Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Four Rivers Project: bring rivers to life with flowers, forests and more

The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project, for some, seems no different to any other reckless large-scale construction project. But wait till this autumn to see the wonders that will take place. Starting from October this year, the government will proceed with the master plan to re-scape the banks of the four rivers – Han, Yeongsan, Geum and Nakdong, turning them into new spaces for culture and art.

A total of 215 locations (929 kilometers in total) along the four rivers will be revamped according to the characteristics of each individual region. The revamping can be classified into three types: preserving the ecosystem, restoring the ecosystem or installing environment-friendly facilities. Recreational facilities will be not established in areas that are considered either a nature preservation or restoration district. Even in areas where such facilities are allowed, reckless constructions of motels and such will be banned.

Geum River

The Geum River, that passes through Buyeo County, Cheongyang County and Gongju City, is where relics of the ancient Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. - A.D. 660) can be easily re-discovered. Naturally the river region will be remade in a way that highlights the historic sites of Baekje (Nakhwa-am Cliff, Buso Fortress and so on). Cheongyang County and Gongju City for their part will be turned into nature restoration districts. Birds like kestrels and spot-billed ducks will reside on the waterside, while dabchicks and goby minnows will swim in the water and mandarin ducks and stonechats will wander around the river sediment. The nearby forest, made up of pine trees and acacia trees will surround the dike. Willow trees and reeds along the river will help to purify the water.
Wetland will be fostered around the Geum River region in general. Plants that can purify water and absorb nitrogen and phosphorus will be planted around the river to keep the water as fresh as possible. The environment team will also encourage formation of habitats that could become home to many endangered species within the river. For humans there will be a waterside plaza, and a bird observation desk built to enjoy the scenery.

Yeongsan River

Yeongsan River, too, will be fixed up. The nature preservation and rehabilitation district linked with Hwangnyeong River will be preserved as it is, for the area already boasts beautiful nature and rich historical remains. Other areas located close to big cities like Gwangju will have environment-friendly recreational facilities set up such as a walking path, an eco-park, an eco-tour center, a ferry and a bicycle path.

The strictest nature preservation zone will be where the Yeongsan and Hwangnyeong Rivers meet. To protect fish and bird species, human access will be prohibited altogether. The wetland history and culture district will have facilities for activities at the waterside. The region around the main stream of the Yeongsan River has been so badly polluted and damaged that this will be designated a nature restoration district for immediate salvage projects.

Han River

Forests and waterways will come together to brighten up the waterside parks of the Han River. Where the Namhan (Southern Han) River flows will populated with recreational spaces like “Echo Stream,” “Neighborhood Tourism,” and “Nature Space,” all adding to the charm of the history and culture of the Yeoju region.

The Echo Stream refers to an open-style waterway that will be built to link the river’s ecosystem with that of the forest. Neighborhood Tourism will facilitate popular tourist sites of Yeoju (pottery village, royal tomb of King Sejong, Shinreuk-sa Buddhist Temple and more), while Nature Space will be at the forefront of restoring scenic sites around the area, taking care of old ferries and such.
The area designated as environment-friendly culture space will be planted with native trees like pine trees, yew trees, metasequoia and Korean king cherry trees that will later form a lovely path to walk around. A terrace garden on the other side will allow one to view beautiful flowers in each season.

Nakdong River

Given its proximity to big cities, the Changnyeong and Haman districts along the Nakdong River region will open a culture complex for people to enjoy. As the region plays host to the rich inheritance of the ancient Gaya Kingdom (A.D. 42-532) the government intends to amplify that to foster more tourism.

The Nakdong River’s Gyeseong district will exclude all artificial elements and leave it as natural as possible for birds. It is frequented by many migratory birds -- including endangered species like kestrel and whooper swan – so the government plans to only encourage it further by creating additional sandy plain, gravelly field and other alternative habitats. Other homes will be made for native animals like leopard cats, black-spotted pond frogs and skygagers . Water reeds will be planted together with willow trees along the riverside, adding to the beauty of the region.


Monday, August 23, 2010

The then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and his asset's


In front of the library

I have come to know that this is Asia's first presidential library, and was opened in november 2003 when the then president Kim Dae-jung , South Korea's 15th president received the Nobel Peace Prize, donated the library building, and his collection of more than 16,000 items, including more than 10,000 books, and some prize money to Yonsei University.

The catalouge section

With his North Korean counterpart

with my most favourite the then South Korean President

the most outstanding achievement in his life

his self written books

Surprise Pakage..........!

Me and my ignorance made me surprised when I encounter one of The South Korean famous Pop singer..i felt so stupid in front of my frends when everyone jump over the hill as out of an excitement , and I was wondering what was happening around me . When I realised myself at that time the star was already infront of meh..surprised over surprised..lolz..!

So here comes the famous rocker........let me introduce him to you all may be you all know him better...fro me after I met , I have started researching about him and his lattest songs.

At 37, rock celebrity Yoon Do-hyun meshes boyish swagger with sagacious certitude.

Easing his feet into a pair of Crocs, doling out cans of coffee and zipping a windbreaker over a T-shirt, Yoon tugs a bit at his navy blue sweats while leaning forward to intercept questions, eyes wide open and ready, mouth pursed in anticipation for, well, anything, including talk of the scandalous termination of his KBS show and of his band’s break-up. All of which he knows is coming, as it must.

Since he debuted in 1994, Yoon has suffered his fair share of hardships; some blatantly laid out to dry by the press, others endured in relative silence. Yet none of it seems to have rocked his confidence. His voice runs low and raspy, edged with something akin to sleep -- a near emblem of laidback assurance -- as he lays out his history, from his beginnings as part of a high school copy band to his rise to fame as the lead vocalist of a 13-year-old rock posse first known as Yoon Do Hyun Band then as YB in 2005.

Now he is back in full force, having ended his year and four month absence from KBS with a guest appearance on “Yu Huiyeol’s Sketchbook” in August.

The appearance proved somewhat symbolic because “Sketchbook” succeeded his former music talk show KBS’ “Yoon Do-hyun’s Love Letter.” It also proved potentially ironic because after “Love Letter” ended its near seven-year run in 2008, rumors surfaced that Yoon was being ousted by the network.

“I have nothing to say,” Yoon remained tight-lipped about the controversy surrounding the discontinuation of both his KBS television show and his KBS 2FM radio show in 2008; the same year that he took a supportive stance on the mad cow disease protests, giving rise to speculation that he was critical of the current administration and that therefore he was being pushed out by the broadcasting network.

Gossip and speculation peaked when in 2009 his scheduled appearances on KBS’ “1 vs. 100” and “Vitamin” were canceled. The network said there were no orders to prevent Yoon from starring in KBS programs and that guest overlap and other issues resulted in the change.

For now, Yoon is intent on his future. Following last month’s release of his band’s mini album -- a collaboration with electronic group Risque Rhythm Machine -- Yoon is reaching out to a wider television audience as judge-and-mentor for the Pan-Asian girl group “Project Lotus.”

“I asked them, ‘Why did you (pick me) as a judge?’” he said. “There are lots of real superstars like Rain or Se7en, so I questioned why they approached me.”

“Project Lotus” Korea producing partner Won Lee pinpointed Yoon’s “real touring experience” in America and Europe as a serious draw. Such expertise meant he could “show these girls real musical presence and showmanship.”

In a to-be-televised search for a quintet of female singers from Korea, Japan, China, India and the Philippines, Yoon and a panel of judge-mentors will help select five finalists from each country, guide them and eliminate them over the course of six weeks until a five-member girl band is formed.

The panel includes the Spice Girls (Lee says a few of them are signed on and other agreements are pending), Hong Kong star-and-singer Karen Mok and former GRAMMY Foundation Chair Steve Schnur.

“I have never experienced something like this before,” Yoon expressed his excitement at taking part in a project backed by former Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) president Jon Niermann’s FarWest Entertainment production company.

It helps that Yoon can speak English; a skill he honed when he and his band started touring America and Europe on a regular basis starting in 2005.

“For example, when we went on the Warped Tour (in America) last year, there were no Koreans, so there were no opportunities to speak Korean,” he said. “So I met (overseas musician) friends and we talked and hung out.”

“My dream is to go around the world, performing,” Yoon said, quashing delusions of grandeur about making it big on the international scene. “Frankly, I’d rather perform than become a huge star through my music.”

Standing at the tail-end of 25 albums -- collaborations, solo and band releases included -- Yoon boasts an impressive career. But it is one that has had its hiccups.

“We disbanded once,” he detailed how in 2000, around six years since his debut, fractious relations between him and another band member and the band’s inability to spring from the underground into a more profitable spotlight resulted in their fragmentation.

“So I got a different job, raising dogs. Not as livestock for consumption, but as pets,” Yoon said.

In the end Yoon returned to music. He and his band went on in 2002 to rocket to fame with the World Cup cheer song “Oh! Pilsung Korea,” which he admits was the peak of their career.

“But we don’t think of it as our song,” said Yoon, explaining how punk band Crying Nut sang it also. Nevertheless, it is a song that will be linked to him and his band for a long time to come.

Yoon has come a long way from his teenage years in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, when he sought to emulate rock legends Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. He has come a long way, also, from when he went to university in Seoul a means to an end, to get into the urban music scene.

Even after he got kicked out of college for failing to show up for classes, and despite a multitude of minor regrets, he stands by his calling.  

“The one thing you can’t quit is music.”

A must-see attraction in the Seoul Train Station

For the first time in Korea, the Media Bus Shelters in the Seoul Train Station have won the ‘Gold Winner’ prize of the 2010 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA)

Have you ever waited for a bus in the Seoul Train Station at night? The Seoul Train Station is a hub of public transportation where subway trains, the KTX (Korea Train Express), taxis and buses gather. The place is always crowded with people waiting for buses. The one thing that catches people’s eyes there is Seoul’s Media Bus Shelter.

The LED panels of the Media Bus Shelter display local time and weather. There is also a flickering message on the walls saying, “Welcome to Seoul.” The Media Bus Shelter is definitely drawing people’s attention. Some are even taking photos of it with their cell phone cameras.

For the first time in Korea, the cutting-edge bus stations in the Seoul Train Station Bus Transfer Center have won the top prize, ‘Gold Winner’, in the environment category of the 2010 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). Seoul’s “Media Bus Shelter” has also won other top design awards, including the iF Design Award of Germany and a Red Dot Award. The Media Bus Shelter has contributed greatly to promoting Seoul around the world by winning the ‘grand slam’ of international design awards.

Drawing attention as a public space which successfully combines cutting-edge media with cultural arts

Sponsored by Business Week magazine and the Industrial Designers Society of America, the International Design Excellence Awards are considered the Academy Awards of design. Every year, designers and corporations submit entries into the competition in 9 categories; consumer products, furniture, packaging & graphics, interactive product experiences, environment, etc. The judging criteria of the competition include the following:

It is said that the Media Bus Shelter is a great example of creating a vibrant, interactive and safe public environment in bus stations.

The Media Bus Shelter is made up of 12 bus shelters whose walls and ceilings are equipped with LED panels providing news, weather and bus information in real time. The platforms, safety fences, street lamps and route maps of the bus shelters have been created through the talent donation of Hyundai Card Co., Ltd.

At the awards ceremony on August 7, Kwon Young-Gull, the chairman of the Seoul Design Foundation, received the prize on behalf of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. He said that the award is very meaningful, in that Seoul city’s efforts to transform itself from a hard city to a soft city have been recognized. The metropolitan government will spare no effort to have Seoul become a city of design where its citizens can enjoy more convenience in their daily lives.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book gives keen insight into Korean history

A Review of Korean History” written by Han Young-woo, professor emeritus at Seoul National University, explores the nation’s history from its birth to the present.

The English version of the Korean history book published by Kyongsaewon Publishing translated by Hahm Chai-bong is divided into three volumes _ “Ancient/Goryeo Era,” “Joseon Era” and “Modern/Contemporary Era”_ along with detailed descriptions and some 700 photos and illustrations.

A Review of Korean History (English)
Han Young-woo; Translated by Ham Chai-bong from Korean to English; Kyongsaewon Publishing

Vol. 1: Ancient/Goryeo Era 384 pp.
Vol. 2: Joseon Era 320 pp.
Vol. 3: Modern/Contemporary Era 318 pp.

Since the first edition of the book was published in 1997 with a revised edition in 2004, it has become a steady-seller in Korea with 39 editions until the end of 2009. The book was also translated into Japanese in 2003 by Akashi Shoten Publishing.

The first volume of the English rendition illustrates the roots of Korean history, old Joseon and other ancient states along with the Three Kingdoms.

The second volume focuses on the Joseon Kingdom from its foundation to the reform of the ruling system, economic development, culture, internal conflicts and foreign invasions.

The third volume probes the birth and growth of modernism, dawning with the peasant uprisings and reforms to the rise and fall of the Korean Empire, the Japanese colonial rule and Korea`s independence movement. It also deals with the Korean War (1950-53) and reconstructions in the mid-1900s and political upheavals in the 20th century.

The book puts more emphasis on the Joseon era _ the author described researching the Joseon Kingdom gave him the joy of discovering “hidden treasures” as he enhanced his understanding about the cultural values of the Confucian state during his four-year term as the head of the Kyujanggak Archives.

Jung Ok-ja, chairwoman of the National Institute of Korean History, reviewed the book, saying that the author seems to suggest a new milestone for the 21st century through this book. “Cautious about both narrow-minded nationalism and globalism’s relative lack of identity, he pursues a humanitarian society centered on coexistence and co-prosperity. Such a view of history seems to be aligned with neo-nationalism, from among the various approaches of modern historiography. Rooted in a positivist historiography, a major approach in modern historiography, the author has built a basic academic foundation from which he conveys a neo-nationalist view of history,” wrote Jung.

The book gives keen insights not only on historical incidents and perspectives but also cultural fields such as literature and music, commerce and international trade, and geomancy and Taoism. The publication is also helpful for foreigners who are interested in Korean history and culture.

The 72-year-old author was former dean of the College of Humanities at Seoul National University and dean of Kyujanggak Archives and director of Korean Studies.

For more information or inquiries, call (031) 955-7441-3, or visit

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Seoul approves civilian humanitarian mission to N.Korea

The South Korean government approved a humanitarian group's visit to North Korea for the first time since May, when Seoul banned all exchanges with Pyongyang due to the sinking of a South Korean warship by North Korean forces.

The Ministry of Unification reported on Aug. 16 that it gave approval to two more civilians to visit the North to provide humanitarian assistance. This follows previous approval for three other South Korean civilians on Aug. 13.

These five South Korean civilians, including a doctor and two truck drivers, are members of a humanitarian mission to deliver anti-malaria medication and equipment to the communist country.

They arrived at the North Korean city of Gaeseong on Aug. 17, delivering 400 million won worth of anti-malaria aids.

This is the first approval for a civilian humanitarian mission to the North since the South Korean government prohibited all trade and exchanges with Pyongyang in the "May 24 Action" in response to the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean warship, in Mar.

The anti-malaria aids, including diagnosis kits, mosquito netting, and anti-malaria medicines for pregnant women, will be provided to North Korean residents living in four areas near Gyeonggi-do (province), including Gaeseong.

The South Korean Ministry of Unification said in its press briefing on Aug. 13 that, "anti-malaria aids are necessary for the health of all Koreans, both in the North and South." The ministry also said, "Recently, Seoul has only allowed humanitarian aid for the North that targets infants and children, but this humanitarian assistance is in line with the principles of the South Korean government's North Korean policy in a broad sense."


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Small but can be a big news

Imphal, Manipur, India

Source: THueiyen News Service

Imphal, August 16, 2010: Appendix surgery on a 41-year old Korean national was successfully performed at Shija Hospital at Imphal, the hospital management claimed today. The operation was performed on Seong In Lee who has been staying in the state since July 10 of this year for teaching Korean to the children lodging at Fed Home at Kwakeithel Paite Veng, Imphal. He came with his wife Kyung In Han along with their children. He was admitted at the Shija Hospital yesterday with a complaint of pain, said Seong In Lee to reporters here today after successfully performed the appendix operation expressing gratitude to the doctors of the hospital in performing the operation successfully.

The South Korean Fashion Wagon

Andre Kim (August 24, 1935 – August 12, 2010) was a South Korean fashion designer based in Seoul, South Korea. He was well famous for his evening and wedding gown collections.

Kim has been in fashion design since 1962. At the age of 27 he opened Salon Andre in Sogong-dong, Central Seoul, becoming Korea’s first male fashion designer. In 1966 he became the first South Korean to hold a fashion show in Paris.

In 1981, Kim was selected as Chief Designer for the 1981 Miss Universe beauty pageant. In 1988, he designed the uniforms of the Korean athletes for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Following this, he became a repeated invitee for occasions held by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In 1997, he was presented with South Korea’s Presidential Culture and Art Medal for his contributions to the fashion industry. In 2003, he was awarded Italy’s Cultural Merit Award and was elected as UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador.

He died on August 12, 2010 due to pneumonia and colorectal cancer at age 74.
Photo's are from Korea Herald

South Korea's largest seaport

Busan Port
Source: The Korea Herald

Monday, August 16, 2010

Korean Song Gives Hope to Kenyan Children

Have you listened to the song “Dream of a Goose (거위의 꿈)” by the legendary Korean singer Insooni (인순이)? I bet most of you have.

“….Yes, I do have a dream. I believe in that dream. Wait and watch me….”

A song of catchy melody, heartfelt lyrics, and powerful performance. But I personally would say that the charm of the song lies in its lyrics. It’s a monologue of a goose that is determined to soar up to the sky someday – despite all the callous ridicule of the world saying geese can never fly. The goose says it will achieve that dream of flying someday somehow. It’s such heart-wrenching lyrics.

And what’s more impressive, this Korean song is being sung by children in a far, far, far away country – Kenya.

Children of “Korogocho,” Kenya’s Largest Slum Town

In the region called Korogocho, one of the largest slum neighborhoods of Nairobi, Kenya, some 150,000 to 200,000 people live pressed shoulder to shoulder. The town is polluted beyond imagination – its sky is black with smoke coming from burning garbage and its ground wet with atrocious residual liquid.

In this seediest of the seediest towns on earth, people live on less than two dollars a day. Children scavenge through garbage for food and clothing – practically live amidst piles of trash – and going to school is a luxury only enjoyed by a mere one-third of the Korogocho children. The illiteracy rate and the seriousness of their ignorance is of such grave state that the kids won’t understand if they are told to “line up.” But what’s harder for them to bear than the hunger and the lack of education itself is the despair – the complete absence of hope and dream.

And in this most dire and glum situation, Good Neighbors – an international humanitarian and development organization from Seoul that originated as a non-profit NGO in 1991 – has been running the Jirani (meaning “good neighbor” in Swahili) school, vocational training center, and medical center since 1996.

A Song of Hope Budding out of Despair

Artistic activities offered to children in Kenya are almost non-existent. The only substantial one will be the choir run by the Good Neighbors Kenya, giving them a glimmer of hope and dream.

Under the instruction of a Korean music director, children started practicing the song “Dream of a Goose.”

Director spared no time and energy in explaining the meaning of the song’s lyrics over and over to the children. For the second verse, they even composed their own version of lyrics in Swahili describing their sufferings and also their will to overcome them. The children sang with all of their hearts, hundreds of times, and soon they memorized all the melodies and lyrics.

And they were given the opportunity to participate in the music competition hosted by the Kenyan government on June 18. And miraculously, they came in 3rd place. The video of their performance was uploaded on YouTube and drew applause and encouragement from audiences worldwide. It moved numerous Korean web users as well as the Korean singer Juck Lee who is none other than the composer of the very song “Dream of a Goose.”

Children’s Voice and a Dream Come True

The story of Korogocho children and their choir eventually gave birth to the “Jirani Children’s Choir,” sponsored by Good Neighbors. Around 100 children were selected after extensive auditions, and they started to sing hope and dream to the world.

Children who have to dig though mountains of garbage to survive now spread something beautiful, something hopeful, to the world with their collaborative voice. It is, indeed, a dream come true.

After a series of performances in a number of countries including Korea, they were able to collect enough finance to support the children’s education.

It’s a real story that sounds so dramatic and touching it might as well be turned into a film. Tae-Jong Rim, one of the five board members of Good Neighbors and the president of the Jirani Cultural Project Foundation, commented, “The Jirani Children’s Choir wouldn’t have been possible without Koreans’ strength in culture. We should continue to expand these kinds of activities.” International exchange and support will keep expanding as well as the government ODA.

It’s impossible to help everyone in the world who is poor and is in need of help. But it’s possible to give them a glimpse of hope, just as the Kenyan children’s “Dream of a Goose” did.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Neverending Love: My Korean language teacher's

" Let cherish and be cherished of what we have in our life, cos it is all about love an compassion that bind us from one another, from one culture to another culture "

When I am trying to dettach from anything I have become more attach with everything made by Korea. This is amazing in one way on the other hand this is making me very weak at my heart. Specially my language teachers, I thought we are just a simple student who comes and go in front of teachers as for them this has been part of their life. Because the teachers profession is to teach ans make the student understand and command over the given specific areas.

But after meeting my class teachers I have become so attach with them, they are such wonderful soul, for me it will be very difficult to seperate from them. Where ever I go I know there presence will be always there. The love , care and I do not know what made them so gentle.

As I am leaving soon to my home country, I have stoped attending classes but all of sudden to I get a call from the teacher who I respect and scared a lot. He was so kind and so tender, infact he was so worried about me. He talked to me so calm and tenderfully that makes my heart melt.

This semester is the last sememster, In this semester I made a teacher who are so good at teaching according to me. I can easily understand and can pick up so quickly. Inside my mind I keep on complaining to myself why didn't I met them before, again I consoled myself , maybe because this periods try to give you a message.

Whatever may be the consequences, but my heartfelt repsect is always to you my two beleoved teacher. I wish i can come again in the future and learn under you. I know I am unable to leave any goodmarked to you all and in Korea but I am carrying all your love, I am carrying back those moments I have spend with you all. I am carrying your outstanding values.

I engraved in my heart those days I have been spending here each and every small moments . I always liked to experience and know more about Korea and the korean culture. I will treasure always this handful precious experience and lift up my journey. I stongly beleive in myself that very soon I will come again .

Rediscover Seoul :The pink card will turn you into a VIP in Seoul

One of the hot topic of the month

This is the 90th in a series of articles highlighting tourism spots in Seoul. The guide for planning weekend trips in the capital city will help readers rediscover
Seoul.— Ed.

Julia came to Seoul in late July at the invitation of her Korean friend who had visited Vancouver to study English the previous winter. Thanks to the 2010 Seoul Grand Sale membership card, which she got when she went to Myeong-dong with her friend, her stay in Seoul was better than any other trip she had taken to any other country.

Julia, who has been a big fan of figure skating, became interested in Korea after being dazzled by the performance of Kim Yu-na at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. In addition, she was informed that Seoul was offering special benefits to foreign tourists during the 2010-2012 Visit Korea Year(s) and decided to visit Korea rather than Japan or China, the countries she had been considering as possible destinations.

On the first day of her visit, she went to Myeong-dong and caught an upbeat outdoor performance. She also received a pink membership card for the 2010 Seoul Grand Sale at a nearby promotional booth. The staff handing out the cards kindly explained that she could get discounts at about 5,000 retail shops in Seoul by just showing the pink card. That was great news for Julia as she was having some trouble selecting the best tour courses to fit her tight budget.

She decided to have Korean traditional bulgogi for lunch at Amiso, a nearby restaurant. The calm, Oriental-themed interior of the restaurant charmed her, and the bulgogi tasted totally different from when she had tried it in Canada. Showing her Seoul Grand Sale membership card, she received a 10 percent discount. As she left the restaurant, the waiters and waitress politely bowed.

Julia carried the pink membership card for the 2010 Seoul Grand Sale everywhere she went while she stayed in Seoul. She got a discount of 4,000 won at Lotte Cinema and enjoyed the non-verbal performance “Jump,” which combines Taekwondo, the national Korean martial art, with a compelling and hilarious narrative, with a 20 percent discount on the admission. When she discovered that the Hangang Water Taxis, a new tourist attraction of Seoul, were also offering discounts to membership card holders, Julia decided to take a ride on one, too. During her 40-minute journey boat trip, she fully enjoyed the scenery of the city, the tranquility of the Han River and the fresh air. Her little pink card had made her a VIP in the city.

The Midsummer Shopping Festival

The Seoul Grand Sale is a large-scale shopping festival that was launched in 2008, and this year marks its 3rd anniversary. This year’s event kicked off on July 21 and will run through Sept. 12. Centering on the four special tourist zones in Seoul (Myeong-dong/Bukchang-dong/Namdaemun, Itaewon, Dongdaemun fashion town, Jongno/Cheonggyecheon), as many as 5,000 retail stores are participating in the 54-day shopping festival, which is a whopping six-fold increase over 2009’s event. The Seoul Grand Sale has evolved over the years to now offer substantial discounts to customers in a wide range of stores: from duty-free shops, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, performance halls and beauty shops to even health care centers.

Especially, the “Big 20” includes not only the nation’s 20 largest and most popular store chains, duty-free shops, convenience stores, coffee shops and restaurants, but also numerous tourist attractions, such as the Hangang Water Taxis, the Ssamjigil, National Museum of Korea, Lotte World and cultural performances (Nanta, Jump and Sachoom). It is fair to say that almost everything tourists can enjoy in the city has been incorporated in the 2010 Seoul Grand Sale.

Grand Sale Supporters

The Grand Sale Supporters, 40 college students who serve as volunteers, play an active, albeit background, role. The supporters visit the participating stores in advance to check they are actually offering the promised benefits to customers and if any inconvenience has been experienced in using the membership card and coupons. They also create festival related content through various channels, such as Twitter and blogs, to provide useful information for potential customers at home and abroad.

Many of the supporters have a good command of foreign languages, such as English, Chinese and Japanese, and have enjoyed much success in public relation activities targeting foreign tourists. The supporters are playing a big part in promoting the event, thereby making Seoul one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Chen Yang, a Chinese student studying at Hanyang University, is participating in this year’s festival as a supporter, and thanks to his cheerful personality, he is very popular with his fellow supporters. He said, “It has been three years since I came to Seoul, and over the years, I have come to see the real charm of the city. This is why I decided to participate in the Seoul Grand Sale as a supporter and promote Seoul as an exciting tourist destination. I hope that many foreign tourists will reap the substantial benefits offered by this event and make pleasant memories during their stay in the city.”

How to ensure full use of the 2010 Seoul Grand Sale

1) Check the website of Seoul Grand Sale thoroughly
Information on participating stores is available in English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean on the official website of the 2010 Seoul Grand Sale ( You can also download discount coupons and participate in various events on this website. Considering the large scale of the festival, you need to check the website carefully to determine which stores are participating in the event, where those stores are located and what kinds of benefits they are providing.

2) Use the membership card
The Seoul Metropolitan Government first introduced the membership cards to the 2010 Seoul Grand Sale to make it more convenient to use. Last year, coupon books were distributed from tourist information centers, but those paper coupons were inconvenient to use. Therefore, the Metropolitan Government adopted the membership card, which can be slipped into a wallet like a common credit card.

You can get discounts and a variety of benefits at about 5,000 retail stores by just showing the membership card. Once a membership card is issued, it can be used repeatedly during the festival. Without having to follow any specific procedure, anyone can be issued a membership card at airports and tourist information centers in the city. The membership cards are classified by color: pink cards are for foreign tourists and blue for local residents. When you arrive in Seoul make sure to apply for a membership card for the Seoul Grand Sale before doing anything else.

3) Check the benefits for foreigners only
Many stores participating in the event are applying different discount rates for foreigners compared to local residents. Department stores, duty-free shops and hotels are providing discounts only for foreigners, while the benefits offered by some coffee shops and movie theaters differ for foreigners and locals. Most stores are offering additional benefits to foreign tourists, so you need to check the exact discounts that apply to you on the official website before visiting the stores in question.

By Seoul Metropolitan Gorvenment
Source: Korea Herald

Ancient gate restored to former glory

The newly restored Gwanghwamun, the main and largest gate of Gyeongbok Palace, was unveiled Sunday in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule.

The country’s famous historical landmark was revealed to the public on Liberation Day after four years of painstaking work to restore the gate to its 19th century form. Its name panel, which had been in the center of dispute between those who supported a Hangeul version and supporters of the original Chinese character panel, was also revealed. The new name panel is a replica of the original name panel written in 1867.

First built in 1395, Gwanghwamun was repeatedly destroyed and then restored throughout the history. After Korea-Japan annexation treaty in 1910, the Japanese government deconstructed the gate to make space for the Japanese Governor General Building in 1926. The gate was then moved to eastern corner of the Gyeongbok Palace.

The Korean War once again completely destroyed the gate, leaving its stone base in disrepair. The latest restoration project, which started in 2006, was set to restore the gate to its original form of the Gojong era, correcting the renovation carried out using concrete in 1963. The restoration by the Park Chung-hee administration improperly positioned the gate, 3.75 degrees tilted away from the center of the palace. The newly restored gate is now properly located.

People gather in front of the newly restored Gwanghwamun after the Liberation Day celebrations at the Gwanghwamun Square on Sunday. Yonhap News

Park, while completing the restoration, wrote the gate’s name panel himself using three Hangeul characters. The new nameplate is a restored version of the original Chinese signboard written by Lim Tae-young, head of the Gyeongbokgung reconstruction team and a general, in 1867. Both Hangeul scholars and Park’s supporters have been protesting against the idea of Chinese nameplate, arguing a new Hangeul version developed by King Sejong or keeping the Park’s original plate would be more appropriate.

About 4,500 officials and citizens gathered in front of the royal gate to attend the Liberation Day ceremony at Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul. “A hundred years ago we’d lost our country and had our gate blocked,” said President Lee Myung-bak in a statement. “The newly restored Gwanghwamun will be the gate that will open a new set of history of ours.”

The restoration of Gwanghwamun is a part of the Gyeongbok Palace restoration project which started in 1991. The Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea said the second phase of the restoration project will continue in the next 20 years, aiming to restore 76 percent of the palace of the Gojong era.
Source:Korea Herald

Ancient gate restored to former glory

The newly restored Gwanghwamun, the main and largest gate of Gyeongbok Palace, was unveiled Sunday in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule.

The country’s famous historical landmark was revealed to the public on Liberation Day after four years of painstaking work to restore the gate to its 19th century form. Its name panel, which had been in the center of dispute between those who supported a Hangeul version and supporters of the original Chinese character panel, was also revealed. The new name panel is a replica of the original name panel written in 1867.

First built in 1395, Gwanghwamun was repeatedly destroyed and then restored throughout the history. After Korea-Japan annexation treaty in 1910, the Japanese government deconstructed the gate to make space for the Japanese Governor General Building in 1926. The gate was then moved to eastern corner of the Gyeongbok Palace.

The Korean War once again completely destroyed the gate, leaving its stone base in disrepair. The latest restoration project, which started in 2006, was set to restore the gate to its original form of the Gojong era, correcting the renovation carried out using concrete in 1963. The restoration by the Park Chung-hee administration improperly positioned the gate, 3.75 degrees tilted away from the center of the palace. The newly restored gate is now properly located.

Two Korean Villages Become UNESCO Sites

Andong City’s Hahoe Village and Gyeongju City’s Yangdong Village, which are the two most representative historic villages in Korea, were registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list at the 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) held in Brasilia, Brazil on August 1. With this designation, Korea now holds a total of 10 UNESCO World Heritage items.

It is extremely rare for historic villages to be in intact state due to modernization and development and such, and the assessment of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is accordingly extremely rigorous.

The Hahoe and Yangdong Village, too, had to go through a series of reviews, holdups, and postponements before they were granted the approval. ICOMOS recognized the two villages’ historic and cultural significance as early as last May and the legitimate ground in having them registered as one coupled-up item. However, due to the fact that there wasn’t a comprehensive administrative office that manages both of the villages together, ICOMOS sustained their approval.

To this, Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration with Gyeongsangbuk-do, Andong City and Gyeongju City, organized “The Council on Preservation of Historic Villages” that was going to collaboratively manage and preserve the two villages. And after submitting to 21 member countries of WHC thorough information and promotional materials on the Hahoe and Yangdong Village as well as dispatching a government delegation to the 34th Session of WHC, were they able to put the two villages on the list of UNECO World Cultural Heritage.

1995: Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple / Jongmyo Shrine / Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks
1997: Changdeokgung Palace Complex / Hwaseong Fortress
2000: Gyeongju Historic Areas / Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites
2007: Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes
2009: Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty
2010: Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong

Founded in the 14th-15th centuries, Hahoe and Yangdong Village’s layout and location – sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto a river and open agricultural fields – reflect the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture of the early part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

The Hahoe Village contains Yangjindang Manor (Treasure No. 306), Pikchondaek House (Important Folklore Material No. 84), Chunghyodang Manor (Treasure No. 414), and Namchondaek House (Important Folklore Material No. 90) among others. It has also preserved the shamanist rite of Byeolsin-gut, Hahoe Mask Dance, and Jeulbul Nori.

The Yangdong Village contains Mucheomdang (Treasure No. 411), Hyangdan (Treasure No. 412), Gwangajeong (Treasure No. 442) as well as Tonggamsokpyeon, a book printed on movable metal type (National Treasure No. 283).

Having relics registered on the UNESCO list is pointless if they don’t continue to be properly looked after. The two villages, Hahoe and Yangdong, now having become world-acknowledged historic assets, will likely trigger a surge of tourists both domestic and international. And accordingly, we will need to further reinforce maintenance system and strengthen tourism infrastructure so that those precious vestiges of the past can still be there for the next generation to appreciate as well.

The two villages are the first of their kind in Korea to receive the honor in that they are places that are actually being inhabited by people. They are “living heritage.” Residents have well preserved not only traditional housings but the intangible culture of the two villages as well, which further increases the value of Hahoe and Yangdong.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Japanese hospital to be constructed at Khabeisoi of Manipur

Imphal, August 11 2010: The proposed Japanese Second World War memorial hospital to be funded by the Japanese government will be constructed at Lousi Loukon of Khabeisoi in Imphal east district. A sign board to mark the allocation of the land was erected today. The hospital is to be constructed under the Japanese Second World War Memorial Hospital Act with financial assistance from the Japanese government under its Grand Grass Root Project. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 6 crore. Out of the around 40 acre land required for the construction of the hospital, one acre of land has been acquired by the hospital construction authority, said controller of the Japanese Hospital Manipur, M Ibomcha, who was speaking at the function organised in connection with the sign board erection. Earlier, the hospital was planned to be constructed at Yainangpokpi but as per guidelines the hospital could not be located beyond a 10 km radius of the state capital. Following a review it was decided that the hospital be constructed at Khabeisoi, the controller clarified. The proposed hospital is targeted to deliver a unique healthcare service to the people of the state and once the hospital comes up, inconveniences faced by the people in going outside the state for medical treatment will be reduced to some extent. Doctors of the proposed hospital will work in coordination with doctors in Japan while treating complicated patients, he said while appealing to the people to extend co-operation in the setting up of the hospital in the area.
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

South Korean schools to strengthen Dokdo history education

South Korea's schools will strengthen history education on the easternmost islets of Dokdo under new educational guidelines and open special classes on the issue to counter Japan's repeated territorial claims to the islets, the education ministry said Thursday.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said it has recommended local education offices to specify curricula and guidelines on Dokdo, and instructed them to facilitate special classes in elementary, middle and high schools.

"Although it is not mandatory for the local education offices, we recommended that they have classes (on Dokdo) over 10 hours a year at their discretion," Woo Won-jae, a ministry official, said. "We will notify class guidelines late this month so that district schools can realize the importance of Dokdo education."

The effort is the latest in a series of government moves to strengthen the education of young students on the historical background on the islets, often claimed by Japan.

Dokdo has been effectively controlled by South Korea with a Coast Guard unit stationed there from 1954.

In a related move, the ministry recently completed supervising the editing process of new high school history textbooks, which will be used in March under the new guideline that calls for in-depth references on Dokdo during and after Japanese colonial rule, officials said.

The edited versions of the elementary and middle school textbooks for next year will also include more detailed descriptions on Dokdo, they noted.
Source: Yonhap news

(LEAD) India's Mahindra & Mahindra named prime bidder for Ssangyong

Ssangyong Motor Co., South Korea's smallest automaker, said Thursday India's top utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has been chosen as the preferred bidder for its majority stake.

Ssangyong and the local manager for the envisioned sale plan to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Indian company by the end of the month before due diligence begins in September, Ssangyong said in a press release.

The sides will finalize conditions for the takeover, including the amount of the purchase for the Indian company, in October and seek to ink a sales contract in November, it said.

Six bidders, including an alliance of French automaker Renault SA and Japan's Nissan Motor Co., previously submitted preliminary bids for the troubled carmaker. But only three, including India's tiremaker Ruia Group and Young An Hat co., a local headgear company that also owns bus maker Daewoo Bus Co., remained in the race after Ssangyong concluded receiving binding offers Tuesday."The choice was made after studying their bid prices, plans for capital increase and funding capabilities as well as their ability and willingness to directly manage and develop the company," Ssangyong said in a released statement.

The dropout of the Renault-Nissan alliance apparently was a disappointment to Ssangyong, as well as local investors, as the alliance was the only bidder with intensive experience and a network of auto sales. Shares of Ssangyong Motor slipped to as low as 11,550 won, down 10.81 percent from Wednesday's close on the Seoul bourse. They were trading 4.25 percent lower at 12,400 won as of 9:27 a.m.

The company has been under court protection since February 2009, shortly after its former Chinese parent, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., abandoned it in the wake of an unfolding global financial crisis.

It has since struggled to stay afloat though its production nearly halted last year due to a violent strike and occupation of its plants by workers that lasted nearly 100 days.The automaker has seen some positive improvements in recent months, selling more than 7,000 vehicles for the fourth consecutive month in July. It also introduced new and lighter versions of its sports utility vehicle, the Rexton, and its luxury sedan Chairman earlier this week.
Source: Yonhap news

Interesting Facts to Know more about Korea

Charles John Pedersen ― 'Korea’s first Nobel Prize winner'

After being nominated fourteen times in as many years, former South Korean president, Kim Dae-jung, finally won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. Although he was the first Korean to win a coveted Nobel Prize, he was not the first Nobel Prize winner to be born in Korea ― that honor belongs to Charles John Pedersen.

The Pedersen family traces its beginnings in Korea to about the mid-1880s when Brede Pedersen, a Norwegian, arrived as a member of the Korean Customs Department. He appears to have been an engineer on the Korean Government steamship Hairong until the early 1890s and then later aboard the Hyenik, which was commanded by Captain J. Gundersen ― another Norwegian. It was common during these early years for Korean steamships to have German or Norwegian captains, European officers and Korean crews.

Around 1893 Brede met and married Takino Yasui, the 19-year-old daughter of a Japanese merchant living in northern Korea. Charles claimed that his father met Takino near the American-owned Unsan Gold Mines, but this seems unlikely as the gold mines were not established until after 1896. Shortly after they were married, they were blessed with two children, John (1894) and Astrid (1899).

By the early 1900s, Brede and Gundersen were no longer working for the Korean government but were still involved with Korean shipping. David Deshler, an American businessman from Ohio, started up his own shipping company in Chemulpo and hired both men. They were tasked with traveling to Finland where they inspected and bought five steamships and then sailed them one by one to Korea. Once they arrived, Deshler renamed these ships in honor of his state ― Ohio ― one through five.

In early February 1904, the Russo-Japanese War began with Korea as the center of the battle zone. During this turbulent period, Takino and the children were living near the Unsan gold mines. In his Nobel lecture entitled “The Discovery of the Crown Ethers” (Dec. 8, 1987), Charles said:

“Frequent incursions by Cossacks across the Yalu River into the region of the mines were considered to endanger my mother, so she and several American ladies were sent south by carriage to the railhead for safety.”

It isn’t clear when the Pedersen family made this move but they were not part of the 25 men, women, and children who were evacuated on March 13 by the American warship, U.S.S. Cincinnati.

Takino and her children made their way to Fusan (modern Busan) where they probably stayed throughout the war. Even in the best of times, the mortality rate of children in Korea was high. While Brede was at sea, young John perished from a childhood disease. His death devastated his parents. But on October 3, 1904, Takino gave birth to Charles who was “doubly welcomed” by his still grieving mother.

According to Charles, following John’s death, his father gave up the sea and went to work at the gold mines. What seems more likely, however, is that he found himself out of a job after Deshler sold his steamship business to the Japanese shipping firm, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK).

In 1908, the Pedersen family once again took up residence near the gold mines. Not the American mines but rather the French mines at Taeyudong which were further north and arguably more remote.

Charles recalled:

“I spent my first and last winter at the mines when I was 4 years old. The region was known for severe weather due to the confluence of the Siberian steppes, Mongolian Gobi Desert and the mountains of Korea. Large Siberian tigers still roamed the countryside and were frightened away with bells on pony harnesses. Wolves killed children during the cold winter nights, and foxes slept on roofs against the chimneys to keep warm.”

Even though Charles was only at the gold mines for a short period, it had a powerful impact on his destiny. Every month the mines had a cleanup day at which time the raw gold was processed with cyanide. “The pouring of the molten gold was always a beautiful sight, and,” Charles speculated, “that might have started my interest in chemistry.”

When Charles was eight his mother and father sent him to a convent school in Nagasaki and then a few years later to Saint Joseph College in Yokohama where he learned chemistry. Apparently, except for a brief period when his mother stayed with him in Yokohama, his family remained in Korea.

In 1922, Charles went to the United States and studied chemical engineering at the University of Dayton in Ohio. One of the reasons he chose Ohio was because of the number of friends of the family living in that state ― many of the Americans living in Korea during the early 20th century were from Ohio and Indiana. He later went on to study at MIT but, because he was eager to begin work, did not receive his Ph.D.

In 1927, he started his 42-year-long career at Du Pont – at this point he was an American citizen. His father continued to work at the French and American gold mines in Korea and died at Unsan in 1932. His sister, Astrid, also remained in Korea and worked for Standard Oil Company at Chemulpo. During World War II, despite being half-Japanese, she was briefly held as a foreign prisoner. She passed away in 1964.

Charles continued to prosper and excel in the United States. In 1987, he and two other chemists were presented with the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Two short years later, Charles passed away.

Despite winning this prestigious award and his family’s long history in Korea, Charles Pedersen remains relatively unknown to the Korean public. He was the first Nobel Prize winner born in Korea.

Korean Buddhism seminar to enlighten the world

Overseas scholars and Korean monks will gather together in Seoul for an international seminar to discuss Korean Buddhism. (Left: Professor Robert Buswell of UCLA, Yonhap News)

They will attend an international seminar organized by a U.S. scholar studying Buddhism and who wishes to introduce "ganwha seon," the traditional way of training in Korean Buddhism, to the world.

This scholar is Robert Buswell, professor and head of the Korea Buddhist Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He will lead a seminar titled "Ganwha seon, Illuminating the world" on Aug. 12 and13 at Dongguk University in Seoul.

Nine overseas scholars, including Professors Robert Sharf of UC Berkeley, James Robson of Harvard University, and six Korean scholars, will attend the seminar, in which well-known Korean monks who have been following this path will also participate.

The seminar participants will visit several Korean temples to look around the sites where ganwha seon is practiced and join in "chamseon," the Korean way of Buddhist meditation after the seminar. This will offer a unique opportunity, especially for overseas scholars who have studied Korean Buddhism only in books to experience the way ganhwa seon is actually practiced..

Prof. Buswell organized the event in order to introduce the merits of the ganwha seon practice of Korean monks to the world, such as he actually experienced it.

He is a world-renowned Buddhist scholar who entered a monastery in Thailand, became attracted to ganwha seon and spent five years practicing chamseon at Songwang-sa temple in Suncheon, Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla Province), from 1974. He is one of the first monks from overseas in Korea who speaks fluent Korean.

He later went back to the United States to study Korean Buddhism and became a professor at UCLA. He established a Korean studies institute, the largest in the United States, and received the Manhae Grand Prize in 2008 for his efforts to introduce Buddhism to Westerners.

The Manhae Grand Prize was started in 1997 in Korea to commemorate the history and spirit of Manhae Han Yong-wun (1879-1944), a monk, poet and independence fighter.

Most of the nine overseas professors invited for the seminar are specialists in Chinese or Japanese Buddhism. James Robson of Harvard University, Robert Sharf of UC Berkeley and Natasha Heller of UCLA are Chinese Buddhism experts, while William Bodiford of UCLA specializes in Japanese Buddhism. Other speakers at the seminar include Halvor Eifring, professor of University of Oslo, and Ryan Bongseok Joo of Hammshire College (also known as "Monk Hyemin" in Korean). (Above photo: Robert Buswell (right) at the Manhae Grand Prize ceremony in 2008, Yonhap News)

Though many overseas tourists experience Korean Buddhism through temple stay programs, the world's academic circles think of Chinese "chan" or Japanese "zen" first, while still finding Korean ganwha seon unfamiliar. But Korean ganwha seon preserves the original form of the traditional Buddhism more than than Japan or China, where it actually began. This is why overseas scholars have showed strong interest in participating in the seminar, said Buswell in an interview published in the Chosun Ilbo, Korea's leading daily.

This seminar has a unique experience program. Monks will give a Buddhist writing before and after the seminar on both days of the event. Participating scholars will visit Korean temples -- Seokjong-sa, Songgwang-sa, Magok-sa, Sudeok-sa and Gaesim-sa -- and witness part of "haan-geo," a three-month-long period of Buddhist training that monks perform from the middle of the 4th to the 7th lunar month.

Since ganwha seon is not only for Buddhist monks but also for ordinary people, Prof. Buswell said he wishes to introduce it to meditation specialists in the world, in the interview with the Chosun Ilbo.

For more information about Buswell’s Korean studies center in the U.S., click here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mother's Prayer

Mother’s prayer: Mothers of students who will take the 2011 College Scholastic Ability Test pray for their sons and daughters at Doseon Temple in northern Seoul Sunday, 100 days ahead of the state-run test. More than 700,000 students are expected to take the exam slated for Nov. 18.

Source: Korea Times

Once again Japan PM expresses heartfelt apology for colonial rule of Korea

According to The Korean Times report, Japan Tuesday issued an apology for its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula (1910-45) ahead of the centenary of the annexation, which falls on Aug. 29.

In a statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressed deep regret over the suffering inflicted during Japan's colonial rule from 1910 to 1945, news reports said. The apology was timed to also precede Korea's celebration of its 1945 liberation on Aug. 15.

Kan expressed his "feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for the tremendous damage and suffering brought by the colonial rule," according to the reports.

"Through the colonial rule that was against their will... the people of Korea were deprived of their nation and culture and their ethnic pride was deeply hurt," the statement said.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The famous JSA: Joint Security Area of Panmunjeom

Panmunjeom is a village on the de facto border between South and North Korea, where the Armistice Agreement that halted the 1950- 53 Korean War was signed.

The building, Panmungak, where the armistice was signed, still stands, though it is on the northern side of the Military Demarcation Line, which runs through the middle of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

It is considered one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

The Joint Security Area (JSA) in the truce village is used by the two Koreas for diplomatic engagements and was also the site of military negotiations between the United Nations Command and North Korea.

The JSA has been the site of numerous major events since its establishment in 1953, the first of which was the repatriation of prisoners of war (POWs) after the cessation of hostilities, across the Bridge of No Return.

The JSA consists of several blue buildings, some of which straddle the border between the two Koreas. In fact, it is where most talks between the two countries occur.

Inside one of these buildings is the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) an imaginary line that literally runs through a large rectangular conference table situated in the building.

Each year 100,000 tourists visit the area through several tourism companies and a U.S. military organization.


Andong, Capital of Korean Sprit : Toegye Trail

Blue skies. Sounds of a warbling bird. The river’s water flows leisurely. A stork stands perfectly still above his rippling reflection. Following the sunlit sparkle of the river, a narrow path gives off the fragrance of rich soil and grass with each step.

The hot breath of the city stands no chance here. A refreshing breeze between the sky and the green grass envelopes the road and its travelers - a touch light enough to create the brief illusion that one might be a wise sage living alone in nature.

What thoughts did the wise scholar Toegye have when walking along this path, long ago- In order to promote important tourist destinations along the country’s four major rivers, the sites of a major restoration project now underway, the Korea Tourism Organization has created several green cultural excursions near the waterside.

This idyllic Toegye Trail on the Nakdong River in Andong is one of those courses.

Andong, where the recently-named UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hahoe Village is located, could be called the capital of the country’s ethics culture. It’s a place where a taste for the morals of ancient scholars remains in full flavor, where justice and courtesy survive.

Toegye (1501-1570), also known as Yi Hwang, was a mid-Joseon Dynasty scholar who is often recognized now as the face on the 1,000 won bill. After holding public office, he built a Confucian school where many underwent intense study.

Although there are many great leaders from Andong, it was Toegye who went on to become the foundation for Korean moral culture.

If Germany’s Heidelberg has the Philosopher’s Walk where the likes of philosopher Immanuel Kant once meditated, then Korea’s Andong has Toegye Trail.

Following the Nakdong River, the longest in the country, the trail stretches all the way from Dosan Seowon (Toegye’s school) to Chongryang Mountain in the southeastern Youngnam Region.

Having built the school in his hometown of Andong, though the great scholar gave all his energy to the school he built to train younger generations, he still found the time to find peace atop the mountain. People say that Toegye’s presence still lingers in the surroundings, helping to create that enchanting ambiance of absolute peace.

Continuing down the path that winds along the curves of the river toward the mountain, the scenery expands like a beautiful folding screen.

At the foot of Toegye Trail Observatory and following the slight incline toward the start of the river, the scenic Gasongri Village in Dosan-myeon is only three kilometers away. If you keep going, you will come across Byeokryeokam Cliff, Kyungam, Haksodae and Micheongjangdam (observatory).

The sites along Toegye Trail have become well-known destinations for those looking to get away. There are so many people; it’s hard to keep track of the number of travelers. For more information, visit or call (054) 856-8013.