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FACTS ABOUT KOREA 2015 Edition Copyright © 1973 Published by Korean Culture and Information Service Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism 408, Galmae-ro, Sejong-si, Government Complex-Sejong, Republic of Korea Telephone: 82-44-203-3339~47 Fax: 82-44-203-3595 All rights reserved Printed in Seoul ISBN 978-89-7375-584-4 03910 For further information about Korea, please visit:


Korean Life _ 04

Tourism _ 120

Clothing and Fashion

Historical Heritage of Seoul


Tourist Attractions and Shopping Centers


Streets of Youth

Festivals, Celebrations and Holidays

Recreation in Nature


Tourist Attractions outside Seoul Hanok Villages

Society _ 34

Major Local Festivals in Korea

South Korea – Summary Education, Research, and Industry Labor and Social Welfare System Transformation into a Multicultural Society

Sports _ 166 How South Korea Became a Sporting Powerhouse 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan

Culture _ 60

2011 World Championships in Athletics

UNESCO Heritage in Korea

2012 London Summer Olympics

Traditional Arts

2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Hallyu (Korean Wave)


History _ 184

Economy _ 238

The Beginnings of the Country’s History (Prehistoric Times - Gojoseon)

The Korean Economy - the Miracle on the Hangang River

Three Kingdoms and other States

Korea’s Open Market Capitalist Economy

Unified Silla and Balhae

Industrial Brand Leaders and Korean Industrial Standards

Goryeo Joseon The Fall of Joseon: Imperial Japan’s Annexation of Korea Independence Movement Transition to a Democracy and Transformation into an Economic Powerhouse

Efforts to Grow as a Global Power

Inter-Korean Relations _ 260 Historical Background Simultaneous Admission of the two Koreas to the UN Inter-Korean Exchanges and Cooperation

Constitution and Government _ 224 Constitution Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary Independent Organizations Local Government International Relations

Efforts for Lasting Peace

Relevant Websites _ 270 Sources of Photos _ 272

Korean Life 생활


Clothing and Fashion Food Housing Festivals, Celebrations and Holidays Religion


1 Korean Life ěƒ?활

Since their settlement in prehistoric times on the land now known as the Korean Peninsula, the Korean people have developed a

A family wearing hanbok (left)

wealth of unique cultural traditions related to the way they dress, eat, and behave at home. These traditions reflect the natural environment of their homeland, a terrain predominately covered by hills and mountains, bound by the sea on three sides and marked by four distinct seasons.

Clothing and Fashion The Korean people learned to use various fabrics, such as sambe (hemp), mosi (ramie), cotton and silk to make a range of clothing that was not only attractive but also provided them with effective protection even during the harshest winters and the hottest summers. They made warm winter clothes using the technique of filling soft cotton between two layers of material, silk or cotton fabric, and sewing them together with fine stitching, and produced cool summer clothes with hemp and ramie. These clothes typically feature graceful lines and forms that create the serene aura characteristic of the traditional Korean clothes we know as hanbok. History reveals that Korean people in the past tended to prefer simple, white clothes to clothing decorated with different 7

colors and designs. That is why they were often referred to as “the white-clad people” among their neighbors who admired them for being a peaceful people. Nonetheless, Korea has also had a long tradition of enjoying colorful clothes with complex designs depending on the period and the wearer’s social status. Today, Korea is home to many talented fashion designers who have earned an international reputation with their creative designs which combine traditional Korean designs and patterns with a modern artistic sensibility. The beauty of traditional Korean clothes has been introduced to, and praised in, many parts of the world thanks to the remarkable success in recent years of many Korean films and TV dramas including Dae Jang Geum. Korean people today seem to prefer clothes inspired by modern Western styles to their traditional clothes, although some people still insist on wearing the latter on traditional holidays or for special family occasions such as weddings. Their love of tradition and yearning for the new sometimes led to the creation of attractive “modernized hanbok.” Now a household name across the world thanks to “Gangnam Style,” a K-Pop song that shook the world in 2012, Gangnamgu in Seoul is a large district where wealthy residential areas sit alongside high-end art facilities and Korea’s busiest fashion streets. The district now attracts numerous fashion-minded tourists from across East Asia and beyond with annual fashion festivals comprising international fashion shows and contests participated in by many rising designers. Another fashion district in Seoul that enjoys an international reputation is Dongdaemun-gu, which has grown into a hub of the regional fashion industry, providing creative, affordable fashion 8

items for youth and the young at heart. With its fully developed distribution and sales network, highly efficient production facilities, and throng of talented, aspiring designers, the district is now one of Seoul’s most popular attractions among foreign tourists.

Food Since ancient times, the Korean people have maintained a belief that food and medicine have the same origin and hence perform the same function, following the adage that ‘food is the best medicine’. They believe that health and illness alike come from the food they consume and how they eat it, and this idea has played a crucial role in the development of traditional Korean medicine whose basic principle is that we should use medicine only after food has failed.

Fermentation of Food One of the key words to understanding traditional Korean food is fermentation, a metabolic process that helps food to

Doenjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew) This stew-like Korean dish is made by boiling an assortment of ingredients such as meat, clams, vegetables, mushrooms, chili, tofu, and soy paste.

‘mature’ so that it has improved taste and nutritional properties and can be stored for a longer period. The Korean foods that best represent the tradition of fermentation developed in Korea include doenjang (soybean paste), ganjang (soy sauce), gochujang (chili paste) and jeotgal (fermented fish sauce), whose fermentation can take anywhere from several months to several 9

years. The degree of fermentation is a key factor in the taste and flavor of food cooked at home and in restaurants Doenjang (Soybean Paste) and Ganjang (Soy Sauce) Two of the most important items of traditional fermented food in Korea are doenjang and ganjang. To make them, it is necessary to soak soybeans in water and boil them until fully cooked. Then, they must be pounded and ormed into brick-shaped lumps, and left to dry and ferment. Then, they are placed in salted water in a large pot along with dried red chili and heated charcoal, which help remove impurities and odor during the fermentation process. Jangdokdae (Soy Jar Terrace) An area outside the kitchen used to store large brown-glazed pottery jars containing soy paste, soy sauce, and chili paste.


The beans thus prepared are then left for about two to three months until they become fully fermented. This product should then be divided into two, solids and liquid, of which the former needs to be brewed for over five more months and the latter for over three months to develop a full flavor and taste. Just like wine,

soy sauce tends to have a richer flavor and taste when brewed for a longer period. Gochujang (Chili Paste) Gochujang (chili paste) is a traditional Korean condiment made by fermenting a mixture of soybean malt, salt, and chili pepper powder with a blend of powdered rice, barley, flour, and malted barley. Gochujang has long been one of the most important traditional condiments among Korean people, whose palates have evolved towards a preference for hot and spicy foods since they were introduced to chili several hundred years ago. Chili and gochujang are now often regarded as a symbol of the vibrant, energetic disposition of Korean people. Jeotgal (Salted Seafood) An almost indispensable ingredient for kimchi and a very popular condiment used to enhance the taste of food, jeotgal (salted seafood) is made by mixing one of a variety of seafood (such as anchovy, shrimp, oyster, or clam) with salt, or with other condiments in addition to salt, and fermenting it in a cool place.

Saeujeot (Salted Shrimp) One of the two most popular fish sauces in Korea, the other being anchovy sauce, this shrimp sauce made by fermenting salted shrimps is used to improve the taste of dishes, including kimchi.

They say that a longer period of fermentation makes it tastier. The tradition of making fermented fish sauce yielded several special delicacies including sikhae, which is made by fermenting fish mixed with rice and condiments. Kimchi Now beginning to gain a worldwide reputation as a representative food of Korea, kimchi has been praised for its anti-carcinogenic properties and nutritional value, as well as numerous variations 11

Making Baechu (Cabbage) Kimchi 1





1 Ingredients for kimchi 2 Slice and wash kimchi cabbages and soak in salt water. 3 Clean the bottoms of the cabbages. 4 Mix seasonings with salted and fermented fish. 5 Spread seasonings evenly between the cabbage leaves. 6 Wrap the whole cabbage and store in a cool place.



that create excitingly diverse flavors and tastes. The most common type of kimchi is made by mixing salted white cabbage with kimchi paste made of chili powder, garlic, spring onion, Korean radish ginger, fish sauce and other ingredients like fresh seafood. Kimchi is normally eaten after fermenting it for several days although some prefer mugeunji (ripe kimchi) which is fully fermented for over one year. The ingredients of kimchi vary according to each region and its special local produce and traditions. Seoul, for instance, is famous for gungjung kimchi (royal kimchi), bossam kimchi (wrapped kimchi), chonggak kimchi (whole radish kimchi), and kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi), while Jeolla-do is well known for its godeulppaegi kimchi (Korean lettuce kimchi) and gat kimchi (leaf mustard kimchi). In 2001, the Codex Alimentarius Commission listed Korean kimchi in the internationally recognized standards, and in 2012 officially recognized the term “kimchi cabbage,” which had previously been referred to as “Chinese cabbage” until then. In 2006, a US health magazine, Health Magazine, selected kimchi as one of the five healthiest foods on earth. Bibimbap Bibimbap (literally “mixed rice”) is essentially a dish of cooked rice served after mixing it with an assortment of fresh and seasoned vegetables, fried egg, minced raw beef and other ingredients before cooking. The dish is closely related with Jeonju, a UNESCOdesignated "City of Gastronomy", where food-related festivals, including the Bibimbap Festival, are held every autumn, attracting gastronomes from across Korea and beyond. Bibimbap has 13

recently begun to attract worldwide attention for its nutritional balance, which is said to help keep those who eat it free from geriatric diseases, and is now generally cited as one of the three most representative dishes of Korean cuisine along with kimchi and bulgogi. Bulgogi Bulgogi, which literally means “fire meat�, refers to a traditional Korean dish made by grilling beef or (rarely) pork after shredding or slicing it and marinating it in sweet soy sauce mixed with a great variety of condiments. It is one of the rare meat dishes to have developed in Korea, where people were generally more accustomed to eating vegetable dishes, and has won many enthusiasts outside the country. Bulgogi has recently been adopted by fast-food restaurants in Korea, resulting in the emergence of bulgogi hamburgers and pizzas. Tteok (Rice Cake) Tteok, or Korean rice cake, refers to a range of sticky cakes made by steaming powdered rice with other grains, usually beans, or by pounding boiled rice into different shapes and textures. While tteok was sometimes eaten as part of a meal, it was more often one of a variety of special foods served at special family or communal occasions such as birthday parties, wedding receptions, memorial services and traditional holidays. Rice is the main ingredient of tteok, but it is often mixed with other grains, fruits, nuts and herbs such as mugwort, red bean, jujube, soybean and chestnut. Korean people in the past assigned various symbolic meanings 14

Bibimbap: Cooked rice served with fresh and seasoned vegetables, minced raw beef and chili paste (above). Bulgogi: Stripped or shredded beef marinated with soy sauce-based condiments and grilled (below)


to tteok and made and ate it according to those meanings. They made (and still make) baekseolgi (white steamed rice cakes), for instance, on the first birthday of a baby as it symbolizes a long life, and they made patsirutteok (steamed red bean and rice cake) whenever they started a business as its red color was believed to help repel evil forces. They celebrate New Year’s Day with tteokguk, consisting of a broth with rice flakes, and Chuseok (the 15th Day of the Eighth Lunar Month) with songpyeon, bitesized half-moon shaped rice cakes stuffed with a honey, chestnut, soybean, or sesame mixture. There are many famous tteok houses in Nagwon-dong in downtown Seoul. Juk (Porridge) Juk is a Korean-style porridge made of various grains that is usually served to children, the elderly, or people suffering from

Injeolmi Rice Cake These Korean rice cakes are made by coating cubes of pounded glutinous rice with bean powder. They are marked by their soft and chewy texture and are easily digested.


Janggukjuk (Soy Sauce Porridge) This traditional Korean porridge (Juk) is made by boiling minced beef and Pyogo mushrooms with pounded rice and seasoned with soy sauce. It is rich in proteins and particularly good for people suffering from digestive problems.

Kongguksu (Noodles in Cold Soybean Soup) This Korean noodle dish is made by mixing boiled noodles with chilled bean soup. For Koreans, it is a fine source of protein.

digestive problems. In recent years juk houses have begun to appear in many parts of Korea. They usually prepare the dish with a wide range of ingredients, mostly grains and vegetables, and it has also been developed into numerous varieties, some of which are now served at small specialty diners. Noodles Korean people have developed a wide range of noodle dishes that are full of symbolic meanings. One such dish is janchi guksu (literally “banquet noodles”), which is served in a hot anchovy broth to the guests at a wedding reception, (hence the name). This dish is so closely related with the idea of a happy marriage in Korea that a question such as “When can we eat noodles?” would readily be understood to mean “When do you plan to get married?” It is also eaten to celebrate birthdays because it symbolizes a long, healthy life. Korean people also have a long established tradition of eating naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles), served in either cold beef broth (Pyeongyang naengmyeon) or with a spicy chili sauce (Hamheung naengmyeon). Hanjeongsik (Korean Set Menu) Hanjeongsik, otherwise known as the Korean set meal, originally consisted of cooked rice, soup, and anywhere from three to five, (largely vegetable,) side dishes. As people are gradually becoming better off due to the thriving national economy, today’s set meal tends to be much more luxurious with tens of new dishes, meat and fish included, although the three basic dishes, i.e. rice, soup, and kimchi, still remain. Two cities in the southwestern part 17

Hanjeongsik (Korean Set Menu) This traditional Korean set meal typically consisted of rice and soup and an assortment of side dishes. The meal is often divided into subgroups according to the number of side dishes, i.e. 3, 5, 7, 9 and 12.

of Korea, Jeonju and Gwangju, are particularly famous for this traditional Korean meal. Korean Temple Cuisine Korean Buddhist temples have maintained their own culinary traditions, creating a wonderful range of vegetable dishes and ingredients and developing recipes to provide the proteins and other substances required for the monks and nuns to remain healthy. Temple foods are now enthusiastically received by vegans and other people who follow special diets for health-related reasons. Alcoholic Beverages A wide variety of alcoholic beverages have been developed across different parts of Korea to meet the needs of local communities during holidays, festivals, memorial rites and other


commemorative occasions. Currently some 300 traditional beverages have survived, including Munbaeju (wild pear liquor) and Songjeolju (pine knot liquor) in Seoul; Sanseong Soju (distilled liquor) in Gwangju of Gyeonggi-do; Hongju (red liquor) and Leegangju (distilled liquor) in Jeolla-do; Sogokju (rice wine) in Hansan of Chungcheong-do; Insamju (ginseng liquor) in Geumsan; Gyodong Beopju (rice liquor) and Andong Soju (distilled liquor) in Gyeongju of Gyeongsangbuk-do; and Okseonju (distilled liquor) in Hongcheon of Gangwon-do. One of the most popular traditional alcoholic beverages across Korea today is makgeolli (rice wine), which is also known by other names such as nongju (farmer’s wine), takju (cloudy wine) and dongdongju (rice wine). It is made by a process in which steamed rice, barley or wheat is mixed with malt and left

Makgeolli This rustic alcoholic beverage, which is widely popular in Korea, is made by fermenting steamed rice, barley, or wheat mixed with malt.


to ferment, and has an alcohol content of 6-7%, making it a fairly mild drink. It has recently begun to fascinate connoisseurs and health-conscious young consumers across many parts of the world, resulting in the opening of makgeolli brewery schools and the appearance of well-trained sommeliers. Another hugely popular alcoholic beverage of Korea is soju which is made by adding water and flavoring to alcohol extracted from sweet potatoes and grains. With an alcohol content that varies but is significantly higher than makgeolli, it is much appreciated by ordinary citizens across Korea and is rapidly gaining enthusiasts outside Korea. Hanok, traditional Korean houses Seobaekdang, the head residence of the Gyeongju Sohn clan, in Yangdong Village located in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province


Housing Korean people have developed unique architectural techniques to build housing that is properly adapted to the surrounding natural environment, providing dwellers with better protection. A

distinctive feature of the hanok (traditional Korean house) is an underfloor heating system called ondol. Literally meaning “warm stones” and developed during the prehistoric period, ondol refers to the system of channels running beneath the stone floor of a room through which heat is delivered from the fireplace in the kitchen. It is also designed to effectively draw out the smoke through the under-the-floor passages connected to the chimney. Another important element of the traditional Korean house is the board-floored room (maru) located at the center and used for multiple purposes. The room is usually larger than other rooms and is raised from the ground to allow air to freely circulate under it, creating a cool living environment during the warm summer season. The smart system combining ondol and maru makes the traditional Korean house a comfortable living space for its residents not only in the harsh winter but also in the scorching summer. The roof is typically covered with either ceramic tiles or thatching. While most of the roof tiles are dark gray, some exhibit more vibrant colors as demonstrated, for example, by the Official Residence of the Korean President Cheongwadae, which literally means “Blue House” because, as the name shows, it is covered by blue roof tiles. While traditional Korean houses are generally wooden structures, they can survive as long as other buildings made with other materials if properly taken care of. Built before 1363, Geungnakjeon Hall of Bongjeongsa Temple in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, for instance, is Korea’s oldest remaining building, still maintaining its original structure intact after 650 years. As an ideal location for their house, Korean people preferred a site protected by hills or mountains on three 21

of its sides, with a stream or river passing in front, thus providing easy access to water. Houses built in such a place create a great harmony with the surrounding environment, attracting more and more admirers not just in Korea but outside it as well. These days, over 60% of Seoul’s population live in modern apartments but, interestingly, these tall, multistoried buildings are almost without exception furbished with a heating system inspired by the age-old ondol system. Similarly, newly built Hanok, traditional Korean houses The ancient house of Yun Jeung, a Confucian scholar of the late Joseon (1392-1910) period, situated in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, also called Myeongjae Gotaek after his pen name


detached houses are also reliant on the legacy of the ondol system of heating the floor, although the traditional heat passages are now replaced by under-floor metal pipes with running water heated either by gas or electricity. This heating system has now begun to be exported to other countries with wide variations in daily temperature.

Professor Robert Fouser and Hanok Professor Robert Fouser, the first foreign national employed by Seoul National University to teach students at the Department of Korean Language Education, is a great enthusiast of the traditional Korean houses known as hanok. His love of Korean language and culture has a long history as his career, which includes opening, and teaching, a Korean language course at Kagoshima University in Japan, attests. His home in Korea was for a number of years an exquisite Hanok located in Bukchon, downtown Seoul, until he moved to Seochon, another historic district of the Korean capital, where he found a new hanok which is still his home today. He loves not only the house he lives in but also the surroundings, a complex network of narrow alleys winding between other hanok buildings and the natural environment around it. Recently, he launched a campaign to increase public awareness of the value of the hanok as a living space and the importance of preserving and reviving it for the present and future generations.


Festivals, Celebrations and Holidays Festivals Until the mid-20th century, Korea was primarily an agricultural society, and the seasonal rhythms of daily life were organized by the lunar calendar. As a society where farming was hugely important for the subsistence of its members, it developed a great variety of semi-religious events where prayers were offered for a good harvest and abundant food, and which gradually developed into communal celebrations and festivals. The Lunar New Year’s Day (Seol or Seollal), which is generally regarded as the most important of all the traditional seasonal festivals, is celebrated with a special festival food called tteokguk, or “rice flake soup”. Eating it signified becoming one year older (this means that a child born on the 29th of the twelfth lunar month becomes two years old only two days later). The festival is also related with the ceremony of performing the Sebae (New Year’s Bow) before the elders of one’s family and neighborhood. After Sebae, the elders present New Year’s gift money to their 1 2

1. Sebae (New Year Bow) Korea has a long tradition of starting the New Year (by the lunar calendar) with the ceremonious bows made by children to their parents 2. Chuseok and Songpyeon During the mid-autumn holiday of Chuseok (15th day of the 8th lunar month), families gather together and make songpyeon (half-moon shape rice cake).


juniors. Another important seasonal festival called Daeboreum (Greater Full Moon) celebrates the fifteenth day of the first month of the year by the lunar calendar. On that day, people eat special festival food called ogokbap, a dish made with five grains and served with an assortment of cooked vegetables, play games aimed for the unity of the local community and perform rituals for good harvest. Chuseok, which is held on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, consists of thanksgiving services in which newly harvested crops and fruits are offered to the ancestral spirits. Generally held to be as important as the Lunar New Year’s Day,


Chuseok is also one of the two annuals occasions when all the family members gather together. Celebrations Traditional Wedding The traditional Korean wedding ceremony largely consists of three stages: Jeonallye, in which the groom visits the bride’s family with a wooden goose; Gyobaerye, in which bride and groom exchange ceremonious bows; and Hapgeullye, where the marrying couple share a cup of wine. The photo shows a bride and groom exchanging ceremonious bows during the Gyobaerye stage of their wedding ceremony.


Korean parents mark the one-hundredth day anniversary (baegil) and the first birthday (dol) of their baby with special big celebrations in which their families, relatives and friends participate. They generally hold a large celebratory banquet for their baby with a ritual prayer for the baby’s health, success in life, and longevity, and the participants give the baby gold rings as a special gift. Weddings have also been a very important family celebration in Korea. Most Korean people today choose their own spouse according to their heart’s desire. In pre-modern times, however,

husbands and wives were given by their parents or matchmakers after an examination of their horoscopic data, called Saju (Four Pillars of Destiny), which are determined by the hour and date of their birth. The tradition of consulting a diviner on their luck in the New Year and exchanging horoscopic data as part of the matchmaking process is still maintained by some families. In the past, a wedding ceremony was an important village festival where the entire community would gather together to celebrate the young couple dressed in luxurious wedding robes and bejeweled headdresses. Today, the Western style of wedding ceremony is widely regarded as the norm, but some traditional rituals such as Pyebaek (traditional ceremony to pay respect to the groom's family by the newly-wedded couple right after their wedding) and Ibaji (wedding food that the bride presents to the groom's family) are still maintained. In Korea, a baby becomes one year old as soon as she is born, and 60 years old on her 59th birthday. The age 60 has a profound meaning for Korean people as it signifies the completion of a sexagenary cycle. Someone who had reached the age of 60 was admired greatly as he or she was regarded as old enough to have experienced all the principles of heaven and earth. Today Korean men and women live much longer—about 80 years on average—than they did before and the 60th birthday is no longer celebrated in such a grand manner as it was previously. National Holidays In Korea there are five national holidays designated by the government: Independence Declaration Day (Samiljeol, March 1), which commemorates the March First Movement, one of 27

Public Holidays in Korea

Jan 1

New Year’s Day Seollal

The first day of the year. The first day of the year by the lunar calendar. Three Day Celebration.

Mar 1

Independence Day

Commemorates the March First Movement, non-violent public resistance against the Japanese colonial rule, and the declaration of Korean Independence in 1919

Apr 8

Buddha’s Birthday

Celebrates the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha. A variety of celebratory events are held in Buddhist temples across Korea,

May 5

Children’s Day

A great variety of celebratory and fun events for children are held across the country.

Jun 6

Memorial Day

A national memorial service is held at the National Cemetery to honor and commemorate the achievements of war heroes and veterans

Aug 15

Liberation Day

Celebrates the 1945 liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule.

Aug 15


Known by different names such as Chuseok and Hangawi, this seasonal festival on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month brings families together for memorial services for their ancestors and celebratory events.

Oct 3

National Foundation Day

Commemorates the foundation of Gojoseon, the first Korean state, by Dangun in 2333 BCE.

Oct 9

Hangeul Day

Marks the invention and promulgation of Hunminjeongeum (Hangeul), the Korean writing system.

Dec 25


Celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ with a great variety of religious and secular events.

the earliest public displays of Korean resistance against the Japanese occupation of Korea, and the promulgation of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea in 1948; Liberation Day 28

(Gwangbokjeol, August 15), celebrating national liberation from Imperial Japan in 1945; National Foundation Day, which marks the foundation of Gojoseon, the first state of the Korean nation, on the 3rd day of 10th lunar month, 2333 BCE; and Hangeul Day (Hangeullal, October 9), which commemorates the invention and proclamation of the Korean writing system. Public Holidays The public holidays during which work is suspended by law in Korea include New Year’s Day, Seollal (or Lunar New Year’s Day, celebrated for 3 days), Chuseok (Mid-autumn Festival on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, celebrated for 3 days), Buddha’s Birthday (on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month), Children’s Day (May 5), Memorial Day (June 6) and Christmas Day. There are fifteen public holidays in total on which businesses are closed by law and employees have a day off, from which Constitution Day is excluded.

Religion Korea is a country where all the world’s major religions, Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism and Islam, peacefully coexist with shamanism. Given the great diversity of religious expression, the role of religion in South Korea's social development has been complex; and some traditions are best understood as important cultural properties rather than as rites of worship. According to the 2005 statistics, 53% of the Korean population has a religion, while the 2008 statistics show that there were over 510 religious organizations in Korea. Among them Buddhism and Confucianism have been more influential than any others upon the life of 29

Diversity in Religious Life Now rapidly on its way to becoming a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multireligious society, Korea protects religious diversity by law. People in Korea are free to lead a religious life according to their own choice and convictions, whether as followers of one of the major religions, namely, Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Islam, or as adherents of Korean native religions such Won Buddhism and Cheondogyo.

the Korean people and over half of the country’s listed cultural heritage are related with the two religions. Since its arrival in Korea in 372, Buddhism has produced several tens of thousands temples across the country and currently has more adherents than any other religion. Adopted as the state ideology of the Joseon Dynasty (13921910), Confucianism was more a system of ethics than religion and stressed the importance of loyalty, filial piety and other virtues. Confucian followers also valued ancestral worship in the belief that the ancestral spirits can affect the life of their descendants, and tried to find auspicious sites for the graves of their ancestors. Today, however, more and more people are turning from the practice of burial to cremation. Catholicism was introduced to Korea from China through the envoys of late Joseon who visited Beijing and the Western priests who followed them. The early Roman Catholics in Korea

Size of Religious Groups

1 2

1. Chungdong First Methodist Church in Seoul Korea’s first Protestant church founded in 1897. 2. Lotus Lantern Festival The festival celebrates the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month.


Buddhism 43% 10,726,000

Others 1.9% 483,000

Protestantism 34.5% 8,616,000


Roman Catholic 20.6% 5,146,000

※ ‘Others’ include Confucianism, Won Buddhism, Jeungsangyo, Cheondogyo, Daejonggyo and Islam. (Source: Statistics Korea)


The interior of Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul

were subjected to severe persecution, but the religion continued to spread among the common people across the country. The persecution of Christian believers by Joseon’s rulers led Korea to yield the world’s fourth largest number of Christian saints. Protestantism was brought to Korea during the late 19th century by North American missionaries, and quickly won people’s hearts through school education and medical services. Even today, Protestants in Korea operate a great number of educational institutions, middle and high schools, colleges and universities, and medical centers. In Korea there is a rich array of native religions such as Cheondogyo, Won Buddhism and Daejonggyo which, although suffered various vicissitudes of modern Korean history, are still active in increasing the number of their adherents. Cheondogyo,


The Seoul Central Mosque in Itaewon, Seoul

formed on the basis of the Eastern Learning (Donghak) of the 19th century, maintains the doctrine that “Man is Heaven,� which exerted a strong influence upon the process of modernization in Korea. Daejonggyo, established in the early 20th century to worship Dangun, the founder of the first Korean state, also affected the life of ordinary Korean people, boosting Korean nationalism. In 1955, there appeared the Islamic Society of Korea and the first Korean Imam, followed by the foundation of the Korean Muslim Federation in 1967. Islam currently has about 60 places of worship across Korea and there are about 100,000 Korean Muslims. In addition to the major religions, shamanism has also played an important part in the daily life of the Korean people, trying to help them connect with the spiritual world and making predictions about their future. 33

Society 사회


South Korea – Summary Education, Research, and Industry Labor and Social Welfare System Transformation into a Multicultural Society


China Baekdusan


Pyeongyang Geumgangsan

East Sea


Gaeseong Baengnyeongdo Ganghwado Seoul Incheon

Ulleungdo Taebaeksan

West Sea Daejeon



Ko re a

Ulsan Jirisan

St ra it


Geojedo Scale



Demarcation line Capital City Mountain

Jeju Strait Hallasan Jejudo




2 Society 사회

South Korea – Summary Geographical and Topographical Features The Korean Peninsula (lat. 33˚ - 43˚; long. 124˚ - 132˚) lies in the middle of Northeast Asia, flanked by China to its west and Japan to its east. The peninsula is 950km long longitudinally and 540km wide latitudinally, and has a total area of 223,405km2, of which South Korea occupies about 100,283.9km2 (2014). The northern end of the peninsula is joined to the Asian Continent. The peninsula is predominantly mountainous, with flat land accounting for only 30% of the entire territory. Mountains over 1,000m above sea level make up only 15% of the mountainous areas, while mountains lower than 500m account for 65%.

South Korea Overview Country Name: Republic of Korea

Population: 51.33millon (2014)

Capital City: Seoul (since 1394)

Political System: Free democracy; Presidential system

National Anthem: Aegukga

President: Park Geun-hye (since 2013)

National Flag: Taegeukgi

Economic Indicator (2014)

National Flower: Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon)

- GDP: US$1,449.5 billion

Language: Korean; Hangeul

- Per Capital GNI: US$28,180

Land Size: 223,405km2 (including North Korea) South Korea only: 100,283.9km2 (2014) Geographical Location: The Korean Peninsula (lat. 33˚ - 43˚; long. 124˚ - 132˚) Standard Time: 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time

- GDP growth rate: 3.3% - Currency: won (US$1 = 1,099.3 won; floating exchange rate)


The Taebaeksan Mountain Range forms the backbone of the peninsula, with the eastern part of the range rising higher than the western part. Rivers, both small and large, originate from the high mountainous areas in the east and flow toward the West and South Seas, forming plains suitable for grain cultivation. The climate created by the mountainous areas in the east has an impact on people’s lives. The easterly wind’s passage across the mountainous areas is subject to the Foehn effect, creating a warm and dry wind in the western downwind side of the mountain range. People living in the areas to the east of the high mountains experience considerable inconveniences with regard to transportation, as these areas have undergone very little development compared to the area to the west of the high mountains. However, the slow pace of development has brought at least one advantage to local residents: the natural sceneries have remained unspoilt and many people now choose these areas as travel destinations. The East Sea has a relatively straight, featureless coastline, and the difference between high and low tide is only 30 cm. However, the sea along the coast is generally deeper than 1,000m. According to the result of a sonar measurement carried out by the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration, the deepest part of the East Sea lies in the area north of Ulleungdo Island (2,985m deep). In contrast, the sea along the West Sea is shallow, which has led to the formation of wide tidal flats. The deepest part of the West Sea is in the waters surrounding Gageodo Island, Sinan-gun, Jeollanam-do (124m deep). The rise and fall of the tide shows a considerable difference, i.e. by as much as 7 - 8 m. The South coast has a heavily indented rias coastline. About 3,000 mainly small islands lie off 38

the western and southern coasts of South Korea. Many beaches around the peninsula boast beautiful scenery and world-class facilities. Changes in Weather around the Year The Korean Peninsula belongs to a temperate zone. There are marked changes in climate between the four distinct seasons. Under the influence of the continental climate, there is a considerable difference in temperature between summer and winter. It is hot and humid in summer, and cold and dry in winter. Over the past thirty years, the summer temperature range has averaged 20.5 - 26.1˚C, while the winter temperature range has averaged -2.5 - 5.7˚C. Many Koreans take their summer holidays during this period. During the peak season, the number of visitors to wellknown beaches, including Haeundae in Busan, Gyeongpodae in Gangneung, and Daecheon on the West Sea, exceeds 1 million. In winter, people enjoy skating and skiing across the country. There are many ski slopes in Gangwon-do. Winter snowfall in the mountainous areas of Gangwon-do sometimes reaches 50 - 60 cm in a day or two. The average daytime temperature in spring and fall is maintained at 15 - 18˚C. In these seasons, the sky is clear and the weather is pleasant and agreeable, encouraging many people to engage in outdoor activities or go on a trip. Recently, the Korean Peninsula has shown signs of transition to a subtropical climate amid the phenomenon of global warming. In summer, the temperature rises above 35˚C. In spring, azaleas and forsythias bloom earlier than in the past. Over the past 4 - 5 years, many new and extraordinary climate-related records have 39


been reported. In December 2010, a cold wave hit the peninsula for 39 days, lasting well into January of the following year. Heavy snowfall hit Donghae and Pohang, breaking a 79-year-old record. In July 2011, the heavy rain concentrated on Seoul and its vicinity was recorded as the heaviest daily rainfall in the meteorological history of the country. According to climate observation records, the average temperature in the Korean Peninsula has risen by 1.5˚C over the past century. Only ten years ago, it was usual for cold and warm

1 2 3 4

Four Seasons of Korea 1. Spring of Baraebong in Jirisan Mountain 2. Summer of Garibong Valley in Seoraksan Mountain 3. Autumn of Gayasan Mountain 4. Winner of Jeseokbong Peak in Jirisan Mountain (Source: Korea National Park)

weather to succeed each other on the peninsula every three or four days, but that pattern has disappeared. The northern limit line for the growth of tree and plant species such as apple trees and green tea plants is moving gradually northward. The presence of more subtropical fish along the coast of the Korean Peninsula constitutes further proof of global warming. Researchers started observing coral reefs in the sea near Busan. The number of subtropical marine plants is increasing in the sea near Jejudo Island. Population Archaeologists think that people started settling in the Korean Peninsula around B.C.700,000, during the Paleolithic Age. The population of South Korea stands at 51.33 million (2014), with 49.4% of the population concentrated in Seoul and its vicinity. The government views the current low birthrate as a serious problem. The country’s birthrate fell to 1.08 per married couple (2005), a record low. The figure rose slightly to 1.19 by 2013 through the government’s efforts. Still, the figure falls short of the global average (1.71 in 2012). As for life expectancy, South 41

Koreans’ life expectancy was approximately 81.3 years (2010) compared with an OECD average of 80.2 years. Towards the end of the 19th century and throughout the early 20th century, a large number of Koreans left the country. Initially, China, Russia, and the United States were their chief destinations, but by the mid-20th century the destinations had become far more diverse. The number of South Koreans living in foreign countries amounts to 7.01 million(2013), i.e. 2.57 million in China, 2.09 million in the United States, 0.89 million in Japan, and 0.61 million in EU countries. Since 2011, the net inflow of population has outnumbered the net outflow. The number of foreign nationals residing or working in the country has increased dramatically, particularly since 2000. According to Statistics Korea, 407,000 foreign nationals arrived in the country in 2014. Regarding the purpose of their arrival in the country, employment (41.4%) topped the list, followed by short-term stay (19.8%), long-term or permanent stay (6.4%), sightseeing (6.0%), and study (5.2%). Recently, many foreigners have come to the country for such diverse purpose as marriage to South Koreans, work, and study, etc. Language and Letters Most linguists place Korean in the Altaic language family, though some consider it to be a language isolate, meaning that it cannot be simply related with any other language. The written form of Korean uses Hangeul, a writing system commissioned by King Sejong (1397-1450) during the Joseon Dynasty. Koreans are very proud of this remarkable achievement, and Hangeul is a very efficient and easy script to learn and use. 42

Hangeul is composed of fourteen consonants and ten vowels. It can express virtually all the sounds produced by nature and humans. Every year, UNESCO presents the King Sejong Literacy Prize to people who have made a distinguished contribution to the elimination of illiteracy. The inclusion of ‘King Sejong’ in the name of the prize may be said to be tacit recognition of his greatest accomplishment, the creation of Hangeul, which is easy to learn and use. National Flag (Taegeukgi) The national flag of South Korea is composed of a red and blue taegeuk pattern in the center and four black trigrams at each corner, against a white background. The white background symbolizes brightness, purity, and peaceloving ethnic characteristics. The taegeuk pattern symbolizes yin and yang (i.e. the idea that all things in the universe are created and evolve through the interaction of yin and yang). The four trigrams indicate the changes in and development of yin and yang by means of their combination (“ ” represents yin while “ ” represents yang;

[geongwae] heaven;

water; and

[gongwae] earth;

King Sejong the Great Sejong was the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty. He made many great accomplishments in the spheres of science, economy, defense, art and culture. One of his greatest accomplishments was the creation of Hangeul in 1444, an easyto-learn, efficient, and scientific writing system. He is respected as one of the country’s greatest kings among Koreans.


[igwae] fire. The four trigrams surrounding

the taegeuk represent unity. The national flag, including the taegeuk pattern, which our ancestors liked to use in their lives, expresses the ideal of the Korean nation’s pursuit of creativity and prosperity. National Anthem (Aegukga) The country’s national anthem was composed in 43

Shanghai Expo 2010 The South Korean Pavilion decorated with Hangeul consonants and vowels



National Symbol

Geon (Sky)

Gam (Water) Red:Yang


Ri (Fire)

National flower: Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon)

Gon (Earth)

National flag: Taegeukgi

Aegukga: “Patriotic Song” (National Anthem) Ahn Eak-tai


Until that day when the waters of the East Sea run dry and Baekdusan Mountain is worn away,

God protect and preserve our nation; Hurry to Korea

Three thousand ri of splendid rivers and mountains covered with mugunghwa blossoms.

Great Korean people, stay true to the Great Korean way!


1935 by Mr. Ahn Eak-tai, who added a melody to lyrics written in the early 1900s. It was officially adopted with the establishment of the government of the Republic of Korea in August 1948. Prior to that, the country sang the same lyrics to the melody of Auld Lang Syne as the national anthem. National Flower (Mugunghwa) The Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) is thought to be deeply associated with what are regarded as the most typical Korean characteristics: a sincere heart, inwardness, and tenacity. Around the late 9th century, the Chinese referred to Korea as “the country of mugunghwa.” The Korean word mugunghwa literally means a “never-withering flower.” The country’s national anthem includes the line: “Three thousand ri of splendid rivers and mountains covered with mugunghwa blossoms.” The emblem of the government and the National Assembly contains the shape of a mugunghwa. Political System The country has adopted a Presidential system in which the President is elected by the direct vote of the people for a fiveyear term. The current President Park Geun-hye was elected in December 2012 for one term, which started on February 25, 2013. The government is composed of three independent branches: the Executive branch; the Legislative branch composed of 300 four-year term members of the National Assembly; and the Judiciary branch, which includes fourteen six-year term Supreme Court justices. There are seventeen regional local governments and 227 basic local governments. The heads of the local governments and the members 47

of local councils are each elected for a four-year term. Division In 1948, the two Koreas established their respective governments. Defined as two different countries under international law, they joined the United Nations simultaneously in September 1991. The Constitution of South Korea, however, regards North Korea as part of the Republic of Korea.

Education, Research, and Industry Education System Koreans regard education as very important. In the process of industrialization, human resources emerged as an important factor in connection with the need to cope with scarce capital and resources more efficiently. Parents’ fervor regarding their children’s education has resulted in the production of a large

Number of Schools in Korea (2014) 8,826


3,186 2,326 1,209 166 Kindergarten

Middle School

Elementary School


Special School

High School

201 University

Junior College

Graduate School

Unit: schools / Source: Ministry of Education


number of well-educated people, which in turn has helped the country achieve rapid economic growth. The basic school system is composed of kindergarten (1 to 3 years), elementary school (6 years), middle school (3 years), high school (3 years), and university. There are also junior colleges (2 or 3 years) and graduate schools (for masters and PhD degrees). Since 2004, all South Koreans are required to finish middle school under compulsory education. The government started paying childcare allowances for all infants aged up to 5 in 2013.

“Korean style education will create a whirlwind of popularity as K-Pop does.” U.S. President Barack Obama often refers to Korean parents’ fervent eagerness about their children's education to urge American parents to make more strenuous efforts. It is reported that the innovation campaign initiated by President Obama in 2009 for the invigoration of education in science, skills, engineering, and math for American middle and high school students was modelled on the South Korean experience. The most successful case of introducing Koreanstyle education into the United States is the Democracy Prep Charter School in New York. About 80% of the students of this school in Harlem, New York, which is notorious for its high rate of narcotics and crimes, originate from low-income households. Principal Seth Andrew (34) of this school taught English for one year in South Korea and saw that Koreans believed that the only way out of poverty is education. He decided to make sure that students of his school hold a similar belief and show respect for both teachers and education just as Koreans do. Such efforts on his part have brought about noticeable results in six years. In 2010, his school was selected as the best among the 125 charter schools in New York in 2010 -2011 in a school performance appraisal. Seth Andrews said, “I am sure that Korean-style education will create a whirlwind of popularity as K-Pop does.”


High Educational Competitiveness Thanks to a good system and the high regard for education, the country has many skilled people in virtually all sectors. Korea’s universities produce talented young people specializing in International Science Olympiad In this international middle and high school students' competition encompassing math, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and information, South Koreans record a good score every year.

basic science, including physics, and other major sectors, such as electronics, mechanical engineering, business management, economics, and accounting. Many educated adults can make themselves understood in English, with some of them speaking another foreign language. At present, the widespread availability of vocational education sessions at high schools helps students obtain qualifications in specialty areas. According to the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), South Korean students display a high level of academic achievement in reading, math, and science. R&D Investment South Korea has a large number of talented people engaged in cutting-edge research. At government institutes, in universities, and also within Korea’s many world-leading corporations, a vast range of projects are undertaken: from basic research to the development of advanced technologies and innovative new commercial products. The government R&D budget supports programs in a wide variety of sectors, including high-end convergence, green resources, bioscience, welfare, and machine parts. A remarkable 12.4 out of ever 1,000 economically active people were employed as researchers in 2012, a total of more than 401,724; and their activities result in numerous patent


applications, both at home and abroad.

A Digital Reading Room at the National Library of Korea This is a space where people can access and use a vast corpus of digital materials, and engage in media editing, documentation, and research.

Sophisticated Information Society South Korea is a leading powerhouse in information and communication technology. It is a country full of dynamism. It became the first country in the world to commercialize the CDMA and WiBro technologies and established a nationwide network based on the use of these technologies in 2011. The country has also made Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) part of people’s daily lives, while establishing a nationwide 4G communication long-term evolution (LTE) network.

Social Network Service This service, which is represented by Twitter, Cyworld, and Facebook, is designed to help people build a solid network of collaboration between friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.

These sophisticated information and communication technologies have led to changes in diverse social sectors, including the innovation of government administration. With the help of such advanced technologies, the procedures for reporting a baby’s birth, moving home or registering a person’s death are handled more efficiently. Under the Social Networking Service (SNS), people now use an interactive communication system 51

in which the government provides useful information to people while members of the public can report cases of inconvenience to the government. The country exported e-government-related technologies worth US$873.18 million between 2002 and 2012. In the biennial e-government evaluation conducted by the UN, South Korea ranked No. 1 in terms of comprehensive scores in 2010 and 2012 among the 193 countries evaluated. The country took first place in development indices associated with information/communication infrastructure and human resources as well as in people’s online participation. With the improvement of sophisticated communication infrastructures and the increase in the number of mobile communication devices, people can engage in real-time communication and exchange of information with others worldwide. Social Networking Services such as Twitter and Facebook are bringing about revolutionary changes in society. Especially, the SNS Kakao Talk (global mobile instant messenger) developed in South Korea in 2010 has been attracting considerable attention. The number of Kakao Talk subscribers stands at 100 million worldwide. It is used by most South Korean smart phone users. Pop Cast, another form of SNS, is establishing a new area in the communication (broadcasting) sector. Now, SNS even exerts an influence in politics through the formation of public opinion, in addition to its inherent functions such as the delivery of information or entertainment. Changes and Vision South Korea is rapidly changing into a knowledge-based society. Human resources are regarded as the most important element of 52

United Nations E-Government Survey 2005










Online services






Information/communication infrastructure






Relevant capital











E-government development index

Online participation index

(Source: UN DESA)

society and as a primary source of national competitiveness.

Administrative Agencies’ Information System Information/ communication technologies help administrative agencies carry out their assignments more efficiently by providing information services relating to individual sectors such as customs clearance, patents, budget accounting, disaster management, immigration control, mail classification, response to public complaints, employment, transportation, residents’ registration, etc.

In South Korea, the development of creative good-quality cultural products, in which human resources are combined with cultural resources, is viewed as an industrial sector that will play a leading role in the 21st century. Current examples of the country’s promising cultural products include K-Pop, TV dramas (e.g. Dae Jang Geum), and TV animations for infants (e.g. Pororo). According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the country’s Human Development Index (HDI) is rising, apparently as a result of the growing emphasis on investment and the development of human resources as key actors of creative industrial sectors. The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of the life expectancy, education, and income indices used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.)

Labor and Social Welfare System Social Security System South Korea operates a labor and welfare system that meets 53

Pororo, the country’s representative character for infants, plays a leading role in the progress of the country’s future cultural industry by introducing a variety of products using educational animations and characters.

international norms. Workers’ three basic rights are guaranteed. Public officials also have their basic rights guaranteed as workers despite some restrictions on their right of collective action. In the 1980s, the country adopted the minimum wage system in an effort to enhance workers’ rights. The country has also enacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and a system that assists the disabled. The country operates the social insurance system against contingencies relating to disaster, disease, unemployment, and death. Workers subscribe to Industrial Accident Insurance against work-related accident, disease or death. It is obligatory for all The Four Social Insurances Relevant individuals, businesses, and the government share the burden of insurance premiums for the four social insurances.


people to subscribe to the Health Insurance. As of 2014, end of June, 50.14 million people (including foreigners), i.e. 98.5% of the entire population, enjoyed the benefits provided under the staterun health insurance system. The country’s medical insurance system, which provides a high-quality medical service for

reasonable service fees, has been appraised as an exemplary case by other countries. Workers subscribe to Employment Insurance. When a subscribed worker is dismissed, he/she is entitled to half of his/ her wage for a given period of time and to job transfer training. Workers also subscribe to retirement pension and national pension plans. All people are required to subscribe to the four social insurances (i.e. industrial accident, health, employment, and pension insurances). As regards the payment of insurance premiums, employers and the government bear part of the fees. People pay insurance fees according to their income, which leads to income redistribution. The aim of the country’s public welfare system is “from the cradle to the grave.” A pregnant worker is eligible for 90 days’ maternity leave, 60 days of which are paid leave, she is also entitled to take a year of temporary leave for childcare, receiving part of her wage. In 2013, the government also started paying childcare allowances to parents with an infant aged 5 or less. With the increase in the number of senior citizens, welfare for the elderly has emerged as an important social issue. The country adopted long-term care insurance for the elderly and the basic old age pension system. Role of Women Samguk yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms) compiled by the Buddhist Monk Iryeon in 1281 contains a very interesting myth about the birth of the first Korean woman. It says that a bear morphed into the first Korean woman after fulfilling a 55

difficult task given by a god, of which the bear endured twentyone days of feeding only on mugwort and garlic without any exposure to sunshine. The woman eventually married Hwanung, the son of god, and gave birth to a son named Dangun, who is the forefather of the Korean people. This founding myth of Korea illustrates the main characteristics of Korean women, which are said to be patience and tenacity. In the 1st century BC, a heroine named Soseono played a critical role in the foundation of Goguryeo and Baekje Kingdoms. In the early 7th century, Queen Seondeok of Silla accomplished many notable deeds, including the stabilization of ordinary people’s lives, the provision of relief to the poor, and the construction of Cheomseongdae Observatory and the ninetier pagoda at Hwangnyongsa Temple. In the early 10th century, Queen Sinhye, the wife of King Taejo of Goryeo, distinguished herself by assisting the King with the establishment important national policies. Sin Saimdang of Joseon, who lived in the early 16th century, is respected as an exemplar of the wise mother and good wife. Her portrait features on 50,000won banknotes. Yu Gwan-sun lost her life at the age of 18 after being tortured by the Japanese police following her arrest for involvement in the independence movement in March 1919. She is regarded as one of Korea’s leading patriots. Foreigners who visited Korea towards the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century wrote that Korean women enjoyed a considerably higher social status than their counterparts in nearby countries. In 2001, South Korea became the first country to launch a Ministry of Gender Equality; its name was later changed to the 56

Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. In 2013, Park Geun-hye became the first woman President in South Korea’s 65-year history.

Transformation into a Multicultural Society South Korea has long been a culturally homogeneous society, but the number of migrant workers and foreign students has increased rapidly since the end of the 20th century. As of 2014, the number of foreign-born people in the country stands at 1.57 million, with the number of foreign-born people married to South Koreans amounting to 240,000. The number of migrant workers in the country stands at 850,000. The country is turning into a multicultural society. Ethnic Koreans with Chinese citizenship account for the greatest proportion of foreign nationals living in the country. Recently, the number of multicultural households has increased dramatically to 230,000, largely as a result of the high number of marriages between Koreans and foreigners. The government launched an office dedicated to providing support for foreign citizens’ social activities within the country and enacted the Multicultural Families Support Act. Under the said Act, multicultural family support centers ( have been opened in 200 places around the country to provide the following services: Korean language education sessions designed to help foreigners adapt to life in Korea; psychological counseling; events intended to celebrate the festivities of other countries; and job seeking opportunities. The government is taking diverse measures in recognition of foreign cultures and making efforts to avoid social problems that may result due to the inflow of foreign cultures. One 57

Nationality of foreign residents in South Korea

Others (21.1%) Filipinos (4.1%)

2014 Americans (4.5%) South Asians (4.8%) Vietnamese (11.8%)

Chinese (including ethnic Koreans) (53.7%)

(Source: Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs)

such measure consists in the provision of support to transform multicultural villages into tourist destinations. Chinatown in Seollin-dong in Incheon is perhaps the most representative example of a unique foreign culture in Korea. The history of the place began when ethnic Chinese settled there, taking advantage of its geographical proximity to China, in the late 19th century. Nowadays, the area serves as a forward base for the country’s exchanges with China, and has emerged as a new tourist destination for enthusiasts of history and culture. There is a Special Multicultural Zone in Wongok-dong, Ansan, Gyeonggi-do. People from China, India and Pakistan living here can purchase specialties of their home countries in the zone. There is a Japanese village in Ichon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul; a Muslim village near the mosque in Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul; a French village (Seorae Village) in Banpo-dong, Gangnamgu, Seoul; a Vietnamese town is in Wangsimni, Seoul; and a Nepalese town in Changsin-dong, Seoul. 58

Foreigners are also starting to take a more prominent role in their adopted country. For example, Jasmine Lee is a FilipinaKorean who is currently serving as a member of the Gender Equality and Family Committee of the 19th National Assembly (May 2012 – May 2016). She is known for her efforts to protect the welfare and advance the rights of people in multicultural households. As of November 2013, a total of fifty-six foreign-born Koreans from thirteen countries are serving as public officials with the central or local governments. Chinese-Korean Kim Mi-hwa, an official of Changwon City, is one of them. The foreign-born celebrities we frequently see in local TV programs include Robert Holley (American-Korean) and Sam Hammington (an Australian). All things considered, the recent foreign arrivals are integrating well into South Korean society, and multiculturalism is bringing many benefits: there is every indication that this harmonious coexistence of diverse cultures will continue to flourish.


Culture λ¬Έν™”


UNESCO Heritage in Korea Traditional Arts Hallyu (Korean Wave)

3 Culture λ¬Έν™”

Since the earliest settlements on the Korean Peninsula and in southeastern Manchuria during prehistoric times, the people of Korea have developed a distinctive culture based on their unique artistic sensibility. The geographical conditions of the peninsula provided Koreans with opportunities to receive both continental and maritime cultures and ample resources, which in turn enabled them to form unique cultures of interest to and value for the rest of humanity, both then and now.


Korea’s vibrant cultural legacy, comprising music, art, literature, dance, architecture, clothing and cuisine, offers a delightful combination of tradition and modernity, and is now appreciated in many parts of the world. At the present time, Korean arts and culture are attracting many enthusiasts around the world. Korea’s cultural and artistic achievements through the ages are now leading many of its young talents to the world’s most prestigious music and dance competitions, while its literary works are being translated into many different languages for global readers. More recently, Korean pop artists have attracted huge numbers of admirers across the world, the most spectacular success being Psy’s global hit Gangnam Style. The cultural prosperity Korea has enjoyed lately would have not been possible without its traditional culture and arts,

Gyeongju Historic Areas Gyeongju was the capital of Silla for about one millennium. The city still contains a wealth of archaeological remains from the Kingdom, and hence is often dubbed as “a museum without walls or roof.” The photo shows a scene of the Silla mound tombs located in the city.


which were built on the Korean people’s traits of tenacity and perseverance combined with an artistic sensibility that has matured throughout the country’s long history. The unique artistic sensibility reflected in the diverse artifacts and tomb murals of the Three Kingdoms Period became richer and more profound as Korea progressed through the periods of Unified Silla (676-935), Goryeo (918-1392) and Joseon (1392-1910). This aesthetic sensibility has been handed down through the generations to the Korean artists, and even ordinary members of the public, of our time. Korea preserves a wealth of priceless cultural heritage, some of which have been inscribed on the lists of human legacies protected by UNESCO. Currently, a total of 40 Korean heritage items are listed either as World Heritage Sites or Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, or have been included on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

UNESCO Heritage in Korea World Heritage Sites Changdeokgung Palace Changdeokgung Palace, located in Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, is one of the five Royal Palaces of Joseon (1392-1910), and still contains the original palace structures and other remains intact. It was built in 1405 as a Royal Villa but became the Joseon Dynasty’s official Royal Residence after Gyeongbokgung, the original principal palace, was destroyed by fire in 1592 when Japanese forces invaded Korea. Thereafter it maintained its prestigious position until 1867, when Gyeongbokgung was and renovated and restored to its original status. Changdeokgung was 64

listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. A l t h o u g h i t wa s b u i l t d u r i n g t h e J o s e o n P e r i o d , Changdeokgung shows traces of the influence of the architectural tradition of Goryeo, such as its location at the foot of a mountain. Royal palaces were typically built according to a layout planned to highlight the dignity and authority of its occupant, but the layout of Changdeokgung was planned to make the most of the characteristic geographical features of the skirt of Bugaksan Mountain. The original palace buildings have been preserved intact, including Donhwamun Gate, its main entrance, Injeongjeon Hall; Seonjeongjeon Hall, and a beautiful traditional garden to the rear of the main buildings. The palace also contains Nakseonjae, a compound of exquisite traditional buildings set up in the mid-19th century as a residence for members of the royal family.

Injeongjeon Hall in Changdeokgung Palace The Palace Hall was used for important state events such as the Coronation of Kings, royal audiences, and formal reception of foreign envoys.


Jongmyo Shrine Jongmyo, located in Hunjeong-dong, Jongno-gu in Seoul, is the royal ancestral shrine of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It was built to house eighty-three spirit tablets of the Joseon Kings, their Queen Consorts, and direct ancestors of the dynasty’s founder who were posthumously invested with royal titles. As Joseon was founded according to Confucian ideology, its rulers considered it very important to put Confucian teachings into practice and sanctify the institutions where ancestral memorial tablets were enshrined. The two main buildings at the Royal Shrine, Jeongjeon Hall and Yeongnyeongjeon Hall exhibit a fine symmetry, and there Jongmyo Shrine The central Confucian shrine of Joseon housing the spirit tablets of Joseon Kings and their Consorts


are differences in the height of the raised platform, the height to the eaves and the roof top, and the thickness of the columns according to their status. The entire sanctuary retains its original

features, including the two shrine halls which exhibit the unique architectural style of the 16th century. Seasonal memorial rites commemorating the life and achievements of the royal ancestors of Joseon are still performed at the shrine. Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon Located in today’s Jangan-gu of Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, Hwaseong is a large fortress (its walls extend for 5.7km) built in 1796 during the reign of King Jeongjo (r. 1776-1800) of the Joseon Dynasty. Construction of the fortress was begun after the King moved the grave of his father, Crown Prince Sado, from Yangju in Gyeonggi-do to its current location near the fortress. The fortification is elaborately and carefully designed to effectively perform its function of protecting the city enclosed within it. The construction of the fortress and related facilities involved the use of scientific devices developed by the distinguished Confucian thinker and writer Jeong Yak-yong (17621836), including the Geojunggi (type of crane) and Nongno (pulley wheel) used to lift heavy building materials such as stones. Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple Seokguram, located on the middle slopes of Tohamsan Mountain in Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, is a Buddhist hermitage with an artificial stone cave built in 774 to serve as a dharma hall. The hall houses an image of seated Buddha surrounded by his guardians and followers carved in relief, which is widely admired as a great masterpiece. The cave faces east and is designed so that the principal Buddha receives the first rays of the sun rising from the East Sea on his head. 67


Completed the same year as Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple consists of exquisite prayer halls and various monuments, including two stone pagodas, Dabotap and Seokgatap, standing in the front courtyard of the temple’s main prayer hall, Daeungjeon. The two pagodas are widely regarded as the finest extant Silla pagodas: the first is admired for its elaborately carved details, the second for its delightfully simple structure. Dabotap, or the Pagoda of Abundant Treasures, is marked by a unique structure built with elaborately carved granite blocks. It also features on the face of the Korean 10 won coin. By contrast, Seokgatap, or the Pagoda of Shakyamuni, is better known for its delightfully simple structure which exhibits fine symmetry and balance. The pagoda is now generally regarded as the archetype of all the three-story stone pagodas built across Korea thereafter. Among the other treasures preserved at the temple are the

1 2 3


1. Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon This 18th century fortification was built on the basis of the most advanced knowledge and techniques known to both East and West at that time. 2. Bulguksa Temple This Silla temple established in the 6th century is architecturally known for being one of the finest examples of Buddhist doctrine anywhere in the world. 3, 4. Seokguram Grotto The principal Buddha seated on a lofty lotus pedestal at the center of the grotto

two exquisite stone bridges, Cheongungyo (Blue Cloud Bridge) and Baegungyo (White Cloud Bridge), leading to Daeungjeon, the temple’s principal dharma hall. The bridges symbolize the journey every Buddhist needs to make to reach the Pure Land of Bliss. Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty The Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) left behind a total of fortyfour tombs of its Kings and their Queen Consorts, most of which are located in and around the capital area including the cities of Guri, Goyang and Namyangju in Gyeonggi-do. Some of these Royal Tombs are arranged in small groups in the Donggureung, Seooreung, Seosamneung and Hongyureung. Of these, forty tombs are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Royal Tombs of Joseon are highly regarded as tangible 69

heritage that reflect the values held by the Korean people, which

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were drawn from Confucian ideology and the feng shui tradition.

1. Donggureung A complex of Royal Tombs built for nine Joseon Kings and their seventeen Queens and Concubines. 2. Yeongneung The tomb of King Sejong and his consort Queen Soheon 3. Mongneung The tomb of King Seonjo and his consort Queen Inmok

These historical remains are also valued highly for having been preserved in their original condition for anywhere from one to six hundred years. Janggyeongpanjeon Depositories of Haeinsa Temple, Hapcheon The Printing Woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana, which was made during the Goryeo Period (918-1392), are housed in two depositories specially made for that purpose in 1488 at Haeinsa Temple. As the oldest remaining buildings at the temple, the Tripitaka depositories are marked by the uniquely scientific and highly effective method of controlling ventilation and moisture to ensure the safe storage of the age-old woodblocks. The buildings were built side by side at the highest point (about 700m above sea level) in the precincts of Haeinsa Temple, which is located on the mid-slope of Gayasan Mountain.

Stone Warrior, Guardian of the Royal Tombs Each of the royal tombs of Joseon consists of one or more semispherical mounds protected with curb stones set around the base, and with elaborately carved stone railings and stone animals, including a lamb and a tiger in particular, representing meekness and ferocity. In the front area there is a rectangular stone table that was used for offering sacrifices to the spirits of the royalty buried there, a tall octagonal stone pillar, a stone lantern, one or more pairs of stone guardians, and civil and military officials, with their horses. The mound is further protected by a low wall standing at the back and on both sides.



What makes these depositories so special is their unique design which provides effective natural ventilation by exploiting the wind blowing in from the valley of Gayasan. Open lattice windows of different sizes are arranged in upper and lower rows on both the front and rear walls of the depositories to promote the optimum flow of air from the valley. Similarly, the floor, which was built by ramming layers of charcoal, clay, sand, salt and lime powder, also helps to control the humidity of the rooms. Namhansanseong Fortress Namhansanseong Fortress, located about 25km southeast of Seoul, underwent large-scale restructuring in 1626, during the Namhansanseong Fortress A mountain fortress that served as a temporary capital during the Joseon Dynasty, showing how the techniques for building a fortress developed during the 7th-19th centuries


reign of King Injo of the Joseon Dynasty, to create a refuge for the King and his people in the event of a national emergency. The foundations of Jujangseong Fortress, built almost one thousand years earlier in 672, during the reign of King Munmu of Unified Silla, served as the base of the renovated structure.

The defensive position of the fortress was reinforced by exploiting the rugged topography of the mountain (average height: at least 480m). The perimeter of its wall is about 12.3km. According to a record dating from the Joseon Period, about 4,000 people lived in the town built inside the fortress. Temporary palaces, Jongmyo Shrine, and Sajikdan Altar were built in the fortress in 1711 during the reign of King Sukjong of Joseon. The fortress is also a result of the wide-ranging exchanges made and wars waged between Korea (Joseon), Japan (AzuchiMomoyama Period), and China (Ming and Qing) during the 16th-18th centuries. The introduction of cannons from western countries brought many changes to the weaponry inside the fortress and the way the fortress was built. The fortress is a “living record� of the changes in the way fortresses were built during the 7th-19th centuries.

Hunminjeongeum Manuscript The pages shown here contain a commentary on the three sounds, first, middle and last, that form the sound of a Korean character

Memory of the World Register Hunminjeongeum (The Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People) Hangeul is the name of the Korean writing system and alphabet, which consists of letters inspired by the shapes formed by the human vocal organs during speech, making it very easy to learn and use. Hangeul was promulgated in 1446 by King Sejong, who helped devise it and named it Hunminjeongeum, or The Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People. It was also in that same year that he ordered his scholars to publish The Hunminjeongeum 73

haeryebon (Explanatory Edition) to provide detailed explanations of the purpose and guiding principles of the new writing system. One of these manuscripts is currently in the collection of the Kansong Art Museum and was included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 1997. The invention of the Hunminjeongeum opened up a broad new horizon for all the Korean people, even women and those in the lowest social class, enabling them to learn to read and write and express themselves fully. The Hunminjeongeum alphabet originally consisted of 28 letters, but only 24 are used now. In 1989, UNESCO joined the Korean government to create the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize, which it awards to organizations or individuals who display great merit and achieve particularly effective results in contributing to the promotion of literacy. Joseon Wangjo Sillok: Annals of the Joseon Dynasty The Joseon Dynasty left behind a vast collection of annual records of Joseon rulers and their officials covering the 472 years from 1392 to 1863. The records, Joseon wangjo sillok (Annals of the Joseon Dynasty), comprise 2,077 volumes and are stored at the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies, Seoul National University. The annals of each Joseon ruler were usually compiled after his death during the early phase of his successor’s rule based on the daily accounts, called “historical drafts” (sacho), made by historiographers. The annals are regarded as extremely valuable historical resources as they contain detailed information about the politics, economy, culture and other aspects of Joseon society. Once the annals had been compiled and placed in the “history 74

depositories� (sago), they would not be opened to anyone except in special circumstances where it was necessary to refer to past examples with regard to the formal conduct of important state ceremonies such as the memorial rites for royal ancestors or the reception of foreign envoys. Originally there were four history depositories, one in the Chunchugwan (Office of State Records) at the Royal Court, and three more in the main regional administrative hubs in the south, namely, Chungju, Jeonju and Seongju. However, these were destroyed in 1592 when Japan invaded Korea, and the Joseon Dynasty was compelled to build new depositories on some of the remotest mountains in the country, Myohyangsan, Taebaeksan, Odaesan and Manisan. Seungjeongwon Ilgi: Diaries of the Royal Secretariat This collection of documents contains the records of the Joseon rulers’ public life and their interactions with the bureaucracy; they were made on a daily basis by the Seungjeongwon, or Royal Secretariat, from the third month of 1623 to the eighth month

Ilseongnok Private journals concerning personal daily activities and state affairs kept by the rulers of late Joseon from 1760 to 1910

of 1910. The records are collected in 3,243 volumes and include the details of royal edicts, reports and appeals from ministries and other government agencies. The diaries are currently kept in the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies, Seoul National University. Ilseongnok: Daily Records of the Royal Court and Important Officials This vast collection of daily records made by the Kings of the late Joseon Period (from 1760 75

to 1910) is compiled in a total of 2,329 volumes. The records provide vivid and detailed information on the political situation in and around Korea and the ongoing cultural exchanges between east and west from the 18th to the 20th century. Uigwe: Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty This collection of beautifully illustrated books contains official manuals recording the details of Court Ceremonies or events of national importance for the purpose of future reference. The most frequently treated subjects in these books are Royal Weddings, the investiture of Queens and Crown Princes, State and Royal Funerals, and the construction of Royal Tombs, although other state or royal occasions such as the “Royal Ploughing”, construction or renovation of Palace buildings, are included. As for the latter, those published to mark the construction of Hwaseong Fortress and King Jeongjo’s formal visit to the new walled city in the late 18th century are particularly famous. These publications were also stored in the history depositories, sadly resulting in the destruction of early Joseon works by fire during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in Protocol on the Marriage of King Yeongjo and Queen Jeongsun (Joseon, 18th century) This is a manual of the state ceremony held for the marriage between King Yeongjo, the 21st ruler of Joseon, and Queen Jeongsun in 1759



The remaining 3,895 volumes of Uigwe

were published after the war, some of which were stolen by the French Army in 1866 and kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France until 2011, when they were returned to Korea following an agreement between the governments of Korea and France.

Printing Woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana and Miscellaneous Buddhist Scriptures The collection of Tripitaka woodblocks stored at Haeinsa Temple (established 802) in Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnamdo was made during the Goryeo Period (918-1392) under a national project that started in 1236 and took fifteen years to complete. The collection is generally known by the name Palman Daejanggyeong, literally “the Tripitaka of eighty thousand woodblocks,” as it consists of 81, 258 blocks of wood. The Tripitaka Koreana woodblocks were made by the people of Goryeo who sought the Buddha’s magical power to repel the Mongol forces that had invaded and devastated their country in the 13th century. The Tripitaka Koreana is often compared with other Tripitaka editions produced by the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties in China, and has been highly praised for its richer and more complete content. The process of manufacturing the woodblocks played an important role in the development of printing and publication techniques in Korea.

Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks A total of over 80,000 woodblocks carved with the entire canon of Buddhist scriptures available to Goryeo in the 13th century

Human Rights Documentary Heritage 1980: Archives of the May 18th Democratic Uprising in Gwangju The May 18th Gwangju Uprising was a popular rebellion that took place in the city of Gwangju from May 18 to 27 1980, during which Gwangju’s citizens made a strong plea for democracy in Korea and actively opposed the then military dictatorship. The pro-democracy 77

struggle in Gwangju ended tragically but exerted a powerful influence on similar democratic movements that spread across East Asia in the 1980s. This UNESCO inscription consists of the documents, videos, photographs and other forms of records made about the activities of Gwangju’s citizens during the movement, and the subsequent process of compensation for the victims, as collected by the May 18 Memorial Foundation, the National Archives and Records Service, the National Assembly Library, and various organizations in the USA. Representative List of the Intangible Jongmyo Jeryeak (Royal Ancestral Rite and Ritual Music at Jongmyo Shrine) The Royal Ancestral Memorial Rite held seasonally at the Jongmyo Shrine involves the performance of the civil and military dances Munmu and Mumu.


Cultural Heritage of Humanity Royal Ancestral Rite and Ritual Music The Royal Ancestral Rite (Jongmyo Jerye) now held on the first Sunday of May to honor the deceased Joseon Kings and their Queen Consorts at the Jongmyo Shrine in Seoul remained one of the most important state ceremonies after the establishment

of Joseon as a Confucian state in 1392. Designed to maintain the social order and promote solidarity, the ritual consists of performances of ceremonial orchestral music and dances praising the civil and military achievements of the Royal ancestors of Joseon. This age-old Confucian ritual combining splendid performances of music and dance is widely admired not only for the preservation of original features formed over 500 years ago, but also for its unique syncretic or composite art form. Pansori Pansori is a genre of musical storytelling performed by a vocalist and a single drummer in which he or she combines singing (sori) with gestures (ballim) and narrative (aniri) to present an epic drama conceived from popular folk tales and well known historic events. The art form was established during the 18th century and has generated enthusiastic performers and audiences ever since. Gangneung Danoje Festival This summer festival held in and around Gangneung, Gangwondo, for about 30 days from the fifth day of the fifth lunar month to Dano Day on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, is one of Korea’s oldest folk festivals and has been preserved more or less in its original form since its emergence many centuries ago. The festival starts with the traditional ritual of honoring the mountain god of Daegwallyeong and continues with a great variety of folk games, events and rituals during which prayers are offered for a good harvest, the peace and prosperity of villages and individual homes, and communal unity and solidarity. The first event of the Danoje Festival is related to the 79

Gangneung Danoje Festival A masked couple dancing at the Gwanno Mask Dance during the Danoje Festival, which is held to celebrate the change of the seasons from spring to summer.

preparation of “divine drinks� (sinju) to be offered to gods and goddesses, thus linking the human world with the divine world. This is followed by a variety of festive events such as the Gwanno Mask Dance, a non-verbal performance by masked players, swing riding, ssireum (Korean wrestling), street performances by farmers’ bands, changpo (iris) hair washing, and surichwi rice cake eating. Of these, the changpo hair washing event is particularly widely practiced by women who believe that the extract of changpo will give them glossier hair and repel the evil spirits that are thought to bear diseases. Ganggangsullae This traditional event combining a circle dance with singing and folk games was performed by women around the coastal areas of Jeollanam-do during traditional holidays such as Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival/Thanksgiving) and the Daeboreum (the first full moon of the New Year on the lunar calendar) in particular.


While today only the dance part is selected to be performed by professional dancers, the original performance included several different folk games such as Namsaengi n ori (Namsadang vagabond clowns’ play), deokseok mori (straw mat rolling) and gosari kkeokgi (bracken shoot picking). The performers sing the Song of Ganggangsullae as they dance, and the singing is done alternately by the lead singer and the rest with the tempo of the song and dance movements becoming faster and faster towards the end. Namsadang Nori Namsadang n ori, generally performed by an itinerant troupe of male performers, consisted of several distinct parts including pungmul n ori (music and dance), jultagi (tightrope walking), daejeop dolligi (plate spinning), gamyeongeuk (mask theater) and kkokdugaksi noreum (puppet theater). The performers also played instruments while they danced, such as the barrel buk (drum), janggu (hourglass-shaped drum), kkwaenggwari (small metal gong), jing (large metal gong), and two wind instruments called nabal and taepyeongso. Yeongsanjae Yeongsanjae, literally meaning “Rites of Vulture Peak”, is a Buddhist ritual performed on the 49th day after a person’s death to comfort his or her spirit, and guide it to the Buddhist land of bliss. The ritual, known to have been performed since the Goryeo Period (918-1392), consists of solemn Buddhist music and dance, a sermon on the Buddha’s teachings, and a prayer recitation. While it is an essential part of the Korean Buddhist tradition 81


conducted to guide both the living and the dead to the realm of Buddhist truths and to help them liberate themselves from all defilement and suffering, it was sometimes performed for the peace and prosperity of both the state and the people. Jeju Chilmeoridang Yeongdeunggut This age-old shamanic ritual was at one time performed in almost all the towns and villages in Jejudo, with worshippers praying for a good catch and the safety of fishermen working at sea. According to the traditional folk belief of Jejudo islanders the second lunar month is the month of Yeongdeung, during which Grandma Yeongdeung, a wind deity, visits all the villages, farming fields and homes across Jeju, bearing tidings about the harvest in the oncoming autumn. Taekkyeon One of the surviving traditional martial arts developed in Korea, Taekkyeon, which is quite different from Taekwondo, used to be known by several different names such as Gakhui (“sport of legs”) and Bigaksul (“art of flying legs”), although such names suggest that it is related with the movement of kicking. Like most other martial arts in which weapons are not used, Taekkyeon is aimed at improving one’s self-defence techniques and promoting physical and mental health through the practice of orchestrated dance-like bodily movements, using the feet and legs in particular. Contestants are encouraged to focus more on defence than on offense, and to throw the opponent to the ground using their hands and feet or jump up and kick him in the face to win a match.

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1. Falconry It was once a serious activity conducted to gain food but now an outdoor sport seeking a unity with nature 2. Namsadang Nori Performance presented by a traveling troupe of about 40 performers led by a percussionist called Kkokdusoe 3. Yeongsanjae A Buddhist memorial ritual performed on the 49th day after one’s death to guide the spirit to the pure land of bliss 4. Pansori Performance of a solo artist assisted by a drummer where singing is combined with dramatic narratives and gestures to present a long, epic story (National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts)


Jultagi In the traditional Korean art of jultagi (tightrope walking), a tightrope walker performs a variety of acrobatic movements, as well as singing and comic storytelling, as he walks along a tightrope. He is generally assisted by an eorit gwangdae (clown) on the ground who responds to his words and movements with witty remarks and comic actions intended to elicit an amused response from the spectators. Tightrope walking was formally performed at the Royal Court to celebrate special occasions such as the (Lunar) New Year’s Day or to entertain special guests such as foreign envoys. However the aspiration of Joseon’s rulers towards a more austere lifestyle gradually pushed it toward villages and markets, and it ultimately became an entertainment for the common people. Whilst tightrope walking in other countries tends to focus on the walking techniques alone, Korean tightrope walkers are interested in songs and comedy as well as acrobatic stunts, thereby involving the spectators more intimately in the performance. Falconry Korea has a long tradition of keeping and training falcons and 1 2

other raptors to seize quarry, such as wild pheasants or hares. Archaeological and historical evidence show that falconry on

1. Taekkyeon A traditional Korean martial art marked by elegant yet powerful physical movements

the Korean peninsula started several thousand years ago and

2. Jultagi Performance of tightrope walking combined with singing, comedy and acrobatic movements

south, and was conducted usually during the winter season


was widely practiced during the Goryeo Period (918-1392) in particular. The sport was more popular in the north than in the when farmers were free from farm work. Falconers would tie a leather string around the ankle of their bird and an ID tag


and a bell to its tail. The Korean tradition was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010 along with those preserved in eleven other countries around the world including the Czech Republic, France, Mongolia, Spain, and Syria.

Arirang The most widely loved of all Korean folk songs, Arirang features the refrain “Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo.”

Arirang Arirang is the name of a folk song sung by Korean people since olden times. There are many variations of the song, although the lyrics of their refrains have the words “arirang” or “arari” in common. The song was sung for many different purposes such as to reduce feelings of boredom during work, confess one’s true feelings to one’s beloved, pray to the divine being for a happy and peaceful life, and to entertain people gathered together for a celebration. One element that has helped Arirang remain in the hearts of Korean people for so many years is its form, which is designed to allow any singer to easily add their own words to express their feelings. The importance of Arirang in the daily life of the Korean people is succinctly described in an essay, Korean Vocal Music, written in 1896 by Homer B. Hulbert (1863-1949), an American missionary and ardent supporter of Korean independence: “The first and most conspicuous of this class is that popular ditty of seven hundred and eighty-two verses, more or less, which goes under the euphonious title of A-ri-rang. To the average Korean this one song holds the same place in music that rice does in his food—all else is mere appendage. You hear it everywhere and at all times. The verses which are sung in connection with this chorus range through the whole field of legend, folklore, lullabies, drinking



songs, domestic life, travel and love. To the Korean they are lyric, didactic and epic all rolled into one. They are at once Mother Goose and Byron, Uncle Remus and Wordsworth.� Kimjang: Making and Sharing Kimchi in Korea Kimjang is the activity of making kimchi that is conducted all over Korea during late autumn as part of the preparations to secure fresh, healthy food for the winter season. Now gaining a worldwide reputation as a representative Korean food, kimchi has always been one of the key side dishes required to complete the everyday meals eaten by Korean people since olden times. That is why Kimjang has long been an annual event of paramount importance for entire families and communities across Korea. The preparations for making kimchi for the winter season follow a yearly cycle. In spring, households procure a selection of seafood including shrimps and anchovies in particular, which they salt and leave to ferment until they are ready for use in the


Kimjang season. They then obtain fine-quality sun-dried sea salt in summer and prepare red chili powder and the main ingredients, kimchi cabbage and Korean white radish, in autumn. Then, with winter approaching, members of families and communities alike gather together on a mutually agreed date to make kimchi in sufficient quantities to sustain families with fresh food through the long, harsh winter. While Korea is now a modern, industrialized nation, the ageold tradition of making kimchi is still maintained as a collective cultural activity contributing to a shared sense of social identity and solidarity among today’s Korean people. The tradition was registered by UNESCO on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on December 5, 2013.



World Heritage Sites 1

Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple Archetypes of Buddhist architecture developed in Silla. Location Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do Website

2 Janggyeongpanjeon Depositories of Haeinsa Temple, Hapcheon The oldest buildings at Haeinsa Temple, storing over 80,000 woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana. Location Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do Website 3 Jongmyo Shrine A Confucian shrine storing the memorial tablets of Joseon’s Kings and their Queen Consorts. Location Jongno-gu, Seoul Website 4 Changdeokgung Palace The official Royal Palace of the Joseon Dynasty for 258 years from 1610 to 1868. Location Jongno-gu, Seoul Website 5 Hwaseong Fortress An architectural masterpiece of Joseon fortifications combining beauty and practicality. Location Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do Website 6 Gyeongju Historic Areas The well preserved remains of Gyeongju, the capital of Silla for one millennium. Location Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do Website 7 Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites Countless lithic monuments dating from prehistoric Korea. Location Gochang-gun of Jeollabuk-do, Hwasun-gun of Jeollanam-do, and Ganghwa-gun of Incheon 8 Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes Volcanic cones and lava tubes formed by eruptions of Hallasan Mountain, the highest mountain in South Korea Location Hallasan Mountain, Geomunoreum, and Ilchulbong of Seongsan, Jejudo Island Website 9 Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty Fifty-three Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty preserved in their original condition. Location Seocho-gu of Seoul, and Guri-si and Yeoju-si in Gyeongggi-do


10 Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong Villages formed by aristocratic families of Joseon based on Confucian ideology. Location Andong-si and Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 11 Namhansanseong A Mountain fortress that served as a temporary capital during the Joseon Dynasty, showing how the techniques for building a fortress developed during the 7th -19th centuries Location Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do 12 Baekje Historic Areas Location Gongju-si and Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do Iksan-si, Jellabuk-do



Memory of the World 13

Hunminjeongeum (The Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People) A single-volume xylographic book printed in 1446, containing commentaries on the Korean writing system.


Joseon Wangjo Sillok: Annals of the Joseon Dynasty A huge collection of the annals of the Joseon dynasty from 1392 to 1863, bound in 1,893 volumes in 888 books. Website


Baegun Hwasang Chorok Buljo Jikji Simche Yojeol (vol. II), the second volume of an “Anthology of Great Buddhist Priests' Zen Teachings” An advanced-level textbook published for monk-scholars in medieval Korea. Website


Seungjeongwon Ilgi: Diaries of the Royal Secretariat Daily records of Joseon’s rulers, containing a wealth of historical information. Website


Uigwe: Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty Rare and exquisite collections of illustrated records on important state and royal occasions of the Joseon Dynasty. Website

18 Printing Woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana and Miscellaneous Buddhist Scriptures A superb collection of the Buddhist canon of scriptures carved on 80,000 woodblocks, providing valuable information on the politics, culture and philosophy of Goryeo in the 13th century. Website












Dongui Bogam: Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine An encyclopedic work on medicine developed in East Asia since ancient times.


Ilseongnok: Daily Records of the Royal Court and Important Officials Diaries kept by Joseon rulers between 1752 and 1910, containing records of state affairs and the daily activities of Joseon’s Kings.


Human Rights Documentary Heritage 1980 Archives for the May 18th Democratic Uprising against Military Regime, in Gwangju A vast collection of documents, videos, photographs, etc. on the democratic movements that spread in and around Gwangju in May 1980.

22 Nanjung Ilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin A collection of private journals kept by Admiral Yi Sun-sin, recording his daily activities and battle situations during the Imjin Waeran (Japanese Invasion, 1592 1598). 23 The Archives of Saemaeul Undong A collection of historical records on the Saemaeul Undong (“New Community Movement”), an exemplary movement that led to the successful development of farming communities and the eradication of poverty in the 1970s

Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity 24 The Royal Ancestral Rituals and Music at the Jongmyo Shrine A traditional performance of music, song and dance presented during the memorial rite held at the Royal Ancestral Shrine 25 Pansori The traditional art of the dramatic song performed by a solo performer to the accompaniment of a single drummer, presenting an epic story by combining singing, narratives and gestures. 26 Gangneung Danoje Festival A time-honored summer festival held on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.


27 Ganggangsullae A traditional folk entertainment with singing and dancing performed by women to celebrate moon festivals. 28 Namsadang Nori Folk performances traditionally presented to rural communities by an itinerant troupe of about forty performers (Namsadang) led by the chief musician (Kkokdusoe).

29 Yeongsanjae A Buddhist ritual performed to comfort and guide the spirits of the dead to the Buddhist land of bliss. 30 Jeju Chilmeoridang Yeongdeunggut A traditional shamanic ritual practiced at Chilmeoridang, a shrine for the village tutelary of Geonip-dong, Jeju-si. 31 Cheoyongmu A Court dance performed by five dancers wearing Cheoyong masks and costumes in five cardinal colors. 32

Gagok, Lyric Song Cycles Accompanied by an Orchestra Traditional vocal music performed by putting a poem to a melody with an accompaniment of orchestral music.

33 Daemokjang, Traditional Wooden Architecture The art of building traditional works of architecture designed and supervised by a master builder. 34 Falconry The traditional art of keeping falcons and training them to hunt for quarry. 35 Jultagi A traditional folk entertainment in which a tightrope walker performs acrobatic movements and tells comic stories as he walks along the rope. 36 Taekkyeon A traditional Korean martial art practiced for self-defence purposes and known to be beneficial to one’s physical and mental health. 37

Weaving of Mosi (Fine Ramie) in the Hansan Region The tradition of weaving ramie, a fine-quality fabric used for the production of summer clothing, preserved in Hansan.

38 Arirang A folk song with many variations cherished by the Korean people throughout history. 39 Kimjang, Making and Sharing Kimchi in Korea The cultural tradition of preparing for and making kimchi to be eaten during the winter season, typically with the participation of an entire family or community. 40 Nongak Community band music, dance and rituals in the Republic of Korea

For further information on Korea’s cultural heritage, please visit ‘’. 91

Performance of Yeomillak (“Joy of the People”), court music composed during the reign of King Sejong in the 15th century.

Traditional Arts Gugak The term gugak, which literally means “national music,” refers to traditional Korean music and other related art forms including songs, dances and ceremonial movements. The history of music in Korea should be as long as Korean history itself, but it was only in the early 15th century, during the reign of King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), that Korean music became a subject of serious study and was developed into a system, resulting in the creation of the oldest mensural notation system, called jeongganbo, in Asia. King Sejong’s efforts to reform the court music led not only to the creation of Korea’s own notation system but also to the composition of a special ritual music to be performed during


the Royal Ancestral Rite at the Jongmyo Shrine—inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2001—and Yeomillak, or “Joy of the People.” The term gugak was first used by the Jangagwon, a government agency of late Joseon responsible for music, to distinguish traditional Korean music from foreign music. Traditional Korean music is typically classified into several types: the “legitimate music” (called jeongak or jeongga) enjoyed by the royalty and aristocracy of Joseon; folk music including pansori, sanjo and japga; jeongjae (court music and dance) performed for the King at celebratory state events; music and dance connected with shamanic and Buddhist traditions such as salpuri, seungmu, and beompae; and poetic songs beloved of 93

the literati elite such as gagok and sijo. Of the numerous folk songs, Arirang—inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012—is particularly cherished by the common people as there are many variations with special lyrics and melodies devised to touch their hearts. The Korean people have also developed a wide range of musical instruments. These traditional musical instruments are generally divided into three categories: wind instruments such as the piri, daegeum, danso and taepyeongso; stringed instruments such as the gayageum, geomungo, haegeum, ajaeng and bipa; and percussion instruments such as the buk, janggu, pyeonjong, Buchaechum (Fan Dance) A traditional form of Korean dance usually performed by groups of female dancers holding fans with floral designs on them.


pyeongyeong, kkwaenggwari and jing. Folk Dance Korean people have inherited a great variety of folk dances such as salpurichum (spiritual purification dance), gutchum (shamanic

ritual dance), taepyeongmu (dance of peace), hallyangchum (idler’s dance), buchaechum (fan dance), geommu (sword dance), and seungmu (monk’s dance). Of these, talchum (mask dance) and pungmul nori (play with musical instruments) are known for their satirical targeting of the corrupt aristocracy of Joseon and their close connection with rural communities, which had long been the bedrock of Korean culture and tradition. Most performances are presented in a marketplace or on the fields and involve drumming, dancing, and singing. Painting and Calligraphy Painting has always been a major genre of Korean art since ancient times. The art of ancient Korea is represented by the tomb murals of Goguryeo (37 BCE – 668) which contain valuable clues

“Myeong-Seon (Meditation with Tea)” by Kim Jeong-hui (penname: Chusa, 17861856) (Joseon, 19th century)

to the beliefs of the early Korean people about humanity and the universe as well as to their artistic sensibilities and techniques. The artists of Goryeo (918-1392) were interested in capturing Buddhist icons and bequeathed some great masterpieces, while the literati elite of Joseon was more attracted to the symbolism of plants and animals, such as the Four Noble Lords (Sagunja, namely, the orchid, chrysanthemum, bamboo, and plum tree) and the Ten Creatures of Longevity (Sipjangsaeng), as well as idealized landscapes. Korea in the 18th century saw the arrival of two great artists, Kim Hong-do and Sin Yun-bok, both of whom developed a passionate interest in depicting the daily activities of ordinary 95

Ssireum (Korean Wrestling) by Kim Hong-do (1745-1806) This genre painting by Kim Hong-do, one of the greatest painters of the late Joseon Period, vividly captures a scene of traditional Korean wrestling where two competing wrestlers are surrounded by engrossed spectators.


people in their work. Kim Hong-do preferred depicting a kaleidoscope of people in various situations and scenes of everyday life, whereas Sin Yun-bok, for his part, devoted his efforts to capturing erotic moments in works that were surprisingly voyeuristic for the period. Calligraphy, which developed in Korea under the influence of China, is the art of handwriting in which the beauty of the lines and forms of characters and the energy contained in brush strokes and subtle shades of ink are appreciated. While calligraphy is an independent genre of art, it has been closely related with ink and wash painting since these forms use similar techniques and the tools commonly called the “four friends of the study� (i.e. paper, brush, ink stick and ink stone). Korea has produced an abundance of master calligraphers of whom Kim Jeong-hui (1786-1856) is particularly famous for developing his own style, which is known as Chusache or Chusa Style (Chusa was his pen name). His calligraphic works fascinated even the Chinese masters of his time and are still widely admired for their remarkably modern artistic beauty. Pottery Korean pottery, which nowadays attracts the highest praise from international collectors, is typically divided into three groups: Cheongja (blue-green celadon), Buncheong (slip-coated stoneware), and Baekja (white porcelain). Celadon refers to Korean stoneware which underwent major development in the hands of Goryeo potters some 700 to 1,000 years ago. Celadon pottery is marked by an attractive jade blue surface and the unique Korean inlay technique used to decorate it. Gangjin of Jeollanam-do 97

Kiln Site in Gangjin, Jeollanam-do The remains of ancient kilns can be seen in Gangjin, which was one of the main producers of celadon wares during the Goryeo period.

and Buan of Jeollabuk-do were its two main producers during the Goryeo Period (918-1392). White porcelain ware represents the ceramic art of the Joseon Period (1392-1910). While some of these porcelain wares display a milky white surface, many are decorated with a great variety of designs painted in oxidized iron, copper, or the priceless cobalt blue pigment imported from Persia via China. The Royal Court of Joseon ran its own kilns in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, producing products of the very highest quality. The advanced techniques used in the production of white porcelain wares were introduced to Japan by Joseon potters kidnapped during the Imjin Waeran (Japanese Invasion of Korea, 1592-1598). The third main group of Korean pottery, Buncheong, was made by Goryeo potters after the fall of their Kingdom in 1392. This type of pottery is characterized by its slip-coated surface and delightfully simple decorative designs created using several different techniques. 98

1 3

2 4

1. Celadon Melon-shaped Bottle (Goryeo, 12th century) 2. Celadon Jar with Peony Design (Goryeo, 12th century) 3. Buncheong Bottle with Lotus and Vine Design (Joseon, 15th century) 4. White Porcelain Bottle with String Design in Underglaze Iron (Joseon, 16th century) (Source: National Museum of Korea)


Handicrafts In the past Korean craftsmen and women developed a wide range of techniques to produce the items they needed at home. They made pieces of wooden furniture such as wardrobes, cabinets and tables marked by a keen eye for balance and symmetry, and wove beautiful baskets, boxes and mats with bamboo, wisteria or lespedeza. They used Korean mulberry paper to make masks, dolls and ceremonial ornaments, and decorated diverse household objects with black and red lacquer harvested from nature. Later they developed the art of using beautifully dyed oxhorn strips, and iridescent mother-of-pearl and abalone shell to decorate furniture. Embroidery, decorative knot making (maedeup) and natural dyeing were also important elements of traditional Korean arts and crafts, which were widely exploited to make attractive garments, household objects and personal fashion ornaments.

Two-tier Chest This exquisite wooden chest used for storing clothes is lavishly decorated with a motherof-pearl inlay design. (The National Folk Museum of Korea)


1 2

3 4

1. Women’s toiletry cases 2. Naturally dyed fabrics 3. Embroidered accessories 4. Korean mulberry paper dolls


Hallyu (Korean Wave) A term now widely used to refer to the popularity of Korean entertainment and culture across Asia and other parts of the world, Hallyu or the “Korean Wave” first appeared during the mid-1990s after Korea entered into diplomatic relations with China in 1992 and Korean TV dramas and pop music gained great popularity in Chinese-speaking communities. When one of the first successful TV dramas, What Is Love?, was aired by CCTV in 1997, it had an audience rating of 4.2%, meaning that over 150 million Chinese viewers watched it. Korean pop music, especially dance music, began to gain popularity among Chinese teenagers after it was introduced in earnest in 1997 by a radio program called Seoul Music Room broadcast from Beijing. The decisive moment in igniting Korean pop culture fever in China was the concert of Korean boy band H.O.T., held at the Beijing Workers' Gymnasium in February 2000. Korean news reports used the term Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, in describing this concert. The Korean Wave, acknowledged in an article published by Beijing Youth Daily as early as November 1999, began to finally be recognized by “Gangnam Style” by Psy The Psy’s “Gangnam Style” took the world by storm with the horse riding dance. It became the first K-Pop title to break into and top the UK Official Singles Chart Top 40 in 2012. The song also spent seven weeks at the #2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The photo shows Psy performing for his Korean fans gathered at the Seoul City Hall Plaza the same year.


Koreans themselves from this point. The Korean Wave landed in Japan in 2003 when the KBS TV drama series Winter Sonata was aired via NHK. The drama became an instant mega hit, making its male hero, Yon Sama, a household name, compelling his enthusiastic Japanese fans to visit various film locations, including Namiseom Island, in Korea. The ‘Korean Wave’ craze has expanded to Korean traditional culture, food, literature and language, creating more and more enthusiasts. According to the latest figures, there were 987



Hallyu-related organizations as of July 2013 with a combined membership of 9 million people. A great majority of these organizations are K-Pop fan clubs, but lately new groups of people whose interests are more diverse have begun to emerge. K-Pop One area that is growing more rapidly than any other is 21st century K-Pop, or Korean pop music, which spans dance-pop, pop ballads, techno, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and so on. First gaining popularity in East Asia, K-Pop entered the Japanese music market towards the turn of the 21st century, and grew from a musical genre into a subculture among teenagers and young adults of East and Southeast Asia. Currently, the spread of K-Pop to other regions of the world, via the Korean Wave, is seen in parts of Latin America, Northeast India, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and immigrant enclaves of the Western world. The rise of K-Pop on the global stage is probably best represented by Psy’s Gangnam Style, which swept the world as soon as it was released in late 2012. The song was the first K-Pop title reach No. 1 on the British Official Singles Chart, took 2nd place on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the US, and also topped the charts in more than 30 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Canada, and Australia. The YouTube video of the song has been watched by more people than any other, with over 2 billion so far. The worldwide success of “Gangnam Style” was preceded by a surge of K-Pop idol groups, such as TVXQ, Super Junior, Big Bang, 2NE1, Beast, Girls’ Generation, 2PM and Wonder Girls, who

1 2

Two leading K-Pop idol groups: Big Bang (above) and 2NE1 (below)


K-Pop fans in Spain

dominated pop music markets across Asia. TVXQ had a total of 65 tour concerts in Japan from 2006 to 2012, bringing together about 700,000 fans and selling over 6.3 million albums, while in late 2009 Wonder Girls became the first Korean group to enter the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with the song “Nobody�. The popularity of K-Pop singers is largely based on their excellent vocal abilities, dazzling stage presence and wellchoreographed, impeccable dance performances among other things. While they may look comfortable and charismatic on stage, their performance is the result of many years of hard work rather than any inborn talent. More recently, K-Pop idol groups have tended to be more interested in joint performances with other performers contracted with the same agency. One of the most successful events of this kind took place in June 2011 when the artists of SM Entertainment staged a joint concert at Le Zenith de Paris in the French capital, attracting over 7,000 fans. The event is regarded as 106

an important momentum for K-Pop artists to be received more seriously by the European music market. The year 2011 saw similar events held in several different cities around the world, starting with a K-Pop Festival that attracted over 45,000 fans to the Tokyo Dome in July. JYJ had concerts in Spain and Germany, and the artists of CUBE Entertainment performed in Britain and Brazil. In October, Girls’ Generation held a special concert at Madison Square Garden in New York whose success was covered on the front page of New York Daily News with a large photo of a concert scene and the rather sensational headline, “Attack of the K-Pop Stars.” In February the following year, another major K-Pop festival was held at the Palais Omnisports Bercy Stadium in Paris with over 10,000 fans coming from across Europe to fill the entire stadium. TV Dramas The great overseas success of What Is Love? (MBC) and Winter Sonata (KBS) in China and Japan played an important role in boosting the craze for Korean TV dramas across Asia and beyond. These hits were followed by Dae Jang Geum (MBC), an epic TV series about an orphaned kitchen cook who went on to become the King's first female physician. Originally aired between 2003 and 2004, the drama became one of the highest-rated TV dramas in Korea before being exported to 87 countries around the world —including the Islamic states like Iran where it received as much as 80% of the viewers—to fascinate viewers with its portrayal of traditional Korean culture such as Korean Royal Court cuisine and traditional costumes and medicinal knowledge. The remarkable success story of Korean TV dramas continued 107

K-Dramas that have charmed overseas viewers: Big Thing (left) and Love Rain (right)

in the 2010s with Big Thing (SBS, 2010), Giant (SBS, 2010), Secret Garden (SBS, 2011), Love Rain (KBS, 2012) and That Winter, The Wind Blows (SBS, 2013). Of these, Love Rain was exported to Japan for KRW 9 billion and That Winter, the Wind Blows to some local broadcasters in North America as well as ten Asian countries including China and Japan. Movies The worldwide popularity of Korean pop culture resulted in the reemergence of Hallyu (Korean Wave) movie stars such as Bae Yong-joon (better known as Yon Sama in Japan), Jang Donggun, Lee Seo-jin, Kwon Sang-woo, Won Bin, Jang Keun-suk, Lee Byung-hun, Rain, Jun Ji-hyun and Bae Doona. Of these, the last four have appeared as main characters in Hollywood movies. The outstanding international reputation that certain K-movie directors and stars enjoy today is in part due to the international film festivals held in Korea including the Busan International Film 108

Festival (BIFF), the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) and the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan). International film communities have recently begun to show a keen interest in Korean films and film directors. The Korean directors who have attracted the attention of Western critics include Im Kwon-taek, Lee Chang-dong, Park Chan-wook, Hong Sang-soo, Kim Ki-duk, Kim Jee-woon, Im Sang-soo and Bong

Film Festivals in Korea

Busan International Film Festival (October 2-11, 2014) Quickly becoming a top Asian film festival after its launch in 1996, the BIFF provides the Asian movie community with an opportunity to present, watch, discuss and trade new films, documentaries, commercials, and independent films, both digital and analogue, amid worldwide media coverage.

Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (July 17-27, 2014) Held every July in Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do since 1997, BiFan presents Korean movie lovers with horror films, thrillers, mystery and fantasy movies produced in Korea and other Asian countries.

Jeonju International Film Festival (May 1-10, 2014) Launched in 2000 and held annually in Jeonju, the home of traditional Korean culture, the JIFF focuses upon films that are marked by their artistic creativity whilst challenging existing conventions.


Kim Ki-duk, Film Director Flanked by Lee Jung-jin and Jo Min-su (right) who acted in his film, Kim became the first Korean film director to win the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival with PietĂ .

Joon-ho, all of whom have produced masterpieces as if to reward their support and the expectations surrounding them, such as Strokes of Fire (2002) by Im Kwon-taek, Secret Sunshine by Lee Chang-dong (2007), Thirst (2009) by Park Chan-wook and The Taste of Money (2012) by Im Sang-soo. For Kim Ki-duk, a memorable moment came in September 2012 when he became the first Korean director to win the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival with PietĂ . He made his debut as a director in 1996, just three years after suspending his art studies for which he stayed in Paris from 1990 to 1993, and began to pour out such works as Birdcage Inn (1998), The Isle (2000), and 3-Iron (2004), causing controversy among film critics and audiences alike. Alongside him, Park Chan-wook, Kim Jee-woon and Bong Joon-ho who have all been successful both commercially and critically and have been invited to Hollywood to make films for the wider film going public. In 2012, The Thieves, a film by Choi Dong-hoon, was invited to compete at the Contemporary World 110

Cinema Program of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The increased interest in Korean films among Korean filmgoers has recently produced some mega box-office hits. The Thieves, for instance, attracted 12.98 million viewers in Korea alone, and was sold to eight Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Several other films also attracted more than ten million viewers including Masquerade (2012), Silmido (2003), Taegukgi (2004), The King and the Clown (2005), The Host (2006) and Haeundae (2009). Meanwhile, the Guanajuato International Film Festival designated Korea as the guest of honor in July 2011, and showed a total of 76 Korean films including Whispering Corridors and Bedeviled under programs focused on Korean Horror Films and two film directors, Bong Joon-ho and Kim Dong-won. Music The Korean classical music community has continued to produce artists of the highest international standard in both vocal and instrumental music. For instance, five young Korean artists won five prizes in the disciplines of piano, solo vocal and violin at the International Tchaikovsky Competition held in 2011, one of the top three international music competitions. Korea has continued to produce distinguished vocalists of whom Sumi Jo (soprano), Hong Hei-kyung (soprano), Shin Youngok (soprano), Kwangchul Youn (bass) and Samuel Yoon (bass baritone) are eagerly sought after by classical music lovers in many parts of the world. Regarding instrumental music, Yeol Eum Son (piano), Dong-hyek Lim (piano), Sarah Chang (violin) and Zia Hyunsu Shin (violin) regularly perform for their fans - mostly in 111

Korea, the USA, and various European countries. Lee Hee-ah, a four-fingered pianist, is also a widely acclaimed pianist not only for her great performances but also for her heroic fight against a challenging physical condition. They were preceded by Korea’s first generation of classical musicians, including two pianists, Han Tong-il and Kun-woo Paik, who fascinated international audiences between the 1950s and the 1970s and who still play to many enthusiastic fans. Myungwhun Chung, the current maestro of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, started his career in the world of classical music as a pianist, regularly playing as a member of the Chung Trio with his two sisters, Chung Kyung-wha, who won worldwide recognition as a violinist, and Chung Myung-wha, who plays cello. Later he turned to conductorship and has conducted some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, and Paris Orchestra, before going on to serve as music director and resident conductor of the Opéra de la Bastille in Paris.

Maestro Chung Myungwhun served as music director and resident conductor of the Opéra de la Bastille in Paris. He received the Una Vita Nella Musica award from the Teatro La Fenice in Venice in July 2013.


Musical Theater Korean theater goers have recently begun to pay more attention to musical comedies presented on theater stages. The increased demand for good-quality musicals has resulted in the performance of world-famous musicals such as Jekyll & Hyde, Chicago and Cats either by the original or Korean teams, and the production of new musicals written and directed by Korean talents. Some of these Korean productions have been invited to perform in Japan and Southeast Asia. Korea’s thriving musical theater scene has resulted in the creation of a group of stars such as Choi Jung-won, Nam Kyung-joo and Jo Seung-woo, whose reputation has grown with stage musicals, and Yoon Bok-hee, Insooni and Ock Joo-hyun who have become great musical actresses based on their success on the K-Pop stage. Modern Dance and Ballet The launch of the National Dance Company of Korea in 1962 provided the momentum for a surge of interest in modern

Kim Ki-min and Olesya Novikova performing in Swan Lake by the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra. Kim is the first Asian dancer to join the Mariinsky Ballet.


dance in Korea. The changed environment eventually led to the birth of a great dancer, Sin Cha Hong (or Hong Sin-ja, born in 1943), who is now credited as Korea's first avant-garde dancer and premier performance artist. She learned dance from Alwin Nikolais in the United States and worked there until 1990, and then returned to Korea to involve herself in various activities related with modern dance. Korea in the 1980s saw the foundation of two ballet companies, Universal Ballet (1984) and Seoul Ballet (1986), which are still actively producing classical ballet performances in Korea Gwangju Biennale Emerged as a major installation art show in Asia, the Gwangju Biennale has played a key role in linking the city of Gwangju with the rest of Korea and the world via contemporary art since the establishment in 1995 as the first of its kind in Asia.

and abroad. The increased popularity of ballet resulted in the arrival of distinguished ballet dancers including Kang Sue-jin, who became the first Asian to be a member of the Stuttgart Ballet in 1986, where she is now a principal dancer. Other successful ballet dancers include Seo Hee who joined the ABT Studio Company in 2004 and became a principal dancer at the ABT in 2012, and Kim Ki-min who became the first Asian ballerina to join and become First Soloist at the Mariinsky Ballet in 2012. Modern Art The first generation of Korean modern artists represented by Nam June Paik (1932-2006), who is considered to be the founder of video art, was followed by a new generation of distinguished artists such as Chang Ree-suok, Chang Doo-kun, Paek Young-soo, Chun Kyung Ja, Kim Tschang-yeul and Suh Se-ok. More recently, the Korean art world is represented by a group of painters and sculptors such as Chun Kwang Young, Park Seo-bo, Lee Jong-


sang, Song Soo-nam, Lee Doo-shik, Lee Wal-jong, Youn Myeungro, Lee Il, Kang Ik-joong, Lim Ok-sang, Kim Young-won and Choi Jong-tae, all of whom have gained international fans. Korea’s rapid economic growth in the 1970s resulted in the establishment of numerous public and private art institutions of which about 60 are located in downtown Seoul, Insa-dong and Samcheong-dong in particular, such as Gana Art Space, Seoul Art Center Gongpyeong Gallery and Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art. More recently, Cheongdam-dong in Gangnam-gu south of the Hangang River has emerged as a hub of Korean fine art. As for international art events, the Gwangju Biennale launched in 1995 has grown to be a major contemporary art exhibition in Asia. Modern Literature The publication in English of Please Look After Mom, a novel by Shin Kyung-sook, by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in the United States in April 2011 was regarded as a sign of the Korean Wave spreading to the international literary world. The book was listed in Amazon’s top ten bestsellers as soon as it was released

The English edition of Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-sook (left), and Ko Un (right), one of the most widely admired poets in today’s Korea

on the American market, and was promptly published in about 30 countries in Asia (including Japan) and Europe, and in Australia. In June 2012, the author held a successful meeting in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, to mark the publication of her work in the Slovenian language. Then, 115

another work, Li Chin, was translated into French and published by the French publishing company Philippe Picquier. Gong Ji-young is another very successful Korean novelist of our time some of whose works, Our Happy Hours (2005), My Joyful Home (2007) and The Crucible (2009) were made into massive box-office hits and translated into Japanese. Korean contemporary poetry is represented by one big name, Ko Un, who has routinely been mentioned as one of the front runners for the Nobel Prize in Literature for quite a long time. He has continued to write poems that touch his readers’ hearts since his debut with Tuberculosis in 1958. He completed a massive series of poems, Ten Thousand Lives, in 2010, and had anthologies of his poems published in Germany and Turkey the following year. For contemporary Korean novels, the last two decades have offered novelists precious opportunities to find new readers overseas. Korean novels translated into foreign languages during the period include Secrets and Lies (Russian, 2009) by Eun Heekyung, The Rainy Spell, Firewood, and Sailing Without a Mast (Swedish, 2009) by Yun Heunggil, and A Distant and Beautiful Place (Chinese and Turkish, 2010) and Contradictions (Bulgarian, 2010) by Yang Gui-ja. The opening of the Korean Studies Department in Sofia University, Bulgaria, in 1995 led to the interpretation of a selection of Korean contemporary novels and short stories for local readers including A Dwarf Launches a Little Ball by Cho Sehui and Our Twisted Hero by Yi Mun Yol. The global craze for K-Pop has resulted in greater attention being paid to Korean literary works and the Korean language, particularly among young people. The King Sejong Institute, an institution established in 2008 to support Korean language 116

education conducted across the globe increased the number of its affiliated schools from 17 in 2008 to 113 in 2013. Meanwhile, the 78th International PEN Congress took place in Gyeongju, the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom for one thousand years, in September 2012. The gathering, held in Korea for the third time after 1970 and 1988, attracted 700 men and women of letters from 114 countries across the world, including Nobel laureates such as Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio of France, Akinwande Oluwole Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, and Ferit Orhan Pamuk of Turkey. Korean Cuisine and Culinary Customs The Korean Wave now seems to be expanding to other cultural areas such as food and culinary traditions. Restaurants serving traditional Korean dishes began to open in the world’s leading metropolises such as New York, London and Paris, attracting praise even from the choosiest gourmets. Kimchi, bulgogi, bibimbap and other dishes loved by Korean people through many generations are now beginning to appear in homes around the world. Chefs in some restaurants in the United States began to combine traditional Korean dishes with Western traditions, creating the bibimbap burger, kimchi hotdog and gochujang steak for New Yorkers who are always ready to accept whatever’s new and exotic. Similarly, the number of Korean restaurants increased to about 100 in Paris alone, with many customers now being local French citizens, although in the past only Korean expatriates and their Asian friends formed the majority of customers. According to the latest research, the most popular dishes served by the Korean restaurants in Paris are bibimbap and bulgogi of which the former 117

is particularly highly regarded for it nutritional balance as well as its flavor and taste. In July 2012, a special Korean style dinner was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to celebrate the London Olympic Games. The 300 or so guests were greatly impressed by the Korean dishes served at the dinner.


National Museums in Korea

11 Jinju National Museum Location: Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do Closed: Mondays & NYD


Gongju National Museum 12 Location: Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do Closed: Mondays & NYD


16 1 15 17

Naju National Museum 13 Location: Naju-si, Jeollanam-do Closed: Mondays & NYD

18 12


5 19 2

6 4




Korea National Arboretum 14 Location: Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do Closed: Sundays, Mondays, NYD, Lunar NYD & Chuseok 15 National Palace Museum of Korea Location: Jongno-gu, Seoul Closed: Mondays

20 13


16 The National Folk Museum of Korea Location: Jongno-gu, Seoul Closed: Tuesdays & NYD

1 National Museum of Korea

6 Daegu National Museum

Location: Yongsan-gu, Seoul Closed: Mondays & NYD

Location: Suseong-gu, Daegu Closed: Mondays & NYD

2 Gyeongju National Museum

7 Cheongju National Museum

Location: Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do Closed: Mondays & NYD

Location: Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do Closed: Mondays & NYD

3 Gwangju National Museum

8 Gimhae National Museum

Location: Buk-gu, Gwangju Closed: Mondays & NYD

Location: Gimhae-si, Gyeongsangnam-do Closed: Mondays & NYD

4 Jeonju National Museum

9 Jeju National Museum

Location: Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do Closed: Mondays & NYD

Location: Jeju-si, Jeju Closed: Mondays & NYD

5 Buyeo National Museum

10 Chuncheon National Museum

Location: Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do Closed: Mondays & NYD

Location: Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do Closed: Mondays & NYD

Location: Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do Closed: Mondays

National Museum of Korean 17

Contemporary History

Location: Jongno-gu, Seoul Closed: Mondays & NYD

18 Postal Museum Location: Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do Closed: Mondays, Public Holidays, NYD, Lunar NYD & Chuseok

The National Lighthouse Museum 19 Location: Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do Closed: Mondays, Lunar NYD & Chuseok 20 National Research Institute of

Maritime Cultural Heritage


Tourism 관광


Historical Heritage of Seoul Tourist Attractions and Shopping Centers Streets of Youth Recreation in Nature Tourist Attractions outside Seoul Hanok Villages Major Local Festivals in Korea

4 Tourism 관광

Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, is itself an important Dancheong Dancheong is a traditional method of decorating various palace and temple buildings with intricate patterns of the five cardinal colors, blue (symbolizing the east), white (west), red (south), black (north) and yellow (center). This type of painting also serves to protect wooden structures from the elements.

part of Korea’s cultural heritage and the most popular attraction among overseas visitors to Korea. Although it is now one of the very largest modern metropolises in the world, its downtown area is enclosed by historic walls that were originally built over 600 years ago and contains a number of valuable historical heritage including Royal Palaces, fortress gates, and old residential districts.

Historical Heritage of Seoul Gyeongbokgung Palace Located at the foot of Bugaksan, the main mountain overlooking downtown Seoul, Gyeongbokgung was 1

the principal Royal Palace for about 200 years from its


construction in 1395, just three years after the foundation of

1. Gyeongbokgung Palace The main Royal Palace of Joseon located at the heart of Seoul 2. Changdeokgung Palace Garden A view of the rear garden of Changdeokgung Palace, including Buyongjeong and Juhamnu Pavilions, with Buyongji Pond situated between them


the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), until it was burnt down just after the commencement of the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592. Thereafter it remained in ruins for 275 years until 1867 when it was restored; but, less than fifty years later, it fell into the hands of Japanese colonialists who destroyed the front part of the palace to build the Japanese GovernmentGeneral Building on the site. The latter building, a neo-classical



structure, continued to be used to house government offices even after Korea was liberated in 1945 until it was demolished in 1996 as part of an effort to remove the remaining vestiges

Geummamun Gate at the Changdeokgung Palace Garden in Jongno, Seoul (left)

of the colonial period. Some of the ruins of the building were moved to the Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan, Korea for public display. Under a major renovation project to restore the palace starting in 1990, some of its buildings were restored and its main gate, Gwanghwamun, was moved to its original location. Today, the palace features some of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, including the majestic architectural pieces, Geunjeongjeon Hall and Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. Changdeokgung Palace Garden The rear garden of Changdeokgung Palace, one of the Royal Palaces of Joseon (1392-1910) still standing in Seoul, has been widely praised for the harmony between exquisite architectural structures and its natural surroundings, and is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seoul. The garden, known as the “secret garden” (biwon), the “forbidden” (geumwon) or “rear garden” (huwon), was a preferred venue for royal events such as banquets and picnics. It features a pond and several exquisite pavilions that were built around it over a long period of time. The garden was open to the general public until the mid-1970s, but this caused severe damage which led to its closure for several years to restore it to its original condition. Only a part of the garden was reopened to the public in May 2004, but at present visitors need to make reservations in order to visit. 125

Deoksugung Palace Unlike other Royal Palaces of Joseon, Deoksugung contains both Western style stone buildings and traditional wooden structures.

Deoksugung Palace To most Korean people today Deoksugung Palace is largely 1

connected with the desperate struggle of the Joseon Dynasty


to survive amid the incursions of the major imperial powers at

1. Sungnyemun Gate 2. Heunginjimun Gate Seoul, the capital of the Joseon Dynasty, was protected by a long stone wall with eight gates, two of which, Sungnyemun (Namdaemun or South Gate) and Heunginjimun (Dongdaemun or East Gate), can still be seen today. The first, literally “Gate of Exalted Ceremonies,” is famous for being the Korean National Treasure No. 1, while the second, Heunginjimun, is the only one of the eight fortress gates protected by a semicircular gateguard wall.


the turn of the 19th century. It was in 1897 that King Gojong proclaimed the launch of the Korean Empire and designated Deoksugung as the imperial palace after leaving the Russian legation where he had taken refuge one year earlier in a desperate attempt to keep his government free from the interference of Imperial Japan. With the proclamation of the Korean Empire the palace began to draw attention from foreign diplomats working in the legations of the United States, Russia, Great Britain and France located around it. Today, the clearest reminder of Deoksugung’s short-lived glory as the only imperial palace in Korean history is the


changing of the palace guard ceremony, which takes place three times a day except for Mondays. The promenade along the southern wall of the palace has been particularly popular among young people seeking romantic ambiance. Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun - South Gate) Sungnyemun, or the ‘Gate of Exalted Ceremonies’, is the south gate of the old fortress wall that was built to protect the capital (todays’ downtown Seoul) of Joseon. It is the largest of the old fortress gates still standing in Korea today, and was designated as the National Treasure No. 1 in 1962. The pavilionstyle wooden building forming the upper part of the gate was severely damaged by arson in February 2008, but was it was returned to its original form after a full-scale restoration project that took five years to complete. The gate is often associated with the large complex of shopping facilities formed around it, including a traditional market which has steadily grown into a major tourist attraction. The area is always bustling with Korean and international shoppers seeking to purchase clothes, kitchen wares, domestic appliances and other commodities offered at reasonably low prices despite their good quality. Many of the shops doing business in the area run their own factories to maintain competitive pricing of the products they deal in. The Namdaemun Market currently houses over 9,300 stores and attracts over 500,000 shoppers a day. It has formed a huge international trading network of Korean merchants scattered around the world, spending and earning a large amount of money through imports and exports. 128

Heunginjimun Gate (Dongdaemun - East Gate) Situated on the eastern part of the old fortified wall of Seoul, Heunginjimun (Gate of Rising Benevolence) attracts tens of thousands of people from across Korea and neighboring countries due both to its historic significance and its proximity to several large markets that have formed around it, including Gwangjang Market, Pyeonghwa Market, Sinpyeonghwa Market and Dongdaemun Market. All of these markets are par ticularly famous for the diverse fashion items they offer, clothes and accessories in particular. Co m p a re d w i t h d e p a r t m e n t s t o re s t h a t usually sell higher-priced luxury products, these markets have numerous wholesalers who supply competitively-priced good-

Dongdaemun Shopping Mall

quality products to retailers across Korea.

Tourist Attractions and Shopping Centers Insa-dong Insa-dong is a district in downtown Seoul that is packed with antique shops, antiquarian booksellers, art galleries, scroll mounters, craft workshops, brush shops, traditional teahouses, restaurants and bars that provide tourists with ample opportunities for an exciting cultural experience. The district had many places frequented by Korea artists, writers and journalists which have now begun to attract tourists from around the country and beyond. The Seoul Metropolitan Government designated Insa-dong as a District of Traditional Culture in 1988 129


and turns it into a car-free zone every weekend to create a more comfortable environment for visitors. Myeong-dong Myeong-dong has long been the busiest and most thriving shopping district in Korea where high-end shops and luxurious boutiques attract shoppers from all across Korea and tourists from different countries in Asia with luxury goods, brand garments, cosmetics, shoes, fashion accessories and souvenirs. The district has also been the national hub of finance and culture as well as commerce since the Korean War (1950-1953) and, in the 1970s and 1980s, was frequented by Korea’s most energetic, fashion-conscious, outgoing people. The position of Myeong-dong in the Korean fashion industry has dwindled somewhat in recent times, but its influence on the Korean fashion market remains significant. Many of the world’s top fashion brands maintain or have opened new stores in the district, winning back fashion-minded shoppers from the newly emerging fashion streets in the Gangnam area as well tourists from overseas. The district also contains Myeongdong Cathedral, established in 1898 and a central figure to all Korean Catholics, and the historic Chinese Embassy. Apgujeong Rodeo Street Named after Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and home to some of the most prestigious fashion stores in the region, Rodeo Street in Apgujeong-dong is widely regarded as the “mecca of Korean fashion” and a trendsetter in Korea. Rodeo Street is packed with luxury stores, including the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands, and

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1. Insa-dong One of the most popular destinations among foreign tourists in Seoul, the district is packed with antique shops, art galleries, craft workshops, traditional teahouses, restaurants and bars. 2. Myeong-dong Korea’s busiest fashion district and the number one attraction among international shoppers visiting Seoul


upscale restaurants, cafes and bars. The street also contains stores selling special fashion items sought after by young fashionistas, and fully meets all the diverse needs of shoppers. In October, the street is transformed into the main venue for the Apgujeong Culture Festival which presents movies, hair shows, fashion shows, dance competitions and other exciting cultural events.

Streets of Youth Jongno and Cheonggyecheon Jongno was one of the two districts, the other being Myeongdong, that typified the early economic and cultural vibrancy of Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. There were, and still are, between today’s Jongno 2(i)-ga and 3(sam)-ga some of Seoul’s oldest movie theaters, the nation’s major bookstores, and famous private educational institutions including foreign language schools which keep the districts perpetually crowded with students. Cheonggyecheon, a historic stream cutting across the heart of Seoul, was restored and remodeled a few years ago and quickly emerged as one of the city’s top attractions. In the past the stream was a source of water for the families living around it, but it began to be covered over in the 1950s, and the overpass built over it came to be regarded as a symbol of Korea’s industrial growth during the 1960s and 1970s. The overpass, however, was demolished in 2003 as part of the project to restore the stream, which was completed two years later. Hongdae Street (Hongik University Street) It was during the early 1990s that Hongdae, or the area around Hongik University, saw an explosion of cafes and live music clubs 132

drawing young music lovers from all across Seoul, gradually turning it into one of Seoul’s most dynamic cultural areas packed with fun-seeking youngsters. What differentiate the streets of Hongdae from other similar districts are the live performances of indie bands held at the clubs scattered around the district. The bands cover a variety of popular music genres, including rock, funk and techno music, for the young audiences that gather there



1. Cheonggyecheon Stream Plaza An attractive space for relaxation and refreshment in the heart of downtown Seoul 2. Hongdae District Streets crowded with young and ambitious artists and spectators

every evening. The Hongdae district also contains numerous art galleries committed to displaying original works by emerging young artists. Some of these artists join with others devoted to other forms of art such as music and dance, to put on collaboration performances in the streets. 133

Garosu-gil Street of Sinsa-dong Literally “the tree-lined street of Sinsa-dong”, Sinsa-dong Garosugil is a street in Sinsa-dong in Gangnam-gu that is lined with gingko trees on both sides. The street and nearby alleys have recently grown into one of Seoul’s main attractions, attracting tens of thousands of fashion-minded people to its array of highend coffee houses, art galleries, luxury boutiques and other fashion stores every day. In the 1990s Garosu-gil began to attract ambitious young fashion designers, who opened shops along the road, eventually transforming it into a “fashion street.” The success of their shops was followed by the opening of other shops vending exquisite interior objects, furniture and personal fashion items. Itaewon Itaewon, located south of Namsan Mountain in the heart of Seoul, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, particularly among foreign tourists seeking shopping, fun and thrills in more comfortable surroundings. The development of the district and the growth of its reputation among international travelers visiting Korea are largely related with the presence, since the Korean War (1950-1953), of the Eighth United States Army Base in nearby Yongsan. Today the district, encompassing Itaewon and nearby Hannam-dong, contains a number of foreign embassies including those of Germany, Denmark, Argentina, Rumania, Uruguay, Lebanon, Hungary, Brunei and Qatar, as well as the Seoul Central Mosque and diverse foreign communities. Itaewon’s streets are packed with shops selling fashionable clothes and fashion items, nightclubs, bars and restaurants, many 134

of them providing exotic, at least to Korean visitors, foods from Mexico, India, Vietnam and Turkey among other countries, and a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere. The district was designated by the Korean government as a Special Tourist Zone in 1997, and has since then held the Global Village Festival every October. Furthermore, street performances are held for foreign tourists on

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1. Garosu-gil of Sinsa-dong A street busy with fashionminded young shoppers 2. Itaewon The Korean hub of international cultures

a daily basis


Recreation in Nature Jirisan Mountain The highest and largest mountain in mainland South Korea, Jirisan Mountain consists of numerous scenic peaks, including its highest Cheonwangbong Peak (1,915m), Nogodan and Banyabong Peaks, and ridges and valleys extending for 40km from east to west. The mountain borders three provinces, Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do and Gyeongsangnam-do, and its forests account for about 20% of all forestry in Korea. It was designated as Korea’s first National Park in 1967. Jirisan Mountain is located at the southern end of the Baekdu A spring view of Jirisan Mountain

Daegan, a great mountain range that forms the backbone of the

(Source: Korea National Park Service)

Korean Peninsula, running down from Baekdusan Mountain in the


northern most part of the peninsula to characterize geographical features of the south. The mountain has been widely admired for its majestic appearance and dense forests providing natural habitats for rare animal and plant species such as the Siberian musk deer, Korean goral, Asian birch, and the Royal Azalea. The mountain’s main ridges, running from its tallest peak Cheonwangbong in the east to Nogodan Peak in the west, form deep valleys brimming with the headwaters of some of Korea’s main rivers, Nakdonggang, Seomjingang and Namgang. Some of these valleys are home to undisturbed forests, notably Piagol and Baemsagol, creating breathtakingly scenic views that attract over two million hikers every year. Jirisan Mountain contains natural habitats for various animal


Waterfall at Seoraksan Mountain (Sokcho, Gangwon)

and plant species which represent the ecological health and balance of the mountain, including endangered animals such as the Siberian musk deer and Korean goral, and some of the Korea’s biggest natural attractions such as the immense colony of royal azaleas covering the highland plain of Seseok Pyeongjeon, the dense ancient forest of Piagol, the aged wind-stripped trees scattered around high peaks creating unreal, eerie landscapes. This priceless natural heritage embraces some of Korea’s most valuable cultural assets, including historic Buddhist temples housing a wealth of historical and cultural treasures. Seoraksan Mountain South Korea’s third highest mountain after Hallasan Mountain and Jirisan Mountain, Seoraksan Mountain is located in the


the backbone of the Korean Peninsula, with its tallest peak

Landscape of Seoraksan Mountain (Sokcho, Gangwon)

Daecheongbong (1,708m) overlooking Korea’s eastern coast.

(Source: Korea National Park Service)

middle of the Baekdu Daegan, a great mountain range forming

The mountain is characterized by rocky peaks and cliffs displaying grotesque shapes and deep valleys containing pools of crystal clear water which have led to it being compared with Geumgangsan, or the “Diamond Mountain” in the North, which has long been admired as Korea’s number one scenic mountain. The mountain covers a vast area on the mid-eastern part of the Korean Peninsula which is divided into three areas, namely, Oeseorak (Outer Snowy Mountain) in the east of Daecheongbong Peak, Naeseorak (Inner Snowy Mountain) in the west, and Namseorak (Southern Snowy Mountain), which contains the famous mineral spring called Osaek Mineral Springs in the south. 139

A nighttime view of N Seoul Tower and an octagonal pavilion at Namsan Mountain (right)

The mountain also contains the source of the Namdaecheon Stream, which flows through the Yangyang area into the East Sea, and the Bukhangang and Soyanggang Rivers, which flow westwards to form the Hangang River which cuts across Seoul. Seoraksan Mountain provides a safe haven for many native or endangered species such as the Manchurian trout, Korean minnow, diamond bluebell (geumgang chorong), and edelweiss. The mountain was designated as a National Park in 1970 and registered on the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO in 1970. It is also home to many historic, cultural and natural heritage including Buddhist temples such as Baekdamsa, Sinheungsa and Bongjeongam, which is one of the five temples enshrining the relics of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, Heundeulbawi Rock, and Ulsanbawi Rock , an 873-meter-tall rocky peak of majestic appearance. Seoraksan Mountain is famous for the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes created by its mountain peaks, deep valleys, stunning rock formations, and historic Buddhist temples which draw millions of hikers from all across the country every year. Meanwhile, in Seorak-dong, a tourist town located on the foot of the mountain containing an entrance to it, there is a fine network of accommodations and recreational facilities that form a convenient environment for tourists and hikers. Tourism in Seoraksan is typically connected with the presence of Goseong Unification Observatory, which is located close to the DMZ on the east coast. Namsan Mountain and Bukhansan Mountain Namsan Mountain, a 262-meter-tall mountain standing in the heart of Seoul, is home to a number of attractive walking trails



appreciated by the citizens of Seoul for hundreds of years. The mountain is dense with trees that provide an abundance of fresh air and flowers all year round. It usually takes about one hour to reach the summit via any of the paths, although one may opt to take the cable car. At the top of the mountain there are several fine vantage points overlooking downtown Seoul, including the N Seoul Tower (or Namsan Tower), one of Seoul’s most popular attractions where visitors can enjoy exceptional panoramic views of Seoul and, weather permitting, Incheon and the West Sea coast, as well as a historic beacon fire station used for long-distance communications during the Joseon Period (1392-1910). At the foot of the mountain there are several Rock climbing at Bukhansan Mountain (Source: Korea National Park Service)


cultural institutions such as the National Theater of Korea, Seoul Municipal Library, and Namsangol Hanok Village. The Bukhansan National Park on the northern part of Seoul also provides

popular venues for various outdoor activities, hiking and rock climbing in particular. Rivers of Korea Two large watercourses originating from the mid-eastern mountainous region of the Korean Peninsula merge together to become the Hangang, or the Hangang River, which passes through Seoul before flowing into the West Sea . The rivers have provided water for all the fields and factories in and outside the capital area and drinking water for many cities within it including Seoul. The rivers are installed with multiple dams including those for flood control and generating power. The longest river on the Korean Peninsula is the Nakdonggang which cuts a 520km-long course across Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeongsangnam-do before flowing into the South Sea. Its

A view of the setting sun over Yeongsangang River, the main source of water for the southwest of Korea


estuary contains a large delta called Eulsukdo where reeds grow densely, forming Asia’s largest bird sanctuary. Other major rivers in Korea include the Geumgang and Yeongsangang Rivers which provide water for Korea’s largest granary in the southwest, and the Imjingang, Mangyeonggang and Seomjingang Rivers, which also constitute important sources of water for the rest of Korea. Jejudo Island Jejudo(do is Korean for island), Korea’s largest island (approx. 73km from east to west, 31km from south to north), lies in the Korean Strait, southwest of the Korean mainland. The oval-shaped island maintains a rich cultural heritage that is distinctly different from that of the mainland. It is also the 144

only province of Korea where mandarin oranges are grown in natural conditions, providing a great source of income for many households since the 1960s. It was an extremely popular honeymoon destination among mainland Koreans during the 1970s and 1980s, and has since grown into one of Korea’s top tourist attractions, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists from neighboring countries including Japan and China. In 2006,



1. Baengnokdam Crater Lake of Hallasan Mountain A cauldron-shaped volcanic crater (111m in depth and 1,720m in circumference) atop Hallasan Mountain 2. Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone One of many parasitic cones scattered around Jeju

the Korean government designated the island as Jeju Special Self-Governing Province in an effort to turn it into a Free Trade Zone. It is now a very popular venue for important international gatherings including summit meetings. Jejudo was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions and is rich with the distinctive features of volcanic topography 145

including 368 oreum (parasitic cones) and about 160 lava tubes. This unique natural heritage led to the island’s inclusion on the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2002, World Heritage Sites in 2007, and Global Geoparks Network in 2010. The worldwide recognition of Jejudo as a global natural heritage is expected to further promote the value of the island as a tourist destination and as one of Korea’s key environmental assets. Hallasan Mountain, a dormant volcano, soars upwards from the center of Jejudo to a height of 1,950 meters, making it the highest mountain in South Korea. The mountain is home to over 1,800 species of alpine plants that select their habitats according to altitude and exhibits great diversity of vegetation. The mountain largely consists of basalt, and slopes steeply in the south and more gently in the north. There is a crater-lake, Baengnokdam, at the top with over 50 parasitic cones scattered around it. Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone, situated at the eastern tip of Jejudo, is probably the most popular tourist attraction on the island. This 182-meter-tall volcanic peak is said to resemble a huge amphitheater with a deep, bowl-like center filled with reeds and rimmed with rocky cliffs. Many visitors also compare this popular sunrise celebration venue, which is now designated as a Natural Monument, with a heavily fortified, impregnable castle or a tall, full-circle tiara. Other key attractions reflecting the natural wonders of Jeju include Yongcheondonggul Cave, located in Woljeong-ri of Gujwaeup, which exhibits a unique combination of the characteristic features of both lime caves and lava tubes, the lime caves in Hyeopjae and Pyoseon, and the Gotjawal forests which formed on the rocky areas thrown up during a volcanic eruption. These 146

forests provide natural habitats for rare plants, some of which are suited to cold climates while others are more typical of tropical or subtropical areas. These untouched, densely wooded forests are often referred to as the “lungs of Jeju.” The Jungmun Tourist Complex located on the southern coast in Seogwipo boasts many fascinating places and facilities for a variety of outdoor activities, including swimming and sunbathing, golfing, horse riding and hunting, world-class hotels, and enchanting natural attractions such as the three-tier waterfalls of Cheonjeyeon and coastal columnar jointing. A new attraction was added to the already long list recently when one of Asia’s largest aquariums, Aqua Planet, was opened in July 2012 at Seopjikoji Beach in Seongsan-eup. One of the island’s main attractions, the recently created Jeju Olle Trail, comprises a set of nature trails along the coast that lead hikers to fascinating views of Jeju, old villages and fields enclosed or separated by basalt stone walls, coastal seas where elderly women divers (haenyeo, “sea women”) harvest seafood beneath the sea, and waves of wind rolling through fields of long grass (Jeju has been called Samdado, literally, the “island of three abundances”, namely, stones, women, and wind). Jejudo is famous for its many special farming and marine products of which the “prickly palm cactus” (Opuntia ficusindica), also known as baengnyeoncho (hundred-year plant), has recently amazed many scientists of the world for its extraordinary beneficial effects on human health. For some Korean tourists, Jeju is significant in that it has jurisdiction over the southernmost part of the Korean territory, a tiny island called Marado located about 10km off its southwestern coast, and Ieodo, a submerged rock 4.6 147

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1. Dodong Port in Ulleungdo A volcanic island lying in the East Sea 2. Dokdo (Ulleung, Gyeongsangbuk-do) Dokdo consists of two rocky islets, Dongdo and Seodo, situated about 150 meters apart, and 89 rocky outcrops around them.

meters below sea level located 149km southwest of Marado, the location of the Ieodo Ocean Research Station. Ulleungdo and Dokdo Located about 130km east of the Korean Peninsula, Ulleungdo is a volcanic island of about 72km2 that is rimmed with steep rocky cliffs and has a basin (called Nari Basin) on the top. It is historically connected with a group of rocky islets called Dokdo situated 87.4km to its southeast, thus forming the easternmost part of the Korean territory. Now guarded by the Dokdo Coast Guard, Dokdo consists of two large rocky islets and eighty-nine small rocks, and is home to about seventy plant species, although most of the islets are barren. It was designated as the Dokdo Seabird Breeding Area and Natural Monument No. 336 in 1982 and then as the Dokdo Protection Area in 1999. Hallyeosudo (Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park) The area of coastal seas ranging from Yeosu in Jeollanam-do to Hansando in Gyeongsangnam-do has long been praised for its breathtakingly beautiful seascapes characterized by sparkling blue seas, islands of all sizes, fantastically-shaped rocky cliffs, and dramatic coastlines. The area is also famous as the habitat of diverse marine species, and became Korea’s first national marine park in 1968. Yeosu, one of Korea’s leading industrial cities and host of the

Odongdo Camellia Odongdo, a tiny islet just off Yeosu, has about 3,000 camellia trees that remain in bloom from October to mid-winter.


World Expo in 2012, contains some of the most popular tourist attractions in the national marine park such as Odongdo, a tiny islet covered with camellia trees, beautiful beaches, and historic sites related with the victories of the Joseon navy, under the


Hallyeosudo Korea’s first national marine park - famous for the spectacular seascapes created by many differently-sized islands floating on blue seas.

leadership of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, against the Japanese forces that invaded Korea in 1592. A new attraction was added in February 2013 with the opening of Yi Sun-sin Bridge, the world’s fourth longest bridge, connecting two of the largest industrial cities in the area, Yeosu and Gwangyang. Namiseom Island Namiseom Island - located 3.8km south of Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, in the middle of a large artificial lake created by Cheongpyeong Dam, built in 1943 - has become a very popular tourist attraction among Hallyu (Korean Wave) fans across Asia thanks to the huge success of the TV series Winter Sonata, parts of which were filmed here. The island is dense with trees including Korean nut pine, dawn redwood, white


Metasequoia Forest Walkway on Namiseom Island


Prayer ribbons tied to a barbed wire fence located between the DMZ and Freedom Bridge

birch and gingko, creating a number of romantic nature trails. In addition to walking, the island offers visitors places and facilities for various indoor and outdoor activities including cycling courses, art galleries, museums, craft workshops, bungalows and campsites. Korean Demilitarized Zone The cessation of the Korean War in 1953, following the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, led to the creation of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and the Korean Demilitarized


Zone (DMZ), which is 250km long and approximately 4km wide, i.e. 2km on the South’s side and another 2km on the North’s. On the western part of the DMZ there is a farming village called Daeseongdong, better known as “Freedom Village” among South Koreans. The western part of the DMZ also contains the Panmunjeom where the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement was signed. It is now known as the Joint Security Area (JSA) which only those holding a permit issued by the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) are allowed to visit. The prohibition of public access to the DMZ for the last 60 years has helped maintain the environment in pristine condition, a quality for which in recent times it has attracted the interest of scientists and conservationists the world over.

Tourist Attractions outside Seoul Gyeongju, the Millennium Capital Gyeongju in Gyeongsangbuk-do was once the capital of the ancient Korean Kingdom of Silla (57 BCE – 935) for about one millennium, and contains a great wealth of heritage sites and relics that reflect its remarkable cultural achievements. The remaining historical and cultural heritage led to the city’s registration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the name of the Gyeongju Historic Areas, in 2000. Tangible evidences of Silla’s cultural glory include Bulguksa Temple, which was founded to represent the ideal world of Buddhism which Silla’s people aspired to, Seokguram, a man-made grotto admired for its unique architectural structure and outstanding sculptural works, and Cheomseongdae, which is regarded as Asia’s oldest extant astronomical observatory. 153

The royalty and aristocracy of Silla left behind large tombs in and around today’s Gyeongju. Archaeologists discovered priceless treasures in some of these tombs, such as the image of a heavenly horse painted on a piece of white birch bark (Cheonmachong Tomb), and gold crowns lavishly decorated with exquisite and advanced skills (Geumgwanchong Tomb). Apart from the fabulous archaeological discoveries, these ancient tombs clustered in downtown Gyeongju create fantastic and fascinating landscapes in themselves. Silla Buddhists in the 8th century made a great temple bell now known to be the “Sacred Bell of Great King Seongdeok.” As well as its imposing size, the bell is known for having several unique devices designed to help produce a clear, long lingering sound when struck, such as the “sound pipe”, and elaborate carvings decorating the outer surface of its body. Some of the most valuable treasures of Silla Buddhism, stone images and pagodas in particular, can be seen in Namsan, making Gyeongju’s guardian mountain one of the holiest places of Korean Buddhism.

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Gongju and Buyeo, Capitals of Baekje Gongju and Buyeo are two cities in Chungcheongnam-do,

1. Namsan Mountain in Gyeongju A seated Buddha image carved on a rock face on Namsan Mountain

each of which served as the capital city of the ancient Korean

2. Tomb of King Muryeong (Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do) The burial chamber of the tomb of King Muryeong, the 25th ruler of Baekje, and his consort shows the influence of the Chinese Southern Dynasties.

are best represented by the Tomb of King Muryeong and other


Kingdom of Baekje during the period from the late 5th to the 7th century. The cultural achievements of Baekje in this period ancient tombs in Gongju, Nakhwaam Rock, and Gungnamji Pond in Buyeo. The Ancient Tombs in Songsan-ri, Gongju consist of seven tombs of Baekje’s royalty including that of King Muryeong and


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his consort. Archaeologists discovered inside the tomb a wealth of precious burial objects preserved in near original condition that

1. Hahoe Byeolsingut Tallori A traditional mask dance preserved in Hahoe Village in Andong that satirizes the corrupt ruling elite of Joseon society

now provide important clues to the lifestyle of Baekje’s people.

2. Yangdong Village in Gyeongju A village that has maintained the traditional lifestyle for over 500 years

countries. Other Baekje heritage sites preserved in the city,

Buyeo, which was the last capital of Baekje for 123 years until 660, also contains valuable relics dating from the cultural heyday of a Kingdom that exerted a powerful influence on neighboring including Nakhwaam Rock, which is connected with the last days of Baekje, and Gungnamji containing the features of a Baekje palace garden, have now become major tourist attractions. Hahoe Village in Andong and Yangdong Village in Gyeongju In 2010, two old villages, Hahoe in Andong and Yangdong in Gyeongju, were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites,

Seonyu Julbullori This traditional firework festival involves hanging up bags of mulberry root charcoal powder upon four long (approx. 230m) ropes hung between Mangsongjeong Pavilion on the riverbank of Nakdonggang and the summit of Buyongdae Terrace across the river.

under the title “Historic Villages of Korea.� The villages were created and developed by a few influential aristocratic families of Joseon, and still preserve the original living conditions in which the houses and their environments were built hundreds of years ago. Each village was established in a site chosen according to the traditional principles of feng shui, i.e. "Mountain Behind and Water in Front", and consisted of dwelling houses with family shrines, communal academies, pavilions. It also had farming fields around it which provided the villagers with all the basic necessities they needed. Hahoe Village in Andong was formed in the 17th century when some families of the Pungsan Ryu Clan settled there. The village, now containing about 450 traditional tile-



roofed or thatched houses, is surrounded by the Nakdonggang

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River, with pine trees crowding the riverbank, creating a beautiful

1. Bukchon Hanok Village 2. Jeonju Hanok Village 3. Seongyojang House in Gangneung 4. Bukchon guesthouse

rural landscape. The village is also connected with a traditional performance, byeolsingut tallori, which is performed to invoke divine help for the village’s safety and prosperity, and seonyu julbullori, a local firework festival held at riverside beaches. The other historical village, Yangdong, located 16km northeast of Gyeongju, has a history of about 500 years. It consists of about 160 traditional houses, both tile-roofed and thatched, and is surrounded by attractive natural surroundings, shallow valleys and gentle hills. The village is prized not only for its attractive old houses but also for other heritage that preserve the influence of Confucian ideology and ancient customs.

Hanok Villages The recent revival of interest in modernized traditional Korean houses (called hanok) among architectural designers and house

Tourism Korea The number of foreign visitors to Korea has increased rapidly in recent years, rising from 5 million in 2001 to more than 12 million in 2013.

Number of foreign tourists in Korea


Unit: 1,000 Source: Korea Tourism Organization

Observers believe that the increase

12,170 11,140


is largely connected with Hallyu (Korean Wave) fans from across


Asia and people seeking advanced medical services and shopping in Korea.








buyers from across Korea has also helped attract numerous tourists to Korea’s old villages and districts where they can experience the traditional Korean lifestyle in an authentic environment. Two of the most popular destinations for enthusiasts are Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul and Jeonju Hanok Village in Jeonju. Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul refers to a residential area located north of the Jongno and Cheonggyecheon Stream area in downtown Seoul—hence the name—once occupied by wealthy aristocratic families during the Joseon Period. The area has become one of Seoul’s main tourist attractions, largely because of the oldworld atmosphere and the well-preserved traditional houses and the narrow winding alleys linking them. Flanked by the two main Royal Palaces of Joseon, Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, with Inwangsan and Bukhansan Mountains rising directly behind them, and modern skyscrapers in the south, the district exhibits a unique harmony between Seoul’s present and past. The largest Hanok district in Korea and one of the most popular tourist destinations among visitors is that in Jeonju. The Jeonju Hanok Village consists of about 700 traditional tileroofed houses, some of which have been turned into guesthouses, restaurants, teahouses and workshops, providing visitors with opportunities to experience the local cultural heritage. The district also contains some of the city’s most important heritage sites such as Gyeonggijeon Shrine, which houses the official portrait of King Taejo, founder of the Joseon Dynasty, a local Confucian school (hyanggyo), and Omokdae Terrace, which commands a great view of the entire district. There are but a few mansion houses dating from the Joseon Period across Korea, of which Seongyojang in Gangneung is particularly 160

famous for its exquisite, fully preserved 300-year-old buildings and well-tended traditional garden. Built by a minor member of Joseon royalty and still used as a dwelling house by one of his descendants, Seongyojang is regarded as a fine example of a dwelling of the wealthy ruling class of Joseon. It also consists of rooms such as an inner quarter (anchae) for women, detached outer quarter (sarangchae) for guest receptions, servants’ quarter (haengnangchae) for servants and separate rooms (byeoldang), as well as an artificial pond at the entrance and a pavilion called Hwallaejeong.

Local Festivals As in many other parts of the world, local communities in Korea have developed a variety of cultural programs and events to

Andong International Maskdance Festival This festival contributes to the effort to preserve and revive the Hahoe byeolsingut tallori and boost other mask-related cultural activities around the world.


mark their achievements or to celebrate the cultural and natural heritage bequeathed to them. In Boryeong in Chungcheongnamdo, for instance, the local mud festival attracts summer holidaymakers from all over Korea and from overseas, while in Andong of Gyeongsangbuk-do the annual international mask dance festival entertains tourists visiting the city. Other popular festivals include the Gimje Horizon Festival, which is focused on the local agricultural heritage preserved Boryeong Mud Festival One of the most popular summer festivals in Korea today, the Boryeong Mud Festival attracts tens of thousands of international holidaymakers every year.


in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do, the Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival, and the Jeonju Bibimbap Festival, which is held to celebrate the heritage that has helped the city of Jeonju gain an international reputation. In Jinju of Gyeongsangnam-do, the Jinju Namgang

Yudeung Festival has begun to serve a similar function. Held to commemorate the ordinary people of Jinju, who fought heroically to protect their hometown against invading Japanese forces during the Imjin Waeran (Japanese Invasion of 1592) at the turn of the 16th century, the festival provides tourists with fantastic nighttime views of lanterns floating along the Namgang River. In Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, the Chuncheon International Mime Festival (CIMF) offers an exciting range of performances presented by ‘mime theater’ companies gathered for the event from across the world.


Major Local Festivals in Korea


6 3 4



7 1






6 9 10




5 Please visit ‘’ for further information on Korea’s diverse festivals. 164



1. Cheonan World Dance Festival The festival entertains visitors with exciting festive events related to folk dances of the world. Period: Oct 7-11, 2015. Venue: Cheonan Samgeori Park, and Arario Park, Cheongan-si Website:

6. Hadong Wild Tea Cultural Festival This festival holds various entertaining events and programs focusing on the Korean tradition of tea drinking. Period: May 22-25, 2015. Venue: Hadong Tea Culture Center, Hwagae-myeong and Agyang-myeon in Hadong-gun Website:

2. Geumsan Insam Festival This autumn festival focused on health and wellbeing presents an array of experience-based events and competitions related with insam, Korean ginseng grown in Geumsan. Period: Oct 2-11, 2015. Venue: Ginseng and Herbal Street, and Ginseng Expo Square, Geumsan-gun Website:

Gangwon-do 3. Hwasan Sancheoneo Ice Festival This winter festival held on the frozen Hwacheoncheon Stream provides visitors with various fun events including an ice fishing contest and a competition to catch mountain trout with one’s bare hands. Period: Jan 1-Feb 1, 2015. Venue: Hwacheoncheon Stream and five eup and myeon districts in Hwacheon Website: 4. Chuncheon International Mime Festival This festival presents a variety of performing arts and merrymaking events highlighting the human body as a powerful artistic medium. Period: May 24-30, 2015. Venue: Chuncheon-si Website: 5. Yangyang Pine Mushroom Festival This festival celebrates the season of pine mushrooms with a range of exciting activities related with this special local product of Yangyang. Period: Oct 1-4, 2015. Venue: Vicinity of Namdaecheon Stream in Yangyang-gun Website:

7. Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival Launched to mark the tradition of floating lanterns on the Namgang River during the Japanese Invasion in 1592, this festival offers a range of exciting history-based events including an exhibition of traditional lanterns from around the world, floating river lanterns, and a fireworks display. Period: Oct 1-11, 2015. Venue: Vicinity of Namgang River, Jinju Website:

Jeollabuk-do 8. Gimje Horizon Festival This festival offers a variety of experience-oriented events and programs focused on local agricultural traditions. Period: Oct 7-11, 2015. Venue: Byeokgolje Plaza, Gimje Website:

Jeollanam-do 9. Hampyeong Butterfly Festival The festival presents diverse exhibitions and fun events centered on flowers and butterflies. Period: May 1-10, 2015. Venue: Hampyeong Expo Park, Hampyeong-gun Website: 10. Gangjin Celadon Festival This festival holds various activities and programs aimed at the preservation and further development of the cultural heritage of Goryeo celadon. Period: Aug 1-9, 2015. Venue: Goryeo Celadon Kiln Sites in Gangjin Website: 165

Sports 스포츠


How South Korea Became a Sporting Powerhouse 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2011 World Championships in Athletics 2012 London Summer Olympics 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Taekwondo

5 Sports 스포츠

South Korea’s national team surprised the world by ranking 5th place in the medals table (gold, silver and bronze) at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. It is also worth noting that the team won the soccer bronze medal at those Games. The potential of the country’s soccer is explained by the presence of several South Korean players in European football (soccer) leagues. Also, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the South Korean team won the gold medal for baseball with several South Korean players now enjoying great popularity among fans in the United States and Japan as members of local teams. Asians used to do poorly in figure skating, but Yuna Kim, a South Korean changed that by breaking world records in the discipline. In fencing, which used to be regarded as a sport for 2

1 3

1. Shin-soo Choo is an outfielder for the Texas Rangers of the Major League Baseball of the United States. 2. Yuna Kim won the World Figure Skating Championships in 2013. 3. In-bee Park was selected as the LPGA Player of the Year in 2013.


westerners and the nobility, South Korean athletes have won many medals. It is a well-known fact that many South Koreans have won both the PGA and LPGA championships. It is also noteworthy that three or four Koreans continually rank in the top ten at each LPGA championship. Formula 1 also visited Korea between 2010 and 2013 with the Korean Grand Prix held at Yeongam, Jeollanam-do, South Korea. And another international sporting event held in South Korea is the Tour de Korea, an annual professional road bicycle stage race.


How South Korea Became a Sporting Powerhouse The most important factors behind South Korea’s transformation into a sporting powerhouse are the country’s large number of sports lovers and efficient investment. The country strives to find promising young athletes, train them efficiently, and help them build their skills by accumulating a wealth of experience in domestic competitions. There are also professional sporting facilities dedicated solely to the training of athletes selected for international events such as the Olympic Games or the Asian Games. National Sports Infrastructure Many South Korean soccer lovers gather together early in the morning of a holiday to enjoy the sport. Teams from neighboring villages often take part in games and tournaments with the number of teams composed of neighbors currently standing at about 500,000. The country’s sports infrastructure is solid and wide-ranging. Chuncheon Marathon Held in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do every October


Changes in the number of neighborhood sports clubs and their members





98 90


82 75

4,554 4,132

3,646 2,702



2007 Clubs













(Unit: Thousands of clubs and people/ Source: Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism)

As of 2013, the number of ordinary sports lovers’ clubs came to 4.13 million, i.e. 8.1% of the entire population. The number of soccer lovers who have joined clubs (590,000) is at the top of the list, followed by the number of members of tennis, badminton, table tennis, gate ball, and daily calisthenics clubs. Olle Trail in Jeju A hiking course in Jejudo Island “Olle” is a local word from the Jeju dialect that refers to a narrow path between a thoroughfare and the entrance of a house. Ms. Seo Myeongsuk, a journalist, started using the word for mountain hiking courses on the island after drawing inspiration from the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. (Source: Jeju Olle Foundation)


The government strives to encourage people to engage in more positive physical activities by providing support for sports clubs. Most sports clubs hold events from time to time. Over the past few years, the number of marathon clubs has increased drastically. In spring and fall, marathon competitions are held every weekend all over the country. An amateur marathon competition attracts thousands or even tens of thousands of participants. A relevant organization estimates the number of people engaging in jogging, running, and marathon events at somewhere between 800,000 and 4 million. More than 20,000 people, professionals and amateurs, took part in a marathon event held recently. As a mountainous country, South Korea has an ideal environment for mountain climbers and hikers. There are many mountains near large cities, enabling city dwellers to enjoy mountain climbing and hiking conveniently. The country also has

Average number of spectators attending each game of major professional sports

11,562 10,983

KISS The Korea Institute of Sport Science in Nowongu, Seoul engages in the development and distribution of physical exercise methods, research aimed at helping athletes enhance their skills, the training of future sports leaders, and comprehensive research on sports science.



10,709 7,157


1,471 2009 Volleyball




12,873 11,402

4,575 1,472 2010 Basketball



5,687 4,092

1,744 2011 Soccer


1,744 2012 Baseball

1,525 2013

4,458 1,967 2014 (Source:MCST)

many popular rock climbing spots. In recent years, the hilly trails of Jejudo Island have emerged as a favorite destination for hikers. Amid the new hiking boom, local governments have vied with each other in their efforts to establish good hiking paths. Bike riding has also become the focus of attention as an environmentally friendly sport, and the number of cycling clubs has increased accordingly. A vast network of bike paths has been established across the country, and many people

Jincheon Training Center The training center has a facility that can accommodate 350 athletes in twelve sports (i.e. athletics, shooting, swimming, tennis, soft tennis, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, rowing, canoeing, and rugby), ancillary facilities designed to help athletes adjust their physical condition, and convenience facilities.

now enjoy cycling along the country’s major rivers on weekends. A large number of people are attracted to professional baseball, soccer, and volleyball games. Rooting for one’s favorite team is a fun pastime. Professional baseball and soccer games are attended by 8 million and 3 million people, respectively, each year. Collaboration of Sports and Science At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, a South Korean won the gold medal in the vault final. This achievement was the result of collaboration between science and sports. Sports scientists studied what the optimal conditions should be to pull through the hardest skills. They reached the conclusion that the optimal time span for an athlete to touch the vaulting horse was 0.15 seconds and that the optimal angle between arm and body was 22 degrees in order to stay in the air longer and make more rapid turns. The South Korean athlete was able to win the gold medal as a result of training based on optimal conditions suited to his body structure. The Korea Institute of Sport Science (KISS) employs experts in sports dynamics, psychology, physiology, and so on. These specialists help athletes to achieve the best possible results in 173

competitions. Five experts accompanied the national team during the 2012 London Summer Olympics. There are sixteen sportsrelated societies in the country in total, all of which exchange information through an integrated computer system. Korea has many practice and training facilities, including the Taereung Training Center in Seoul. The center in Taereung is equipped with training facilities, running tracks, indoor and outdoor courts, an indoor swimming pool that meet international standards, and a dormitory for 300 athletes. In 2011, the country built a new training facility in Jincheon, Chungcheongbuk-do for athletes selected for international events. Among those who practiced here were the winners of gold and silver medals in track and field, swimming, and rifle shooting at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The facility in Jincheon will be expanded to accommodate up to 800 athletes in 25 sports. Another facility specializing in the enhancement of athletes’ cardiopulmonary functions is in Hambaeksan Mountain near Taebaek.

1988 Seoul Summer Olympics The 24th Summer Olympic Games were held in Seoul in 1988, with a record number of athletes (8,391 from 159 countries) Emblem of the 1988 Olympics The emblem was designed based on the triple Taegeuk, a traditional pattern handed down among Koreans for many generations. The pattern has been widely used in entrances to private houses and handicrafts. It was used to symbolize wishes for the promotion of peace through the Olympics.


attending the event. The Games adopted “reconciliation and progress� as the basic spirit. The organizing committee set the following objectives: participation of the largest number of athletes, worldwide harmony, best results, safety, and cost saving. South Korea became the 16th country (and only the 2nd in Asia) to host the Summer Olympic Games. The competitions were held in 23 formal disciplines and 2 demonstration sports. South Korea ranked 4th overall, winning 12 gold medals, 10

silver medals, and 11 bronze medals The 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics were significant in that they were focused on reconciliation between the Western and Eastern Blocs, after the Western Bloc’s boycotting of the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the Eastern Bloc’s retaliatory boycotting of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The event in Seoul transcended ideological conflict and racial discrimination pursuant to the Olympic Charter, and served as an occasion for publicizing the

Red Devils’ take to the Streets After their enthusiastic support for their national team in red T shirts during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, South Korean sports fans acquired the nickname Red Devils. It is said that about half of all South Koreans took part in the supporting events during the 2002 tournament.

status of the country’s economic development and traditional culture, and the potential of Koreans worldwide.

2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan Held for 31 days (May 31 to June 30), the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan was the first World Cup to be jointly hosted by two countries. It was also the first World Cup Tournament to

South Koreans supporting the national team in front of Seoul City Hall during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. Many foreigners said that they were deeply impressed by the fans’ enthusiasm and unity.


be held outside Europe and the Americas. The event produced a series of unexpected results, of which the most unexpected was probably South Korea’s remarkable success in reaching the semi-finals. The event also served as an occasion to reveal another aspect of South Koreans to people all over the world: soccer fans in red T shirts enthusiastically supporting their national team. Tens of thousands of fans fervently cheering on their team in the dead of night created quite a sight. During the South Korean team’s match against Germany for 4th place, a total of 6.5 million people filled the streets nationwide to cheer on their national team.

2011 World Athletics Championships The event was held in Daegu, the country’s third largest city, from August 27 to September 4, 2011, with more than 100 million spectators over the world. Daegu Stadium is also the venue where many other international sports competitions, including the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan and the 2003 Summer Universiade, were held. During the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, the stadium’s high-definition electric signboard displayed minute differences of hundredths of a second in the athletes’ times, presenting vivid scenes of an athletics competition to spectators 1

all over the world.


1. Competitors in the steeplechase at the 2011 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu. 2. The South Korean national team enters the stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympics.


2012 London Summer Olympics At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, South Korea took 5th place in terms of the number of gold, silver, and bronze medals it won. Among Asian countries, Korea ranked 2nd only after China. South Korean athletes won 13 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze


South Korean Medalists in the 2012 London Summer Olympics Ki Bo-bae (Archery) Ki Bo-bae won two gold medals in the women’s individual and team archery events.

Park Tae-hwan (Swimming) Park Tae-hwan won two silver medals in the men’s 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle.

Kim Jang-mi (Shooting) Kim Jang-mi won the gold medal in the women’s 25m pistol event.


Choi In-jeong (Fencing) The country’s fencing team achieved notable results at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Choi In-jeong won a silver medal in the women’s epee team event.

Kim Jae-bum (Judo) Kim Jae-bum won a gold medal in the men’s 73-81kg category at the World Championship and the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Yang Hak-seon (Gymnastics) Yang Hak-seon presented the country with a gold medal in gymnastics. He ranked the highest score of 7.4 with his 1,080-degree, triple vault twist.


medals in archery, rifle shooting, fencing, gymnastics, judo, and swimming. It is noteworthy that the country won gold medals in various men’s individual, women’s individual, and women’s team events, and won the bronze medal in a men’s team event. In rifle shooting, the country won 3 gold medals and 2 silver medals, letting the world know that it is a powerhouse in rifle shooting. One archer and one rifle shooter won two gold medals each. The country also won 2 gold medals in judo and a gold medal in wrestling. More than any other country, the South Korean team surprised the world in the London Olympics, with only the three sporting superpowers and the host nation exceeding the South Korean performance. To win six medals in fencing, once regarded as a sport for Western aristocrats, is quite remarkable, but perhaps the most notable achievement of South Korea’s national team was the gold medal won in artistic gymnastics on the pommel horse. Yang Hak-seon presented the country with its first gold medal in the Olympic history of pommel horse, displaying great skill. In Taekwondo, in which the country used to win many gold meals, the team won only one gold medal, apparently as a result of the sport’s adoption by many other countries. For its participation in the 2012 London Summer Olympics the motto of the South Korean national team was “From London to London”, referring to the team’s return to London after the 1948 London Olympic Games. It also refers to the shift in the country’s status from a foreign aid recipient to an aid donor in just 64 years and its wish to share the wealth and experience accumulated by it with other countries. 180

2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be held between 9th and 25th February 2018. Pyeongchang’s bids to host the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics failed, but the city finally made it at the third attempt for 2018. Thus, South Korea became the host of the Olympic Games once again after the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be the second winter Olympics held in Asia after the Games held in Nagano, Japan in 1998. The Summer and Winter Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, and the IAAF World Championships in Athletics are said to be the four most important international sporting events. South Korea will be the sixth country to have hosted all of them by 2018 -

2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics IOC President Jacques Rogge announces Pyeongchang as the Host City for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

after France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia.

Taekwondo Originated in Korea, Taekwondo is a martial art of self-defence in which the competitors use both their hands and feet. In ancient times, Koreans practiced Taekwondo as a mandatory preparation for war. With the passage of time, Taekwondo gradually became a folk sport. In 1971, it was designated as Korea’s national sport. In 1973, the 1st World Taekwondo Championship were held in Seoul and in 1980, the IOC adopted it as an official event of the Olympic Games. It has grown into an international sport with around 100 million participants globally. Taekwondo stresses the importance of spiritual discipline and for this reason it enjoys popularity among both men and women. 181

A Taekwondo demonstration in Times Square, New York

The South Korean government assists with the dispatching of Taekwondo masters worldwide. Active UN Peacekeeping Forces teach Taekwondo to local residents in disputed territories, where they are stationed. In many parts of the world, Taekwondo is


viewed as a symbol of South Korea. As for its educational effects associated with spiritual discipline and tenacity, Taekwondo is emerging as an option for the treatment of young people suffering from addictions.


History 역사


The Beginnings of the Country’s History (Prehistoric Times - Gojoseon) Three Kingdoms and Other States Unified Silla and Balhae Goryeo Joseon The Fall of Joseon: Imperial Japan’s Annexation of Korea Independence Movement Transition to a Democracy and Transformation into an Economic Powerhouse

Hand Axe This multifunctional tool dates back to the Paleolithic period, it was discovered in Jeongok-ri, Yeoncheon-gun, Gyeonggi-do.


6 History 역사

The Beginnings of the Country’s History (Prehistoric Times - Gojoseon) The history of the Korean nation began in Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula when people started settling there 700,000 years ago. Representative historic sites associated with the people of the Paleolithic Age, who used tools made of animal horns and chipped stone tools, include Geomeunmoru Cave in Sangwon, Pyeongannam-do; Jeongok-ri in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi-do; Seokjang-ri in Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do; and Durubong Cave in Cheongwon, Chungcheongbuk-do. The early inhabitants of the peninsula survived by hunting for animals and collecting edible plants in groups.

Comb-pattern Pottery This object with a pointy bottom was discovered in Amsa-dong, Seoul, a representative historic site of the Neolithic Age. (Source: National Museum of Korea)

In Korea, the Neolithic Age began around B.C.8,000. People started farming, cultivating cereals such as millet, and used polished stone tools. They started settling down permanently in places and formed clan societies. One of the most representative features of the Neolithic Age is comb-patterned pottery, examples of which have been found all across the Korean Peninsula, including Amsadong, Seoul; Namgyeong, Pyeongyang; and Suga-ri, Gimhae. The Bronze Age started around the 10th century BC on the Korean Peninsula and the 15th century BC in Manchuria. Historic sites associated with the Bronze Age are found in Liaoning and 187

Jilin Provinces, China and across the Korean Peninsula. With the development of the Bronze culture, a society emerged in which the head of a clan exercised great influence. The strongest clan leaders started merging many clans into one, and these groups very gradually developed into early states. The tribes that played a central role in the establishment of Gojoseon, which emerged as the first recognizable state of the Korean people, believed in the King of Heaven and worshipped bears. The two factions jointly upheld Dangun Wanggeom as their chief priest and political leader. Gojoseon fostered an independent culture in Liaoning, China and along the Daedonggang River. By the 3rd century BC, kings such as King Bu and King Jun had become powerful and bequeathed the throne to their sons. They established a solid system of rule, backed by high-ranking retainers and military officers. Towards the end of the 3rd century, the Qin Dynasty was replaced by the Han Dynasty in China, creating a period of social upheaval. Many people moved southward to Gojoseon. Their leader, Wiman, acceded to the throne in B.C.194 and


Gojoseon expanded its territory under his rule. By this time, Gojoseon had adopted iron culture, developed agriculture and various handicrafts, and increased its military strength. It tried to monopolize profit, while serving as an intermediate in the trade between the Korean Peninsula and China, taking advantage of its geographical proximity to China. This led to confrontation between Gojoseon and Han China. Han attacked Gojoseon with a large number of ground and naval forces. Gojoseon defiantly resisted the attack and won a great victory in the early stage of the war, but its capital at Wanggeomseong Fortress fell after a year of war, and Gojoseon collapsed in B.C.108. Dolmen The Seven Wonders of the World include sites such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Wall of China, and Stonehenge in England among others. The many dolmens scattered around the Korean Peninsula compare favorably with them for the following reasons: First, the Korea Peninsula has over 36,000 dolmens, or about

Dolmen Park in Suncheon, Jeollanam-do


half of all the dolmens in the world. Second, diverse artifacts, including human bones, stone objects, jade and bronze artifacts, have been unearthed from the dolmens, although many of them were also found to contain no objects. Such discoveries raised many pertinent questions such as who Table-type Dolmens in Bugeun-ri, Ganghwa

made the dolmens, when, and why? What kind of life did their builders lead? Third, one can only wonder about how such large stones were transported and from where, and what kind of skills were used to build the dolmens. In the past, the dolmens in Korea used to be classified into two categories: the northern type (table type), which includes the dolmens located north of the Hangang River, and the southern type (go-table type). However, after go-table dolmens were found north of the Hangang River, and table-type dolmens were found south of the river, the northern/southern-type appellations were dropped. Meanwhile, other scholars have added new types to this

Mandolin-shaped Bronze Dagger and Slender Bronze Dagger (Gojoseon) These two artifacts represent the Bronze Age. They are thought to be either weapons or ritual objects. The one on the left looks similar to a bipa (Korean mandolin), while the one on the right is more slender and displays a straight line. (Source: National Museum of Korea)


system of classification. Dolmens are often referred to as tombs, but it is difficult to make this claim with any certainty. Yi Gyu-bo, a great scholar of Goryeo in the 12th century, left the following remarks about dolmens: “People say that the saints put the dolmens there in the olden days. It is indeed a wonderful technique (that enabled men to position such huge rocks in that way).� In the early 20th century, American missionary Horace Grant Underwood claimed that dolmens were not tombs but rather

that they were put there for sacrificial rituals offered to the gods of the earth. A Korean folklorist named Son Jin-tae pointed to a folktale in which dolmens were believed to be the houses of witches (Mago halmeoni in local legends). Dolmens are rarely found in China, except for Manchuria, or Japan, yet many thousands of them can be seen across the Korean Peninsula. They were erected over many thousands of years, but this process stopped sometime before Christ. There are many unsolved mysteries surrounding the dolmens, such as the reason for their concentration in such great numbers on the Korean Peninsula in Northeast Asia and their connectivity with those found in Europe or India. UNESCO’s acceptance of the South Korean government’s application for registration of the dolmens in Ganghwa, Hwasun, and Gochang in 2000 as a world cultural heritage attests to the world’s growing interest in their importance in the field of cultural anthropology.

Three Kingdoms and Other States Towards the end of the Gojoseon Period, tribal states came into being one after another in Manchuria and on the Korean

Stele for Great King Gwanggaeto (Goguryeo; 5th Century) King Gwanggaeto the Great, the 19th king of Goguryeo, expanded the territory of his Kingdom into Manchuria and the Maritime Provinces of Siberia. In 414, his son King Jangsu set up a stele (6.39m high, 37 tons) in present-day Jian, Jilin Province, China to commemorate his father’s great achievements. The inscription, comprising 1,775 characters, explains how Goguryeo was founded and how it expanded its territory.

Peninsula. Buyeo was established in the plains along the Songhuajiang River in Manchuria and Jilin. The people of Buyeo grew crops and raised livestock, including horses. They also made furs. By the early 1st century AD, they started calling their main leader the King and actively engaged with other countries, even entering into diplomatic relations with China. By the end of the 3rd century, Buyeo had been incorporated into Goguryeo. The people of Buyeo held an annual festival called Yeonggo in December. During the festival, they held a sacrificial rite for 191

heaven, sang and danced together, and released prisoners. The Kingdom fell apart during the establishment of the regional confederation, but the factions that founded Goguryeo and Baekje took pride in their status as the inheritors of Buyeo. Samguk sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms) states that Gojumong, who founded Goguryeo in B.C.37, was originally from Buyeo. Goguryeo prospered greatly in areas close to Baekdusan Mountain and along the Amnokgang (Yalu) River. Right after its foundation, the Kingdom conquered a number of small states in the area and moved its capital to Gungnaeseong (Tonggu) near the Amnok. Through many wars, it drove away the factions loyal to Han Dynasty and expanded its territory as far as Liaodong in the west and to the north of the Korean Peninsula in the east. It became a powerful state, exerting control over Manchuria and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. There were also a number of small states, such as Okjeo and Dongye, in present-day Hamgyeong-do and the north of Gangwon-do along the East Coast of the Korean Peninsula. Located in outlying areas, they did not develop very rapidly. Okjeo offered tributes, such as salt and fish, to Goguryeo. The people of Dongye held a sacrificial rite for heaven called Mucheon in October, building a spirit of collaboration by singing and dancing together. Their specialty products included an archery bow, known as a dangung, and the gwahama (a horse small enough to pass unhindered beneath fruit trees). These two states were also incorporated into Goguryeo. The area to the south of Gojoseon was occupied by a large group of small states including Mahan, Jinhan, and Byeonhan. Mahan was a confederacy of fifty-four small states (composed of 192

The Three Kingdoms and Gaya (5th Century AD)


East Sea


Usanguk Dokdo

West Sea Ungjin (Gongju) Sabi (Buyeo) Baekje

Silla Gaya

Geumseong (Gyeongju)


100,000 households in total) located in present-day Gyeonggido, Chungcheong-do, and Jeolla-do Provinces. Byeonhan was located in an area that included present-day Gimhae and Masan. Jinhan was located in an area that included present-day Daegu and Gyeongju. Each of the latter two was composed of 40,000 – 50,000 households. The three mini-states were collectively known as Samhan (Three Han States). The people of Samhan held rites of sacrifice for heaven in May and October. On such occasions, they gathered together to enjoy liquor, food, singing and dancing. 193

A Painting of Hunting Scenes in the Tomb of the Dancers (Goguryeo; 5th Century) Dynamic hunting activities of the people of Goguryeo (37 BCE-668 CE)

Jar with Clay Figurines (Silla; 5th Century) In ancient times, people made animal-shaped clay figurines for use as toys or burial accessories. This jar indicates the religious belief of the people of Silla. It is an important material for scholars and enthusiasts of history and art. (Source: National Museum of Korea)

Along with the spread of iron culture and the development of farming skills, powerful states such as Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla gradually became established in Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula. Goguryeo Goguryeo was the first of the three Kingdoms to firmly establish itself as a sovereign country. It started expanding its territory in the late 1st century and adopted a system centered on the King by the late 2nd century. By the early 4th century, King Micheon of Goguryeo had driven away factions loyal to Han Dynasty from the Korean Peninsula. In 372 (the 2nd year of King Sosurim’s reign), Goguryeo adopted Buddhism and announced a code of laws in an effort to establish a proper ruling system. It also established the Taehak, a Confucian educational institute. King Gwanggaeto the


Gold Crown of Gaya This crown was unearthed in Goryeong, Gyeongsangbukdo. It features upright decorations and curved jade pendants.

Great, a son of King Sosurim, drove away the Khitan, Sushen, Dongbuyeo and expanded his territory into Manchuria. He also captured many of Baekje’s fortresses in the south and helped Silla overcome a crisis by driving away Wako invaders. Baekje Baekje was established in B.C.18 jointly by the people who lived along the Hangang River, people originating from Buyeo and Goguryeo, and migrants from elsewhere. By the mid-3rd century, during the reign of King Goi, the Kingdom had seized complete control over the areas along the Hangang River and established a solid system of political governance by accommodating the advanced culture of China. By the mid-4th century, King Geunchogo occupied Mahan and expanded the territory as far as the south coast of present-day Jeollanam-do. Along the northern border, Baekje confronted Goguryeo in a bid to take control of 195

present-day Hwanghae-do. It also exerted control over Gaya in the south. At that time, Baekje’s territory included present-day Gyeonggi-do, Chungcheong-do, Jeolla-do, the middle reaches of the Nakdonggang River, Gangwon-do, and Hwanghae-do. Silla Silla originated in Saroguk, one of the mini states of Jinhan. It was established as a Kingdom in B.C.57 by the natives of present-day Gyeongju and people from other regions. Those with the family names Park, Seok, and Kim acceded to the throne in turn. By around the 4th century, the Kingdom occupied most of the areas east of the Nakdonggang River. During the reign of King Naemul, Silla allowed Goguryeo troops to remain within the Kingdom to help drive away Wako invaders. It also adopted Chinese culture and civilization through Goguryeo. In Byeonhan, located along the lower reaches of the Nakdonggang River, the Gaya Confederation emerged, with Geumgwan Gaya playing a leading role. The confederation developed an iron culture and exerted considerable influence on areas along the Nakdonggang River. Mini states of Gaya started rice farming early on and traded actively with Wa (Japan) and Lelang, taking advantage of locally produced iron and convenient sea routes. Unification of the Three Kingdoms under Silla By the 5th century, each of the three Kingdoms (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla) on the Korean Peninsula was committed to a policy of territorial expansion under a firmly established ruling apparatus centered on the King. In Goguryeo, King Jangsu, a son 196

of King Gwanggaeto, moved the capital to Pyeongyang in 427. He occupied Hanseong (present-day Seoul), the capital of Baekje, and areas along the Hangang River, expanding his territory down to present-day Jungnyeong Pass (Danyang and Yeongju) and Namyang-myeon, Gyeonggi-do. Thanks to this territorial expansion, Goguryeo emerged as a power to be reckoned with in Northeast Asia

Great Gilt-bronze Incense Burner of Baekje (6th Century) This precious object has helped researchers broaden their understanding of the production skills, handicrafts, artistic culture, religion, and ideas of Baekje. (Source: National Museum of Korea)

Looking at Baekje, the Kingdom moved its capital to Ungjin (present-day Gongju) in 475, after yielding the areas along the Hangang River to Goguryeo. It strived to rebuild its strength to regain the lost territory. King Dongseong confronted Goguryeo by reinforcing the alliance with Silla. King Muryeong reinforced local control in an effort to lay the foundation for prosperity. King Seong, a son of King Muryeong, relocated the Baekje capital to Sabi (present-day Buyeo), strove to reform the ruling system, and regained control over areas along the Hangang River in an alliance with Silla. As for Silla, Saroguk changed its name to Silla in the early 6th century, reformed its political system, and reorganized its administrative zones, including the capital, during the reign of King Jijeung. King Jijeung incorporated Usanguk (composed of present-day Ulleungdo and Dokdo) into the territory of Silla in 512. King Beopheung stabilized the ruling system by proclaiming laws, setting rules about official robes, and adopting Buddhism as the official state religion. He also incorporated Geumgwan Gaya in a drive to expand the territory. King Jinheung reorganized Hwarangdo into a national organization and 197

Sacred Bell of Great King Seongdeok (Unified Silla; 8th Century) Weighing 18.9 tons, this is the largest bell in the country. It is also called the Emille Bell. The Flying Apsaras in the picture on the right displays the exquisite decorative skills of Silla.

expanded the territory considerably. He seized lands along the Hangang River from Baekje, conquered Dae Gaya in Goryeong, wrested areas along the Nakdonggang River, and expanded the territory as far as Hamheung along the East Coast. In 612, Sui China, which unified all of mainland China into one state, attacked Goguryeo, mobilizing more than a million troops. General Eulji Mundeok of Goguryeo drowned most of the Chinese invaders in the Salsu (present-day Cheongcheongang River). The Sui Dynasty sustained enormous damage due to the failure of the campaign and fell to the Tang Dynasty in 618. Tang China also attacked Goguryeo several times, but failed at each attempt. In the meantime, Baekje frequently attacked Silla. Silla unsuccessfully sought the assistance of Goguryeo, and then invaded in an alliance with Tang China. Silla troops led by Kim Yu-sin defeated an elite force of Baekje troops commanded by Gyebaek in Hwangsanbeol and marched to Sabi, the capital of Baekje. Troops of Tang China invaded Baekje through the estuary 198

of the Geumgang River. Finally, Baekje surrendered to the SillaTang forces in 660. The Silla-Tang forces then attacked Goguryeo, once the most powerful Kingdom in Northeast Asia. However, Goguryeo had depleted its resources in two large-scale wars against the two dynasties of China, and fell in 668. Upon conquering Baekje and Goguryeo in alliance with Silla, Tang China attempted to exert control over the entire Korean Peninsula, including Silla. Silla waged a war against Tang, defeated its navy in Gibeolpo near the estuary of the Geumgang River, and drove all of Tang’s forces out of the peninsula, thus accomplishing the important feat of unifying the Korean Peninsula in 676.

North and South States Period: Unified Silla and Balhae With the unification of the three Kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula in 668, Silla enjoyed a marked expansion of both its territory and population. Unified Silla entered a period of dazzling economic development. It mended fences with Tang China. The two countries saw vigorous exchanges between traders, monks, and Confucian scholars. Silla exported gold/silver handiworks and ginseng to Tang and imported books, chinaware, satin silk fabric, clothes, and craftwork products. Goods from Central Asia were introduced to Silla, and traders from that region paid visits to Silla via the Silk Road and sea routes. The major ports of Silla included Ulsan and Danghangseong (present-day Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do), through which numerous goods from Central and Southern Asia were imported. In the early 9th century, General Jang Bo-go of Silla established a forward 199

base in Cheonghaejin (present-day Wando, Jeollanam-do) to deal with the pirate menace and encourage trade with nearby countries including China and Japan. In the meantime, the survivors of the fallen Kingdom of Goguryeo resisted Tang China’s rule. In 698, a group of them led by Dae Jo-yeong, jointly with the Mohe, founded Balhae near present-day Dongmiaoshan in Jilin Province, China. The new Kingdom would eventually confront Silla in the south. Unified Silla and Balhae (8th Century)



East Sea Pyeongyang Usanguk

West Sea

Silla Geumseong (Gyeongju)




Balhae started expanding its territory and regained control over most of the former territory of Goguryeo. During the reign of King Mu, Balhae controlled northern Manchuria. King Mun reformed the system of governance and moved the capital to Sanggyeong (present-day Ningan-xian, Heilongjiang Province) in about 755. The people of Balhae took pride in their Goguryeo inheritance. Letters held in Japan show that the kings of Balhae referred to themselves as the Kings of Goguryeo. Balhae eventually grew so large and strong that the people of Tang China called it Haedong seongguk (“prosperous country in the east�), but it fell in 926 as a result of the devastation caused by an eruption of Baekdusan Mountain and an invasion of the Khitan.

Celadon Prunus Vase with Inlaid Cloud and Crane Design (Goryeo; 12th Century) The jade green celadon ware represents the ceramics of the Goryeo period. The exquisite patterns on these objects were created by inlaying white and black clay into grooves etched on their surface. Inlaid designs such as this are recognized as a unique skill.

Goryeo By the late 8th century, Silla had been weakened by an internal struggle for power among the nobility; and, by the 10th century, leaders of powerful local factions, such as Gyeon Hwon and Gungye, had established their own regimes. In 892, Gyeon Hwon established a Kingdom named Later Baekje, with Wansanju as its capital, and gained control of presentday Jeolla-do and Chungcheong-do. In 901, Gungye, a member of the Silla royal family, founded Later Goguryeo, exerting control over present-day Gangwon-do and Gyeonggi-do. He expanded the territory, reformed the ruling system, and relocated the capital to Cheorwon. He also changed the name of the country to Taebong. Gungye lost popularity among his people while exerting 201

control over local leaders and strengthening his claim to the throne. In 918, he was driven away by Wang Geon, a local leader from Songak. Wang Geon changed the name of the country to Goryeo, announced that the country would inherit Goguryeo, and moved the capital to Songak. Goryeo remained hostile to Later Baekje and adopted a policy of positive engagement with Silla. In 935, Unified Silla was peacefully incorporated into Goryeo. Following a power struggle among leaders in Later Baekje, Gyeon Hwon surrendered to Wang Geon. In 936, Later Baekje fell to Goryeo. Thus, Wang Geon unified the Later Three Kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula. Goryeo adopted Confucianism as its political ideology and established an effective education system by founding the Gukjagam (a national higher education institution) and numerous hyanggyo (local private schools). Buddhism also exerted a considerable influence on Goryeo society in general. The Kingdom adopted a more tolerant approach towards the acceptance of other religions, as indicated by the Yeondeunghoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) and Palgwanhoe (Festival of the Eight Vows), rites in which prayers were offered for blessing, based on a syncretic mix of folk religions and Buddhism. Goryeo engaged in brisk trade with many countries, including Song China. Many traders from Song China, Central Asia, Arabia, Southeast Asia and Japan travelled to Byeongnando, the gateway to the capital, Gaeseong. Traders from Song China sold satin, silk and medicinal herbs, while traders from Goryeo sold hemp cloth and ginseng. Gems such as ivory, crystal, amber were imported from Arabia. And, finally, the name ‘Korea’ originated from Goryeo during this period. 202

The Goryeo Kingdom gave birth to a splendid culture. The inlaid designs found on Goryeo jade-green porcelain attest to a unique artistry unparalleled elsewhere in the world at that time. The Tripitaka Koreana (a Korean collection of the Tripitaka, or Buddhist scriptures, carved onto 81,258 wooden printing blocks), which was made during the Goryeo Period, is the essence of Buddhist culture and the pinnacle of achievement of wooden printing block technology. The world’s first metal printing types were also invented during the Goryeo Period. According to the pertinent records, the people of Goryeo invented metal printing

Goryeo (11th Century)

Seogyeong (Pyeongyang)

East Sea

Gaegyeong (Gaeseong) Usanguk Namgyeong (Seoul) Dokdo

West Sea Donggyeong (Gyeongju)



t y p e s m o re t h a n 2 0 0 ye a rs b e fo re Johannes Gutenburg in Europe. A book entitled Jikji (Anthology of Great Buddhist Priests' Zen Teachings) was printed in 1377 with metal printing types, 78 years ahead of its European homologue printed in 1455. Jikji is kept at the National Library of France Jikji (1377), the oldest extant text printed with movable metal type

and was registered as a Memory of the World in 2001. War with the Mongols In the early 13th century, the situation in China changed abruptly. The Mongols conquered the Jin Dynasty of China and expanded their influence into the Korean Peninsula. They invaded Goryeo seven times between 1231 and 1259. In an effort to resist these attacks, Goryeo moved its capital to Ganghwa. Even ordinary people and slaves fought the invaders. In 1259, a peace agreement was signed between the two countries. The Yuan Dynasty of China established by the Mongols accepted Goryeo’s six conditions for peace, including a guarantee of the continued existence of the Goryeo Dynasty and Mongol troops’ immediate withdrawal from the Korean Peninsula. The agreement was a result of Goryeo’s persistent resistance to the Mongols’ plan to bring Goryeo under its direct control. Despite the agreement with the Mongols, a group of Goryeo troops continued to fight them, moving their base of operations to Jindo and then to Jejudo. They continued to fight until 1273. Their forty-two-year campaign of resistance against the Mongols, the world’s strongest power at that time, attests to their perseverance and indomitable spirit. However, the national land was devastated


and people’s lives were destroyed due to the long years of war. The Mongols destroyed many precious cultural heritages, including the nine-tier pagoda at Hwangnyongsa Temple.

Joseon Towards the end of the 13th century, Goryeo found itself in a difficult situation due to internal and external problems, including a struggle for power among the nobility and incursions by red-

Joseon (15th Century)

Hamgil-do (Hamgyeong-do) Pyeongan-do



East Sea Hwanghae-do Haeju Gyeonggi-do Gangwon-do Ulleungdo Hanseong(Seoul) Wonju

West Sea Chungcheong-do

Gongju Jeonju


Gyeongsang-do Daegu





and founded a new dynasty, Joseon. As the first King Taejo of

Cheonsang Yeolcha Bunya Jido (Joseon; 17th Century) This (on the left) astronomical chart from Joseon shows the constellations.

Joseon, he chose Hanyang (present-day Seoul) – judged to be a

(Source: National Palace Museum of Korea)

turbaned bandits and Wako pirates. At that time, General Yi Seong-gye had become popular among the people for his role in driving away foreign invaders. He overthrew the Goryeo Dynasty

propitious spot according to the principles of feng shui – as the capital of the new dynasty. He also ordered the construction of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine, as well as roads and markets. The new capital, located in the center of the Korean Peninsula, was easily accessible via the Hangang River, which flowed directly through its heart. King Taejong, the third King and a son of the founder of the dynasty, made a significant contribution to stabilizing the system of governance. He adopted a system by which all people were registered under the Hopae Act, and launched six ministries, namely, the Ministries of Personnel Administration, Finance, Protocol, Defense, Justice, and Public Works, to govern the country. King Sejong, the fourth King and a son of King Taejong, ushered in an era of great political, social, and cultural prosperity. Scholars at the Jiphyeonjeon (Hall of Worthies) developed strong and effective policies. During the reigns of Sejo, Yejong, and Seongjong, the Gyeongguk daejeon (National Code) was drawn up with the aim of establishing a long-lasting ruling system. The Creation of Hangeul Koreans had used Chinese characters as their alphabet and writing system for many centuries. Idu and Hyangchal, systems for writing the spoken word, using Chinese characters, had been developed, but they left much to be desired. In 1443, King Sejong 207

supervised the creation of Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) and promulgated it to the people three years later, in 1446. The shapes of the Korean alphabet were based on the shapes made by the human vocal apparatus during pronunciation. Many scholars have stated that Hangeul is the most scientific and easy-tolearn writing system in the world. It certainly went a long way towards enhancing communication between the people and the government, and played a decisive role in laying the foundations of a culturally advanced country. Development of Science and Technology During the Joseon period, the country’s science and technology developed considerably. The Jagyeongnu (clepsydra), Angbuilgu Angbuilgu (Joseon; 17th~18th Centuries) A sundial capable of marking changes in both time and season (Left) (Source: National Palace Museum of Korea)

Rain Gauge (Joseon; 18th Century) This rain gauge used to be installed in Seonhwadang, Daegu (Right)


(sun dial), and Honcheonui (armillary sphere) were all invented in the early period of the dynasty. A rain gauge, the first of its particular kind in the world, was used. Devices for land survey and mapmaking were also made. During the reign of King Taejo, the Cheonsang yeolcha bunya jido (Celestial Chart) was made based on a previous version drawn up during the Goguryeo Period. During the reign of King Sejong, Chiljeongsan (Calculation of the Motions of the Seven Celestial Determinants) was made based

on the Shoushili calendar of China and the Islamic calendar of Arabia. Noticeable advances were made in the sphere of medical science. Hyangyak jipseongbang (Compilation of Native Korea Prescriptions) and Uibang yuchi (Classified Collection of Medical Prescriptions) were compiled. Metal printing types, such as Gyemija and Gabinja, were made during the reigns of Taejong and Sejong, making it possible to publish many books. Joseon’s Foreign Relations Joseon maintained friendly relations with Ming China. The two

Tsushima Clan Leader of Japan for bilateral trade. Joseon also

White Porcelain Jar with Plum, Bamboo, Bird Design (Joseon; 15th Century) This vase made in the early Joseon Period displays a uniquely Korean atmosphere in its refined portrayal of bamboo, plum, and birds.

traded with Asian countries, such as Ryukyu, Siam, and Java.

(Source: National Museum of Korea)

countries exchanged royal envoys every year and engaged in busy cultural and economic exchanges. Joseon also accepted Japan’s request for bilateral trade by opening the ports of Busan, Jinhae, and Ulsan. In 1443, Joseon signed an agreement with the

Development of Handcraft Skills Chinaware is perhaps the most representative handcraft of the Joseon Period. Grayish-blue-powdered celadon or white porcelain was widely used at the Royal Court or government offices. By about the 16th century, Joseon’s chinaware production skills had reached their zenith. Its white porcelain typically exhibited clean, plain shapes based on the tradition established during the Goryeo Period. They were suited to the aristocratic taste of the Confucian scholars.


Imjin Waeran (Japanese Invasion of 1592) Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, Joseon maintained good relations with Japan. In the 16th century, however, Japan called for a larger share of the bilateral trade, but Joseon refused to comply with the request. Japanese threw the country into turmoil by causing disturbances in 1510 and 1555. In Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi brought the confusion of the 120-year-long Warring States Period to a conclusion and unified the country. Then, in 1592, he invaded Joseon with around 200,000 troops, with the aim of dissipating local lords’ strength and stabilizing his rule in Japan. The war lasted until 1598. Feeling threatened by the invading Japanese troops, King Seonjo of Joseon fled to Uiju, close to Ming China, and asked the Ming to come to his aid. The Japanese invaders marched into the northern provinces of Joseon. Korean militias started fighting the invaders here and there across the country. It is particularly noteworthy that Korean naval forces led by Admiral Yi Sun-sin won one victory after another against the invaders and defended the nation’s breadbasket in Jeolla-do Province. The Japanese forces pulled out of Korea, but invaded Joseon again in 1597. Although Admiral Yi Sun-sin was left with only thirteen warships, he won a devastating victory against the Japanese fleet of 133 ships. The sea battle waged in the Strait of Myeongnyang was one of the greatest military engagements of all time, and is surely worthy of inclusion in any record of the world history of naval battles. Following the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Japanese invaders returned home. During the seven-year war, many cultural heritages in Joseon, including Bulguksa Temple, were destroyed. The Japanese took away books, printing types, and works of art 210

from Joseon. With these spoils of war, the Japanese were able to enhance scholarship and the arts in their own country, while porcelain makers whom the Japanese troops abducted from Joseon helped Japan develop its own china culture. Development of Grassroots Culture In the late Joseon Period, commerce and industry entered a period of rapid development. Many children could receive education at private schools in their local neighborhood. With these improvements in the quality of life of the people, they began to enjoy diverse entertainments. Stories written in easily understood Hangeul, as opposed to literary works published in Chinese, were widely distributed. Pansori (a genre of musical storytelling) and mask dance developed. In the late 19th century, Sin Jaehyo arranged pansori saseol (stories). Five leading pansori songs, namely, Chunhyangga (The Song of Chunhyang), Simcheongga (The Song of Sim Cheong), Heungboga (The Song of Heungbo),

Sandaenori This is a type of traditional stage play, in which masked actors and actresses engage in gags, dances, songs, etc.


Jeokbyeokga (The Song of Red Cliff), and Sugungga (The Song of the Rabbit and the Turtle) have been handed down to the present day. Mask plays such as Tallori and Sandaenori enjoyed great popularity among ordinary people.

The Fall of Joseon: Imperial Japan’s Annexation of Korea With the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, capitalism developed in Europe and large businesses came into being. European countries expanded their colonies in Asia and Africa. By the mid-19th century, the western powers had forced Qing China and Japan to open their doors and then asked the same of Joseon, but Joseon duly rejected such requests. Joseon did not yield to pressure applied in the form of naval attacks in 1866 (by the French) and 1871 (by the Americans). In the ensuing period, the western powers did not stop exerting pressure. In 1875, Japan dispatched the battleship Unyo Maru to attack Ganghwado and Yeongjongdo Islands, demanding that Joseon open its doors to foreign trade missions. Ultimately, Joseon was forced to sign the highly unequal, one-sided Ganghwado Treaty with Japan in 1876 under the threat of force. Subsequently, imperialist powers, including Japan, vied with each other to pillage Joseon’s resources. In 1897, Joseon changed its name to Imperial Korea and pushed ahead with reforms and the opendoor policy, but it was too late. Japan soon won major victories in Ganghwado Treaty The Ganghwado Treaty was a highly unequal, onesided trade treaty signed between Joseon and Japan on February 27, 1876 under threat of force.


its wars against Qing China and Russia, emerged as a strong power in Northeast Asia, and took steps to annex Joseon. Many Korean patriots, including Ahn Jung-geun, resisted such a plan, but to no avail. In August 1910, Imperial Korea became a Japanese colony.

Independence Movement During the colonial period (1910-1945), the Japanese pillaged Joseon’s resources, banned the use of the Korean language even going so far in 1939 as to require Koreans to change their personal names to Japanese style surnames and given names under the Name Order, and conscripted Koreans into their work force or as uniformed soldiers in the Pacific War. Koreans engaged in persistent struggles to regain their independence. They organized clandestine organizations to fight the Japanese

Leaders of the Provisional Government They played a pivotal role in the independence movement between April 1919, when the Provisional Government was established in Shanghai, China, and the country's liberation in August 1945.


within the country. They also established forward bases for the independence movement in China, Russia, and the United States. In March 1919, Korean leaders announced the Declaration of Independence. Students and ordinary people joined them by staging street demonstrations across the country. These protests continued for 12 months, involving about 2 million people, and were violently suppressed by the Japanese, with many thousands killed and wounded. The movement spread to the Koreans resisting in Manchuria, the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, the United States, Europe, and even to Japan. Following the March 1919 Independence Movement, organizations representing Koreans were established in Seoul, the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, and Shanghai. The Provisional Government of Korea established in Shanghai was the country’s first democratic republican government; it was equipped with a modern Constitution and a political system that separated the three basic branches (executive, legislative and judicial) of government. Koreans also carried out armed struggles against the Japanese. In the 1920s, more than thirty Korean independence army units engaged in resistance activities in Manchuria and the Maritime Provinces of Siberia. In June 1920, a Korean independence army unit led by Hong Beom-do dealt a devastating blow to Japanese troops in Fengwutung, Jilin Province, China. In October 1920, Korean volunteers led by Kim Jwa-jin won a great victory against Japanese troops in Helongxian, Manchuria. This is known as the Battle of Cheongsalli among Koreans. In 1940, the Provisional Government of Korea (PGK) organized the Korean Liberation Army in Chungqing, integrating many scattered volunteer independence fighters in Manchuria. The 214

PGK declared war against Japan and dispatched troops to the front lines in India and Myanmar to fight on the side of the Allied Forces. Some young Koreans received special training from a special military unit of the United States to better equip them to attack Japanese forces in Korea. On August 15, 1945, Koreans finally received what they had looked forward to for so long: the country’s liberation as a result of Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War. U.S. and Soviet troops were deployed to the south and north of the 38th parallel, respectively to disarm Japanese troops remaining on the Korean Peninsula.

Transition to a Democracy and Transformation into an Economic Powerhouse In May 1948, the country’s first democratic election was held in South Korea under the UN’s supervision to elect the 198

Gyeongbu Expressway Korea's first national expressway connecting Seoul and Busan was opened in 1970.


members of the National Assembly. In July of the same year, the Constitution was enacted and Rhee Syngman and Yi Si-yeong, two independence fighters deeply respected by Koreans, were elected as the country’s first President and Vice President. On August 15, 1948, the Republic of Korea (ROK) was launched as a free democracy, inheriting the legitimacy of the PGK. The UN recognized the government of the ROK as the only legitimate government on the Korean Peninsula. However, to the north of the 38th parallel, a general election under UN supervision could not be carried out due to the Soviet Union’s opposition. On September 9, 1945, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was established as a communist country, and Kim Il-sung, who had served as an officer of the Soviet Russian Army, was sworn in as the President. Amid the confrontation between a free democracy in the south and a communist dictatorship in the north, the ROK government led by President Rhee Syngman was burdened with many problems, such as the establishment of domestic order, the elimination of any remaining traces of the colonial rule, and conflicts between the right and the left among others. On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops armed with Sovietmade tanks and fighters invaded the South, thus triggering an allout war. The UN Security Council unanimously condemned the North Korean invasion and published a resolution recommending that its member states provide military assistance to South Korea. When the tide of the war turned against the North with the intervention of the UN Forces, Red Chinese troops intervened in the war on the North’s side. The two sides engaged in fierce battles until, on July 27, 1953, the two sides finally signed the 216

armistice agreement. President Rhee Syngman did not sign the agreement, calling strongly for the prolongation of the war with the goal of unifying the entire country in the South’s favor. The three-year-long internecine war started by the

The 18th President, Park Geun-hye She was inaugurated in February 2013 as the country’s first female President.

Communists reduced the entire Korean Peninsula to rubble. Millions of troops and civilians were killed. Most of the country’s industrial facilities were destroyed. South Korea became the poorest country in the world. However, the war taught South Koreans the preciousness of freedom. The experience provided the foundation that inspired patriotism in the hearts of young students and uniformed soldiers alike, and became the principal engine of the country’s modernization. President Rhee Syngman strengthened his authoritarian rule. 217

In 1960, the ruling Liberal Party rigged the Presidential election. Young students took to the streets in protest. The situation deteriorated when many demonstrators were shot down by the police. President Rhee Syngman announced his step-down and took refuge in Hawaii. Shortly thereafter, the Constitution was amended, and the Cabinet system and the bicameral National Assembly were adopted. Under the new constitution, the regime led by Prime Minister Jang Myeon was launched, but the political situation became extremely fragile amid political struggles and continued street demonstrations by students. In May 1961, a group of young army officers led by General Park Chung-hee seized power in a coup d’état. In the presidential election held in October 1963, after two years of military rule, Park Chung-hee, having retired from the military, was elected as President and inaugurated in December that same year. The government led by President Park set up a 5-year economic development plan under the slogan of “modernization of the fatherland” and achieved rapid economic growth by implementing an export-oriented policy. Observers called it “the Miracle on the Hangang River.” The country vigorously pushed ahead with the development of national land, including the construction of the Gyeongbu Expressway and subway lines in large cities. The country also carried out the Saemaeul Undong (New Community Movement), turning the impoverished agricultural society into a country focused mainly on manufacturing. When the government announced the Yusin (Revitalization Reform), which were designed to extend the term of the incumbent government after eighteen years of dictatorship, in 218

October 1972, students and ordinary people engaged in the democratization movement. After the assassination of President Park in October 1979, a new group of army officers led by General Chun Doo-hwan (Singunbu) seized power through a coup d’état. Singunbu suppressed the voices calling for democratization, including the May 18 Democratization Movement, by force. Chun Doo-hwan was sworn in as the President and ruled with an authoritarian grip. The Chun Doo-hwan government concentrated on economic stabilization, successfully bringing inflated prices under control. Under his leadership, the country accomplished continued economic growth. In June 1987, Roh Tae-woo, a presidential hopeful of the ruling party, made a special announcement to the effect that he would accept the people’s request for democratization and direct election of the President. In December of the same year, he was elected to a five-year term as President. He was sworn in as President in February 1988. The Roh Tae-woo administration established diplomatic relations with Communist countries, including the Soviet Union, China, and those in Eastern Europe. During his term, the two Koreas joined the UN simultaneously, in September 1991. The Kim Young-sam government, which was inaugurated in 1993, strove to eliminate corruption by making it a rule for high-ranking public officials to register all their assets and by prohibiting the use of false names in all financial transactions. The level of transparency in business transactions was considerably enhanced by this measure. The government also implemented the local autonomy system in full force. Kim Dae-jung was inaugurated as President in 1998. His government succeeded in 219

overcoming the foreign exchange crisis that had hit the country one year earlier, and strove to develop both democracy and the market economy. In its relations with the North, the government adopted the “sunshine policy.� In June 2000, the leaders of the two Koreas met at a summit held in Pyeongyang, North Korea, and made a joint statement. Then, the two Koreas established a system of reconciliation and cooperation, and agreed on the reunion of dispersed family members, reconnection of the Gyeongui and Donghae railroad lines, revitalization of the unification movement led by the private sector, and the expansion of economic cooperation, including sightseeing in Geumgangsan Mountain. The Roh Moo-hyun government, which was inaugurated in 2003, concentrated on three leading objectives, namely, the realization of democracy with the participation of the people, balanced social development, and the construction of Northeast Asia with the focus on peace and prosperity. The government also held the second summit between the leaders of the two Koreas in Pyeongyang in October 2007 and signed an FTA with the United States. The Lee Myung-bak administration, which was inaugurated in February 2008, announced five leading indicators in a bid for the establishment of a new development system with the focus on changes and practicality. The government stressed that it would be a government that would serve the people. It also made efforts to reduce the government organization, privatize public corporations (in addition to making them operate more efficiently), and reform administrative regulations. Other policies adopted by the government included the forging of a creative alliance with the United States as befits the 21st century, and 220

the creation of a global Korea under the South-North Economic Community. Ms. Park Geun-hye became the country’s first woman to be elected President in the election held in December 2012. She was inaugurated in February 2013. Her government presented a new vision: Nation’s Development and People’s Happiness. Over the past sixty-five years (1948-2013), the country has transformed itself from one of the most impoverished countries in the world to an economic powerhouse and an exemplar of free democracy. This process may be viewed as a unique example in world history.


History at a Glance Samguk sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms) and Samguk yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms) divide the history of the Silla Dynasty into three periods: early, mid, and late Silla Dynasty. The Three Kingdoms Period Silla (B.C.57 ~ A.D.935) Baekje (B.C.18 ~ A.D.660) Goguryeo (B.C.37 ~ A.D.668 )

Comb-patterned pottery They are earthenware representing the Neolithic Age that contain geometric patterns, such as dots, lines, circles on the surface

Gold crown (Silla; the 6th Century) It features three twig-shaped upstanding decorations, two deer horn-shaped decorations, and decorations composed of round gold plates and comma-shaped jade. It also has two tree leaf-shaped hanging accessories.

The Bronze Age Gojoseon The Samhan Period

Liaoning-style bronze dagger and Slender bronze dagger They are bronze daggers representing the Bronze Age through the early Iron Age.

Gaya (42~562) Armor and helmet It was made during the Gaya Period (5th Century). The steel plates were curved to meet the contours of the human body and attached to each other with nails.

The Iron Age Buyeo

The Paleolithic Age The Neolithic Age

Korea B.C.












China Sui (581~618)

The Bronze Age

Shang (1600~1046)

The Warring States Period (475~221) Qin (221~206) Former Han (B.C. 206~A.D. 25 )

South and North Dynasties (420~589)

Zhou (1046~256) The Chun Qiu Period (770~476) Later Han (25~220)

The Three Kingdoms Period (220~280) Chin (265~420)

Western Mesopotamian civilization Dynasty of a Unified Egypt

Birth of Jesus Christ The Roman Empire declared Christianity the state religion (392) East-west division of the Rome Empire(395)

Greek civilization Establishment of the Roman Empire (735) Socrates (470~399) Alexander the Great (356~323)


Julius Caesar (101~44) The 1st Punic War (264~241) The 2nd Punic War (219~201) The 3rd Punic War (149~146)

Anglo Saxons built a kingdom in England (449) Mahomet (570~632)

The classification of periods based on ruling dynasties was the generally accepted practice from the early 20th century. However, various new systems entered widespread usage with the adoption of western methods of research on early modern history. Joseon (1392-1910) Unified Silla (676~935) Buddha at Seokguram Grotto This work represents the esthetic beauty of Unified Silla. It displays the statue of Shakyamuni who reached the stage of enlightenment.

The 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan Hunminjeongeum This book explains the principles on which Hangeul is based. Hangeul is the country’s writing system which was created by King Sejong (r. 1418~1450).

Goryeo (918~1392)

Janggyeongpanjeon Depositories of Haeinsa Temple Tripitaka Koreana [a Korean collection of the Tripitaka (Buddhist scriptures) carved onto roughly 81,258 wooden printing blocks)] is the oldest extant collection of Buddhist scriptures with the most comprehensive contents.

The Korean War (1950~1953) Establishment of the government of the Republic of Korea (1948) Imperial Korea (1897-1910)

Balhae (698~926)



Tang (618~907)


The 24th Seoul Summer Olympics (1988)




Song (960~1279)

The Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907~960)




Ming (1368~1644)



Qing (1616~1911)


Establishment of the People’s Republic of China (1949)

Yuan (1271~1368)

Establishment of the Republic of China (1912)

First Crusade (1096~1099)

WW I (1914~1918) WW II (1939~1945)

Marco Polo (1254~1324) Magna Carta (1215) The Hundred Years’ War Charles the Great (1344~1434) became the Western Roman emperor Gutenberg's printing technology (1455) (800) Columbus’s discovery of America (1492) Hijra (622), the first year of the Islamic calendar

Luther’s religious revolution (1517)

The American Civil War (1861~1865) The United States Declaration of Independence (1776) The French Revolution (1789~1793) The Thirty Years’ War (1618~1648)


Constitution and Government 정부


Constitution Executive, Legislative, and the Judiciary Independent Organizations Local Government International Relations

7 Government 정부

The government of the Republic of Korea was launched on August 15, 1948. Three months earlier, the first members (198) of the National Assembly had been elected in the country’s first general election held under UN supervision. On July 17 of the same year, the first National Assembly promulgated the Constitution. Its members elected Rhee Syngman as the first President on July 20. Rhee Syngman was widely known both in and out of the country as a leader of the country’s independence movement. The 3rd UN General Assembly held in Paris in December of that year passed a resolution that the government established in the south of the 38th parallel was the only legitimate government on the Korean Peninsula.

Constitution The country’s Constitution was promulgated on July 17, 1948 after a month and half of work for its enactment. The government observes it as a national holiday. The first amendment to the Constitution was made in July 1952, while the 9th and last amendment was passed by referendum on October 27, 1987. The country’s Constitution adopts liberal democracy as the basic principle of governance. The Constitution guarantees the people’s freedom and rights under various laws. It also guarantees 226

equal opportunities in all sectors, including politics, economy, society and culture, and recognizes the necessity of establishing a welfare state. The Constitution also stipulates that all people have the obligation to pay taxes, engage in national defense, educate their children, and work. The Constitution states that the country should endeavor to maintain international peace. It stipulates that international treaties signed by the country and generally accepted international laws have the same effects as domestic laws. Under the Constitution, the status of aliens is guaranteed in accordance with international laws and treaties.

Executive, Legislative, and the Judiciary The National Assembly is an institution that represents the people’s opinions. All the laws of the country are made by the National Assembly. At present, the National Assembly has 300

Seats of the 19th National Assembly Occupied by Political Parties Independent (3) Justice Party (5)

Saenuri Party (160)

The 19th National Assembly New Politics Alliance for Democracy (130) (2015,6)


fixed member, each of whom is elected for a term of four years. The National Assembly is composed of 246 members elected in local constituencies and 54 members elected by political parties for the purpose of proportional representation. The latter are meant for vocational representation. At present, the ruling party is the Saenuri Party, as it has the largest number of seats at the

Government Organization Chart President

• The Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea

• Korea Communications Commission

• National Intelligence Service

Prime Minister

• Ministry of Public Safety and Security

• Korea Fair Trade Commission

• Ministry of Personnel Management

• Financial Services Commission

• Ministry of Government Legislation

• Anti-corruption and Civil Rights

• Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs

Commission of Korea

• Ministry of Food and Drug Safety

• Nuclear Safety and Security Commission

Ministry of Strategy and Finance

Ministry of Education

Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Unification

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of National Defense

Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs

Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

Ministry of Health and Welfare

Ministry of Environment

Ministry of Employment and Labor

Ministry of Gender Equality and Family

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport

Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries


National Assembly. The leading opposition party is the New Politics Alliance for Democracy. The first National Assembly was launched in May 1948. The members of the current 19th National Assembly (May 2012 – May 2016) were elected in the election held in April 2012. The National Assembly building is located in Yeouido near the Hangang River that flows through Seoul. The executive right of the government is exercised by the Executive Branch headed by the President. At present, the President is elected through a direct election for a term of five years. Under the Constitution, the President cannot be reelected for a second term. The current President Park Geun-hye was elected as the country’s first female president in December 2012 and was inaugurated in February 2013. The Cabinet Meeting, in which the President and the Prime Minister serve as the Chair and the Vice Chair, respectively, deliberates on important policies under the rights accorded to the Executive Branch of the government. In the absence of the President, the Prime Minister controls the ministries of the government on his/her behalf. At present, the Executive Branch of the government operates two boards, five offices, twenty two ministries, sixteen administrations, and six committees. The Judiciary Branch of the government is composed of the Supreme Court, appellate courts, district courts, family courts, administrative courts, and the patent court among others. The Supreme Court Chief Justice is appointed by the President with the consent of the National Assembly, and other Supreme Court justices are appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the Chief Justice. The term for the Chief Justice and justices is six years. 229



Park Geun-hye

Lee Myung-bak

Roh Moo-hyun

18th President (2013 - )

17th President (2008-2013)

16th President (2003-2008)

Kim Dae-jung

Kim Young-sam

Roh Tae-woo

Chun Doo-hwan

15th President (1998-2003)

14th President (1993-1998)

13th President (1988-1993)

11th and 12th President (1980-1988)

Choi Kyu-hah

Park Chung-hee

Yun Bo-seon

Rhee Syngman

10th President (1979-1980)

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th President (1963-1979)

4th President (1960-1962)

1st, 2nd and 3rd President (1948-1960)

Independent Organizations Besides the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary Branches of the government, a number of other agencies carry out their respective independent functions. The Constitutional Court has the right to review whether a specific law is unconstitutional, to judge an appeal for the impeachment of a high-ranking official, and decide on the disbandment of a political party under the Constitution. The Constitutional Court is composed of three judges appointed by the President, three judges appointed by the National Assembly, and three judges appointed by the Supreme Court Chief Justice. The President of the Constitutional Court is appointed by the President with the consent of the National Assembly. The National Election Commission handles matters associated with elections, fair management of referendums, political parties, and political funds. A member of the commission is not allowed to join a specific political party or engage in political activities. Their term is six years. The chairman is elected from among the members. The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) performs the role of respecting and realizing the dignity and values of human beings as sovereign individuals by protecting and promoting their basic rights. The commission was launched in November 2001 in light of the people’s earnest desire for improvement of the country’s human rights conditions expressed during the democratization process. The commission also handles cases concerning human rights infringement or discrimination involving a foreigner residing or working in the country. 231

Sejong Special SelfGoverning City This is the country’s 17th high-level local government. It was launched in July 2012 with a view to solving the problem of overpopulation in the Greater Seoul area by distributing the functions nationwide as well as to promoting the balanced development of national land and decentralization. The central government’s 17 ministries will move from Seoul to the said city by the end of 2014.

Local Government The country adopted the local autonomous system in June 1995. The Local Autonomy Act was enacted in 1949, but local autonomy was not implemented during the period of political upheaval, including the Korean War, the April 1960 Student Revolution, the May 1961 Coup d’état. Local governments are divided into high-level and lowlevel local governments. With the inclusion of Sejong Special Autonomous City in July 2012, the number of high-level local governments was increased to seventeen (i.e. Seoul Special City, six metropolises, eight provinces, and Jeju Special Self-Governing Province). The number of low-level local governments stands at 227 (i.e. si/gun/gu). The heads of local governments and councilors are elected through direct election. The term for local government heads is four years, and they can be reelected for up to three terms. There is no limit on how many terms a local councilor may serve. The local autonomous system is very significant as a means of realizing the goal of grassroots democracy through local residents’ participation.

International Relations South Korea strives to promote friendly and cooperative relations with other countries. By July 2012, the country had established diplomatic relations with 189 countries, operating permanent embassies in 112 countries, in addition to 42 consular offices and 4 representative offices. In the past, the country’s diplomacy focused on western countries, including the United States, but it has pushed ahead with diversified 232

Local Governments

Provincial Governments 9


Office Location: Suwon Population: 1.22 million Land area: 10,171km2 10




9 12 11



15 3

5 13 6 16 7

4 14






Office Location: Jeonggak-ro, Namdong-gu Population: 2.88 million Land area: 1,041km2 3


Office Location: Dunsan-ro, Seo-gu Population: 1.53 million Land area: 540km2 4


Office Location: Naebang-ro, Seo-gu Population: 1.47 million Land area: 501km2


Office Location: Cheongju Population: 1.57 million Land area: 7,406km2


Office Location: Jeonju Population: 1.87 million Land area: 8,067km2

Metropolitan Governments Office Location: Sejong-daero, Jung-gu Population: 10.14 million Land area: 650km2


Office Location: Hongseong Population: 2.05 million Land area: 8,204km2




Office Location: Chuncheon Population: 1.54 million Land area: 16,874km2

5 Daegu Office Location: Gongpyeong-ro, Jung-gu Population: 2.50 million Land area: 884km2 6


Office Location: Jungang-ro, Nam-gu Population: 1.16 million Land area: 1,060km2 7


Office Location: Jungang-daero, Yeonje-gu Population: 3.53 million Land area: 770km2 8


Office Location: Guncheong-ro, Jochiwon-eup Population: 120,000 Land area: 465km2



Office Location: Muan Population: 1.91 million Land area: 12,267km2 15


Office Location: Daegu Population: 2.7 million Land area: 19,029km2 16


Office Location: Changwon Population: 3.33 million Land area: 10,535km2 17

Jeju Special SelfGoverning Province

Office Location: Jeju Population: 590,000 Land size: 1,849km2 www.


South Koreans serve the world as members of the international community through international cooperation carried out at the government level and through private organizations’ voluntary activities.

diplomacy through brisk exchanges even with socialist countries,

(Photo: South Korean COPION volunteers with locals in Kathmandu, Nepal)

the UN in 1991, and joined the OECD in 1996. The country has

since the end of the 1980s. The country is committed to carrying out positive activities as a member of diverse international organizations such as UNESCO, IMF, APEC, IAEA, ILO, WHO. South Korea became a member of also carried out activities as a member of the IOC since 1947. International Cooperation South Korea does its best in the sector of international cooperation in keeping with its enhanced economic strength. The country takes part in programs designed to provide support for impoverished countries through the World Bank, the IMF, and the OECD. Recently, the country has also joined worldwide efforts


for peacekeeping, global economic stabilization, environmental conservation, etc. South Korea chaired the G20 Summit held in Seoul in November 2010, confirming its status as a leading country, under the slogan “Shared Growth Beyond Crisis.” Observers said that the country dealt with the foreign exchange issue, which was a core agenda concerning the then current global economic crisis, very efficiently. The Seoul event was the fifth G20 Summit and the first one held in Asia. The Nuclear Security Summit Seoul 2012 was another event that showed the status of South Korea as a central country in the struggle for world peace. The Seoul event was held to discuss how to protect countries’ nuclear facilities, including power plants, and how to organize international cooperation to block nuclear terror attempts. It was the second nuclear securityrelated summit after the one held in Washington DC in April 2010. At the Seoul event, the participating countries adopted the 11-item Seoul Communique about concrete methods of implementing nuclear security. South Korea is enhancing its status in the international community by achieving noticeable results in the Green Growth sector. Leading examples of such initiatives include the opening of the headquarters of the UN Green Climate Fund (GCF) in Seoul and the transformation of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) into an international body. The GGGI, which was launched in June 2010 with the South Korean government playing a central role, had its status upgraded as an international body based in Seoul at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, 235

Brazil. It is expected that the GGGI will be able to contribute greatly to the development of the international community as an international corporation.

The GCF is called the World Bank of the Environmental Sector. It is the first international financial institution that South Korea succeeded in attracting to Songdo, Incheon (in October 2012). At the 16th session of the conference of the parties to the UNFCCC held in Cancun, Mexico in 2010, the participants agreed to the establishment of the said fund. (Photo: Central Park in Songdo International City, Incheon)


Provision of Support for Developing Countries “In only half a century, South Korea transformed itself from one of the most impoverished countries in the world into a developed country capable of providing aid to others. Given this phenomenal success story, South Korea was a fitting host for the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, the largest-scale international meeting in the development and cooperation sector, which was held in Busan in November 2011. South Korea’s foreign aid programs are coordinated by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). This body was

established in 1991, and organizes programs designed to provide support for developing countries and to share South Korea’s own development experience. KOICA provides ODA (Official Development Assistance) of US$400-500 million annually to developing countries in Asia and Africa; these funds contribute to numerous areas, including education, health, agriculture/ forestry/fisheries, public administration, and industrial energy, among others. South Korea is also actively trying to improve governance in developing countries by training public officials. The Central Officials Training Institute provides education in many disciplines, including leadership, personnel management, economic and industrial planning, and rural development (modeled on South Korea’s New Community Movement of the 1970s). A total of 1,500 foreign officials have attended these courses since 1984. South Korea is also pleased to be making a contribution to world peace and security through taking part in a wide variety of UN peacekeeping operations and by supporting the UN peacekeeping budget. Currently, South Korean troops are stationed in eight countries including Lebanon, South Sudan, India, Pakistan, and West Sahara, where they are tasked with the maintenance of order, rehabilitation, medical services, and other activities


Economy 경제


The Korean Economy – the Miracle on the Hangang River Korea’s Open Market Capitalist Economy Industrial Brand Leaders and Korean Industrial Standards Efforts to Grow as a Global Power

8 Economy 경제

The Korean Economy – the Miracle on the Hangang River The Constitution of South Korea stipulates that “the right of property shall be guaranteed for every citizen.” In short, the country has adopted the market economy system, respects individuals’ and businesses’ right to conduct free economic Cars Exported from Hyundai Motor’s Ulsan Factory Cars are one of the country’s major export items.


activities, and guarantees the profits and properties made and accumulated by them. However, the Constitution does not guarantee the limitless, unfettered pursuit of capitalistic free economy. The Constitution

South Korea’s five leading export items and export amounts Liquid crystal devices 28,160

Liquid crystal devices 25,971

Petroleum products

Petroleum products 56,098











50,430 Cars 47,201

Cars 48,635

[Unit: Millions of dollars /Source: Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy]

stipulates that an unjust situation should be rectified if the abuse of capital is found to cause damage to people as an apparatus set to improve things relating to the free market economy. South Korea has achieved economic growth at an unprecedented speed. Observers called what the country has accomplished the “Miracle of the Hangang River”, as most of the country’s industrial facilities were destroyed during the three-year-long Korean War, and the country was devoid of capital and natural resources. In the early 1960s, the country pushed ahead with exportoriented economic development plans. At first, the country’s major export items were mainly light industrial products manufactured in small factories, or raw materials. In the 1970s, the country invested in heavy chemical facilities and laid the basis for the export of heavy industrial products. At present, the country has a number of industries that boast solid international 241

competitiveness, such as the shipbuilding, iron/steel, and chemical industries. The foundation of such strong competitiveness was built around that time. The country hosted the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, which provided the country with the momentum to join the ranks of semi-advanced countries. The international mass media called the country one of the four Asian tigers, along with Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In December 1996, the country became the 29th country to join the OECD, which is largely composed of advanced countries. In 1960, South Korea’s exports amounted to US$ 32.8 million; but by 2013 they reached US$ 559.6 billion. In 1948 GDP percapita was a paltry US$ 60; whereas in 2013 it was US$ 26,205. South Korea gradually established an export-oriented


Per-capita GNI

























1990 1980 1970

2,703 643 81

(Unit: Hundreds of millions dollars / Source: Bank of Korea)














1990 1980 1970

6,303 1,660 225

(Unit: Dollar / Source: Bank of Korea)

economic structure centered on large businesses in the process of pursuing growth as a country with insufficient capital and resources. Conglomerates came to dominate industry, while the country’s economic structure became heavily reliant on exports and imports, leaving it susceptible to external conditions. In November 1997, a foreign exchange crisis hit the country, forcing it to turn to the IMF for a bailout. It was the first ordeal the country had had to face after years of rapid economic growth. The country took the drastic step of driving poorly performing businesses out of the market and then pushed ahead with industrial restructuring. In only two years, the country regained its previous growth rate and price levels as well as a current account balance surplus. In the process, some 3.5 million people joined in the campaign to collect gold to help the government repay the

South Korea’s Foreign Trade Volume (2013) 4,157 3,848


1,547 1,246






Netherlands France






South Korea Hong Kong Canada (Unit: Billions of dollars / Source: IMF)


Foreign Currency Reserves 2014














2007 2000

262.2 96.2

(Unit: Billions of dollars / Source: Bank of Korea)

fund borrowed from the IMF. A total of 227 tons of gold were collected. The world marveled at the Koran people’s voluntary participation in the determined effort to repay its national debts. While making concerted efforts to extricate itself from the foreign exchange crisis, the country benefitted from certain ancillary effects, such as the adoption of the globalized economic and financial system. However, the restructuring process also had its dark sides. The government’s fiscal expenditure increased and the income imbalance deepened. After overcoming the economic crisis, the South Korean economy continued to record solid growth. Nominal GDP doubled from US$504.6 billion in 2001 to US$1,049.3 billion by 2007, recording a high growth rate of 4~5% a year, except during the period of global economic crisis. In fact, during the period 2008-10, when most of the world was experiencing a devastating financial crisis, the country recorded an amazing 6.3% economic growth rate. The world’s major mass media organs referred to the 244

The Signing of the Korea-US FTA Mr. Kim Hyun-jong, the representative of South Korea, and Deputy USTR Karan K. Bhatia, shake hands upon completing the bilateral FTA negotiations.

country’s accomplishment as a “textbook recovery”. By 2010, South Korea had emerged as the world’s 7th largest exporting country. From 2011 to 2013, the total volume of the country’s exports and imports stood at US$1 trillion. Thus, the country became the world’s 9th country to attain the target of US$1 trillion in annual foreign trade. The country’s foreign currency reserves stood at US$363.6 billion as of the end of December 2014, and the country is in a sufficiently stable position to cope with a foreign exchange crisis, with the percentage of its short-term foreign debts being 31.7% in 2014 The country’s sovereign credit rating has risen in recognition of the dazzling economic results recorded by the country.

Korea’s Open Market Capitalist Economy South Korea has adopted the open market economy, and is thus negotiating with other countries to sign more FTAs, as well as allowing foreigners to invest in the country freely while 245

encouraging domestic businesses to invest in foreign countries equally freely. The country offers advantages to foreign investors under the long-term objective of establishing itself as a major financial hub and logistics base of Northeast Asia. Market Opening and FTAs The country has opened its market in most sectors, including agriculture. Koreans have traditionally attached great importance to agriculture, viewing it as the basis of the universe. Nonetheless, the country plans to open its rice market, which will be the last item to be opened in the agricultural sector, completely by 2015. The country is pushing ahead with the complete opening of the market through FTAs. The country plans to sign FTAs with numerous countries with the aim of expanding its economic territory worldwide. As of June, 2015, South Korea has signed FTAs with 50 countries, including Chile, Singapore, EFTA, ASEAN, India, the EU, Peru, the United States, and Turkey. The FTA signed with Columbia, Vietnam is awaiting effectuation. The country is currently engaged in FTA-related negotiations with RCEP, Indonesia. Support for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) South Korea encourages FDI under the Foreign Investment Promotion Act. In South Korea, “FDI” refers to “a foreigner’s acquisition of 10% or more of the equity share of a domestic business through an investment of not less than 100 million won, or a foreign-based business’s borrowing of a long-term (5 years or longer) loan from its parent business in a foreign country and the like.” Under the Foreign Investment Promotion Act, the government 246

guarantees the profits earned by foreign investors and offers them a variety of benefits, such as tax incentives, cash support, and

A view of Busan Harbour, the largest port in South Korea

mitigation of land-related regulations. The country also protects foreigners’ intellectual property rights and foreign exchange transactions. Foreign investors are allowed to take the profits they earn in South Korea out of the country, on the basis of creative and efficient operation. Foreign investors are eligible for support from the South Korean government concerning the land required for the establishment of a factory or research facilities, the purchase or lease or construction of a building, or the installation of electric or communication facilities. They may ask for partial payment of the amount for up to 20 years in cases involving the purchase of land owned by either the central or a local government. The government also provides cash support in consideration 247

of the FDI amount and the number of locals to be employed. The government is ready and willing to provide land and capital if a foreign business displays excellent technological prowess and maintains the employment of a given number of locals. FDIs in the country surged right after the foreign exchange crisis in 1998, with the increasing trend continuing. The accumulated reported amount of FDI as of 3Q of 2014 stood at $14.82 billion, the highest among the past 3Q accumulated figures. The FDI amount suggests balanced growth trend in terms of business types, regions, and investment types. The government continues to improve the system for the provision of support to foreign investors. In October 2010, the government mitigated the criteria for cash support for foreign investors and expanded the scope of state/municipality-owned land eligible for private contracts in a bid to mitigate the FDI conditions. Korea improved the conditions for FDI. In 2014, the Enforcement Decree and the Enforcement Rules of the Foreign Investment Promotion Act were amended to provide the basis for the recognition of headquarters and R&D facilities of global business. The country also plans to attract FDIs by providing cash support for such headquarters and R&D facilities and incentives such as tax reduction/exemption, including holding IR sessions, etc. The country also invites newly emerging countries with surplus funds, including China and the Middle Eastern countries, to invest in the service sector of the country with high added value. To that end, the “China Desk” was launched in May 2010, and a “red carpet service” is also provided to foreign investors. The country also designates locals in the Unites States, the United Kingdom, China, and Japan as PR ambassadors for FDI in the country. 248

Investment to Become a Regional Logistics Hub South Korea is making preparations for a period when its combined export/import volume is expected to reach US$2 trillion. The country is also striving to become a major logistics hub of Northeast Asia. The country is investing heavily in automation and the sophistication of export/import cargo stevedoring facilities, with the aim of greatly enhancing its logistics competitiveness. The country is striving to invigorate its air cargo network and expand industrial complexes situated close to airports. The country ranks third in the world in terms of ICAO-subscribed heavy cargo transportation, while Incheon International Airport ranks second in the world in terms of its international cargo handling capacity. Air cargo has high added value. It accounts for about one

Foreign Direct Investment 19,003 16,286



13,673 11,563













(Unit: Millions of dollars / Source: Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy)


Incheon Airport as a Hub Airport One important prerequisite for a regional hub airport i s a l l - we a t h e r ro u n d the-clock operation. In Northeast Asia, the main re gi o n a l hu b a i rp o r t s include Kansai Airport in Osaka, Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong , Pudong Airport in Shanghai, and Incheon Airport in South Korea. (Photo: A view of Incheon International Airport)

quarter of the total transportation charge, although it accounts for only 0.2~0.3% of all forms of transportation cargoes in terms of weight. The South Korean government has expanded the cargo terminal of Incheon Airport and trains talented young people to take charge of airfreight logistics at the relevant educational institutions. In addition, the country is committed to improving the airfreight logistics system to a great extent, using high-end information technology. Incheon International Airport operates a sophisticated system for information-based operation of airfreight logistics, which handles such matters as airfreight booking and 250

tracking. It is expected that the volume of international cargo handled at Incheon International Airport will increase dramatically from 2.72 million tons in 2010 to 3.5 million tons by 2015. It is noteworthy that Incheon International Airport has ranked first in the world for nine consecutive years in the annual evaluation of airport services conducted by the ACI (Aviation Consultants, Inc), a consultative council for more than 1,700 airports around the world. This testifies to the sheer quality of operation of Incheon International Airport. Furthermore, the airport became the first airport in the world to be registered with the Airports Council International Hall of Fame. Located on the peninsula, South Korea has many international trade ports including Busan, Incheon, Pyeongtaek, Gwangyang,

Trends in air Cargo through put and transshipment volume at Incheon International Airport 50.1 46.7





49.2 47.8


































Cargo throughput (in metric tons)


(Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport)

Transshipment volume (% of cargo throughput)


Cargo Volume (including transshipment) handled at ports in South Korea 39.7 37.7

36.4 35.4





35.7 34.5


34.3 21.61
























19.37 16.34


Container throughput (in millions of TEU)




(Source: Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries)

Transshipment volume (% of container throughput)

Ulsan, Pohang, and Donghae. In 2013, the volume of cargo handled at the country’s ports stood at 1,358.96 million tons, showing an overall increase of 1.5% year-on-year. Of this, container throughput amounted to 23.47 million TEU and transshipment volume amounted to 9.32 million TEU, a 4.1% increase and 9.7% increase, respectively, from the previous year. Such growth served to cement the nation’s role as a major logistics base in Northeast Asia.

Industrial Brand Leaders and Korean Industrial Standards The government is committed to diversifying export items and enhancing their quality through the annual selection of firstrate quality goods. Among the first-rate quality goods selected 252

in 2012, the number of those enjoying the highest world market share stood at 143 items, including memory semiconductors, TFT-LCDs, seawater desalination facilities, LNG carriers, and flash memory. Their number has increased year on year. Information technology is the strongest element of the

Competitiveness in shipbuilding South Korea's shipbuilding industry boasts a competitive edge in ships with high added value associated with resource development and transportation.

country’s economy, a sector that encompasses all the skills required for management innovation and administrative reform as well as skills relating to computer software, the Internet, multimedia, and communication devices. South Korea is the world’s leading force in mobile communications technology, with a formidable communications infrastructure: there are currently two nationwide 4G networks, using WiBro and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technologies. On the back of this infrastructure, the country’s IT-related foreign trade recorded a 253

Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant South Korea has made continuous investments in nuclear power generation. Nuclear power occupies an important position in the country’s power generation. The country displayed its technological prowess worldwide with the export of a Koreantype nuclear power plant to the UAE in 2011.

surplus of more than US$70billion in both 2011 and 2012. The country displays solid international competitiveness in cellphones, semiconductors, computers, and peripheral devices, and continues striving to maintain its leading position in these sectors amid the rapidly changing information technology environment. Shipbuilding is another South Korean success story, and in 2011, the country won orders worth 13.55 million CGT, accounting for 48.2% of global shipbuilding orders. The country boasts strong competitiveness- particularly in the building of ships and structures with high added value, such as offshore plants, large-sized container ships, and LNG ships. In 2012, the country ranked 5th in the world in terms of the


number of cars produced (4.56 million), apparently as a result of efforts to improve quality and the signing of FTAs with other countries. It is noteworthy that the number of cars produced in 2012 was a record figure achieved amid a worldwide economic recession and high international oil prices. Many countries use nuclear power, but most of these rely upon a handful of countries to design and build their nuclear

Video Games, Leading Cultural Contents South Korea has emerged as a leading exporter of cultural contents, such as K-Pop, broadcast programs, and video games, as well as cars and electronic goods. (Photo: young people playing video games at the G-Star 2013 event held in Busan.)

power plants for them. Currently only five countries: the US, Japan, Russia, France, and now South Korea are equipped with nuclear power plant technology. The country became the world’s 6th nuclear power plant exporting country by supplying a Korean-developed plant to the UAE. The country also boasts 255

The G20 Seoul Summit 2010.

solid international competitiveness in the iron/steel and chemistry sectors. A relatively new export sector for South Korea, and one which is growing strongly, is cultural products, including publishing, music, video games, and TV and film production. In 2008-12 the value of this sector grew from US$ 23.38 to 46.12 billion, partly on the back of “Hallyu� (the current vogue for South Korean pop culture). The country is pouring considerable efforts into video game contents, which are viewed as a promising sector that combines film and computer technology with creative ideas. South Korea is perhaps the only country in the world with so many PC cafes across the country and where so many young


people spend their time playing video games in them. In 2012, the country’s video game industry generated 10 trillion won in domestic sales and exported goods worth a combined total of 2.853 billion won. The cultural contents industry is important for its significant contribution to the economy in terms of exports and job creation, and has great growth potential as a promising sector of the future. South Korea is doing its utmost to enhance its international competitiveness in the information technology sector. The country is pushing ahead with the work of integrating information technology with other technologies under the blueprint Vision 2020 - A Country with IT-related Creative Ideas. Such ideas include the convergence of communications technology with the carmanufacturing industry or the enhancement of safety by fusion information technology with the shipbuilding industry. It is expected that such efforts will go a long way towards improving quality and promoting the development of sectors with high added value.

Efforts to Grow as a Global Power At present, South Korea is striving to transform itself into a global economic system. Although the country accomplished rapid growth within a short period of time, this led to the problem of an imbalance in the development of large businesses and SMEs due to the implementation of an economic policy that was heavily dependent on the export of large enterprises. As such, the need for shared growth was singled out as a potential solution to the problem. The issue emerged as a problem that would have to be resolved at the international level amid the global economic 257

crisis in 2008. In 2010, the Presidential Commission for Shared Growth for Large and Small Companies was launched with a view to settling conflicts between large-sized businesses and SMEs. The commission is assigned with the duties of fostering an atmosphere conducive to shared growth in industries, monitoring and announcing large businesses’ shared growth indices, designating sectors and items suitable for SMEs, and settling conflicts between large businesses and SMEs based on a social consensus. The G20 Summit in Seoul in 2010 was held under a similar theme. The G20 Summit came into being following the global economic crisis in 2008, based on the view that it was necessary to have major emerging countries take part in international economic discussions, as the G7 Summit inevitably had certain limitations in this respect. It was pointed out that the international financial system had failed to reflect the fact that the share and role of emerging countries had expanded to a considerable extent over the previous three decades. At the G20 Summit held in Seoul in 2010, South Korea assumed the position of the Chair, indicating that the country had assumed a positive role in the international economic order. The G20 Summit Seoul adopted the 20-item Seoul Summit Leaders’ Declaration and came up with an agreement containing 74 items. Other results of the summit included the announcement of the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth, the Multiyear Action Plan, and the Anti-Corruption Action Plan. The Seoul Summit Leaders’ Declaration stressed the role of developing and emerging countries in a move to put an end to 258

the foreign exchange war between major countries and to reform the IMF, which used to be centered on industrialized countries. Its contents were focused on the pressing need to stabilize global financial markets and provide support for impoverished countries striving for economic development. The declaration went a long way towards enhancing the status of South Korea in global economic and financial markets.


Inter-Korea Relations 남북관계


Historical Background Simultaneous Admission of the two Koreas to the UN Inter-Korean Exchanges and Cooperation Efforts for Lasting Peace

9 Inter-Korea Relations 남북관계

Although conflicts and confrontations have raged between the two Koreas across the DMZ for over sixty-five years, an atmosphere of dialogue and exchange and cooperation was fostered temporarily between the two countries following the Summits held in 2000 and 2007. However, there is tension along the DMZ at present due to the North’s continuing threats and provocations.

Historical Background With Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War in August 1945 four decades of Japanese colonial rule ended and U.S. and Soviet troops came to be stationed on the Korean Peninsula to both the south and north of the 38th parallel respectively. This resulted in

June 25, 1950

Outbreak of the Korean War


July 27, 1953

The signing of the Armistice Agreement

July 4, 1972

Announcement of South-North Joint Statement on July 4, 1972

the division of Korea into two separate countries. On June 25, 1950, North Korea attacked the South on all fronts, igniting a three-year internecine war. Since the signing of the armistice agreement on the 27th July 1953, the Peninsula has remained divided.

Simultaneous Admission of the two Koreas to the UN Even before the Inter-Korean Summits held in 2000 and 2007, an atmosphere of reconciliation emerged as a result of the South Korean government’s northern diplomacy. As a result, the two Koreas agreed to join the UN simultaneously at the 46th UN General Assembly in September 1991. Their simultaneous admittance to the UN had historic significance, as it brought to an end the legitimacy controversy between the two countries and ushered in an era of reconciliation and coexistence.

Inter-Korean Exchanges and Cooperation Between September 1990 and October 1992, the two Koreas

November 30, 1972

The first meeting of the South-North Coordinating Committee

September 20-23, 1985

The first reunion of dispersed family members

November 18, 1998

Commencement of South Koreans’ visit to Geumgangsan Mountain


engaged in a total of eight bilateral meetings, including the first High-Level Talks held in Seoul. In December 1991, the two sides signed the Agreement on Reconciliation, Nonaggression, and Exchanges and Cooperation between the South and the North (also called the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement). The agreement was focused on mutual respect between the two nations, the renunciation of armed aggression, exchange and cooperation in many sectors, and the guarantee of free exchange of people between the two countries. From the mid-1990s onward, the South’s government continued to provide support to the North, which was continuing to experience serious economic difficulties. In the period 1999-2007, the South supplied a total of 2.55 million tons of fertilizers to the North in an effort to help the North Korean people who were suffering from a food shortage caused by the inefficiency of the North’s farming system and a lack of fertilizers and chemicals. The Inter-Korean Summits held in 2000 and 2007 provided the momentum for a dramatic invigoration of dialogue, exchange,

June 13-15, 2000

The first inter-Korean Summit


September 15, 2000

Athletes of the two Koreas at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics

June 30, 2003

Commencement of the work on the Gaeseong Industrial Complex

and cooperation between the two sides. However, the South temporarily suspended the supply of food and fertilizers after the North’s continuing series of provocative actions culminated in the launch of long-range missiles and nuclear tests, but did not stop providing humanitarian support for children or emergency relief aid. Reunion of Dispersed Family Members There are about ten million dispersed family members in the two Koreas. The first Inter-Korean Red Cross meeting was held in August 1971 to discuss the possibility of reuniting dispersed family members, but little progress was made due to differences of opinion. The two sides resumed the meeting in the 1980s, and, finally, reciprocal visits materialized. A group of thirty people from the North paid a visit to the South while a group of thirtyfive people from the South paid a visit to the North for four days from September 20, 1985. It was a truly significant event after 40 years of division. The two sides also allowed exchanges between groups of artists during the event.

September 19, 2005

The joint statement on non-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula announced at the 4th Six-Party Talks

September 19, 2005

The second inter-Korean Summit


The family reunion became a routine event following the Summit held in 2000, and was subsequently held on eighteen occasions between August 2000 and October 2010. The North provided a special venue at Geumgangsan Mountain for these reunions. In addition, video reunions were carried out on seven different occasions between August of 2005 and November of 2007. Gaeseong Industrial Complex The Gaeseong Industrial Complex Project carried out by the North allows private businesses from the South to build factories on leased land in Gaeseong (lease period: 50 years) and produce goods. Gaeseong is the third largest city in the North after Pyeongyang and Nampo. The city offers clear advantages to businesses from the South due to its close geographical proximity to the South. Gaeseong is only 8km from Panmunjeom. Following an initial proposal made in 2000, the project was formally commenced in November 2002 with the North’s promulgation of the Gaeseong Industrial District Act. The work commencement ceremony was held in June 2003, with political

December 5, 2007

Commencement of South Koreans' visit to Gaeseong


December 11, 2007

Commencement of freight transportation on rail between Munsan in the South and Bongdong in the North

Production volume and workers of Gaeseong Industrial Complex 46,997

46,950 40,185 32,332 25,142





53,947 52,329


7,373 46,284 42,561 38,931 1,491

22,538 11,160

6,013 2005






Number of North Korean workers





(Source: Ministry of Unification)

Production volume (Unit: Millions of dollars)

and economic celebrities from the two sides in attendance. At present, more than 120 manufacturers from the South and their subcontractors are operating in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, while more than 50,000 North Koreans are working there. The production of goods began in December 2004. Concerning the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, the two sides have signed four agreements on the Normalization of Gaeseong Industrial complex, etc. in addition to the agreements on communications, customs clearance, quarantine, and stay.

Efforts for Lasting Peace The government of the South has made efforts for a permanent settlement of peace on the Korean Peninsula and the 267

development of good relations with the North through dialogues and exchange and cooperation. It has stuck to its basic stance, i.e. it will continue to strive to improve its relations with the North through dialogue and cooperation even during periods of extreme tension such as that occasioned by the North’s temporary closure of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Generally speaking, the government of the South and the South Korean people have succeeded in maintaining a calm and stable social atmosphere. The South copes flexibly with all outbreaks of tension on the Korean Peninsula by continuing dialogue and cooperation to maintain peace with neighboring countries. As such, South Korea may be claimed to be one of the safest countries in the world. Since its inauguration in February 2013, the Park Geunhye government of the South has been pushing ahead with the Trust Building Process on the Korean Peninsula in a bid to develop better relations with the North, primarily by building trust between the two Koreas based on a solid national security stance, securing peace on the Korean Peninsula, and laying the basis for unification. The government is doing its best to promote deterrence, dialogue and cooperation in a balanced fashion and to encourage the North to make the right choices, including renunciation of its nuclear program. It will accelerate its efforts for joint development with the North in order to lay the basis for peaceful unification, and will also make efforts to contribute to peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia and the world through the country’s unification.



Relevant Websites

Korean Cultural Center, Brazil

Gateway to Korea

Korean Cultural Center, UK

Korean Culture and Information Service

Korean Cultural Center, Germany

Korea Tourism Organization

Korean Cultural Center, France

Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency

Korean Cultural Center, Russia

Korean Cultural Information

Korean Cultural Center, Kazakhstan

Korean Cultural Center, China

Korean Cultural Center, Turkey

Korean Cultural Center, Shanghai

Korean Cultural Center, Poland

Korean Cultural Center, Tokyo

Korean Cultural Center, Hungary

Korean Cultural Center, Osaka

Korean Cultural Center, Spain

Korean Cultural Center, Vietnam

Korean Cultural Center, Belgium

Korean Cultural Office, Sydney

Korean Cultural Center, Nigeria

Korean Cultural Center, Philippines

Executive Branch

Korean Cultural Center, Indonesia

Ministry of Strategy and Finance

Korean Cultural Center, Thailand

Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning

Korean Cultural Center, India

Ministry of Education

Korean Cultural Center, Washington, D.C

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Korean Cultural Service, NewYork

Ministry of Unification

Korean Cultural Center, L.A.

Ministry of Justice

Korean Cultural Center, Argentina

Ministry of National Defense

Korean Cultural Center Mexico

Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs


Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Cultural Heritage Administration

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Rural Development Administration

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

Korea Forest Service

Ministry of Health and Welfare

Small and Medium Business Administration

Ministry of Environment

Korean Intellectual Property Office

Ministry of Employment and Labor

Korea Meteorological Administration

Ministry of Gender Equality and Family

Multifunctional Administrative City Construction

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport

Korea Communications Commission

Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries

Korea Fair Trade Commission

Ministry of Government Legislation

Financial Services Commission

Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs

Anti-corruption & Civil Rights Commission of Korea

Ministry of Food and Drug Safety

Nuclear Safety and Security Commission

National Tax Service


Korea Customs Service

The National Assembly

Public Procurement Service


Statistics Korea Supreme Prosecutor’s Office Military Manpower Administration Defense Acquisition Program Administration Korean National Police Agency

Supreme Court Independent Organizations Constitutional Court National Election Commission National Human Right Commission

Ministry of Public Safety and Security


Sources of Photos Andong Festival Tourism Foundation

Korean Cultural Properties Craftsman Association

Anseong Muncipal Namsadang Baudeogi Pungmuldan

Korean Olympic Committee

Archaeological Site in Amsa-dong, Seoul


Boryeong Mud Festival

Kyujanggak Institute For Korean Studies

BUSAN International Film Festival

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

Cheonan Foundation for Arts and Culture


Cheung-ju Early Printing Museum

Nara Organizing Comittee


National Folk Museum of Korea

Chungdong First Methodist Church

National Gugak Center

Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea

National Museum of Korea


National Palace Museum of Korea

Discovery media




Gagok Inheritance Center


Gangjin Celadon Museum

Photographer Kim Bien Hun

Gangneung Danoje Festival Committee

Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival


Seo Heun Kang

Gyeongju National Museum

Seocheon County

Haeinsa Temple


Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant

Suh jae sik

Hasisi Park

The Korean Taekgeon Association

Incheon Free Economic Zone

The National Library of Korea

Incheon International Airport Corporation

The traditional Paper Artist Association

Institute of Traditional Korean Food

The Yeongsanjae Ritual

Jeju Olle Foundation

Tong Yeong-City

Jeju World Natural Heritage Center



Travel Writer Lee Dong Mi

Jeonju International Film Festival

Victory Production & Company

Jongmyo Jerye Preservation Association

Yangdong Village Committee

JoongAng Ilbo

Yangyang County


Yeondeunghoe Preservation Committee

Kim Cheol Hwan


KOCIS(Korean Culture and Information Service)

Yonart Printing

Korea Meteorological Administration

Yonhap News Agency

Korea National Park Service

Yoon's Color

Korea Tourism Organization


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