Monday, May 30, 2011

Korean factor in Imphal..

Hi everyone, we all know that Korea is getting bigger and bigger day by day through its smart power called "Hallyu". We all know that Hallyu is all about South Korean cultural items including drama, movies, food, K-pop/music , life style, fashion , cosmetics etc.

Here I would like to share my experience from my country here in India. India is a big and land of multi-dimensional culture shared with different ethnics, caste, culture as well as religions reside under one roof. On top of this India is the largest movies producing country. Bollywood the film city of India is compare with the Hollywood of west. Unlimited production of movies creates Indian cinema among the Inidan masses a big place. That's the reason why it is a bit difficult to break-through and surpass by the Korean movies and culture although , electonic products from the brand names like Samsung, LG'S, Daewoo,Hundai , Lotte etc become household names in every corner here in India.

Korean companies are flourshing in most of the big cities in India due to Korean Companies the demand rate of learning Korean language become populated. Even though, the popularity of Korean soft products like movies and dramas are slow in pace.

On the contrary of the above given information, here I would again like to share you about the popularity of Korean movies, drama, K-pop and fashion in the other corner in India.

North-East part of India has been always different from the other part of the country in every ways for example food habit, ways of living, life style, physical appearence. In these particular area people are highly appreciated Korean culture as weall as Korean dramas and movies , starting from an old age to the younger generations.

When we asked why they are so much into the Korean items and the movies, they said ther feel very inter-connected with their appearence and the cool picturisation. Most of the youngsters like all the k-pop singer due to Arirang channel and KBS channel.

At this moment,for the first time some of the foreign nations
are participating food festival held in Imphal, Manipur which is going on till 1 may. Korea, China , THailand and Tibet are the four countries participating among the local food stalls.

As I already mentioned earlier, starting from small children to the old people are crazy over Korean items are hogging into the Korean stall only. Since this is the first time the Korean stall sell few items especially the famus Kimchi, Kim, Kim-pap, and syngupsal.

Youngster keep visiting the stall just the see the glimpse and meet the stall owner and say some few greeting like "Annyong-haseyo" and "Khamsha-Hapnida" as they have learned from watching the Korean movies and dramas...

A charming lady of Thailand stall

This is an intersting experience which I am experiencing here in my home-town, I am so excited to see how much people of North-East India specially the Manipuris love the Korean items and the Korean people. They are looking forward to see and experience like this.... as the Manipur University will be introducing Korean language subject in the University.

The two awesome owner of the Korean stall

I hope if both countries government takes initiative to open Korean world here in this place it will be a great beneficial for both the society as well as both the countries.

A Manipuri family enjoying Korean Kimchi and other items from the foreign stalls

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lives of ancestors in brushstrokes of bamboo, orchid paintings

Rain failed to stop art lovers from visiting a renowned private art museum in northern Seoul on May 20. A long line of people were waiting to enter the Kansong Art Museum to enjoy the paintings of “Sagunja” or four noble plants from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) period.

Visitors flocked together in the main hall to gaze at the painting “Pungjuk” or “Bamboo in the Wind” drawn by Lee Jung (1554-1626) who is famous for his black-and-white bamboo paintings.

"Pungjuk" features four bamboo trees enduring strong wind. “Although they are swept backwards, the leaves are stretched to the tips, as if to say that they will never give into outside power,” said Choi Wan-su, the head researcher of the art museum.

“Bamboo shoots up without crooks or bends, weathering the harsh winter with an empty trunk and a shield of hard shiny bark,” explained Choi, adding that ancient Korean painters and scholars loved the plant due to such distinct characters.

Three other noble plants are plum which sends fragrance through chilly winds in early spring, orchid which fills the mountainside with a soothing scent of its flower and chrysanthemum which shows off its integrity by blossoming in late autumn frost.

An important theme in East Asian still-life paintings, the four plants represent human virtues that ancient Korean scholars and painters emphasized: righteousness, strength, purity and modesty.

Also attracting visitors were orchid paintings, on the second floor of the museum, by Lee Ha-eung (1820-1898), a late Joseon painter better known to Koreans as father and a regent of King Gojong in the late 1800s.

“Lee expressed sharp orchid leaves by pressing down and releasing his brush in quick strokes,” Choi said.

Lee must have been as adamant in his painting as he was in his international policies, resisting the unavoidable globalism. “Be strict enough not to be deceitful in a painting that many look and point at,” wrote Lee in a collection of his paintings.

Other eye-catching works among some 100 paintings on display are those by black-and-white painter Kim Hong-do (1745- ?) and calligrapher Kim Jeong-hee (1786-1856). Famous for drawing low-class people, Kim Hong-do boasted talent in still-life as well. Two paintings ― "Baekmae," or “White Plum Blossom” and "Sinjukhamro" or “Dew-Laden Bamboo” ― are on show. Also featured are three orchid paintings by Kim Jeong-hee, who is recognized for developing his own calligraphic font style called "Chusa," adopted after his penname.
The museum also features the oldest ever painting of chrysanthemum in Korea, “Osangjeolgae,”or “the Lonely Honor that Withstands Frost,” drawn by Shim Sa-jeong (1707-1769). He conveyed a poetic rhythm by varying the density of ink.

The biannual exhibition, whose admission is free, will continue through Sunday at the museum, a 10-minute walk from Hansung University subway station on the No. 4 metro line, exit 6. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (02) 762-0442.


Diverse voices, gestures mixed in Jeonju

“Jultagi” is a traditional Korean performance of tightrope-walking which is included into Important Intangible Cultural Properties No. 58. The performance will be held at the Festival of Asia Pacific Intangible Cultural Heritage in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, from June 10 to 12.
/ Courtesy of Festival of Asia Pacific Intangible Cultural Heritage

Intangible cultural heritage festival to feature Asian weddings

Intangible cultural heritages are best found in people’s daily lives and patterns of behavior. Weddings might well define the lifestyles and customs of people living in certain regions.

The Festival of Asia Pacific Intangible Cultural Heritage 2011 in Jeonju will feature the theme “Asian Weddings” from June 10 to 12 around the Jeonju Hanok Village.

The event, which began last year, will likely draw some 500 participants from five Asian countries — Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan and Korea. This year, participants from multicultural families living in the region will organize various programs that reflect their native cultures and lifestyles.

Jeong Jin-kwon, director of the festival, said that the event is designed to offer a glimpse of intangible cultural heritages ranging from customs and documents to crafts in one place.

The festival was originally launched to celebrate the hosting of the Asia-Pacific Intangible Cultural Heritage Center in the town which will be completed next year. It means it deserves to be a host of this festival as it is one of the most active in preserving traditional lifestyles and intangible cultural heritages,” he said.

“Many people think the festival programs are separated from visitors. But our festival will be a venue for interactive communications between visitors and performers. Participants will be united as many people from multicultural families are actively engaging in the festival organization,” he said.

The event consists of four sections — an international invited performance, a Korean invited performance, Intangible Cultural Heritage International Symposium (China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam) and special programs.

Among others, the Asia Pacific Village will offer an opportunity to experience diverse cultures from six countries — China, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, the Philippines and Korea. The program is voluntarily organized by multicultural families and foreign students. They will present their wedding customs, costumes, food and photographs to introduce their own native cultures to visitors. They can experience foreign wedding ceremonies and traditions in the village along with other participants.

“Last year, mostly traditional craft demonstrations and exhibitions constituted the festival program, alienating festival goers and exhibitors. But this year’s programs mostly aim to boost the festival mood through dynamic events such as the street parades and the Asia Pacific Village, engaging all the participants together,” he said.

“While preparing for the event, we found many things in common in culture and lifestyles in various Asian nations. They are the vivid witnesses of their own culture. Someday in the future our life can be a thing of the past and become an intangible cultural heritage. So we are interacting with each other to further understand present lifestyles and customs,” he said.

The programs will feature the theme of Asian weddings in various channels by international performers from an 11-year-old girl to an 81-year-old master. Also, traditional Korean intangible cultural heritage performances will entertain the ears and eyes of visitors.
A photo exhibition on weddings in Korea, China and Japan will be held during the festival. Also, visitors can participate in the event “My Wedding Story” by posting their memorable wedding stories on the festival’s website. Also, the wedding parade will engage some 100 participants who will wear special makeup and traditional wedding costumes.

In addition, “Media Facade: Missing You, Loving You,” a new media art form, will be performed at the festival, which will be projected on the facade of hanok for the first time.

Overseas performances of weddings

The Royal Cambodian Mohori Ensemble will perform traditional Cambodian music originating from ancient Khmer on June 11 and 12. There are various types of Mohori ensembles. A large Mohori ensemble consists of some 50 musicians or more, depending upon its patronage. This time, the Mohori Ensemble, which belongs to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, will present a five-piece ensemble at the festival. The group will show the process of a Khmer wedding that has evolved over the years. The wedding was once conducted over three days and nights but today it is conducted merely on one day and night. Whatever the length of the wedding ceremony may be, music is played almost continuously to accompany the various selected rituals within the overall ceremony. The ensemble will perform a rich Khmer music repertoire including wedding music related to the festival’s main theme.

Taiwan’s Rukai tribe’s ancient traditional wedding might be one of the more fascinating shows in the program. The Rukai Cultural Performance Group will perform a traditional wedding ceremony at the festival on June 10 and 12. The group, consisting of 16 members, represents the Indigenous Rukai tribe of Taiwan and the Rukai people are Austronesian or “Ngudradrekai” (people of the mountains) in their own language, living in the mountains of south Taiwan. The Rukai are a small indigenous tribe in Taiwan with a population of about 11,000 people. They are unique in their costumes, language, and history. They are known in Taiwan for their singing, dancing and costumes, three inseparable elements of their intangible cultural heritage. Members of this performance group have lived their entire lives in Wutai and are accomplished in the art of Rukai storytelling, song and dance and in the manufacture of their own costumes and building of their own homes. The Rukai group offers the most authentic and representative combination of costume, song, and dance that has been handed down from generation to generation.

A performance of Thailand’s Piphat will be the first in the world in the Jeonju festival on June 11 and 12. A Piphat is a kind of ensemble that performs classical Thai music, which features wind and percussion instruments. It is considered the primary form of ensemble for the interpretation of the most sacred and high-quality compositions of Thai classical repertoire, including Buddhist invocations. It is also used to accompany traditional Thai theatrical and dance forms including khon (masked dance-drama), lakhon (classical dance), and shadow puppet theater. Also, the Korphai Ensemble, a famous traditional Thai percussion group, will perform. Anant Narkkong, musical director of the ensemble, composed a new Piphat number “Princess Manorah and Prince PraSuthon” inspired by an old Thai classic love story about the bird princess Manorah and human prince PraSuthon, which is one of Thai people’s most favorite plays. There are various versions of interpretation and this time, a new version will be premiered with a Thai traditional opera actor and actress suggesting the development of cultural heritage through reinterpretation.

Inscribed in 2009 on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, Vietnam’s Ca Tru will appear on June 11 and 12. Ca Tru is a complex form of sung poetry found in the north of Vietnam using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese poetic form. Groups comprised of three performers: a female singer who uses breathing techniques and vibrato to create unique ornamented sounds, while playing clappers or striking a wooden box, and two instrumentalists who produce the deep tone of a three-stringed lute and the strong sounds of a drum. Some Ca Tru performances also include dance. The varied forms fulfill different social purposes, including worship singing, singing for entertainment, singing in royal palaces and competitive singing. Ca Tru has 56 different musical forms or melodies, each of which is called “cach.” Folk artists previously performed the music and poems orally from within their family line, but now they do so to any who wish to learn. Ongoing wars and insufficient awareness caused Ca Tru to almost disappear in the 20th century. Although the artists have made great efforts to pass on the old repertoire to younger generations, Ca Tru is still under threat of being lost due to the diminishing number and age of its practitioners.

Source: Korea times

Friday, May 20, 2011

Statue of Tagore boosts cultural exchanges between India and Korea

A bust of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore was erected in Seoul on May 18, as a visible demonstration of the deep ties between Korea and India. The unveiling took place on what would have been Tagore’s 150th birthday.

Tagore was the first Asian to receive a Nobel Prize, having the literature award in 1913 for his book, Gitanjali. One of the Indian subcontinent’s best-known artistic personalities, he worked in the fields of music, theater and literature, becoming the voice of India’s spiritual heritage. He composed the national anthems of India and Bangladesh, and was a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi.

Koreans have long had a special regard for Tagore and his works. During the Japanese colonial period, Tagore wrote the poem “Lantern of the East” about Korea after being impressed by the pro-independence March 1 Movement in 1919.

The ceremony was attended by several important figures, including the Indian ambassador to Korea, Skand R. Tayal, Park Hee-tae, Speaker of the National Assembly of Korea and First Vice-Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Mo Chul-min, along with more than 100 members of various diplomatic delegations.

The statue was first proposed in 2006, when the former president of India, Abdul Kalam, visited Korea. When President Lee Myung-bak visited India last year, the project regained prominence and found momentum as part of the “Year of Korea” in India and “Year of India” in Korea.

The 1.2-meter statue by Indian sculptor Gautam Pal was erected in the Daehangno area, near Hyehwa Station. Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Choung Byoung-gug said it was especially meaningful to have the statue places in an area so well-known for the arts and theater.

During the ceremony, Ambassador Tayal said, “I hope many Asian countries, including Korea and India, are encouraged by Tagore and his poems.” He added that it will boost cultural exchanges between India and Korea.

First Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Mo said, “He gave the Korean people hope and comfort by calling Korea ‘the Lamp of the East’ during dark times,” before going on to say that he hopes the two countries will grow to understand each other’s cultures better through active exchanges.

The opening ceremony for the “Year of Korea” in New Delhi, India took place in March, hosted by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Korean Embassy in India. The opening ceremony for the “Year of India” will be held on June 30 at the Sejong Center in Seoul.


Let’s Go Inside the Love Story of Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong!

We see many ‘Couples of the Century’ through numerous media. Whether they are real couples or the fake ones, the range of couple are limitless. For example, world famous football star David Beckham and the member of the world pop girl group ‘Spice Girls’, Victoria Beckham became the couple of the century since their marriage. There are also fictional couples beloved by many in the world. In Jane Eyre, the famous and influential western novel, the love between Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester has been remembered among readers until now. Then, is there any ‘Couple of the Century’ in Korean classical literature? Absolutely, yes! Chunhyang and Mongryong, they are the familiar names to Korean. The novel was adapted for pansori, book, film and even drama, beloved by many fans. The main character, Chunhyang, built an image of active woman in Joseon Dynasty, and now she became the representative image of Korean woman through the various performances carried overseas. They are truly a couple of the century that presents Korea.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t any place to remind us of their love story. Every story was supposed to be alive in the reader’s imagination, however, if the readers can see and look around the virtual place that helps understanding of the full story of ‘Chunhyang-jeon’, visitors would definitely enjoy the story with the scenery. Well, from the idea and demands, ‘Namwon Chunhyang Theme Park’ finally opened on May 2004. Theme park is the place for entertainment attractions that has landscaping, buildings, and attractions that are based on one or more specific themes. The ‘Namwon Chunhyang Theme Park’ is ready for couples with the gist, ‘We invite those of you who have someone in love with!’.

We have everything in Namwon Chunhyang Theme Park!

‘Namwon Chunhyang Theme Park’ is comprised of mainly 5 places- ‘Meeting Place’, ‘Pledge Place’, ‘Love and parting Place’, ‘Hardship Place’, and ‘Festival Place’. When you enter the theme park, you will see the facilities and structures that are well-matched to each place. At ‘Meeting Place’, you will see swings where Chunhyang and Mongryong first met, a fountain, and a cultural museum. At ‘Pledge Place’, you will meet a stone tower over the ring-shaped bridge ’Okjihwan’ which means a declaration of love. You might also find some couples in front of the tower, piling a stone on it and tying a small piece of wishing paper. In addition, ‘Pledge Place’ is quite a famous place to couples among other theme places. When a couple put their hands inside the ‘Pot of Pledge’, the love song ‘Sarang-ga’ comes out of it. At ‘Love and Parting Place’, you will see the ‘Buyong-dang’ where Chunhyang and Mongryong spent their wedding night, and the house of gisaeng ‘Wolmae’, Chunhyang’s mother. Also there is a workshop that you can experience the ‘seonbi’s style and arts, and even commoners’ culture in the middle era of Joseon Dynasty. ‘Hardship Place’ is also a place that attracts tourists. There is a rebuilt jail that Chunhyang was imprisoned, and the investigation office which has a stick for flogging criminals. The stick is remade for visitors to try and have fun, so you can try it, too. Finally, at ‘Festival Place’, there are many places to relax for visitors, and private theme school for writing letters with a brush. Once you use the brush, you will feel as if you were a writer going back to Joseon Dynasty.

Enjoy the whole Namwon!

The introduction of the ‘Namwon Chunhyang Theme Park’ is all over. However, there are more reasons why Namwon is getting attractive. If you look are the other museums and entertainment attractions will give us satisfaction more than ever.
In ‘Chunhyang Cutural Arts Center’ which is located in the theme park, the performance of the intangible cultural asset that was designated by the province holds on regular basis. You can also lend the hall in advance. Please take a look at the performance schedule posted on the homepage of Namwon City Hall.
Besides, you can participate in making a pottery in the traditional cultural center in the theme park. It will be a wonderful memory for you to bring, considering it is neither a plastic, nor a porcelain dish that we see commonly in our daily life. The theme park will give you a meaningful experience on Korean traditional culture as well as Chunhyang’s love story.

This is not the end. Since last fall, the newly started festival of Namwon will give fresh opportunity to visitors. The marching parade which starts from every Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 5pm is named the ‘Newly-appointed governor’s arrival’. As the parade marches from Gwanhan-ru to Theme Park, which is 2Km long, it will be a ‘must visit’ for those of you who love traveling.

For those of you who want to experience Chunhyang’s love and passion, we recommend you to visit Gwanghan-ru, and Chunhyang shrine. Gwanhan-ru which is famous for the place where Chunhyang and Mongryong first met each other provides splendid scenery in any season. Chunhyang shrine is the place that was built to honor the Chunhyang’s sincere love toward Mongryong. The bamboos planted around the shrine are standing strong and straight as if it showed Chunhyang’s nobel beliefs and principles. The letter ‘Dansim’ which means sincerity that presents Chunhyang’s character will touch the bottom of every single visitor.

In 2012, Yeosu will host the Expo, the world cultural festival. As the festival is expected to draw public attention to Jeolla province, most of the area is spurring the preparation for Expo. Of course, Namwon is not an exception. Namwon already selected several restaurants to recommend during the Expo and is now working on the promotion. In addition, Namwon Chunhyang Theme Park planned last February to provide more entertainment for visitors, overall which shows how Namwon is trying so hard and put a lot of efforts on it.

‘Namwon Chunhyang Them Park’ stands still as it is the first theme park that targeting the classical literature in Korea. Although the novel was written a half century, the love between Chunhyang and Mongryong would have something special that transcend the flow of era. We hope that you can experience the amazing and beautiful power that makes their love and even the entire Namwon as a one cultural heritage over half a century. Do you have someone you love? Then, move your step to the ‘Namwon Chunhyang Them Park’.