culinary exchange programs. on lovely grounds just east of the iconic imize human disturbance.
ures responsible for globalizing and commercializing Korean But the local administration isn’t just reaching out to the Sydney Opera House. The Royal Botanic According to arboretum officials,
food. The government aims to position Korean food among United States. Gardens Melbourne, which also opened in about 300,000 people nationwide visit
the world’s top five cuisines within 10 years, and lays out the “Plans have been made for later joint research with other the early 1800s, likewise maintains a mix the forest and national arboretum annu-
current top five as Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Thai developed nations such as the Netherlands,” an official at the of native and exotic plants of over 12,000 ally.
food. Korea Rural Development Administration said. In the coming different species. “We currently limit the attendance
Even further back, last year, the Korea Rural Development months and years, “the researchers will study the nutritional The 354,000 square meters of land- to protect the natural environment
Administration inaugurated its Department of Korea Food value of Korean food through scientific research and release the scaped gardens, visited by an average of 1 around the forest,” said Lee. “Before
Research for Globalization. results together so that the world will know that Korean dishes million people each year, put more empha- The Korea National Arboretum, top, signed daily attendance was limited, more than
And while there have been many efforts both inside and can be as beneficial as the so-called Mediterranean diet, thus sis on Australian indigenous varieties. deals with two Australian parks, one of which 20,000 people came each day.” 
outside the country to promote local cuisine, for example, by contributing to the globalization of hansik.” By Lee Eun-joo And these are not the first partners the is the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, above. By Park Sang-woo

26 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 27

Green Growth

K-Water Saves on Power

With ‘Energy Guardians’

very day, Kang Dong-hyeong, a deputy director at year.
the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water), “The company plans to set up this system at many other
visits all four offices at the corporation’s Gumi workplaces,” said Kim.
branch in North Gyeongsang Province, where he The main mission of the state-funded company is to pro-
works. vide water for drinking and industrial use. But it is also an
The purpose of the 42-year-old’s visits: to ensure the tem- energy provider.
[JoongAng Ilbo]

perature inside the air-conditioned offices is around 26 The company owns nine 1,000-megawatt multi-purpose
British Ambassador to Seoul degrees Celsius, and to check for unused computers or lights dams, including Soyang Dam, Chungju Dam and Daecheong
Martin Uden that have been left on. If he finds some, the employees involved Dam. Together all nine produced 1.54 million kilowatt hours
receive verbal warnings. of electricity last year.
Kang is one of 93 K-Water officials the company desig- Now that K-Water has put its conservation and environ-
nated as “energy jikimi” in March. The job of a jikimi, or mental programs in place, it has shifted its focus to developing

Britons Step In to Shrink “guardian,” is to help the company conserve energy by cor-
recting inefficiencies.
“Having a finger pointed at you would be unpleasant for
new renewable energy.
Four of the corporation’s water purification plants across
the country are outfitted with 170-kilowatt solar power gen-

Firms’ Carbon Footprints anyone, but many of my colleagues are cooperating with what
I do [as jikimi],” said Kang.
With the importance of the environment and fossil fuel
erators, with a tidal power plant planned at Lake Sihwa in
Ansan, Gyeonggi, next year and a wind farm in 2011, also
near the lake.
conservation growing, many local companies are working to These facilities, along with efforts to improve energy effi-

incorporate energy-saving efforts into their business activi- ciency at existing sites, will help K-Water reduce its carbon
ost embassies are con- carbon footprint training program that corporations to participate, since inter- ties. dioxide emissions by 1,234,000 tons annually. Given that
cerned with improving it is now delivering to 300 companies. A national financial institutions have And K-Water has been among the most aggressive, par- Korea’s CO2 emissions per capita are 9.86 tons, that’s like
bilateral relations, but the separate carbon labeling program that asked large companies to report their ticularly since it joined a conservation campaign called Save preventing all the annual carbon dioxide emissions from a
British Embassy in Seoul will be provided to companies that have emissions levels and carbon manage- Earth Save Us, sponsored by the JoongAng Ilbo. city of 125,000.
has another agenda: to create awareness completed the initial training is also on ment strategies through the program. As part of the campaign, the company recently set up a But it’s not just the big ideas that help conserve.
of climate change and helping South its way. The embassy’s plan is to help CDP has already become a powerful water-based cooling system to save electricity at its water K-Water is encouraging employees to use mass transit on
Korea develop policies to better cope label up to 150 products according to tool in moving carbon management purification plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong. The their commutes, and is even planting trees outside its offices.
with it. their “carbon footprints” over the next 3 forward in the business world, but for system works by drawing cold water from dams nearby and Other projects include replacing the fluorescent lights at its
years. now Korean companies are still in the using it to cool the facility. workplaces with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes, and a
The embassy hopes “The things that we’re doing here are process of fully understanding its future According to Kim Dae-geun, 44, a deputy director at the planned ban on the use of the elevator from the first to fourth
the labels will raise usually in association with the Korean implications. Just 32 percent of the Cheongju plant, the new setup has helped the company save floors.
government or Korean companies to country’s businesses reported their 3 to 4 million won ($2,000 to $3,000) on electricity each
eco-awareness. help with the carbon labeling scheme. emissions levels and carbon manage-
By Moon Gwang-lip

The embassy started several pro- It’s money well spent. It will actually ment strategies, one of the lowest
grams earlier this year aimed at prepar- help Korean consumers see what the response rates globally.
ing companies and institutions in Korea issues are and have an appreciation of The embassy is also assisting Korean
for a changed future. It has an entire how their choices affect the environ- businesses in launching a forum on cli-
team at the embassy dedicated to these ment,” said British Ambassador to Seoul mate change to present their views on
projects, which are all scheduled to run Martin Uden in a recent interview with the subject to the Korean government
over the next several years. the JoongAng Daily. and helping the Samsung Economic
For example, with the cooperation Another ongoing way to strengthen Research Institute’s Climate Change Employees at a K-Water
of the Korea Environment Industry and the capacity of Korean companies to Center conduct research on the cost purification plant in

[JoongAng Ilbo]
Technology Institute and the Korean manage their emissions is the Carbon effectiveness of trade policies related to Cheongju, North Chung-
Federation of Small and Medium Sized Disclosure Project. Although this is vol- climate change. cheong, check the water-
Businesses, the embassy has designed a untary, it does create pressure for major By Brian Lee based cooling system.

28 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 29


5-foot-7-inch woman
Kim has a solo album to be stands on stage with a vio-
released in August, and a lin. With powerful bowing
performance in Seoul with technique and an expressive
six other young artists to be face, she plays the third movement of
conducted by Chung Myung- Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major.
whun. After she finishes the piece, the crowd
claps, and finally a cautious smile spreads
across her face. She takes a bow with
This was 21-year-old Korean violin-

[JoongAng Ilbo]
ist Kim Su-yeon performing in the finals
of the Queen Elisabeth International
Music Competition in Brussels, Bel-
gium this May. She won fourth place. Though her family was not well-off, Kim was able to pursue the violin thanks to Germany’s public
Along with the Chopin International education system.
Competition in Poland and the Interna-
tional Tchaikovsky Competition in Rus- the German public education system, media when she took honors at the
sia, the Queen Elisabeth International she was able to develop her talents with- International Berligske Tidende Youth
Music Competition is one of the most out prohibitively expensive lessons. Competition in Copenhagen in 1999
prestigious classical music contests in When Kim was five years old, she and 2000, then at the International Vio-
the world. began playing violin with her teacher, lin Competition Leopold Mozart in
Only a handful of Koreans have Houssam Mayas. Back then she played a Ausburg in 2003, and again at the
enjoyed the honor of winning the com- borrowed instrument - and she still does Hanover International Competition in
petition. Cho Eun-Hwa took the grand today. 2006.
prize for composition last year, and vio- In 1995, Kim’s father, who was work- Her story even provoked some
linist Bae Ik-hwan won second prize for ing on his dissertation, suffered a cere- reflection about the Korean educational
violin in 1985. bral hemorrhage, after which he went system, with some here wondering
Named after Queen Elisabeth of Bel- through four difficult surgeries. Since whether girls like Kim are able to pursue
gium, the famed patroness, the competi- then Kim’s family – her father and moth- their talents here to the same degree.
tion is devoted to four musical disci- er and her two siblings – has lived off In Korea, classical music education
plines: piano, voice, violin and composi- welfare payments from the German is often deemed a privilege for wealthy
tion. The performance sessions - piano, government. children, while extracurricular activities
voice and violin - take place separately “I don’t think that I had much diffi- like music, arts and sports are a luxury
on a rotating basis every three years, culty growing up,” Kim said. “Our fam- for students desperate to score high in
each preceded by a composition con- ily members love each other, so going literature, English and mathematics -
test. through financial difficulties wasn’t that subjects vital to get into a good college.
“Although I do have regrets about hard.” “For me violin was just the natural
not winning the grand prize, I am very At the age of nine, Kim enrolled as way to go,” Kim says. “A teacher told me
[JoongAng Ilbo]
honored to have won fourth place,” Kim an extraordinary student at the Acade- I had talent. So I practiced a little harder.
said. “More than anything, I’m glad that my of Music, Detmold, Muenster Then an opportunity came by for me to
it’s over.” Department, the youngest extraordi- play in front of others.”
The young violinist certainly capti- nary student ever to be accepted at a Thus have Kim’s instincts led her to
vated the audience in Brussels, exuding German conservatory. where she is today - and there’s another

A Happy Ending to strength and grace beyond her years,

and her story is a modern multicultural
fairytale of talent recognized and obsta-
“There were times when I didn’t
want to practice. So I didn’t,” recalled
Kim. “I read books, played and did not
busy month ahead. In August, Kim will
perform in Seoul with six other young
musicians under the baton of popular

Violinist’s Unusual Story

cles overcome. even look at the violin. But after about a local conductor Chung Myung-whun,
Kim was born in the small city of week, I wanted to play again. Then I while promoting the release of a solo
Muenster, Germany in 1987 to a Korean realized that I play not because I have to, album she recorded in April.
couple, father Dong-wook and mother but because I want to.” Kim plays a violin made by Camilus
Kyeong-suk, who had moved to Ger- In 2004, Kim enrolled at the Muen- Camilli in 1742, loaned out to her by the
Raised in Germany, Kim Su-yeon owes her acclaimed classical career many to study theology, but found ster Music Academy. She now is a post- the German Foundation of Musical Life
to a teacher who spotted her talents and made sure they were nurtured themselves struggling.
Her parents soon realized their child
graduate student at the University for
Music and Performing Arts in Munich.
in Hamburg. She has the right to use the
instrument until she turns 30. 
was a musical prodigy. And thanks to Kim made headlines in the Korean By Kim Hyung-eun

30 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 31


Kim Joo-won, who won the same prize

in the female solo category in 2001.
‘After the first
“I started preparing for the competi- round, my
Korean Dancers Jeté to the Top tion in March, but because I also had to
prepare for the performances of my bal-
let company, it was very exhausting,”
fellow jurors
Yuri Grigoro-
Kim said. “Dong-hun was the biggest
vich and

support I had. So I am very happy with
our Korean dancers took Grigorovich, the former ballet master of the Bolshoi the result.” Vladimir
home prizes this year at the Ballet, and the world famous ballerino Julio Bocca, Lee attributed their success to team-
highly prestigious Moscow along with 15 others from 11 countries, acted as work. “We just told ourselves to do just
Vasiliev were
International Ballet Competi- jurors. like we did during our many practices. I in awe.’
tion, sometimes called the “Olympics of At the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the venue of the think that’s how I was able to dance in a
ballet.” competition, Lee Dong-hun, 23, and Kim Ri-hoe, 22, relaxed manner. It’s very gratifying,” Lee
First held in 1969, the Moscow con- both from the Korea National Ballet Company, won said.
test takes place every four years. Dedi- The four second prize in the senior duet category. Both Kim and Lee said they were
cated to Russia’s legendary ballerina Another Korean duo, 16-year-old Kim Ki-min and determined to invest everything into
dancers put in

[JoongAng Ilbo]
Marina Semyonova, the competition is 17-year-old Chae Ji-young, both students attending their performance. They prepared for
one of the three most respected of its best showing the Korea National University of Arts, won second the contest on the assumption that they
kind in the world. prize and the special prize respectively in the solo cat- would make it to the final round.
At this year’s competition, which
Koreans have egory for juniors. The duo performed the famous Pas Clockwise from top left: Lee Dong-hun, Kim Ri-hoe, Kim
ended June 20, a total of 103 dancers ever achieved It was the best showing by Korean dancers yet at de Deux between Medora and the Slave Ki-min and Chae Ji-young
from all over the world battled it out in the esteemed competition. Previously, the bar had from Act II of “Le Corsaire” in the first
the senior division, while 38 dancers
at the Moscow been set by ballerino Kim Yong-gul, who won third round, and a dance from “Don Quixote” time in his role, Kim had already performed the work
competed in the junior division. Yuri competition. prize in the male’s solo category in 1997, and ballerina in the second. Their choice for the third in 2006, the youngest member of the KNBC ever to
and final round was a Grand Pas de take that lead part.
Deux from “La Fille Mal Gardée.” Choi Tae-ji, the artistic director of the Korea
The “Le Corsaire” piece was selected National Ballet Company, was also present at the com-
from a mandatory list of choices for the petition, invited as a juror.
first round program. The piece from “After the first round, my fellow jurors Yuri Grigo-
“Don Quixote” is fast and exciting, rovich and Vladimir Vasiliev were in awe after watch-
requiring a lot of technical skill, ing the Korean ballet dancers, saying, ‘The traditional
while the final piece from “La beauty of the Russian Ballet seems to be embedded in
Fille Mal Gardée” demands the Korean dancers’,” Choi said.
more profound artistry and The foreign judges at the contest couldn’t hide their
expression. amazement at the young Koreans’ talent, according to
Kim started dancing ballet when Choi.
she was five years old. After graduat- “It has only been 10 to 15 years since Korean bal-
ing from Sunhwa Art Middle School let has had any exchange with foreign countries. Yet
and passing a talent examination with this competition proved the international prestige of
flying colors, she entered the Korea Korean ballet to the world,” said Choi.
National University of Arts and joined The winners got to show off their talents fur-
the Korea National Ballet Company in ther at a gala performance held in Moscow on
2006. June 20.
Lee’s background is markedly differ- Meanwhile, other Korean dancers also
ent. A former breakdancer, Lee started took home awards at various ballet com-
his career in ballet only after he entered petitions around the world.
middle school, on a recommenda- The 20-year old Lee Yong-jung and
tion from his physical education 19-year-old Kim Ki-wan won third in the female
teacher. After winning awards at solo category and the special prize in the male solo
many competitions, he joined the category, respectively, in the senior division at the New
Korea National Ballet Company York International Ballet Competition in June. Mean-
Lee Dong-hun, left, and Kim last year. while, in Europe, at the Premio Roma competition
[joongAng Ilbo]

Ri-hoe won second place in Last December, both per- from June 29 to July 2, Korea’s Song Ho-jin, 22, took
the senior duet category in formed Tchaikovsky’s “The Nut- third in the female solo category in the senior divi-
Moscow. cracker.” While it was Lee’s first Lee Dong-hun and Kim Ri-hoe sion. By Grace Lee

32 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 33


kind of emotion in another language,” Stars like BoA

says Lockett, whose most popular
upload is a cover of Nell’s “Walking into and Wonder
Memories,” with around 50,000 views Girls have used
on YouTube.
It may seem peculiar to see a blue- YouTube to build

Net Fans Whip eyed, blond man singing Korean music

through an American accent, but Lock-
ett’s not the only one.
a fanbase in the
United States.

Up Their Own Songwriter and musician Natalie

White, 27, is another American You-

[JoongAng Ilbo]
Tube user who has been uploading

Korean Wave
remixes of K-pop songs — and she is
actually well known in Korea. Her cov-
ers of Lee Hyori, Wonder Girls and Girls Natalie White’s videos, in which she sings covers of K-pop
Generation songs on YouTube became hits, have been seen millions of times.
so popular that she was invited to the
Korean variety TV show Star King in one,” White continues. “You’re able to reach people you
March this year. White has been inter- never normally would. It’s basically a necessity for
ested in Korean culture for 10 years and someone like me.”
started to upload Korean songs on You- YouTube is an online archive that allows users to
Tube in January. Her most popular upload and share videos with the entire world. First
upload, a version of Girls’ Generation’s launched in 2005, it rapidly grew in popularity among
“Gee,” was posted February 10th and young members of the Internet generation. According
currently has 1.7 million views. to one estimate, in 2007 YouTube consumed as much
White discovered Korean music bandwidth as the entire Internet used in 2000. And
while attending Northwestern Univer- today, YouTube is the dominant provider of online
sity in Chicago 10 years ago. There were video in the United States, with a market share of 43
two local Korean channels that came in percent and more than 6 billion videos viewed in Jan-

clearly on her TV, and she started watch- uary, according to comScore, a market research com-
new Korean Wave is growing — Korean musicians such as Yoon Do-hyun, Lee ing music videos by Lee Hyori, Shin- pany.
this one with the power to sweep Seung-chul, Lee Juk and Kim Jang-hoon. hwa, Turtles, Cherry Filter and others. Because of its popularity, YouTube has developed
across the Pacific in seconds, Lockett was first introduced to Korean popu- Keeping track of Korean music was into a unique culture unto itself among the young. By
thanks to online video sharing lar culture a few years ago by his Korean not easy for White, because it wasn’t providing a chance for users to interact directly with
site YouTube. After years of effort by fans and friends in Austin, Texas, and since then he has widely available in the United States artists and fans, it bypasses the mainstream media
artists, today more than 408,000 Korean pop immersed himself in Korean culture, listen- back then. But with the rapid growth of industries. Anybody can show off their talent there by
culture videos can be found on this United ing to the music and learning the language. the Internet, especially YouTube, White producing a video and vying for the attention of the
States-based user-created content site. Lockett enjoys Korean social networking site found a source for the music she has world. YouTube also opened up possibilities for Kore-
By allowing the users to upload the con- Cyworld more than MySpace and says Yoon grown to love. an popular culture to spread.
tent of their choice, YouTube opened up a new Do-hyun and Seo Ta-ji are his favourite Kore- “It’s the easiest way to gain access to The Web helped Korean singers like BoA and
conduit to deliver video globally to more than an musicians. a culture you admire from afar. There’s Wonder Girls to make successful inroads in the United
2 million users per day. That means easier His interest finally led Lockett to move to so much more content available now States. Even before her debut, BoA had already gained
access to Korean culture for both Koreans liv- Seoul, where his interest in Korean music than there was when I first discovered a fan base from musical performances uploaded on
ing abroad and foreign natives. blossomed further. it,” White continues. “I have seen Kore- YouTube, and her first American single, “Eat You Up,”
But the freeform nature of YouTube means “I chose to play primarily Korean songs an culture’s popularity skyrocket on the was introduced at the YouTube concert YT Live. Won-
It may seem odd that not only is Korean culture being con- because I live in Korea these days and I’m Internet.” der Girls also set up their own YouTube channel to
sumed by foreigners — they’re also remixing more interested in Korean music,” says Lock- K-pop used to be largely unknown update fans on their schedule and show video clips of
to see a blue- and reproducing it, making themselves part ett. He has been interested in music all his life in mainstream America. But the easy- their life in the States.
eyed blond man of the equation. For example, some Ameri- and uploaded his first Korean song on You- to-use Web site YouTube offers more As YouTube becomes the go-to spot for Korean
cans have uploaded video clips of themselves Tube in early 2008. content and easier access for an audi- content overseas, it boosts the spread of Korean popu-
singing in singing Korean songs on YouTube. Lockett posted his video without expect- ence eager to learn more about Korea. lar culture around the world. The cycle of fans upload-
Korean, but James Lockett, 34, has been recording ing any major attention, but it quickly attract- “I’m happy there is such a strong ing new videos and viewing existing ones is expected
himself performing Korean music and ed interest. online community to share in this par- to continue, bringing the Korean Wave to new shores
James Lockett is uploading video clips on YouTube for a year- “I think people appreciate the effort it ticular interest. I never had that in the James Lockett performs a across the globe. 
not alone. and-a-half. He has uploaded 39 songs by takes to play the guitar, sing, and convey some beginning. I used to think I was the only Korean song with his guitar. By Yoon Su-jin

34 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 35


[JoongAng Ilbo], [NEWSIS], Provided by the organizer

Invasion of the Weird Movies

orean movie buffs know that each year Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, outside Seoul.
every October, the place to It has grown into the country’s largest genre film fest
be is the Pusan International through cooperation with global counterparts such as
Film Festival, the country’s Japan’s Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival
biggest, in the southern port city of and the European Fantastic Film Festival Federation.
Busan. Now in its 13th year, PIFF has This year PiFan was held over 11 days from July
grown into the premier film event in 16 to 26 and featured 202 films from 41 countries,
Asia. including 38 world premieres and 26 international
If once a year just isn’t enough, premieres. The festival theme was, “Love, Fantasy,
Korea’s No. 2, the Jeonju International Korea’s top Adventure.” Five actresses starring in the fifth episode of
Film Festival serves film buffs each genre film fest On the occasion of the festival’s 13th anniversary, the Korean horror series Whispering Corri-
spring in the traditional town of Jeonju, organizers decided to include several movies that dors: Blood Pledge walk down the red carpet.
North Jeolla, focusing on independent is celebrating refer to numbers, including the unlucky one in ques- Top. the 13th PiFan opening film was M.W.
films and lesser-known directors. its lucky 13th tion, said Kwon Yong-min, PiFan programmer, prior Also screened was Korean director Park Chan-
But for those with a particular taste to the opening. wook’s Thirst.
for blood, thrills or science fiction, with vampires, Other films were the first of their kind ever seen:
PiFan beats them both. Czech sci-fi Invitation Only, which was screened as part of the
Short for the Puchon International Puchon Choice Feature section, is the first Taiwanese festival, was the first Indonesian mar- European films, while the Forbidden ings and tell them more about Czech
Fantastic Film Festival, PiFan is held and more. slasher movie, while Merantau, which closed out the tial arts film. Zone featured hardcore genre films. literature and filmmaking.
But the banner event was the Kore- Despite the festival’s general focus The other special program, Fanta
an premiere of M.W. by Japanese direc- on horror, thriller and sci-fi films, plen- Masters: Vampires of Their Own, fea-
tor Hitoshi Iwamoto, which opened ty of fantasy and animation suitable for tured variations by different directors
Celebrities walk the red carpet at the 13th this year’s festival. Tickets for the film children and other movies for general on the timeless horror icon of the vam-
Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival sold out in less than five minutes after audiences were also on offer in the pire, including famed auteur Roman
July 16 in the city of Bucheon, Gyeonggi. The online reservations opened in mid- Family Fanta and Ani Fanta sections. Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers
event featured 202 films from 41 countries. June. The movie is a live-action adapta- Korean audiences also had the rare and internationally acclaimed South
tion of a dark revenge manga series opportunity to see genre films from the Korean director Park Chan-wook’s lat-
written by the late Osamu Tezuka, Czech Republic at this year’s PiFan est work, Thirst, which was awarded the
Japan’s “godfather of anime.” through the special Czech-Imagination Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes film fes-
“Unlike Tezuka’s other works, M.W. program. tival.
portrays the dark side of the human “Because of my interest in the sci- Also on hand was Japanese director
being. I tried not to rely too much on ence fiction field, I was pleased to be Takashi Shimizu, who shared behind-
computer graphics and instead create part of PiFan this year,” said Czech the-scenes stories about his world-fa-
action and suspense to breathe life into Ambassador to Korea Jaroslav Olsa, mous horror series Juon in another
the original,” said Iwamoto, who visited who spearheaded his country’s involve- special program arranged by PiFan to
Bucheon on PiFan’s opening day to ment in the film fest. commemorate the series’ 10th anniver-
attend the screening of his film. The ambassador has long been sary this year.
PiFan 2009 included eight regular involved with science fiction, authoring Meanwhile, PiFan’s industry pro-
sections — Puchon Choice, World Fan- an encyclopedia of genre literature and gram, called the Network of Asian Fan-
tastic Cinema, Fantastic Short Films, founding the first Czech sci-fi maga- tastic Films, which was created last year
Forbidden Zone, Family Fanta, Ani- zine, Ikarie, which itself has a 20-year to help genre filmmakers expand their
Fanta, Special Programs and Retro- history. networks and keep track of new trends,
Provided by the organizer

spectives — presenting audiences with Ondrej Neff, a Czech science fiction gave the creators of 19 genre films from
a variety of cinematic choices. writer and journalist and an old friend 10 countries a chance to present their
The World Fantastic Cinema sec- of the ambassador who co-founded film to and meet with their potential
tion, the core of the festival, centered on Ikarie, was down in Bucheon with Olsa producers and investors. 
independent Korean, South Asian and to meet viewers after the Czech screen- By Park Sun-young

36 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 37


forming arts,” said Lee Sun-min, plan-

ning team manager for the festival. The
winners will get support from the min-
istry and worldwide publicity.
In another rare treat, viewers will
have the opportunity to compare the
traditions of Korea, China and Japan as
intangible cultural assets from all three
countries perform in the same place.
Japan’s Ise Kagura and China’s Chuanju
and Bianlian will be among the styles
on display. Two of the festival’s more modern pieces
There’s even an area where ama- are Huo-i Huo-i (Princess Bari’s Journey:
teurs can strut their stuff; 40 pieces cre- Episode Seven) by Tae Hye-Shinyn Kar-
ated by members of the general public mafree Dance Company, left, and Jindo
will be staged there. Similarly, this com- Myung Da Ri Gut by the Chung-Ang Mu-
petition is designed to showcase inno- sic Drama Company.
vative combinations of the traditional
and the modern, but also to hunt down
any unknown talent hiding in the Q&A Cho Soo - dong
everyday world. Anyone, regardless of
occupation, nationality or age, can par-
ticipate, but the deadline to apply is
August 7. In a brief interview, Cho Soo-dong, art director of the
Foreigners interested in Korean cul- Korea Traditional Performing Arts Festival 2009, said he
ture will be no mere onlookers. The is hopeful the festival will help local culture spread on
This mask performance by Group Jip Hyun, festival provides a firsthand experience the world stage.
titled “On the distant hill across the river,” of local traditions, with lessons for for-
will be just one part of the festival. eigners focused on talchum and sam-
ulnori. Under the guidance of an Eng- Q. Why was such a festival launched?
lish-speaking instructor, foreigners will A. There were different festivals featuring Korean traditional performing arts in the past,
have the chance to make their own tal but the public became fed up with traditional performances because they were all the

Thriving Traditions on Stage mask and learn how to dance, or how to

play in a samulnori ensemble.
“Traditional performing arts are no
same. The performances had been showcased without any changes in story and format.
Many have lost the appetite for such performances. And that’s why the Korea Tradition-
al Performing Arts Festival was started in 2006. The festival aims to nurture traditional
longer old,” art director Cho Soo-dong performing arts while fusing the new and old faces of Korea to create something that
Autumn performance festival combines old styles with new sensibilities said. “The traditional performing arts can be widely accepted not only by the general Korean public but also the world.
will not only adhere to past forms. We Q. Is the committee considering providing foreign language services for foreign

are entering a time of modern perfor- visitors who are interested in learning Korean traditional arts?

All photos provided by the Korea Traditional Performing Arts Festival Committee
eptember in Korea brings a held in 2009 during the year of the can be enjoyed and appreciated by mances where tradition is inherited A. English subtitles will be provided for every performance on a screen to help foreign-
cool autumn breeze that seems 100th anniversary of the establishment audiences from anywhere in the world. creatively, and I believe all the people ers understand them. This includes performers’ lines. They will not miss a single mo-
to whisper in the ear, enticing of the National Museum of Korea, and It also aims to reach out to a younger will be able to enjoy this through the ment, and will be able to laugh with the Korean audience.
families outdoors for a walk in it’s expected to attract approximately generation more used to pop songs and festival.” Also, there will be brief explanations of the history and theme of every performance at
nature’s glory. It also happens to be the 200,000 visitors. dance music. Cho is a veteran curator who direct- the festival.
perfect season to enjoy traditional The local contributions will include Competitions among professional ed the closing ceremony of the Seoul Brochures will be provided in three foreign languages, English, Japanese, and Chinese,
Korean performing arts. namsadang (a troupe of traveling per- performing groups will reward the Olympics back in 1988, as well as the each with details about every performance.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and formers), pansori (traditional Korean most creative reinterpretation of tradi- opening and closing ceremonies of the Q. How’s this year’s festival different from previous ones?
Tourism will sponsor the Korea Tradi- lyric storytelling), madanggeuk (out- tion to incorporate modern sensibili- Busan Asian Games and the Hi Seoul A. There will be also sessions by Korean TV show and movie directors. They will show
tional Performing Arts Festival 2009 door theater), talchum mask dance ties. Ten groups passed the screening Festival. people how Korean traditional performing arts have been portrayed and reflected in the
from Sept. 16 to 20 at the National shadow theater, a samulnori percussion round and will perform at the festival. Events will take place from 11 a.m. media. They will also speak with people seeking ways to help traditional performances
Museum of Korea. The festival will quartet, and jultagi rope performanc- The ministry will select five works that to 10 p.m. for five days (Sept. 16 to 20) be accepted by the global public. Anyone who is interested is welcome to participate.
combine a variety of traditional Korean es. they deem highly likely to appeal to at the National Museum of Korea. For Q. Are there any programs for foreigners?
performances with a few from overseas The focus of this year’s festival is on both foreign and Korean audiences. more information call 82-707-506- A. This year’s festival has more activities than visitors can take part in. Foreigners will
to create a program people of all ages raising interest in and awareness of “Audiences will witness birth of a 2848, e-mail openpan@paran.com or go be able to create their own masks and learn talchum. They will also be able to learn
can enjoy. Korean traditional performance. The new tradition though the combination to the official Web site, www.openpan. samulnori, while playing different Korean instruments.
The festival, the third of its kind, is ministry hopes to develop shows that of the past and future of Korean per- com.  By Kim Mi-ju

38 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 39


val’s artistic director, at a press conference in central Seoul last

“Juliet says, ‘that which we call a rose, by any other name would
smell as sweet.’ I want the festival to be an opportunity to examine
how names and titles express the fragrance, if you will, of composers
and songs, as well as how that fragrance is delivered to the audi-
Pretty philosophical, even vague, some might say.
But the festival, now in its sixth year, has always picked rather
difficult themes: last year it was the combination of images, text and
music. One show that year was called “Eh Joe,” adapting music by
noted Korean-American composer Earl Kim (1920-1988) and imag-
es by Irish dramatist Samuel Beckett (1906-1989).
But the organizers of GMMFS seems to take pride in a theme that
encompasses not just music but also literature, philosophy and visu-
al art, saying that the festival is a venue to introduce avant-garde or
peripheral trends and values in the music scene.
As in previous years, the festival will feature three weeks of clas-
sical concerts and classes at the scenic mountain resort of Pyeong-
chang in Gangwon Province.
“Before we received about 150 students a year, but this year we
have accepted 183 students, expanding the classes,” said Korean cel-
list Chung Myung-wha, one of the participating virtuosi.
Chung, now a regular at GMMFS, says that she had planned to
take part in just a few events, but that she just couldn’t help but come
“For students, it’s a great opportunity to learn from renowned
teachers without having to travel abroad. For teachers, it’s a rare,
intimate opportunity to spend quality time with young musicians,”
Chung says.
Organizers say some of the highlights this year include “Bachi-

anas Brasileiras No. 5,” which was written over a period of 15 years

Masters Gather hat’s in a

name?” Juliet
asked. We all
by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). Aldo
Parisot, a Brazilian-born American cellist who’s been teaching at
GMMFS from 2004, will perform the piece. Parisot was a good friend

at Mountains remember the of Villa-Lobos.

Provided by the organizer

heroine in the timeless play engaging in Others include “Ghost Opera” by Tan Dun, a Chinese contempo-
this heartfelt soliloquy about her love’s rary classical composer who wrote scores for films such as Crouching

Music Festival
pesky family moniker. Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Voice of Whale by George Crumb, an
This summer, the organizers of the American composer of modern and avant-garde music who wrote
upcoming International Great Moun- the piece inspired by the voices of whales.
tains Music Festival and School, Top, the Sejong Soloists pose in Pyeongchang, Gangwon This year’s GMMFS also features some new faces. Elmar Oliveira,
GMMFS for short, ask that question of while participating in the International Great Mountains Mu- the first and the only American violinist to win at Moscow’s Tchaik-
Known for its eccentric themes, the you. sic Festival and School. Above, Korean cellist Chung Myung- ovsky International Competition, will be performing her first Korean
event is a chance for students to learn But it’s not the love of a woman for a
man that prompted them to ask. Rather,
wha, one of the master participating at the festival, is now a
regular at GMMFS. 
show in 10 years.
The International Great Mountains Music Festival & School runs
from some of the world’s top virtuosi it’s their love for some of history’s great- until Aug. 14 in and around the scenic mountain resort area of
est songs and composers. Pyeongchang, Gangwon. For more details visit www.gmmfs.com or
“I hope at this year’s GMMFS, the call the organizer at (033) 253-7497. Some programs are free of
participants can explore what the names charge, while others require reservations — visit ticketlink.co.kr or
of certain composers or titles of certain call 1588-7890. 
pieces entail,” says Kang Hyo, the festi- By Kim Hyung-eun

40 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 41

Korean Artist

She instituted several novel measures ‘I keep telling works such as Swan Lake, Don Quixote and Giselle. She
to fill seats, staging performances with may have had difficulty with spoken language, but on
narration in Korean to allow locals to myself never to stage her message came across loud and clear, and she

The Prima Donna Behind understand the plot. This approach let
Koreans relax even during a performance
by the Russian Bolshoi Ballet.
forget the pas-
sion I had
became a media darling.
Ballet critics praise her even more for her talent
planning programs as administrator of the national bal-

Korea’s Ballet Success when I first

Choi also dramatically lowered ticket let company, even as she showed special passion for
prices, sometimes selling seats for just teaching younger Korean students to dance.
10,000 Korean won (about $7.50) or even stood on the “I keep telling myself never to forget the passion that
giving them out for free. She took the Korean stage.’ I had when I first stood on the Korean stage,” she said.
show on the road outside the capital, to “I still have a long way to go to achieve what I want to

attract more diverse audiences through- do here.”
t wasn’t too long ago that ballet was considered out the country. Her next goal is to build a ballet school for Korean
entertainment for a wealthy minority in Korea. Choi is Korean-Japanese and still teenagers so that they can receive proper, continuous
But today, it’s begun to seep into the public prefers to speak Japanese or English over dance education. She also dreams of building a theater
consciousness. What’s responsible for the Korean. She was 27 years old and spoke exclusively for Korean ballet so that more people will
change? no Korean at all when she made her appreciate its beauty.
Asking who might be more accurate, because as Korean debut in 1987. Before arriving in Choi is currently working on producing her own
many Korean enthusiasts will tell you, it’s all thanks Seoul, she studied in Japan and the Unit- modern ballet works, hoping to inspire overseas troupes
to ballerina Choi Tae-ji. ed States at the Kaitani Ballet Academy, to restage Korean works.
When two South Korean dancers won second the Joffrey Ballet School and the New Her colleagues and her fans say it’s Choi’s endur-
prize in the duet division at the Moscow Interna- York City Ballet. ance, devotion, training and belief in what she can do
tional Ballet Competition in June, the highest level “There were many difficulties in that keep her going.
any Korean had ever achieved at the competition also communication when I decided to dance On August 7 and 8, Choi plans to stage Cinderella
known as the “Olympics of ballet,” it was Choi critics with the Korean company,” she recalled. for a Chinese audience in the city of Ordos in Inner
praised once again for encouraging young Korean “But I think it was my national identity Mongolia, followed by a production of Tchaikovsky,
ballerinas and ballerinos to strive for greatness. back then as a Korean that told me to go which she believes will be a technical challenge for her
And Choi was watching this year’s competition back to my mother country and do students.
from the other side of the judges’ table at the Bolshoi something for it. I guess that’s what made Choi’s young daughter must have inherited her tal-
Theater, as one of the 15 people selected for a jury me what I am now.” ent, as she is also a ballerina, currently with a Russian
that included star choreographers Vladimir Vasiliev She soon became the star of the company. Some Korean critics even dare to hope that,
and Yuri Grigorovich. national ballet company in the 1980s, one day, we will see Korea’s first mother and daughter
“It has only been a decade since exchanges began starring as the prima donna in major duo on stage.  By Hong Jin
between Korean ballet and foreign ballet, and it
seems the world is acknowledging us already,” said
Choi excitedly in a recent interview. “Korean dancers
have the passion and talent to mesmerize the audi-
ence, and their physical condition doesn’t lag behind
Western dancers either.
“Korean ballet is about to move up to another
level,” she said.
Choi is currently head of the Korea National Bal-
let Company, and her fans call her the godmother of
Korean ballet. Some even call her the “CEO of the art
world,” for her doggedness in bringing Korean ballet
into the public eye.
She has served the national ballet for years as lead
coach and art director. She was even named director
of the KNBC once before, 13 years ago. In 1996, at
37, she became the youngest KNBC director ever,
staying in the post for five years. After that she worked

[JoongAng Ilbo]
as a top manager of the Chongdong Theater in cen-
Choi’s abilities as a director
have earned even greater
tral Seoul.
[JoongAng Ilbo]

praise than her long career as The KNBC called her back as director in 2008,
a ballerina. crediting her with drawing the public to ballet as Above left, Choi is lifted during a performance of The Nutcracker with the Korea National Ballet Company, while above right, Choi leaps in
popular entertainment. the Korean ballet Prince Hodong.

42 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 43


using conventional plastic to enclose Innovation, “Fans are one of those products that get used for
the portable PC, these computers have three months or so and are stored for nine months

Bright Ideas
bamboo paneling. Besides being par- that eternal after that. So we tried to solve the inconvenient stor-
tially natural and biodegradable, the
notebook is energy-efficient and has a
watchword, age issue.” He said that to make the design slimmer
and more compact, he put the motor inside the main
longer battery life compared to previ- can lead to base and made the neck of the fan adjustable.
ous models. The creative computers Other innovative “idea products” are also target-
were honored by both TIME and some weird ing summer shoppers on the Internet. Take the “Oli-

to Change
National Geographic magazines, with
the former’s style and design section
but brilliant ver Toy Swim Coach,” an inflatable swimsuit for chil-
dren learning to swim sold at Auction, a Web site
writing that the laptop “ranks high in products. owned by eBay, Inc. The “Idea Hat Flash,” also sold
energy conservation and saves 27 lbs at Auction, is a camping hat with a flashlight on the
[12 kg] of carbon emissions annually.” front, for venturing out of the tent at night.
Hanwha L&C’s “Myeongga Magic” The “Play and Freeze” ice cream maker, made by

Our Lives
flooring material is another clever the U.S.-based firm Industrial Revolution, is an ice
energy-saving product for the home, cream maker shaped like a ball. Customers can sim-
turning from grey to brown when ply put ice and rock salt in one end and ingredients
heated above 31 degrees Celsius. The into the other, then play with the ball to churn the ice
company said it mixed a color-chang- cream.
ing ink into the material to create the For those long trips on the road, there are even
effect. In Korea, where it’s easy to forget disposable urinals for children, made by local com-
to turn off floor heaters, it’s an inven- pany Calyx out of paper and resin, which absorbs
tive way to save oil — and cash. urine and turns it into a jellylike substance, ready for
Food dehydrators • Color-changing floors • Bamboo computers But with summer here, most are disposal. On Calyx’s homepage, the owner Shin
facing the opposite problem, with large Wuk-jung writes that he got the idea for the product
Behind each is a passionate inventor — and a lot of perseverance fans taking up space in bedrooms because he is the father of two children himself. 
across the country. This clunky clutter By Cho Jae-eun
inspired local company Innoman to

launch its Edison brand fans, which
ee Hee-ja’s life turned around tinational retail group based in France, fold down for easy storage. On June 19
12 years ago, in 1997, with one visited the small Korean company to this year, when the company first fea-
bright idea. examine the markers and verify the tured the product on the GS Home
She, like many housewives company’s claims. Shopping channel, 300 units were sold
in Korea, found it burdensome to sep- According to Wise & Blue, the in the first 15 minutes. Just five days
arate food waste from other garbage buyer was impressed that the ink didn’t later, the company had chalked up
and throw it out in a bucket. “Because leave any residue and could be erased more than 300 million won ($230,000)
Korea has a lot of spicy, soup-based easily with one swipe. Last month, in sales.
food, often times, there is smelly spill- Auchan signed a contract with the “Although [Edison fans] are twice
age,” Lee said. Korean company to supply them with as expensive as cheaper Chinese fans
But Lee tackled the problem, water chalk products. sold online, the fact that the height and
inventing a device to dehydrate food “We conducted tests for more than angle could be adjusted appealed to
waste and prepare it for easy disposal. three years using various plants to customers,” said a spokesperson for GS
As the founder and president of Loofen make this ink,” said Kim Ji-hyeon, an Home Shopping.
BIF Co. Ltd., she’s pioneered a new executive at Wise & Blue. “We are now Lee Soon, head of Innoman, agreed.
business, leaving bigger companies in the process of trying to make a deal Lee Hee-ja
including Woongjin Coway running with the United States-based Staples
to catch up. (Woongjin will launch its and Best Buy, as well as the Japanese toner residue and does not hurt the
own food waste dryer this year.) stationery company Pentel.” ozone layer. Because of these benefits,
For many local companies, success A similar product for computer many hospitals, research centers and
is as simple, or as difficult, as one out- printers is Fuji Xerox’s “solid ink.” preschools use the product, even
Far left, Fuji Xerox’s “solid
side-the-box idea. Take Wise & Blue, a Though shaped like ink cartridges, though it is a bit pricey compared to its ink” wastes no plastic on
local maker of Bluetooth headsets that they are in fact a solid mass of ink, traditional counterparts. cartridges, while, left and
expanded into dry-erase markers with which makes for easy installation and Another environment-friendly above, Lee Hee-ja changed
[JoongAng Ilbo]

its “water chalk,” which it says uses significantly less waste, according to innovation that has made headlines is the market by inventing the
eco-friendly, non-toxic ink. Earlier the company. Also, because the prod- Taiwan-based Asus’ bamboo notebook food dehydrator.
this year, a buyer from Auchan, a mul- uct uses natural palm oil, it leaves no series, launched last year. Instead of
44 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 45


Ad Printer Maker Stays

Ahead of Tech Curve

ver wonder how those huge the one DGI produced are used to cre-
advertisements plastered on ate weather-resistant posters and bill-
sides of office buildings and board signs designed using CAD.

department stores get made? It was the first time a cutting plotter
They’re just like your digital ink-jet had been developed using completely
printer at home - but on a massive, Korean technology. Previous plotters
much higher-quality scale. In fact, these had been made from imported parts. Yoo Chang-hyeon, a Chung-Ang University basketball player leads Koreans athletes on a march from University Village, a new housing
industrial printers are usually about DGI decided to build a digital ink- complex for athletes in the downtown Belgrade area, to Beogradska Areana where the opening ceremony was held.
five meters long, capable of producing jet plotter, as the advertisement market
a banner advertisement in just a couple changed from text-oriented advertise-

Korea Third at Universiade

of minutes. ments to visual-heavy signs.
And the company with the world’s Using the company’s experience
largest market share in these remark- with software and machinery, DGI suc-
able machines is DGI. Starting off as cessfully introduced its first inkjet plot-
IIIi, a small company that manufac- ter in 2000 along with a new digital
Athletes edge Japan in medal count for best showing ever overseas

tured drafting machines, in 1985, DGI’s image printing algorithm.
products were high-quality and came The DGI inkjet plotter uses the orea finished the 2009 Universiade Games held in were a prelude to a 4-1 defeat of rival Japan, also in penalty
at a competitive price, leaving a lot of piezo system, a pressure application Belgrade, Serbia third overall. At the international kicks.
potential for the company to grow. that maintains the quality of printed student games, Korea tied its best Universiade finish, “We’ve never had such an easy victory over Japan in the past,”
But for the company to thrive it had outdoor posters and billboard signs achieved at the 2003 Games in Daegu, making the sated the team manager Ahn Ik-soo. “I hope the win generates
to overcome a new challenge, as com- over the long term. Belgrade performance the country’s best ever on foreign soil. increased interest in the sport of women’s football.”
puter-aided design, also known as The firm now enjoys the largest As expected, Korea gained plenty of medals in tae- The fencing team also put in a stellar showing at the
CAD, began to replacing hand-drawn share of the global market, and has kwondo and archery, but there were a few surprises as games, with two athletes on top of the podium. Son
designs. signed deals with 90 companies in over well. Heading into the final day of competition, Korea Young-ki won the gold in the men’s individual foil, while
To keep up with the competition, 70 countries, including India. was in fourth behind Japan in medal standings, but Kim and Kim Hae-rim won in the women’s individual sabre.
the company entered the computer The secret behind DGI’s success is Duk-hyun won a gold medal in the long jump event — Son, a late bloomer, picked up fencing in his first year of
printer market. its targeting of a niche market and its Korea’s lone gold in track and field — to nudge Korea into high school, and with just eight years of experience under
In 1993 DGI jointly developed a persistence in the face of a challenge. third with 21 gold, 11 silver and 15 bronze medals. Kim’s his belt, became the first Korean male to win gold in a
pen plotter, a vector-based device that DGI has continuously expanded its best, an 8.2-meter jump, was good enough to break the fencing event at the Universiade Games by defeating
DGI prints using a robotic pen, with the business, acquiring IJT Inkjet Technol- Korean record he himself set in October. He nearly beat the cur- Italy’s Tobia Biondo 15-9 in the finals.
Has largest global market Korea Research Institute of Standards ogy, a U.S.-based company that special- rent Universiade record with a jump of 8.41 meters, but with wind Kim Hae-rim upped Bao Yingying of China 15-11 in the
share, partners in over 70 and Science. Pen plotters are only capa- ized in inkjet printer heads, in 2004. speeds clocking in at 3.5 meters per hour, that jump was ruled finals to earn her second gold since finishing first in a team sabre
countries ble of creating line art. DGI is also known for its strict wind-aided. competition in Bangkok two years ago.
In 1996, the company began devel- quality management and customer ser- One of the more impressive performances at the Games was Female archer Kim Yea-seul was the top performer at the
oping a cutting plotter, which it com- vice. Each product has its own serial the women’s football squad, which managed a podium finish for games for Korea with three gold medals. Judoka Wang Ki-Chun
pleted the following year. number and must be put through a the first time. The team started the group phase with a dominating and Kim Sung-min notched two gold medals apiece.
This new product was a huge step 300-step checklist before it’s shipped 4-0 win over Germany and a lopsided 12-0 win over South Afri- The Universiade gave young Koreans valuable experience,
for the company. Vinyl sign cutters like out.  By Lee Ho-jeong ca, the most commanding victory in the team’s history. and they’ll need it with the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou,
Later victories in the quarter and semifinals in penalty kicks China coming up late next year.  By Jason Kim

46 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 47


Yi Eun-jung reacts after missing a birdie Ji Eun-hee holds her trophy as Paul Park of
putt on the first hole in the final round of Hana Bank pours champagne over her after
the Jamie Farr Classic golf tournament July winning the U.S. Women’s Open golf champi-
5 in Sylvania, Ohio, United States. onship at the Saucon Valley Country Club in

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on July 12.

2 New Talents Smash Way Into LPGA’s Winners Club

oung Korean golfers made a golfers. Although winning her first the point where my hands were shak- title to my name. The biggest win in my during the Jamie Farr Classic. Ji and Yi still have a way to go before
lot of noise on the LPGA tour major was an impressive feat, what made ing,” said Ji about preparing for the deci- career was the amateur public links “I struggled with my putting game they can be included among the cham-
last month — even more than the win all the more dramatic was the sive putt. championship, and that just goes to in the past and suffered from back and pions on the LPGA tour, but with big
usual. manner in which she won. Yi Eun-jung also made headlines show how little exposure I had in the neck pain in the past year. My qualifying wins last month, both have established
Often referred to as the “Pak Se-ri Ji, dressed in her trademark black on after years of toiling in obscurity when past,” said Yi after her win in Sylvania, school scores were subpar, and so I had a solid start to what will hopefully be
kids,” after the Korean hall-of-famer, the final day, struggled early on, making she captured the LPGA Jamie Farr Clas- Ohio. been competing this year as an alternate two very exciting careers. 
Shin Ji-yai, Kim In-kyung and Park In- a double-bogey on the 10th hole. But it sic in early July. The 21-year-old captured her first participant,” said Yi.  By Jason Kim
bee are just a few of the most recogniz- seems her errant play simply helped While born in the same year as Shin win after birdying the first playoff hole
able faces of the group, and all are hav- ease her nerves for the final stretch of Ji-yai and talented enough, Yi was an to defeat American Morgan Pressel. Yi
ing a solid LPGA season. the competition. unknown until last month. The Pocheon, completed at an even par-71 to finish at
But they’ll have to make room for “I had birdied on the No. 8 and that Gyeonggi native got her start in golf at 18 under 266. She shot an impressive 61
two more female golfers who made drove me to get ahead of myself and the urging of her father in middle school, on the final day of competition.
names for themselves in the month of think about the possibility of winning when her main objective was to lose Yi skipped the Korean amateur links
July. the championship,” Ji explained. weight. Unlike Shin and Park, who won completely by chance. During the win-
Ji Eun-hee became the third Korean “I was able to calm down after the fame on the junior and amateur circuit, ter of 2002, she left to train in California
golfer to win the U.S. Open and only the double-bogey. Up until that point, Cris- Yi started out on the Futures Tour, a and ended up staying long-term.
seventh Korean female golfer to win a tie Kerr was so far ahead, and I just notch below the LPGA. But she failed to “I came to California, and it had a
major championship on the LPGA tour. didn’t think anyone was going to be able make a splash there and had to go great atmosphere for those involved in
Pak Se-ri broke that barrier 11 years ago to catch up with her. I basically cleared through qualifying school this year after golf. I had the goal of making the LPGA
when she won her first major at the U.S. my mind at that point.” finishing her rookie year in the LPGA at Tour anyway, so I decided to start as a
Open, and Park In-bee won the title last Ji went on to birdie on the 13th and 104th in total earnings.She had never competitor here in the States,” explained
season. 14th to tie for the lead with Kerr, Kim won an amateur tourney, and her big- Yi.
A native of Gapyeong, Gyeonggi, In-kyung and Candie Kung before she gest title prior to this one was the 2005 Though Yi could be considered a

with two KLPGA wins, two LPGA wins rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the US Amateur Public Links Champion- late bloomer, her past woes were largely
and two Asian tour wins, Ji had been a final hole to defeat Kung. ship. due to injuries. She wore a knee brace to
relative unknown among Korean female “I was really nervous — nervous to “I don’t even have a Korean amateur relieve some of the pain in her left knee Ji Eun-hee is only the seventh Korean female golfer to win a major LPGA championship.

48 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 49

Korea through the Lens
[JoongAng Ilbo]

A Snack for a President — Above, Presi-
Click dent Lee Myung-bak tastes boiled fish cake
June 25 at a Korean traditional market in
Korea Dongdaemun County, eastern Seoul, during
a tour to check the condition of the local

Big-screen TV — Above right, Samsung

Electronics said recently that it has established
two 46-inch full-sized monitors in front of the
Statute of Liberty in New York. The monitors
are twice as bright as regular full-sized screens
Off to Chuncheon
and are visible even in bad weather due to an
- Right, The Seoul-
air conditioning adjuster inside them.
Chuncheon Expressway

running from Misari on
Down and Dirty — Right, the annual
the outskirts of Seoul to
Boryeong Mud Festival returned to Korea’s
Chuncheon, Gangwon,
popular Daecheon Beach in Boryeong, South
opened to traffic July 15.
Chungcheong, for a nine-day run ending
The highway is expected
July 19. Celebrating its 12th year, the festival
to offer a quicker route
always attracts thousands of people from all
to one of Korea’s most
over the world with the promise of play and


popular resort areas.

health benefits in its famous mud.
Korea through the Lens

[JoongAng Ilbo]
Marrying the Culture — Curt Olson, chief excutive of ING Life Insurance Korea, gets mar-
ried in a traditional Korean ceremony at Korea House. The 55-year old assumed his position in
Korea in April 2008. The couple said they would live in a hanok, or traditional Korean home, in
downtown Seoul.
Provided by Dahanu Village

And Now For Something Completely Different — “Korean Eye,” an exhibit of contem-
porary Korean art sponsored by the SAATCHI GALLERY in London, run by the world-renowned
collector Charles Saatchi, was so popular that it had to be extended to two months. More than
40 thousand visitors came to the event, which now ends Sept. 13, over just two weeks.

A New Alliance for Peace — Foreign students participate in the “We Love Peace” event
sponsored by Dahanu Village in Gimpo, Gyeonggi, making rice balls with Korean beef to pray for
peace and reunification

A Milestone of Note — On June 23, the Bank of Korea put into circulation the new 50,000
won banknotes, the largest denomination since the BOK started issuing 10,000 won bills in 1973.


Korea’s Temples
Open Their Doors
Buddhist institutions offer the chance to experience
traditional culture while exploring one’s own soul

very urbanite has at one time through the temple with one prostra-
or another longed to get away tion every three steps, dado tea ceremo-
from the exhausting routine ny early morning mountain treks and
of the daily grind. As a chance Dharma talks with monks. Most offer
to relax in a beautiful natural setting barugongyang, traditional Buddhist
while replenishing the mind and the meals in wooden bowls.
spirit, temple stay programs have long The length of a temple stay varies
been a popular option. More than 100 from just one day to as long as the visitor
temples in Korea offer stays for students wishes.
or office workers during the summer
vacation season, while even foreign Retreating to the mountains
visitors and residents have begun to The venerable Woljeong Temple
realize the programs’ rejuvenating pow- was built in the Silla Kingdom in A.D.
er. 643 by the monk Jajang. It is a head
Most of the programs are relatively temple of the Jogye Order of Korean
recent, starting in 2002 in the lead-up to Buddhism, located on the eastern slopes
the World Cup soccer tournament host- of Mount Odae in Pyeongchang Coun-
ed by Korea and Japan. The itineraries ty, Gangwon. Since 2002, Woljeong has
are as varied as the Buddhist sects them- hosted temple stays throughout the year,
selves, but each one offers a chance to with an average of 200 to 300 Koreans

Provided by Tongdo Temple

experience the daily life of a monk. and 50 foreigners coming each month. Temple stay participants
Many start with pre-dawn yebul (cere- A special package is available for local bow with a monk at
monial chants), followed by activities families and foreigners over the sum- Tongdo Temple in South
that may include chamseon (sitting mer holidays every year, with three Gyeongsang Province.
meditation), 108 prostrations, a walk nights and four days available for for-
54 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 55

Visitors can also appreciate the historic Gap Temple

and Mount Gyeryong National Park, both within an
‘Temple stay including English teachers, participants
in the Asian Youth Camp and represen-
hour’s driving distance. gives me a tatives of tourism organizations come to
Jeong Heon-mook, a 48-year old office worker, way to find Myogak Temple. The seven-hour pro-
says he goes on temple stay programs whenever he gram includes an introduction to Korea
finds spare time over the weekend. “Temple stay gives myself when I and Korean culture, the threading of
me a way to find myself when I feel I’ve lost my way,” feel I’ve lost Buddhist prayer beads, the 108 prostra-
Jeong says. “I lost myself because I was too much keen tions, a quiz on Buddhism, the dado tea
on making money and gaining popularity. But then I
my way.’ ceremony and, of course, sitting medita-
decided to manage my own life and seek for myself.” tion. All activities are conducted in Eng-
Temples in southern Korea mainly offer tea cere- lish.
mony and Zen meditation, because most of the coun- On the lunch menu are black and
try’s green tea is cultivated in the south. Geumsan unpolished rice with side dishes made
Temple in Gimjae, North Jeolla; and Seonun Temple from brown mushrooms, button mush-
in Gochang, Daeheung Temple in Haenam, Baekyang rooms, broccoli and cabbage.

Provided by Myogak Temple

Temple in Jangseong and Hwaeum Temple in Gure, all The daylong programs cost 20,000
in South Jeolla, offer the chance to learn how to make to 30,000 won, while the fee for the over-
traditional and fermented tea. night is 50,000 won.
According to the Venerable Yeo Yeo,
Temple stay in Seoul who is in charge of temple stay programs
But you don’t have to go far afield to experience at Myogak, “People who had been suf-
Myogak Temple is well-known for its one-night Buddhist serenity. Temples in Seoul also offer pro- fering from serious hypochondria or
temple stay program, left. These programs of- grams for urbanites, and more than 200 Koreans and those who have felt the impulse to kill
ten include the threading of Buddhist prayer 700 foreigners have already taken advantage of the themselves come here to be relieved
beads, top, and the practice of dado, or tea ones offered by Myogak Temple. Located in a very from their mental stresses.”
ceremony, above. quiet residential area along a 100-meter back alley that Jacques, a tourist from the United
meanders off the main road in Sungin-dong, Jongno- States who has participated in the pro-
District, Myogak is surrounded by a small garden with
eign visitors at 120,000-200,000 Korean won to the ecology of the area and several a statue of the Buddha, enclosed by stone walls, grant-
($95-$160). museum tours. Visitors can also enjoy a ing tranquility even in the middle of the capital. The
Fees for temple stay programs vary depending on trip to the Herbnara arboretum, the dull sound of the brass temple bell rings out across the
the location. The average price of a one-night, two-day birthplace of Korean novelist Lee Hyo- greenery.
stay is about 40,000-50,000 Korean won. Optional seok and the port and beach at Jumunjin Myogak is well-known for its one-night, two-day
extras include classes in Buddhist teachings, the chance on the east coast. Sangwon Temple, a temple stay programs for foreigners. Every weekend,
to climb the temple “wishing tower,” a walk through small branch temple of Woljeong, is starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, visitors come to soothe
the nearby fir tree forest with prostrations every three located midway up Mount Odae, and is their souls. The program begins with the making of
steps, or even yoga. A month-long stay, or the chance worth visiting because of the famous Buddhist lanterns, followed by the striking of the bell
to be a “Buddhist priest for a month,” is also available monks who spent time here through the with the monks in the evening and a yebul service with
for those who wish to experience what ascetic devotees ages. chanting. Vegetarian meals are served at dinner, after
go through, having their hair shaved and being dressed Magok Temple, located in Gongju, which meditation lasts until 9:30 p.m., when visitors
just like any other novice. When it was offered in July South Chungcheong, offers a youth are required to go to bed.
last year, only 60 people of the more than 400 who summer camp from August 14 to 16 and You’ll be glad you did, because reveille is at 3 o’clock
applied were able to experience this program. a family program from August 21 to 23. in the morning, when participants strike the bell and
“The number of urbanites who wish to have men- Magok was built during the reign of the prostrate themselves 108 times in front of the statue of
tal and physical relaxation at a quiet and beautiful Silla queen Sundeok (632-647), and the the Buddha in the Hall of Paradise in the pre-dawn
temple continues to grow, as they are too stressed from programs there also include collective mist. The 108 prostrations are supposed to rid one’s
their busy daily lives,” says Kim Eun-mi, the temple therapy to heal mental stresses by expos- daily life of 108 kinds of anxieties and fantasies, and
stay coordinator at Woljeong. “Foreigners come to ing emotional and spiritual injuries. Myogak alumni say they are mentally calming, not

Provided by Tongdo Temple

learn and experience the spirit of Eastern culture, According to coordinators, “Temple strenuous. Then it’s time for yoga stretches and a
Korean Buddhism and meditation.” stay program participants are able to mountain trek. A panoramic view of Seoul is waiting
More than 150 Buddhist monks and administra- practice sharing mercy with their fami- for the hikers at Naksan Park, to wash away hardships
tive staff currently reside at Woljeong Temple, which lies and neighbors after their mental and stress.
also offers tours of Mount Odae National Park and the Traditional Buddhist meals injuries are cured.” A day-long program exclusively for foreigners is
Yongpyeong ski resort linked to the temple stay pro- (vegetarian, of course) are A totem pole village, outdoor swim- also available at any time regardless of the number of Visitors meditate outdoors at Tongdo Temple around the reliquary of a Bud-
gram. Both of those attractions are just 20 minutes served three times a day dur- ming pool and several pensions are participants. dhist master, top. Above, others meditate covered with nets to protect them
away by car. The Odae tour includes an introduction ing temple stay programs. located near the entrance to Magok. One such day in June saw more than 50 foreigners, from mosquitos.

56 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 57

Korea’s Taste Masters

Judge a Chef by Her Kimchi

And dine out at Yongsusan, says Italian Anita Bidini

nita Bidini, head enters a new Korean restaurant
chef of Il Ponte, the is its red kimchi, which she
Italian restaurant thinks reflects its overall stan-
at the Millennium dards.
Seoul Hilton in central Seoul, “Italians judge a restaurant
says cooking comes from with- by its pasta, but here, you judge
in. it by its kimchi,” she said.

Provided by Tongdo Temple

“The number one ingredi- “Though I’m not an expert on
ent in cooking is your heart,” kimchi, I can tell if the cabbage
says the only expatriate female isn’t properly marinated or
to run a hotel kitchen in Seoul. stored.”
The main sanctuary at Tongdo Temple Bidini, who arrived in She says the kimchi served
Korea in 2005, has found one at Yongsusan is different from
restaurant in central Seoul that other restaurants in that the
gram, says, “I really like this guished by longer periods of sit- matches her philosophy: Yong- rich taste stimulates the appe-

[JoongAng Ilbo]
experience. It was very informa- ting meditation to allow partici- Information susan, a royal Korean cuisine tite for more mouthwatering
tive and eye opening. I would pants greater ability to reflect. Below is a list of temples in Korea restaurant in the Seoul Finance dishes. Yongsusan was founded
that offer temple stays.
recommend it to others very A “Room for Silence” is also Center near Gwanghwamun. by Choi Sang-ok in 1980. The
willingly.” provided in the left corner of the (City Hall Station, line No. 1 or Sinseollo, or royal hot pot, contains a vari- restaurant is intended to serve
For a different Seoul experi- Hall of Paradise, open from 10 Seoul Myogak Temple 2, exit 4. For information, call ety of fish, meat and vegetables and is con- Kaesong-style dishes known to
ence, try Gilsang Temple, which a.m. to 5 p.m. to casual visitors. www.myogaksa.net Tel: 02-763-0054 (02) 771-5553). sidered a Korean delicacy. be simple and mild in taste.
was a house for gisaeng (Korean Gilsang’s temple stay pro- Gilsang Temple “When friends and family Since the hanjeongsik style
geisha) called Daewongak from gram is only available on the www.kilsangsa.or.kr Tel: 02-3672-5945 visit from Europe, I always take them there,” said Bidi- includes rice and stew with an endless number of side
the 1960s to the 1980s. Gilsang fourth weekend of each month. Jogye Temple ni, an Italian who spent 19 years as a chef in the Middle dishes, Choi has saved recipes for some 100 side dish-
offers the feeling that one is on a Nine other Seoul temples, www.jogyesa.org Tel: 02-732-5292 East. “In most restaurants here, you share dishes, es in a DVD manual to preserve the
remote mountainside, but in fact including Jogye Temple in Gyeo- Gangwon Baekdam Temple which can be a culture shock to foreigners. But at restaurant's culinary principles.
it’s in Seongbuk 2-dong, near nji-dong, Jongno District and www.baekdamsa.org Tel: 033-462-5565 Yongsusan, you’re served portion by portion on your Yongsusan has seven branches
downtown Seoul. The temple is Hwagye Temple in Suyu 1-dong, Woljeong Temple plate.” in Seoul, including one each in Sam-
surrounded by a small forest Gangbuk District, offer temple www.woljeongsa.org Tel: 033-339-6606 Typical dishes at Yongsusan, a high-end restau- cheong-dong, central Seoul, and
with a cozy pond. stays for foreigners. The average Incheon Jeondeung Temple rant, include red and white marinated fish fillet with Jamsil and Cheongdam-dong in
A forest path connects the cost of the programs is between www.jeondeungsa.org Tel: 032-937-0125 chili paste, garlic sauce and sesame oil; mussels served southern Seoul. There's even a
main hall of the sanctum to the 30,000 and 50,000 won for one South Tongdo Temple with prawn meatballs and fresh clams; grilled freshwa- branch on Vermont Avenue in Los

Provided by the hotel

Hall of Paradise. night and two days. More than www.tongdosa.or.kr Tel: 055-382-7182 ter eel marinated in a ginger and soy sauce, and grilled Angeles. The restaurant offers
The temple’s current site was 30 temples will offer programs North Jikji Temple marinated tender short-rib fillet. lunch and dinner courses
donated by Kim Young-han, for children and youth begin- www.jikjisa.or.kr Tel: 054-436-6084 The restaurant offers set lunch and dinner courses consisting of 17 main and
owner of Daewongak. Forty ning this year. South Magok Temple as well as a la carte items. side dishes. Prices range
temple buildings have been built Details can be found on the www.magoksa.or.kr Tel: 041-841-6221 Bidini’s favorite dishes here are bulgogi, marinated from 20,000 ($13.64) to
on the 23,100-square-meter Internet homepage of the Korea Sudeok Temple beef; japchae, glass noodles mixed with vegetables and 125,000 won, but they may
grounds. Buddhism Culture Business www.sudeoksa.com Tel: 041-337-6565 sliced meat, and bossam, kimchi wrapped in a large vary depending on which
The beautiful trees that sur- Corps, run by the Jogye Order of North Jeolla Beopju Temple cabbage leaf. branch you choose.
round Gilsang are the perfect Korean Buddhism (www.tem- www.beopjusa.or.kr Tel: 043-543-3615 As a chef here, the first dish Bidini tastes when she By Lee Eun-joo Anita Bidini
setting for serene and undis- plestay.com) or on the Internet Jeju Yakchun Temple
turbed meditation. Gilsang’s homepage for each temple. www.yakchunsa.org Tel: 064-738-5000
temple stay programs are distin- By Hong Jin

58 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea

August 2009 korea 59
Korean Food

Guests invited to the “Global Hansik Night” bibimbap (rice mixed with fresh vegeta- Millennium Seoul Hilton, who has long
enjoy an eight-course Korean meal at the bles and seasoned raw meat), with green been involved in efforts to globalize

Provided by the Millennium Hilton Seoul

Millennium Seoul Hilton in central Seoul, tea and red bean cake and green tea ice Korean food.
last month. The event was co-hosted by the cream for dessert. The fabulous meal Park was appointed a Star Chef by
hotel and Grand Korea Leisure. ended with a tasting of traditional jujube Lufthansa in March to create premium
tea. in-flight meals for its passengers. The
A variety of traditional wines were culinary mastermind was the first Kore-
served to the distinguished guests, an to become an executive chef at a West-
matched to each dish, including different ern hotel chain in 2001.
types of baekseju rice wine, ginseng “I prepared for more than one month,
liquor and bokbunja wine made from creating a traditional menu to please the
wild berries. palates of Westerners,” Park said. He said Hobakjuk
“It was a wonderful meal,” said Kurt he put a twist on tradition to create the Pumpkin Porridge
Achin, bureau chief for the Voice of very best hansik.

Provided by Grand Korea Leisure

America Seoul, one of the invited Instead of serving simply bulgogi or
guests. marinated beef on a plate, he wrapped
“The thinly sliced fresh abalone cold the beef with lotus leaves, which adds to
appetizer was especially popular among its health value. Royal tteokbokki was
members from our table,” he added. served on top of japchae (glass noodles
“It was a dish I’ve never tasted before mixed with a dish of vegetables and sliced
here or anywhere. The combination of meat), a rare approach here.
abalone, mushroom and ginseng was “Korean food is very highly flavored
superb.” and healthy compared to Western cui-
Achin said that the wide range dishes sines,” Park said. “Many including myself

A Tasty Wave of New Cuisine reflected the diversity of the country.

The evening’s dishes were prepared
by Park Hyo-nam, executive chef at the
hope that Korean cuisine will penetrate
deep into the global food market.” 
By Lee Eun-joo
Royal Tteokbokki

ince the government declared many other local dignitaries.
last year that the global promo- “It is now time for a Hallyu [Korean wave] of Kore-
tion of Korean food would be an food, following the first Hallyu of dramas and films,” Fighting the Delicious Fight
crucial to economic growth said Chung In-joon, senior vice president of marketing
and the spread of local culture world- for Grand Korea Leisure, at the event. Chung was the Chung In-joon, senior vice president of market-
wide, a variety of efforts have been driving force behind the dinner. ing for Grand Korea Leisure, was the mastermind
undertaken to push the movement for- “In addition to the government’s establishment of a behind the Global Hansik Night on July 3 at the
ward. Korean food globalization committee on May 4, there Millennium Seoul Hilton in central Seoul.
Most recently, in an effort to intro- should also be corporate-level contributions to promote “When I was working in overseas Korean embas-
duce foreign nationals to local tradition- the wave,” Chung said. sies, I invited many foreign journalists to Korean
al food and further globalize Korean That same evening, lawmaker Kim said that in the restaurants,” Chung said. “From them, I received Pine Mushroom
cuisine to the level of sushi and spaghet- 21st century food is more than just a meal, it’s a culture, many positive responses about the food and Sinseollo
ti, an eight-course Korean meal was and by sharing Korean food to the world Korea as a naturally came to think about the very possibility of globalizing Korean food.”
served to 100 foreign VIPs as part of whole will become better known. Then Chung read in a newspaper that the Korean government was promot-
“Global Hansik Night” at the Grand Ball- “The many Korean traditional dishes can be used as ing local food. Chung realized that the participation of private corporations
room of the Millennium Seoul Hilton in a path to spread Korean culture,” said Kim, who is would be vital. So he decided that Grand Korea Leisure could draw on its
central Seoul. known to have a keen interest in the global hansik foreign VIP guests and journalist contacts to help. Chung asked Eric Swanson,
Cohosted by the hotel and Grand (Korean cuisine) campaign as a member of Culture, the general manager of the Millennium Seoul Hilton, to help host the event.
Korea Leisure, which operates the for- Sports and Tourism Committee of the National Assem- The event was a smash. Countless guests came to Chung, he said, to praise
eigner-only Seven Luck Casino, the din- Park Hyo-nam bly. the food and thank him for bringing Koreans and foreigners together.
ers included guests at the casino, mem- The menu started with appetizers: thinly sliced But it’s just the beginning., Chung says. “Within three to four years, there
bers of the American Chamber of Com- prepared the fresh abalone with green leaves and a soy ginger dress- should be plans to open many high-end, competent Korean restaurants that
merce in Korea and the foreign press. ing, hobakjuk (pumpkin porridge), royal tteokbokki
The Korean guests of honor in atten- dishes to fit a (pan-fried rice cakes with soy sauce and vegetables),
introduce Korean agricultural goods such as organic and natural vegetables
and Korean beef in New York, Tokyo, Beijing, Paris and London.”
dance were Grand National Party legisla- foreign palate, pine mushroom sinseollo (traditional hot pot) and Jeju For that to happen, Korea needs more first-class, committed chefs who can Fresh Abalone
tor Kim Gum-rae, Korea University eco- tangerine sherbet. A main course following consisting create dishes to satisfy foreign tastes. And, of course, these chefs should be with Soy Ginger Dressing
nomics professor Lee Man-woo and to rave reviews. of bulgogi (marinated beef) in lotus leaves and yukhoe widely recognized and respected by Koreans first.

60 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 61


Farmer Offers Helping Dish Lee Si-kap owns 85 satellite dishes, more than any other individual
Korean. Now he’s using his hobby to help homesick foreign spouses.

ou wouldn’t know it to look at Lee has more recently emerged as some- they marry South Korean farmers who Vietnam. When Lee, who lives with his
this shy farmer living in the thing of a hero of modest fame, featured have difficulty finding a spouse because “These women have a hard time fit- 80-year-old mother and 97-year-old
town of Yeongju, North Gyeo- on national television as ‘‘antenna man.’’ so many young Korean women have ting in. The local governments, and the grandfather, is not toying with his satel-
ngsang, but Lee Si-kap is a Since late last year, he and fellow satellite rejected rural life and migrated to cit- husbands, often focus only on making lite gear, he tends his pepper and sesame
recordholder: He owns 85 satellite dish- enthusiasts — there are quite a few in ies. them ‘Korean,’ teaching them the Kore- fields or makes the rounds of nearby vil-
es, more than any other South Korean. this mountainous country — have These young foreign brides have an language and computer skills,” said lages to see whether the foreign brides
The dishes receive 1,500 television chan- started a campaign to install free satellite become the bedrock of the local econo- Lee, 39, who has himself never married. are having problems with their recep-
nels from over 100 countries, some as far dishes for poor foreign brides living in my in rural towns like Yeongju. They "They don’t quite understand how iso- tion.
away as South Africa and Canada. rural South Korea so they can receive work alongside their husbands in the lated these women feel.” On the Internet, Lee is part of a com-
To passers-by, Lee’s home stands out broadcasts from their home countries. fields and, most importantly, have Lee and his friends still encounter munity of 6,000 Korean satellite televi-
like a giant, bristling hedgehog in the ‘‘Thanks to Mr. Lee, I now miss my brought back a sound that was rapidly objections from husbands who are sion devotees, including husbands of
otherwise nondescript countryside, dot- country, my mother and father less than disappearing among the aging farm determined to shield their foreign brides foreign brides and a few dedicated souls
ted with apple orchards and ginseng I used to,’’ said Bui Thi Huang, a 22-year- population here: crying babies. from any reminders of their native lands searching for extraterrestrial signals.
fields. Satellite dishes cover his roof like old bride from Haiphong, Vietnam, who In South Korea, which had once for fear it might only magnify their There is intense competition over who
giant steel mushrooms. They spread into now lives here in Yeongju, 160 kilome- prided itself on being a homogeneous homesickness. But they are encouraged “Music and satellite television” saved Lee owns the most and biggest satellite dish-
his front yard and blossom in a field ters, or 100 miles, southeast of Seoul. society, four out of 10 women who mar- that many families have reported that from loneliness as a child, he says. es. The runner-up to Lee is a man north
behind his house, some as large as five In recent years, the South Korean ried in rural communities last year were watching satellite broadcasts from home of Seoul who owns 60 dishes.
meters, or more than 16 feet, in diame- countryside has seen an influx of brides foreign born. In Yeongju, the number of actually helps the lonely women adjust obsession. When most farmers here “When we talk about satellite mania,
ter. from poorer countries like Vietnam, foreign wives increased 28 percent in the to life here better. look to the sky, they read clouds for we talk about men who steal their wives’
Once dismissed as a local eccentric, China and the Philippines. Like Ms. Bui, past year-and-a-half to 250, half from Lee says his sympathy for foreign weather. When Lee looks skyward, he pot lids and convert them into satellite
brides stems in part from his own expe- says he imagines artificial satellites in dishes,” Lee said.
rience of feeling cut off from society. He earth orbit. To him, the air is filled with These buffs came together recently
felt deeply hurt when his father aban- broadcast signals, ‘‘like seeds from this- when Lee and others started an Internet
doned him and his mother when he was tles.’’ campaign to raise money to bring satel-
Lee’s home in Yeongju, a small boy, and, lacking self-confidence, Farmers here at first didn’t know lite television to foreign wives like Ms.
South Gyeongsang has had trouble making friends in his neigh- what to make of their bachelor neighbor, Bui.
earned him a reputation as borhood and at school. He rarely ven- who listened to heavy metal music, often Ms. Bui came to Yeongju in 2006 to
a local eccentric. tured outside his village and said he still belting out the lyrics in English, or some- marry a South Korean widower 23 years
feared making phone calls. times in Japanese. They would see him her senior. It was a marriage of conve-
What saved him, he said, was music on the roof under the blazing summer nience. Her husband supported her
— and satellite television. sun or under the starry winter sky, fid- family back in Vietnam with a monthly
‘‘Music was my only friend,’’ said Lee, dling for hours with his satellite equip- remittance and occasional gifts.
whose dream is to meet his idol, the ment. Last year the couple skipped their
American heavy metal musician Ronnie Although he doesn’t understand annual visit to Vietnam, because busi-
James Dio. ‘‘And because I couldn’t get most of the languages on the broadcasts ness was poor at the husband’s motor-
much rock music on Korean television, he receives, Lee said, ‘‘It gets addictive. cycle repair shop. Now Ms. Bui is hoping
I turned to satellite television.” The more dishes you have, the more for a good watermelon crop this year, so
Satellite television introduced him to channels you can get. they’ll be able to resume their visits
a wider world — to Japanese baseball, “Nothing compares with the joy of home.
life on islands in the Pacific, Russian folk catching a new broadcast channel from Meanwhile, she has her satellite
music and religions in India and Nepal. a faraway country,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s like pull- broadcasts.
Lee installed his first satellite dish in ing in a big fish. It’s the excitement of “When I watch TV, I can see that
1992, when he was 23 and had already discovering something from outside the Vietnam is changing so fast,’’ she said.
returned to farming after completing a boundaries of your usual world.’’ ‘‘It’s good that I can at least catch up on
[JoongAng Ilbo]

vocational college degree in electronics. As an example, he said, take the time TV. Otherwise I won’t recognize it when
Collecting secondhand satellite dishes he first encountered Communist propa- I go back there again.’’ 
has since become a hobby, verging on an ganda broadcasts from North Korea. By Choe Sang-hun

62 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 63


dhism by “introducing its history and culture, so that I

can facilitate the research of such studies in the world.”
Buswell’s second goal is to “raise the awareness of
unique characteristics of Korean Buddhism by writing
many related books and articles so that not only non-
Buddhist scholars but also ordinary people can be easily
Designing the ‘Nonexistent’
exposed to Buddhist studies.”
Dongguk decided in May to make Professor Buswell
head of the institute. He is also a professor in the depart-
ment of Asian Languages and Cultures and director of the
Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Califor-
nia, Los Angeles.
Born in a Christian family, Buswell was fascinated
with Buddhism during his undergraduate years at the
University of California at Berkeley, where he was exposed
to books on the religion.
Buswell said that he got interested in the history, cul-
ture and especially meditative practices of Buddhism
because, for him, it was like studying the mind itself. One
can use meditation, training the mind, to find the basis
of all one’s problems and how to resolve them, Buswell

[joongAng Ilbo]
The professor dropped out of college in 1972 and
spent a year each in Thailand and Hong Kong as a Bud-
dhist monk. While he was in Thailand, two Korean monks Kim Young, chief executive of Inno Design, poses with a few of his electronics designs.
[joongAng Ilbo]

introduced him to the Korean brand of the religion, and
Robert Buswell persuaded Buswell to visit a local monastery. im Young is probably the most well- from mobile phones and eyeglasses to refrig-
Buswell moved to Songgwang Temple, whose name known and celebrated designer in erators and suitcases. Kim is one of a handful of
means “pine expanse,” in Suncheon, South Jeolla, in 1974 Korea, with his sleek MP3 players, designers who has won gold, silver and bronze
at the age of 21 and practiced meditation for five years as cosmetics containers and mobile medals at the International Design Excellence

An emissary a Buddhist monk.

After years in Korea, the young man returned to
Berkeley and earned his doctorate in Buddhist studies in
phones positively ubiquitous on the streets of
As chief executive of the California-based
Awards, an international design competition,
while his works were chosen twice by Business
Week for “Best Product of the Year.”

for Korean 1985.

As a professor at UCLA, Buswell founded two centers
that now rank as the largest of their kind in the United
Inno Design, Kim’s works are increasingly rec-
ognized by people outside this country, and
Nikkei BP, a major Japanese publishing house,
Kim’s flagship designs include the iRiver
MP3 player, manufactured by the Korean com-
pany ReignCom and sold under the Rio name

States: the Center for Korean Studies in 1993 and the recently chose his company as one of the world’s on the U.S. market. The iRiver turned out to be
Center for Buddhist Studies in 2000. 10 leading design firms. In Nikkei BP’s latest a huge hit both at home and abroad, with its
The professor is married to a Korean-American, book, titled “Design Research Methodology,” prism-shaped iFP model selling more than 1
Christina Lee Buswell, 49, who is a believer in Buddhism Kim’s design house ranked alongside seven million units and becoming the first million-

and a scholar of Korean studies. They first met in 1997, European companies and two from the United selling MP3 player model in Korea in 2004.
orea is today a global center of Buddhist stud- when Buswell visited Dongguk to attend an academic States, based on recommendations from major In 2005, Kim designed the so-called “sliding
ies, and one of the people to thank for that is symposium related to Buddhism. Lee worked as an inter- world designers and industry researchers. pact,” a new powder compact for Amorepacific,
Professor Robert Buswell, 56, an American preter at the conference. “Using cutting-edge features and different Korea’s largest cosmetics maker. Unlike other
scholar and the head of the Korean Buddhist “I am in the middle of translating many classical mas- Kim’s best colors and forms [for a product] is merely powder compacts, which flip open like a clam-
Research Institute at Dongguk University in Jung Dis- terpieces written by famous Korean monks including changing the product model,” said Kazuya shell, the sliding compact has a fully reflective
trict, central Seoul. Wonhyo Daesa, Great Master Wonhyo. I am also creating known designs Shimokawa, chief editor at Nikkei Design, the folding exterior that consumers can use as a
Buswell is the first head of the institute, and assumed a Buddhist terminology dictionary written in six different include the monthly periodical under Nikkei BP that put mirror, while they can simply slide the top open
his post for a one-year term in June. The institute was languages — Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, Viet- together the latest book. “You need the concept to use the contents.
established in March, integrating the school’s other Bud- namese and Tibetan,” Buswell said. “The KBRI will be iRiver MP3 of ‘design research’ to create what was nonexis- Kim launched the product after his wife
dhist research institutes. hosting its first international academic conference early tent before.” complained that she hates trying to flip open
“I have two goals to achieve during my term of service. next year, and it will be a great opportunity to introduce player and “Creating what was nonexistent” pretty compacts just to look at the mirror for a second.
First, I will try to introduce as many contributions from Korean Buddhism to foreigners. I am preparing for that ‘sliding pact’ much sums up the career of the 59-year-old Amorepacific sold more than 2 million units of
Korean Buddhist studies as possible to the world,” Bus- event as well.”  Kim, who has won numerous international the innovative product in the year after it was
well said. The professor plans to publicize Korean Bud- By Lee Min-yong makeup. design awards for his industrial product designs, released in 2005.  By Jung Ha-won

64 korea August 2009 August 2009 korea 65

Foreign Viewpoints

n all large Seoul book stores, the section ment in such magical objects — investments
featuring books on how to learn English that ascribe far greater symbolic significance
tends to be large, while the section fea- to the object than its simple pragmatic value
turing books written in English tends to would warrant.
be small. There is endless variety in one, bland Given the meagre English-language section
bestsellers and children’s books in the other. of Seoul’s bookstores, it must be English ac-
Curious readers of all ages crowd the former, quisition that stimulates such fetishistic fer-
while a few, looking lost and insecure, wan- vour in Korea, not the actual speaking of the
der the meager shelves of the latter. Judging foreign tongue. After learning English, hardly
by its bookstores, Korea is a place where ev- anyone seems to have the desire to read an
eryone studies English and nobody speaks it. actual book in English. The point is not what
There are places in the world where the re- to say in English—just to say something in
verse is true. Iceland is one: minimal effort, English. Anything.
maximum efficiency. My own native country, To understand the limits of this approach to
Germany, makes less of an effort than Korea language acquisition, it is useful to stay for a
as well, and yet you can always count on moment longer with the Marxists and Freud-
someone around you happy at the opportu- ians. They point out that the fetish takes on
nity to try out his or her high school English. heightened importance because it takes the

A Fetish for Many Germans don’t speak English well; in

fact, many mangle it atrociously. But hardly
place of something else that is missing. This
means that, as much as it consoles and pleas-

anyone ever shrugs you off or shoos you es, the fetish also evokes anxiety over the
away wordlessly when you approach them loss, lack, or absence of what it replaces. A re-
with a question in English — a common re- minder of what’s missing, it ultimately disap-

Learning sponse in Korea, all the more puzzling given

Korean hospitality and friendliness.
points, and it is this failure to satisfy that calls
up further investment, continuing the cycle.
What distinguishes English acquisition in Good for business, bad for the customer.
Koreans’ devotion to the study these European countries is that nobody Though these speculations must remain
of foreign languages is to be believes the language possesses magic trans- superficial in regard both to the theory of
admired. But are they really formative powers. Of course, Icelanders and fetishism and to the intricacies and com-
Germans still understand that English is es- plexities of Korean culture, they do capture
using the skills they work so sential for a career in business. They too are a sense of the heightened expectations for,
hard to acquire? citizens of small countries using English to the unrealistic beliefs in, the intense preoc-
operate in the 21st century’s global economy. cupation with, and the dissatisfactory results
But in Korea, there’s more than this simple, of English-language teaching in Korea. To an
pragmatic attitude. There is a widespread be- outsider, there is something strange and un-
lief that English is a magic bullet, and that to nerving about a Korean high school student
speak it perfectly (whatever that means) is to who, tense and miserable, cannot or will not
be transformed into a better, smarter, more speak a word of English after years of joyless
attractive person. From prenatal classes to toil in English classes from kindergarten to
Steffen Hantke has written on contempo- adult education, a massive English instruction adult private tutoring.
rary literature, film, and culture. He is author industry testifies to this belief and actively It is difficult to change such an entrenched
of Conspiracy and Paranoia in Contemporary encourages it. Hence the vast section in the way of thinking. Ask the English instruction
Literature (1994), as well as editor of Horror, bookstore promising to turn the ugly Korean industry, and they will tell you that more,
a special topics issue of Paradoxa (2002), duckling into a magnificent English-speaking more, more of the same will produce better
Horror: Creating and Marketing Fear (2004), swan. results: study harder, go abroad, take more
Caligari’s Heirs: The German Cinema of Fear According to many definitions, this belief in tests, spend more money! Is this the way to
after 1945 (2007), and, with Rudolphus the transformative power of English qualifies go? Or does it make more sense to give up
Teeuwen, of Gypsy Scholars, Migrant Teach- as a fetish. Anthropologists see the fetish as the fetish in exchange for the real thing —
ers, and the Global Academic Proletariat: a magical object, of divine origin or inhabited to see English as a means to an end, and its
Adjunct Labor in Higher Education (2007). by powerful spirits, which, in turn, bestows acquisition not an end in itself? Isn’t it time to
Since 2003, he has taught in the American magical powers upon the one wielding it. stop studying English and start speaking it?
Culture Program at Sogang University in Marxists and Freudians, despite their differ- With a common language, what an interest-
Seoul. English is his second language. ences, agree upon our deep personal invest- ing conversation we could have!

66 korea August 2009