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Contents

Meet Ara and her friends


Chapter 1
Welcome to Korea
005_Let’s Learn about Korea!
006_Seoul, International City
020_Seoul Forest
022_Namsan Mountain
025_Let’s Learn Korean!
026_Map of Seoul
028_Tourist Sites in Seoul
030_Fabulous Seoul Plaza
032_Folk Tale: The Old Men with Lumps

Chapter 2
Traditional Culture
039_Korean Folk Village
045_Let’s Look at a Hanok!
046_Samulnori
049_Korean Folk Games
050_Insadong
052_Traditional Village
055_Representative Hanok Villages
056_Graceful Hanbok
058_Delicious Korean Food
060_Folk Tale: The Brother and the Sister Who
Turned into the Sun and the Moon
Chapter 3
Gyeongju, a Historic City
067_Cheomseongdae
070_The National Museum of Gyeongju
071_The Gyeongju National Museum at a Glance
075_The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great
078_Relics at the Gyeongju National Museum
080_Bulguksa Temple and Seokgulam Grotto
082_Let’s Learn about Bulguksa Temple
086_Korea’s History at a Glance
096_Folk Tale: The Fairy and the Woodcutter

Chapter 4
Education and Royal Palaces
100_Respect to the Eldely
106_IT Powerhouse
108_Korea, an Economic Powerhouse
110_Daehangno
114_Changgyeong Palace
118_Royal Palaces
120_The Korean Wave
122_Folk Tale: The Tiger and Grandma’s Red Bean Porridge

Chapter 5
Remarkable Economic Development
126_A Divided Nation
134_The World Cup Stadium
136_Beautiful Ecological Park
140_Korea in the World of Sports
142_World Renowned Artists of Korea
144_Folk Tale: The Bride
Who Openly Farted
A letter from Marina
A letter from Carlos
Meet Ara and her friends

Ara Shin (Age 10)


A Korean girl who lived in China for a brief peri-
od because of her father’s job. She is learning
piano now and is very lively and sociable.

Marina Schiller (Age 11)


A German girl who has returned to
Germany after spending a year at an
international school in China, where she
became friends with Ara and Carlos. She
began learning Korean after watching the
famous Korean drama Daejangkeum.
Carlos Valdez (Age 10)
A boy from the United States who lives in China
with his parents. He currently attends an inter-
national school there but will return to the U.S.
soon. He got interested in Korea after learning
the Korean martial art taekwondo.

Hyunsoo Kong (Age 27)


Ara’s uncle. He majors in international rela-
tions at his university. He is preparing to
resume his studies after completing his
mandatory military service.

Ara’s grandmother (Age 68)


Ara’s grandmother runs a guesthouse in Bukchon
Village. She loves gardening, so she likes to call
the guesthouse her Big Garden.
Chapter 01

My name is Ara Shin. I went to an international


school in Beijing for about two years while my
father was working there.That is where I met some very
special friends.This summer, Marina and Carlos are coming
to Korea to visit me. As a matter of fact, today is the day!

8
Bukchon Traditional
9 Village
Hanok
Ara hurries to her grandmother’s guesthouse. It’s going to be
one busy week for Ara since she will be hosting some very
special guests.
“Grandma, I’m here!”
“Good to see you, Ara. But where’s your uncle, Hyunsoo?”
Scenes of Seoul Grandmother shouts toward uncle’s room. The guesthouse is
Seoul is the capital of
Korea. The River Han flows located in historical Bukchon, the heart of the ancient capital.
through the capital, dividing
Seoul into southern and Grandmother’s guesthouse is famous for her beautiful flowers
northern parts. Korea’s
capital since 1394, Seoul and the guests here call the place the Big Garden.
has been the center of
Korea’s politics, economy, “Please, Mom. The flight is supposed to arrive at 10
industry, culture and trans-
portation. o’clock. We still have a lot of time,” Hyunsoo answers.

10
Bukchon Traditional
Hanok Village
Located in Seoul, Bukchon
village is home to traditional
Korean houses where early
Koreans used to live. The
Metropolitan Government of
Seoul has built a pavilion to
showcase how Korea’s
upper class Yangban used
to live.

“We shouldn’t make our guests wait, Hyunsoo. It’s always


better to be there earlier.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t be late. Besides, I haven’t recovered
from jet lag myself, you know. Remember, I just returned
home from volunteer work in Africa yesterday? Well, I guess
we’d better get going Ara, if we’re to avoid a lecture.”
Ara followed her uncle Hyunsoo with a smile. He has
offered to be the guide for her friends.
“So, these are your friends from Beijing International
School? You must be excited to see them again.”

11
“I used to teach them Korean in the Korean language club.
I’m going to see if they forgot what I taught them.”
“Why are they bothering to learn Korean in the first place
anyway?”
“It just shows how Korea is becoming popular nowadays,
uncle!”
“Well, I admire their effort.”
It was almost 11 when Ara could finally see her friends.
Marina came all the way from Germany while Carlos, who
still attends the Beijing International School flew in from
China. Marina and Carlos introduced themselves to Ara’s

12
Incheon International
Airport Passenger
uncle in Korean. Terminal

“Hello, I’m Marina Schiller. I’m from Germany.”


“Nice to meet you, sir. I’m Carlos Valdez and I’m from the Bibimbap
Literally means “mixed rice
United States of America.” meal.” The dish is served with
seasoned vegetables, sliced
“Wow, you guys are truly international friends. Ha-ha, it’s meat and various garnishes.
Sesame oil and other spices
good to meet you all. I’m Ara’s uncle Hyunsoo Kong. You and condiments are usually
added before being mixed.
must be tired after a long flight?”
Marina shook her head in reply.
“The staff on the Korean airline were so friendly, and I love
what they served on the flight. The bibimbap was so delicious

13
that I feel reinvigorated.”
The thought of bibimbap made Marina’s mouth water once
again.
“The airport here is simply awesome!” said Carlos as he
Tourist info center at
Incheon International looked around the airport. All along, Carlos had thought that
Airport
the biggest and nicest airports were those in his home country.
But the sheer size and the state-of-the-art facilities at Incheon
International Airport changed his view completely.
With all the signs marked in English, it was easy to get
around as well. Ara’s uncle spoke looking into the eyes of the
three children.
“Call me your captain for the week. I’ll be taking you to
every corner of Korea.”

Inside Incheon
International Airport
As Korea’s gateway, most
of the international flights
to and from Korea operate
via this airport. It s been
ranked the world’s number
one airport of the year for
four consecutive years in
the airport service evalua-
tion conducted by the ACI.

14
Let’s Learn about Korea!

Gangwon
Province

Seoul Metropolitan
City Ulleungdo
Incheon
Metropolitan City N. Chungcheong
Gyeonggi Province
Province Dokdo

Daejeon
Metropolitan N. Gyeongsang
S. Chungcheong City Province
Province Daegu
Metropolitan City
N. Jeolla Ulsan
Province Metropolitan
S. Gyeongsang City
Gwangju
Province
Metropolitan City
S. Jeolla
Province Busan Metropolitan
City

Jeju Island

Korea is situated at the eastern


end of the Asian continent.
It is a peninsula, surrounded
by water on three sides.
To the west lies China, to the
east Japan and to the south
the Pacific Ocean. Korea is
made of 7 Metropolitan
Governments and
9 Provinces.

15
Seoul International City
The vehicle picked up speed on the long express-way. After a
while, the streets of Seoul came into sight.
“There are so many people and high-rises!” said Carlos.
Cheongwadae
Korea’s Presidential Office “Seoul is rapidly growing and is quikly emerging as an
and Residence in Jongno,
Seoul. The name “Blue international city. As the capital, Seoul is the center of Korea’s
House” comes from the
main building’s blue roof. politics, economy and culture. Seoul is home to the
Presidential Office, Cheong Wa Dae, and many government
offices, as well as financial institutions, museums, art galleries
and other various cultural institutions.”
“I remember seeing Seoul on TV.”

Night scene of
Seoul

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Seoul Olympics
Korea hosted the 24th
Summer Olympics in 1988.
Korea was the second
country in Asia and the
16th country in the world
to host the global sporting
gala.

“Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer


Olympics and 2002 World Cup games among other global Burj Dubai
The world’s highest build-
events. Koreans are known for their passion and spirit of ing and artificial structure
currently being built in
cooperation. That’s probably why Korea was able to develop Dubai, United Arab Emir-
ates. Samsung Corpora-
so fast in such a short span of time.” tion is part of the construc-
tion consortium to build
Ara’s uncle smiled with a sense of pride. the 810-meter-tall, 160-
story skyscraper, covering
“Wait a minute, I have something to show you.” 495,867 sq. meters.

Marina opened her bag and took out her digital camera.
“Before coming to Korea, I went to Dubai. I heard that
Koreans were building a 160-story skyscraper there!”
Startled by what Marina said, Ara asked her uncle.
“Captain, is this true?”
“That’s right. It’s called Burj Dubai. It means Tower of
Dubai and is going to be the tallest building in the world when
completed. It’s supposed to be higher than 810 meters tall. A

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Korean construction company is taking part in one of the
world’s largest special engineering projects.”
Carlos looked into Marina’s digital camera with curiosity.
Ara thought to herself that she would also like to visit the
building with her uncle.
“There’s the Han River!”
A long and wide river appeared before the children’s eyes.
Han River Some people were fishing and others were riding bicycles
“Han” means great, large,
long in Korean. There are listening to music with their earphones on. Everyone seemed
more than 20 bridges over
the Han River. They serve a to be enjoying themselves.
crucial role in Seoul’s trans-
portation.
River Han at night

nlight
in under moo
ta
w foun
Rainbo

Festival on th
e Han Riverfront

er
n the Han Riv
to
re boa
Pleasu
Swimming p
ool at the Ha
n River bank
Seoul Forest
Ara, Marina and Carlos shouted after seeing water spewing
out from the ground fountain. Several children were running
between streams of water, drenched to their skin.

The Ground Fountain “When you think of big metropolises, you usually imagine
dull grey cities packed with tall buildings, right? But Seoul is
different. Along the banks of the Han River flowing through
Seoul, we have 12 beautiful public parks.”
“There are 12 parks like this?”
“Yup. This is the Seoul Forest created in Ttukseom in 2005.
Seoul Forest It’s divided into five major sections with special themes like
The Seoul Metropolitan
Government created a mas-
arts and culture, ecological woods, learning shelters, wetlands
sive urban forest in the
Ttukseom sports complex
and park areas along the banks of the Han River.
area, benchmarking Central
Park in New York City. The
Approximately 420,000 trees consisting of 110 different
Seoul Forest is home to five
theme parks that represent a
natural forest.
species emit fresh oxygen year round. People come and visit
Seoul Forest whenever they like, and here they can learn
something about nature while enjoying various outdoor activi-
ties.”
Carlos really liked the Han River. He thought that it would
be really cool to feel the fresh breeze after playing a game of
basketball there.
“Now, shall we go and feed some deer?”
“Deer?”
“Yes, deer. You can feed them yourself in the ecological
woods section.”
“I can’t wait to see them! Deer!” Marina couldn’t hide her
excitement

21
“And that’s not all. In the culture and art section,
there’s a water fountain that dances to music.”
Carlos couldn’t believe his ears. It sounded like
The N Seoul Tower the park was a magical place with surprises hid-
den at every corner.

Namsan Mountain
Soon as dusk set on the Han River, lights on
the bridges and buildings along the riverside
began to light up. Bridges over the Han River
looked even more beautiful with lighting.
“Now, we’re going to the heart of Seoul, Namsan
Mountain.”
“I can see the whole city from here.”
“Originally, the N Seoul Tower was Korea’s first radio
tower and was one of Korea’s tallest structures. Today, it’s
more famous as a tourist site for its beautiful night view of
Seoul.”
Looking out the window at the N Seoul Tower, the kids
stood speechless. The Captain pointed at the soaring structure
and told them that it was the 63 Building. He explained that it
was one of Korea’s tallest structures with an observatory, 63 Building
Located in Yeoido, Seoul,
aquarium and a cinema complex. He added, however, that a it is the third tallest building
in Korea. With an observa-
100-story building will soon be built in Korea. tory, aquarium, movie the-
ater and other various
“Isn’t it difficult to speak Korean?” asked the Captain all of entertainment facilities, the
63 Building is popular
a sudden. among tourists.

“It was at first, but now that I learned the basics, it’s actually
quite simple. One sound per syllable. Once you learn the 14
consonants and 10 vowels, it s really fun to learn Korean.”

23
“Actually, that’s true. Many world renowned linguists have
praised the Korean alphabet as a brilliant language system.
Oxford University in Britain once evaluated diverse lan-
guages of the world and it ranked Hangeul, the Korean alpha-
bet, as the most scientific, rational, creative and pragmatic of
Namsan Mountain
The 262 meter-high Nam-
all alphabets.”
san Mountain is located
between Seoul’s Jung-gu
“I want to improve my Korean more, so that next time I
and Yongsan-gu. Covered
with various types of trees,
visit Korea, I can bring my family with me and be their
Namsan provides a green
view in the heart of Seoul.
guide.”
People can get an open
view of downtown Seoul
“If you keep practicing, your Korean will improve quickly.
from atop it. There is the N
Seoul Tower, cable cars,
Anyway, shall we go down now? Your grandmother called
botanical garden and a
library at the Namsan Park.
just a while ago and told me that dinner’s ready.”
The Captain and the kids walked to the parking lot.

Namsan Beacon
Tower
An ancient means of com-
munication to signal an
emergency or enemy inva-
sion with smoke during the
day and fire at night.
Let’s Learn Korean!
Many languages are written with foreign alphabets: English uses Roman
letters, Mongolian uses Cyrillic. Early Koreans used only Chinese characters.
But in the 15th century a Korean king ordered the creation of a new alphabet
to make it easier for people to read and write Korean words. King Sejong the
Great worked with court scholars to make Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. The
vowels are drawn from three shapes — for land, | for man, and . for sky.
The consonants shapes reflect the position that the tongue, lips and teeth
are in for those sounds.

(1) Vowels are transcribed as follows:


simple vowels diphthongs

Note 1
Note 2

(2) Consonants are transcribed as follows:


plosives(stops) affricates fricatives nasals liquids

Note 1

e.g

Note 2

e.g

25
Map of Seoul

Seoul is the capital of Korea.


It is surrounded by four
mountains. The downtown area
is like a forest of buildings.
With an endless number of
cars. Seoul has been the center
of Korea s politics, economy,
industry, culture and
transportation for many
centuries. Although it was Hanuel Park
mostly destroyed in the
Korean War, Seoul has quickly Seoul World
Cup Stadium
emerged as an international
city. Gimpo Airport

26
Dobong Mountain

Surak Mountain

Korea National
Training Center
Bukhansan
National Park

Cheong Wa Dae Changdeok Palace


Changgyeon
Palace
Gyeongbok Palace
Jongmyo
Sejong Center for the
Shrine
Peforming Arts
Gwanghwamun Gate
Independence
Bosingak
Gate

Deoksu
Palace Namdaemun
Seodaemun Market Dongdaemun
Gate Prison Cheonggyecheon
Stream

Namsan Hanok
Village Amsadong
National Prehistoric Site
Assembly
N Seoul Tower
Seoul Forest Seoul Children’s
Grand Park
Seoul Station

National Museum
63 building of Korea
Apgujeong Lotte World

Jamsil
Stadium
Seoul National Supreme COEX Olympic
Cemetry Court Park

Seoul Arts
Center
Seoul National
University Citizen’s Forest

27
Gwanak Mountain
28
Tourist Sites in Seoul
Dongdaemun Market(above) This is a fashion mecca with various entertainment facilities. Many tourists, especially
from Japan and Southeast Asia visit here.
Myeong-dong(below) This is where the latest trends can be spotted. Also it has Korea’s most famous Catholic church
Myeong-dong Cathedral.

Daehangno Namdaemun Market Seoul Grand Park


Street of culture at Hyehwa station. It is This is a world-renowned traditional Located in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi
home to various troupes and perform- market with 10,000 shops. Over Province, it is home to Korea’s largest
ing arts groups, spanning from drama, 300,000 people visit the market daily. zoo and botanical garden. The com-
to films and musicals. With an outdoor pound also has an amusement park
stage, Marronier Park is always packed called Seoul Land, attracting many res-
with young people who want to enjoy idents in the metropolitan area for daily
the outdoor music concerts, poetry visits. It is home to more than 3,000
readings and other performances. animals from over 366 species.

The National Museum of The National Museum of Olympic Park


Korea Contemporary Art, Korea
The museum was originally built in Situated in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi A huge park in Songpa-gu, Seoul, built
Gyeong- bok Palace, but moved to in Province. It originally opened at a small ahead of the 1986 Seoul Asian Games
Yongsan-gu in 2005. It was built to exhibition hall in Gyeongbok Palace and 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.
preserve and showcase Korea’s cultur- but moved to the current location in Today, the park serves as a venue for
al heritage and house research on his- 1986. It has a collection of about 5,000 various activities, including sports, cul-
toric relics. The museum has a collec- works of art and serves as an educa- ture and art, education as well as
tion of 135,000 relics spanning from tional and cultural venue for residents leisure.
the Three King- dom’s Period to the in the metropolitan area.
Joseon Dynasty as well as treasures of
Buddhist art.
29
The big plaza in front of Seoul City
Hall has a water fountain on the
ground that spews out dancing water
in 35 different spectacular ways.
Designed in the shape of a full moon,
the lawn offers a beautiful night
scene. It also serves as a venue for
all
ain by City H
ter fount concerts and film screening as well as
The wa
other cultural events and exhibitions.

30
Fabulous Seoul Plaza
Gwanghwamun Plaza
A symbolic plaza in Korea with statues of Admiral Yi Sunshin and King Sejong the Great. It is located in front of the Sejong
Center for the Performing Arts.

Haechi Statue of King Sejong Cheonggye Stream Luminarie


A mythical animal known to be capable the Great Cheonggye Stream was once buried
of judging right from wrong and good As the fourth king of the Joseon under an express-way. Cheonggye
from evil. Formerly the symbol of Dynasty, King Sejong the Great helped Stream Luminarie is a festival celebrat-
Korea s ancient Justice Ministry, invent the Korean alphabet and made ed by illuminating buildings and deco-
Haechi is now Seoul s symbolic ani- many political, economic and cultural rating constructed frames with colorful
mal. A statue of Haechi is covered with achievements. Many Koreans consider lights.
grass. him the ideal ruler and to commemo-
rate his accomplishments, this statue
was unveiled in 2009. 31
Folk Tales
at Grandma's
Knee

This is That s
One upon a time, there lived two old men mine! mine, too!
each with a lump on his cheek. One was a
good man and the other was greedy. The
greedy old man was very mean.

Oh, my...

One day, the good old The goblin became so envi-


man sought shelter from the ous that it exchanged the
rain in an empty house. As day old man’s lump for
turned into night, the good old man precious gold and sil-
felt lonely and scared. ver. After that, the good
So, he began to sing. old man became rich. The
And all of a sudden, greedy old man heard about
a goblin appeared this story.
before him.

My beautiful
voice comes
I'm going to
from my song get rid of my
pouch. lump, too!

Hey, you old man!


where did you get
that beautiful
voice from?

32
The greedy old man went to the empty
Would house and sang as loud as he could so
you like my that the goblin could hear him. Finally, the
song pouch, goblin showed up. But he was very angry
too? because he had learned that the lump
was not really a song pouch.

You liar!

The goblin attached the good man’s lump to


the greedy man’s cheek, and the greedy old
man ended up with two lumps on his face,
one on each of his
cheeks.
Take your
lump back!

Please,
give me gold
and silver!

The greedy old man


Oh, no! dropped to his knees
I have two and cried his heart out.
lumps now.

33
Chapter 02

My name is Carlos. I didn’t know about Korea that well


before becoming friends with Ara. I just knew it was a
country in Asia, but now that I’m here, there’s so much to
explore. I was especially impressed by the beautiful parks along
the Han River where people came to enjoy themselves.
Today, I’m going to experience Korea’s traditional culture.

34
The Suwon Hwaseong
35Fortress
It was still early in the morning, but the guesthouse was already
bustling. During breakfast Carlos was telling his friends about
an interesting dream he had the night before. He said that he
somehow turned into a goblin when returning home. The story
of the goblin and the old men with a lump probably left a strong
impression on him. Ara and her friends left Suwon and headed
to the Korean Folk Village. After about an hour’s ride, they
could see the walls of a fortress.
“What’s that castle we see?”

36
“Oh, that’s the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. It’s one of Korea’s
most representative fortresses and is registered at UNESCO as a
World Cultural Heritage.”
“Like China’s Great Wall?” The Suwon
Hwaseong Fortress
Ara remembered climbing up the Great Wall with her friends Built in the 18th century by
Jeongjo, the 22nd king of
at the international school in China. She remembered how tough the Joseon Dynasty, it was
designed to serve political,
it was for her to get to the top, especially on such a windy day. commercial as well as mili-
tary functions. Equipped
“Well, it’s a little different. The castle here’s kind of like a with scientific facilities and
a pragmatic structure, it is
town where the king and the people used to live together in early a fine example of Asian
fortresses.

37
Bangwhasuryu
Pavillion
The pavilion with the best
view in the Suwon Hwa-
seong Fortress. It is one of
the best examples of
Joseon architecture with
exquisite engravings on
the stone base. Bangwha-
suryu means the pavilion
that pursues flowers and
willows.

times. Besides, it took less than three years to build this


fortress.
Geojunggi Geez, it must have been really difficult to build such a castle
A type of crane devised to
assemble and transport back then, said Carlos.
large stones. Employing a
series of pullies to lift heavy That’s right. Building a structure is no easy job. But a famous
objects, Jeong Yak-yong,
a Joseon Dynasty scholar scholar named Jeong Yak-yong invented a piece of equipment
designed the equipment to
be used in the constrution called Geojunggi, a traditional Korean crane, to move heavy-
of the Suwon Hwaseong
Fortress. rocks. Now, that was 200 years ago.
Two hundred years back would be even before my grandfa-
ther’s great grandfather’s time.
When Carlos tried to figure out how far back it was in time,
everyone burst into laughter.

38
Korean Folk Village
The Korean Folk Village was bustling with people though the
place had opened only an hour before. With a variety of tradi-
tional games like neolttugi, jegichagi, samulnori staged during
the day, the folk village is a popular tourist site.
There were clusters of thatched cottages and at the gate of the
village stood a totem pole that s supposed to ward off evil spirits.
The children walked into a thatched cottage like the ones early
Koreans used to live in.
That s called a thatched cottage. Early Koreans used clay to Korean Folk Village
entrance
build walls and thatched straw to make roofs. There are many Opened in 1974 in Yongin,
Gyeonggi Province to
showcase Korea’s tradi-
tional folk life. There are
representations of Korea’s
ancient government build-
ings and houses of the
nobility and commoners
from different regions of
Korea.

39
rice farms in Korea so they had plenty of rice straw.
Wouldn t the roof leak when it rained?
Actually, it doesn t. Did you know that thick layers of rice
straw provide protection against the cold in the winter and heat
in the summer? They replaced the old straw with new straw
Totem Poles every two years. And the used straw was used as fertilizer after-
Posts made of wood or
stone with paintings or wards.
carvings of faces stood at
the entrance of a village to Recycling roofs! What a great idea!
guard against evil spirits.
Carlos carefully looked around the cottage. He noticed lumps
of fermented soybeans hanging beneath the eaves.

Straw-thatched
cottage

40
But Captain, how
did they keep them-
selves warm? There s
no fireplace, said Carlos.
Come on over here.
The Captain took the kids to the kitchen and pointed at the Soybean Malt
Soybeans are boiled and
furnace. stone-ground and then
formed into blocks. The
This is where they lit the fire using firewood. blocks are then exposed
to sunlight or warmth for
But, this is the kitchen where they cooked. fermentation.

That s right. They cooked with the fire here but the heat and
smoke of the fire was used to warm the floors of the rooms.

Furnace
Used for cooking by putting
an iron cauldron over it and
heating by channeling the
heat and steam through
flues beneath the rooms.

chimney

furnace
floor of the room

flue of an ondol

41
Under the floor, Koreans built special flues to channel the heat
from the low-lying kitchen stoves. This unique heating system is
called ondol. That way, they could save energy while keeping
themselves warm in the winter.
Tile
Construction material made After taking a thorough look at the folk village, the children
of clay or cement to build
roofs. walked along the unpaved path. Soon, they spotted the grand
mansions where upper class nobles lived.
They learned that an entire cluster of houses with black tile
Tall Gate roofs was for a single family. The houses had numerous rooms.
The gate at a nobleman’s
house. It’s easy to spot as
the tall post stands out,
symbolizing the status of
the owner.

42
Wooden door frames
covered with Hanji.

Some of the wealthier families


owned houses with as many as 99
rooms. Carlos thought the roofs
looked kind of like armor.
Has anyone found the secret of Hanji
Traditional paper made by
hanok? first soaking mulberry bark in
water, then drying it before
What secret? asked Marina. boiling it to make it sturdier
and more durable.
Traditional Korean houses are made by assembling wooden
pegs instead of using nails. You can deconstruct a hanok by
undoing the wooden pegs and reassemble them again later.
Just like Lego blocks?
Exactly, and Koreans used paper for windows, doors and the
floor. Paper is good for ventilation and maintaining a moderate
temperature.
Look! Someone stuck their finger through it, said Marina.

43
Ha-ha! Some naughty children must have done it to look
inside the room.
Wouldn t the floor rip if paper is used?
No worries. Soybean oil is painted over it to make it shiny
and durable.
Carlos touched the floor wondering how that s possible. As he
lay on the main floor of the house, he felt as if he could smell the
soybean oil.

Wooden floored hall After visiting the hanok, Ara and the kids began teeter-totter-
A big main hallway located
at the center of a hanok. ing on a seesaw.
The wooden floor keeps
people warm in winter and What was unique about this korean seesaw (neolttugi) was that
cool in summer. On hot
summer nights, Korean instead of sitting on it, the riders had to stand at each end and
families would sit in a cir-
cle and have a chat and take turns jumping.
some even fell asleep lying
on the wooden floor.
Let’s Look at a Hanok
Hanok refers to traditional Korean houses like straw-thatched cottages or houses with
tiled-roofs, built according to traditional Korean architectural style. Hanoks can be
either residences for the upper classes or small homes for commoners, depending on the
style.
annex detached building
water closet

Hanok for the Upper Class


People of high social and economic ranks,
called yangban, lived in big mansions.
These mansions had tall stone walls built
around them so that people could not see
inside. Tall gates were built to show off the
family’s high social status. There were sev-
eral buildings within the mansion and inner
many were separated from one another house
by stone walls and gates. They had storeroom
different residences for the master
and the servants as well as for
men and women. servants
quarters
tall gate

water
closet

cowshed

room Commoner s Hanok


Houses of the common people were
built in different sizes and various layouts
depending on the geography, climate
kitchen storeroom and the economic status of the owner.
Most of the commoner’s houses had a
simple structure consisting of rooms, a
floored living room and a kitchen. Straw-
thatched roofs were so widely used that
they came to symbolize a commoner’s
house.

45
Samulnori
Ara and her friends heard a boisterous sound as they were hav-
ing fun on the long Korean swings.
It must be the samulnori! Let s go and take a look! shouted
Ara.
Everyone turned around to see where the sound came from.
Donning white traditional costumes with colorful bands
around their shoulders and waists, the samulnori players were
creating a festive mood. Some of the elderly in the crowd joined
Samulnori the group and began dancing along.
It is a folk percussion
ensemble. It literally means Is it okay to just jump in and dance with the performers?
playing with four instru-
ments: buk (barrel drum), asked Carlos.
jing (large metal gong),
janggu (hourglass-shaped Samulnori is all about mingling with other people. It s sup-
drum) and kkwaeng-gwari
(small metal gong).

46
Samulnori
performance
It first began as a band for
farm music in 1978 but is
now widely known both at
home and abroad.

posed to make people feel happy and reenergized. Come on, feel
free to join them, said the Captain.
No, thank you. It s kind of embarrassing, said Carlos.
Even though the Captain encouraged Carlos, he felt too shy to
join the crowd. When the twelve players began spinning their
hats with long ribbons, Carlos started clapping. The ribbons
attached to their hats were several meters long. Yet they could do
such amazing things like rope-jumping with their hats on. All
the onlookers got excited and began clapping to the rhythm too.
Isn t it exciting? Samulnori has been invited to
the World Performing Arts Festival and the
players won global recognition for their
performance.
When the performance was over, rounds of applause echoed
in every corner of the village. Afterwards, the children watched a

47
Traditional Wedding
Many marriages in early
Korea were arranged by
parents through mediators.
Based on the ranks of the
family, education and per-
sonality, the parents picked
their children’s spouses. In
many cases, the bride and
the groom did not even get
to see each other before the
wedding day.

traditional wedding ceremony and even tried on traditional cos-


tumes. Marina put on a striped women s jacket and headpiece.
Carlos, meanwhile, struggled to put on a pair of traditional cot-
ton socks. When the sun set, Ara and her friends headed to
Insadong for dinner.

48
Korean Folk Games

Neolttwigi (Jumping Seesaw) Tightrope Dancing Masked Dancing


A game played on a thick long board bal- Designated as Important Intangible A means of entertainment in which per-
anced over a big bag of straw. At each Cultural Asset #58, professional tightrope formers cover their faces and head with a
end of the board, a person stands and dancers perform on 10-meter-long ropes mask and impersonate different charac-
takes turns jumping. Once a person stretched out three meters above the ters.
jumps and lands on the board, the other ground.
person is thrust into the air.

Jegichagi Geunettwigui Traditional military art on


It is a kind of shuttlecock made by A geune is a swing made by hanging horseback
wrapping thin paper or cloth around a ropes on two tall pillars or trees and Horsemen perform various stunts on
coin with a hole in the middle. Chagi placing a wooden board at the end of fast running horseback within a desig-
means “kick.” So the game of jegichagi the rope. One can either stand or sit nated area. They twirl spears, spin their
is a contest to see who can kick the down on the wooden board and sway bodies around in the air and even hop
jegi the most and keep it in the air the back and forth. There are variations of on another running horse while riding
longest. geune, including those with two swings on horseback.
facing one another and those made for
two or more people to get on.

49
Insadong
Giggling at the pictures they had taken over at the Korean Folk
Village on the way back, the children didn’t realize that they had
already arrived at Insadong in Seoul.
“Let’s all hop out for another adventure!”
The sight of a long side street with small shops full of interest-
ing goods resembled the site of a market place back in early
times.

Ssamzie Gil This place is called Insadong. It used to be the center of


in Insadong

Insadong
Ever since various antique
and craft shops opened up
in the region in the 1980s,
Insa-dong has become
Seoul’s mecca for tradition-
al art and culture. Sitting
right in the center of down-
town Seoul, it is easy to
access by public trans-
portation.

50
Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty. There are traces of old govern-
ment buildings and houses of famous people here. But what
makes Insadong so famous is the lines of shops with hand-
crafts, explained the Captain. Chorengi

It s become a popular cultural venue for Seoulites since there


are many art fairs and galleries here. Besides, it s easy to get
here, conveniently located downtown with three subway stations
nearby, the Captain said.
Well, foreigners seem to like Insadong too, added Ara. Bride
The beautifully embroidered bookmarks caught Marina s
attention. Carlos, meanwhile, burst into laughter at the sight of
the Hahoe Mask.
Carlos, you look just like the smiling mask, said Ara.
Carlos took the mask and made a funny face trying to imitate
Yangban
the smile. (nobleman)

Now, since we re here in Insadong,


Hahoe Mask
which is famous for its traditional Designated as National
Treasure #121, the Hahoe
cafes and restaurants, we should mask is Korea’s ornamen-
tal cultural heritage. Every
try out various Korean foods and year, the villagers in Hahoe
in Andong stage a masked
snacks, said the Captain. performance on the first
full moon, to worship the
Oh, we’re starving! shouted guardian of their village.
There are 11 different
the kids. kinds of Hahoe masks and
each mask has its own
unique performance.

51
Traditional Village
What were ancient Korean schools like? What about the blacksmith s shop?
Where did the classical scholars study?
Take a peek at this traditional village for a look at the daily lives of ancient
Koreans.

Dosan Seowon In Andong, N. Gyeongsang Province. A Seowon was a private institute


built to nurture talented people.

52
Seongyojang
A nobleman’s house with 99
rooms in Gangneung, Gangwon
Province. It has been designated
as Important National Folk
Heritage #5.

Blacksmith s shop

Government office

Village school

Straw-thatched cottage

53
Andong Hahoe Folk Village
Known for its preservation of traditional folk culture and architec-
ture, it is home of the Ryu clan, which has produced many high-
ranking officials. Initially, the village was said to have been estab-
lished by the Huh clan and the famous Korean traditional mask
Hahoe are also said to have been created by them.

Yangdong Folk Village


The biggest traditional Hanok village of the Joseon Dynasty and
home to many famous early scholars. The village has approxi-
mately 160 households, including those from the upper class as
well as commoners. With beautiful tile-roofed houses, the entire
village has been designated as an important folk asset.

54
Representative Hanok Villages

Bukchon Hanok Village


Namsan Hanok Village

Andong Village

Yangdong
Folk Village

Naganeupseong
Folk Village

Bukchon Hanok Village Naganeupseong Folk Village Namsan Hanok Village


This particular Hanok village was A traditional village preserved in its A traditional Korean village preserved
exclusively for the royal family, high- original state. About 280 thatched cot- to showcase different types of houses
ranking officials and the gentry during tages still stand there with more than spanning from those of the upperclass
the Joseon Dynasty. A traditional vil- 90 households and 220 residents. to those of commoners. The size of the
lage festival is held every year show- Here, visitors can enjoy Korea’s tradi- house and the type of furniture were
casing the daily lives of Korea’s ances- tional opera pansori, the ritual of the recreated to represent the residents’
tors. A number of palaces, including chief gatekeepers, farm music and tour social class.
Gyeongbok, Changdeok and Deoksu traditional village schools.
as well as the National Folk Museum of
Korea are located in the region.

55
Graceful Hanbok
Hanbok refers to Korea s traditional clothing. Combining straight lines with
curves, Hanbok is known for its visual harmony and beautiful colors. The
women s Hanbok consists of a short jacket and full skirt, while men s Hanbok is
comprised of a jacket and a pair of pants. Nowadays Koreans wear Hanbok
mainly on holidays or special occasions.

56
57
Delicious Korean Food
As a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides and fertile farmland inland,
Koreans have always had easy access to fresh seafood and vegetables. The
availability of such ingredients allowed for the creation of a wide variety of
dishes. Most notably, Koreans developed various fermented condiments such
as soybean paste and pepper paste.

Different Types of Kimchi


Kimchi is an excellent fermented food that is served with
all sorts of Korean dishes. With its origin dating several
hundred years back, there are more than 200 different
types of kimchi. The most common and popular type of
kimchi is made with cabbage and Korean radish but other
vegetables such as cucumber, spinach, spring onion and
leaf-mustard could also be used.

58
Bulgogi
Beef barbecue cooked with vegetables and soy-
bean sauce. Bulgogi is popular all over the world
now.

Samgyetang
Traditional Korean broth usually served in the summer to stimulate the
appetite and re-energize. A whole chicken is boiled in water with
chestnuts, jujube, ginseng and glutinous rice stuffed inside it.

Nutritious Bibimbap
Typically made by mixing rice with various vegeta-
bles, some meat and an egg. Pepper paste can be
added for those who prefer a spicier taste.

59
Folk Tales
at Grandma's
Knee

I will save you


Once upon a time, a mother of three children was
if you give me
on her way home from the market with a basket full
a piece of rice
of rice cakes. But up in the mountains, she came cake!
across a tiger.

Woo!
Please
spare
me!

Asking the tiger to save her life, the mother gave


him a piece of rice cake every time the tiger Her children
stopped her. must be just
But when she ran as yummy.
out of rice cakes,
the tiger ate the
mother instead.

Disguised as their mother, the tiger ate


the youngest child up upon arriving at Now,
the house. That’s when the other two let me gulp
down the
remaining two
kids!

Let’s hop
up the
children, a boy and a girl ran out to the
tree!
backyard and climbed up a tree.

60
Oh, God!
Help us. The tiger tried to climb the tree. The
brother and sister prayed to God,
asking for a life line to be sent. Then,
a thick rope suddenly came down
from the sky saving the brother and
the sister.

Oh, no! It’s a


rotten rope!

The tiger also prayed for a And the brother and sister became the sun
rope. But this time, a rotten and the moon in the sky.
rope came down and when the
tiger tried to cling to it, the rope Oh, no~
snapped. Down fell the tiger
and died.

Bang!
Help me,
please!

61
Chapter 03

62
It’s already our third day here in Korea.We had a great time at the
Korean Folk Village yesterday. It’s amazing how early Koreans used
paper and rice straw to build houses. I was really surprised to learn how
koreans developed the ondol system to keep themselves warm in the win-
ter. I think people around the world could take advantage of the ondol
system because it can help protect our environment.
Today, our Captain is taking us to the city of traditional culture, Gyeongju.

63
The National Museum of Gyeongju
The children woke up to the smell of food that filled the entire
house. Grandma was preparing picnic food called kimbap for
the kids. Grandma spread rice evenly on a piece of dried black
seaweed that looked like paper and then put various vegetables
on top of it, all different colors. Then she rolled up the seaweed
paper with the rice and vegetables in it.
“Is it going to be a long ride?” asked Carlos with water drip-
ping from his hair as he came out from taking a shower.
“Yes. There’s lots to see in Gyeongju so take a good look at
the ancient city, children,” said Grandma.

64
Monument at the
Gyeongju World
Culture Expo
The city of Gyeongju host-
ed the world’s first culture
expo showcasing diverse
cultures of various coun-
tries. An 85-meter monu-
ment has been built in its
commemoration.

Gyeongbu
Expressway
Expressway connecting
Just when Carlos was about to get a bite of kimbap, the Seoul and Busan (A metrop-
olis in Korea’s southeastern
Captain rushed back into the house, returning from a gas station. province of S. Gyeongsang
Province. Busan is Korea’s
“Kids, the car is filled to the brim with gas and everything’s second largest city after
Seoul and has the nation’s
set. Get ready now and meet in front of the gate by 8 o’clock. greatest trading port.)

Got it?” shouted the Captain. Then, as if starving, he threw three


pieces of kimbap into his mouth and munched on them.
They were lucky: there was little traffic on the Gyeongbu
Expressway. After about four hours, the car arrived at a tile-
roofed toll gate in Gyeongju.
“Tell us about Gyeongju, Captain,” said Marina.

65
Gyeongju
It sits on the southeastern
end of N. Gyeongsang Pr-
ovince. With a population
of 270,000, it is a city that
has both urban and rural
aspects. Nicknamed a
“museum without walls”,
Gyeongju is home to many
historic and tourist sites.

“It’s a city that’s kept the history of Silla intact. Silla is the
name of a kingdom that once ruled Korea. Gyeongju was the
capital of Silla for one thousand years from (BC 57-AD 935).
There are only few cities throughout the world that had been the
capital for such a long time: Athens in Greece and Rome in Italy
are two examples.
Many relics have been unearthed in Gyeongju and it has been
designated as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO,”
explained the Captain.
“So in other words, it’s a treasure city,” said Marina.
“Ha-ha, that’s a good way to describe it. It’s like an enormous
living museum!”

66
Cheomseongdae
Unlike Seoul, Gyeongju seemed
quiet and peaceful. Ara and her
friends walked into a dark forest.
Soon, a small pagoda appeared and the
Captain stopped. Cheomseongdae was built 1350
years ago to observe the movement of the uni-
verse to help farmers prepare and plan their
farming.
Marina was actually a little disappointed
at the sight of Cheomseongdae. It sort of
looked like stones piled up in the shape of a
Coca Cola bottle. But when she found out
that the number of stones and the stories
used in the pagoda symbolized the number
of days and months of a year, Marina was
startled at the mathematical knowledge
of the people of Silla. Carlos thought to

Cheomseongdae
himself that an astrologer might have lived inside
Cheomseongdae.
After passing age-old willows, zelkova and maple trees, a
crystal clear lake came into sight.
“ This is where the ancient palace of Silla Kings used to be. A
grand and splendid palace was built to greet foreign ambas-
sadors and hold banquets for national VIPs. There was a water-
way between buildings and small boats floated along at night.
From the boat, the guests could look at the animals on the artifi-

Anapji
A pond in Gyeongju, N.
Gyeongsang Province.
Created inside the king’s
palace, it served as a nat-
ural habitat for various ani-
mals and plants. National
celebrations and banquets
for VIPs were held in front
of the lake.

68
Sumyeonwa from
Anapji
Sumyeonwa is a type of
tile that’s placed at the
edge of eaves. Created in
the shape of a beast’s
face, they are believed to
ward off all evil spirits and
misfortune.

Bronze lion statue


Door handles

cial island which was created inside the palace.”


“If the palace was built within a lake, it must have been really
fabulous,” said Marina.
“Fortunately, the National Museum of Gyeongju showcases
some relics of the ancient princes,” said the Captain.
Marina was curious to see what kind of things
the old princes had used in Korea.

69
The National Museum of Gyeongju
The National Museum of Gyeongju was divided into several
exhibition halls. There was an antique gallery showcasing relics
of the people of Silla, Anapji gallery with relics from Anapji and
an art gallery with exquisite art works of the Silla dynasty.

Statue of Buddha
Ara and her friends first headed to the antique gallery. Marina
Exhibited at the Gyeongju
National Museum. Buddha
couldn’t take her eyes off the gold crown and ornaments.
is one of the world’s four
major sages. Born as a
“They used to call Silla the land of gold. In fact, a total of six
prince in Nepal, Buddha
left home at the age of 29
gold crowns have been excavated in and near Gyeongju,”
and gained spiritual awak-
ening at the age of 35. The
explained the Captain.
granite statue is sculpted
in Unified Silla’s typical
realistic style.

70
The Gyeongju National Museum at a Glance
At the National Museum of Gyeongju there are many different kinds of relics
showcasing the Three Kingdom Period. It’s better to plan your tour in advance. I
recommend that you look at the antique gallery first, then the art and Anapji
gallery before going to the outdoor exhibit to save time.

Hours: 9 AM - 6 PM
from Tuesday - Sunday
3. Anapji Gallery 1. Antique Gallery
(Closed every Monday and
Splendid relics from Ancient relics like gold crowns, armor
on January 1st)
the destroyed palace and chinaware are exhibited.
at Anapji Pond are
exhibited here.

6. The Divine Bell of


King Seongdeok the
Great
The bell makes a clear and
grand sound.

4. Outdoor
Exhibit
Pagodas and
other various
works of stone
fill this outdoor
exhibit area.

7. Three-story 2. Art Gallery 5. Children s Museum


Goseonsa Art works creat- Children can listen to legendary
Stone Pagoda ed for the land of tales, have a go at the togi (earth-
Buddha are on enware) puzzle or create their own
display here. black tile design with clay!

71
Gold waistband and ornaments

“Oh, beatiful!” shouted Marina.


“The top of the crown looks kind of like a
pointed leaf,” said Carlos.
“Wow, Carlos, you’re really sharp. You’re right,
indeed. It was designed after the shape of a leaf. It
symbolized a tree that lived for a thousand years
connecting the sky and the land. It was created to
wish for the king’s prosperity and good gover-
nance.”
Ara and her friends headed to the art gallery.
At the art gallery stood a monument with the
Gold Crown
A typical gold crown of Silla history of Silla written on it.
that was unearthed in 1973
from a tomb in Hwangnam-
dong, Gyeongju. This gold
crown is considered to be the
most artistic in terms of design.
I swear to Heaven.
I pray that I will be loyal to the country and make no mistakes
for the next three years. If I don’t keep my word, I will gladly be
punished for my sins.

The Captain read the writings on the monument.


“This was written by Hwarang. Back then in Silla, there was a
community of selected young men who lived together and
learned martial arts. Known as the Hwarangdo, this group of
young men was trained to fight for their people and country.”
Imsinseogiseok
“So the purpose of creating the Hwarangdo was to recruit tal- (Monument
established in the
ented men for national prosperity, right? By the way, did those year of the monkey)
34cm long, 2cm thick and
12.5cm wide. The oath of
two Silla Hwarangs was
carved on it in 5 lines and 74
words.

Hwarangdo
An elite group of young men
in Silla. Members of this
group were called Hwa-
rang. They received educa-
tion in academic and martial
arts. They were trained to
fight with loyalty for justice,
the king the nation, and their
friends.

73
Hwarangs also learn taekwondo?”
“Ha-ha. No, taekwondo is a sport that came about much later.
But I think the spirit of the Hwarang has been passed on to taek-
wondo in that its goal is to protect the weak in a just way,” said
the Captain.
“I learned taekwondo, you know?” said Carlos, getting into
the primary stance.
Then, Ara jumped out with a big shout and posed as if she was
getting ready for a match.

Taekwondo
Its origin dates back 2,000
years. Taekwondo is the
Korea traditional martial
art that has become a
global sport today. It was
selected as an official
Olympic sport during the
2000 Sydney Olympics.
Taekwondo is known for its
philosophy of combat only
for self-defense and its use
of bare feet and hands.
Taekwondo can be translat-
ed into “the way of foot and
fist” or “the way of kicking
and punching.”

74
The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok
the Great
After looking at statues of Buddha and other various relics from
Anapji Pond, Ara and her friends left the museum and headed to
the place where the Divine Bell of Seongdeok the Great stood.
Marina and Carlos were curious to find out about the bell’s
secret that Ara had talked about earlier.
“Ara, tell us about the secret behind this bell.”
“ There’s a really sad story behind this bell, nicknamed the

75
76
Emille Bell. It’s said that the bell they had made did not toll at
first. That is, it didn’t make any sound. Then one day, a Buddhist
monk had a dream telling him that for the bell to toll, a baby had
to be melted in there. And so a poor mother who had nothing to
pay her dues had no choice but to give her baby away. That’s
why the bell makes this mournful sound emille, emille which
means mom.”
Marina and Carlos seemed saddened to hear the story.
“Well, they say people came up with this story because they
were greatly moved by the bell’s beautiful yet melancholy Details of the
interior
sound,” added Ara. It has a graceful and ba-
lanced shape with delicate
“I want to hear the bell toll,” said Marina. and beautiful decorations.
At the top of the bell, there
“ You will, in a bit. The museum tolls the bell every hour,” is a hook called “yongryu”
which is left empty so that
said Ara. it filters noise.

Soon thereafter, a staff member from the museum came out


and walked to the bell.
When he chimed the bell with a round piece of wood, the pon-
derous bell started to move slowly. Then, a solemn yet beautiful
sound from the bell began to resonate throughout the museum
grounds.
Marina felt her heart pound at the sound. The legend related to
the bell made it sound all the more sorrowful.

77
Relics at the Gyeongju National Museum

Kettle in the shape of


a warrior on horseback
Shows a vivid image of a war-
rior of that time period.

Ornaments made of gold and jade

Urn with clay figures


Sculptures in shapes of turtles, frogs, four-
legged beasts and women playing a string
instrument.

78
Tiles with a human face
They’re also called “smile of a Sillan ”
Tiles used at the edge of eaves had var-
ious shapes from human faces to gob-
lins.

Image of a thinking
Buddha in gilt bronze
Sitting cross-legged with a
solemn face, the statue rep-
resents the image of Buddha
meditating as a prince before
entering priesthood.

Urn in the shape of a house


An urn that was used to hold the bones of the
dead. Was it made in the shape of a house so
that the dead could rest in peace?
Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto
The following day, Ara and her friends went to Bulguksa
Temple on Toham Mountain after breakfast. Bulguksa Temple
and Seokguram Grotto are famous cultural assets in Gyeongju
that have been designated as a World Cultural Heritage by
UNESCO.
People in Silla are said to have worshipped Buddha regardless
of their social ranks at the time. Built 1250 years ago, Bulguksa
means “Land of Buddha Temple.”
Carlos was startled at the sculptures (the four heavenly
guardians of Buddhism) standing at the entrance to the temple.
Bulguksa Temple

80
Four Devas
The four heavenly guardi-
an gods protecting the
nation at the four points of
the compass, Jiguk Hea-
venly King to the east,
Jeungjang Heavenly King
to the south, Gwangmok
Heavenly King to the west
and Damun Heavenly King
to the north.

These sculptures are said to be the guards defending Bulguksa


from all sides.
At Bulguksa, you can almost feel the dedication that went into
building each and every structure of the stone steps and
pagodas. It is like you are on an excursion to the world
of Buddha. What is really impressive is the temple
is sitting on top of a stone wall as if placed
above a cloud.
They say that it was designed this way so
that people looked up to the temple with
sincerity.

81
Let’s learn about Bulguksa Temple
Bulguksa Temple was created as an imaginary world in which Buddha lived.
In the front court, the Seokgatap and Dabotap monuments symbolize the
body of Buddha. They are Korea s representative pagodas showcasing
Korea s excellent architectural skill and beauty.

Bridges Cheongun & Baekun Beomyeong Pavilion


National Treasure #23. Beneath is the Cheongun Bridge A wide pavilion to the left, after passing the Cheongun
symbolizing a green youth and above is the Baekun and Baekun bridges. Capable of accommodating 108
Bridge symbolizing a white-haired old man. people, the number 108 symbolizes the number of
worldly desires or agonies.

Ilju Gate Geungnakjeon (Hall of Paradise)


Entrance to Bulguksa Temple. There is no door panel, The figure of the seated Amida Buddha in gilt bronze,
which means all are welcome in the world of Buddha. one of the three major Buddha statues of the Unified
Silla Period, is stored here.

82
Figure of seated Amida Buddha
in gilt bronze
National Treasure #27. The oldest Buddha statue in
Korea.

Dabotap
As if made from clay, the stone is exquisitely crafted
with each and every piece assembled carefully.
With its unique shape with various designs, the
pagoda is a good example of how different aspects
create a balanced harmony with consistent length,
width and thickness.

Seokgatap
Pagoda made with layers of squarely cut and filed
stone. A simple yet sturdy stone pagoda.

83
As we walked further up Toham Mountain, we came to
Seokguram Grotto, a temple made of stone. Surrounding the
grotto were 14 sculptures. Even Ara looked at the exquisite stat-
ues with awe. But the most remarkable sculpture of them all was
the Bonjon Buddha, the main Buddha.
It was a majestic and dignified figure, yet it had the face of a
View of the
Seokguram Grotto generous and benevolent grandpa.
As Korea’s representative
temple in a stone cave, it Marina felt as if the Buddha statue would move its lips and
has been designated
National Treasure #24. talk to her. Ara, who had read about these statues and relics only
This work of art in stone
was also designated a in books, was also surprised to see them first hand.
World Cultural Heritage by
UNESCO in 1995.

84
Bonjon Buddha
(Principal Image of Buddha)
A round-faced image of Buddha with
arched eye brows, long squinting eyes,
well-defined lips, plump cheeks. Unlike
many other formalized statues, it shows an
ideal and gentle image of Buddha.

85
Korea’s History at a Glance
Gojoseon
Gojoseon is the first nation ever to be founded on the Korean
Peninsula. A tribe in the northern region called cheongdong (bronze)
which used metal, came down south and conquered many tribes and
founded the first nation. Gojoseon made weapons and ornaments with
bronze.

Korean-style bronze sword

Plain earthenware

Dolmen
A stone grave representative of the bronze age.
Dolmen were used for men of power and wealth
in ancient times.

86
* The Foundation Myth of Gojoseon
Long ago, Hwanung, the son of the King of heaven, descended from the
skies to Taebaek Mountain. One day, a bear and a tiger went to
Hwanung and begged that they be turned into human beings. Hwanung
promised that he would do so if the bear and the tiger lived only on
mugwort and garlic for one hundred days in a dark cave.
So the bear and the tiger tried to do what Hwanung had told them. But
the tiger got impatient and ran out of the cave. Even though the bear
also wanted to leave the cave with the tiger, it didn t because the bear
really wanted to become a person. Finally, after 100 days, the bear
turned into a beautiful woman. Called Wungnyeo, she got married to
Hwanung and had a baby. The baby was Dangun, the founder of
Gojoseon.

87
Three Kingdoms Era
After the fall of Gojoseon, different tribes created small tribal
states. Among them, three emerged as powerhouses that conquered
neighbors and saw progress in civilization. Laws and systems were
instituted to govern the people. These three became the kingdoms of
Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla.

Mural paintings of tiger hunting in Goguryeo Baekje ornamental


Muyongchong mural painting in today’s Jillin, China. It depicts edgings from a
a warrior on horseback, drawing a bow on a tiger. coffin
National Treasure
#152.
Silla Cheonmachong
The tomb of Silla King Jinung. It
was excavated in 1973.

88
Unified Silla
With the help of the Tang Dynasty in China, Silla overthrew Goguryeo
and Baekje and unified the three kingdoms. Unified Silla built a new
palace in Gyeongju and devised a new system to better govern its
people and expand its economy and culture.

Toyongdo
Carved figures of clay put inside tombs. They indicate the kind of clothing and
daily lives people had in that period.

Three-Story
Earthenware with seal patterns Goseonsa Stone
Pagoda
National Treasure #38
housed at the Gyeongju
National Museum.
Balhae
After its collapse, Goguryeo s territory came under the rule of Silla as
well as China s Tang Dynasty. Many people from the former Goguryeo
were forced to live difficult lives under Chinese rule. Among them was
a man named Daejoyoung who became the leader of the former
Goguryeo people and established a new nation, Balhae, in Manchuria and
the northeastern part of the Korean Peninsula.

Tiles with lotus


flower pattern
Most of the tiles used at
the edge of eaves on
roofs in Balhae had
lotus flower patterns.
Balhae adopted this tra-
dition from Goguryeo.

Dragon head
ornament
A pair of lion statues
made of stone. They
were symbolic guards of
Balhae’s capital. The
black one looks more
like a bulldog ready to
bite someone.

90
Goryeo
The royal family and nobility in Unified Silla continued to struggle for
power, and many discontented forces in the country revolted. The
country was divided into small kingdoms again, Wang Geon, a descen-
dant of Goguryeo, founded Goryeo and then reunified the nation.

Tripitaka Koreana
Buddhist scriptures carved into
more than 80,000 wooden print-
ing blocks. It is the world’s most
comprehensive and oldest intact
version of the Buddhist canon.

Goddess of Mercy
14th century

Celadon porcelain with Jar decorated with lakeside scenery


bamboo and crane
Goryeo, 12th century,
National Treasure #92.
91
Joseon Dynasty
The Joseon Dynasty came about after the collapse of Goryeo. King
Sejong the Great, the 4th king of the Joseon Dynasty created the
Korean alphabet Hangeul and further developed farming, science and
technology. He also paid special attention to improving studies in
medicine, law and music. Practical studies and Western culture were
introduced during this period.

(Hunminjeongeum)
Theoretical Explanation of Han-geul,
the Korean Alphabet
National Treasure #70.

Farming
Painted by Kim Hongdo, a famed Joseon artist,
the picture depicts peasant farmers taking a
break.
Geobukseon (Ironclad war
ship in the shape of a turtle)
The world’s first ironclad warship
created by Admiral Yi Sunshin ahead
of the Japanese invasion in 1592.

92
White porcelain
decorated with
maewha blossoms
Birds, bamboo
patterns. National
treasure #170.

Courageous tiger

Daedong Yeojido
The biggest and most comprehensive map of Korea
in its day. National Treasure #850.

Sundial
A device measuring the passage of time by detecting
the movement of an object’s shadow.

93
Japanese Colonial Period
Japan forced Joseon s last king. Gojong, to step down and gradually
began assuming authority. In 1910, Japan completely took over
sovereignty of Joseon and colonized it. Many
Koreans struggled to regain independence and Jubilant Koreans on
established a provisional government in Liberation Day

Shanghai, China.
While many Koreans struggled to regain
sovereignty from Japan, World War Two
broke out. Japan surrendered on August 15,
1945 and retreated from Korea after 35
years of rule. Koreans were liberated and
regained their independence.

Monument Commemorating Korea s Independence

94
Prosperous Modern Korea
After gaining independence, there were two different political forces on
the Korean Peninsula. Influenced by the United States, people in the
south wanted to establish a democratic government. People in the north,
however, wanted a communist government based on socialism, like in the
former Soviet Union. And in 1950, the North attacked the South and
thus began the Korean War.
At the end of the Korean War, the Prosperous Seoul
entire nation was in ruins and
people suffered from poverty and
hunger. But Koreans, with over
5000 years of history, knew that
they could rebuild the nation if
they worked tenaciously. Koreans
built ports, expressways, factor-
ies and apartments on the devas-
tated land.

Celebrating North-South reconciliation

95
Folk Tales
at Grandma's
Knee

Once upon a time, there lived a woodcutter. One


day, a deer came up to the woodcutter and told
him that a group of fairies were taking a bath at a
nearby pond. The woodcutter stole the robe of
feathers of one of the fairies.
If you want to
get married,
steal one of the
fairies robe of
feathers, and
hold on to it
until you have a
third child.

When the youngest fairy realized that she After some time had passed, the
couldn t fly back home, she cried out aloud. woodcutter confessed to the fairy that
That s when the woodcutter went up to her and he had stolen her robe of feathers.
proposed that she live with him. The fairy was so upset that she put
on her robe of feathers and flew
back to heaven.

I miss my
home!

Where is
my robe of
feathers?
My darling,
please don t go!

96
You stupid
The woodcutter kept on crying. Then a
woodcutter, why
bucket came down from the sky to didn t you do as
draw water from the pond. I told you.

When the bucket came down, When the fairy and the children saw the woodcutter, they
the woodcutter quickly jumped welcomed him and hugged him out of happiness, and
into it. they lived together happily ever after.

I'm sorry.
Let's stay
I missed you! together
forever.

97
Chapter 04

98
Today is the fifth day that I’ve been taking Ara and her
friends around Korea. It’s strange how we got so used
to each other over the past week. I’m really happy to see
Marina and Carlos enjoy Korea’s cultural heritage.Today, I’m
going to take the kids to Daehangno and Changgyeong Palace.

99
Daehangno
Respect to the Eldely
Ara and her friends hopped on Subway Line #2 to go to the
COEX. It was easy to read the subway map since the lines were
marked with different colors. Also, the transit system was rela-
tively simple with directions marked at every corner. But there
was something that seemed very strange. People in the subway

Subway line map cars were standing when there were empty seats right in front of
Korea’s subway system
has nine lines and is safe, them.
clean and easy to use.
Captain, why don’t those people sit down? said Marina.
Oh, those seats are reserved for the disabled and the elderly.
That’s why most people don’t sit there. But even those who do
sit down give them over to the elderly when they get on the sub-

Subway
Subway Line #1 in Seoul
first opened in 1974. Line
#9 which opened in 2009,
runs from Gimpo Airport to
Gangnam (the southern
part of Seoul).

100
Asem Tower
The 41-story tower with
four levels underground is
equipped with cutting-
edge facilities and houses
many multinational corpo-
rations and IT startups.

way. Senior citizens over the age of 65 can even ride the subway
free of charge. In Korea, we have a long tradition of showing
respect to the elderly, said the Captain.
Koreans are really so considerate and kind.
Carlos, all of a sudden, thought of his grandmother. A few
months ago, she had sprained her ankle when the bus she was
standing in made an abrupt stop.
A forty-minute ride on the subway took the kids to Samseong
Station near COEX mall.
COEX was full of people right from the entrance.
Conveniently located in Seoul’s IT and venture capital district,
the Captain explained that COEX has emerged as a hub of
global business, equipped with the latest IT and communica-
tion infrastructure. It’s also known to be Asia’s hot tourist
spot for shopping and exhibitions. It first opened in March
Aquarium
COEX also houses the
biggest aquarium in Korea
with over 40,000 sea crea-
tures of 500 species on
display. It first opened in
May 2000.

1979 as a venue for international trade and cultural exchange.


The exhibition complex is built on a total of 13,000 square
meters of land consisting of four stories above and below
ground. It has a total of 12 exhibition halls and 61 conference
rooms with the convention hall accommodating approximately
7,000 people at once.
The entrance to
COEX Besides the shopping area, COEX mall has a set of cultural
facilities, including an aquarium, multiplex movie theater and a
super-sized bookstore.
On the first floor of COEX was an exhibition hall called the
Atlantic Hall and a fair on ‘study overseas’ was underway.

102
Hosted by foreign universities, embassies and their culture
centers in Korea, the purpose of the fair was to provide informa-
tion to Korean students and parents interested in overseas
schools. All the booths were full of people seeking consultation.
It’s amazing how Koreans are so enthusiastic about educa-
tion, said Marina.
Koreans are known for their passion for education. Korea has
six years of mandatory elementary and three years of secondary
education. And then you spend another three years at high
school before going on to a college or university for a degree
that takes between two to six years. Korean parents are really

Korean parents
devote themselves
to their children s
education
They attend various semi-
nars and lectures to attain
and exchange educational
information.

103
committed to providing the best education they can for their
children, explained the Captain.
Look at her! She’s speaking in English, said Marina, refer-
ring to an elementary school student speaking to a foreigner.
You know, there’s this so-called ‘English fever’ in Korea.
Many parents in Korea today teach English to their children as
soon as they learn Korean. And when they go to elementary
school, many of them spend summer and winter vacations at
overseas English camps in the United States, Canada and the
Philippines, explained the Captain.
And that’s not all. We also take a number of extracurricular
classes in art, music, math and science after school, added Ara.
Boy, that must be really tough. But I have to say, Korean

104
children usually do really good at math and science. They seem
to learn things very quickly, said Carlos.
That’s all because of the good education they get. Korean Children studying
hard
parents know that education is the key to prosperity and that’s Koreans are among the
first when it comes to their
why they’re so devoted to providing the best education they can passion for education. As
a small country with few
for their children, said the Captain. natural resources, Korea
focused on the develop-
Still, it’s tough on us, you know. So much to do even after ment of human resources
to enhance its national
school, complained Ara. competitiveness. Korean
students are especially
Marina and Carlos giggled as Ara complained to her uncle. known for their excellent
performance in math and
science.

105
IT Powerhouse
At the other exhibit hall, an IT fair was underway. People at the
booths were busy trying out new gadgets. The images on LED
TV screens were so vivid and real that the animals shown on the
screen were almost jumping out of the monitor. The kids tried
on the mobile phones worn on their wrists like watches. Coming
in various colors and designs, this new mobile phone is said to
be the world s first 3G video phone.
These latest mobile phones seemed like gadgets of the future
that appear only in movies. They said that people could not only

Game Shows
Korea is ranked number
one in the online gaming
industry. Korea exports
much of its content and
programs to China, Japan
and South-east Asia, as
well as the U.S. and
Europe.

106
Mobile phone worn
on wrists like
watches(left)

Tele-medicine
systems(right)
Doctors discussing tele-
medicine system at the
Seoul Asan Medical Cen-
ter.

watch movies and listen to music with the system, but even
operate vehicles.
Tele-medicine systems that enable people to get medical treat-
ment at home without paying a visit to the doctor were
also very popular.
There was such a wide range of prod-
ucts to view from home appliances and
communications to office products.. And
the kids had a difficult time choosing
what to see first.
Marina marveled at Korea s IT
industry once again.

107
Korea, an Economic Powerhouse
Korea is the world s 12th largest economy.
Korea was ranked the world s 10th largest exporting country during the first half
of 2009. Korea s representative export items are semiconductors, memory chips,
mobile phones, LCDs, MP3 players, and automobiles. Korea s steel and shipbuilding
industries are among the world s best.

Shipbuilding technology
Korea boasts the world’s number one
shipbuilding industry. Generally, it
takes about three years to build a
large ship. Korea has the world’s best
technology in shipbuilding.

108
Mobile phone technology
It’s easy to spot Korean mobile phones
the world over. Samsung and LG Elec-
tronics are competing for 2nd and 3rd
places in global mobile phone market
share.

Semiconductor industry KTX (Korea Train Express)


Korea’s semiconductor technology is The KORAIL (Korea Railway Corporation) opened the Seoul Busan KTX line in
ranked #1 in the world. New technolo- 2004 to reduce traffic on the nation’s expressway. Travelling at over 250 kilometers
gies and products continue to domi- per hour, travel time between Seoul and Busan was reduced to 2 hours and 40
nate the market. minutes from 4 hours and 10 minutes.

LCD TV Automobile Exports Online games


LCD TVs by Samsung Electronics have 30 years since its first production of Korea’s online and mobile game indus-
been ranked #1 in the world for three cars, Korea’s automobile industry has try grew on the back of the country’s
consecutive years with a global market grown to become the 6th largest in the widespread use of mobile phones and
share of 20%. LG Electronics has a world. worldclass broadband infrastructure.
market share of 10%. Together, Korea’s
global market share of LCD TVs stands
at 30%.
109
Daehangno
Shall we head to Daehangno now? said Ara.
For the first time in Korea, Marina and Carlos got on a bus.
On the streets, buses traveled much faster than other vehicles.
That s because the first lane of the road was reserved for buses.
After about 40 minutes on the bus, they arrived at Daehangno.
Welcome to Daehangno, filled with the passion of college
students! said the Captain.
Captain, Daehangno means the street of colleges. But why
did it ended up with such a name when there aren t any universi-
ties on this street? asked Ara.

Various street
performances held
at Daehangno

110
Marronnier Park
It has a playground, small
pond, outdoor stage, foun-
tain and kiosk. The outdoor
stage is a popular venue for
performing artists. Many
small theaters are located in
and around the park.

Well, Korea s top university, Seoul National University, used


to be here before, the Captain answered.
Seoul National University? repeated Ara. Seoul National
University
A national university locat-
That s right. You see Marronnier Park over there? That s
ed in Shillimdong, Seoul.
As Korea’s top university,
where Korea s first national university, Seoul National
it is especially famous for
research in science and
University used to be. Since many college students gathered
engineering. In 2008, it
was ranked 50th in a global
here, they named the area the street of college students When
evaluation of universities.

Seoul National University relocated to the Gwanak Mountain


region, they created this Marronnier Park, attracting many art
and performance-related organizations to the area, explained
the Captain.

111
Look over there! yelled Carlos when he saw a group of B-
boys performing at Marronnier Park. Several young boys were
showing off their skills, dancing to the music.
They are professional break dancers. Korean B-boys are

B-boys becoming more famous throughout the world and have already
B stands for break dancing
and B-boys refer to profes- won major international B-boy battle awards, said the Captain.
sional break dancers. B-
boying has become a new When the performance was over, people gave the group a big
code of culture worldwide
and is gaining popularity as round of applause. Carlos stepped up and even took a picture
a type of sport. Korean B-
boys are acclaimed as the with one of the B-boys.
best in the world today, win-
ning four major battle The Captain took the children to Saemteo Parangse Theater,
awards including the “Battle
of the Year” in Germany and which has performances for children.
“UK B-boy Champion-ship”
in England.
Changgyeong Palace
Beyond the busy streets, there was a path along the stone wall.
Carlos ran along the path saying that it looked like a nobleman s
house with 99 rooms at the Korean Folk Village.
The Captain began talking about Changgyeong Palace to
Marina and Ara.
King Sejong the Great, who created the Korean alphabet
Hangeul, ordered the construction of Changgyeong Palace for
his father. Though smaller than Korea s representative palaces like
Gyeongbok and Changdeok, it has its own charm. It s a shame it
had to be rebuilt after the war with Japan during the Joseon

Changgyeong Palace
Palace in Seoul built during
King Seongjeong’s rule in
the Joseon Era. Changdeok
Palace stands to its west,
and Jongmyo to its south.

114
Okcheon Bridge
Okcheon means “water flow-
ing like glass beads.” Since
the palace is made of wood,
they always made a water-
way called “Geumcheon”
around the palace in case of
fire.

Dynasty, said the Captain.


Impressed by the story of the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress a few
days ago, Marina wondered how the palace would look inside.
Honghwa Gate looked quite different from the tall gate at the
nobleman s grand mansion.
This bridge leads to the Palace where the king used to live,
said the Captain. Statues of goblins at
the Okcheon Bridge
There was a small bridge called Okcheon Bridge past
Honghwa Gate.
It s a monster! Carlos stepped back, frightened.
The sculptures of goblins looked as if they were staring at
him.

115
The sculptures are there to ward off bad spirits from entering
the palace, said the Captain.
Oh, that s what they are. They look kind of cute, now that I
take another look at them, mumbled Carlos.
Embarrassed, huh? teased his friends.
When they crossed Okcheon Bridge, there was a wide garden
covered with white stones. At the end of the garden was
Myeongjeong Hall, known to have been the place for politics.
Myeongjeong means good politics, proper politics and wise
politics, said the Captain.
Myeongjeong Hall It took quite a long time to tour every structure beyond
Designated as National
Treasure #266, Myeong- Myeongjeong Hall. The four of them decided to rest by the pond
jeong Hall is the oldest
part of all the five major that reflected the clear sky.
palaces of the Joseon
Dynasty. It is a single-story
wooden structure built on
stone, covered with a half-
hipped roof.
Chundangji
at Changgyeong
Palace

The sun hung over the edges of Chundangji Pond.


Korean palaces are not huge like China s Forbidden City.
Yet, they look simple and cozy to me, said Marina.
Next time I come here, I m going to go on an all-day palace
tour. I want to visit other palaces as well, she added.
Marina felt attracted to Korean
palaces.

117
Royal Palaces
The palace was the residence for the king and the royal family. A
symbol of national authority, the palace was the center of politics.
Many palaces were constructed in Seoul when it was chosen as the
capital of Joseon. The main palace, Gyeongbok Palace, was the biggest
in size and the king lived there and took care of national affairs.

Gyeongbok Palace Changdeok Palace


Located on Sejongno in Seoul, Gyeongbok Palace Changdeok Palace is of great value in that it is the
was built in 1395 as the main palace during the Joseon palace with a large korean garden. It was designa-
Dynasty. Gyeongbok means good wishes for a peace- ted as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in
ful era. 1997.

Gyeonghui Palace Deoksu Palace


A royal palace in Seoul. Kings conducted govern- A royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty situated in
ment affairs at Gyeonghui Palace for eight genera- Cheong-dong, Seoul. Deoksu Palace is open to the
tions after its construction in 1616 during the general public and is popular among urban resi-
Joseon Dynasty. It is also one of the three major dents seeking peace of mind in a traditional setting.
royal palaces of the Joseon Dynasty.

118
Traditional religious ceremony
Every May, a traditional religious ceremony is held in memory
of the kings and the queens. Sacrificial rituals are also enac-
ted then. This traditional religious ceremony was designated
as Korea’s important Intangible Cultural Asset #1 by the gov-
ernment in 1964. UNESCO also designated it as an Intangible
Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Music performance at
ceremonial rites
119
The Korean Wave
Korea s pop culture began gaining popularity in China and Taiwan as well
as many Southeast Asian countries in the late 1990s. Korean dramas
have become increasingly popular among Chinese people, and Korean
dance groups and singers created a sensation in Taiwan.

Daejanggeum Nanta
Korean drama series based on Korea’s royal cui- Korea’s own non-verbal performance has been
sine. It was so popular that the drama series has staged more than 14,000 times for over 4.8 million
been exported to over 60 countries in Europe, the audiences worldwide since its debut in 1997.
Middle East and Africa as well as Southeast Asia.

Winter Sonata Jump


Korean drama series based on the love story of a A comic martial arts performance depicting an
young couple. Winter Sonata became a sensation eccentric family. At the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe
after it first aired in 2003. The main actors and Festival, ‘Jump’ ranked number one at the box
actresses of Winter Sonata became superstars in office among approximately 1,800 troupes taking
Japan. part.

120
Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF)
The non-competition international film festival began in 1996 and is
held every fall in Korea’s port city of Busan. The most prestigious
international film festival in Asia, PIFF is known for screening new
films of various genres and regions while serving as a venue where
filmmakers can experience different perspectives on new trends in
world cinema.

Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan)


The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival was launched in
1997 to promote low-budget independent films. The host city
Bucheon is known for its emphasis on visual art and music, and the
film festival attracts experimental film manias in Korea.
In addition to screening selective movies during the festival, visitors
can also participate in various seminars and lectures.

121
Folk Tales
at Grandma's
Knee

Once upon a time, there lived an old grandma. I m going to eat you up
She was working on her red bean farm when a if I finish weeding your
tiger suddenly jumped before her. The tiger sug- red bean farm first!
gested that they play a game and said that
it would eat her up if she lost.

Please
spare me!

The tiger finished weeding the farm in a blink Grandma was worried that it will soon be fall and
of an eye and was about to gulp Grandma the tiger would come again. One day, she heard a
down. Then the Grandma suddenly offered to shelled chestnut drop while making the red bean
make red bean porridge for the tiger once she porridge.
harvested the red beans in the fall.

If you give me a
bowl of that red
bean porridge, I
will save you from
the tiger.

Oh,
I guess the help yourself.
tiger would
come and eat
me in the fall.

122
Soon thereafter, a turtle, a piece of dog poop When night fell, the tiger came to eat up the
and a gimlet came along asking for a bowl of red Grandma. As the tiger headed toward the
bean porridge as well. Then a mortar, straw mat kitchen in search of a light, the shelled chestnut
and a carrying rack followed suit. Grandma gave struck the tiger s eyes. And when the tiger
everyone a bowl of red bean porridge. reached for some water, the turtle bit the tiger s
paw. Startled, the tiger stepped on the dog
poop and slipped, falling on the gimlet.

You can find


embers in the
kitchen stove.

Oh, no! It s
so hot!
Errrrrrrr!

The tiger fell on the straw mat when the mortar You saved
dropped from the shelf. Then, the straw mat rolled the my life!
tiger up and placed it on the carrying rack. Then the
carrying rack took the tiger to the river and dropped
him in.

Help me
please!

123
Chapter 05

124
Today is the last day of their trip here in Korea. So
I’m going to try and show them a little about
Korea’s modern history. They’ll be able to see how hard
Koreans worked in the aftermath of the war, to accomplish
what they have today.

125
Panmunjeom
A Divided Nation
“DMZ? What is it, Ara? Is it a fun place to be?”
Carlos asked as he munched on a cob of corn when he heard
that they would be going to the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone,
the following day. He couldn’t understand why they would visit
such an odd place.
Ara looked at her grandma. Grandma’s hometown is
Pyongyang in North Korea. But she has never been able to go
back to her hometown ever since she left Pyongyang when she
was eight. What she could do, however, was to visit the DMZ,

Tunnel #3
The North Korean army
secretly dug a tunnel under
the DMZ to infiltrate into
South Korea.

126
Pieces of paper with
wishful writings for
unification hung on
barbed wire at the
border

the de facto borderline between South and North Korea.


Grandma wanted Marina and Carlos to see the DMZ them-
selves.
“Korea has a very unique history. The Korean War left many
families separated, and people could not go to either the South
or the North even if they wanted to. Just like how Germany was
divided into the West and East before,” explained Grandma.
Marina, who was dozing off, woke up all of a sudden when
Grandma mentioned Germany.
“Can’t Koreans in the South visit North Korea?” asked
Marina.
“Why not? You can go anywhere you want if you have a pass-
port and a visa.”
Ara smiled after hearing what Carlos had just said.

127
Demilitarized Zone
According to the cease-fire
agreement after the Korean
War, the country was divided
into two parts, the South and
the North, along the 38th par-
allel. Two kilometers south
and north of the truce line,
comprise the Demitarized
Zone, which runs across the
peninsula. Since the DMZ
was off limits for 40 years, it
became a natural habitat for
wildlife.

“That is, only if you get special permission from North Korea.
And not everyone is eligible, either. Besides, even with special
permission, you can only go to places designated by the North
Korean government,” said Ara.
“Do we have permission to travel to the DMZ then?” asked
Carlos.
“We’re only allowed to visit the DMZ on the South Korean
side. We can’t go to the North Korean side at all. The DMZ is a
cease-fire region. South of the DMZ, there is a region where
civilians are prohibited from entering. Left untouched for

128
decades since the Korean War, that region has turned into a nat-
ural habitat for wildlife.”
Ara remembered everything she had seen on a special TV
documentary about the DMZ.
Marina and Carlos got curious about the DMZ after hearing
what Ara had told them.
Imjingak national
The following day, the bus to the DMZ set out early in the tourist site
It has become a security
morning. After about an hour and a half, the bus arrived at sightseeing spot, with a
unification park, North
Imjingak. There were many brochures about the Korean War Korea memorial hall and
various monuments.
and the guide explained about the Korean War.

Unification Pond
An artificial pond was cre-
ated inside Imgingak in
hope of unification. Mea-
suring 12 meters wide and
36 meters long, the pond
covers approximately 35
square meters. It is the
largest pond created in the
shape of the Korean
peninsula.

129
“See over there? That’s Unification Lake. The bridge over it is
called Freedom Bridge. South Korean and UN soldiers who
were taken as POWs (Prisoners of War) by North Korea had to
cross that bridge to return to the South,” said the guide.
According to illustrations on display, the Korean War, started
by North Korea on June 25, 1950, lasted until the ceasefire in
July 1953. In support of the South, a total of 16 countries,
including the U.S., Great Britain and Turkey, fought in the
Korean War as allied UN forces.
“It must have been quite a big war with so many countries tak-
ing part,” Carlos spoke to himself.
“Imjingak was built so that people could see North Korea
from here. That’s why a lot of separated families come here

130
Freedom Bridge
A temporary bridge built
for POW exchanges in
1953 after the ceasefire.

when they get homesick,” said Ara.


“Does your Grandma come here often, too?” asked Marina.
“I heard that she used to come here at least once a year when
she was younger. But she doesn’t any more,” Ara answered.
Marina could kind of imagine what Koreans had to go
through as she learned how Germany had suffered after World
War Two. The Captain told them that Koreans were left on a
land of devastation with nothing to eat in the aftermath of the
war. Though they had to start from scratch, Koreans managed to
pull themselves together and rebuild their nation in a short span
of time.

131
Scenes of separated
families at a reunion
event “I guess that’s probably why U.S. President Barack Obama
Many Korean families were
separated during the Kor- made a speech saying that countries in Africa should try to emu-
ean War. A total of 10 mil-
lion Koreans are estimated late Korea’s Saemaeul Movement, or the new community
to have been separated.
movement that helped its country move from rags-to-riches.”
With everything destroyed, the black and white pictures of
Korea taken 60 years ago had a bleak image. Marina couldn’t
believe that Korea completely transformed itself in just 60 years.
“I feel a little depressed today, talking so much about unhappy
events,” Ara said to her uncle, sighing.
“Me, too, but that’s all a part of what Korea is, Ara,” said her
uncle to cheer her up.
“When Korea becomes reunified, I’m going to invite my

132
Panmunjeom
Located 50km north of
Seoul, Panmunjeom is a
joint security area, guard-
ed by the UN and North
Korean soldiers. Panmun-
jeom is the venue for inter-
Korean and military talks.
Now a famous tourist des-
tination for foreign visitors,
Panmunjeom is a historic
site for Koreans, symboliz-
ing the tragic Korean War.

friends and go on a trip to Sinuiju by train,” said Ara.


“What a great idea, Ara! By then, you should be able to travel
from Sinuiju to Europe via Siberia. What a wonderful trip
that would be!” her uncle said with excitement.
Tired, Ara closed her eyes and tried to imagine
the day she would hop on the trans-continental
train traveling from Seoul to
Pyongyang and then to
Europe passing through
Russia.
The World Cup Stadium
After about an hour’s ride on the Freedom Road from Imjingak,
Ara and her friends arrived at Seoul’s World Cup Stadium. They
entered the stadium which resembled a vast square with a sail-
boat beside it.
Carlos ran around as if he were dribbling a soccer ball across
the field. Then he motioned a kick toward the goal post.
As if he made a goal, Carlos kissed his fist in celebration.
“I feel as though I can hear the roaring of the Red Devils. Dae-

Figure built in
commemoration of
the 2002 World Cup

Seoul World Cup


Stadium

134
Red Devils
Official cheering squad for
Korea’s national football
team. Many Koreans wore
red shirts with ‘Red Devils’
printed on them and car-
ried red scarves to cheer
on the Korean team during
the 2002 Korea Japan
World Cup games. Seoul
Plaza was always filled with
Red Devils at the time.

han-min-guk!” said Carlos, excited.


“Clap, clap, clap clap, clap.”
The four of them clapped their hands with the same beat
as if they had planned it in advance.
Marina and Carlos had seen the Red Devils root for the
Korean team on TV. It was amazing how they filled the stadi-
um and the streets with red.
World Cup Stadium was spacious indeed. The field was co-
vered with green grass. The Seoul World Cup Stadium was
built for the 2002 Korea Japan World Cup. When viewed from

135
above, the stadium resembled the shape of Korea’s traditional
shield kite.
The four of them sat in the stands for a World Cup
quiz game.
“Now, the first question! How far did Korea make
it during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup?” said Ara.
“I know, I know! To fourth place!” shouted Carlos.
“I knew it, too!” sighed Marina.
Being a soccer fanatic, Carlos answered four of the five
questions and won the quiz. He got a football as a prize.

Beautiful Ecological Park


They walked out of the World Cup Stadium and headed to the
World Cup Gallery, right across the street. When they crossed
the street, they saw a big lake glittering in the sunlight. There
were several people jogging around the lake.
“What a gorgeous park!” shouted the kids.
They decided to take a walk around the park after touring the
World Cup Stadium. On the lake, they spotted ducklings swim-
ming in a row.
“Guess what this place was before?” asked the Captain.
“Well, isn’t it just an ordinary park?” said Carlos, thinking that

136
World Cup Park
The park was made in
commemoration of the 17th
World Cup games. To
highlight the eco-friendly
nature of the World Cup
held in Seoul, it was creat-
ed as an ecological park
with five themes consisting
of wetlands, flower garden,
pond, dock and an un-
paved marathon path.

it was odd the Captain asked such an obvious question.


“Well, it used to be a landfill with trash of trash,” said the
Captain.
“What?” said Marina and Carlos, puzzled.
“Called Nanjido, this place used to be a massive landfill
before. But it has been transformed into a beautiful park, after 15
years of collaborative effort to restore the abandoned waste
dump. A special pipe wall was built so that contaminated water
seeping from the landfill did not flow back into the soil again.
The polluted water then goes through a purifying process before
flowing into the Han River. And the methane gas generated from
the landfill is recycled as fuel,” explained the Captain.

137
“Wow! So garbage can be
turned into energy?” said Carlos
in awe.
“That's right. What's more, a
thick layer of good soil was
used to cover the garbage dump.
And a miracle happened. Life
began to bloom there with plants, trees and even animals,” said
the Captain.
Pyeonghwa (Peace)
Park The four of them passed by Pyeonghwa Park and began hik-
It is within World Cup Park.
Inside, there is a 28,000- ing up the hills of Haneul Park, which almost seemed to be up in
square-meter UNICEF
Plaza, Nanji Lake (measur- the sky. They felt as if the birds and the lush trees all cheered
ing 24,000 square meters),
Peace Garden, Forest of them on during the hike.
Hope and World Cup Park
Gallery.
Haneul (Sky) Park
At Haneul Park, there are
several wind turbines. The
energy generated here is
used to light the street
lamps and the info desk
inside the park.

At last, they reached the end of what seemed like an endless


stairway. At the top of the hill, they felt a cool breeze greeting
them. And there, they could see the Han River glowing in the
sunset. After taking a walk around the Haneul Park, they came
Wooden stairway to
down to the riverside park. The lights on the bridge over the Han Haneul Park
Natural logs are used to be
River began to glitter with the beaming lights of the moving more environment friendly.

cars.
Marina and Carlos stared at the lights for a long time as if they
didn't want to forget the beautiful night view of Seoul.

139
Korea in the World of Sports
The 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup
Korea co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with Japan. Team Korea scored 3 wins, 2
draws and 2 defeats out of a total of 7 matches held. It was the first time for
Korea to make it to the semi-finals at a World Cup since its debut at the global
soccer gala 48 years ago. Korea is also
the first country in Asia to have made it
that far at the World Cup.

Jisung Park
Jisung Park is a Korean football player who
plays in England’s professional league for
Manchester United. Manchester United is
one of the world’s three most successful
professional teams.

140
The World s Best Archery Team
Korea’s archery team is second to none in the world. The
Korean women’s team won gold medals at the Olympics 6 con-
secutive times. The news of Korean archers’ arrows breaking
the camera behind the bull’s eye twice at the 1996 Atlanta
Olympics aroused greater interest in the field.

Yuna Kim Judo


Korea’s first figure skater to win Korea’s judo team is ranked
the ISU championship, the second in the world earning 6
Grand Prix Series as well as the gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze
Grand Prix Finals. With a record medals at previous Olympic
score of 207.71, she became Games.
the first female figure skater to
break the 200 mark at the world
championship.
141
World Renowned Artists of Korea
Koreans have long been known for their artistic talent. There are many
world-renowned Korean artists in the fields of art, music and dance.
Let s find out who they are and take a look at some of their works!

Myung Hwun Chung


Korean pianist and conductor. Chung first
grabbed the global spotlight when he won
second prize at the 1974 Tchaikovsky piano
competition. He served as the Music Director
of the Opera de la Bastille at the Paris Opera
from 1989 to 1994.

Sue Jin Kang


Sue Jin Kang is the prima ballerina at the
Stuttgart Ballet Company in Germany.
She was the first Asian ballerina to join
the German Ballet Company after win-
ning the Prix de Lausanne in 1985. She
won the Prix Benois dela Danse in 1999.

142
Nam June Paik
A Korea-born video artist widely known as the father of
video art. Paik gained fame in the early 1960s through his
exhibitions. He received the Golden Lion Award at the
Venice Biennale in 1993.

Han Na Chang
A world-class Korean cellist deemed among the most
important musicians of her generation. At the tender age of
11, Chang won First Prize as well as the Contemporary
Music Prize at the 5th Rostropovich International Cello
Competition in 1994.

Sumi Jo
Korea’s representative soprano Sumi Jo is the first Korean
to perform at all five major opera theaters of the world. The
world-acclaimed soprano has won many awards, including
a Grammy in 1992 and a Puccini in 2008. Her voice was
described as “the voice of the century” by Herbert von
Karajan.

143
Folk Tales
at Grandma's
Knee

As days passed by, the bride s face turned


One day, a young woman who openly pale. The father-in-law got worried.
farted married into a family with a pear
orchard. The parents-in-law were very
fond of the bride.

What s
bothering you
dear? You don t
look well.

Well, it s
Our because I
daughter-in-law haven t farted
is such an angel. since marrying.
She is so pretty,
too.

The father-in-law told the bride that it was okay


to break wind but she was reluctant to do so.
Then one day, the bride spoke to the entire
family.

I m going to fart
now. Prepare
yourselves! Boom!

144
The daughter-in-law began passing the
gas that she had been saving for the
past three years. The sound of the fart
was like thunder and had a toxic smell.

!!
om
!
ess
Bo
n
ood
m yg
O h,

After that incident, the father-in-law


brought the bride back home,
thinking that her fart was a
blessing. Ever since then, one could
hear wind breaking whenever the
The astonished parents-in-law had decided family harvested pears.
to send the bride back to her parents. But
one day, as he walked beneath
the pear tree, the father-in-law
wanted to get a bite of the
pear hanging high on the tree.

I wish I could
quench my thirst
with that pear.
Our
I ll get daughter-in-law s
the pear farts bring good
for you. fortune to our
family.

145
Dear Ara,

Hi, Ara!
I can t belie
ve it s been
a week alrea
fun times I dy since I le
had with yo ft Korea. I m
u, Carlos an iss the
family and I d th e Captain. Ye
looked at m sterday, my
y pictures fr
happy to see om Korea. M
Korea, thou y parents w
gh only thro ere so
I used to th ug h p h otographs.
ink that Ko
rea was just
have a comp a small cou
letely differe ntry in Asia
nt view now , but I
Korea s cult that I got to
ure firsthand see and expe
. Though sm rience
so much to K all in size, I
orea. I was s realize that
urprised to s there s
Korea was, ee how mod
while cheris ern and dev
hing its ages eloped
The scenes -o ld c ultu re and tradit
of big mans ion.
ions with b
Folk Villag lack-tiled ro
e, the neat ofs at the K
little handic orean
breath-takin rafts I saw
g view of S in Insadong
eoul s night and the
are still vivid skyline from
in my memo the N Seoul
ry. Tower
But what I m
iss the most
is Korean fo
bulgogi still od. The thou
makes my m ght of
outh water.

146
ith
k bulgogi w
oo
y mom to c
km
g oi n g to as en
Im
a v e m e. a d e me ev
ug s m
c ipe yo mer ha
th e re
re a thi s su m
e rm ined to m y family
o de t rin g
p to K nd I m I can b
My tri K o re a , a
e I v isi t,
to such a
n
te d i n xt t im g m e
nteres the ne invitin xt
more i ard so th a t
n k y ou fo r
rm any ne
n h o th a sit G e
Korea want t and vi
study e. A r a , I co m e
e th eir guid h y d on t you
and b try . A nd w the historic
un ou
te re s ting co and show y
in y
n d G erman
er ? aro u
summ o t a ke you
t
happy
I d be .
ountry h!
sites in
m y c
kee p in touc
d
ta k e care an
Well ,

147
Dear Captain
!

Thanks again
for your hos
pitality and
so much fun for making
. I had such our trip to K
a great time orea
by in the bli in Korea tha
nk of an eye t ten days p
. assed
Yesterday, I
told my frie
nds here abo
were so env ut my trip to
ious. Korea and th
ey
I feel like I v
e become an
expert on K
I was so imp orea already
ressed by th .
e B-boys da
I ve done a ncing in Dae
little search hangno that
of my own b
club in my to ack at home
wn and have . I found a s
decided to jo mall
I m going to in it.
be busy now
, with the B-b
This trip to oy club and
Korea got m taekwondo.
e more inte
diverse cultu rested in th
res. e world and
its
I want to tra
vel around th
e globe and
like you, Ca gain lots of
ptain. experience
Captain, if K
orea gets to
host another
invite me to World Cup,
Korea again please
.

148
.
ea m Korea
n T
cheer o
D ev ils an d
ep in touch!
Red ske
to join the g ain so let
e ou a
I d lov o seeing y
d t
forwar
I look

149
Korea for Kids
2009 Edition
Copyright 2009
Published by
Korean Culture and Information Service
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

15, Hyojaro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea


Telephone : 82-2-398-1914~20
Fax : 82-2-398-1882

All rights reserved Korean Culture and Information Service


Printed in Seoul
ISBN 978-89-7375-152 563980
For further information about Korea,
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