You are on page 1of 30

표지+세네카최종 2010.6.

4 12:1 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

People & Culture

JUNE 2010

June 2010



ISSN: 2005-2162
표2대면 2010.6.3 4:12 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


The Beauty of Korea Once the capital of the middle-

and later-period Baekje Kingdom (c. 18BC — AD660), the
Gongju and Buyeo areas in Chungcheongnam-do Province
maintain numerous remnants of the splendid culture of
Baekje. In addition to an earth Baekje castle, the area is home
to a stone castle from the Joseon era (1392 — 1910), thus
demonstrating the evolution of Korea’s dynastic history.
Along with Busosanseong Fortress, Jeongnimsa Temple site
and several others, Gongsanseong Fortress (pictured on this
page) was included on UNESCO’s Tentative List of World
Heritage sites in January 2010.
ⓒ Choi Ji-young
6월호목차 2010.6.3 4:10 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


A symbol of Korea’s division, the Sixty years after the start of the Korean It’s the dream of some city dwellers to
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is now becom- War, the domestic government invites UN relax in rural bliss. Weekend farms are
ing a important area for both political and war veterans from 21 countries to visit. making it possible and Koreans are now
natural matters. Despite tensions, this Korea will welcome more than 2,400 vet- ditching their briefcases to make a run
stunning region is one of Korea’s most erans from April to November. for the countryside.
peaceful places.



Chosin was one of many fights during the Korea held the Third Trilateral Summit
COVER STORY 04 PEN & BRUSH 16 PHOTO ESSAY 20 Korean War, with 15,000 US soldiers and Meeting — Korea, Japan and China —
Sixty years have passed since the Korean An inside look at the life of Yun Heung-gil, Most people will never forget their experi- marines in combat. A young reserve offi- from May 29 to 30 on Jeju Island. They
War. The once war-torn country has one of the most distinguished novelists in ences of the Korean War. Here, a writer in cer captures the stories of foreign veter- agreed on security and economic coopera-
changed dramatically compared to the Korea, and his depiction of the Korean War his 70s and a photographer in his 50s ans on film for the very first time. tion among the three countries.
1950s, after the fighting’s conclusion. in The Rainy Spell. share their memories and stories.

PUBLISHER Seo Kang-soo,

Korean Culture and Information Service



PRINTING Samsung Moonwha Printing Co.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may

be reproduced in any form without permission from
KOREA and the Korean Culture and Information

The articles published in KOREA do not necessarily

represent the views of the publisher. The publisher is
not liable for errors or omissions.

Letters to the editor should include the writer’s full

name and address. Letters may be edited for clarity
and/or space restrictions.

If you want to receive a free copy of KOREA or wish

to cancel a subscription, please e-mail us.
A downloadable PDF file of KOREA and a map and
glossary with common Korean words appearing in our
text are available by clicking on the thumbnail of
KOREA on the homepage of

발간등록번호 : 11-1110073-000016-06
04-15 cover story 2010.6.4 11:58 AM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


60 Years Later:
Six decades ago, a conflict broke out in Korea that took
hundreds of thousands of lives, brought untold suffering,
and solidified a division that is felt throughout the country
to this day. Yet from the devastation, something incredible

FUTURE OF THE emerged: a country transformed from a rubble-strewn

wasteland into a global economic leader.

by Yoo Gwang-jong | photographs by Kim Nam-heon, Kim Hong-jin and Park Jeong-roh

A panorama of Han River

04-15 cover story 2010.6.4 11:58 AM 페이지 3 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

Veteran war correspondent John Rich has recently released Korean War in Color. A picture of schoolchildren in Daegu — the Korean War turned 100,000 children into
Here are some photographs from the book: Royal Tank Regiment members pose orphans in a war-ravaged land (opposite right). Korean soldiers are on the guard at
before taking action against the Chinese surging south in January 1951 (top left). A Panmunjeom, the Military Demarcation Line area in Paju, Gyeonggi-do Province (above).
young member of South Korea’s fighting force stands before the camera (above left).

The war that broke out in Korea 60 years ago was both a by- South Korea. Though the mountains in Dabudong are now largely War. Already, numerous media outlets and other organizations country now has a democratic, liberal system that reflects the
product of ideology and a genuine human tragedy. After all this covered with trees, Hwang still digs up the ground there looking have published books on the subject, while the government has will of the people. The Olympics came in 1988, followed by the
time, those who lived through the suffering still struggle to for the bodies of his fallen comrades. “I have been digging the established a project committee to coordinate events marking FIFA World Cup in 2002, helping imprint the image of a devel-
come to terms with the friends and family they lost. Many recall ground for 15 years and I find bodies every time. How many peo- this momentous year. An array of private and public events is oped, vibrant nation in the minds of viewers worldwide. With its
the events they witnessed as if they’d happened yesterday. ple were killed in the war ... ” Though Hwang himself now strug- taking place for the anniversary, showing that the war remains breakneck speed of development, South Korea has grown from
Kwon Gil-seong, an 82-year-old veteran from Daegu, may now gles to remember details of his fellow soldiers at the time, his tremendously important for many people in Korea. a country in chaos to one of the world’s leading economies in
be in the twilight of his life, but he remembers the war as clear- determination to locate and exhume the bodies of his comrades, In plays and movies, the Korean War is still one of the most terms of international trade.
ly as ever. One day in July 1953, Kwon and a few of his fellow long buried underground in solitude, has kept him coming back ⓒ Korean War in Color / John Rich / Seoul Selection commonly discussed themes. This year has seen the release of Few people would deny that the Korean War played some
soldiers engaged in a life and death struggle with Chinese to this same spot for more than a decade. several productions dealing with that time, including the movie kind of role in the country’s enormous subsequent success.
troops upon an isolated hill. He vividly recalls flares exploding in 71- Into the Fire, which drew positive reviews at Marché du Film Park Myung-rim, a professor at Yonsei University and an authori-
the distance, the faces of the Chinese soldiers illuminated in MEMORIES OF WAR As for recent generations, many of those 2010 in Cannes and promises to be a big hit in Korea when it ty on the Korean War, says that, “through the war Korea grew

ⓒ Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs

the flash, and then a desperate and bloody hand-to-hand fight. memories have been lost. While Koreans born in the 1950s or is released in June. up to be a much stronger country in the long term.” Another
Hwang Dae-hyeong, an 80-year-old from Gwangju who served as 1960s could still see the physical and emotional damage from view has it that because of the war, Korea gained its first real
the sergeant first class of the 1st Division and 15th Regiment of the war, for many young people, surrounded by development THE WAR AND MODERNIZATION In the years since the war, taste of Western culture represented by the United States and
the Korean Army, often returns to Seoul and Daegu to relive his and affluence, those times are largely forgotten. Korea has been transformed. Such is the change that it is hard Britain. This notion implies that “modernity” arrived in Korea via
memories. Hwang faced his hardest battle in Dabudong in north- But however much things have changed, some wounds from the to believe the Koreas of 1950 and those of today are in fact the US Army. Endorsing this view, Cho Woo-seok, a well-known
ern Daegu, where the Korean and US armies desperately fought war still haven’t healed. This is why it remains crucial that we the same. In the aftermath of the war, Korean politics were cultural critic, says, “I’d say one of the factors that helped
off the North Korean troops who had launched the invasion of commemorate such events as the 60 anniversary of the Korean fluid and unstable. But through trying and trivial times, the Korea accomplish modernization relatively fast was the war.”

06 2010 2010 07
04-15 cover story 2010.6.4 11:58 AM 페이지 5 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

“President Park Chung-hee, the driving force behind Korean imagine that Korea, only recently freed from Japanese rule and
industrialization, threw off the yoke of the South Korean Labor taking its first baby steps toward modernization, might have
Party as a result of the war,” Cho says. “In doing this, he looked like another world to Westerners arriving in 1950.
regained his standing as a man of the Korean Army and even-
tually became the president, during which, of course, he THE KOREAN WAVE Sixty years on from perhaps the most cat-
accomplished the industrialization of Korea.” aclysmic war in Korea’s history, the country could scarcely be
There was a huge gap between the two images of Korea, more different. The statistics speak for themselves: In 1949,
before and after the war, on the international stage. Edison Terri, South Korea had a population of 20.19 million; in 2007, 48.46
an Observer Officer of the 27th Artillery Regiment under the US million people called South Korea home. In 1953, GNI per capi-
Army’s 25 Division, got his first taste of action near the ta was just US$67; in 2007, it was more than US$20,000.
Nakdong River in 1950. At that time his rank was captain. In The Since 1953, not allowing for financial or oil crises, the country
Battle for Pusan, the book he wrote about his experiences, Terri has hit an average annual growth rate of 6.8%. From 1948,
vividly describes what he saw in Korea from the viewpoint of a when it came to just US$2.3 billion, trade grew to US$7,283
common soldier, as opposed to that of a top general or supreme billion in 2007, or 3,167 times bigger.
commander. Arriving at Pusan Harbor, he wrote: “The frontline Demonstrating its tremendous progress, Korea is now a mem-
we were heading toward, which was located on the eastern end ber of the G-20, a group of the world’s leading industrialized
of the Asian continent, was so dark and deserted that we nations. This year, Korea will take its place among the top tier of
couldn’t sense the presence of a single person.” It is easy to G-20 powers as its hosts a summit for the organization in Seoul.

Some more color photographs about the Korean War by John Rich: After a spate of South Korean children stand before City Hall in early 1951, shortly after UN forces
US bombings, railway tracks leading to Seoul Station lie in a state of ruin (top). A recaptured Seoul (opposite bottom). Present views of the exterior of Seoul Station
badly damaged Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon (middle). (top), Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon (middle) and City Hall in Seoul (bottom).

ⓒ Korean War in Color / John Rich / Seoul Selection

08 2010 2010 09
04-15 cover story 2010.6.4 11:58 AM 페이지 7 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


For nearly two months starting late March, the sinking of the South brinksmanship,” a government official said. Watchcon is the intelli-
Korean warship the Cheonan held the country and the entire world in gence monitoring system against the North that Korea’s armed force
suspense. Then, on May 20, the results of an official investigation has used since 1981. It has five levels, with the lowest number indi-
into the cause of the incident were announced. Twenty-four experts cating the most dangerous situation. Defense Readiness Condition, or
from the United States, Britain, Sweden and Australia had joined 25 Defcon, shows the state of preparedness for war. The military did not
South Korean civilian experts and 22 military representatives to carry declare any sort of military emergency since the Cheonan went down
out the probe. After analysis of the scientific evidence, the explosion on March 26. The Defcon remains at Level 4. At the Defense Ministry,
pattern, the ship’s body and assorted intelligence, the investigators another official said, “As of May 25, we’ve not made any changes to
concluded that the Cheonan had been sunk by a 250-kilogram North Defcon. Since the North Korean military isn’t showing any particular
Korean torpedo. moves, we’re not taking specific measures.”
Following the announcement by However, the South Korean gov-
the joint civilian-military team, ernment decided to re-designate
nations around the world issued North Korean military as its “main
statements in support of the find- enemy.” Since downgrading the
ings. In an address to the nation threat six years ago, the South has
on May 24, President Lee Myung- categorized North Korea as an
bak laid down a series of counter- “existing threat,” a status the cur-
measures, including suspension of rent administration believes is no
all inter-Korean trades and longer appropriate for its defense.
exchanges. At the same time, the The South has also vowed to exer-
South Korean government prepared cise its right to self-defense
a raft of military and economic against future North Korean military
responses. Mindful of the adverse attacks. Joint South Korea-US anti-
effects on the South’s economy submarine drills and maritime inter-
when similar incidents took place diction exercises will take place in
in the past, a joint task force made June. Bryan Whitman, the US
up of officials from the Finance deputy assistant secretary of
Ministry, the Knowledge Economy defense for public affairs, said the
A view of Cheonggyecheon is seen (above left). An commemorative photography exhi- Ministry and the Financial Services Commission built a daily monitoring anti-submarine exercises will help assess South Korea’s capabilities
bition was held at Cheonggye Square in February, featuring pictures from the war and system to help eliminate short-term risks on the financial market. and bolster the Navy’s strength. He also mentioned that the interdic-
the flags of the 21 nations who fought (top). Another exhibition of the remains and Calling President Lee’s words a powerful message, government offi- tion exercises will be conducted as part of the Proliferation Security
pictures of those killed during the Korean War was held in May (above). cials added that in addition to closely monitoring domestic and interna- Initiative, or PSI. Formed in May 2003, the PSI, which South Korea for-
tional financial markets, they were reviewing responses to the crisis so mally joined last year, is a US-led global operation aimed at stopping
far. The government believes that given the movements in overseas the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. “We both think that
Once among the poorest countries in the world after the war, table, with Kim Yu-na becoming an international sensation after markets and their reaction to Lee’s address, as well as similar “North this is an area where, working with the Republic of Korea, we can hone
and having long been the recipient of foreign aid, Korea is now her breathtaking performance in figure skating. Throughout Asia, Korea risks” that had already arisen as a result of the Cheonan inci- some skills and increase capabilities,” Whitman said, stressing that
a donor. Since the beginning of this year, Korea has been a Korea’s TV shows, movies and music have become huge hits, a dent, the investigation’s results will have a limited overall impact. “If the two upcoming exercises are significant in solidifying the South
the development of the Cheonan crisis leads to an increase in geopo- Korea-US alliance and its deterrent capabilities. He also added that
member of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), pro- phenomenon referred to as Hallyu, or the Korean Wave. Once an litical risks, then we believe it could also have an adverse impact on the US troops stationed in South Korea are always battle-ready and
viding assistance to developing countries and several associat- object of disdain, “Made in Korea” is now a point of pride. the economy,” said a high-ranking official for South Korea’s Finance that US commanders are now in close consultation with their South
ed international organizations. Having received so much from Ministry. “We will duly respond to the situation.” Korean counterparts.
The government is also gearing up to ensure national security. On Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said, “We have been an observer in
foreign countries, Korea wants to give something back. THE FINAL PEACE Sixty years ago, the Korean War turned the May 21, the central government ordered ministries and state agencies the PSI. But this September, we will actively participate in an exercise
Today, waves from Korea’s economy can be felt around the eyes of the world toward Korea. It produced countless to stay on alert against possible North Korean cyber attacks and in Australia, and we’re in consultation with other countries to stage a
world. Such Korean conglomerates as LG and Samsung are tragedies, but at the same time layed the foundations upon strengthened security measures for government and public networks. PSI exercise here in the latter half of this year.” The military has also
Seoul also raised the terrorism alert by one notch at its embassies decided to resume its psychological operations, which were suspended
now a huge global presence, their products ubiquitous every- which Koreans rebuilt their country. Driven by the suffering and
and consulates. The police issued the emergency order on May 20, in 2004, by broadcasting propaganda messages to the North through
where from Chicago to Beijing to Mumbai. In chemicals, ship devastation they had witnessed, Koreans worked feverishly to and National Police Agency Commissioner Kang Hee-rak chaired a loudspeakers near the Demilitarized Zone. Also, the armed forces plan
building, semi-conductors and consumer electronics, Korea is push their country to untold heights of success. At the core of video conference of all regional police chiefs to check on their emer- to alter their rules of engagement and operational concepts near the
gency systems. The police stationed SWAT units at major facilities, Northern Limit Line and the Military Demarcation Line to reflect a more
a global leader. this were the brave soliders who came from around the world
such as public agencies and foreign embassies, to tighten protection, aggressive approach.
In the last decade, Korea has also gained fame for its in Korea’s hour of need. All of these factors are the bedrock and ensured that anti-terrorism units were on full standby. The govern- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to engage with
ⓒ Yonhapnews Agency

ⓒ Yonhapnews Agency

achievements in the world of sports. In 2002, during the FIFA upon which Korea stands today. ment also raised by one level the Watch Condition, or Watchcon, from China and Russia, two traditional allies of North Korea, in diplomatic
World Cup hosted in Korea and Japan, Korea became the first On the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, Koreans feel tremen- Level 3 to Level 2 [as of May 26], the warning gradings for North efforts. It will also consult with multinational organizations such as the
Korea, as it geared itself for possible North Korean provocations after European Union, NATO and ASEAN regarding countermeasures against
Asian team to progress to the semi finals. At the Winter dous pride in what they have achieved, and a lasting gratitude to the findings of the probe were announced. “North Korea could opt for the North Korea provocation on the Cheonan. by Kwon Kyeong-hui
Olympics earlier this year, Korea ranked fifth on the medals the foreign troops who gave so much to protect the country.

10 2010 2010 11
04-15 cover story 2010.6.4 11:59 AM 페이지 9 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


Gaeseong, a city just 50 kilometers north of Seoul and the

responsibility of the 1st Division, and was in all likelihood
already occupied. No one had expected the North to invade.
That was the day a 300-kilometer retreat began across the
General Paik Sun-yup
Han River and all the way south to the Nakdong River, at the stands at the War
southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula. Memorial in Korea
(opposite). An old pic-
“North Korea had long been preparing for the war” says ture of General Paik
Paik. “At the time, North Korea had an army of almost with the former presi-
dent Lee Seung-man
200,000 men along with more than 200 tanks and 240 fighter is seen (left). As a
jets. We were but half of that strength, a little more than brave soldier, he was
awarded several
100,000 men. Worse still, few of the men had even seen a medals and apprecia-
tion plaques (below,
tank before.” He does not conceal any of his regret when
recalling the terrible state of the South Korean army back then,
a far cry from its current status as a well-funded, high-tech
modern army.
The US 24th Division, which was stationed in Japan, was
immediately dispatched. It fought in several battles after build-
ing an initial line of defense, only to be forced into numerous
retreats. When they reached the Nakdong River, the Korean
and US armies had nowhere to go. That’s when the legendary
Battle of the Pusan Perimeter began. In Waegwan,
Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Korea’s 1st Division, led by Paik,
and US 23rd and 27th divisions decimated three North Korean
divisions over a period of a month in a bid to protect Daegu.
They had no choice but to defend the city at all costs, as it was
located near Busan (then Pusan), Korea’s second largest city.

THE BATTLE FOR BUSAN It is impossible to discuss the Battle

LIVING WITNESS of the Pusan Perimeter without mentioning Paik’s name. He is

said to have roared to his retreating soldiers, “How can we
General Paik Sun-yup was a field commander who fought on the front lines of the Korean War, retreat when the US Army is fighting and relying on us? I will
the bloody civil conflict that lasted from 1950 to 1953. On a lightning-fast ascent from 1st lead the charge myself. If I retreat, shoot me!” With that, he
dashed forward with his soldiers to reclaim territory that the
Division Commander when the war broke out, to Commanding General of the Korean I Corps,
enemy had taken.
to Korea’s first four-star general, he has lived through the core of the war. “It was next to impossible because it was like 8,000 against
by Seo Dong-cheol | photographs by Kim Nam-heon
20,000!” Paik says of the battle. “But in the end we won, and
it was a turning point after which the US Army started to look
It’s been 60 years since the war, and I recently met with one of at us differently.”
the Korean War’s true heroes, General Paik Sun-yup, at the With the victory at the Nakdong River and the successful
War Memorial in Korea, in Yongsan, Seoul. Watching this 89- landing at Incheon led by General Douglas MacArthur on
year-old veteran lay a wreath at a memorial for soldiers, both September 15, 1950, the tide of war turned in South Korea’s
those foreign soldiers who fought for peace in a faraway land favor. At the same time, vast reinforcements of UN forces
and young Korean soldiers who paid the ultimate price for their arrived. A total of 1,938,330 soldiers from 16 countries fought
country, it was hard to believe that this man was a key figure in in the war, with troops from Australia, Belgium, Britain,
making South Korea what it is today. Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the
At 7am on June 25, 1950, Paik (then the 1 Division Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa,
Commander) received an urgent phone call. Under the cover of Thailand, Turkey and the United States, as well as 3,132 men
darkness, North Korea had launched a surprise attack in from Denmark, India, Italy, Norway and Sweden who served in

12 2010 2010 13
04-15 cover story 2010.6.4 11:59 AM 페이지 11 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

medical aid and facilities support roles.

Paik, who was tied to the US Army’s 1st Division, continued
north, leading a charge of 15,000 US and South Korean sol-
diers who triumphantly proceeded up the same roads they had
retreated down in shame just months before. On October 19,
they entered Pyeongyang (then Pyongyang), the North Korean
capital. “The best day of my life,” Paik says as he reminisces
about the day with a smile. “It defies description to step back
on the soil of your hometown and old schools.”
The joint South Korean and UN army continued north past
Pyeongyang and up toward the Amnok River (then Yalu River)
— which forms a natural border with China — confident the
war would be over soon. Soldiers from different countries con-
soled each other with the belief they would be back home in
time to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with family.
General Paik talks at
However, the sudden entrance of the Chinese into the war
his office in the War
turned the tables yet again. Paik himself confronted Chinese Memorial in Korea
(opposite). A view of
soldiers in Unsan, Pyeonganbuk-do Province, just before the the War Memorial in
Amnok. “We were full of fighting spirit, but we underestimated Korea is seen (left,
bottom). Veterans of
our enemy,” Paik explains. “They did a great deal of damage to the Korean War visit-
us. They were very good at night fighting and guerilla tactics. ed the War Memorial
in Korea recently
Once again we had to retreat.” Korean and foreign soldiers (middle).
alike, all of whom thought they would be home soon, were left
in a state of profound, numbing shock. White from the US 27th Division, whom he met on his first joint making them no different than one of our own brothers.”
As it was, the war dragged on. And by the time the armistice operation. They were so close that they used to joke about Many soldiers were killed in action and after 60 years even
talks — which Paik took part in on behalf of the Republic of their last names — White and Paik — meaning the same thing more of them have died of old age. But every June, veterans
Korea — finally ended in 1953, the soldiers had been fighting (the Korean word paik means “white”). He also remembers like Paik still attend memorials and events held in honor of the
for three years, one month, two days and 17 hours. General Matthew B Ridgway, who replaced Walker, as a consid- war. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the
erate leader who took care of everything for his men — from Korean War and more than 2,000 war veterans will be invited
“THANK YOU, FELLOW SOLDIERS!” Even today, six decades supplies and food to paper to write letters to home. to 11 events. To those who are returning to Korea for the first
on, Paik feels a profound gratitude for the men from all over With soldiers from 21 different nations fighting on the same time in six decades, Korea will be completely unrecognizable.
the world who devoted their young lives to the war. “In particu- side, it was intriguing to see all their cultural idiosyncracies in Paik attributes the development of Korea to those who
lar, the UN officials and soldiers who were veterans of World a time of war, Paik says. British soldiers, for example, were fought in the Korean War, saying, “Korea was able to rise from
War II fought in the Korean War as if it were their own country’s very disciplined and always carried out their duties to the high- the ashes of destruction after three years of war, and to
civil war,” Paik says. “The language barrier among soldiers was est standards. Yet every afternoon at 4pm, they would stop become a developed nation within a short period of time
a problem at first, but soon everyone was able to work together everything for tea and biscuits, a ritual that mystified the thanks to the efforts of Korean and foreign soldiers.”
on operations due to the bond they had formed on the front Korean general. Serving as an adviser to the 60th Anniversary Korean War
lines.” Paik then recites these young men’s names as if he Then there was the US Navy, which shouted “One more Commemoration Committee and president of the Korean Army
had been with them only yesterday. Cadillac on the way!” when they opened fire, as a single shell Association, Paik still has a lot of things to do at the ripe old
In addition to General MacArthur, who led the amphibious cost as much as a Cadillac back then. There was also the age of 89. He is writing a piece for one of Korea’s largest
landing at Incheon, Colonel John Micheles of the US 27 Canadian Navy, which, unlike any other force, was allowed to newspapers to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the out-
Division and Commander Harris Walton Walker, whose rugged drink booze. From time to time, Paik says, they would invite break of the Korean War and has been invited to give lectures
appearance earned him the nickname “Bulldog,” also played him on board to share a tipple. ⓒ The War Memorial of Korea
to a myriad of organizations. He stresses that “it is my last
prominent roles early in the war. Without their support, Paik “Although we all had different languages, appearances and mission as a veteran to hand down lessons from the Korean
says, who knows what direction the war would have taken? cultures,” he says, “we were united in the battles we fought War to the next generation, so long as my health allows for it.”
“Had it not been for Walker,” he says, “there might have been together, beyond the individual people or nations. This is how General Paik adds, “I believe it is also my duty to thank the
no landing at Incheon nor even the ROK as we know it today.” blood ties are formed and all these soldiers from different war veterans from different countries through constant
Another man Paik remembers clearly is General Horton countries were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Korea, exchanges.”

14 2010 2010 15
16-19 pen&brush 2010.6.3 3:46 PM 페이지 16 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


In this transient world, in which novels are often regarded as no more than a commodity,
there are still some who try to turn their work into a whole sphere of communication.
Though now in his late 60s, Yun Heung-gil is one such writer, retaining the burning ambition
of a true artist. by Lim Ji-yeong | photographs by Kim Hong-jin

After more than a decade, Yun Heung-gil is back to what he

knows best. The writer of The Rainy Spell and The Man Left
with Nine Pairs of Shoes, and one of Korea’s most distin-
guished authors, Yun has finished with his career in academia
to return to writing full-length novels. This process began last
year with the serialization of When Spring Comes to My
Planet in a literary magazine. The full-length novel, which
came out this year, was published 12 years after Walking
Through Light.
Yun moved to Hwanghak-dong, an area of Seoul famous
for its flea markets, two years ago and it was there that I met
him. He was worried, he said, about missing the deadline for
his new novel, and wondered whether I might not think it
strange that an old veteran like him could still struggle to
write a story.

Sitting there facing him, it did seem a little jarring that the

Yun Heung-gil
16-19 pen&brush 2010.6.3 3:46 PM 페이지 18 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

man responsible for The Rainy Spell, one of the finest literary and sharp. “After reading my novels, people tend to think I novels, eschews the biting criticism of his other works to pay
depictions of the division of Korea, and The Man Left with am a very humorous person,” he said. “But, in fact, I am very homage to all mothers who have lived through times of
Nine Pairs of Shoes, a masterly tale of Korean society, could serious and inflexible. However, satire and humor are the best upheaval in Korea’s recent history.
really be worrying about deadline like the average rookie. But tools to criticize the cynicism of reality, so I use sarcastic After 30 years of acclaim and success, Yun took an open-
for Yun, this has always been part of life as a writer. remarks in my novels. They do not describe the simple ended sabbatical from writing in the 1990s. He said that he
“I guess some writers were born to write but I am not one structure of good and evil. Instead, they often show how was too busy serving as a professor at Hanseo University and
of them,” he said. “I once even asked myself why I struggle to good turns into evil and evil turns into good. Isn’t that closer as a judge for literature awards, and he also joked about how
write novels and what did I possibly do wrong in my previous to the reality we are facing?” his painfully slow writing meant that he had to focus on actu-
life? Even now, as soon as I grab my pen, my brain becomes ally making a living for a while. Through the humor, it was
blank and I can’t sleep ... ” THE STORIES THEY AVOID Yun has built his career by possible to see the anguish that Yun feels throughout the cre-
The old Korean saying “write as the brush moves you” addressing the stories no one wants to talk about and making ative process.
must seem like something of a taunt for Yun. There are times, the world listen to them. It gives him a sense of worth and a After publishing Paradise? Angel? and Way to Soradan in
he said, when an entire day yields just three lines. He even reason to keep writing, he said. His subject matter — the ide- 2003, Yun took another long break before returning to the lit-
said he believed himself to be just an “ordinary writer,” whose ological conflict between North and South Korea, middle erary world last year. His new novel highlights unique Korean
talents can’t compare to those who write freely and without class people devastated by the financial crisis, the human traditions through the stories of people who were subjected
constraints. And yet, as most of his readers would acknowl- desire for an easier and more comfortable life — all deal with to forced labor during the Japanese colonial era. Next up, per-
edge, Yun is a true giant of Korean literature. His talents unsettling truths that many Koreans prefer to avoid. Through haps, Yun said he would like to write something set during
dwarf those of many “professional” or prodigious scribes. his writing, Yun has a gift for making people confront those the suppression of the Catholic church in Korea.
challenging situations that are a reality. Yun said that his life would have been much more poor
FINDING HUMOR IN THE IRRATIONAL Teaching himself the That’s not to say that he deals solely with the darker, more had he not written novels and that the desire to write will
craft of writing, Yun made his debut as a novelist with Season political sides of life. Although his work is usually written in remain with him until he dies. Even now, 40 years after he
of the Gray Imperial Crown, which won a prize at the annual the third person to avoid excessive emotional involvement, began his literary career, Yun evinces the tension and excite-
spring literary contest held by the Hankook Ilbo, a Korean Yun has also written novels with a more personal voice. ment of someone who is always on the verge of beginning a
daily newspaper, in 1968. Nine years later, he received a Mother, which Yun said is his personal favorite among his new journey.
Korean literature writers award for The Man Left with Nine
Pairs of Shoes, and in 1983 he won a Korean creative literature
prize for Star for a Dreaming Person.
Yun’s novels are a masterly blend of realism and traditional LA MOUSSON THE HOUSE OF TWILIGHT DER MANN, DER NEUN PAAR
Korean humor. Even in The Rainy Spell, a portrayal of the (THE RAINY SPELL) > Language English SCHUHE HINTERLIEß
ideological conflict between left and right, he softens the tone > Language French > Publisher Readers International (THE MAN LEFT WITH NINE
> Publisher Autres Temps > Published 1989 PAIRS OF SHOES)
with his singularly witty turns of phrase. Sharp insight into > Published 2004 > Language German
modern history is another characteristic of his work. He The House of > Publisher Pendragon
A masterpiece about Korea’s division, La Twilight describes > Published 2005
expresses distortions of history and a general irrationality of
Mousson depicts the tragedy of ideology Korean life in the
life in a restrained yet engaging way. This is why The Man Left through the eyes of a child. The novel tells 1960s and ’70s Narrated by a
with Nine Pairs of Shoes, which deals with the isolation and the story of a family torn apart by the South in a lively, engag- teacher, Der
Korean army and North Korean partisans over ing style. The Mann, der neun
conflict of the working class, has appealed to Korean readers
the course of the book comprises Paar Schuhe hin-
for more than 30 years. Korean War, La eight short- and terließ tells the
In fact, The Man Left with Nine Pairs of Shoes was largely Mousson conveys a medium-length tragic story of a
sense of emotional stories including worker who, along
responsible for changing perceptions of literature. In the
melancholy in its The Rainy Spell, with his family,
1970s, when literature delineated between mass-consumed, fictional accounts one of Korea’s rents a room in
pulpy fiction and highbrowed works, The Man Left With Nine of war. A sense of best-known short the teacher’s new
desolation is sym- stories, and the house. The novel
Pairs of Shoes appealed to both camps, showing that a novel
bolized by the eponymous The House of Twilight, often called has been widely
could simultaneously deal with serious issues and have wide oppressive sum- one of Yun’s top works. In this collection, Yun deemed an excep-
public appeal. mer weather, talks about a generation of people who expe- tionally powerful combination of symbolism
hence the title La rienced the Korean War as children and grew and realism, shining a light on the neglected
In the 1980s, Yun began criticizing systems of power using
Mousson (The up to live devastated lives during the coun- underclass in an ever more industrialized and
satire and humor, as seen in the novel Armband. Throughout Rainy Spell). try’s jarringly rapid industrialization. urbanized society.
the decade, his criticism became notably more sophisticated

18 2010 2010 19
20-25 photo essay 2010.6.3 3:50 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


The effects of the Korean War continue to live on through no happier news first thing on a Monday morning than “no
the generations. A writer, Ahn Jung-hyo, and a photogra- school.” The teacher then went on to tell me another reason
pher, Kang Yong-suk, share their memories and experi- why I should be happy:
ences that shaped who they are today. “Communist North Koreans invaded South Korea yester-
day. War has broken out and you have to go home.”
“Go home,” the teacher said. “There’s no school today.” Korea was a poor country in June 1950. Nobody in my
I don’t remember if the teacher was a man or a lady. I don’t neighborhood had a radio, and so it was only when we were
remember if he, or she, told me the good news individually, at school — when that first morning class was supposed to
to a group of us or even to the whole class. take place — that my friends and I discovered that the Korean
But I do remember that it was a sunny Monday morning; War had begun.
so sunny, in fact, that I can vividly recall the sky being impec- That was how I started learning about the fighting. We
cably clean, with a magpie’s nest dangling high and happy on went home that sunny Monday morning, chattering like a
the giant zelkova tree on the hillock flanking the playground. bevy of happy larks, wondering about the nature of a war that
ⓒ Topic Photo

I remember the magpie’s nest was happy, because I was had so generously liberated us from the classroom.
very happy. For a second grader in grammar school, there is My family, like most Seoulites, had no time to flee and take

20 2010 2010 21
20-25 photo essay 2010.6.3 3:50 PM 페이지 3 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

refuge; the Red Army overran the metropolitan city in just of war to sell at the mill, because all the neighborhood boys seven full-length novels in English in my quest to become
three days. We excited little children swarmed out to the did it too. When we took temporary refuge in a village near an “international” writer, the word whose existence I most
streets to admire the huge, glorious tanks and their fancy, an American base, I made daily visits to the dump where the resented was “bird watcher.” For Heaven’s sake, I thought,
fluttering flags. We heartily cheered the imposing-looking army trucks unloaded trash, to hunt for throwaway chicken how could anybody, anywhere in the world spend time doing
invaders as they marched down the street. legs in the heaps of coffee grounds. I did it because the other nothing but watch birds, while practically all my compatriots
For months there was no school — but the happy times boys did. Even my father joined the treasure hunt one night, went hungry despite working around the clock!
didn’t last. We began an education in a new vocabulary of asking me to lead the way under the full moon when the When I went to Vietnam to do some “literary research,”
hate and cruelty. We started to teach ourselves lessons such as: bounty was especially good. Korea was still a developing country, with a per-head GNP of
“When B-29 bombers come, make sure you know what the Quite often, the meal my mother provided us with was the around US$100. For sharing the burden of America’s fight
bombs look like. If they look round, they’re coming at you. If sweet lees sold by the bowl at the village brewery. As a result, against communism, I was paid US$38 a month by the US
they look long, they’ll fall at a safe distance.” it wasn’t unusual to see one or more of my friends lolling government.
The devastation of carpet bombing carried out by B-29 around in a drunken gait after lunch. In winter, nobody In 1992, when I returned to Vietnam for a 40-day visit to
bombers, emissaries of destruction in the name of world wanted to sit by the sunny windows in the classroom. advise on the filming of White Badge, my Vietnam War novel
peace, was so complete that very few downtown buildings Despite regular DDT sprays, we were all infested with lice, that was published by Soho Press in 1989, I noticed that the
survived. As I went through puberty, I was surrounded by the and if we sat in the sun, you could be sure that one or two of female workers employed by Korean factories operating in
rubble of roofless, flattened buildings, the skeletons of brick the sneaky little vermin would crawl out onto your collar to Hanoi were paid an average of US$40 a month, US$2 more
walls with ghoulish holes where the windows had been. For bask in the light. than my wartime per diem payment.
almost a decade, my hometown looked like a sequence from a For many years during and after college, while I wrote Korean soldiers in Vietnam were forced to send most of
Dresden documentary. Just a few defiant buildings remained, their money home, and those “blood dollars” helped launch
their walls deeply pockmarked, by the time I’d grown into a Korea’s economic take-off in the 1970s. The soldiers’ parents
college-aged boy. back home would loyally save the money to buy a cow, the
When school finally did open again, a squad of teachers led No 1 staple possession for farming households.
us to dig bomb shelters and trenches along the walls of the After sending the lion’s share of my pay home, I still man-
playground. We learned military marching songs to sing aged to save US$106 over the course of that long year. This
instead of nursery rhymes. Our toys were spent cartridges was enough for me to buy not a cow, but a Smith-Corona
from machine guns or rifles, and the gunpowder we extracted typewriter, the weapon I badly needed for my future career.
from the live shells we found all around us. When I finally bought the machine at the army post
Instructors would tell us: “When there’s a bombing, hit the exchange, it was the happiest day I could remember since that
dirt and block your ears with your fingers to protect your sunny Monday morning all those years before when the
eardrums. And be sure to press against your eyes so the force jeeps or trucks long enough and shouted, “Give me chop teacher said, “Go home. There’s no school today.”
from the blast doesn’t make them fall out.” chop! Give me chop chop!” they would always throw you I have lived for 70 years now, through two wars, and what a
It was a very strange childhood, indeed. gum, Hershey bars, Chuckles and C-ration cans. long, long way I, and my countrymen, have come.
After General Douglas MacArthur successfully headed the When I grew up to be a soldier I volunteered for combat in My hometown, Seoul, has grown to become a bustling
dramatic landing at Incheon, UN forces soon liberated Seoul, Vietnam. My motives had nothing to do with noble idealism. megalopolis with a population of 11
providing us with our first encounter with the West, its cul- With pretensions of becoming Korea’s Hemingway, I had million, 3 million more than New
ture, and the awesome might of America. This was a strange been going through the revisions of Silver Stallion, my Korean York. It is now the proud capital of a
experience, too. war novel that would be published 25 years later by Soho Born in 1941, Ahn Jung- nation with the 11th largest economy
hyo is a bilingual novel-
We had never seen these green- or blue-eyed Caucasian Press in New York. I hungered for experience and material. ist. His Vietnam War in the world.
faces before — we decided that they must have eaten too In Vietnam, watching the kids waving at me, chasing my novel White Badge was Looking around the glassy high-
published in the United
much cabbage and it had gotten to their eyes. We had also American jeep, waving like crazy and shouting, “Give me rises and material affluence, seeing
ⓒ Topic Photo (3); Multibits Image (above)

States and Japan, while

never seen black people, so we thought their skin color had chop chop! Give me chop chop!” I was haunted by my own his Korean War novel young people’s disdain for my gener-
Silver Stallion was pub-
something to do with coal briquets. But they were all so nice, childhood. It was a bizarre moment of exchanged identities. lished in the United ation’s sentimental reminiscences of
States, Germany and
like having too many Santa Clauses: They were always giving. Besides chasing dusty military vehicles for chop chop, as a Denmark. He has written
wartime, sometimes I feel like an
Years later, when protestors would chant “Yankee, go home!” I boy I also chased streetcars hawking afternoon newspapers. I a dozen other novels in alien, an outcast perhaps. I feel like a
Korean and translated
couldn’t for the life of me understand why anybody in the made pennies as a bootblack on the streets — not because my some 120 novels into phantom of the past, a primitive
world could find a reason to dislike Americans. family was particularly poverty-stricken, but because every- Korean or English. He form of primate from a strange
resides in Seoul with his
The wartime soldiers were rich as well. If you chased their body else did it. I foraged for scrap iron among the wreckage wife and twin daughters. remote childhood. by Ahn Jung-hyo

22 2010 2010 23
20-25 photo essay 2010.6.3 3:50 PM 페이지 5 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


that the presence of US forces has left on Korea. For the sub- prised images of war memorials in 50 regions across the nation.
jects, it may have been a mere souvenir shot. But for the Korean Though sharing his previous work’s focus on the war, this series
spectators, it represented a memento of a divided nation. was notably more lighthearted. In one, a man is taking a break in
Kang’s second series about war, the 1999 “Scenery of front of what seems to be the barrel of a long-range gun at a war
Maehyang-ri,” takes us to Nongseom in Maehyang-ri, Hwaseong, memorial in Chuncheon. But the distance between the man and

Gyeonggi-do Province. It was about this time that Kang focused the artillery hides the fact that the barrel is in fact a sculpture.
on defining his own style. The photographer remains neutral from By using specific angles and perspectives, Kang entertains his
the subject and keeps his distance. To preserve this characteris- viewers by playing with their perceptions of what they are seeing.
tic, Kang stuck to middling tones, avoiding any major contrasts Yet this series is consistent with his previous work, as it man-
in his prints. The US military used Nongseom as a bombing ages to uncover remnants of the war. All the details are vivid,
Kang Yong-suk, a professor of photography at Paekche Institute of the Arts, has used the Korean range for dozens of years and it had been largely deserted. Kang while the middle-tone print keeps the overall scene neutral. “War
War as his main theme for more than 20 years. Through his lens, Kang captures the pains of liv- accentuated this feeling, making the whole place seem tired and monuments have strong propaganda value,” said Kang. “You
ing on a divided peninsula, and the healing still taking place in Korea today. by Kwak Yoon-seob lethargic, even to the point of looking boring. This, he said, was can call them the products of ideology. But the monuments in
exactly the feeling he wanted to achieve. my photos were approached in ordinary life settings. That weak-
ened the presence of ideology. I
THE CAMERA’S WAR For his next series, Kang re-evaluated had to go to the same place over
Time heals all wounds, erases traces and pushes away memo- phers was his 1984 series “Dongducheon Souvenir Photos.” the Civilian Control Line, part of the armistice line separating and over again. I couldn’t just
ries. And it seems that with past events we’d rather not Kang took the pictures while working as a souvenir photographer the two Koreas, between 2000 to 2005. To highlight the snap them and I didn’t set up any-
remember, we forget them even faster. That’s what makes in Dongducheon, and most are images of Korean women serving area’s character, Kang’s main subjects were the bogus struc- thing ahead of time.”
Kang Yong-suk so special. With his series such as “Dong- US soldiers. “The term ‘souvenir’ implies some memories of the tures and protective stones in the town that were set up to As scholars speak with pens
ducheon Souvenir Photos” and “Scenery of the Civilian Control past,” Kang says, “but there’s a problem with the ‘Dongducheon make the South look more impressive and imposing to onlook- and generals with guns, Kang’s
Line,” Kang has studied legacies of the Korean War for more Souvenir Photos’ because they still aren’t about the past.” ing North Korean border guards. Because these images show voice comes through his camera.
than a quarter of a century. Marking the 60 anniversary of the Kang’s blurring of the present and the past is evident through- the scars of the war and the division, this series picks up With it, he speaks of the marks
outbreak of the war, 2010 is an especially significant year for out the series. In one shot, a woman with her hands neatly where the Maehyang-ri series left off. For locals, the war turned left from the Korean War and the
Kang. Last year, with one month left in 2009, Kang held his placed in front of her sits passively on the lap of an African- everything upside down. People who lived near the Civilian healing they can bring. For one so
ⓒ Kang Yong-suk

first exhibition in 10 years: The Korean War Monuments, at the American soldier as he kisses her. She doesn’t look at all happy, Control Line were restricted from relocating — in other words, inspired by an event from decades
Hanmi Photograph Museum in Songpa-gu, Seoul. but is probably unable, and unwilling, to turn him down. At the they were tied down just like those protective rocks. ago, Kang’s work is emphatically
The work that catapulted Kang into the ranks of top photogra- time, this picture was said to have perfectly captured the scars Shot from 2006 to 2009, “The Korean War Monuments” com- in the present tense.

A view of Maehyang-ri is pictured, 1999 (above left). Hyeonchungtap at Geumjeong- Cheorwon, Gangwon-do Province, is seen in 2001 (above left). Chuncheon Battlefield
dong, Gunpo, Gyeonggi-do Province, is seen in 2007 (above right). Memorial at Samcheon-dong, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do Province, in 2007 (above right).
24 2010 2010 25
26-31 travel 2010.6.3 3:53 PM 페이지 26 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


Nature in
No Man’s
For nearly 60 years, the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has
been a potent symbol of Korea’s ongoing division, with practically
no one crossing this strip of land that separates the Korean
Peninsula. But this almost complete absence of humanity has had
a fascinating side-effect: the occurrence of a pristine natural repos-
itory where some of Korea’s most beautiful and endangered species
live and flourish. by Seo Dong-cheol | photographs by Park Jeong-roh

Wild goats are seen quite often in the DMZ area.

26-31 travel 2010.6.3 3:53 PM 페이지 28 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

With the 1953 ceasefire that halted the Korean War, the
Korean Peninsula was divided by a 248-kilometer-long Military
Demarcation Line. The area stretching 2 kilometers north and
south from the line was designated as the DMZ. Very quickly,
the land spanning 907km2 was emptied of human inhabitants.
Fifty-seven years later, the layers of barbed wire remain at
the northern and southern edges of the DMZ, and armed mili-
tary personnel still face off across the world’s last Cold War
frontier. But while people still can’t enter the land separating
the two Koreas, nature has ignored the structures of the
armistice. Over the course of six decades, wildlife has returned
en masse to create what is surely the most pristine natural
area anywhere on the peninsula.
Within the DMZ and the Civilian Control Line (beyond which
no civilians can pass) live one third of Korea’s 2,900 species
of plants, half of its 70 species of mammals, and one fifth of
its 320 bird species. Sixteen species of animals named “natur-
al monuments” and at least 67 endangered species can be
found in the area. With resources like this, the DMZ has the
potential to be one of the world’s great ecotourism destina-
tions. And as relations intermittently thawed with the North
over the last decade or so, cracks have started to appear in
the Civilian Control Line, offering unprecedented opportunities
to get a little closer to this forbidden wilderness.
Areas next to the DMZ — including Gimpo, Paju and
Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi-do Province, and Cheorwon, and
Goseong in Gangwon-do Province — are all ecotourism destina-
tions. Experts, however, reckon Yanggu, in Gangwon-do
Province, is the best. Within its beautiful grounds, visitors can

ⓒ Bak Chang-yeon / The Gangwon Bureau of DMZ Tourism / Gangwon Provincial Government (middle)
find up to 100 species of rare plants; Dutayeon Gyegok Valley,
inhabited by the lenok fish; and the Eulji Observatory, from
where the North reveals a few of its secrets.

DISCOVERING YANGGU It is a warm, sunny spring day when I

visit Yanggu. Even the cold winds have left this mountainous
terrain, and the peakss and fields are covered with a blanket
of yellowish green. After passing numerous tunnels, I finally
arrive at Yanggu. Mountains surround the village like folding
screens, rice paddies are being planted in the distance, and
the houses are small and cozy. If it weren’t for the military
personnel and vehicles, this village would be like any other in
Gangwon-do Province.
As I head north along mountain trails, human traces become
scarce, save for the lingering presence of the army. After hiking
for 30 minutes from the county office in Yanggu-eup, I come
across a military checkpoint complete with armed guards. For
50 years following the Korean War, this was as far as civilians
could go. But since June 2006, this section of the Civilian

A trekking course at Dutayeon reveals its lush green trees (opposite). A rusty helmet
and wire fence tell the history of the war (top). Many rare plants can be seen in the
DMZ, such as geumgangchorong (Hanabusaya asiatica) flower (middle). Ttang-gul
No 4 was built by the North, underground tunnel for military purposes (above). JUNE
2010 29
26-31 travel 2010.6.3 3:53 PM 페이지 30 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

Control Line has been open to the public. The area is called IN THE ZONE With the growing popularity of ecotourism, the
Dutayeon, and takes its name from a nearby temple called DMZ and the surrounding areas are generating ever more inter-
Dutasa. The temple is named after the Buddhist term duta, est from travelers. Gyeonggi-do Province runs tour programs
meaning the boundary between this life and the afterlife. around the DMZ, with 12 trekking courses covering 182.3 kilo-
The Dutayeon trekking course meanders around a pond, and meters in Gimpo, Paju and Yeoncheon, and a 14-kilometer-long
offers a wonderful introduction to the untouched nature for bicycle course in Paju. Along with local authorities, the govern-
which this area is so renowned. On a good day, visitors might ment of Korea has also announced its intention to develop the
get a peek of an elk or the beautiful flowers of the “geumgang- DMZ region as a tourist attraction. Plans include the “DMZ tra-
chorong” (Hanabusaya asiatica), which means “bell of versing bicycle trail” from the western end of the DMZ,
Geumgang.”Yet reminders of the war are never too far away. Ganghwa, to the eastern end, Goseong, and the transformation
Traces of landmine removal can be found. Occasionally, you of 10 villages within the Civilian Control Line into “cultural
stumble across empty shell casings the size of a man’s thigh tourism villages.” In addition, the government is planning the
or even helmets littered with bullet holes. All are silent yet pow- “U-ECO observation center,” where visitors can admire unique

ⓒ Choi Nak-min / The Gangwon Bureau of DMZ Tourism / Gangwon Provincial Government (top); Heo Jong / The Gangwon Bureau of DMZ Tourism / Gangwon Provincial Government (bottom)
erful reminders of the preciousness of peace. wildlife through state-of-the-art CCTVs and Eco-Maps. There are
Heading north toward Eulji Observatory, I come across some also plans to simplify the entry process into the Civilian Control
strange geographical features. Mountains link up in a circle Line. Though many problems exist for developing the DMZ
and the mountainsides gently slope down to form a basin. area, its natural wonders and intriguing location give it enor-
Known as Yanggu-gun Haean-myeon, this area was the site of mous potential as an ecotourism destination.
“the Battle of Bloody Ridge,” a particularly fierce encounter
that took place during the war. On climbing the mountain to get
a better view of the clash, one American correspondent wrote HOW TO GET TO YANGGU
that the area resembled a bowl of punch he’d enjoyed back in > By Car From Seoul take the Seoul-Chuncheon Highway,
the States, and the area has been known as the Punch Bowl and take the Jungang Expressway at the Chuncheon J.C.
Then take National Road No 46 north to Yanggu (2.5-hour
ever since. Some say this topographical oddity used to be a drive)
large lake, while others claim it was formed when a meteor hit > By Bus Buses run from the Sangbong Bus Terminal and
10 million years ago. Whatever its origins, the view of the Dong Seoul Terminal (3 hours)

Punch Bowl from Eulji Observatory, 1,049 meters above sea

level, is nothing short of spectacular. Dutayeon
The scenery from the observatory reveals a picture of one of To visit Dutayeon, visitors must download an entry license
from the Yanggu-gun Culture and Tourism Division site
the world’s last remaining divided countries. Layers of barbed
( and send the applica-
wire fences run across the mountains of Gangwon-do Province, tion by e-mail ( or fax (+82 33 480
allowing only the birds to pass though the DMZ. On a clear day, 2522) at least three days in advance. Entrance fees:
adults 2,000 won (about US$1.7); children 1,000 won
you can catch a glimpse of the famous Geumgangsan
(about US$0.8).
Mountain, with the nearest North Korean military post just 700 Eulji Observatory
meters away. Beneath the Eulji Observatory is another key Visitors must apply for an entry license at the Yanggu
landmark: Ttang-gul (Underground Tunnel) No 4. Although the Unification Hall (+82 33 480 2674), in Haean-myeon, by
4pm on the day of their visit. Tickets to visit the Eulji
North denies any responsibility for the tunnel, it was in fact Observatory, Ttang-gul No 4 and the War Memorial are
built by the North’s military as a means to carry out operations 2,500 won (US$2) for adults and 1,300 won (US$1.1) for
in South Korea. A short distance into the tunnel, visitors can children. Access is restricted on Mondays.
Inquiries DMZ Department of Tourism +82 33 249 3873,
take a comfortable 17-seater, glass-walled electric train to view / Yanggu-gun Culture and Tourism
the infamous tunnel from a sitting position. Division +82 33 480 2251,
Daeamsan Mountain, located south of the Punch Bowl, is a DMZ Bicycle Tour
The DMZ Bicycle Tour takes place in Paju, Gyeonggi-do
trove of rare plants and vegetation. Requiring special permis-
Province, every fourth Sunday from 2pm to 5pm.
sion from the military to enter, Daeamsan is home to several Applications are accepted from Monday through Friday
rare breeds of flowers found only in the region. Daeamsan every second week of the month. Visitors can apply at the
Gyeonggi-do Tourism Organization website (http://ethank
Yongneup is also the habitat for rare insects, such as the Tour Fee 10,000 won (about US$8.3).
Chammildeuri grasshopper. The whole area of Daeamsan Inquiries Gyeonggi-do Tourism Organization
Yongneup is designated a Korean natural monument. +82 31 259 6900

A view of Dutayeon’s waterfall is seen (top). Wild deers live in the DMZ (above). A view from the Unification Observatory in Goseong (top). A red-bellied frog is spot-
ted in Yanggu (middle). A fascinating view of the Punch Bowl’s natural beauty, dis-
rupted by a sign warning of mines in Yanggu (above).
30 2010 2010 31
32-35 my korea 2010.6.3 3:57 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


Chosin is the first-ever documentary on the Chosin Reservoir Campaign.

Presented in high definition video (HD), the stories of our veterans are sup-
plemented with rare black-and-white and color archival footage gathered
from hundreds of hours of research. These first-hand accounts of the battle,
combined with footage never before seen by most Americans, creates a viscer-
CHOSIN’S al, emotionally charged experience unlike that provided by any other contem-

HEROES AND porary war documentary.

The veterans of Chosin take us on a journey back to towering mountains
THE STORIES OF stained with blackened, blood-covered snow. Most of them are just kids —18

or 19-years-old — and they are outnumbered and cut off behind enemy lines.
As the sun goes down each night, bugles and war-cries echo through the
mountains, followed by massive human wave attacks lasting until dawn. Sub-
zero temperatures render weapons inoperable and fighting

In the winter of 1950, at the height of the “forgotten war,” 15,000 United States sol-
diers and marines found themselves surrounded by an overwhelming force of com-
munist Chinese soldiers in the frozen mountains of North Korea. After 60 years of
silence, the men who survived are telling their stories.

32 2010 2010 33
32-35 my korea 2010.6.3 3:57 PM 페이지 3 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

devolves into terrifying nights of savage survivors then embark on a lonely homecoming. America is enjoying new- they all provided us locations to film and
hand-to-hand combat. Unable to dig into the found wealth and relative peace after World War II. The country has lost its places to sleep (along with a few cold beers).
frozen ground, the Marines build parapets taste for war and has no concern for the returning veterans of a “police The Chosin team spent eight months on the
out of dead bodies in order to withstand each action.” Surrounded by friends and family who are unable to relate to their road living out of a van and eating military
night’s onslaught. Despite overwhelming combat experiences, our veterans make an uneasy adjustment to civilian life, rations in order to collect the stories from
odds, the men never lose faith in each other. quietly bearing the burden of physical and emotional scars that they will carry 185 Korean War veterans in 27 cities across
They refuse to surrender. Instead, the men for the rest of their lives. After 60 years of silence, the men express their pride the US. As fellow combat veterans, we forged
fight their way to freedom through 125 kilo- in contributing to the freedom of the South Korea, their grief for their fallen a unique connection with the men we inter-
meters of unforgiving, mountainous terrain brothers, and their hope that the Korean War will not be lost in the pages of viewed. We were proud to give them a gift 60
and ultimately save the lives of 98,000 civil- history as “the forgotten war.” years overdue: An environment where they
ian refugees. Chosin has been a dream project of mine since learning about the battle felt comfortable unburdening themselves of
Following their unbelievable journey, the while in enlisted boot camp at Parris Island in 1995. I initially had an academ- the intimately sad, horrific, funny and tri-
ic approach in mind until I had experienced intense combat as an Infantry umphant moments from the most defining
Platoon Commander during two tours in Iraq. My second tour in Iraq had experience of their lives. Time and time
a significant impact on me and changed my outlook for my first film. Using again, these men told us stories that they had
my own combat experience to shape the film, I made the decision to focus on never told anyone ... not their wives, their
the human element aspect of going to war, rather than the academic view- children or their closest friends.
point. I don’t remember specific dates or tactics, rather I am left with a As the men of Chosin fade into history,
sharp recollection of the emotions, the sights, the sounds and the smells of their story fades with them. Many men we
war. My experience also left me with the lasting impression that although I attempted to contact during production had
witnessed dramatic feats of sacrifice and heroism, war is not a John Wayne passed away just weeks before our phone
movie. My focus was to tell the amazing story of Chosin from the viewpoint calls. Already, we have lost one of the veter-
of what it was like to be on the ground, fighting for your life and the life of to these stories. What you will find here is a unique and unmatched look into ans we had the privilege of interviewing. The
your buddies. Being a combat Marine has given me an unprecedented access the spirit of a combat veteran. importance of honoring these heroes during
In January 2009, a mutual friend introduced me to Anton. We discovered their lifetime is the driving force behind
that we had both fought in the same city in Iraq: Ramadi, one of Iraq’s most Chosin’s very intimate and human story of
violent and heavily contested areas. There was an instant bond and trust in triumph and tragedy. by Brian Iglesias | illustra-
one another. I had written a treatment for Chosin and shared the idea with tions by Jo Seung-yeon
Anton. We teamed up, and just 30 days later we began shooting. The film had
no financial support besides our own personal savings, credit cards and a few
cashed-in retirement accounts, but we were armed with faith in our abilities
and a passion for the story.
Earning the title of “Marine” means inheriting the legacy and reputation
forged in sacrifice by the Marines who have gone before. The Chosin
Reservoir Campaign is taught to every single recruit at boot camp, along with
Belleau Wood and Iwo Jima, as one of the seminal battles of the Marine PROFILE
Corps’ proud history. During our research, we discovered that not only had
Brian Iglesias is a US
there never been a documentary made about Chosin, but nobody, not even Marine Reserve Officer
the Marine Corps, had archived or filmed first-person accounts of the battle. and independent filmmak-
er. He was an honor gradu-
The men who survived Chosin were either gone or in their twilight years, and ate from boot camp and
we realized that this revered piece of our heritage would be lost forever unless combat training, and also
earned awards and merito-
we took action. rious promotions to corpo-
ral and sergeant. He decid-
We hired other veterans, graduates of the Wounded Marine Careers ed to be a filmmaker while
Foundation (, a program that takes disabled he was engaged in an 8-
hour firefight in Ramadi,
Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans and trains them for careers in media. Iraq, in 2004. The movie
We reached out to veterans’ organizations across the country, to include the Chosin was a journey of
remembrance and healing,
Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Marine Corps League, and he says.

34 2010 2010 35
36-39 global korea 2010.6.3 4:1 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


In 1950, the Korean Peninsula had Ethiopia and Colombia. Sweden, India,
been divided for five years. Because Denmark, Norway and Italy provided
of the sensitive political climate, nei- medical help.
ther the North nor the South was a
member of the United Nations. Even KOREA REMEMBERS Almost 60
still, when the North invaded on June years have passed since the end of
25, the UN Security Council promptly the war, but South Korea still remains
passed a resolution to dispatch grateful for the decision of those coun-
troops. That conclusion was reached tries to contribute — both in manpow-
on the grounds that South Korea, just er and resources — to the eventual re-
two years on from its 1948 general establishment of peace on the penin-
elections, was not fit to handle all-out sula. Since 1975, South Korea’s
warfare. At the same time, many of Ministry of Patriots and Veterans
the UN’s key members were still reel- Affairs and the Korean Veterans
ing from World War II, which had Association have organized visits to
ended five years previously. Showing Korea by UN war veterans and their
an unusually swift resolve, the UN families. The visits were designed to
forces quickly arrived in Korea, where show South Korea’s appreciation for
they joined troops from South Korea. the veterans’ courage and dedication,
Of the then 59 UN member states, and also to promote the rapid develop-
16 deployed battle troops and 5 sent ment South Korea has achieved in the
medical support units. The 16 fighting post-war era.
Veterans of the British Commonwealth 29th Brigade
nations were: the United States, During the visits, the veterans pay and a Korean soldier salute at the UN Memorial
Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, tribute to their fallen comrades, while Cemetery in Korea on April 14 (opposite). A veteran
Canada, France, New Zealand, the their families get the chance to see signs a visitors’ book at Hyeonchungwon (top). A
woman pins a corsage to a veteran at the War
Philippines, Turkey, Thailand, South the country South Korea has become. Memorial of Korea (above). The 29th Brigade veter-
Africa, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg, From 1975 to 2009, 26,000 Korean ans enter Hyeonchungwon (below).


ⓒ Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs
Years may pass, but certain times stay with you forever. For the veterans of
UN forces that came to Korea between 1950 and 1953, the Korean War is
one of those times. Though the remaining veterans are now in their 80s,
the memories they share and the values they upheld live on. South
Koreans have vivid memories of those veterans, too. by Oh Kyong-yon

36 2010 2010 37
36-39 global korea 2010.6.3 4:1 PM 페이지 3 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

The Gloucester Battalion is well known In 1992, he made his first post-war
for its heartbreaking story. After the visit to Korea and was shocked at how
hard-fought battle at Imjin, medics and much progress South Korea had
chaplains refused to leave their made. Visiting again in April, Reed
injured comrades behind, and subse- said, “I am surprised even more today
quently became prisoners of war. that the Korean economy is on the
Later honored as “The Glorious rise despite the worldwide economic
Gloucesters,” they received presiden- recession, and that the Korean people
tial commendations from US President remain as hard-working as ever.”
Harry Truman as well as the Victoria For the second round of visits on
Cross, Britain’s highest military honor. April 26, veterans and their families
Major Barry Reed, who saw action from the United States, Turkey,
early in the Korean War, has powerful Colombia and Ethiopia came to Korea.
memories of his service 60 years ago. The United States made by far the

Ethiopian veterans and Korean government officers

decorate a war memorial stone of Ethiopia on April
29 (above). A veteran and his wife pay their
respects at the UNMCK on April 14 (right).
Canadian veterans and young Korean students “Little Tigers.”
shake hands on April 16 (above). American veter-
ans and Korean soldiers come to salute the war
The veterans also took a tour
War veterans have visited the country. memorial stone of the US on May 12 (left). through Busan’s UN Memorial
With 60 years having passed since Cemetery, the world’s only cemetery
the beginning of the war, the Ministry for UN troops; Panmunjeom, the vil-
of Patriots and Veterans Affairs has was quite as singular as that of Daniel lage on the southern side of the bor-
organized a special series of visits to Keenan, who was born to a US soldier der; the war memorial in Imjingak, the
mark the anniversary. Running since and a Korean woman before being Memorial Hall for the Incheon Landing
last April, the program continues until adopted by a US navy medic. For the Operations, and the Unification
November, when it will have taken in earliest part of his life, Keenan was Observatory. They attended cere-
11 trips, with 2,400 veterans from 21 raised by navy servicemen aboard a monies, welcome dinners and enjoyed
nations. Each of these exceptional vet- US vessel, a story that was turned a tour of Seoul. On the recommenda-
erans has his own special story, with biggest single contribution to UN into the 1997 film A Thousand Men tion of the veterans, their families and
episodes and reminiscences that are forces in the Korean War, with 1.78 and a Baby. Keenan, too, returned to their national embassies, the Ministry
still so important today. million troops. For their part, Turkish Korea as part of the recent visit, of Patriots and Veterans Affairs invited
troops won commendations from where he was reunited with two veter- members of the local press and
2,400 FROM 21 The first event on President Truman and the South ans of his earliest days on the ship. allowed them to follow the visiting vet-

ⓒ Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs

April 12 welcomed veterans of the Korean government for their conduct On May 10, the third of the visits, erans. So far, The Australian newspa-
British Commonwealth 29th Brigade — at the Battle of Gimryangjang (now veterans and their loved ones from per, TV3 from New Zealand, and
troops from Britain, Canada, Australia Yongin), while Colombia was the sole the United States and Thailand visited Britain’s BBC have taken part. The
and New Zealand — and their fami- representative from South America. South Korea. Thailand was the first Korean Culture and Information
lies. Drawn from the total of 94,000 Ethiopia sent the only ground troops country to declare its willingness to Service plans to arrange reporting
troops sent by Britain, Canada, from Africa, none of whom were taken send troops. In the fierce Battle of trips for more foreign journalists in
Australia and New Zealand, the 29th prisoner during the war. Pork Chop Hill, Thai forces held their late June as part of the commemora-
Brigade successfully defended Though every country, and every sol- ground against the Chinese troops, tion of the 60th anniversary of the
Gapyeong and the Imjin River in 1951. dier, had a unique tale, perhaps none earning themselves the nickname Korean War.

38 2010 2010 39
40-43 summit diplomacy 2010.6.3 4:3 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


KOREA-JAPAN-CHINA SUMMIT one day, maybe even an official East

Asian Community.
For the first time, the tripartite sum-
FIRST STEPS TOWARD A NORTHEAST mit was held over two days. On the
first day, the three discussed econom-

ASIAN COMMUNITY ic issues, including their assessment

of trilateral cooperation and how to
improve it. On the second day, talk
moved to political matters, in which
At the end of May, the leaders of South Korea, Japan and China met on Jeju the sinking of the Cheonan loomed
Island for a regional summit. At a meeting given added significance by the large, and the overall state of affairs
in Northeast Asia.
sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean warship, the three premiers dis-
cussed economic cooperation and the need for regional stability. Most INVESTMENT AND SECURITY The
leaders of the three countries agreed
promisingly, much talk was of building a real Northeast Asian economic
to quickly wrap up the signing of sev-
community on the foundations of free trade agreements, a vision that, if real- eral bilateral investment treaties. The
ized, could change the face of the entire world economy. by Kwon Kyeong-hui deals are expected to include meas-
ures to improve and expand invest-
ment conditions and provide better
protection for investors. A series of
bilateral deals already cover trade and
investment between the nations, but
since the levels of guarantees and
protection are different in each, the
three had long sought a standardized
The leaders also agreed to adopt
the “Trilateral Cooperation Vision
2020,” a road map detailing areas for
Three leaders shake hands at the beginning of the
summit meeting (left). Participants of the meeting increased cooperation over the next
offer a silent tribute to the victims of the Cheonan 10 years and how it should be
warship (top). South Korean President Lee Myung-
achieved. Made up of 41 categories,
bak makes a speech at the first session of the
meeting (above). the vision pushes for the institutional-
ization of cooperative relations, includ-
ing in defense. In order to encourage
On May 29 and 30, at the increased levels of trade, the vision
International Convention Center on also urges the countries to work
Jeju Island, just off the south coast of toward signing investment deals.
Korea, South Korean President Lee As well as adopting Vision 2020, the
Myung-bak, Japanese Prime Minister leaders agreed to open the Trilateral
Yukio Hatoyama and Chinese Premier Cooperation Secretariat in South
Wen Jiabao met to hold a three-way Korea next year. In a region that has
summit. The third in a series of tripar- never had an equivalent to ASEAN or
tite summits that began in Fukuoka, the EU, the secretariat will, if opened,
Japan, in 2008, the meeting was the lend official weight to efforts to organ-
latest step on a long path to greater ize summits and push for regional
economic cooperation. Underpinned integration and cooperation among pri-
by the idea that the three countries vate companies. “Building the
ⓒ Cheongwadae

shouldn’t lag behind efforts by Europe Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat is

and North America toward greater inte- significant in that the three countries
gration, the summits are aiming for have for the first time institutionalized
increased interaction, stability and, their cooperation system,” said an

40 2010 2010 41
40-43 summit diplomacy 2010.6.3 4:3 PM 페이지 3 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

official at the Blue House. up North Korea and pursue common pace. However, in contrast with its all foreign companies who comply with
Though discussion of security prosperity, and then aim for peaceful usual stance on such deals, it’s Chinese regulations would be treated
issues was scheduled for the second unification through that process.” becoming more likely that Korea will fairly in China. “If we raise Chinese
day of the summit, the sinking of the Hatoyama responded that he would choose to open its market to Japan domestic demand, then Korean com-
Cheonan cast a long shadow over the offer his support to “quickly build an gradually, starting with industrial panies’ exports will increase,” Wen
whole meeting. The first session on environment conducive to peaceful products or manufactured goods, also said. “We will provide favorable
May 29 began with the leaders paying unification of the Korean Peninsula.” rather than signing a single deal conditions for Korean companies. We
their respects to the 46 servicemen Wen said he “agreed [with President covering all the sectors. will lower taxes for them and will help
who lost their lives, and the next day, Lee’s idea] wholeheartedly.” The two have agreed to begin the the two countries strengthen their eco-
the three men said that they “highly On the sidelines, Seoul’s Federation talks sometime this year if possible, nomic cooperation.”
valued the international probe and of Korean Industries, Japan’s Nippon and China hinted at its willingness to Regardless of the effect of Wen’s
reactions of the international commu- Keidanren and China’s China Council settle on less contentious areas first. words, Korean companies are expect-
nity and agreed to deal with the for the Promotion of International Korea and China are actively trading ed to boost their business in China.
Cheonan issue appropriately through Trade held the second tripartite busi- industrial and manufactured goods, Exports to the country accounted for
continuous consultation.” Perhaps fit- ness summit, and asked the leaders but areas of disagreement remain. 21.7 percent of all Korean exports in
tingly, the unification of the Korean to agree to visa waiver programs to Wen said he had told Lee that in order 2008, a figure that rose to 23.8 per-
Peninsula was discussed for the first help facilitate personnel exchanges for Korea and China to reach an FTA, cent last year. Hyundai Motor sold
time at a tripartite summit, with Lee among the three countries. they should start working on sectors 218,603 vehicles in China through
saying, “South Korea’s goal is to open where middle ground may be easier to April this year, not many fewer than
FORCE FOR THE FTA Through this find. The Chinese premier added that the 223,369 cars it sold in Korea over
three-way summit, analysts believe, when he asked Lee what the obsta- the same period.
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, free trade agreements among the par- cles facing a Korea-China FTA would As the Korea-China FTA talks gained
President Lee Myung-bak and Chinese Premier ticipants should start to gain real trac- be, the Korean president said it was momentum, the stalled Korea-Japan
Wen Jiabao [from left] take a picture children at
the “Korea-Japan-China Future Dream Tree 2020
tion. Negotiations between Korea and the corporate sector. comments reflect the “stage-by-stage” FTA negotiations also seemed to
Time Capsule” event. Japan, in particular, should gather Trade experts mentioned Wen’s approach, a conventional method in receive a much-needed boost. On May
China. In signing FTAs, Korea prefers 29, President Lee suggested to
a comprehensive settlement that cov- Hatoyama that the Korea-Japan FTA
ers all areas, including manufacturing, talks should be held at a higher level,
services and agriculture. But China an idea that met with the Japanese
would rather discuss less controver- prime minister’s approval.
sial sectors first and go from there. A The first round of Korea-Japan FTA
Korean government official said pre- talks was held in Seoul in December
mier Wen seemed to want to push Premier Wen Jiabao, President Lee Myung-bak 2003, and a total of six rounds of
and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama [from left]
Korea toward a trade deal, but only on take a walk in Jeju on May 30 (top). The three
negotiations had taken place by
Chinese terms. leaders plant a commemorate tree (above). November 2004. But with Japan reluc-
China was actually first to propose tant to open up its agricultural market
an FTA with Korea, a deal it seemed and Korea unwilling to surrender tar-
to want more on political and security panies could scarcely be more stark. iffs on its manufacturing sector, the
grounds than just for the economic Asked about the nature of any deal talks ground to a halt. At this summit,
benefits. However, for Korea, with con- with China, a Korean government offi- however, the three leaders discussed
cerns about its agricultural market cial said, “Abolishing tariffs on the eventual formation of an economic
being swamped by Chinese imports, imports, modifying Chinese trade regu- community, making progress in other
the economic arguments have always lations and banning imports of used FTA talks far more likely. Next up are
been paramount. More recently, machinery and electronic goods would the working-level talks between Korea
Korean companies have been raising be among items to be discussed very and Japan, suppose to be held in
their voice in favor of tariff-free entry first time.” June, with much more now expected.
into the Chinese market. This has Regarding Korean companies’ com- “The talks for the Korea-China FTA
become even more pressing with plaints about doing business in China, could stimulate the Korea-Japan FTA
China poised to sign an economic Wen said he would treat Korean firms talks,” said an official at the Ministry
ⓒ Cheongwadae

cooperation deal with Taiwan in June. as he would domestic concerns. In his of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul.
With perhaps 70 percent of Taiwan’s meeting with Korean business leaders “Ultimately, this could even influence
exports directly overlapping with and heads of conglomerates held on the outcome of the [signed but not yet
Korea’s, the challenge to Korean com- May 29 at the Shilla Hotel, Wen said ratified] Korea-US FTA too.”

42 2010 2010 43
44-48 now in korea 2010.6.3 4:5 PM 페이지 44 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K


Many city dwellers harbor dreams of living in the coun-

try. Children stressed by gruelling study schedules hanker
after some freedom in the open air. Parents, ground

A PATH TO THE down by the drudgery of work or home demands, itch to

escape to a place where life is slower and they can enjoy
healthy, organic food at a leisurely pace. Now, Koreans

COUNTRY FOR CITY are making that dream come true — if only for the week-
end. by Lee Se-mi | photographs by Kim Nam-heon


Families participating in a weekend farm trip water their own crops.

44-48 now in korea 2010.6.3 4:5 PM 페이지 46 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

One fine Sunday morning, the Gwanggyo Natural weekend farm

rings with laughter. Located on the edge of Gwanggyosan
Mountain in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do Province, the cozy farm occu-
pies a 1,000m2 patch of land far from any of the hiking trails
that lace the Korean countryside. A few families are gathered
here at their own plots, beneath signs reading “Boon’s
Garden,” “Rainbow Farm,” “Peace,” and “Harmony and
Identity.” They plant seedlings, pull weeds or sprinkle water
they drew from a nearby stream. Their farming skills may be
rudimentary, but they take enormous pleasure in planting crops
such as lettuce, kale, green peas and strawberries.
Kwon Eun-bok is one beneficiary of these “weekend farm-
ers.” Originally hailing from the countryside, Kwon’s parents
pined for rural life again after many years in the city, and so
they built their own mini-farm in Suwon where Kwon takes
refuge on weekends. “It’s great to see a little seed growing to
become a plant in just days in the spring time,” she says. “I
pulled up some young radishes and made kimchi out of them.
It was fantastic. My nephews will now only eat the kimchi I
make. Today, I’m going to plant two garden balsams.”
For more than three years, the weekend farmers at

Gwanggyo Natural have cultivated crops without using any arti-

ficial fertilizers or chemicals. Though earthworms poke their
heads through the soil and snails crawl on the crops, children
seem to have no problem catching them or raking the soil. By
learning how to use agricultural tools, seeding and playing
around the farm, they really become close friends with nature.
“I was scared of bugs, but now I find them cute. I used to
spend most of my time playing computer games, but here at
the weekend farm, I play with my brothers and I study ecology.
It’s absolutely great,” says Kim Sang-Ah, 9, a second grade
student in elementary school.
When weekend farms first started appearing in Korea in the
1990s, agricultural technology centers and assorted other
institutions took charge of them. Today, however, it’s not
unusual to find places like Gwanggyo Natural that are run more
like cooperatives. For their legions of visitors, the first thing the
weekend farms teach is how to take care of crops for farm
owners who have no time to do it themselves. Seeds and
seedlings are inexpensive or free, while tools can be used free
of charge, too. Depending on the region, some weekend farms
not only have vegetable gardens, but also assorted fruit trees,
goats and even deer. In general, each farm covers an area of
around 16.5m2, and an individual plot for a family can be taken
out on year-long leases for 10,000 won (US$8.3) per 3.3m2.
Besides the actual farming itself, the weekend farms are

Young family members complete field work (top). Children harvesting produce from Weekend farmers prepare seeds for planting (top). Colorful signs designate each
the rich field (above). family’s plot (middle). A boy holding a snail in his hand at the farm (above).
46 2010 2010 47
44-48 now in korea 2010.6.3 4:8 PM 페이지 48 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

great for relieving stress and learning more about the natural Kim Sang-hyung, who works for a state-run asset manage-
world. Kim Jong-oh, owner of Gwanggyo Natural weekend farm ment company, and his wife Lee Hee-sook, a college instruc-
and a graduate of Korea National College of Agriculture and tor, say they and their son Jeong-hyon have learned a huge
Fisheries, explains how it all began. amount from the seasonal events at the farm. “It is very valu-
“Though I cultivated pumpkins with high-quality fertilizer able to experience traditionally-executed seasonal events, such
made of fermented pu-erh tea, customers did not know the as making fermented bean paste and preparing kimchi,” says
value of the pumpkins. So I learned that it is more important to Kim. “I had never made doenjang (fermented soy bean paste)
make customers see what healthy food really is. After thinking by myself, and it was even more special to be able to do so
about how to best get this message across, I decided to open with my son. We all learned something we never knew before.”
the weekend farm. Our members now know the value of farm- At lunchtime, people gather beneath some of the biggest
ing and they understand why they have to pay a certain price trees to share their lunch boxes. Today’s specials are pumpkin
for premium, organic foods.” rice, made of organic pumpkin, and watery radish kimchi.
Kim also feels that the farms are an invaluable means of Having initially met through an online community, the members
strengthening a sense of community. introduce their farms to each other using their cyber nickname,
“As [German doctor and philosopher] Albert Schweitzer once and all newcomers are quickly made to feel welcome.
said, ‘agriculture and craft work are the basis of our culture,’” With the implementation several years ago of the five-day
he says. “Gwanggyo Natural is more than a weekend farm, but work week, Koreans have more opportunities than ever to take
a part of culture. In Korea, communities were founded to culti- advantage of their weekends. And for the many people yearn-
vate rice, which is labor-intensive work, and our culture was ing to decompress, weekend farms are the perfect way to do it.
created around that. While the proportion of farmers in society No matter how and what they grow, just interacting with nature
once ran to 90 percent, that figure is less than 10 percent puts them in touch with a long-lost part of themselves, provid-
now. We have lost our cultural reference points from agricul- ing a chance to revel in the ancient arts of cultivating crops
ture. In that respect, weekend farms are looking to the past. and pulling weeds.
While apartments, which represent modern residential facili- For beginners, the pleasure of farming may not be immedi-
ties, are based on individualism, weekend farms are communi- ate. But once they have overseen the cultivation of crops, and
ty-based. It is future-oriented in one sense, but also past-ori- actually grown things with their own hands, it is an experience
ented at the same time.” these weekend farmers can never forget.

Weekend farmers complete field work on their plots.

48 2010
광고-표3 2010.6.4 2:2 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K
광고-표4 2010.6.4 2:3 PM 페이지 1 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K
Priority / Priorilaire
By airmail / Par avion
IBRS / CCRI N° : 10024-40730
15 Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu
Seoul (110-040)
Republic of Korea
Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K
6월호엽서 2010.6.3 4:11 PM 페이지 1
6월호엽서 2010.6.3 4:11 PM 페이지 2 Mac-2 가상 프린터 T C M Y K

Readers’ Comments
Your ideas will be reflected in making forthcoming issues of KOREA.

1. Are the contents in KOREA magazine useful for understanding Korea? Subscribe online for your free copy of KOREA.
(1) Very useful (2) Useful (3) Somewhat useful (4) Not useful at all It’s as simple as ...

2. What kind of contents do you find most interesting or useful in KOREA?

(1) Cover Story
(2) Interview (Pen & Brush, People)
(3) Travel & Culture (Travel, My Korea, Now in Korea)
(4) International Cooperation
(5) Others (please specify)
2. Home > Library > Publications > Periodicals

3. How do you find the editing, layout and printing quality of KOREA? * Korea
(1) Excellent (2) Good (3) So-so (4) Bad (5) Very bad This monthly magazine provides first-hand
information on culture, tourism and policies.
4. Which article did you find most interesting in this issue and why?

5. Do you have any suggestions for improving the contents of KOREA, or Latest Update : June 2010
any new ideas for regular sections? 54 pages

3. Enter your street address for a free hard copy

6. Your Personal Information: or
Gender: Female Male 2010 download a PDF file of the magazine each month.
Country: June